The first few days of a puppy’s life may not be action-packed (it’s a whole lot of sleeping, eating, and pooping, as is the case with most newborns). But there are some things new pet parents should know to ensure their pups grow into healthy and happy dogs.
1. They Develop over a Short Period of Time
Puppies develop and grow inside their mother’s womb for approximately two months. This is the normal gestation period (or length of pregnancy) for dogs. In the sense of development, “a newborn puppy is not unlike a premature child.
At birth, puppies are unable to regulate body temperature, or even urinate or defecate on their own. Puppies depend on their mother and littermates for warmth, huddling in cozy piles to conserve body temperature.
2. They Double Their Weight in a Week
3. They Can’t See or Hear, but They Can Make Noise
Puppies can’t see or hear for the first two weeks of their lives, but they can make puppy noises. “They’ll vocalize right from the beginning. When they are born, the mom will lick the placenta off to stimulate them.
At around 10 days, they’ll start to open their eyes, even though they aren’t fully formed yet. All puppies are born with a blue-gray color to their eyes, their “true” eye color will be evident at around 10 weeks. Most newborn puppies can hear a little bit when they are born. However, their ears are still closed until about 14 days of age.
4. They Sleep and Eat a Lot
Newborn puppies eat every two hours. Even without vision, puppies use their reflexes and instincts to find their mother’s nipple to nurse.
In between feedings, they sleep about 90 percent of the day, or 22 hours.
5. They’re Born with Fur and Nails but No Teeth
Puppies have sharp little nails when they are born. It’s typically best to wait until 4 to 6 weeks of age to clip their nails, but this can be done sooner if they are hurting the mother. They are also born with hair and fur, but the amount depends on the breed. When they’re born, they have a puppy coat.
As they grow over their first year, dogs that shed will shed out their puppy coats and grow their adult coat. Their teeth start coming in at around 4 weeks old. Between 3 and 4 months old, they begin to lose their baby teeth to make way for their adult teeth.