How to Take Care of a 2-Day-Old Puppy

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So you've found yourself surrogate mother to a 2-day-old puppy. Your work is going to be round-the-clock for the next few weeks, but you're going to survive with a new respect for the responsibilities of a mother dog. Your baby is currently blind and deaf. His ears and eyes won't open for a couple more weeks. He is dependent on you for nutrition, warmth and protection. He even requires your assistance to defecate and urinate.


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Nesting Box

Step #1 - Line a small cardboard box with a towel. The box should be just slightly larger than the puppy.

Step #2 - Place the heating pad on top of the towel.


Step #3 - Set the heating pad on low. Do not turn the heating pad higher or you may overheat the puppy.

Step #4 - Place another towel on top of the heating pad. When you aren't feeding or caring for your puppy, this is his nesting box and where he'll stay.


Step #5 - Place another towel over the puppy for additional warmth when he is in his nesting box.


Step #1 - Mix the milk-replacement formula according to the directions on the package.


Step #2 - Fill a syringe, eyedropper or nursing bottle with the mixed formula. Read the packaging on the formula to determine how much to feed your puppy. If your 2-day-old pup is a larger breed dog, he may be able to suck from the nursing bottle. If he is a smaller breed dog, you may have to start feeding him with a syringe or eyedropper, then move to the nursing bottle as he grows larger.


Step #3 - Hold the puppy so his belly is resting in the palm of your hand. When bottle-feeding, you should never hold a puppy as you would a human infant. This can cause milk to get into his lungs and he will aspirate.

Step #4 - Open the puppy's mouth by gently inserting your finger between his gums.


Step #5 - Slide the bottle nipple, or the end of the syringe or eyedropper, into his mouth. If he doesn't immediately start sucking, you may have to dribble a drop or two of milk into his mouth. Within a few minutes he should start to suck.

Step #6 - Sterilize the bottle, syringe, eyedropper and other utensils after each feeding by placing them in boiling water for 10 minutes.


Step #7 - Repeat this process every two to three hours, six to eight times a day. You can go about six hours between feedings at night, if your puppy seems to be thriving.



Step #1 - Hold your puppy so that his belly is against your shoulder and his face is looking over your shoulder.

Step #2 - Pat your puppy's back until you hear him burp.

Step #3 - Repeat the burping process following each feeding.
Elimination and Cleaning

Step #4 - Rub your puppy's genital area with a warm washcloth after each feeding. Continue to rub until your puppy urinates and defecates. The puppy should urinate after each feeding, but may only defecate a couple times a day.

Step #5 - Wipe your puppy's face and body with a warm washcloth after each feeding to clean off any mess from the formula.

Step #6 - Wipe over your puppy with a warm towel to dry off any wetness. Be careful not to let him get cold.

By Bethney Foster


Dr. Ron Hines DVM: Bottle Feeding Orphaned Puppies
Animal Compassion Network: Caring for Orphaned Puppies
High Ledge Shelties: Hand Raising Puppies

About the Author
Bethney Foster is social justice coordinator for Mercy Junction ministry, where she edits the monthly publication "Holy Heretic." She is also an adoption coordinator with a pet rescue agency. Foster spent nearly two decades as a newspaper reporter/editor. She graduated from Campbellsville University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in English, journalism and political science.


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