Care Of The Newborn


submitted with permission by Marj Brooks
with thanks to Kevin & Donna Frizzell of DeSaix St. Bernards for generously allowing us to use many of their superb array of articles

GROWTH & DEVELOPMENT TIMELINE

Week One (Days 1-7)
 


DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES

  • 90% of time spent sleeping
  • 10% eating
  • Susceptible to heat/cold
  • Instinctive reflexes: crawl, seek warmth, nurse
  • They can right themselves if placed upside down
  • Needs stimulation for urination/defecation
  • Rapid development of central nervous system
  • Need constant care from bitch
  • Rectal temperatures 94-97°
  • Pups may lose 10% of weight after birth, but should start gaining again
  • Weight should double by end of week

CARE OF THE PUPPIES

  • Examine puppies daily
  • Trim nails weekly
  • Keep whelping box around 85° if it’s hotter than that, put a fan in the room or turn on the air conditioning, if it’s colder than that get a heat lamp to put above the whelping box)
  • When you handle the puppies, it’s a good idea use a towel when you hold them.
  • The puppies urinate upon stimulation and will inevitably find your attention stimulating!
  • If your breed requires tail, ear, or dew claw docking, schedule this with your vet.

CARE OF THE BITCH

  • Keep dam on fluids for first 24 hours (i.e.. chicken broth, etc.)
  • Feed three full meals a day after that
  • Supplement with 250 mg Vitamin C twice daily
  • If puppies are fussy, supplement bitch with Vitamin B complex
  • Check mammary glands twice daily (looking for signs of mastitis — swelling, hardness, pus, etc.)
  • Keep an eye on vaginal discharge (looking for signs of infection)
  • Make sure bitch eats, drinks, and relieves herself

TO DO LIST

  • Keep detailed records on puppies’ weight and behavior
  • Keep charting bitch’s temperature
  • Call puppy buyers with results of whelping
Week Two (Days 8-14)
 


DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES

  • Eyes should open around days 8-10
  • Ears should open around days 13-17
  • Temperatures should be around 97-99°

CARE OF THE PUPPIES

  • Keep whelping box around 80°
  • Begin holding puppies in different ways (applying light stress)
  • Trim nails weekly

CARE OF THE BITCH

  • Bitch should get three times her normal amount of food

TO DO LIST

  • Continue as above
Week Three (Days 15-21)
 


DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES

  • Teeth begin to erupt
  • Puppies stand up and start walking
  • Begin to lap liquids
  • Defecate/urinate without stimulation
  • Start becoming aware of environment
  • Start playing with littermates
  • Develop sense of smell
  • Puppies will start to discriminate as to where to relieve themselves

CARE OF THE PUPPIES

  • Start giving specific stresses when handling (i.e.. pinch an ear or toe gently)
  • Weigh puppies every 2 days
  • Give puppies a dirty shirt of yours to play with
  • Start weekly grooming sessions (brush, trim nails, look at teeth, etc.)

CARE OF THE BITCH

  • Continue as above

TO DO LIST

  • Purchase milk replacer to feed puppies
Week Four (Days 22-28)

 

DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES

  • Begin to eat food
  • Begin to bark, wag tails, bite, paw, bare teeth, growl and chase
  • Uses legs well
  • Tires easily
  • Depth perception starts

CARE OF THE PUPPIES

  • Keep mom with them a lot! Things can get overwhelming at this age and Mom will add stability for them
  • Each pup needs individual attention
  • Offer food that is the consistency of cooked oatmeal

CARE OF THE BITCH

  • Continue as above

TO DO LIST

  • Start limiting bitch’s access to pups before offering them food
Week Five (Days 29-35)
 


DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES

  • Group activities and sexual play will begin
  • Dominance order starts
  • Rapid growth/development

CARE OF THE PUPPIES

  • Reduce fluids in puppies’ food
  • Make sure other people start coming to see pups
  • Begin weaning
  • Play radio at normal volume near pups for 5 minutes at a time

CARE OF THE BITCH

  • Start reducing amount of food to discourage milk development
  • Keep a careful eye on mammary glands

TO DO LIST

  • Discuss vaccination schedule with veterinarian
Week Six (Days 26-42)
 


DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES

  • Growth and development continue

CARE OF THE PUPPIES

  • Offer soft, damp food
  • Chart weekly weight
  • Individual attention is crucial give each puppy time with you away from litter

CARE OF THE BITCH

  • To prepare bitch for weaning: Day 1 — no food
  • Day 2 — 1/4 normal maintenance meal
  • Day 3 — 1/2 normal maintenance meal
  • Day 4 — 3/4 normal maintenance meal
  • Day 5 — full amount of normal maintenance meal
  • Keep bitch on puppy food for several weeks to help her recover from the strain of breeding, whelping, and raising puppies
  • keep a careful eye on mammary glands

TO DO LIST

  • Continue as above
Week Seven (Days 43-49)
 


DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES

  • Total hearing/visual capacity
  • Will investigate anything
  • Can’t respond yet to name

CARE OF THE PUPPIES

  • Pups should be weaned and on regular puppy food
  • Pups can go to new homes at the end of this week

CARE OF THE BITCH

  • Keep careful eye on mammary glands until milk is completely dried up

TO DO LIST

  • Continue as above
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