Plan and prepare for the worst, then hope for the best! This is the safest approach.
A. General Care:
1. The puppy needs a two week adjustment period. You can gradually train your puppy to adapt to your schedule and lifestyle AFTER the adjustment period.
2. Because small-breed puppies have a higher metabolic requirement per pound of body weight than large-breed puppies, they require more protein and fat to support their energy needs. Thus, you need to feed your puppy a high-quality food. It does not need to be a puppy food, specifically, but it's not a bad idea to at least start out with a puppy food, a grain free food, and/or use an added source of fat and protein, such as Nutri-Stat or Nutri-Cal.
Your puppy is being fed a high quality puppy kibbe that's high in calories and protien. Your puppy is getting both canned and kibble. If it is difficult for your puppy to eat the kibble, you can use a coffee grinder to make the kibble easier for your puppy to consume. It is also helpful to add plain or vanilla whole-fat yogurt or cottage cheese. The cultures will be helpful for the puppy's digestion. If diarrhea developes, discontinue the cultured dairy products and use probiotic capsules as stated in #5.
3. Toy breed puppies need to "graze" all day long. They cannot consume enough food in one sitting to last them very long. It's imperative that you have food available at all times for your puppy to munch on. You can safely leave wet food out for a couple of hours. Don't leave only kibble out until you have observed your puppy consuming the kibble without difficulty. (Even though the puppy gets kibble at our house, he/she will regress at the new home.) At night, leave some sweetened cereal out for your puppy to eat as he/she sees fit. A cereal that is "puffed" is preferred, as opposed to something like frosted corn flakes which can be more difficult for your puppy to chew and swallow.
4. We highly recommend feeding your puppy a one-inch strip of Nutri-Stat, Nutri-Cal, or their equivalent, three times a day during the adjustment period. (It is advisable to have some of this on hand before your puppy's arrival.)
5. We highly recommend giving your puppy some probiotics on a regular basis, and especially during the adjustment period. You can buy capsules at a drug store, some grocery stores, or Walmart. The capsule can be emptied into a day's worth of wet food for your puppy.
6. Of course, the puppy needs to have fresh water available in a clean bowl at all times. Bottled water should be used during the adjustment period. The puppy can gradually be weaned off the bottled water after he/she is settled in. It's a good idea to sweeten the water just a bit with clear Karo (or a generic brand) corn syrup - approx. 1 tsp. per 8 ounces. This will encourage your puppy to stay hydrated and will also help preven hypoglycemia.
7. We recommend that you do NOT crate train your puppy until the puppy is well adjusted and eating well. A baby play pen or a small exercise pen is best for your puppy. Before your puppy arrived, he/she was accustomed to a 3 X 4 foot pen with a bed, food, water, and puppy pads. A similar enclosure would work best for your new puppy initially.
8. Don't leave your puppy alone in the exercise pen without some toys. Your puppy needs a squeeky toy and a soft, cuddly toy. A "chewy" is a good idea to have available for your puppy, too. (We will send along a beef stip or other appropriate chewy when you get your new puppy.) You can purchase the smallest Kong toys which can be stuffed with something tasty. This will provide your puppy with entertainment and may help to whet the puppy's appetite.
9. Keep the puppy's experiences as calm as possible during the adjustment period of two weeks. Do not play with or handle your puppy for longer than 20 minutes at a time without allowing the puppy access to food, water, and rest. Remember, a puppy can sleep as much a 20 hours a day, and will need more rest than average during the adjustment period.
10. If your puppy is not eating adequate amounts of food, you will need to check on your puppy at least once during the night to make sure he/she gets some nutrition. Otherwise, you may wake up to a puppy that is in hypoglycemic shock.
11. Do not let your puppy have the run of your house before he/she is several months old. This is because your puppy may not remember how to make the journey back to the food and water supply, which puts your puppy at risk of becomeing hypoglycemic. At our house, we start gradually, giving our puppies the run of one room, then two, etc.
B. What Can Cause Problems?
1. Stress is your puppy's No. 1 enemy. Going to a new home is very stressful to a small breed puppy. So is traveling, becoming chilled, extra handling, and playing too much or too long. Don't allow your puppy to play more than 20 minutes at a time, initially, before having time to rest. (This time can gradaully be lengthened up to one hour, but not more than one hour during the first several weeks.) Then give the puppy some Nutri-Stat and put him/her in the playpen where there should be food and water available.
2. If your puppy goes more than 4 - 8 hours without eating, depending the puppy's size and stress level, he/she is at risk of becoming hypoglycemic. Hypoglycemic shock is an emergency and can easily lead to to death. Hypoglycemia is also 100% preventable, with a bit of effort, and can be remedied fairly quickly with something sweet. (NO artificial sweeteners, please, and NO Xylitol.) Chronic hypoglycemia can result in high vulnerablitity to other health problems. Chronic hypoglycemia is 100% preventable.
