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Newborn Puppy & Kitten Care: The First 72 Hours

Witnessing the birth of a healthy puppy or kitten is a remarkable experience. While the natural birthing process is largely beyond our control, there are several ways to support and ensure the health and safety of the newborns. Knowing what is normal and how to intervene when necessary can make all the difference in their early days. Newborn Puppy care

Helping Newborn Puppy care After Birth

The birthing process, known as whelping for dogs or queening for cats, is quite challenging for newborns. They transition from a warm, secure environment into a world filled with new experiences. They have never breathed air before and lack a gag reflex, making them prone to aspiration. Your main goal is to ensure they start breathing properly without aspirating fluids. Newborn Puppy care

To aid in a smooth birthing process, consider giving the mother a calcium supplement when labor starts. This supports normal, effective contractions and can help with the delivery process.

Keeping Newborns Warm

Newborns can easily become chilled while the mother is delivering the next baby. They are born at the mother's body temperature of about 101.5º F. Ensure the whelping box is kept warm, with temperatures between 86° to 90°F during the first week. If a newborn becomes chilled, always warm them up before feeding.

Importance of Colostrum for Newborn Puppy care

The first milk, or colostrum, is crucial because it is rich in antibodies from the mother. Newborns can absorb these antibodies effectively during the first 12 to 24 hours, providing essential nutrition and disease protection. If a newborn does not receive colostrum from the mother, consider using a colostrum replacer. Administer this daily for the first three weeks to help protect the runt of the litter and those that didn’t get enough colostrum.

Using Probiotics in Newborn Puppy care

Newborns are born with sterile guts and need bacteria for proper digestion. The mother typically seeds the newborns with good bacteria by cleaning them, but this can also introduce harmful bacteria. Giving a probiotic gel proactively on the second and third day after birth helps establish healthy gut bacteria needed for digestion and immune support.

Caring for the Umbilical Cord in Newborn Puppy care

To prevent infections from entering through the umbilical cord, use an umbilical cord clamp and treat the area with a disinfectant such as iodine or chlorhexidine. This helps prevent septicemia, a serious condition caused by bacteria entering the bloodstream through the umbilical cord.

Safe Disinfectants

Be cautious with the cleaning products used around newborns. Chemical residues from strong cleaners can be harmful to puppies and kittens. Avoid products containing pine oils, phenols, chlorine bleach, or quaternary ammonium compounds near the whelping area. Use mild cleaners with little to no odor and ensure all residues are removed before allowing the newborns to come into contact with the cleaned surfaces.

Ensuring Healthy Mothers and Newborns

The health of the mother is critical to the health of the newborns. Providing her with proper nutrition and supplements during pregnancy and lactation ensures that the puppies and kittens are born healthy and strong. Monitor the mother's health closely and provide any necessary medical care promptly.

By taking these steps, you can help ensure the health and well-being of newborn puppies and kittens during their first critical days. If you need assistance or have questions, feel free to reach out to us at

Newborn Puppy Care
Newborn Puppy Care


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