“We” raise Newborn puppies by letting their mothers nurse them, raise them until they are 10–12 weeks old. The mother will nurse them, give them the antibodies they need to keep them safe until their immune systems begin to strengthen.
Now – IF a mother dog (dam) dies in childbirth, or some other tragedy befalls the mother, so she isn’t able to take care of her puppies. The first best option is to try to find a female dog who has recently had puppies and weaned them, and is still producing milk, and see if she will accept the puppies, and nurse and raise them as an adoptive mother.
If that isn’t a possibility, then you have to try hand raising them. In this case, you need to buy colostrum (“first milk”) formula for the first few days, because colostrum contains antibodies to help prevent illnesses that could affect newborn pups.
Then you have to get puppy formula (DOG milk replacement – you can’t give puppies cow’s milk!), and tiny bottles and nipples, and teach the puppies to suckle the fluid from the nipple. Not all puppies learn to do this quickly, and sometimes you wind up having to tube feed very young puppies for several days to a couple of weeks!
Why Should You Massage Them?
You also have to massage them, as the mother would do, because their urinary and digestive systems are very unformed when they are born, so she licks them to stimulate them to pee and poop. Therefore, petting and massaging them, or taking a damp, warm washcloth, and “cleaning” them, like a mom licking her pups all over, is how you get them to relieve themselves.
We had to do that – with a large litter of puppies whose dam wasn’t producing milk. We had to feed each puppy every 2 hours around the clock for about two weeks. And each time, we had first to insert the feeding tube through their nose – it was incredibly stressful and exhausting!!
What Can You Teach To Newborn puppies?
Usually, after about 2–3 weeks, you can teach the little ones to take a bottle, and suckle from a nipple. And depending on the dogs, some can be taught to slurp formula mixed with baby rice cereal and very thoroughly soaked and softened puppy kibble mashed and fed very wet.
They also need to be kets in an enclosure – a large box, a playpen, an Xpen, etc., so they can’t wander off, as they can’t see or hear for the first couple of weeks!
BUT – ALL of this should be done under the close supervision of a veterinarian unless you know a breeder who will guide you or a rescue group who will lend a hand in showing you what to do. But even so, the vet should be involved to be sure the babies are developing correctly. (And if you are raising the puppies without a dam, you need to weigh them daily, and record the weights, to be sure they are gaining appropriately.
Please remember that this is never the preferred method. It is always best to have the mother dog raising her puppies, and have the litter stay with her until they are 10–12 weeks old before they go to new homes – but never any less than eight weeks old!!