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When Do You Take A Newborn Puppy To The Vet?

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This is my second year with a litter of Golden Retriever puppies and I still have a lot of questions like “when do you take a newborn puppy to the vet?”

Seriously! It’s sometimes difficult to detect when a newborn puppy is sick.

Last year we whelped our first litter of puppies and everything went swimmingly!

Well, there was one snag in the road. Raven got mastitis…TWICE!! (does that count as two snags?) But, the puppies did great the entire 8 weeks they spent with me!

Newborn Puppy - When should you take him to the Vet?
Newborn Puppy – When should you take him to the Vet?

Today’s story isn’t about Raven’s mastitis, it’s about a sick newborn puppy (does 10 days old still constitute a newborn?)

This is our story about when we took our newborn puppy to the vet. We are not experts. If you have concerns about your pets or puppies please contact your veterinarian.

QUICK TIP: If your puppy is sick or not nursing properly you may need to bottle feed your puppy. Make sure you’re prepared and have formula, a bottle, and a nipple for the bottle. When Falken got sick we used this PetAg Nursing Kit and Esbilac Puppy Milk Replacer. By the way, don’t tell my wife…we tried using Emma’s little bottle, but I think the nipple was too big for poor little Professor Falken.

When Do You Take A Newborn Puppy To The Vet?

First of all, this was Raven’s second litter and we felt slightly more prepared this time around.

We even put together a whelping checklist and got all of our supplies before the big day.

Raven started delivering her babies while we were asleep.

That morning we woke up to the sound of crying puppies.

We rushed Raven and her new pups to the whelping box and helped her deliver her last five puppies for a total of eight.

Everything went great! All the puppies were doing well and everything was right in the world.

Newborn Golden Retriever puppies!
Newborn Golden Retriever puppies!

Since these little buggers were born I started doing daily exercises individually with each puppy to prep them for life and hopefully service dog work.

One of these simple exercises was weighing each puppy daily. We want to make sure that each puppy is gaining weight.

Everyone was doing great from day 1 to day 9.

On Day 10 I noticed that one of the puppies was not gaining weight.

Poor little Falken our grey collar puppy wasn’t keeping pace with his brothers and sisters.

Here’s a look at his chart comparing Falken to our smallest puppy, Pippin, and our largest puppy, Crane:

11 lb12.5 oz1 lb 0.5 oz
21 lb 0.5 oz14 oz1 lb 1 oz
31 lb 1 oz15.5 oz1 lb 2 oz
41 lb 2 oz1 lb 1 oz1 lb 4 oz
51 lb 3.5 oz1 lb 3 oz1 lb 6 oz
61 lb 5 oz1 lb 4.5 oz1 lb 9 oz
71 lb 6 oz1 lb 5.5 oz1 lb 12 oz
81 lb 7 oz1 lb 7 oz1 lb 15.5 oz
91 lb 7.5 oz1 lb 10 oz2 lb 1 oz
10*1 lb 8 oz1 lb 11.5 oz2 lb 5 oz
111 lb 8 oz1 lb 14 oz2 lb 5 oz
12**1 lb 8 oz2 lb 0.5 oz2 lb 7 oz
131 lb 8 oz2 lb 1.5 oz2 lb 9.5 oz

*The red highlight was the day I noticed Falken was falling behind.
**The yellow highlight was the day I took Falken to our emergency vet. 

It’s easy to look back and see that the trend had probably started a couple of days before I noticed the problem on Day 10.

Falken was only gaining 1 oz or less from Day 6 meanwhile our little girl, Pippin was slowly catching up and eventually passing Falken on Day 9.

…And Crane! He’s a bruiser outweighing Falken by over a 1 pound by Day 13.

QUICK TIP: When you have a litter it’s uber important to weigh your puppies daily. We bought this baby scale specifically for the puppies (we’ve also used it with Emma and the twins) If we weren’t weighing these pups daily I probably wouldn’t have noticed Falken falling behind until it was too late.

