How do I take care of newborn puppies?

My dog had her first litter of 7 puppies yesterday. I don’t have any experience with this. The puppies are in a big dog house with their mom. I changed the blanket because it was bloody from the birth. While doing this, the mom got very upset. I found 2 puppies under the blanket that had died. I’m not sure if they were born dead or if the mom accidentally hurt them. She started crying and panicking, and took the dead puppies to the live ones. It was hard to watch as she got very agitated, circling and stepping on the other puppies while crying.

I quickly put a new blanket in and put all the puppies back, including the dead ones, to calm the mom down. They seem under control now, but the dead puppies are still in there, and I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to disturb them more. They’re in my basement/garage, where I’ve put several heavy blankets around their house and lighter blankets inside. What should I do? She isn’t aggressive or barking at me when I get near.

2 Likes

Unfortunately, some puppies may not make it after delivery. Even if your dog is carrying deceased puppies, it is acceptable to leave her with them for the time being. However, to keep the healthy puppies safe, remove the deceased puppies gently when mum is not looking. Wrap them in a plastic bag and bury them far from your home. Make sure the dog bed has clean blankets and a heating pad on low with a towel on top, so Mom may choose between warm and cool areas. Because it is their first litter, both mom and the puppies should see a veterinarian within the next day or two. The veterinarian can ensure that everyone is healthy.
Don’t forget to give mom enough of water and high-quality puppy chow to keep her healthy while nursing.

Bring them all inside and provide the mother with a roomy, warm space with food and water where she feels safe. Use thick, soft blankets for bedding. While whelping boxes typically have a rim to prevent the mother from accidentally lying on the puppies, in this crisis, you may not have time to find the proper equipment. Avoid using a typical ‘doghouse’ with walls as it is too cramped and inappropriate.

Allow the mother to grieve and separate from the two deceased puppies. Lactating mothers need a lot more food, and it should be high-quality. Consult your vet for guidance. Also, contact your local shelter for help and advice. They can assist in placing the puppies, as shelters and rescues screen potential adopters to ensure the puppies get good homes.

Finally, book your dog’s spay appointment for 10 weeks from now.

Having recently faced a similar situation with my dog’s first litter, I understand how overwhelming it can be. When my dog gave birth, I noticed she became very protective and agitated whenever I tried to intervene. From my experience, it’s important to handle the situation gently to avoid further distress. First, I waited until my dog was calm and comfortable before attempting to remove the deceased puppies. Using a soft, calm voice and gentle movements, I carefully took the dead puppies away, ensuring she saw what I was doing. I replaced the blanket quickly and made sure the area was warm and clean. This approach helped my dog remain calm and allowed her to focus on caring for the living puppies. It’s essential to monitor the puppies and the mother closely, providing a quiet and secure environment, and seeking advice from a vet if you’re unsure about any part of the process.

Being newborn puppies means they are still nursing. I therefore advice purchasing puppy formula to complement their mom’s breast milk.