Some may be surprised to learn that the most important period of a French Bulldog’s life is during the first week. The early care and environment of the French Bulldog newborn puppy are very important. Reasons a French Bulldog puppy might die early on are usually due to difficult whelping, congenital or genetic defects, environmental factors (i.e. too cool or drafty), infection, viruses, toxic milk or insufficient nourishment.
Things to have handy in case of an emergency:
- – a box of Amoxi-Drops
- – anti-biotic ointment
- – anti-diarrhea medication (like Biosol, Kaolin-Pectin, or Neo-Pectilin)
- – thermometer
- – Vaseline
- – Karo syrup or honey
- – tube feeding kit (#10 feeding tube and 10cc feeding syringe)
- several cans of puppy formula (like Esbilac; however, it is very important that a French Bulldog puppy get its mother’s milk if at all possible during the first 5 days to protect it from infection and give it antibodies from the mother’s milk)
You can purchase pre-made formula from your vet and outside of the mother’s milk, it is best. However, the following formula is cheaper and provides all the nutrition. It’s been used by many people and gives good results:
l can Carnation evaporated milk (some prefer canned goat’s milk. Many use it instead of evaporated milk – both can be found in the bakery section of your grocery store. Use one or the other, but not both)
Add equal part plain unflavored Pedialyte* (use instead of water: 12 ounces of canned goats milk + 12 ounces of pedialyte, found in the baby section of your grocery store), plus: l egg yolk (the yellow part) and l tablespoon liquid pectin (found in the bakery section of grocery store. If you cant find this, use honey instead – same amount, or you may use 1/2 tablespoon honey and 1/2 tablespoon liquid pectin.)* Pedialyte can sometimes cause the puppies to start getting constipated when they get to be a few weeks old. If this seems to be, change to bottled water to make the formula.
Because of their inability to maintain body temperature, the greatest danger during the first week of life is chilling. Keeping the litter box tempature between 83-86 degrees (with no drafts) for the first few days is usually adequate. Other sources of warmth can be heating pads or heat lamps. If using a heating pad, monitor the intensity of heat, as pups have been known to cook on pads set on high settings!
There are many excellent heat lamps on the market, but remember that caution is needed. Heat lamps have been known to start fires! The temperature on the French Bulldog puppies (1 inch above the bottom of the box) should be about 85-88 degrees with a corner that is slightly cooler and allow them to scoot to wherever they like best. There should also be plenty of clean blankets, as this will allow for regulation of temperature. If a French Bulldog puppy has its mouth open, it’s too hot. If a French Bulldog puppy is too cool, it often won’t show anything – but it can be deadly.
Hydration is one of the most important things to monitor in new Frenchie pups, as it can be one of the first signs of problems. Check hydration by by pinching the skin on the back of the neck or on the top of the back. If the pinched skin stays creased, the French Bulldog puppy is dehydrated and needs fluid replacement. Also, a dehydrated Frenchie pup’s coat will sometimes have a ruffled or scruffy appearance. Dehydration can either be a result of inadequate nourishment, too much heat, or sickness. Accompanied by diarrhea and/or vomiting, it can be dangerous and fatal.
It is strongly suggested that you use regular newborn or infant bottles and nipples. The ones available for purchase for cats, dogs, ferrets, etc. aren’t recommended since it has a tendency to allow air in the stomach. Bottle feeding is far more preferable. The sucking on a nipple, the handling and holding of the French Bulldog puppy is so very important to their overall development. The French Bulldog puppy should be held with his head upwards and his body and tail down in a 45 to 90 degreee angle when bottle feeding.
French Bulldog Puppies: Keep clean and warm. If French Bulldog puppies and their blankets are not kept clean, it is very easy to come down with a staph infection and diarrhea – which is serious, as Frenchie puppies can go downhill quickly. As mentioned before, it is equally serious if the French Bulldog puppies get chilled so avoid drafts. Even if you have them in a basket with a heating pad, you need to cover the basket with a towel to keep out drafts. A chilled French Bulldog puppy must be warmed up. Put it in a pocket so that it’s warm and jiggled as you walk around, or if you are a woman put it in your bra for your body heat. There are lots of little ways to accomplish it. Don’t worry about feeding formula to a chilled French Bulldog puppy because it will have the opposite effect: their body cannot handle the food and makes it all the worse for the French Bulldog puppy. Priority should be to get the Frenchie puppy warmed up slowly.
Newborn French Bulldog puppies cannot regulate their body temperature or body functions(like urinating and stools). It is important that they are pottied at each feeding. They might not have a stool each time, but they will urinate. This is what the mother does when she licks them. But some mothers don’t want to be bothered, especially the first few days. After that, she will become a good mommy. Some might start off being good, then after a few days, or even a couple of weeks, not want to be bothered and might even be nasty to the puppies such as snapping and biting them. Always be careful and watch. Don’t leave her alone until the Frenchie pups are big enough not to be laid on, or big enough that you know that the bitch is a good mother.
If the mother will not clean the babies, you must be sure to do it. Using a kleenex, gently rub the area to stimulate their potty. Then be sure to clean them well. Make sure to check them even if the mother cleans them. Often the stool will get stuck to the tail and be dry. If that happens, or if the French Bulldog puppy seems to be straining and constipated, try the following: Run warm water in the sink slowly. Put a drop of soap on their behinds, and wash and massage their behinds; it will get the tail and poop unstuck, clean them up, and cause them to potty very well. Make sure they are well rinsed, and dried thoroughly (so they don’t get chilled). If the little bottoms are red and sore, use some Desitin ointment.
French Bulldog puppy stools are normally fairly soft, but formed and usually yellow/brown in color. You may see green puppy stools and stools that have an appearance of bunches of tiny seeds. If all else seems normal, this seems to be harmless and short-lived. However, watery diarrhea can be very serious if left unchecked. There can be many causes, like the mother’s diet, or infection. Diarrhea together with vomiting usually means infection.
For the first 3- 5 days an average French Bulldog puppy (10-14 ouncer) will take about 10 cc’s every 3-4 hours. It should be broken into feedings every 2 hours (5cc per feeding). If it is a good sized Frenchie puppy (1 lb. or more), then he might take more. Towards the end of a week, you should increase the food needed to about 15-20 cc or more. For the first week they should eat every two hours. If they are good size Frenchie babies, you can sometimes go longer. By the second week, as long as you don’t have any problems and they are of good size, you can usually go 3-4 hours between feedings.
An average weight for newborn French Bulldog puppies is around 10-14 ounces. Good size puppies are 14-18 oz.