Puppy Gasping For Air After Birth

If you noticed a newborn pup gasping for air or struggling to breathe, use a suction bulb (breeders should have one on hand) to gently clear their noses and airways. Your newborn puppy struggling to breathe will be able to bring air into their lungs. Stimulate them vigorously by rubbing them with your hands.

There have been times when I have come into the kennel in the morning and found a pup moved off to the side of the litter. Its cold, flattened out, and almost gasping for breath. This is a pup that is very close to dying. The first thing I try to do is warm the pup up. I do this by filling the sink with warm water and immersing the pup up to its neck in the water. I hold it in my hands until I feel that it is getting warm. This has worked for me in the past, but when a pup is that far gone, it usually is going to die.

I cannot stress enough how bad the milk replacer is that vets sell. Its not just bad, its horrible. Any Vets that sell this crap lack experience in whelping and saving puppies. I just shake my head when I get emails from breeders who have pups that have dead pups because of it. They lose pups and then go on the internet and search on bottle-feeding and come to my article on how to make a bottle-feeding formula.

One final point on this issue is that there is always the possibility that after days of treatment (which includes getting up a couple of times per night), the pup lives but ends up having some type of abnormality that forces you as a responsible breeder to make the difficult decision about its future. I have had this happen twice.

Bringing a puppy back from the edge is a great feeling. Unfortunately, a great deal of work sometimes does not work and the pup dies. Its hard to lose one of these little guys after days of close contact. We often think that the pup was just a little weak and needed our help to jump-start it, but this is not always the case. When a pup dies, I look at it like there was something seriously wrong that I didnt know about. When pups start to fail, you never know if there is an internal abnormality or an unknown injury that has caused it to fail. I have learned to look at it as “I did my best but it was not in the cards for the pup to make it. Luck was not on its side.” Thats the hard part about being a dog breeder.

Here at my kennel, if a pup is born small (around 300 grams) we automatically start a weight gain chart. The puppy is weighed at least once a day and if there is any question about its energy and sucking ability, it will be weighed twice a day. I begin a weight chart before I even begin to treat a pup.

What can you do for Fading Puppy Syndrome?

There is no reported treatment for fading puppy syndrome. Early supplementary feeding of suspected fading puppies may improve survival. If you suspect a fading puppy, it is best to seek veterinary attention for the puppy.

It is responsible for about 50% of deaths of new-born puppies. Around 30% of pedigree puppies die in their first few weeks of life, with only about half of them dying due to identifiable causes.

Breathing Problems of Newborn Puppies

During life in moms belly, fetal respiration in developing puppies takes place courtesy of blood-gas exchanges with the placenta.

The lungs are not yet in use and there is very little blood flow to them. The day when puppies are born though, the blood/gas exchange from the placenta is suddenly interrupted once the umbilical cord is separated. This interruption leads to a temporary deficiency of oxygen known as hypoxia.

Fortunately, a reflex contraction of the chest muscles jumpstarts these pups breathing, drawing air into the lungs. Soon, the puppies are moving and loudly crying.

Not always though things go as planned. Some newborn puppies may struggle to breathe or they may breathe normally at first but develop breathing problems later on.

Signs suggestive of trouble breathing in newborn puppies include the puppys chest and belly expanding more than normal, open mouth breathing or breathing with the neck and head stretched out. Other signs of trouble are noisy, rattling, or raspy breathing, gasping for air and an abnormal breathing rate compared to the other puppies. If your the puppy is not responsive, getting cold and the gums have assumed a pale or blue tint, these are signs of an emergency.


What are the signs of fading puppy syndrome?

What are aspiration pneumonia signs in pets?
  1. Coughing.
  2. Nasal discharge.
  3. Tiring easily.
  4. Labored breathing.
  5. Fever.
  6. Increased heart rate.
  7. Blue-tinged mucous membranes.

How do I know if my puppy has milk in his lungs?

Fading Puppy Syndrome Signs & Symptoms
  • Low birth weight or no weight gain.
  • Decreased activity.
  • Neglect from the mother.
  • Stomach pain indicated by paddling movements.
  • Diarrhea or soft stools.
  • Vomiting.
  • Continuous crying.
  • Trouble breathing.