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Boxer Newborn Puppy Care


If you have had a litter of Boxer puppies at your home and you are in charge of taking care of a newborn Boxer puppy, much attention must be taken during the first 8 weeks.

From the moment of birth until the pups are at least 2 months old, a person must be close by and ready for any situation.

Each week will bring new changes and responsibilities. This is a crucial time for care that can shape the health of the dog for its lifetime. 

How to Know if a Boxer Puppy is Getting Enough Milk

The amount of times that a newborn puppy drinks milk from its mother varies from pup to pup. The important aspect is to know if a puppy is receiving enough throughout the day.

Sometimes larger newborns will push their way to Mama and smaller puppies may not be getting enough milk. Some puppies may not be strong enough to suckle from smaller nipples (some will be larger than others) or strong enough to suckle once other pups have done so, and as the milk supply runs lower a puppy needs to suckle harder.

How do you know if a Boxer puppy is getting enough milk? It is important to weigh each puppy. This can be done with a baby scale or electronic kitchen scale. Of course, take great care when weighing them.
  • Always use the same type of blanket or cushioning on the scale so that you always get an accurate weight and the blanket does not affect the weight
  • Weigh each puppy 2 times per day: AM and PM
  • Keep careful track of who is who! You can do this by using a dot of white-out fluid applied to the ear in a certain area or other gentle marking method
  • If a puppy shows no weight gain each day, you must take steps to ensure that pup receives more nutrition
If a newborn is not gaining weight:
  • Give the larger puppies a supplement
  • Allow the smaller puppy to drink first; the larger puppies will have more strength to suck harder to retrieve their milk
If There is a Weight Loss:

This can be extremely dangerous. The puppy or puppies should be bottle fed with a supplement (never use regular milk) and should be taken to the veterinarian right away to stop or prevent Hypoglycemia and/or dehydration.

Step-By-Step Milestones

Day 1

Your Boxer puppy or puppies will be nursing from the dam. During the first few days it will not be milk; it will be Colostrum. This is a highly nutritional fluid that gives vital antibodies to the puppy. The puppy will sleep almost all the time, when not drinking. The Boxer pup will also make soft noises. As long as the puppy's body is warm and you feel him or her breathing naturally, all should be fine.

A puppy this young will not be able to eliminate on its own. The mother will lick the pup to stimulate the expulsion of bowel or urine. Do not be shocked if the dam then eats this.

The newborn Boxer puppy will have its eyes closed. They will stay this way for about 10 to 15 days. The umbilical cord will still be damp and certainly not ready to fall off.

Day 2

It is perfectly normal for a Boxer puppy to lose weight on its 2nd day of life. Carefully watch for any Boxer newborn that seems to be getting pushed out of the way by other pups and unable to drink from mom. If this is happening, remove the other puppies after they feed and allow the hungry puppy to nurse alone, not bothered by their brothers and sisters.

Day 3

Talk to your veterinarian regarding docking the tail, if you have decided to do so. This is often done on day 3. This decision should be carefully thought about. In addition, the Boxer puppy's cord will be dry and just about ready to fall off. Dewclaws, if removed, are usually done so on this day by your dog's experienced veterinarian.

Week 1

Puppies should be weighed each day. This can be done by preparing a small basket, lined with a soft and clean towel. The basket can be placed on the scale first, with the weight noted. Then, the puppy should be placed inside the basket. Subtract the weight of the basket to have the exact weight of your Boxer puppy. There should be an increase each day. If not, be sure to immediately contact your dog's veterinarian.

Nails grow very quickly and should be trimmed as often as each day if needed. A clotting solution, such as Kwik Stop should be used in case the quick of the nail is cut by accident (something to carefully avoid). Trimming the nail of the puppy each day = trimming off only a small section; just the small "hook" of the nail. 

As the pup matures, many owners find that a grinder tool works much better than a clipper. Some dogs need to learn to tolerate the noise, but once they do, grinding down nails can be fast and easy. 

Week 2

The eyes of the Boxer puppy may begin to open. This is a slow process in which they will open bigger and for more time each day. Puppies will still be nesting near mom. You should take a bit more time to handle the puppies. This is done to slowly allow the mother to become used to you holding them and for the puppies to begin bonding with you.

Week 3

The Boxer puppy's eyes should be completely open. Ears will be open now, as well. The ear canal should be fully formed. This is a bit of a noisy time, as the Boxer puppies will begin to find their "voices" and begin to bark.

A 3 week old Boxer will have an urge to leave the whelping box. They will have an instinctual urge to eliminate outside of their resting and sleeping area. One side of the box can be removed, with newspapers placed right outside.

A 2nd box can be connected to the 1st whelping box. This will allow the pups to have room to romp around and play. This will also give the Boxer mom time to rest without her puppies jumping all over her. Allowing the puppies to play with each other in a safe and comfortable box is a necessary part of the first socialization they need.
Week 4 

When does a Boxer puppy begin eating solid food? The weaning process begins just about now, in Week #4. 

It should be a mixture of 1/4 wet puppy dog food blended with 3/4 of water to create a very soupy and soft mixture.
You may also wish to offer the very health option of homemade meals of only fresh ingredients. 

Start with small amounts. It will be a slow yet steady process for a puppy's digestive system to become used to solid food.

Extra heating can be removed. The room should be at a comfortable 72 F ( 22.22 C).
Week 5

You should begin introducing small toys to the puppy. The weight of the puppy should still be checked, this can be done every other day now. Normal weight varies very much but should fall in the range of 2 lbs. (.9 kilograms) to 4 lbs. (1.81 kilograms). Feeding should change slightly, with more puppy food and less water. 

The dam may want to spend more time away from the puppies. This is where an owner must step in and have much more interaction with the puppies. While still fragile, they should be more than happy to be patted, cuddled and played with.  
Week 6

A Boxer puppy will be eating quite a bit of puppy dog food than before. Too young to be house trained, this may be a messy week or 2 since bowel movements will become more frequent. While it is too early to expect a puppy to be trained yet, if the weather is warm and day this is a great week to introduce a puppy to the outside world. 

If you are caring for more than 1 pup, take each one outside separately or 2 at the most. Always keep the Boxer on a leash and beware of any dogs in the area. Allow them to become used to what grass feels like! Allow a pup to enjoy the warmth of the sun and the refreshment of a cool breeze. 
Week 7
Puppies may not be nursing at all any more. They should be spending quite a bit of time with you and with the other puppies. Going outside should be a daily routine. The dam should be brought outside with the pups; she will use this time to teach them skills. This is the time to be very close to a dog's normal routine of grooming, feeding, exercise and play time.

Week 8

This is the week that the puppies will receive their 1st vaccinations. If you will not be keeping the puppies, now is the time to begin the process of finding them a good home. All prospective owners should be evaluated fully. Make home visits if possible. Do not be afraid to ask many questions. Never sell or give away a Boxer if you are not 100% convinced that the dog is going to a kind, happy, safe and loving home.

If you will be keeping all or some of the puppies, now is the time to fall into normal care for your dog. Housebreaking training can begin as well as falling back into your normal schedule.
See Also:

Boxer puppy care - Overview of what is needed to take great care of a new Boxer puppy. 
Boxer dog questions and answers - Round-up of some of the most common issues and care elements with the Boxer breed. 
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