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

By Bethney Foster

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.

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.

Feeding

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.

Burping

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

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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.