Source: Science Direct

It’s a frightening statistic that about 75%–90% of newborn puppies are lost during the first 3 weeks corresponding to neonatal mortality.  

That is an enormous figure, isn’t it? It is sad that most people completely ignore these statistics thinking there’s no way it could be curbed.

However, it has been found that before a newborn puppy gives up, there are some signs that it displays and these signs require vigilance.

There are things you can do to take over the situation if you notice it. That’s what this article is about.

Discover what to do not to be caught off guard as you explore this article because the best thing is to be prepared.

How Do You Know If A Newborn Puppy Is Dying?

Puppies are extremely sensitive to disease and environmental stress during their first two weeks of life because they cannot regulate their body temperature on their own.

Puppies with a limited ability to maintain fluid and energy balance are also at a disadvantage.

Furthermore, their immune systems are underdeveloped, and they have inadequate protection against illnesses. Puppies are more likely to die from a variety of causes because of this.

What Do The Symptoms Of Fading Puppy Syndrome Look Like?

The clinical indications are a little dicey. Once clinical indicators appear, it is typically too late to save a dog. Their symptoms include:

  • Low birth weight or failure to gain weight at the same rate as their siblings, 
  • Diminished activity,  
  • Inability to suckle,
  • Isolating themselves from the rest of the litter and the mother. 
  • They cry softly and in a high-pitched tone. 

Because of its resemblance to the cry of seagulls, this is sometimes referred to as ‘seagulling.’ 

  • Severe lethargy, 
  • loss of muscular tone, and eventually, they die.

What Causes Fading Puppy Syndrome In The First Place?

The fading puppy syndrome is caused by a variety of circumstances. The following are some of the most common factors:

  • A mother’s inability to provide enough care, 
  • Lack of milk supply, 
  • Milk of poor quality
  • Insufficient nursing or milk consumption
  • Inherent problems in the puppy present from birth that may not be seen right away.

Fading puppy syndrome can be caused by one or more of these conditions. For example, a lack of maternal instinct combined with poor hygiene might quickly lead to neonatal septicemia (systemic infection).

Although the puppy receives some maternal immunity while developing in the mother’s uterus, most of this immunity is obtained through colostrum, or ‘first milk.’

If the puppy does not drink enough of its first milk, it is more likely to become infected.

After giving delivery, the woman should be checked for abnormal teat (breast) discharge, mastitis (breast infection), metritis (uterine infection), or any other ailment.

How To Identify A Puppy In Need

  • Ascertain that the mother dog is caring for all of her puppies. 

You should be concerned if the mother dog pushes one puppy away instead of bringing him closer to her.

A puppy who isn’t curled up with his littermates and mother won’t get the food or warmth he requires to survive.

Keep an eye out for warning signals of disaster. Within hours, a newborn puppy can deteriorate into a frail dog.

There are some symptoms to look for to see if your puppy is suffering from major issues, such as:

  • It’s either frigid to the touch or it’s cold in the mouth.
  • When a fingertip is gently placed in the mouth, the suckling reflex is weak.
  • When lightly tugged, the head hangs down and the legs do not pull back, indicating a limp or weak muscle tone.
  • Inability to breastfeed
  • Feces on the rear which indicates diarrhea and must be treated seriously 
  • Discharge from the umbilical stub
  • Continuous Crying
  • Puppies should be checked frequently. 

You should weigh all of your puppies twice a day on a proper scale. Kitchen scales will suffice if you clean them thoroughly afterward or use them solely for puppy weigh-ins.

The weight can be measured in grams or ounces; the only thing that matters is that it be consistent.

They should never lose weight; instead, following the first day of life, they should gain roughly 10% of their birth weight each day. This shows that they are receiving adequate milk.

Weights should be recorded in a journal or spreadsheet for the first two weeks of life so you can track their progress.

How Do You Save A Dying Newborn Puppy 

The first few weeks of a puppy’s existence are particularly hazardous.

They must be able to find their way to their mother to nurse, they must be kept warm, they must have their bodily functions taken care of by their mother because they are vulnerable to illness, disease, and damage once they leave the womb.

Being a newborn puppy can be difficult, but in most circumstances, the mother dog will take care of all of her puppies’ requirements.

You may, however, need to assist in the care of a frail puppy who is not receiving the attention he requires. In such scenarios;

  • Warm the newborn puppy, who is feeble

If you’ve concluded that one of the puppies in the litter needs particular attention, the first step is to ensure that it is warm enough.

A chilly puppy will be unable to nurse and may get dehydrated and hypoglycemic, which means it has dangerously low blood sugar levels.

A hot water bottle filled with very warm water (not boiling) can be placed in the bottom of a small cardboard box or shoe box and covered with a towel to warm it up.

After that, the puppy can be placed on the towel, covered with a light cloth or towel, and the box’s top can be slightly closed.

Alternatively, you can warm up the puppy by placing it on your chest under your clothing.

Wrap its rear end in a clean piece of cloth to avoid being urinated or pooped on! Puppy’s tiny claws are also razor-sharp, so expect a few scratches.

