What should I do if my puppy was mistreated before?

My husband just brought home a 6 wk. old tea cup chihuahua. It was not taken care of. The little girl is very thin and has patches of fur missing on neck on side. You can actually see its ribs and back spine. It has been eating and drinking. However, if you try and touch its back to pick it up it will growl. Seems scared a lot and does not lick you unless you have something on your finger it likes. Mainly likes to curl up whether on your lap or in her little pen to sleep. Any suggestions?

You have a rough road ahead of you, that puppy is very young and should be with her mom if at all possible. She shouldn’t even be weaned yet. She still needs her mother’s milk for proper nutrients and to be near her mom for proper socialization. Since it sounds like you have no choice, you are doing the best you can. The puppy is growling because she is very scared. She will get used to you in a few days, keep handling her and giving food to her by hand. She has to get used to your scent and associate you with food, warmth and care (replacing her mom). Don’t worry about her biting you, she’s so tiny, it won’t hurt. If she is biting, you will have to correct that when she gets a little older, but right now the priority is her health.

Puppies this small away from their mom are prone to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Make sure you feed her often (not just once or twice a day) and watch out for non-responsiveness or lethargy. If you see that happening, it probably means she has low blood sugar, you can revive her with some karo syrup (it’s corn syrup, you can find it in the baking aisle at the supermarket) and Nutrical (high calorie supplement that comes in a tube, available at pet food stores or online). If you see that she’s acting sluggish, doesn’t want to play and has trouble standing up, give her 1/2 teaspoon of Karo syrup. If she doesn’t perk up in 30 minutes, then she might have a more serious condition and you need to call the vet. If the Karo syrup seems to work, add some to her water too (1 tsp per cup), then even if she’s not eating enough, she’s at least getting the sugar from the water when she drinks. Change the water everyday so bacteria doesn’t grow in the sweetened water. Always have Karo syrup on hand to give her when you see that she is acting sluggish, too sleepy, and not responsive. Also, give Nutrical (1/4 -1/3 inch) at bedtime and in the morning. If you are going out for an extended period of time, give her Nutrical before you leave. Make sure she has access to food all day long, put it close to her, in her crate with her water.

I promise she will get used to you and your husband very soon, as long as you guys are gentle with her and interact with her often. Please keep me updated on her condition. Thank you for saving this baby.


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