Newborn puppies are completely helpless and require constant care. Whether you’re attending to a nursing mama and her brood or recently adopted an orphaned puppy, when a newborn yelps, he’s trying to communicate. He’s doing his best to tell you what he needs and that something could be wrong.
Newborn puppies are just like newborn human babies: They’ll cry when they’re hungry. During your puppy’s first couple weeks of life, he’ll need to eat every two to three hours, according to Dr. Ron Hines, a veterinarian based out of Texas. If he’s still nursing from mama’s teat, he could be yelping because his mother isn’t producing enough milk or if his littermates are beating him to an open teat. If you’re solely bottle feeding him, he could be telling you his belly is empty. Either way, you may need to give him some puppy formula and let him suckle from the bottle until he’s full. Once he’s satisfied, he should stop whining and drift off to sleep.
If your puppy is separated from his littermates and mother, he might be feeling lonely and scared. Rather than putting him directly on a bed that smells foreign to him, place some of your towels or old T-shirts in his sleeping area. He’s already recognizing you as his master and surrounding him with your scent helps put him at ease. If possible, place a towel or blanket from his mother’s nursing area on his bed. These familiar scents make him relax, giving him -- and you -- a better, more quiet night’s sleep.
Keep Him Warm
Newborn puppies are used to snuggling right next to mama and their brothers and sisters to stay warm. If your little chum is separated from his furry family, you’ll have to take on the role of keeping him warm. Keep him away from drafty areas, place several towels or blankets in his puppy area for him to snuggle up with and consider slipping a heating pad under the bedding -- on a low setting. Once he's warmed up, his howling should cease.
If you hear yelping and can't figure out which pup it's coming from, make mama get up for a moment. You want to make sure she didn't accidentally roll over on one of her furballs. Move the puppy if he is stuck and keep a close watch on him, making sure he can move around and eat on his own. If your pint-size pal seems to whine nonstop or if his yelping habit seemed to start out of nowhere, take him in for a checkup. Chronic pain, a medical condition or severe separation anxiety may be triggering his outbursts. Your veterinarian will have to do a thorough exam to make sure he is developing properly.
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