After puppies are born, during the first hours, they depend on colostrum, which is the source for immunoglobulin and protects them from infections. They find their way to the teat, but if it does not happen, we need to take their mouth to it. We also need to check if teats are getting teared or getting infection.
Colostrum: It is the viscous yellow liquid secreted by the teats at the time of birth. Its laxative properties deal with elimination of the meconium that is in the digestive tube of newborn puppies. Also, it is rich in vitamins and easy to digest by the puppies. It helps the newborns to fight against diseases.
Female’s Milk: Dog’s milk is high in lipids and fulfills the needs of puppy’s necessities. It does offer the proteins fundamental to the growth of it.
Dog needs more food to produce enough milk for her puppies. Milk production necessitates her to have 6 times more protein content in her food than normal. Breastfeeding lasts for 3 to 5 weeks after birth and decreases at weaning at 7 weeks. From third to fifth week, we should take care of her by giving:
- 3x more phosphorous, calcium and minerals
- 3x more energy
- 6x more proteins
We should look for readymade food in supermarts or dog food stores marked for dogs that have delivered puppies. If we go in a traditional way, we should add calcium and balance the proteins well by adding the recommended ingredients as per vets.
Female’s behavior during breastfeeding
During the first few days, the female will not leave her nest or her litter. She will only leave to feed herself and to go to bathroom. She will adopt herself to a position that will allow the puppies to feed easily. The puppies look for the teat and find it after a while.
Licking: The female licks her puppy instinctively and it helps the babies to be clean and out of harms way. It likes the puppy’s genital areas to get rid of waste. Mother signals them for breastfeeding by licking and licks its teats to keep clean and to puppies find their way towards them. It will be rigorous till the 4th or 5th day. Puppies start urination between their 20th or 40th day and defecation starts after 30 days of it.
In the orphaned puppies, owner need to feed them with a bottle. They should keep a warm cotton piece of cloth around the anal region to provoke urination.
Lack of Milk: In this situation, feeding needs to be done through another dog or artificially. Puppies should be breastfed with a female dog that is in lactation and feeding her own puppies. Rejection of puppies by the other female dog is also a problem in this situation.