During your pitbull puppies’ first few weeks of life, their primary activities will include eating, keeping warm and developing social skills. Their mothers naturally tend to be quite good with taking care of their young. In cases like that, majority of your work would be watching and assisting her where necessary.
If your pitbull puppies have, unfortunately, for one reason or the other been separated from their mother you will need to give them the best care possible. Also, if for some other reason, the dam cannot produce enough milk or has rejected her young, you will also need to step up to the task of caring for them.
There are only a few things that are more enjoyable than a litter of newborn Pitbull puppies however the thought of caring for brand new little lives can be a bit intimidating. There’s no need to be anxious because, in this article, we’ll be detailing how to care for your newborn Pitbull puppies so they are healthy and happy.
How To Care For Newborn Pitbull Puppies?
1. Provide Your Pitbull Puppies With Adequate Warmth
Newborn puppies cannot regulate their body temperatures on their own so you will need to protect them from drafts. Typically, your Pitbull puppies will snuggle up to their mom and siblings for warmth.
Regardless, it’s advisable to use a heat lamp to provide additional heat. We recommend you do this for the first month of their life to make sure your puppies are always warm and cozy.
2. Provide Your Pitbull Puppies With A Clean Environment
Newborn puppies usually spend the first few weeks of their lives in the pen or box they were born. It is critical to choose the best environment in your home when preparing for them to arrive.
The space you choose should have adequate room for their mother to lie down and stretch herself comfortably without worrying she will crush her young. Their mother should be able to walk in and out of the area freely while keeping the puppies contained. It should also be easily accessible by you so you can change the bedding every day.
In the first few days, the mother usually cleans up her pup’s waste however if her litter is large, she may need your help to keep up.
Usually, by the end of the second week or at the start of the third week, your Pitbull puppies will open their eyes and become more active. Once they start to walk about, you can then move them to a larger room or pen to play. This means that cleaning up after they’ve eliminated will require more of your attention.
3. Closely Monitor The Health Of Your Pitbull Puppies
Young puppies are usually susceptible to infection and disease so you will need to monitor them quite closely. You will need to regularly inspect them and keep an eye out for any signs of poor health or infections. Look out for things like diarrhea, vomiting and unwillingness to eat. If you spot any of these signs, report them to your vet.
Pitbull puppies like other puppies are also especially vulnerable to parasites and fleas. You will need to talk to your vet and get advice about enforcing appropriate control in your home.
Even though they receive antibodies while they nurse, these antibodies usually wear off around six to eight weeks. These antibodies help protect them from falling ill during the early weeks of their lives. Between weeks six and eight or shortly after eight weeks, they will need to receive the first round of their vaccinations.
Ensure you and your family members thoroughly wash your hands before any of you interact with the puppies. This will help in reducing the risk of the puppies getting sick. It will also protect them from any hidden bacteria present on your hands.
4. Ensure Your Pitbull Puppies Receive Proper Nutrition And Nursing
During the first few weeks of their lives, Pitbull puppies rely exclusively on their mother for all their nutritional needs. For the first few days, their mother produces a milk-like substance called colostrum.
Colostrum contains the vital maternal antibodies that your Pitbull puppies will depend on while their immune systems develop. These antibodies help your newborn Pitbull puppies fight off infections so it is important that all the puppies receive enough colostrum during this period.
Your puppies’ mother will be generally less active while she nurses her pups. Notwithstanding, the process of nursing her pups will take up a lot of her energy and her daily calorific needs will be higher than normal during this period.
You will need to make sure both the puppies and their mother receive adequate nutrition during the nursing period. You will need to feed the mother a number of servings of quality puppy food in the course of a day. Your vet can recommend the amount and the type of food to feed your nursing mother.
You will also need to keep an eye on the weight of your Pitbull puppies during this time. If you notice any of the puppies are underfed, observe them when it’s time for them to nurse. This is to ensure that smaller puppies latch onto the fullest nipples when feeding. A sign a puppy needs more attention during feeding or is hungry is crying and whimpering so watch out for that also.
If you notice the smaller puppies are still not showing any signs of weight gain or healthy growth, you will need to talk to your vet. At this point, it may be required for you to take over and bottle feed them.
You also need to watch their mother for any signs of mastitis. Mastitis is an infection of the mammary glands which can restrict milk production. Signs of mastitis include swollen and red nipples and reluctance on the mother’s part to nurse. Mastitis can be caused by a scratch sometimes from the puppy’s nails or weaning too early. It can also be caused by an infection or a blocked milk duct.
