Caring for Moms and New Puppies

Kelly Roper
Puppies

Our visitors often have questions about caring for moms and new puppies. Share a few right here.

Caring for Moms and New Puppies

Question: How Soon Can I Bathe Mom and Pups?

Hi,I just need to know when you can bathe your dog after she has had pups. I would also like to know when you can bathe the puppies?

Thanks~~ Wendy

Expert Reply

Hi Wendy,

It's usually better to wait a few days after the birth to allow time for your bitch to dilate back to normal. This decreases the chance for infection. If she is really messy, you can put her in the tub and rinse her off, but be very careful around her vulva.

As for the pups, it's better if you let mom take care of them for the time being. She will bathe them herself, and this also stimulates them to potty, something they can't do for themselves the first few weeks. Personally, I have never bathed a pup before two weeks old, and then only if it was absolutely necessary.

When bathing, I only use warm water and no soap, and I make sure the pup is well dried with a towel before I put it back in with mom. Mom is usually a bit worried about the missing pup during all this, so it's important to take care of things as quickly as possible.

Under normal conditions, you can safely give the pups their first full baths around four weeks old. Just make sure that they don't get chilled afterward.

Thanks for your questions, and good luck with the litter!

~~ Kelly

Canine Herpes Transmission

Hello,

I'm here to ask just a brief question. I read that when a dog whelps, other dogs shouldn't be around the puppies because they might pass the herpes virus to them. Is it possible for the pups to get Herpes from their own father?

Thanks for your response~~ Keely

Expert Reply

Hi Keely,

The herpes virus is passed through bodily secretions, and most pups become infected by their own mother, either in utero or when passing through the birth canal. It is far harder for a sire to pass herpes because the virus doesn't live long in the environment. Puppies are really only in danger from the herpes virus during the first two weeks of life. After that, their immune systems are capable of producing a fever that kills the virus. It's believed that many cases of stillborn pups and fading puppy syndrome can attributed to this very common virus.

Herpes transmission isn't the only reason to keep newborn pups isolated from all other dogs during the early weeks. While pups receive some immunities from their mother's milk, there's no point in exposing them unnecessarily. Injury is perhaps an even greater reason for isolation. No matter how nice a dog is, one misstep can cause an internal injury, so it's better to let mom relax alone with her pups to keep things calm and peaceful. The sire can be introduced to the pups once they are up and running around on their own.

Thank you for a very interesting question~~ Kelly

Puppy Sold Too Soon

I just got a five-week old Pug. Do you think she was too young to come home? I was told she now eats solid foods, but to moisten it with water. However, she hasn't eaten or drank anything since she came home yesturday. She is doing her business perfectly fine though. When should I start training her to go outside?

~~ Angel

Expert Reply

Hi Angel,

Unfortunately, it sounds like your puppy's breeder was in a rush to cash in. A five-week-old puppy still belongs with its mother, and is usually still nursing a bit as it is being introduced to solid foods.

At five weeks, your puppy is still also just a week shy of being old enough to receive her first shot. Since she is no longer receiving immunties from her mother's milk, you'll have to be very careful about exposing her to other dogs or places where they have been. All things said, your breeder has done you and your puppy a great diservice.

Here are some care tips to help see you through this delicate period. You will basically care for her as you would an orphaned pup.

  • First off, continue to soak her food very well so it is nice and soft when you offer it. You may need to get her to lick it off of your fingertips so she understands it is food. You might also tempt her with some canned puppy food.
  • You can also entice her to drink water by bringing her to the bowl and splashing the water a little with your fingertips to catch her interest. Encourage her to lick the water from your fingers. Once she does this, she will be more likely to try some from the bowl. Repeat this as often as necessary until she begins drinking on her own.
  • Make sure your puppy has a warm place to sleep at night. If you need to take her into the bedroom with you, go ahead and do it. She would normally still have her mother's comfort at this age.
  • Call your vet to make an appointment for your puppy's first vaccination, and continue to keep her isolated at home until after she has received her second booster.
  • For now, I would only try training her to use a puppy pad, rather than take her outside. She's simply too tiny, and has no immunities of her own. You can begin taking her outside to potty after she has that first booster and is about eight weeks old.

Caring for a puppy this young is a bit more difficult, but not impossible to handle. The extra care you're going to provide now will actually help cement an even stronger bond between the two of you.

Thank you for your questions, and don't hesitate to come back if you need more help.

~~ Kelly

Caring for Moms and New Puppies