Newborn puppies can be moved as soon as they are born, although they are best left in a quiet, secure place with their mother for as long as possible. The greatest danger to newborn puppies is getting chilled. Puppies cannot regulate their body temperature for the first two weeks of life and can die if they are not kept warm. If you need to separate them from the mother dog to move them, they can chill quickly, so moving them must be done with care.
Picking Up the Puppy
Wash your hands before picking up the puppies. Be sure the mother dog is comfortable letting you handle them. Prepare her by speaking quietly to her in a reassuring manner. Run your hand over each puppy gently, and slide your hand under one puppy at a time. If the puppies are large, place both hands under the puppy. Carefully pick up the puppy.
Have a box, dog crate or clean laundry basket large enough to hold the litter beside you. Place a clean towel inside. Heat a pet-safe disk according to the directions and place it under the towel. Make the sure disk has a cover and will not directly touch the puppies. Carefully place each puppy in the container. Cover the box or basket with a towel.
The Mother Dog
Expect the mother dog to be concerned when you remove her puppies. She will want to follow you. Let her accompany you as you move the puppies, and show her the new location. When you relocate the puppies, place them one at a time in the new location and let the mother dog watch you. She likely will join her litter as you place them. A mother dog will not want to be separated from her puppies, and any separation should be as brief as possible. The puppies need to begin nursing as soon as they are born, and will nurse frequently for several weeks.
Moving by Car
If it's necessary for you to move a litter by car, place the puppies in a dog crate lined with towels that can be secured with a seat belt in your car. Use a heated disk to keep them warm while you travel. Put the mother dog in a separate crate so she does not lay on the pups while you travel. Maintain the temperature in the vehicle at a minimum of 70 degrees. If the outdoor temperature is cold, move the puppies as quickly as possible in a covered box.
- Hartz Nursery - Puppies: Let's Get Warm
- Dog Channel: Breeders and Newborn Puppies
- Hilltop Animal Hospital: Care of Mother Dogs and Puppies
- The Whelping and Rearing of Puppies; Muriel P. Lee
- Puppy Intensive Care: A Breeder's Guide to Care of Newborn Puppies; Myra Savant-Harris