Sometimes if this is the case, the mother may snap at her puppies when they try to feed. If you notice any of these signs, contact your vet as soon as possible. It is not advisable for puppies to feed from their mother if she is suffering from mastitis.
By the fourth or fifth week, your Pitbull puppies will start growing their teeth. When this happens, you can begin the weaning process because the mother’s milk production will start to slow down.
Once you notice the puppies are not as interested in their mother’s food, it’s time to start feeding them their own puppy food.
5. Ensure You Socialize Your Pitbull Puppies With Humans And Other Dogs
By the time they are four weeks old, your adorable four-footed puppies are ready to start socializing with humans and other dogs.
Between the fourth and twelfth weeks of their lives is a very critical window where your Pitbull puppies will need to learn about their new world. They will, after all, be interacting with their new world so they need to be socialized so they become happy and well-adjusted dogs.
Poorly socialized Pitbull puppies tend to grow into anxious dogs and may end up having behavioral problems if care is not taken now. Whether you plan to keep and raise the puppies yourself or send them off to good homes, it’s important to cuddle and play with them. Ensure you allow them enough opportunities to play and explore. Introduce them to as many new experiences as you possibly can.
Caring for newborn Pitbull puppies requires a lot of work to be put in, however, these first few weeks go by surprisingly very fast. If you end up putting your puppies up for adoption, one minute you will be cleaning up after them, the next minute you will be saying goodbye. Time really does fly when you’re having fun. (Click here to read Where Can I Adopt A Pitbull Puppy?)
It’s a bittersweet event if you’ll be letting them go off to bring new owners and homes a lot of joy and laughter. Enjoy the puppies while you have them. When it’s time to send them off, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you gave them a wonderful first experience at living their lives.
If you will be keeping the puppies and watching them grow into wonderful, well behaved, well-adjusted dogs, you can also rest assured that you also gave them the best possible beginning.
Here’s a video about the first few days and weeks on newborn puppies:
Caring For Orphaned Newborn Pitbull Puppies
The term orphaned does not necessarily mean that the mother of the litter is dead. It is also used to refer to puppies whose mother is either unwilling or unable to nurse them. If this is the case, you will need to step up to the task of being the puppy’s nursemaid.
The best substitute milk for Pitbull puppies is a commercial puppy milk formula. This is because cow’s milk does not have the same nutritional content as dog’s milk so this makes it an unsuitable substitute. Cow’s milk does not have enough calcium, phosphorous or calories needed by growing puppies.
Formula bags for puppies come with the manufacturer’s instructions in terms of the amount needed to feed and mixing guidelines. If you’re unsure about these instructions, contact your vet for further assistance.
Feeding orphan puppies can be a bit delicate because some puppies take some time to get the sucking part of the feeding process down. If this is the case, you may need to take them in to see a vet. The vet will then be able to show you how to tube feed to get the puppies feeding.
It can be quite tempting to make up a large batch of formula to make feeding the puppies easier yet it’s the perfect ground for bacteria to breed. To prevent this from happening, only make enough for a feeding session.
You will also need to ensure you clean and sterilize thoroughly the bottles and mixing utensils in between uses.
The instructions on the bag will assist you in determining how much formula to feed your Pitbull puppies. It’s not an exact formula because you may find some puppies need more or a bit less food than others.
The best way to check if your puppies are getting the right amount of food is when you notice they’re steadily gaining weight and their stools are well formed.
If you notice any puppy has developed diarrhea, try reducing the amount you normally feed them by half. Alternatively, you can dilute the food by adding a little extra water while slowly working your way back to the recommended level.
If you notice the diarrhea still continues, you can call your vet just in case it’s a sign of a more serious problem.
The process of feeding is actually pretty straightforward. Warm the formula to body temperature while angling the bottle to prevent any air bubbles. You may need to enlarge the hole in the nipples slightly. This is best done using a hot needle while the bottle is inverted.
Always feed a puppy while it’s facedown and not on upright or on its back as this could cause the puppy to choke. Encourage the puppy to feed enthusiastically but not to rush because it can lead to indigestion. You will need to burp the puppies during and after each feeding.
Normally, the mother stimulates her puppies to defecate and urinate by licking them. However since you are now the caregiver, you can stimulate this by using a clean cotton ball dipped in warm water to do this. Rub the anal and genital area to stimulate defecation and urination in the puppies.
Mothers also groom their puppies in the course of a day. You will need to imitate this by stroking the puppies back and sides several times a day using a soft cloth.