Newborn puppies cry. It is a sweet sound at times and other times, it can be quite worrisome. In fact, like human babies, when newborn puppies cry, they are often trying to tell you something. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to figure out the reason and also how to make newborn puppies stop crying.
Thankfully, in this article, we will go over why newborn puppies cry, how to get them to stop, and when to seek medical help for your puppies’ crying.
The Difference Between Puppies
Before we look at newborn puppy crying in general, I wanted to mention that there is a diffence between litters and puppies. Some litters tend to be more vocal for no apparent reason, others tend to be quieter. Always base what you are going to do on the individual needs of each litter.
Additionally, orphaned litters tend to cry more than puppies raised with their mom. This can be due to a number of factors but it is linked to mom not being there and puppies having a harder time settling.
Another thing to mention is that singleton puppies can cry more than large litters. This is due to not having the comfort of siblings around them, even with mom. Usually, breeders will set up a stuffed animal for puppies to snuggle up next to. This makes it much easier on them. There are even stuffed animals that can be heated up.
Why Do Newborn Puppies Cry?
So, besides what I’ve already explained, there are a number of reasons why puppies will cry. Some things are easy to fix, others may mean that you need your vet to intervene. Instead of giving you a straight list of reasons why, I am going to list the reason and how to stop puppies from crying for that specific reason.
One of the most common reasons why puppies cry is because of the temperature in their whelping area. Too cold and puppies will cry, too warm and they can cry as well.
To determine if your puppies are too hot or too cold, you can look at how they are laying. When they are piled up on top of each other and crying, it can be a sign that they are too cold and are trying to get warm from their siblings. When they are spread out wide and away from each other, they are too warm.
Being too cold can lead to a number of problems. First, a puppy that is too cold can have digestion problems. They may not eat as it can make them lethargic and they will have a harder time digesting food. The rule of thumb to listen to is to never feed a cold puppy.
Furthermore, being too cold can affect growth and could lead to some abnormalities.
Too much heat, puppies can become dehydrated. This can lead to serious complications for the puppies as dehydration affects them quickly.
During those first few weeks of birth, puppies cannot maintain their own body temperature, so it is important that you keep the whelping box at ideal temperatures. Temperatures should be the following:
- Birth to 1 week old: 85 to 90°F
- 1 week old to 4 weeks old: 80°F
- 5 weeks old to 8 weeks old: 72°F
This fix is easy simply by maintaining the whelping box temperatures and providing heating surfaces. If a puppy is cold, you can place him in your shirt to warm him or on a heating pad wrapped in blankets. You want to make sure that you warm him up gradually. Quickly warming him up can lead to several problems.
Another common reason for newborn puppies to cry is that they are hungry. Generally, when you hear your puppies crying, you check if it is feeding time yet, and what the temperature is. Chances are, it is one or the other.
One thing that I want to mention is that puppies who cry because they are hungry can indicate problems. Some reasons why they are crying are:
- Mom is not producing enough milk.
- Mom’s milk may be toxic and they are getting sick from it.
- They are struggling to suckle.
- They are being pushed out by larger siblings.
To fix this, you need to watch mom and puppies to determine what is causing the crying. If mom isn’t producing enough, or her milk is toxic, you will need to help increase her milk production or seek medical help.
You may also need to pull your puppies off and bottle feed them to make sure they are getting enough food. With nursing, the puppies needs will change as they get older. The older they are, the more active they are, and the more food they will need. If puppies are close to the age when you start weaning, you may have to start introducing the weaning process to help them stay full.
Stress really covers everything from cold to medical issues but I wanted to talk about it on its own. When a puppy isn’t happy, its stressed. When a puppy is introduced to a new stimuli, it is stressed. Stress can be good and it can also be bad.
Some reasons for stress, which will also result in crying, are:
- Mom is not there: Whether the puppies are orphaned, or mom just stepped out for a break, her not being there can be stressful for the puppies. They may cry until she comes back or until they go back to sleep. The fix for this stress is for mom to go back with them, or for you to hold them and give them attention. I have laid down on the floor with puppies and they stop crying and simply crawl up to snuggle against me.
- Isolation: If a puppy is being isolated, for health reasons or because he is a singleton, then he may cry more. Puppies are social creatures, even at a young age, and do not do well when they are isolated. To stop an isolated puppy from crying, provide him with a warm stuffed animal as mentioned already or hold him and give him the comfort he needs.
- Fear: When puppies are fearful, such as when they hear an unfamiliar sound, they may start crying.
- Socialization Event: There are many things that you will do with socializing that may startle the puppies. They may even be a little bit painful, such as vaccinations at the vet. During this time, the puppies may cry.
With any type of stress, you want to remove the stressor if you can. If you can’t, then comfort the puppy. Don’t praise the puppy for crying but give him love and comfort for settling. Puppies become very bonded with their breeders and when their breeders are calm and loving, they learn quickly that everything will be okay.
Like hunger, puppies will cry when their tummies are upset or they are having a hard time going to the bathroom. For the first part, you need to find out why their tummies are upset. You can give baby gas drops for gas but there may be other reasons, which means that you may need to take them to the vet.
For that latter, you can help them eliminate. Once they have a bowel movement, they may feel much better and should stop crying. To find out how to make a puppy poop, read our article on it.
Another thing, especially for formula fed puppies, is that the formula is making their tummies upset. If it is a cow based formula, which can lead to stomach upset in puppies, you will want to switch to a goat’s milk or other type of formula. You may have to try different formulas until you find the one that works.
Finally, make sure your puppies are warm. Remember, if they are cold, they won’t digest their food properly, which will lead to digestion problems and crying.
Finally, puppies may cry due to medical reasons and it is often caused by pain and discomfort. Like all animals, puppies can have gas, which can lead to pain and crying. This can often be treated with baby gas drops but may also need veterinarian care.
Cleft palates, digestive abnormalities and other health problems can lead to crying for various reasons.
If your puppies are still crying when they are warm and full, you should discuss with your vet what to do. It may be something medical, which means that your puppies will need medication or other type of veterinarian intervention.
As you can see, finding out the reason why your puppies are crying is the first step to actually stopping their cries. By finding out the why, you can help them feel better and this will stop their crying. Be patient and remember that raising a healthy and happy litter takes a large amount of your time but when they are cuddling with you, it’s worth all the effort to get them to stop crying.