When Is It Time To Visit The Vet?

I observed our little puppy’s behavior and besides not gaining weight he seemed active and was an enthusiastic eater.

The one thing I did notice was a yellow discharge around the puppy’s butt (I think that’s the technical term) and hind legs.

I proceeded to contact the breeder who’s obviously very knowledgeable on newborn puppies.

She mentioned a couple of possibilities including cleft palate or bacterial infection.

I was advised to get formula to supplement Falken’s feeding. As mentioned earlier we got PetAg Nursing Kit and Esbilac Puppy Milk Replacer.

She also asked if I could administer Sub Q fluids and also if I had antibiotics.

Unfortunately, I did not know how to give Sub Q fluids nor did I have antibiotics on hand.

I kept a close eye on Falken and late on Day 12 he seemed more lethargic and did not want to eat when the rest of the litter was having their feast.

I was worried and remembered that our breeder told me that puppies health can deteriorate very fast.

One of our Newborn Golden pups, Pippin taking a break from feeding time.
One of our Newborn Golden pups, Pippin taking a break from feeding time.

So I made the decision that evening to rush Falken to our Emergency Vet to see if they could diagnose his ailment and bring him back to health.

Falken received Sub Q fluids and antibiotics from our Emergency Vet, but she said there wasn’t too much more she could do.

She advised me to keep Falken hydrated by making sure he was feeding regularly.

It was also very important that when he did eat he got first dibs on Raven’s teat. We wanted to ensure that Falken was getting all he could eat.

Before leaving the Emergency Vet I was shown how to tube feed Falken which was terrifying to me considering if I accidentally ran the tube down his trachea I could potentially drown him…YIKES!

I got home with little Falken at around 2 am and immediately gave him a chance to eat.

The Sub Q fluids and antibiotics must have kicked in because he latched right on and started suckling like…a little piggy!

In the days that followed I always gave Falken the first chance with Raven before the other puppies.

He continued to thrive and he gained weight faster than all the other pups. Here’s a look at his chart from day 13 to day 18.

13*1 lb 8 oz2 lb 1.5 oz2 lb 9.5 oz
141 lb 12.5 oz2 lb 2 oz2 lb 12 oz
151 lb 14.5 oz2 lb 6 oz2 lb 15.5 oz
162 lb 0.5 oz2 lb 8.5 oz3 lb 0.5 oz
172 lb 4.5 oz2 lb 10.5 oz3 lb 2 oz
182 lb 7 oz2 lb 11 oz3 lb 5.5 oz

* The blue highlight was Falken’s weigh-in (same weight as the 3 previous days) less than 10 hours after we got home from the vet.

As you can see since getting home from the vet Falken is back on track and then some.

He continues to receive his antibiotics and I didn’t have to tube feed him…phew…

In the past 6 days, Falken has gained 15 oz! In comparison, Pippin has gained 9.5 oz and Crane has gained 12 oz!

Way to go little Falken! He’s still the smallest, but his energy seems very good and I think he’s all the way back to normal.

I know it’s not uncommon to lose a puppy in a litter, but I am so grateful for the help I received from our Emergency Vet and the advice I got from our Breeder, and of course for our little fighting pup, Falken for battling back.

We did get Esbilac Puppy Milk Replacer for Falken and did a little bit of supplementing to try and help him get stronger. He really didn’t drink much (if any) and since he was gaining weight daily we weren’t too concerned.

There are often unforeseen expenses when raising puppies. Last year our additional expense was Raven’s mastitis which our breeding partner covered. This year Falken’s little excursion to the emergency vet set us back $200.

It’s a reminder to always be prepared for additional expenses whether you’re raising a puppy, an older dog, or a litter.

So that’s the story of Falken’s first couple of weeks in this world. He’s our little fighter!

What about you guys?

Have you ever raised a litter of puppies?

If so, did you have to take one of your newborn puppies to the vet?

Tell us your experiences in the comment section below.

Do you want to read more about Raven’s second litter of puppies? Check out the first 8 weeks with our litter of English Cream Golden Retrievers.

