The Pet Directory - Dog Articles -The Lion Dog of Peking
Raising Orphanes Puppies Article by Dr John F Newell B.V.Sc.

Article by Dr John F Newell B.V.Sc.
As published in The Pet Directory NSW & ACT 3 Edition

Orphaned puppies present a special challenge that will consume many weeks of your time if you are to be successful in rearing an orphan litter. You must assume the role of rearing the litter if the bitch is not producing milk or has rejected the litter or even died during the birth process.

For success you must be aware of the many duties performed by a bitch. Not only does she provide nutrition for the puppies but most bitches will naturally initiate the weaning process. Her body heat provides warmth for the puppies as their thermoregulation ability becomes competent. Initially her milk has provided colostrum which helps prevent disease. Its absorption is critical in the first 12 hours when these large molecules are able to be absorbed into the puppy’s intestinal lining.

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Her behaviour constantly stimulates the pups – keeps them active and initiates communication and socialization. And of course she is constantly cleaning her brood thereby stimulating normal bowel and bladder function.So it’s not just a matter of assuming her role of feeding the litter!

Husky Pups

You will need to ensure
• Nutrition is regularly provided of the correct type and temperature and feed frequency – Bottle or Tube feeding?
• Bowel & Bladder Movements need to be stimulated
You can use a warm moistened cotton wool ball rather than a cotton bud and ensure defeacation occurs. If not you should note which pups haven’t passed a bowel motion or urinated and make sure this occurs at the next feed. You may have to continue this stimulation for 2 – 3 weeks until muscle control develops to initiate voluntary urination and defaecation.
• Warmth needs to be provided as there is no thermoregulation ability with the new born and because of lack of toned muscle development they cannot shiver. There are many satisfactory ways of providing a stable warmth source.

You may use:
• a heat lamp – care not to overheat
• a water bottle – soon goes cold and may be difficult to maintain correct heat
• a heating pad – good but ensure there is no loss of power supply overnight which could chill the litter
• Stimulation and later play initiation are important aspects of orphaned puppy management.

In the early stages it is important to cuddle the puppies and provide verbal and tactile stimulation. As they grow they will instinctively provide interaction with each other but in the first 3 weeks this external stimulation is essential. Sleep patterns need to be recognised. The need for regular routines Is essential and this usually means keeping the children away just because they want to play with the puppies. Wait until they are awake and such careful handling by children assists greatly in the general stimulation of the puppies and their behavioural development.

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