Many people speak rapturously about the enticing smell of puppy breath. Puppies curl up in your arms and nestle in, making you feel like the most loved person in the entire world. Yes, most people love puppies. Though we love to spend time cuddling and play with puppies, there are lots of facts about baby pooches that few people are aware of.
Puppies follow a fascinating growth trajectory during which time they experience many different levels of development, and many of these circumstances are specific to certain breeds.
It’s hard not to love puppies! If you don’t have one to cuddle with now, we can bring you the next best thing via our list of fun facts about puppies.
Puppies Are Born with Their Eyes and Ears Shut
Puppies are born blind and deaf. Their eyes are tightly sealed shut as they are still developing and are not quite ready to face the world. A puppy will typically open his eyes around Day 11 or 12 with their ability to hear following shortly thereafter.
Puppies Cannot Urinate or Defecate on Their Own until Around Week Three
Baby puppies are not born with the ability to pass urine or stool. For this reason, the mother dog must stimulate the puppies to pass fecal matter and urine by licking their genital regions. The mother then eats the resulting feces as a means to remove all traces of her young as a throwback to the days when dogs delivered their litters in the wild and would need to keep their scent and presence hidden from predators.
For the first few weeks of life, the mother dog does all of the necessary work of caring for her puppies. But once puppies begin to develop teeth and begin eliminating on their own around Week Three, the breeder typically steps in to provide assistance.
Puppies Are Born Without Teeth
Puppies must subsist on their mother’s milk for the first several weeks of life as they are born without teeth. Around Week Three to Four, little chompers start to erupt. Since puppies are not aware of what their teeth are for just yet, they can often bite down on their mother’s teat causing her pain when they are nursing. It is around this time that many mother dogs begin to avoid nursing, and the breeder begins the process of transitioning to a mushy, goat’s milk-based gruel, and over time, to solid food.
Puppies Spend 80 Percent of Their Day Sleeping
It’s hard work being a puppy! Since neonates are still growing and developing, it takes a lot of energy. Puppies, like children, need a lot of sleep. This restorative process helps them to grow. It is estimated that puppies sleep between 15-20 hours a day. For every half hour of play, a baby puppy typically sleeps two to three hours. This is normal and necessary for proper growth and development.
Some Puppies Are Born Green
Though rare, some puppies are actually born green! But don’t worry, they don’t stay that way. There is a substance in the placenta called biliverdin which can stain a puppy’s fur, giving the pup the appearance that he is actually green.
Some Breeds Have Puppies by C-section
Certain breeds are known for their inability to deliver a litter naturally. For this reason, their gestation period is carefully monitored, and a C-section is scheduled to safely deliver the mother dog’s brood. Among some of the breeds who typically do not whelp without veterinary assistance are Norwich Terriers and French Bulldogs.
Litter Sizes Differ from Breed to Breed and Breed Pairing to Breed Pairing
Litter sizes differ from breed to breed. Typically, the female in the breed pairing determines the number of puppies per litter by the number of eggs she releases that are then fertilized. The male dog determines the gender of the puppies. However, each breed has a tendency towards certain sizes of litters. Many terrier breeds such as the Russell Terrier and the Border Terrier are known to produce litters ranging from 4-7 pups. However, other breeds such as the Rhodesian Ridgeback and the Great Dane can have as many as 11.
Puppies Respond to Touch, Heat, and Cold Before They Are Able to See and Hear
Though neonatal puppies cannot see or hear until several weeks on, their nervous system is sufficiently developed to respond to touch as well as to heat and to cold. This is why it is especially important for the breeder to carefully handle their baby puppies as much as possible. Those delicate nerve endings need to become accustomed to a variety of different stimuli, but most importantly, to human touch.
Dalmatian Puppies Are Born Without Spots
Yes, one of the world’s most recognizable dogs is actually born without spots! Spots develop on the Dalmatian’s coat as the puppy matures with them fully in place by eight weeks of age.
Other breeds may change color with some shades intensifying and others fading with age.
Neonates Must Be Kept at a Very Warm Temperature
Baby puppies lack the ability to regulate their body temperature. For this reason, they must be kept very warm otherwise they could die from a chill. It takes very little time for a puppy to become cold to the point of danger. Many breeders make use of heating pads or heat lamps to keep their puppies toasty warm. Others prefer to turn their whelping area into a sweat lodge to ensure their puppies remain the correct temperature.