- Healthy puppies should nurse about every two hours, according to PetEducation.com. A puppy that is nursing successfully will have a round stomach and will sleep for two hours. A puppy that is not nursing successfully will cry and move around a lot. The stomach may appear round and full, but it could just be air. You will know that the puppy is not getting enough to eat if it lies still when awake, but is not crying anymore. If the puppy is not gaining any weight, take it to your veterinarian, because this is often a sign that it is sick, according to PetEducation.com.
- When the puppies reach three weeks, they can try eating and drinking out of the bowl like their mother does. Leave a shallow dish of water with them at this time. In a few days, start giving the puppy some mush. Mix 2 cups of quality dry puppy food with 12.5 oz. of puppy milk replacer in a blender. Fill the blender up with hot water. Blend until it looks like cereal. This will feed six to eight medium size pups, according to PetEducation.com. Feed the puppies the mush three to four times a day. Keep making puppy mush until the puppies are 7 weeks old. Each week, make the mush more like puppy food by decreasing the milk replacer and blending the concoction less. By the seventh week, the puppies should be weaned from the mother and be able to eat puppy food and drink water.
- Because puppies are growing, they need twice the energy an adult dog needs. Feed your puppy food with 25 to 30 percent protein from the time it is 7 weeks to the time it reaches maturity, which is 9 to 12 months depending on the breed, according to the ASPCA. Don't overfeed your puppy in the hopes of accelerating its growth. This can lead to bone growth problems, especially in large and giant breed puppies. Feed the recommended amount on the dog food bag or go by what your vet tells you, based on the size of your dog.
Newborn Puppy Care
- While the puppies are still nursing, clean out the whelping area at least once a day. Also, check the stool. It should be brown and firm. If it isn't, call the vet. Keep newborn puppies in an environment that is around 85 degrees F and use a heat lamp if needed. After the third day, the temperature can be as low as 70 degrees F. Observe the puppies to see if the temperature is too hot or too cold. If they are piled on top of each other, it is probably too cold. If they are not touching each other, they may be too hot. They can regulate their own heat after four weeks.
- Puppies can get their parvo vaccine at 6 to 7 weeks old. Your veterinarian should check the puppies at this time for heart murmurs, hernias, mange and eye disorders. Ask the vet about other vaccinations, such as distemper, parainfuenza and rabies at this time.
- When you get the puppies back home, don't try to keep the house quiet for their benefit. Let them get used to the way you live. Go ahead and pick up and play with the puppies during this time. Not only will it be fun for you and the puppies, it will help get them socialized. Because your puppy will chew, make sure you don't leave it in areas where it can do damage to your furniture or to itself. Puppies can hurt themselves if they chew an electrical wire, for example. Around 14 weeks of age, you can teach your puppy what it can and cannot chew using a simple, "no," followed by a treat when it stops. Punishing a dog well after the fact never works. The puppy simply won't understand. You may want to try crate training or fencing off part of the house.
- Begin training your puppy as early as 8 weeks. You can teach it not to bite and jump on people by telling it "no." Never yell at the puppy, but give it lots of praise when it listens. You should be dominant over your dog, but never mean or cruel. Housetraining involves two basic rules, according to K9web.com. Puppies have to go to the bathroom right after they wake up and right after they eat. Until they are housebroken, confine your puppy to a crate to prevent accidents.