Caring for a newborn puppy | Royal Canin Club Malaysia

Caring for a newborn puppy

Understanding the amazing transformation your puppy goes through from birth to adulthood will help ensure they get the right nutrition at each stage of development.    

It's important that puppies suckle as soon as possible after they are born. Rather than ingesting milk, the puppies ingest colostrum, a substance produced by the mother which supports and enhances the puppy’s immune system. Their thermoregulation is not fully mature. Therefore, it is crucial that they are kept in the right environment. Their whelping box should be kept at between 29.5 - 32°C. After this, temperatures may be gradually decreased to approximately 26.7°C at seven to ten days.    

The neonatal period extends from birth until around three weeks. The majority of a puppy’s life in this first stage of growth is spent feeding or sleeping. This is vital to healthy development and care should be taken to avoid disturbing the litter or the mother. Puppies’ eyes begin to open 10 to 14 days after birth and during the third week the ears gradually begin to function.     

Weaning is a crucial period in puppyhood, as it signifies the moment when they start to gain their independence. At this stage, the food must be adapted to the development of the puppy’s digestive functions. The vast majority of nutrients are taken through milk, however, at this stage puppies begin to have more interest in their mother's food. You can start to transition them from a milk-only diet to solid food with nutrient profile that is close to their mother’s milk at around 4 weeks old, such as the Royal Canin Mini Starter Mother and Babydog for your small breed puppies.    

Puppies have a natural capacity for learning at this age, so it's important that lessons learned during this time need to be adhered to and socialisation needs to be maintained. This will help your puppy develop into a confident, well-behaved adult dog. Much of a puppy's height and muscle growth happens between six to nine months, depending on the breed size. At four months old, you can slowly transition them to a diet that can support their intense growth according to their breed size, such as the Royal Canin Puppy range. Milk teeth are replaced by adult teeth, and an adult coat replaces the puppy coat.