Neonatal mortality in puppies is a problem that is not given the importance it deserves, but with some advice it can be greatly reduced.
The neonatal mortality in puppies is the phenomenon that 20-30% of dogs die before weaning time. These data lead us to ask what are the causes and how we can reduce this high percentage.
The most important thing to know is that canine pediatrics does not start after weaning. On the contrary, you must go to the vet already when the female is pregnant to carry out checks that can prevent future problems. Prevention is always better than cure.
Factors affecting neonatal mortality in puppies
The health of a puppy depends on several factors: for some we can do nothing, but we can intervene on others to improve life expectancy during the first weeks:
- Genetic Influence : Many of the problems with which puppies are born stem from direct inheritance from the parents. If this disorder appears too soon, the puppy will not be prepared to fight it because his immune system has not yet developed 100%.
- Mother’s Skills: A mother who does a good job gestating and nursing puppies will make a big difference. In addition, he will take care of their cleaning and other basic care.
- Cleanliness : Preparing a clean and quiet place for the birth is essential to avoid the appearance of bacteria and germs.
- Temperature : During the first 15 days, puppies are very sensitive to temperature, so care must be taken, as the mother is sometimes unable to give them the warmth they need. In cases where the female breeds outdoors, it is more advisable to move them to an indoor area, which will increase the chances of survival . Plus, they’ll grow with more energy by not having to fight the cold.
How to reduce neonatal mortality in puppies
How can we reduce neonatal mortality in puppies from the gestation period? To prevent neonatal mortality in puppies from continuing to be so high, we can implement a series of measures during pregnancy to reduce deaths.
Prompt and effective veterinarian intervention in the perinatal period can increase survival in the neonatal phase. In this way, factors that contribute to puppy mortality can be kept in check or avoided.
The good health of the bitch will also make a difference during pregnancy, childbirth and the next four weeks . Malnutrition, parasites, injuries or malformations reduce the mother’s ability to care for her puppies, as she will lack the energy needed to do this. The health of puppies begins with the care of the mother from the first weeks of pregnancy.
Breastfeeding, a fundamental phase
As we have seen, the treatments that the bitch receives before pregnancy are fundamental for the health of the puppies. These can affect the moment she becomes pregnant and affect the puppy’s long-term health.
Antibiotics can also indirectly affect puppies, both during pregnancy and during lactation. This is because they are teratogenic drugs, so it is advisable to consult a professional to see if they are compatible with the current situation of the female.
Another factor that is often not taken into consideration is the state of the mother’s mammary glands and nipples. Any abnormalities can cause malnutrition in weaker puppies , leading to their death. A complete check-up at the vet, both of the mother and the puppies is essential for their well-being.
It is also very important to monitor the weight of the puppies during the first hours of life. In fact, the weight cannot go down more than 10% of the total weight, which would indicate a deficit of milk. If this happens, the glucose solution should be administered subcutaneously. If you are unable to regain the weight lost within the next 48 hours, your vet will recommend switching to formula milk.