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How Often Should Newborn Puppies Nurse?



Reviewed By: Dr. Joel Robertson

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If your dog just had a litter of puppies, congratulations.

Making sure everything is alright with the mom dog and the young puppies is very important.

This can be quite confusing, especially if this is the first litter of puppies you have cared for.

If you want the best for your dog and her puppies, read on.

How Often Should Newborn Puppies Nurse?

How Often Should Newborn Puppies Nurse

Newborn puppies should nurse every two to three hours, day and night. They need to nurse often in the first few weeks of their life.

Puppies will be sleeping most of this time, so it is important to wake them if they are sleeping longer than four hours or have not nursed for more than three hours.

Newborn puppies should nurse 8-12 times per day. Each nursing session should last 10-15 minutes, so a puppy should nurse for at least two hours each day.

If possible, spread out the feedings throughout the day to ensure that all of their nutritional needs are being met.

It is also important to keep an eye on your pup’s weight and nutrition as they grow and develop. If you are not sure if your puppy is getting enough nutrition, take them to the vet for a checkup.

To ensure that puppies get enough nutrition during this critical time in their development, it is important to practice good hygiene when handling and feeding newborn puppies.

Make sure that nipples and bottles are cleaned before each use to prevent the spread of germs.

Also, be sure to keep puppies in a warm environment as low temperatures can interfere with their ability to nurse properly.

(Related: Why Is Milk Coming Out Of Puppy’s Nose When Nursing? (Answered!)

How Often Should Newborn Puppies Nurse

How Long Should Newborn Puppies Nurse at a Time?

Newborn puppies should nurse for about 5-10 minutes at a time. This is because they have small stomachs and need frequent feedings.

Puppies typically feed 8-12 times in a 24-hour period, therefore it’s important to ensure that each mealtime will provide enough sustenance to last until the next one.

It’s best to keep track of how long your puppy nurses so you can adjust the frequency and duration accordingly.

If the puppy seems full or unsatisfied after nursing, then the session was either too short or too long.

Additionally, a mother dog may become uncomfortable if her puppies are feeding too frequently or for too long of a period of time.

For this reason, it can be beneficial to take newborn puppies away from the mother after 5-10 minutes of nursing at a time, and also to watch for signs that she is becoming uncomfortable or stressed.

How Often Should Newborn Puppies Nurse

How Do You Know If a Puppy Is Getting Enough Milk?

It can be difficult to know if your puppy is getting enough milk. To ensure that your puppy gets the proper nutrition, it’s important to monitor signs of healthy growth and development.

  • Look for good weight gain in your pup: Your puppy should be gaining body weight at a regular rate every few days. If you notice that your puppy isn’t gaining weight or is losing weight, this could signal that he/she is not receiving enough nutrition from their mother’s milk.
  • Observe how much time the pup spends nursing: Pay attention to how often the puppy nurses and the duration of each nursing session. Generally, puppies should nurse frequently throughout the day and night in order to get adequate amounts of nutrition. If the puppy is not nursing frequently enough, he/she may not be receiving enough milk from their mother.
  • Check for signs of dehydration: If a puppy is not getting enough nutrition, he/she will become dehydrated more easily and quickly than a healthy pup. Signs of dehydration include sunken or dry eyes, lethargy, and decreased skin elasticity. If you notice any of these signs in your pup, it’s important to seek medical attention right away.
  • Look out for other health concerns: A puppy that doesn’t get adequate nutrition can be more prone to developing illnesses such as parasites or infections due to weakened immunity. Pay attention to any behavior changes in your pup and have them checked by a vet if you notice any signs of illness.

It’s important to make sure that your puppy is getting enough nutrition in order for them to grow up healthy and strong. If you have concerns about your pup’s nutritional intake, consult with your vet right away.

How Often Should Newborn Puppies Nurse

Why Do Puppies Cry While Nursing?

