Tips on Caring for Puppies That Have No Mothers

a littler of three, small newborn puppies resting on a cozy blanket with the owner’s hand on one of them to provide comfort.
Image Credentials: By Olesya Pogosskaya, 340213762

Bringing home a motherless puppy or litter is a noble and rewarding experience. Nourishing puppies and taking on that surrogate mother role can feel challenging if you don’t know what to do. Without a mother, these dogs rely on the love and care of people to help them survive one of the most vulnerable stages of life. Note the tips below on caring for puppies without a mother so that the puppies in your care grow into healthy adult dogs.

Keeping Puppies Warm

Puppies can’t regulate their body temperature effectively during their early weeks, so you must create a warm and comfortable environment. Depending on their age, you may be able to use heating pads and plush blankets to make a cozy nesting area.

If the puppies are newborns, it may be best to invest in a canine incubator. With this device, you can control the environment’s humidity, oxygen, and temperature. One of the best practices for using a canine incubator is to thoroughly understand how to set temperature, oxygen, and humidity levels based on the puppy’s age.

Providing Proper Nutrition

Without their mother’s milk, puppies need special nutrition tailored to their needs. Puppy formula is an excellent substitute for mother’s milk, and you can buy it in most pet stores or at your veterinarian clinic. Avoid feeding puppies cow’s milk, as it lacks the needed nutrients and could cause them to get sick.

As you mix the formula for the litter, carefully read the instructions and feed the puppies the needed amount for their age and weight. Use a bottle designed for puppies and feed them small amounts frequently, ideally every two to three hours. 

Pro Tip

To prevent infections, wash each bottle between feedings and have separate ones for each puppy to reduce the risk of transferring germs.

Maintaining a Sanitary Space

Newborn puppies are susceptible to infections, so you should clean their bedding and living area daily to remove waste and soiled materials. When tidying the puppies’ living space, protect your dogs from harsh cleaning chemicals by using products such as white vinegar instead of bleach.

Likewise, the orphaned puppies should remain in a secluded area away from other pets to avoid the risk of exposure to infections. Hold off on introducing the pups to other pets until after the young dogs receive all their vaccinations.

Contacting a Veterinarian

The final tip on caring for orphaned puppies is to schedule a vet visit as soon as possible. The veterinarian will guide you on vaccination schedules and deworming and provide invaluable advice on puppy nutrition and proper care techniques.

Taking on the responsibility of caring for motherless puppies is a big undertaking that requires dedication, patience, and attention to detail. These puppies rely on you to provide everything they need to survive and thrive. With your tender loving care, the young pups can grow into healthy, happy dogs.

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