The experiences of birth and the speed at which young kittens and puppies grow and change would almost seem magical. Being able to enjoy this experience with a pet that you love is a very rewarding experience. Knowing how to prevent problems and give proper care will help insure a great experience with a wonderful outcome. Neonates are from the time pups or kittens are born until they are about 6 weeks old but proper care begins even before conception.
Neonates have special needs and can be very susceptible to environmental extremes, nutritional insufficiencies and some diseases. Prevention and early detection of problems is the best way to ensure happy and healthy puppies or kittens at an early age.
- Ensure the mom-to-be is up to date on all vaccines prior to breeding
- Check and comply with all AKC or other breed requirements to ensure bad traits are not passed on i.e. hip dysplasia
- Ensure you can easily find good homes for the pups or kittens prior to breeding
- Start feeding the mom a high quality puppy food 3-4 weeks prior to expected delivery
- Ensure mom is at a good body condition (not too fat or too skinny)
- Set up a whelping and nursery area several days prior to whelping (birth)
- Draft free, warm, quite area (minimize anything that may cause stress).
- Guard rails to prevent pups from being crushed, and material that is easy to clean and disinfect
- Read over and understand stages of parturition (giving birth), and know when and how to intervene and when to call a veterinarian when needed.
- Ensure the newborns receive adequate colostrum (first milk from their mother).
- Weigh pups/kittens when born
- Weigh daily for the first 14 days and record weights, then weigh every 3 days for the first month of life o
- Slight weight loss may be seen the first 24 hrs, thereafter there should be a gain of .03-.1 ounce gain daily per every lb of expected adult weigh
- Young neonates cannot regulate body temperature very well so you will need to maintain an environmental temperature of between 80 – 90 degrees for the first 4 weeks of life.
- Broad spectrum de-wormer should be used starting at 3 weeks of age and then continued every 2 weeks until over 16 weeks of age.
- The first set of vaccines are given at 6-8 weeks, an examination should also be done at this time.
- Follow up vaccines are given every 3 weeks until the pups are over 16 weeks old
This list should be used as a guide to help understand many of the important aspects of neonatal care. To completely understand each important area more information may be need. Please ask for more information on anything that may not be completely understood and we will be happy to help.