When do you take a newborn puppy to the Vet? One of our newborn Golden Retriever puppies got really sick in what seemed like the matter of hours. Based on his symptoms we had to make a quick question to take our little pup to the vet. #goldenretrieverpuppy #newbornpuppy #newbornpuppycare #newbornpuppypictures #newborngoldenretriever
When do you take a newborn puppy to the Vet?

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  1. Raven is doing great! She lost some weight while she was feeding the puppies, but since has gained it all back. She also lost a decent amount of fur, but part of that could be due to the change of seasons since one of my other dogs is also shedding heavily right now.

  2. That’s a great tip. Luckily for us our vet tech has delivered hundreds if not thousands of litters and she works with us to make sure everyone in the litter is healthy.

  3. Sorry for the late response. A few of the exercises we were doing with the puppies is brushing their coats (we used a tooth brush to brush them when they were little), making different noises by ruffling a paper bag and a plastic bag, handling them with latex gloves, touching all 4 paws, ears, tail, cradling, cutting nails…those were most of the things we did during the early stages. As they got older we added other exercises. I’ll see about writing a more extensive blog post in the future.

  4. How cool!! I LOOOOVE the picture of the stuffed animals and the puppies!! Glad to hear that all the puppies went to good homes and it’s nice to see the updates on what they are doing now! What about an update for Raven? How is she doing?

  5. Within 48 hours after birth, the vet suggests for bringing the puppies to do checkup for illness, birth defects, and physical abnormalities.

  6. I’ve never raised newborn puppies, my youngest dog was 10 weeks old, so I’m not very experienced in this early life stage. However, I rescued nearly frozen dog which I have found near the lake one day. It was very cold, and he was almost dead. I still have him, and he loves all people showing it as much as he can. But, on the other hand, he hates all dogs, I can’t unleash him cause he is unpredictable :(. Can you tell what daily exercises have you been doing besides weighing?

  7. Another one of the puppies got a UTI and I had her on antibiotics for 10 days. The UTI wasn’t as worrisome since she wasn’t losing weight, but still stressful.

    I’m only raising one of these puppies as a service dog the others will go to homes as pets. Unfortunately, I just don’t have the help (I need puppy raisers if anyone out there is interested) or resources to raise and train more than one puppy at this time.

  8. Aww, that sounds so stressful. I’m so glad the little guy is ok now. Just shows how important it was to weigh them! This makes me appreciate Remy’s breeder because I’m sure she does all she can to keep track of the health of each puppy.

    Are all these pups going to be service/guide dog puppies in training?

  9. Yes! Falken is doing great now. He’s a little undersized compared to the others, but I think he’ll catch up in the coming weeks. We had a second puppy get what we believe to be a UTI. Not as urgent as Falken’s ailment and luckily we were able to use the same antibiotics to help little Pippin.

    This is my second litter with Raven and she’s a great mother. She takes care of nearly everything until the puppies are about 5 weeks old. Puppies are adorable from 5-8 weeks old, but they are a ton of work. As one of my friends said after leaving the puppies for an hour or two when you get home it looks like the place got hit by a Poopnado! (she actually didn’t call it poop…)

  10. Oh my those golden puppies are so cute! I’m glad little Falken made it!

    I’ve never raised newborn puppies, but I have adopted an 8-week old puppy. One puppy at eight weeks is a lot of work, I can’t imagine how much work an entire litter of newborns must be!

  11. Yeah, it’s tough to tell especially since they don’t move around too much when they’re that young. It’s a little easier with my older dogs, but they can’t talk either. I always know when Stetson doesn’t feel well because he doesn’t eat which is a major red flag.

  12. I’m sure it’s difficult to diagnose illnesses in puppies since they can’t really tell you what’s wrong. Good think you were tracking their weight and keeping a close eye on them! It’s like having a kid…but eight of them at once! So crazy! Good job!! Can’t wait to see these little guys and gals grow up!!

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