My daughter and I just got a 4-week old Maltipoo puppy we named Blake. I had figured it was too early to take Blake from his dam, but the breeder, who is a friend of mine, assured me the pups were ready. Blake is a wonderful puppy and seems fine; we've been giving him goat's milk. Could you please give us any advice on how to care for a puppy so young who's away from his littermates and dam? My daughter and I want to do all we can to make sure he's a happy, healthy dog.
Thanks in advance! Amanda
It is very surprising that a breeder would say that a 4 week old puppy is ready to leave his mother, as it simply is not true. Puppies leave their dam at 8 weeks old for good reason (not including the legality issues - while a puppy can be given away at any age , sales are not to be done before the 8 week mark in many states). The very best nutrients for a newborn is his mother's milk. In addition, the process of leaving his littermates and exploring out in his 'world' beyond the dam's nesting area should be a gradual one.
This said, you have this little cute pie now and we are glad that you asked for some tips.
1. We do not recommend goat's milk; it is not ideal for the needs of such a young pup. Many veterinarians agree that the lactose, fat and protein levels in goat's milk are not correct during this crucial newborn time.
Since the 4 week mark is the start of the weaning process, we'd highly recommend a quality puppy milk replacer. This week, you will begin by making a very thin 'soup' which consists of the milk replacer and the brand of food that the dam was eating (though if it was a really inferior food, we'd rescind that recommendation), mixed very well in a blender until it is thin and runny. Every few days, the consistency should be slightly thicker.
By the end of week 6, into week 7, the Maltipoo puppy should be fully weaned and able to eat solid food.
2. Proper warmth is vital. If this pup was with the dam, he would be snuggled up to her for warmth. We'd suggest a small canine bed with small baby clothes to use as blankets. You may opt to place a heating pad under the cloths, set on warm, not hot, to ensure that this pup does not struggle to maintain body temperature. If he seems to have struggles outside of his bed, you may wish to slip a soft shirt or other clothing onto him.
3. The responsibility of having this Maltipoo de-wormed will fall to you. Puppies are typically dewormed at 2, 4, 6, 8, 12 and 16 weeks. If you are not sure if he had his 4 week de-worming, do please find out.
4. His 6 to 8 week vaccinations will be coming up. This is for distemper, measles and parainfluenza. This Maltipoo should not be taken to any public areas until he has had all of his puppy shots.
5. This puppy will miss out on important play with his littermates to learn certain behavioral habits, including controlling his nipping. This may lead to some tricky moments for you... as he finds his ability to nip, the victim of those snaps will most likely be you and your daughter. You'll need to withdraw quickly, let out a loud & firm 'no' and temporarily 'banish' him from the 'pack' by ignoring him. Only allowing him back into play if he behaves.
5. Without the opportunity to mimic the dam, housebreaking will be a bit challenging as well; you'll want to stay on top of things, by following all the house training rules, without fail.
Since most puppies are sold at the 8 week mark with a health guarantee, you won't have this assurance. For this reason, this puppy should have a full and complete veterinary checkup now and of course, he will be seen and examined when he is brought in for de-worming and inoculations.
We hope that this helps and we wish you luck with this little one!
Love, Hugs & Maltipoo Kisses,
The PetMaltipoo Team
Do you have any thoughts about such a young puppy going to a new home? Please share your thoughts below.