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Pug puppy: early seperation, flu, not eating much

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Hi all,

First time posters / dog owners. Our two main questions are:

  • how best to care for a pug puppy that has been separated from mother too early (four weeks)
  • our puppy had his shots earlier this week, has the flu, and has eaten very little since. This is worrying us and we’re not sure (I) how best to encourage him to eat and (ii) how quickly we should return to the vet.

We bought a pug puppy recently, his name is Larry Pugzilla. We bought him from an online firm we thought was reputable, but unfortunately the vet has confirmed he was only about four weeks when we got him. This was incredibly frustrating and scary for us, its horrific to know that this is too young for such a separation and we’re keen to do what we can to minimise any problems.

Larry was fairly active for the first couple of days, trotting around the flat, petting with us, and sleeping in our arms. However, he then started eating and drinking quite a lot less, and only spending time in his crate. The vet confirmed he had common flu, and also that he hadnt had his shots, which he was given on Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday earlier this week.

Today, for example, in the last 24 hours we’ve tried feeding him nutritional gel, and goats milk. We’re trying chicken later today (he drunk chicken broth recently but refused to eat chicken). But in short, over the last two days, we think he’s eaten about 20% of what we’d have expected him to.

We’ve also noticed he sounds like he’s got a lot of phlegm (on top of the usual pug noises).

Other than that he seems reasonably OK, sleeping a lot, walking around a bit, he’s drinking ok (goats milk), less than we’d like perhaps but this doesn't feel as big an issue as the eating.

The vet told us he seemed healthy otherwise and we just need to make sure he starts eating.

Interested in any advice here, how to get a puppy to eat more, at what point to return to the vet, and the larger question of the best steps to take for a pup that has been separated too early from mama. I'm sure the early separation point will fill some readers with rage like it does us, sorry for disturbing anyone and we appreciate just how sick this kind of act is.

Many thanks,

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I'm so sorry you've had to deal with this. People who cut corners with breeding, pump out as many puppies as possible, and talk a smooth game to convince buyers they're reputable are depressingly common, and have been especially bad lately due to demand for puppies (and pets in general) spiking due to lockdowns. Don't be too hard on yourself - these are practiced con artist who make their livelihood tricking people.

At this point I'd call the vet back about him not eating. Baby puppies can decline incredibly quickly when they're sick. Like human babies, they're incredibly prone to dehydration and hypoglycemia, and them not eating or drinking enough is a much bigger and scarier problem than it is for adult dogs. Your puppy may be eating and drinking enough for your vet to be satisfied he's doing well, but that needs to be a call made by a trained veterinary professional who, if necessary, can physically examine him. Good luck, and keep us updated!
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