  • Hunger Pains: In some cases, puppies may cry while nursing simply because they are hungry and looking for food. It’s important to watch for signs of hunger like wandering, restless behavior, or licking at the mouth before giving them more food.
  • Painful Nursing: In some cases, puppies may cry when nursing due to an infection or injury that is causing them pain while eating. If you suspect this might be the cause, it’s important to take your pet to the vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
  • Stress Response: Puppies are sensitive animals and can become easily stressed by loud noises or changes in their environment. When stressed, puppies may cry during nursing as a way of expressing their distress. It’s important to recognize these signs and provide a safe, calming space for your puppy.
  • Exhausted Doggies: Puppies can become easily tired during nursing, especially if they have been playing or running around. If you notice your puppy dozing off while nursing, it’s best to give them a break and allow them to rest before continuing.
  • Poor Latch: Sometimes puppies may cry while nursing due to an improper latch on their mother’s nipples or teats. This can make it difficult for them to get the nourishment they need and cause discomfort for both the mother and the puppy. To help alleviate this issue, it’s important to ensure that the puppy is properly latched on before nursing begins.
How Often Should Newborn Puppies Nurse

Does a Mother Dog Know When To Feed Her Puppies?

A mother dog will instinctively know when her puppies need to be fed. This instinct is known as the “maternal instinct.”

A female dog’s maternal instincts are deeply rooted and can be seen through behaviors such as barking, licking, and cuddling her puppies.

She may also display more aggressive behavior towards unfamiliar people or animals that approach her litter.

When it comes time for a mother dog to feed her puppies, she will often begin by licking her babies’ faces and heads to stimulate their appetite.

The next step is typically regurgitating partially digested food from her stomach onto the floor of the whelping box or into the mouths of the hungry pups.

As the pups grow older, they may require solid food, which the mother will provide either by bringing them pieces of food or dropping them near them.

Many mother dogs have an amazing ability to know instinctively when their puppies need to eat and how much food they require.

This is why it’s important for owners to be aware of their dog’s maternal instincts and ensure that she has access to the resources necessary to adequately care for her litter.

As always, it’s best to consult a veterinarian if you have any concerns about your pup’s health or nutrition.

(Related: Why Is My Dog Carrying Her Puppies In Her Mouth?)

How Often Should Newborn Puppies Nurse

Can Newborn Puppies Be Left Alone With Their Mother?

Newborn puppies should not be left alone with their mother without supervision. Although the mother dog may seem to be able to care for her puppies on her own, there is a risk of injury or death if any problems arise.

Newborn puppies are extremely fragile and can easily become overheated, hypoglycemic, or dehydrated if not properly cared for.

To ensure that all of the puppies stay healthy and safe, it’s important to check in on them at regular intervals while they remain with their mother.

If you’re away from home during the day, enlisting the help of a family member or neighbor who can come by throughout the course of the day is ideal.

If no one is available to assist with keeping an eye on the puppies, consider hiring a professional pet sitter or dog walker to come by and check in on them.

Additionally, you should provide the mother with plenty of fresh, clean water each day and make sure that she gets adequate rest time away from her litter for regular breaks.

Overall, it’s important to remember that newborn puppies need special care and attention in order to remain healthy and safe.

If you’re not able to properly supervise them during their first few weeks at home, consider enlisting some help so that your pups can have the best start in life possible!

How Often Should Newborn Puppies Nurse

What Happens if a Newborn Puppy Won’t Nurse?

If a newborn puppy is not able to nurse, it could be due to several different issues. In some cases, the mother may be unable to produce enough milk or the puppy may not be able to move properly in order to successfully latch on and suckle.

If the puppy is too weak or lethargic, it will also struggle to nurse.

In these situations, you’ll need to intervene by hand-feeding or tube-feeding the pup with a specialized formula made specifically for puppies.

It’s important that you use an appropriate nipple size and shape so that the pup can secure its mouth around it easily and suckle without difficulty.

You should also ensure that you feed your pup at regular intervals throughout the day (every 2-3 hours) and that you use a slow, steady flow of formula.

You should also always seek advice from your veterinarian so that they can provide additional guidance and support during this time.

In some cases, supplementation with other nutrients such as electrolytes may be necessary in order to ensure the health and well-being of the puppy.

