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Drew, I have a three week old litter of Golden Retriever…

Hi Dr Drew, I have...
Hi Dr Drew, I have a three week old litter of Golden Retriever puppies. They are all healthy aggressive eaters except one of the girls. She is a pound lighter than the other girls and isn't as strong or as aggressive as the others. I try to help her eat alone with the dam. I have tried to bottle feed her as well but, she has no interest in that. She looks frail and not as lively as the rest, should I be concerned or anything else I can try.
Thank You. Tim
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Answered in 46 minutes by:
3/21/2018
Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 20,399
Experience: Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 18+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
Verified

Hi Tim,

Welcome to Just Answer. My name is Jane. I have been involved professionally with dogs in the healthcare and behavioral fields for over 20 years. I’ve worked as a Vet Assistant and Behaviorist and have extensive experience in dog reproduction, as a breeder, for even longer than that.. Canine behavioral issues and training are also my specialties. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

Generally speaking if a pup is failing to thrive or not gaining weight there is a good chance there is a health issue present. It may be that the pup was the runt and the other pups pushed the little one away from mom. It might also be that this particular pup has a heavier load of parasites than the other pups have and thus does not gain weight as fast. In most cases, if it is a health issue and of a serious nature, the pup does not make it this long.

At three weeks of age, you can start weaning the pups. This means you can start offering them a gruel of puppy food soaked in puppy formula. You can feed the little one more often and from her own bowl so you ensure she gets sufficient quantities of food to help her growth. You might also get her some nutrical (nutritional supplement) to ensure she gets adequate nutrients in addition to the puppy food.

With the start of weaning you can then see if she starts to gain weight better. If she still fails to gain weight at a good rate, then I would definitely have her checked out by your vet.

Puppies should be dewormed at 2, 4, 6 and 8 weeks of age. Mom should be dewormed at the same time. This will eliminate worms as the cause of her failure to grow at the same rate as the other pups.

I sincerely ***** ***** I have helped you. Please remember to rate my service by selecting the 5 stars at the top of the screen ( rating me now does not close your question). We can continue here until you are satisfied, simply use the reply box and let me know. Thank you!

Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 20,399
Experience: Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 18+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
Verified
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Hi Jane, Thank you for the info.
Regarding the term runt of the litter, is that a true fact or does it just describe the puppy who gets over powered and doesn't get to eat as much. I always wandered! For deworming the puppies is there a certain type or dose and concerns administering it. Is it recommended to let them breast feed up to 6 weeks if the dam allows it. When you do transition them to puppy food is it recommended to feed them outside to not make a mess in there whelping box!
Thanks

The smallest weakest pup in the litter is often referred to as the runt. Often that pup catches up and passes the other pups even before they are 8 weeks old. In other cases, they just end up larger than the others in the litter. In other cases they remain smaller than the others in the litter. It is just a term breeders use for the smaller pup.

Some dewormers are made for very young pups. They all include dosage information on the bottle and are pretty safe for young pups. Here is one that I personally have used.

https://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=522

The way I like to wean is at around 3 weeks of age when they start getting teeth, I offer them puppy food that has been soaked in formula until it is totally puffed up and falling apart. You offer that before you let them nurse on mom. If they are hungry they will be more willing to eat the puppy food. As they eat less off of mom, she will produce less milk and they will eat more food and naturally wean by around 5 weeks of age. Now smaller breeds tend to nurse longer but larger breeds wean earlier as they grow so much faster.

The issue with weaning is that once they start on mostly puppy food, mom stops ingesting their feces and urine. This can cause the whelping area to become even harder to clean since mom won't be helping. I personally start feeding inside with paper but usually transition to feeding outside after a week. It teaches them to eliminate on grass and dirt and actually helps with house training later.

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