Do we deserve puppies? They often seem heaven-sent, especially when they're just a month or so out of the womb, have delicious puppy breath, soft fuzzy fur, and truly look at us for the first time with their inimitable eyes.
Newborn puppies have very little in common with six-month-old pups. They're helpless, mewling bundles that sleep for most of the day and night.
Depending on the breed, newborns can have disproportionately large hobbit-like feet, among other characteristics you're bound to be interested in too.
Newborn puppies are born with closed eyes and ears that don't open for about two weeks.
Dogs are altricial, meaning they're undeveloped when born because of shorter pregnancy terms. The optical receptors still need time to mature, so after 14 days of shut-eye, your pup can detect motion, but that's pretty much it.
The world's a blur that steadily clears up over the next two months. Hearing improves steadily in the first five weeks after birth.
When puppies are born, they are toothless, gummy cuties, just like newborn babies. But unlike human infants, baby dogs start developing their first set of teeth around the three-week mark. By six weeks, the full set of 28 deciduous teeth are in place, and you can begin gently brushing at this time.
By about four months, baby teeth fall out or are swallowed and are replaced by 42 permanent teeth. Sometimes, deciduous teeth don't get the memo and stick around too long, making extraction by a vet necessary. This condition is more common in brachycephalic breeds with flat faces.
Dog breeds can look as different as a pineapple and a grape. Some breeds have big heads that make a normal birth difficult. For example, bulldogs, terriers, mastiffs, Pekingese, and Clumber spaniels have relatively large noggins. As a result, they are scheduled for caesareans more often than their slender-headed peers.
Emergency and elective c-sections are both possible, and your vet can advise you about what's best for the health of the mother and the pups.
For the most part, the smaller the breed, the fewer pups are produced in a litter. Chihuahuas typically give birth to two to five puppies, but there are rare exceptions when ten tiny pups show up.
Can you guess the Guinness World Record for the number of puppies in a litter? It's two dozen! A Neapolitan mastiff named Tia set the record in 2004 after a C-section delivery. One puppy was stillborn, and three passed away within a week, and this degree of infant mortality is sad but not unusual.
Puppy breath smells like sweet innocence. It's distinctive, and you'll want to breathe it in rather than push your pup's mouth away.
The pleasant odor results from clean teeth, lactose in the mother's milk, and the oral microbiome, and the bacteria present at this stage of a dog's life don't produce stinkiness, so puppy mouths are a joy.
If you don't detect this addictive scent, it's not the end of the world, but it's best to consult with a healthcare practitioner in case of a health issue.
Puppies can be born green and look a bit like the Grinch who stole Christmas. It's rare, but it happens with dogs with light fur.
Dog placentas contain a green pigment called biliverdin, which can stain a newborn's coat. It's temporary and lasts a few weeks, so if you were hoping for a green dog, you might have to wait for the metaverse.
Puppies yawn a lot. They yawn when they're tired or unstimulated, and they yawn when they're stressed out. Do you know when they don't yawn? Research suggests it's when others yawn.
Grown dogs contagiously yawn, and so do preschoolers. That's because, by the time a dog is one and a human is four, they've developed empathy, leading to yawning in response to a yawn. But human and dog babies still need to build social skills and awareness.
Studies suggest that puppies do indeed like baby talk—you're not imagining it. They get excited when they hear the coochy coos, high register, and the odd cadence. You'll notice them bark and move toward the speaker. But it's something they outgrow just like humans.
Adult dogs are unmoved by baby talk, and adult humans (at least those without weird fetishes) are totally put off by another person talking to them in this infantilized manner.
Dalmatians are born white—it's a breed trait, and their famous spots only come in after three months. Bonus spots can pop up over many years.
It's not common, but some dalmatians don't ever go on to get their spots, and some are born with black patches that disqualify them from show competitions.
Puppy lovers, assemble. If you're looking for pilgrimage ideas, there's no better location to put on your itinerary than Bilbao.
This Spanish city has had a 17-ton floral sculpture in the shape of a little West Highland terrier since 1997. It's 40 feet tall, adorned with 37,000 fresh flowers, and has become iconic for the Guggenheim museum and this part of the Basque Country.
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