How Often Should Newborn Puppies Nurse

How Do I Get My Newborn Puppy To Nurse?

  1. Prepare the puppy’s area: Before bringing your new puppy home, make sure you have a warm, comfortable area prepared for them to sleep and nurse. A small box or bed should do the trick. It’s important to have this set up so that your pup feels secure and safe in their environment.
  2. Make time for skin-to-skin contact: Newborn puppies need lots of snuggles and physical contact with their mother or primary caregiver in order to feel safe and secure. During the day, dedicate some time to cuddling and holding your puppy close while they are nursing. This will help them bond with you as well as encourage nursing behavior.
  3. Ensure that nipples are pointing up: A mother dog’s nipples tend to point downward. If your puppy is having trouble latching on, try gently lifting their head up and guiding the nipples towards their mouth.
  4. Encourage licking or sucking behaviors: Newborn puppies have a natural instinct to suckle and often make movements with their mouths when they’re seeking milk from their mother. Try encouraging these behaviors by lightly tickling the area around the pup’s mouth or rubbing a damp washcloth over it before placing them near the nipple.
  5. Offer assistance if needed: If your puppy still seems to be having trouble nursing, you may need to assist them in some way. You can try using a syringe or bottle filled with warm water or kitten formula to get them started.
  6. Monitor feeding times: You should keep an eye on how much time your puppy is spending nursing and make sure they’re getting enough to eat. If you notice that your puppy is still having trouble latching on or not getting enough milk, contact your veterinarian for guidance.

Can Newborn Puppies Breastfeed Too Much?

Yes, newborn puppies can breastfeed too much. Newborn puppies rely heavily on their mother’s milk for nutrition, so it is important to ensure they are getting enough. While overfeeding can be dangerous, underfeeding could also lead to health problems in the pup.

Signs that a puppy may be drinking too much include an inability to latch correctly or difficulty swallowing. If you notice any of these signs and the puppy seems lethargic, it may be a sign of over-nursing and needs to stop.

Additionally, excessive nursing of puppies may cause dehydration due to excess fluid loss through urination or diarrhea. Therefore, it’s essential to be aware of these warning signs and adjust feeding accordingly.

If you believe your puppy may be nursing too often, the best course of action is to consult with your veterinarian. They can assess any potential health issues and suggest changes in feeding or nursing behavior.

Additionally, other forms of nutrition like puppy formula or weaning foods could be beneficial as well.

Overall, it is essential to closely monitor a newborn puppy’s nursing behavior and adjust feeding accordingly. If you notice any signs of over-nursing, reach out to your veterinarian for further advice and direction.

(Related: How To Care For a Newborn Litter of Puppies [Complete Guide]

Can Puppies Nurse While The Mother is Standing Up?

Yes, puppies can nurse while the mother is standing up. When a puppy begins to nurse from its mother, it stimulates her milk letdown reflex that allows milk to flow from the nipples.

This reflex does not require the mother dog to be lying down for successful nursing. While many mothers prefer to lie down and relax during feedings, others might stand in order to keep their puppies close and safe.

In either case, puppies are able to nurse successfully while their mothers are standing up.

Additionally, if a pup has difficulty latching on while his mother is standing, she can help by lightly pressing her body against him or by placing her hind paw over his back until he gets into position.

If a puppy needs even more help to position himself, the mother can help by placing her paw over his face and guiding him to the teat until he latches on.

This type of maternal care is common among mothers who are nursing while standing up.

When a puppy begins to nurse while his mother is standing, it is important that she remains still until he finishes feeding.

Once the puppy is done nursing, she should then move away slowly so he does not become startled and break his latch. The proper latching technique is essential for puppies to receive the nutrition they need from their mothers.

In Conclusion

Newborn puppies should nurse every two to three hours for about ten to fifteen-minute sessions.

This can be overwhelming for the new mother, so keep an eye out for any signs of discomfort.

If your dog is in stress, take away the puppies from her and let her relax.

How Often Should Newborn Puppies Nurse

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