If you've been given charge of a puppy that was removed from its mother too soon, you've got your work cut out for you. Your puppy is going to need some extra love and attention for the next few weeks. Depending on the age of the puppy, you'll be stepping in as full-time mother until it's old enough to care for itself. Here are some steps you'll need to take to care for your puppy.
Prepare a Nesting Box
Your puppy is going to need a safe place to sleep during those first few weeks. A nesting box will provide the safety and security your little one will need. Choose a box that's big enough for the puppy to turn around in. The sides should be tall enough to prevent the puppy from crawling out. Place a heating pad at one end and then place a soft towel in the box. The heating pad will help keep your puppy warm until it's able to regulate its own temperature. The puppy should spend most of its time in the nesting box for the first few weeks.
Ensure Proper Feeding
If your puppy was not weaned when it was removed from its mother, you'll need to provide bottle feedings for it. Most pet stores will carry bottles and formula for your puppy. Prepare the formula according to the instructions on the label. To feed your puppy, place the nipple in its mouth and press the bottle to release a small amount of formula. This should encourage your puppy to begin suckling.
If you're not sure how much you should give your puppy at each feeding, a good rule of thumb is to stop feeding when its belly is slightly rounded. Once your puppy has finished feeding, you'll need to burp it. Carefully place the puppy against your shoulder and pat on its back until it burps. Your puppy should sleep until it's ready for its next feeding.
Care for Elimination
If your puppy is not old enough to pass bowel movements or urine on its own, you'll need to provide assistance with that. Mothers provide this assistance by gently licking their puppy's rectum, which stimulates the body and allows for the passage of stool and urine. You can provide the same assistance by gently wiping the area with sterile cotton. By the time your puppy is about three weeks old, it will be able to pass stool and urine on its own.
If you've been given a puppy that was too young to leave its mother, be prepared to take over maternal care. The instructions provided here will help you care for your little one. Be sure to take your puppy to the veterinarian (like those at Berlin Township Animal Hospital) for a health evaluation as soon as possible.