Raising Puppies From Birth to Weaning

After Whelping
From the moment the puppies are born it is very important that mom smells her babies right away. The connection is in the smell of the amniotic fluid. Mom's that do not form this connection can sometimes reject their puppies. Allow mom to smell and lick her puppy before you dry them off. Allow her to eat the placenta. This is perfectly natural for her to do this and there is much nutrition in the placenta's. Dry the puppy off well and put the puppy up close to mom to nurse (unless the puppy is struggling you will need instruction from your vet or an experienced breeder on what to do). It is important to keep a close eye on mom for the next 24 hours. Making sure that she is attending to the puppies and not laying on them. For the first 2 weeks you must watch for mom laying on a puppy (I have a video camera set up). Having a bar around the bottom of your whelping pen is a great way to help prevent this. It is not full proof but it helps. Mom will continue nursing frequently for the first couple of week and may not want to leave her puppies. You must take her out to use the bathroom every 4-6 hours minimum. This is more difficult in first couple if you have had a c-section. Mom will be very resistant because of the drugs she will be taking and why I always at least try to free whelp.

Birth to 1 Week Old
Puppies are still nursing frequently. They need to be kept warm and dry. I keep my whelping pen at 70 degrees. It keeps the puppies warm enough and doesn't over heat mom. The puppies eyes are closed and they can not see or hear at this point. They are also toothless. Nursing and sleeping are their primary job. Mom will lick the puppies to stimulate urination and defecation. If mom does not lick them you must stimulate them (a warm wet wash cloth or cotton ball works well). Jerking and twitching motions are normal as their nervous systems are still developing

1-2 Weeks Old  
Puppies are still eating and sleeping often but a little less and they are starting to move around more. At this point make sure that they are well contained and they can not access mom's water bowel. They could get in but may never get out alive.They are starting to open their eyes but still can not hear at this point. They make grunting and mewing noises. Jerking and twitching motions start to decrease as they become more mobile. It is essential to keep the puppies clean and dry at all times. Frequent changes to bedding is a must. I use fleece remnants from local fabric stores. This makes for a cheap way to keep puppies clean and dry. I wash blankets 2-3 times per day until weaning. Make sure you trim puppies nails.

2-3 Weeks Old
Eyes are now fully opened and puppies are begining to hear sounds and make noises in response to these sounds. They test their vocalizations yelping, barking and whining. Puppies are nursing around every 4-6 hours at this point and mom is feeling more comfortable leaving them for longer periods. Puppies are now urinating and defecating without mom's assistance. Now it the time to do their first worming treatment. Puppies should have at least doubled in weight by now. Make sure you trim puppies nails.

3-4 Weeks Old
Puppies are still nursing about every 4-8 hours. They are also beginning to play with their siblings. They move out of their sleeping area to eliminate and now is a good time to expand the whelping pen. I take the front off of my pen and have another enclosed area for the puppies to urinate and defecate in. I mark it with the scent of fresh green grass. This helps them when potty training. They are also becoming ready for puppy mush. I use a raw beef mixture with Pro-Biolac formula to get them started. You can use kibble if you wish. I find raw feeding very beneficial in preventing disease. Make sure you trim puppies nails.

4-5 Weeks Old
Puppies are now up on all fours and mobile. They will get into everything and anything they can find. Pick up any small items that they can choke on. Now is the time to add a water bowl. Use a low profile puppy feeding bowl with no more then 1/2-1 inch of water in it. A water bottle can also be used. If so make sure they know how to use it.

5-8 Weeks Old
Puppies go through a social transition. They are curious and have no fear of other animals at this point. They are learning and exploring their environment. It us time for puppy kindergarden. Puppies are developing their muscles and coordination. They are fully aware of their environment. Strange noises and objects are a curiosity right now and it is the perfect time to expose them to everything you possibly can. Providing a great puppy companion is hard work but worth every minute. If you are using the scent method for potty training. puppies will go back to the scent marked spot every time to potty. I use a special pad and scent which can be bought from durawhelp. This makes for an easy transition to using the outside to potty. Puppies are now eating ground raw food of at least 3 different protiens along with nuvet vitamins. I use 1/4 of a tablet daily. At 6 weeks puppies are vaccinated and vet checked. At 7 weeks they are microchipped. I do not do both at once as not to stress them too much. Make sure you trim puppies nails.

8-12 weeks
At this stage puppies go through a fear period where they become shy/fearful of the unknown. At this time it is crucial to carefully socialize your puppy. This is where they learn to really trust humans as their protectors. Keeping your puppy out of harms way as well as making sure that they have plenty of opportunities for positive experiences is essential. Puppies are now being fed ground raw with some whole prey (puppies and dogs should always be supervised while eating at any age). I had a 10 week old choke on kibble once. It was a good thing I was watching or that puppy would not be alive. I no longer feed any kibble and have had much better results with raw foods. Make sure you trim puppies nails. Now is the saddest and happiest days. Time for puppies to go to their new homes. Your still not done though. You are still responsible for that puppy for his/her life. You are the "go to guy"for advice and guidance for the rest of that dogs life. 


  1. Thank you LORD .. That i found this site.. Thank you Author and writer .. =)

  2. do you have advice when you don't have the mom
    is it similar steps. i hear temp has to be 84 degs


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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. It helped me alot.
    Thank you very much.