Neonatal/Dam Care

Care of neonate:
After the delivery is complete, you should identify each puppy using such things as nail polish, permanent markers, colored yarn collars, etc. Record the weight of each puppy so you can monitor the litter. You can use a kitchen or baby scale and record the weights every 12 hours for the first 2 weeks of life. It is common for the pups to each drop about 10% of their body weight within the first 24 hours, but should then continue to gain daily.

Photo courtesy of Karen Street


Examine each puppy for any abnormalities such as cleft palate or umbilical hernias and call if you see anything concerning.

Neonates cannot maintain their own body temperatures the first few weeks of life. It is very important that puppies be kept warm. Be sure to have a heat source such as an adjustable heat lamp above the whelping box. You don’t want to keep the actual room temperature too warm or the dam will be uncomfortable and won’t want to stay with the puppies.

Care of the new dam:
The bitch will pass a placenta, or dark green “blob” of tissue with each puppy delivered. She may want to eat it, but this is not necessary as some bitches can get diarrhea from consuming too many of them. The bitch will have a dark red/brown vaginal discharge for several weeks. This is normal as long as it is not bright red or has an odor.

Photo courtesy of Karen Street

It takes a lot of calories and water to make milk, so be certain she is on a good quality diet and has access to water. Some bitches are hesitant to leave the whelping box at first, so may need to have food and water brought to them in the box to encourage them to eat.

Take lots of pictures and ENJOY!!!


Visit our photo gallery and please send us pictures of your new litter to add to our gallery!

Please do not hesitate to let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

Welcome to the Animal Hospital of Woodstock

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Read What Our Clients Say

  • "I cannot stress how awesome the entire staff is at Animal Hospital of Woodstock. We are new patients of this office and I’ve been going through random drama with my cat and his food allergies. Any time I call with a “crisis” the staff is warm and understanding all while being prompt with advice or instructions. If you are looking for a new vet I highly recommend this office. Thanks to Dr. Chris for taking such good care and concern with Watkins!"
    Erin M
  • "Thank you for your evening hours! We ran into a problem with our dog at 6:30 PM (he had something caught in his throat) and we were able to run over to our regular Vet clinic and get care. Dr. Chris was great and a big help! He even checked up on us the next morning. We've been clients for a long time, and really appreciate all of you!!"
    Julie F
  • "I needed to take my black lab to Animal Hospital of Woodstock for a echocardiogram and they were fabulous.. they brought me back to the room, brought a bowl of water for my dog, and just made us feel right at home. Staff and Drs were very friendly. I would highly recommend going here!"
    Shannon H