New Puppy Litter Blog - Stage 1: Neonatal

Day 1

The training and socialisation a young dog receives in its first year of life is vitally important to help it grow into a happy and well adapted adult. You may already know that dogs go through 5 very important developmental stages during puppyhood. All breeds differ in terms of lifestage development. For the purposes of this blog series we will base the timing on Truffle and her Chocolate Lab puppies. The key stages then are:

  • Neonatal Stage: Newborn to 2 weeks of age
  • Transitional Stage: 2 - 3 weeks of age
  • Socialisation Stage: 3 - 12 weeks of age
  • Juvenile Stage: 3 - 7 months of age
  • Adulthood: 7 months onwards

As a breeder and owner, it is really important that we are aware of these different developmental stages, but he time frame between the stages is only a rough guide. Understanding what our puppies need from us to help them through their socialisation and training is the essential bit. The actual time at which they reach the next stage can vary due to differences in breed, genetics and the individual puppy.

New Pups!

OSCAR franchisees Jill and Steve Tubbs, of Gloucestershire-Wilts, have just heard the tiny patter of puppy feet! Their chocolate Labrador, Truffle, gave birth to 6 healthy puppies on Saturday 30th of June. We will be following Truffle and her adorable litter over the next 8 weeks through their socialisation and development.

The litter are just one week old and in the neonatal period. They are completely dependent on their mother, Truffle.

Pups Feeding

Neonatal Stage

The neonatal period is the first stage of a puppy's development and lasts from birth to two weeks. During this time, the puppies are highly dependent on their mother for protection, warmth, care and food. Newborn puppies are born without teeth and are both blind and deaf. They are also unable to regulate their own body temperature or defecate and urinate.

Keep out

It's important that Truffle and her litter are kept somewhere in the house where it is quiet and stress-free. During this time the mother is bonding with her litter, whilst attending to their needs.

Rest time

Feeding 6 hungry puppies is hard work for Truffle, so it is important that she is fed a complete puppy food to keep her body fuelled with the nutrients she needs in order to produce enough milk and keep herself healthy. Truffle is being fed OSCAR Healthy Growth Puppy Food, with an increased feeding rate, to help keep her body full of the nutrients she needs during this phase.

During this neonatal period the litter will benefit from gentle handling by family members.

Next Time: The Transitional Stage


We hope this advice is useful for you and your pet family. Maybe your friends and family would like to read this too? Please feel free to share...



If you'd like bespoke advice from our behaviourist Shelley; give us a call on 0800 195 8000 or email helpline@oscars.co.uk or contact us and we'll call you back.

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