Caring for newborn pups and kittens may be time-consuming and challenging at times. It’s wonderful to see them grow from vulnerable newborns to more independent, healthier creatures.
Keeping Infant Puppies Warm
Puppies and kittens cannot control their body temperatures until around three weeks old. Chilling is incredibly dangerous. If mom is not present to keep them warm, they will need a steady artificial heat source (heated pad).
Keep the animal(s) indoors in a draft-free environment. They are vulnerable to severe temperatures, flea/tick/fire ant infestations, and other creatures that might damage them if left outdoors. Use an animal transport carrier as their bed. Towels should be used to line the interior of the kennel.
Place a heating pad underneath part of the kennel (not inside the kennel). Set the heating pad to medium heat. After 10 minutes, half of the towels should be pleasantly warm, not hot or cold. This permits the animal to relocate to a more comfortable location. To prevent drafts during the first two weeks of life, drape another towel over the top of the kennel.
A heating pad is no longer required after four weeks of age unless the environment is cold or drafty. If the animal does not have any littermates, keep a plush animal and a ticking clock in the kennel if you do not have them in a boarding for cats or dogs facility..
Keeping Baby Puppies Clean
Mom dogs and cats keep their litters warm, nourished, and tidy. As they clean, the infant is stimulated to urinate/defecate. Neonates under the age of two to three weeks do not normally excrete independently. (Some do, but this is insufficient to avoid stasis, which may lead to infection.)
Wet a cotton ball or a Kleenex with warm water to assist your infant. Before and after feedings, gently touch the genital/anal region. If the animal does not go now, try again in an hour. To avoid cooling, keep your mattress clean and dry at all times. We suggest a tear-free baby or puppy shampoo if the animal must be washed.
Bathe in warm water, pat dry with a towel, then finish with a low-heat electric hair dryer. Before returning the animal to the kennel, make sure it is thoroughly dry. Bathe as previously instructed if fleas are present. Neonates should not be exposed to flea or tick shampoo. Consult your reliable animal hospital if fleas are still present. If untreated, flea-caused anemia may be lethal.
Feeding Baby Puppies
Bottle-feeding is required until the animal is four to five weeks old. There are formulae specifically designed for puppies and kittens. Human milk and formulae designed for human newborns are not appropriate for baby animals. For puppies, we propose Esbilac, and for kittens, we recommend KMR. Visit a dental surgery vet to ensure that the pets oral health is at par.
Every three to four hours, baby animals should be fed. The animal may attempt to lay its front paws on the hand holding the bottle. It may even “knead” while feeding. Most animals will remove the bottle when they are full or need to burp. Burp the beast. More formula may or may not be required. If the formula has cooled, reheat it and provide it to the animal. I like it when it is warm rather than chilly.
The animal will choke if there is too much formula being supplied. Stop feeding and clean the mouth/nose of any excess formula. Reduce the tilt of the bottle during feeding to provide less formula. Increase the tilt of the bottle if there is too much air being sucked in so that more formula may be supplied.
Teeth begin to sprout when the animal is around four weeks old. It is normally ready to start ingesting solid food after it has teeth and drinks a whole bottle at each meal or biting on the nipple rather than sucking.