How Often Should Newborn Puppies Defecate?

by Rob Hainer
    Newborn pups eyes don't quite work yet; neither do their bowels.

    Newborn pups eyes don't quite work yet; neither do their bowels.

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    Those sweet, fluffy newborn pups are a joy to cuddle with. Their tiny little bodies aren't quite ready to handle pooping on their own, however. Their mom typically steps in to encourage proper bodily functions and to clean up her pups after they go. If the pups are orphaned, however, you'll have that job every two to three hours.

    Newborn pups have digestive systems that are still getting used to being used, so they aren't able to urinate or defecate without a bit of help. The mommy dog is usually on the ball about taking care of her little ones' needs. She licks their private areas to stimulate the pooping and peeing action. She licks them again later to clean up her puppies so they aren't rolling around in their business. If the puppies are orphaned, this job is up to you, but in an easier-to-stomach fashion. Dampen a cotton ball or soft rag with warm water and gently rub your pup's backside, then keep a close eye out for the pee and poop -- you'll need to use another warm rag to clean up the puppies' behinds.

    Most newborn puppies defecate after every feeding, which is about every two hours for their first few days. Some prefer to go before they eat, but mom licks them often to make sure they all go as needed. After the first four to five days, the pups might start waiting three hours between feedings, which is three hours between pooping for most of them. Occasionally, one might skip a poop between feedings, but most are fairly regular at this age.

    By the time the puppies are three weeks old, they start learning how to poop on their own without external assistance. They don't have control over it at this point, so there's no need to start the potty training; be prepared to clean up after the pups several times a day.

    Keep a close eye on the puppies and what comes out of them to make sure all is well with their nutrition. Dark urine is a sign they're not getting enough to eat, so make sure that pup isn't getting pushed out by the others at meal time. Their poop should be semi-solid and a dark brown color. If the feces is firm, the pup isn't getting enough to eat. If it's green, there's an infection somewhere, which could be in the puppy or the mother -- take both to the vet, just in case. If it's liquid instead of solid, ask your vet about giving the puppy some children's electrolyte drink in a syringe or bottle to keep it from dehydrating.

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    About the Author

    Rob Hainer began writing and editing for newspapers in 1992. He began his career as a photojournalist in the Army, and studied journalism at the University of Missouri. He worked as a copy editor and reporter at "The Marietta Daily Journal," the "Spartanburg Herald-Journal" and the "New Haven Register."

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