How to Raise Puppies Without a Mother

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 How to Raise Puppies Without a Mother
Successfully raising motherless puppies requires a regular schedule of appropriate feedings, elimination, sleeping, and playing all in secure and healthy conditions. Hand raising an entire litter from birth with the same success as the mother is possible, although there is a lot to learn. However, it is vital for the future of the orphaned litter to consider the following:
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  • Bottle or Tube Feed Newborns
    Supplying adequate nutrition is always a concern with motherless puppies. If possible, ensure the puppies ingest colostrum by nursing in the first 12 hours. If it's not possible for them to nurse, they will need to be bottle fed. Bottles for puppies are easily accessible and in the absence of nursing, are the preferred method of feeding. Puppies are bottle fed on their stomachs, not on their backs as is the case with human babies. Call or make an appt with your vet immediately. Ask them how much milk your puppies need within a 24 hour period each day and how long in between the vet feels you should bottle feed. This will let you know how much milk they require for each meal. DO NOT feed the newborns too quickly or it will come out their nose or into their chest giving them pneumonia which can kill them quickly. Since this can be a slow process with each puppy, the milk can get cool or cold during feedings. Make sure you are constantly putting your finger in the milk to test the temperature and always warm it back up the moment it gets cool or cold to touch. Try not to get impatient because the puppies life is literally in your hands to remain calm, loving and patient. If you have another family member or friend that can either help you with feedings so it's like a "group activity" or rotate your schedules so you each get breaks but the puppies routine stays the same.  Yes, you will need to get up throughout the night until the puppies are old enough to safely go all night without food or are able to free feed in the night. In some situations, a newborn puppy might have troubles swallowing or is down right refusing the commercial nipple. Tube feeding might be required; either have your vet provide this service or have your vet properly train and educate you on how to tube feed.

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  • Stimulate Newborns to Potty.
    You need to manually stimulate orphaned puppies after every feeding to encourage urination and defecation. This can be done by moistening a cotton ball or soft cloth with warm water and gently rubbing the anal and genital areas. Within one to two minutes, the puppy will urinate or defecate. Observe the urine and feces for signs of ill health or indications that the puppy is not being fed enough. Do not wipe to hard or you will make the puppies private area red and raw. Cotton balls are the most gentle but if you have to use a soft cloth, use one that is not textured, most breeders like the micro-fiber cloths but again, soft cotton balls are what is preferred. But remember, rub gentle. It's best to do this right before you feed them. Out with the old, then in with the new. LOL

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  • Correct Temp of Warmth is Critical.
    Puppies cannot generate or conserve body heat. Supplying artificial heat sources, such as a heat lamp, incubator, electric heating pad, or warm water bottle, are critical to maintaining correct body temperature. It is extremely important to regulate the heat source so that the puppies do not get overheated or burned. Seriously, BE CAREFUL with the temp. You can actually kill your puppies by over heating them or chilling them. When you put your hand on the pad it shouldn't be "HOT" OR "COLD" it should almost be room temp or warm. If your puppies are crying alot, they are probably too hot or cold. If your puppies are opening their mouths as they lay there, they are too hot. If your puppies feel really warm when you pick them up, they are too hot. If your puppies aren't moving around well, they are probably too hot or too cold.

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  • Nurturing and socialization.
    If they have litter mates, puppies will excite each other to provide physical and mental stimulation. They require the nurturing to thrive. It is essential that orphaned puppies interact with members of the household between five and six weeks of age. Early socialization enables puppies to feel secure in their environment.

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Although there are problems that can occur in the early stages of an orphaned puppy’s life, with dedication, time, care, common sense, and some basic information, raising puppies without a mother can be a very positive experience. The satisfaction of having a litter of happy, healthy young puppies you helped raise will be an amazing reward.

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