There is a lot of preparation and commitment involved in puppy rearing; it’s a serious undertaking that with careful planning before the puppies arrive will increase the puppy’s chances of survival. Hypothermia is a leading cause of puppy mortality. The problem is that puppies don’t develop the shiver reflex until after they are two weeks old; this is a vulnerable period for the puppies because they will stop nursing and are unable to digest food if their temperature drops too low. Mortality rates can often be as high as 36% during this period.
Whelping boxes can increase puppy survival rate. Whelping boxes provide the mother a natural, safe space to give birth rather than giving birth in a less than ideal location like under a bed or on a garage floor. Whelping boxes also help contain warmth, and placing a puppy heating pad in the whelping box will increase the puppy’s chances of survival during the critical first few weeks of life. There are some considerations to using the heating pad such as giving the puppy room to move off the heating pad because too much heat isn’t a good thing either. Lion Country Supply has puppy heating pads and whelping box kit plans that kennels have been using for over 30 years. It’s perfect for any sized hunting dog and disassembles into five pieces for easy storage.
Sometimes newborn puppies need direct intervention from humans to survive. In cases of orphaned puppies or if the mother just can’t produce enough milk to feed all of the puppies, or because one of the newborns can’t compete, this is when you may turn to feeding your puppies a milk replacement formula. Bio Spot Active Care Just Born is a highly digestible milk replacement formula for puppies that is full of nutritional value that is very similar to the mother’s milk. Puppies needs vary with age and size, so please follow the instructions carefully when using this product. You will also need the Bio Spot Active Care Hand Feeding Kit.
Finally you will want to consider a puppy whelping kit. It’s not often humans need to intervene in the actual birthing process, but a whelping kit will ensure you’re prepared if your dog and the newborn pups need you.