How to help a bitch take care of her puppies?

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Helping a female dog take care of her puppies is the most obvious concern of any animal lover. During the bitch's pregnancy we have taken care of taking care of the mother day after day with the best foods and the most comfortable surfaces. We have also seen your effort in childbirth. For that reason, and before the arrival of small puppies at home, we must provide the mother with some extra care that give you strength and encouragement to move forward.

In this ExpertAnima article we are going to give you the best tips so you can help a female dog take care of her puppies from day one.

Do not forget that in addition to the care we provide to her and the little ones, the vet visit to make sure that everything is going well and that all animals are healthy and strong.

You may also be interested in: How many puppies can a dog have?

First of all, a place of comfort

Before the puppies are born, the owner must prepare at home a farrowing pen, that is, a space in an isolated, quiet and well-equipped area so that the mother can take refuge, give birth and take care of her little ones there.

There are farrowing pens on the market that we can purchase, highly recommended due to certain structures that prevent the puppies from being crushed, but it is also possible to make our own farrowing pens, the most important thing is that it looks like a "cave " or shelter. It is also advisable to prepare a stable temperature and warm.

It will also be essential to take into account the walks. The first days the mother will not want to leave the nest under any circumstances, so we can leave it near the farrowing pen soakers or newspapers, to relieve himself. If we can offer you an exit to the garden, it will also be well received..

As the days go by we will try to encourage our dog to perform the first walks. He probably doesn't want to be out for time, so we'll just go outside for him to urinate and go back inside.

Feeding the lactating bitch

The bitch that has just given birth will be reluctant to stray too far from her puppies, however it is very important that she hydrate and eat plenty to feed the newcomers well, so it is ideal to have near her fresh water and food.

We must know that the milk production process requires a lot of energy, so the mother must have a special diet to help her in this decisive stage.

Some people opt for specific foods for sports dogs or hunting dogs, since they contain much more energy, however the ideal would be to acquire I think for lactating bitches following the doses and advice recommended by the veterinarian.

If momentarily it is not possible for you to buy any of the commercial foods that we have mentioned, we recommend increase quantity of food progressively and parallel to the growth of the puppies. It is advisable to divide the food into different daily intakes.

In any case, the diet of the lactating bitch should be always supervised by the specialist, who will determine whether or not it is necessary to use supplements, increase the amount or modify the diet to another of more appropriate.

By your side, cubs must suckle from their mother and receiving breast milk, which contains a large number of nutrients. During the first days, it also gives them colostrum, a secreted fluid composed of immunoglobulins, fat, proteins, water and carbohydrates that protects the puppy from certain diseases and fully nourishes it.

At all times you must be aware of the bitch's breasts to make sure that none have been infected and that she suffers from mastitis, an infection of the nipple. If so, you should call a veterinarian to consult the treatment to follow and also inform yourself about the feeding of premature puppies.

Take a good look at the puppies

Regardless of whether or not your dog allows you to get close to them, it will be vitally important that you observe them to detect any problems. It could happen that the dog rejected someone, that one of them did not know how to feed or was born with a significant physical disability. If so, it will be essential to call or go to the vet.

Do not forget that newborn dogs are very susceptible to illness if they are not given the warmth and care they require. A puppy of a tender age cannot be left to its own devices and can die if we do not act with the necessary speed.

In addition to feeding on their mother and appearing healthy, puppies need to urinate and defecate on a regular basis. In principle the mother should lick the genital area of ​​the little ones after each meal to help them evacuate. If you notice that it does not, you can help yourself by using a small gauze soaked in warm water.

The time of lactation

As we have discussed, after colostrum, the bitch will produce abundant breast milk for about two months (between 6 and 8 weeks) while we will take care of her and the little ones.

During this time, the puppies will continue to develop thanks to their mother's milk. Do not forget that the quality will have an impact on healthy and strong little ones. Typically, their mother feeds them every three hours or so. After that they will urinate and defecate. It is very important that you provide them with a peaceful place in which to rest.

Puppies will begin to imitate their mother in the act of drinking and will eventually want to start eating alone. Helping a dog to take care of her puppies also involves helping the little ones to get started on solid food. You can get cans of wet puppy food and smear a small amount on their snouts. By instinct, dogs will start to eat. Follow this ritual 2-3 times a day to help them. The transition from milk to solid food usually occurs around 7 weeks of age and by 8 they should be eating by themselves.

Throughout this process you should go to the vet if you observe any anomaly or problem related to the mother and the puppies. Providing a stable and healthy environment is the best way for both of you to develop well..

Do not forget that between a month and a half and two months the puppy should receive its first vaccinations thus starting it in its routine vaccination schedule. This is essential because it is a very vulnerable animal to suffer from any disease due to its young age.

Our relationship with the mother

Below we will explain in a general way what you should expect from the mother during this unique stage. It is important that our relationship with her is as positive as possible, for the good of the puppies:

  • Neonatal Period (puppies from 0 to 15 days old): during this stage the mother will be very aware of the little ones. We will observe that it barely vocalizes, since the puppies cannot hear it. We can approach the mother only if she wishes. It may happen that she is overprotective and even aggressive, the most important thing is not to disturb her and leave her privacy as much as possible.
  • Transition period (puppies from 15 to 20 days old): the little ones will start to show active and the mother will spend a lot of time cleaning, feeding and giving them warmth. Probably the parent will begin to show more tolerant.
  • Period of socialization (puppies from 21 days to 4 months): this stage is essential for the dog as it learns to recognize its own species. The little ones will begin to gain mobility and the mother will teach them positive habits, canine language, will look for disoriented puppies, etc. She will also be much more responsive to us. From 7-8 weeks the mother will begin to reject them progressively, the optimal moment for the possible adoption of the little ones..

Our relationship with the mother should be affectionate to the extent that she allows it. We will also avoid exciting, overstimulating or manipulating the puppies excessively, as well as yelling or disturbing their rest..

When should we separate the puppies from the mother?

It is very important to know the optimal moment of separation of puppies and the mother, as it can greatly influence the behavior of dogs in their adult stage.

As we have explained, from 21 days to 12 weeks, approximately, the puppy is in its socialization period. At this stage it is essential that the puppy can interact with other dogs, people, animals, environments, sounds ... It is also an essential stage for him to learn canine language, his mother's hygienic habits, play behaviors or to control his bite, for example.

Although the overstimulation, It is important that you know everything that you are going to find in your adult stage to avoid developing fears or other behavioral problems.

If we separate a puppy from its mother and siblings too soon, it is very likely that in the future don't know how to relate with other dogs or being afraid of them. The same will happen if we never teach you what a car is. In his adult stage, when we teach him to walk, he will feel frightened and frightened.

If, on the other hand, we offer our puppy positive encounters, it is very likely that when he is older he will not have any problem. We should not be afraid of letting our dog interact with others, even if they are larger, as long as we know that they are good and well socialized dogs..

The optimal adoption time is in the 2 months of life, at which time the puppy has already been weaned. Even so, if we give it up for adoption, it will be important to explain to the owners that they should continue to socialize it as soon as it has its vaccinations so that it does not become afraid. The ideal adoption time is on the 3 or 4 months of life, since the puppy will be fully weaned, perfectly socialized and will have appropriate behavioral habits.

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