If y’all remember, my brother and sister – Ozzy and Brandi – were born here a few days before an ice storm. For whatever reason, their momma decided she wanted to up and move her babies. To make a long story short, she was able to move some of her babies, but not all of them. The ice storm was so bad that she didn’t make it back to get the last ones. That is how we came to have Ozzy and Brandi. There were actually 4 of the orphaned puppies left, but my Lady found homes for two of em after they got old enough to go to another home. At any rate, rasin’ orphaned puppies without their momma was hard work! My Lady says it’s never the best thing to have to do, but sometimes it just can’t be helped. So, my Lady wanted to give ya some tips on how to raise orphaned puppies!
Check out my Lady’s tip on How to Raise Orphaned Puppies
A young puppy can become orphaned for a number of reasons. Maybe their mother is sick, injured, or dead, or she could have a behavioral issue that prevents her from providing the proper care. Regardless of the reason, if a puppy is less than 8 weeks old they will need special care. And if their mother isn’t available to provide that care, a person will have to step in. We did that part with our own Ozzy, Brandi and two other siblings! Miss Molly even did her part! She would have been a good mother for sure! She helped clean, comfort, and take care of the orphaned puppies! We are so proud of her!
Brandi – only days old
If you’re dealing with a similar situation, these tips on How to Raise Orphaned Puppies should be very helpful!
1. Keep Them Comfortable
Young puppies need to be kept warm to stay healthy. As they don’t have thick fur or the ability to do much that would make them warmer, they’ll rely on you. A 1 week old puppy should be kept in an area with an air temperature of 90-95 degrees. At two weeks, 85 degrees. 80 degrees through the third week, 75 degrees in the forth week, and finally 70 degrees (room temperature) at five weeks and beyond. An incubator, heating pad, or heat lamp can help with this as long as they’re used safely so the puppies can’t get overheated or burned.
2. Keep Them Fed
If you’re trying to raise orphaned puppies, you’ll need to buy or make puppy formula. In their first 48-72 hours of life, feed the puppies in 2 hour intervals. After that, feed them in 3 hour intervals except for at night, where you can do two 4-hour intervals. At two weeks old, feed them every 4 hours (with a 6 hour gap between feedings at night). Burp them after each meal. When puppies are 3 weeks old, they can begin to eat puppy mush 3 times a day along with their puppy formula. At 4 weeks old, they can eat the mush 4-5 times a day, can have less bottle feeding, and don’t need to be fed at night. At 6 weeks, they can eat normal solid food.
3. Manually Create Potty Times
Until they’re 21 days old, orphaned puppies will need you to stimulate their bowels because their muscles are too weak for them to accomplish those tasks on their own. So you’ll need to rub a warm, damp cotton ball or towel on their genital and anal areas to get them to urinate and defecate. For some puppies, this will work best before a meal, and for others this will be most successful after they’ve eaten.
4. Prevent Diseases
Young puppies are especially susceptible to disease since their immune systems are so new and weak. To raise orphaned puppies that are healthy, you may need to get them vaccinated earlier than non-orphaned puppies (consult with your veterinarian). You should also provide your orphaned puppies with deworming treatment at 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks old. Then put them on a monthly heartworm preventive product.
Ozzy and Brandi at 3 months old
5. Socialize Them
Just like human babies, puppies need to be given time to work on their social skills. So when you’re working to raise orphaned puppies, don’t forget to spend time with each puppy. Pet them, talk to them, and generally just show them love. When they’re about 5-6 weeks old you can start getting them used to more complex things, like household noises and other people and pets. Just take it slow, remembering that they’re essentially furry babies!
For further help, consult your veterinarian. They can guide you on what exactly needs to be done for your puppies depending on their situation, health, breed, and age. Raising orphaned puppies takes a lot of time and patience, just as with a newborn baby. It’s not an easy task, but it can be done.
Ozzy and Brandi at 3 years old
My two little orphans are now 3 years old and big healthy pups! They don’t remember their birth mother and actually, I believe they think I really am their mother 🙂 So, tell us, have you ever cared for orphaned puppies before? We would love to hear about it in the comments below!