So, you just had a litter of puppies joins your home. Congratulations! Raising them will be rewarding. But, it’s not all beautiful– excessive crying can be incredibly distressing and for a good reason! It means that something is wrong that you’ll need to address. Newborns don’t cry if they’re comfortable and satisfied, so if you notice excessive squealing, it’s time for investigating. Try using these questions to troubleshoot and get that litter comfortable and quiet.
Are Your Puppies Cold?
The easiest cause of crying to identify is coldness. Cold pups typically huddle together and cry. Newborns can’t regulate their temperatures and rely on their mother and littermates to keep warm. You may need to provide a heating pad on the lowest setting in a part of your whelping pen, especially if the pen is somewhere cold; make sure that you leave some space unheated to go somewhere cooler if they get too warm.
Are Your Puppies Wet?
Growing puppies eat a lot, and therefore, eliminate a lot. For the most part, Mom will try to keep it clean. But, the whelping pen can start to get wet with waste over time. The wetness can then cause them to get too cold, which can be harmful for the reasons above. If you notice that the bedding in your whelping den is wet, get it all cleaned up. It can really help to use absorbent blankets or towels to wick moisture away from their sensitive bodies.
Are Your Puppies Hungry?
Pups grow rapidly, and that sort of growth requires plenty of eating. Newborns are entirely dependent upon their mothers for milk, and if they don’t seem to settle, it could be that they don’t have enough milk. Make sure that Mom is feeding the pups, and if the pups are nursing, make sure they don’t have milk coming out of their noses, which is a sign of cleft palate. If Mom is refusing to nurse, you may need a trip to the vet to see why. She may have mastitis– an infection in the mammary glands. Hungry pups are an immediate cause for concern, and if you can’t get them nursing quickly, they can rapidly decline. If necessary, you may need to bottle feed a milk substitute.
Are Your Puppies Unhealthy or Sick?
Now, if your pups are warm, dry, and fed, but they continue to cry incessantly, it may be time to bring them to the vet. The vet will be able to do many tests that you otherwise won’t have access to. They will know how to check for causes for crying that you may not identify yourself. Sometimes, they are born with cleft palates, which will lead to starvation if not treated. Other times, there could be a problem with the heart or other organs that prevents them from digesting milk or living healthily. A vet could discover this and can either treat them or recommend humane euthanasia if necessary.