how do dog mothers care for and nurture babies?
Right after all her puppies have been whelped, the momma dog starts to clean and nurse them. The colostrum that she feeds them before her milk comes in gives them essential (but temporary) immunity to many viruses and diseases.
She nurses them and keeps them clean and warm for around 3 weeks or so, then she begins to wean them naturally by refusing to let them nurse for long periods. In the wild, wolves often regurgitate some of their food to feed their pups (sort of 'baby food'), and some domestic dogs do this too.
The puppies learn social behavior and how to act and behave around other dogs and humans from their mom.
By 7 or 8 weeks old, the puppies are eating and drinking by themselves are are ready to go to their new homes.
You might find my New Born Puppies and Puppy Development pages interesting.
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