Who doesn’t love puppies? Small, sweet, fumbling little bundles of joy that they are, the first weeks of a newborn puppy’s life are the most crucial part of its development. Without proper care, puppies can easily contract healthy issues. Therefore, the best place for them is with their moms, on whom they are completely dependent.
Of course, we know this isn’t always possible. Sometimes moms reject their pups or can no longer care for them, which begs the question: how long can you leave newborn puppies unattended? If a mom dog is not caring for a puppy, they will need human intervention, which can be tricky but rewarding when done right. It is also exceptionally time-consuming.
In this post, we’ll look at all the ins and outs of what puppies need during their newborn stage, especially considering they should only be separated from their moms at eight weeks. Leading up to this, they will need nursing, which turns to feeding, and they generally should not be left unattended where possible. Let’s take a deep dive into how much supervision newborn pups need.
How Long Can You Leave Newborn Puppies Unattended?
When puppies are born, they cannot fend for themselves and completely rely on their mothers. Their eyes are closed, they can barely hear anything, and they cannot use the bathroom by themselves either. Newborn puppies need to nurse every two hours, and for this reason, they cannot be left unattended and will need to stay with their mom or human caretaker for the first few weeks of life.
And, of course, mom would be the first choice. Newborn puppies’ needs are extensive. From nursing to stimulating their bathroom habits through grooming, their moms need to help them every step of the way. Without her intervention, they will become malnourished or dehydrated. While they spend most of their first two to three weeks asleep, they still wake up to feed every two to three hours. Their moms also groom them constantly, massaging their little muscles and keeping them warm.
If a puppy is in the unfortunate position where its mom can’t care for it, it will need a human parent’s constant attention and support. Just as their moms would, caretakers need to give newborn puppies formula every two hours, massage them, keep them warm, and help them pee and poop. At best, a puppy parent will be able to leave their little one unattended for two to three hours between feeding sessions. If left alone for six to seven hours, they may suffer critical, irreversible health issues.
Can Newborn Puppies Go All Night Without Nursing?
For the first three to four weeks of their lives, puppies cannot go all night without nursing. They will feed on their mom’s milk every two to three hours, even during the night, and nurse for 30 to 40 minutes at a time. They are full and satiated when their little bellies are round and they’re sound asleep. If a human caretaker looks after a newborn puppy, they will need to wake up every few hours to give the puppy its formula.
If you’ve ever had anything to do with newborn puppies, you’ll know how small and helpless they seem when they’re just born. This is because they are. Even though they’re earthside, they still need to expend 90% of their energy just on growing and developing, and the only way to do this is through plenty of sleep and a constant food source. Imagine how exhausting for their poor moms!
Naturally, this is even more exhausting and intimidating if you’re a human foster parent for a puppy. You’ll need to prepare yourself for the fact that you’re going to be waking up at all hours of the night and following a sleep schedule that is not your own. Fortunately, this stage only lasts for 3 to 4 weeks, after which puppies can start to be weaned off their mom’s milk or supplemental formula and put on solids.
When Can Puppies Sleep Through The Night Without Mom?
Puppies are only ready to leave their moms at seven to eight weeks. This is when they’re prepared to learn to drink and eat independently. To test if puppies are ready to be away from their moms, you can see how they fare with solid food that is slightly moistened. Once they can eat without assistance, they become comfortable being on their own. This process may take a week or two and is known as weaning.
That being said, even weaned puppies may initially have trouble sleeping through the night without their moms or littermates. And this makes sense if you think that that is all they have known for the duration of their lives to this point. To make the transitional phase easier, you should attempt sleep training with your puppy. This will also help to settle your puppy in its new environment.
Up until about 16 weeks, your puppy will be adjusting to life without its mom. It’s still a young animal, though, and will wake up in the night for the bathroom and sometimes just from being apprehensive or on edge. The best you can do is offer your pup a safe, warm, calm environment until they’re able to sleep through the night independently. No one said puppy raising was easy, but it’s certainly worth every effort.
If you’re wondering, “how long can you leave newborn puppies unattended?” the answer is that they can’t be alone for the first few weeks of life. However, this doesn’t mean you need to be by their side day and night unless you’re their human foster caretaker, as in the case of rejected or abandoned pups. A good dog mom can look after her babies perfectly well. You just need to check on the family every few hours to ensure they’re all doing okay. By all means, get some sleep, but make sure they are in a close enough vicinity that you can hear or easily check if your assistance is needed.