Last Updated on November 11, 2023 by Linda Richard
Having a 5-week old puppy is an incredibly fun experience. It’s also quite tricky and delicate as you’ll need to make sure you care for the pup in just the right way. So, raising a 5-week old puppy without a mother – what do you need to know?
Here is our quick list of feeding, cleanliness, environment, and disease prevention tips. Obviously, you’ll also need to double- and triple-check everything with a vet too as every puppy has different needs. But, to get you started with the basics, here’s what you’ll be in for with a 5-week little rascal.
So, You’ve Got A 5-week Old Puppy Without A Mother – What Should You Do First?
One major thing to note when wondering how to take care of a newborn puppy without a mother is the food. However, there’s quite a bit more than that. You should also know what symptoms to watch out for as well as how to prevent certain health conditions from appearing in the first place. Cleanliness and temperature management are absolutely critical too.
But, the first thing to do is always to consult with your vet. Any pup you find should be checked by a vet before you even bring it home. From there, you should prepare for housing the pup and look after it as per your vet’s instructions. Here are the main points to focus on.
What To Feed Newborn Puppies Without A Mother?
If the puppy’s mom is gone and you don’t have another female dog that’s ready to nurse pups, you’re going to have to use a commercial milk replacer. Thankfully, these work quite well too. There are different brands available in different areas so you should use whatever your vet recommends.
For newborn pups, the milk should be mixed with filtered and boiled water in the ratio noted on the product. Be very careful in getting the right ratio – either too watery or too concentrated can be quite bad for the dog.
The mixture should then be left to cool down to the body temperature of the puppy which is about 100oF or 38oC. Once the puppy has reached 3 to 4 weeks of age, the milk can be left to cool to room temperature.
How To Feed Your Pup?
Once you’ve got the right mixture and the right temperature, you need to poor that in a commercial baby bottle with a nipple-like sucker. The sucker should be the right size for the pup to easily bite on and suck from. The hole should be small enough for the liquid to not fall on its own but to require a gentle squeeze from the pup.
Then just position the pup with its stomach down and its head level or just slightly upright – as if it’s sucking from its mother’s nipple. If you hold the pup in your arm and on its back, there’s a huge risk that milk will get in its lungs which is often fatal.
Next, place the sucker into the pup’s mouth. You may need to gently open the mouth with your thumb. Then, lift the bottle a bit to make sure the pup isn’t sucking in too much air. Feed the pup as much as is appropriate from the baby formula for that particular age. Remember to burp the pup too. That’s done the same way as with a human baby – hold it on your shoulder and pat its back.
How Often Should You Feed Your Puppy?
That depends on the pup’s age. A newborn should be fed every 2-3 hours. A 5-week old puppy, on the other hand, can get by with 4-5 feedings a day or once every 5-6 hours.
Help Your 5-week Old Puppy Without A Mother Eliminate Every Day
It’s smart to help your pup poo and pee after eating when you can wipe their intimate area immediately. This way there’s going to be less of a mess on the diapers in the crate.
Watch Out For Diarrhea
When you help your pup eliminate, look at the color and consistency of the poo. If it’s too watery or has even the slightest greenish tint, contact your vet immediately.
What Should The Living Space Of Your Pup Be?
A young pup doesn’t need a large living space as pups in this age range will still live in their mother’s den anyway. So, a small crate or even a cardboard box can do the trick. It’s important that it prevents the pups from wandering off and gives them a sense of security and comfort.
You should also put plenty of diapers on the bottom of the crate. They will both make the space softer and cozier and will help with cleaning the daily poo and pee of the pups. Under the diapers, you’d do well to place an electric heating pillow that’s turned on a light setting 24/7. This will keep the pups warm as if their mother’s body was there.
Make sure that the pillow doesn’t cover the entire floor of the crate, however, and that there’s a cooler area the pups can retreat to if they get too warm. Then, observe their behavior and see where they spend more time. If they are avoiding the heated part of their “room” all the time, look if you can lower the temperature.
If you don’t have an electric heating pillow, a bottle of hot water can do the trick temporarily, as long as it’s isolated with diapers properly. However, you’ll need to change and reheat the water regularly which is very time-consuming.
Health Issues To Watch Out For With A 5-week Old Puppy
These are the main issues to watch out for in newborn pups:
Your vet should brief you on each of them and their symptoms so you know what to watch out for.
In Conclusion – How To Deal With A 5-week Old Puppy Without A Mother?
Watching after newborn pups can be a hassle but it’s also a very rewarding experience. Once the pups cross the 1-month mark they get easier to look after but there are still plenty of things to be mindful of. In many ways, raising a pup resembles the raising of a child – getting up at night every 2-3 hours to feed the pup, burp it, and wipe its butt, changing soiled diapers, and so on. On the other hand – that period passes very quickly and you get an actual dog in return after just a few quick weeks.
Read more about: Can A Yellow Lab Have Black Puppies Or Is It Impossible?