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When it comes to raising puppies, being a mom is instinctive for most dogs. This means you may not have to be actively involved in caring for your new litter, but you do need to keep a close eye on the K9 family to make sure everything is okay.
Sometimes a dog just doesn’t take to her babies, and won’t look after them. You’ll need to step in and take control, to make sure they survive.
Newborn pups aren’t able to regulate their body temperature, so they depend on their mom for warmth. It’s a good idea to keep them in a warm environment, either with a safe heat lamp or a heating pad. This will prevent them getting cold when their mom goes outside the whelping box to go to the toilet, or to have her dinner. There appears to be a connection between puppies getting cold and the development of “fading puppy syndrome”, which often results in the death of the pups.
Your puppies should be wormed every 2 weeks until they are 12 weeks old. They can be offered soft food from around 4 weeks of age, but be prepared for a mess! These little creatures are not very co-ordinated when it comes to eating from a saucer.
If possible, allow trusted friends and family, including children, to handle your pups as they are growing up. This helps to socialize them and get them used to people of all shapes and sizes.
Puppies are due for their first vaccinations at 6-8 weeks of age. Your veterinarian will recommend a vaccination schedule for your pups, which will depend on where you live and what diseases are a potential risk to your dog.
In Summary – Don’t re-home your pups too soon. Ideally, pups should stay with their litter-mates until they are 8 weeks old. This has been shown to be very beneficial to them in terms of their behavior, and their understanding of doggie body language and communication.
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