By Courtney Emken
co-written by Jen Larson, KPA-CTP, Bart Emken, CPDT-KA, & Amanda Ott
DogBoy’s clients know that unless you are a reputable breeder, your dog shouldn’t be having puppies. Instead, they should be spayed or neutered. There are too many dogs dying in shelters and on the streets across the country, and we should take care of those dogs before adding more to the mix.
However, you may have adopted a dog who was already pregnant, or know someone who didn’t spay/neuter their dog before they had puppies. So here’s our guide for taking care of new puppies, ensuring the safety of their mother, and finding the pups loving homes.
The Immediate Health And Care Needs Of Your New Puppies
First things first: get mom and her puppies to the vet asap. The vet can give them checkups to ensure nothing went wrong during the pregnancy and give the puppies health examinations. The vet can also provide you a timetable for necessary vaccinations, like:
You’ll also have to spay/neuter your puppies around 5-9 months of age, but make sure you consult your vet before getting the procedure done. Female dogs may have health issues like urinary incontinence arise later in life if spayed too early.
If the puppies are being breastfed, make sure their mother is eating a high-quality diet. Don’t feed those borderline toxic name brand foods, they can cause serious health problems for both mom and puppy. Afterwards, you’ll want to feed your puppy a formula balanced for their needs.
Once you take home your puppies from the vet, you need to start their socialization. You can begin socializing your puppies at home when they’re just a few days old. The first 12 weeks is critical in determining how social they will be long term. However, waiting for their shots before exposing them to other dogs is highly recommended. In the meantime, you can get your puppy accustomed to:
- Different kinds of people (bring friends & family)
- A wide range of objects, rooms, and settings
- All kinds of noises, sounds, and even music
After many weeks of close care, attention, and socialization you’ll have a handful of comfortable and healthy little puppies. Don’t forget to bring them in for training when they’re old enough.
While raising your puppies, it’s important to be mindful about their living environment. You need to manage their space – ensuring the puppies can’t get into anything harmful or unwanted. We recommend blocking off an area without carpet (for easy cleanups) that you can keep them contained inside. Some examples could be:
- A kitchen with a baby gate
- A blocked off laundry room
- A special puppy playpen
Just make sure they can’t get loose by crawling under or around the walls/gates. Puppies are notorious for their daring escapes!
Taking Care Of Mom, And Finding Homes For The Puppies
It can be easy to forget about mama dog with all the commotion surrounding the puppies. Watch mom’s emotions and be sure to take her needs into consideration as well. Some moms don’t want to be around their puppies 24/7, and some dogs don’t take to motherhood well.
When a mom is under too much stress she may lash out at the puppies. Keep close track of the mom’s anxiety level and know when she’s reached her limit. Quickly separate her, and make sure you show everyone some love to help relax them.
While you should begin searching for homes pronto, don’t give the puppies up too early. One of the biggest problems we encounter is dogs who were taken from their mothers too soon. They tend to develop behavioral problems as they grow older due to missed socialization.
It’s recommended to leave the puppies in the care of their mother for at least eight weeks, if not more. The first twelve weeks of a puppy’s life are jam-packed with socialization. Without their mom to guide them, puppies can easily become lost. Many of these dogs end up in shelters.
Be careful about advertising that you have free puppies when giving them away. Online ads and craigslist posts can attract unsavory individuals who are looking to exploit or abuse animals. Make sure that the adoptees will make good owners before giving them your puppies.
After Your Dog Has Puppies: Please Spay Her
it is of the utmost importance that you spay your dog as soon as possible. There’s no shortage of puppies. Owners need to do the right thing and ensure that their pets aren’t adding to the problem.
If you have any questions about puppy care, or want more information on puppy training, please contact us today. We want to see those cute puppies join us for pup academy and doggy daycare as soon as possible!
Bichon Pups by optictopic
Fenced Puppies by Bradley Davis
Playing Pups by Cortney Martin