How To Keep A Weak Newborn Puppy Alive

Adrienne is a certified dog trainer and former veterinarian assistant who partners with some of the best veterinarians worldwide.

Fading puppy syndrome affects puppies under the age of 12 weeks. These puppies, known as faders, basically fail to thrive and are unable to survive. According to Petplace, about 20 to 40% of all puppies do not survive past 12 weeks of age.

Newborn puppies are very vulnerable creatures. They are born blind and deaf and by instinct, thanks to their sense of smell, they will learn to feed on the mothers nipples. By feeding on the colostrum, a special fluid mother dogs produce for the first 24 to 48 hours after giving life, puppies are able to absorb some very important nutrients that will boost their immune system, allowing them to thrive and very likely resist illness until they are vaccinated against diseases. All puppies should receive this very important milk. It is most important to receive it within 12 hours after birth as this is when the pups intestinal lining is able to absorb it the best.

However, depending on one reason or another, some puppies will gradually fail to thrive. Mother dogs may help these pups for a bit, but then she will allow nature to run its course. This may seem cruel to us humans who would do what it takes at times to save vulnerable creatures, but dogs see through the eyes of survival, where raising weak pups is counterproductive.

Generally, faders will appear to be born normal, with an eagerness to suckle, but then they begin to weaken, lose weight, and become restless and vocal. This usually takes place two to ten days after birth. The pups will appear to be in discomfort, often repeatedly crying in a monotonous manner. They may stray away from the litter and rest in corners, whereas healthy puppies will sleep and crawl against one another.

Providing Emergency Care
  1. Check the pups for dehydration. Gently pull back the skin between pups’ shoulders. …
  2. Warm the pups gradually if they’re too chilled to nurse. …
  3. Give the pup a sugar or honey solution. …
  4. Feed the pup colostrum.

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  • Keep a close eye on your newborn puppies, but do it discretely so as not to upset the mother. They should be checked individually at least three times a day. Thanks! Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
  • The mother should whelp (give birth) inside a warm (not hot), clean, and draft free environment in order to give the puppies the best start in life. Thanks! Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
  • Make sure the mother dog’s health is the best it can be during her pregnancy by feeding her properly and keeping all vaccinations and de-worming up to date. Thanks! Helpful 0 Not Helpful 1
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  • Never hesitate to consult a veterinarian or an experienced breeder with questions. Newborn puppies’ health can deteriorate in a matter of a couple of hours if they are neglected. Thanks! Helpful 9 Not Helpful 2
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    Newborn Puppy Hypothermia

    Puppies arent capable of generating their own body heat and are at great risk of developing hypothermia. If you find a newborn dog cold and barely moving, they might be experiencing hypothermia. According to VCA Hospitals, hypothermia or chilling in newborn puppies can traverse to vital death rates. A newborn pup will drop far more body heat per pound of their body weight compared to a fully-grown dog.

    Baby newborn puppies rely on the rest of the litter and their mama dog to be able to keep them warm. This is the very reason why newborn pups must always stay warm. In fact newborn puppies will need a whelping box that is approximately 85 to 90 degrees fahrenheit at birth. After approximately a week, the puppies will be comfortable with a gradual decrease to a whelping box around 80 degrees. Around one month, you can gradually decrease again to 72 degrees (room temperature).

    You can put on some heating pads in the whelping box, far enough so that it wont be messed around (and burn any newborn pup) and near enough to keep everyone inside warm and comfy. VCA Hospitals further states that a newborn puppy is not able to regulate their own body temperature and depends upon heat from their mothers body to aid in maintaining their body temperature. In the absence or loss of the mother, different means of providing external heat, such as heat lamps, incubators, or warm water bottles may be utilized. Be very careful not to overheat puppies and that heating sources are used safely to prevent fires or burns.

    Use Pet Parents® Washable Dog Diapers for mama dog and put on Pet Parents® Pawtect® Pads as a whelping box bedding. These are washable dog pee pads that can act as the perfect whelping box lining to absorb moisture and provide extra padding. In this case, your female dog and her litter will have lesser chances of spoiling the bedding and lesser chances of them getting wet and dirty. You can also lay down a Pawtect® Blanket in the whelping box for extra comfort and warmth. These blankets are waterproof and easily machine washable so that your mama dog and puppies can stay dry, warm, and cozy.

    Nursing Difficulties for Baby Newborn Puppies

    For the first few months of life, puppies will considerably depend on mama dogs milk for necessary nutrients and vitamins for them to grow healthy and strong.

    According to Pets WebMD, the normal birth weight for puppies depends greatly on what the breed of the pups is. Throughout the first few weeks of life, a healthy pup’s body weight will increase to up to two to three times. Newborn pups who don’t gain sufficient weight or lose significant weight during these specific weeks have lesser chances of survival.


    Can a weak puppy survive?

    Warm the weak, newborn puppy.
    1. Warming can be accomplished by using a hot water bottle filled with very warm water, ‘not’ boiling water, placed in the bottom of a small cardboard box or shoe box and covering it with a towel. …
    2. Alternatively, you can place the puppy on your chest under your clothing until it warms up.

    How can I help my runt puppy survive?

    Fading puppy syndrome is a condition that causes puppies to die suddenly and unexpectedly. Puppies who die of this syndrome are healthy and normal at birth but fade and die within one to three weeks. Since puppies are otherwise healthy when they die of fading puppy syndrome, there is no exact cause of death.

    What do you feed a weak puppy?

    Six or eight meals, equally spaced over 24 hours, are sufficient for most puppies; small or weak puppies may need more feedings. You can give your orphans complete nutrition by buying a commercial puppy milk replacer (such as Esbilac), which can be purchased through your veterinarian or a pet supply store.