3. Diarrhea can be caused by stress, a change in diet, a change in water, bacterial overgrowth, or maybe even finding something behind the couch or in the yard and consuming it without anyone's knowledge. Also, undetected parasites can cause diarrhea. (Please be assured no puppy leaves us unless the puppy has been wormed and has had a negative microscopic fecal exam. However, this is not fool proof.) Vomiting would fit into this category, too. It is not uncommon for small puppies to vomit up fluids if their tummy is empty. Diarrhea/vomiting can cause your puppy to quickly become dehydrated. A young puppy that is dehydrated is a serious condition that needs to be remedied by your vet. If you are a long distance from your vet and your puppy becomes dehydrated, be sure to have supplies on hand to give your puppy a hydrating enema. Better yet, be extra careful not to let your puppy become dehydrated.
How to determine if your puppy is dehydrated:
Pinch/pull up some of the puppy's skin behind his neck, give it a slight, half-twist, and let go. If the skin goes back to it's normal position in the normal amount of time, you puppy is hydrated. If the skin takes a little extra time to go back to it's normal position, your puppy is mildly dehydrated. If the skin stays up, you must do something immediately to get your puppy hydrated. The puppy will need a puppy enema and/or an immediate trip to the vet. Contact your vet for instructions.
4. Physical trauma can cause stress and all the symptoms that accompany stress. A small puppy can suffer from physical trauma very easily. Whether or not the puppy acts injured is not a reliable indication of whether or not the puppy is hurt. Instinct will tell a canine not to give any indication of being injured or in pain. This is due to the pack instinct which warns that a "weak link" can endager the entire pack. If your puppy wiggles out of someone's arms, or off of someone's lap (Let's face it - we are all merely human and certainly fallible.), this can cause the puppy to suffer a mild form of physical trauma and pain, which the puppy will probably hide outwardly, but you will know something is wrong based on the stress related symptoms. Of course, if the puppy is seriously injured, there will be definite signs, such as limping or disorientation.
C. What Are the Symptoms of Stress or Hypoglycemia?
1. Refusal to eat or drink is a big warning sign.
2. Listlessness or depression.
3. Lack of coordination; being "wobbly" or shaky.
5. Weakness or lethargy; being droopy or having tremors.
9. Laying on side and "paddling" legs.
10. Being nonresponsive.
D. What Should I Do if My Puppy is Hypoglycemic? OR How To Save Your Puppy's Life!
1. Immediately rub some Nutri-Stat on the roof of the puppy's mouth, prying the mouth open, if need be. If you have none available, some sugary syrup will work. (We don't recommend honey as some puppies may have an allergic reaction to the honey.) Be careful that your puppy does not aspirate the syrup. Slow and steady is the best. Nutri-Stat, Nutri-Cal, or their equivalent is highly preferred. The gel form of these supplements can be utilized even if the puppy is not conscious, however, something liquidy cannot. Don't hesitate to give your puppy several globs of the gel, but make sure the puppy swallows before placing more in his/her mouth.
2. Approx. 10 to 15 minutes after being given something sugary, your puppy should be feeling better. You will need to offer your puppy a source of protein at this time, such as canned dog food or a jar of MEAT ONLY baby food - as much as the puppy will consume.
3. If your puppy shows no improvement after 15 minutes, or if he/she is unresponsive, take your puppy IMMEDIATELY to the NEAREST vet. Tell the vet you believe the puppy is hypoglycemic and make sure the vet checks the puppy's blood glucose levels. This can be done very easily and quickly, using a meter that is like those used by diabetics. YOUR PUPPY'S LIFE MAY DEPEND ON IT.
4. Once the hypoglycemia is resolved, you can address any other syptoms, such as diarrhea.
E. What If My Puppy Won't Eat?
1. If your puppy won't eat you will need to force feed your puppy until he/she is eating. A syringe will be useful for this, or a baby medicine dropper. You will need to place a bite of food in your puppy's mouth repeatedly, until the puppy stops swallowing each bite. You need to do this for every feeding.
Some things you can try to get your puppy to eat are:
Goat milk mixed with dry rice baby cereal.
Baby food meat, which can also be mixed with the goat milk and cereal.
Nutri-Stat or it's equivalent.
We have had some luck with Ensure Plus or it's equivalent.
2. You can also use liver water to moisten your puppy's food. Too make liver water, you will need a serving sized piece of beef liver. Cover it with about an inch of water and bring it to a boil. Simmer the liver for a few minutes. The water should be cloudy. This will provide some helpful nutrients.
3. Since we feed a raw meal every evening, your puppy may take some raw ground meat willingly.
4. Some breeders are sold on Ceasar's canned dog food, which can be found at Walmart. I presume it has some undesirable flavor enhancers, however, if this is what it takes to get your puppy to eat, then by all means, feed your puppy the Ceasar's and gradually wean him/her back onto some healthy food.
5. IMPORTANT: You will need to feed your puppy very frequently. Try not to let your puppy go any longer than 4 hours without a feeding. You will need to get up once during the night to get something into your puppy's stomach. This is only a temporary situation, until your puppy is eating on his/her own.
6. If your puppy weighs less than four pounds, purchase a food scale from Walmart and weigh your puppy at the same time every day to ensure your puppy is getting enough to eat. Your puppy should not be loosing weight, but rather, should be gaining a bit almost daily.