Common Runt Puppy Problems

While there are a host of puppy problems that any young dog can face, it oftentimes seems as though the runt of the litter has to deal with more challenges than the other members of the litter do. The runt is the puppy that is the smallest out of the entire litter, and there are a number of different ramifications that can develop as a result of this early stage of his life. A runt may experience the effects of these problems for many years to come after he is born. Read on for a few of the most common problems that the runt puppy in a litter is likely to face.

Smaller Size

The most important problem for most runts is that they're smaller in size than their brothers and sisters. The reason for this is that runt puppies are actually conceived later on than the other puppies in the litter. When a female dog is in heat, she can conceive multiple times throughout that window. The runt is typically the last puppy to be conceived; it must still be born at the same time as the other dogs, however.

If a runt is not properly cared for, it can have a very difficult time finding the food that it needs among all of its other siblings. It is simply not strong enough or large enough to have access to its mother's milk or to other food.

Weak Bones

Because they are naturally smaller than the other dogs in the litter, the runts are likely to have weaker bones and frailer bodies in general than their siblings. This can easily be remedied with some special care on the part of the owner of the dogs, who must be sure to provide the runt with supplements to aid in bone growth. However, if this action is not taken properly, the runt will likely retain many of the problems associated with weak bones for years to come after he is born.

Lack of Antibodies

Runt puppies oftentimes miss out on the mother's milk that is essential for providing them with antibodies against a variety of different diseases and conditions. This first milk is literally the primary meal that all puppies have after being born, and it is crucial to their immune system development. If the runt can't manage to compete with his siblings for a portion of this milk, he will go through his first days and weeks without any protection against a variety of diseases and other conditions that occur. In these cases, the runt will oftentimes become ill and die before he develops past a few weeks in age.

Most or all of the problems that runt puppies experience can be ameliorated by careful action on the part of a human being. If your dog is set to give birth, make sure that you know how to properly deal with the runt to protect his health.