How Puppies Develop

The Neonatal Period 0-14 days

First moments of new life,
a puppy emerges still in its bag

Birth is a stressfull and hazardous time for a puppy, for 9 weeks he has developed in the protected environment of his mother's uterous provided with a constant temperature and nourished by his mother's body.

golden retriever puppy - newborn

Puppies are born in a very immature state

When puppies are born they are in an almost totally dependent state, they cannot see, they cannot see hear, cannot control their body temperature have very limited mobility and cannot defecate or urinate without stimulation. However puppies are born with a good sense of smell, taste and touch and the ability to cry.

Licking a newborn pup into shape

New born puppies are less developed than new born babies but grow and develop very rapidly, doubling their weight in the first week of life.


border collie puppy newborn

Newborn pup - just minutes old still wet with birth fluids

As soon as her puppies are born the bitch will quite literally "lick them into shape", her constant and quite rigorous licking stimulates the puppy to cry, clearing the air passage and encouraging them to breathe. Licking also cleans the puppies washing away the birth fluids whilst licking around the anal and genital areas encourages the puppies to clear waste products from their bodies.


border collie puppy being washed

The mother cleans and stimulates her newborn pups with vigorous licking

At birth puppies will seek the warmth of their mothers body and search for a teat attracted by the smell of milk, although in very young puppies mobility is limited to wriggling their body from side to site. Puppies have a strong suck reflex from the time of birth.


border collie puppies

Pups just hours old now clean, dry and filling out from their first meals

If a puppy becomes stressed either by hunger or unpleasant sensations such as excessive heat or cold he will cry loudly. At this age puppies must feed and be toileted every two hours and between feed will sleep pressed together or cuddled up to their mother for warmth and comfort.

golden retreiver puppies

Pups at 7 days old well filled and contented

At birth a puppy's temperature will be between 96 and 97 degrees F (35.5 and 36 degrees C), the puppy cannot control his own temperature and is totally dependent upon warmth from his mother or another source for survival, puppies are very susceptible to hypothermia (chilling) and hyperthermia (overheating).

golden retriever puppy

Contented pup at 9 days old

Puppies are born blind, their eyes are undeveloped and the upper and lower eyelids are fused together. Puppies eyes start to open at about 12 days old, all puppies eyes are blue when they first open. When his eyes first open a puppy's vision is very limited, he cannot see more than light and shade and cannot focus. Very young puppies should be protected from bright lights.

border collie puppy

The mother stimulates her pups to empty themselves by licking

Puppies are born deaf, their ears flaps are limp and lifeless and their ear canals are sealed up, the ears begin to open at about 10 days. A puppy's hearing is very accurate as soon as the ears are open.

cider and pups

Pups are totally dependent upon their mother in the first weeks of life

From birth puppies are very touch sensitive and seek out soft things against which to lie for comfort . They respond to being gently handled and it is at this early age that the foundations of socialisation are laid.

Isis sitting to feed pups

Isis sits up to feed her 7 day old pups

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Home The Transition Period 15-21 days

Puppy Development

Puppy Quiz
Puppy Development
Finding a Puppy
Preparing for Puppy
Puppy Main Page
Bringing up Puppy
Puppies As Presents
How we home our puppies
Puppy Reports
Puppy Postcards

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