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8. Finding Homes for the Puppies and Vaccinations


When will I be able to place the puppies in homes?

 Most puppies can be placed in their new homes at around eight weeks of age. Puppies should remain with the litter this long to ensure proper weaning and social development. Puppies that are taken from the litter and mother earlier than this are known to have an increased amount of behavioral problems.

What about vaccinations?  Should I keep the pups until this has been completed?

 Puppies receive some immunity to the major canine diseases from their mother before and shortly after birth through the first milk or colostrum. This is particularly true if the motherís vaccinations are up to date. These maternal antibodies protect puppies against diseases to which the mother is immune. It is important to ensure that any inoculations are administered prior to mating your dog.

 Maternal antibodies and their protection last only a few weeks. After this time the puppy becomes susceptible to disease. The duration of maternal antibodies is variable and depends on several factors. Vaccine technology has made tremendous progress over the last few years and a puppy can now be safely vaccinated at five to six weeks of age. Most puppies will receive two to three vaccinations against the common canine diseases as they grow. Our hospital will give you vaccine recommendations based on your petís breed, risk and lifestyle.

 What about the mother?  Do I have to do anything to dry up her milk supply?

 Staring at approximately three weeks after birth, as you start to wean the puppies, they will gradually feed less and less from the motherís milk. She will be happy to leave the nest for longer and longer periods and, depending on her breed or type, will probably enjoy increased periods of exercise and physical activity. At the same time, her milk supply should be diminishing naturally and the frequency and quantity of food you are feeding her should also be decreased.

 If you need any help, please contact us.


This client information sheet is based on material written by Ernest E. Ward Jr., DVM

 © Copyright 2002 Lifelearn Inc. Used with permission under license. June 30, 2004.