A heating pad can overheat a puppy, therefore it’s not a good idea to use one. A heating pad can get dangerously hot even on the lowest setting.

Over the period of one to three hours, gently warm the puppy. Overheating can occur if the temperature rises too quickly.

There are heating pads designed specifically for animals that don’t get quite as hot. To avoid thermal burns, place the puppy on a towel or a fleecy cover placed between the pad and the puppy.

If the puppy is panting openly, it is overheated.

  • Take the temperature of the puppy 

Use a pediatric digital thermometer to take the puppy’s temperature rectally when you think it’s warmed up.

Apply a little quantity of lubrication to the tip of the needle and gently insert it into the pup’s rectum.

The gastrointestinal tract will not function correctly if the body temperature falls below 94 degrees Fahrenheit (34.4 degrees Celsius).

Overheating can occur if the rectal temperature rises above 99 °F (37.2 °C) in a puppy younger than seven days.

Record the temperature in the same notebook or spreadsheet in which you recorded the weight.

  • Assist the puppy to nurse

 It’s time to feed the puppy once it’s warmed up and active. Examine whether the mother dog will allow the puppy to cling onto her teat.

Puppies require their mother’s first milk because it contains important immunological components (antibodies) that a puppy requires to develop his immune system.

You might need to spend one-on-one time with the weak puppy and his mother.

While the weak puppy tries to nurse, keep any other puppies in the same room as the mother but away from her body.

  • Increase the blood sugar of the weak puppy 

It’s possible that the puppy has low blood sugar if it’s warm yet weak and unable to suckle. To solve the problem, put two or three little drops of corn syrup on its tongue.

Weakness and lethargy are specific indications of hypoglycemia in a newborn dog. Tremors and twitches are common.

(Natural newborn puppies twitch; combine this with other hypoglycemia indicators to distinguish between normal and abnormal twitches.)

  • The puppy’s milk supply should be supplemented

If the puppy is warm enough and wants to suckle, you may need to feed it an appropriate milk formula if the mother refuses to let it nurse or if it is unable to latch on to a teat.

A veterinary office or a trustworthy pet store can provide puppy replacement formula. Nursing bottles or a syringe can be used to feed it.

Mix the formula according to the guidelines and make sure it is warm but not too hot. If you’re not sure which puppy milk replacement formula is ideal for your puppy, contact your vet.

  • Ensure that the puppy is fed regularly 

A newborn puppy that is weak should be fed every three to four hours, especially at night. Subtract the number of daily feedings from the total daily feeding (given on the formula container label).

Feeding every three hours, for example, will result in eight total feedings, while feeding every four hours will result in six total feedings.

Each time you feed your baby, make sure to use fresh, warm formula.

  • Encourage your puppy to go to the potty 

In order to urinate and defecate properly, newborn puppies require stimulation of the genital region. This is usually done by the mother dog, but if the puppy has been neglected, you will need to do it yourself.

Using a clean cotton ball, soak it in warm water. Rub it gently on the puppy’s genital area. This stimulation will cause the puppy to urinate and/or defecate as needed.

To clean up any mess, wipe the genital area with a clean tissue and toss the cotton ball and tissue in the trash. After that, thoroughly wash your hands.

  • Visit a veterinarian with the puppy 

If the puppy refuses to eat or does not respond to your attempts to warm her, you should take her to the veterinarian for treatment.

Dehydration is deadly for puppies, and if they are unable to nurse a enough quantity, they can swiftly die.

If your puppy has diarrhea, has fluid coming from her nose, or you have any other health concerns, consult your veterinarian.

Timely treatment is very important in the newborn puppy. If you wait too long the puppy may die.

How Can You Save Fading Puppy Syndrome

To alleviate the symptoms of fading puppy syndrome, it is critical to make sure the puppy gets enough water and is kept warm.

“It is not appropriate to allow puppies to become chilly.” Allowing puppies to become chilly is not a good idea.

The temperature where the puppies are housed should be kept at 85-90°F (29.5-32°C) during the first four days of their lives.

On the seventh to tenth day, the temperature can be progressively reduced to around 80°F (26.7°C). It is not required to raise the temperature of the entire room to these levels.

Using a heat lamp to provide heat over the whelping box is generally all that is required. Antibiotics may help a dog with bacterial septicemia, but good hygiene and management techniques are also important.

The proper care and cleansing of the puppies and their environment will be discussed with your veterinarian.

If you have any concerns that your puppy might be sick, do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian.

If your puppy dies, you should have a necropsy (autopsy) performed to identify the cause of death. This may assist you in preventing other puppies from succumbing to the same disease.

Keep an eye on your new puppies, but do so quietly so as not to disturb the mother. At least three times a day, they should be checked separately.

Ensure the mother dog’s health during her pregnancy is as good as it can be by properly feeding her and maintaining all vaccines and deworming up to date.

To give the puppies the best start in life, the mother should whelp (give birth) in a warm (not hot), clean, and draft-free environment.


Wikihow: Take Care of a Weak Newborn Puppy

VCA hospitals: Fading Puppy Syndrome in Dogs

Wikihow: Save a Fading Newborn Puppy