How to Treat Fading Puppy Syndrome at Home?

Fading puppy syndrome is a term used to describe puppies that die within the first two weeks of life without a clear cause of death or clinical signs. It is responsible for about 50% of deaths of newborn puppies. There are many possible factors that contribute to this syndrome, such as low birth weight, infection, congenital defects, or lack of adequate care from the mother. Fading puppies may show signs of weakness, low body temperature, inability to suckle, or loss of muscle tone. They often die quickly and with few warning signs.

Read about: Why Puppy Is Not Eating Much: Common Reasons

Signs of Fading Puppy Syndrome

There are many possible contributing factors to fading puppy syndrome, such as:

  • Hypothermia and hyperthermia Puppies are unable to regulate their body temperature until they are about three weeks old. They depend on their mother and littermates for warmth and comfort. If they are exposed to extreme cold or heat, they can suffer from hypothermia (low body temperature) or hyperthermia (high body temperature), which can impair their vital functions and lead to death.
  • Lack of adequate care from the mother plays a crucial role in providing nutrition, protection, and stimulation to her puppies. If she is sick, stressed, inexperienced, or rejects her puppies, they may not receive enough milk, antibodies, or socialization. This can make them vulnerable to malnutrition, dehydration, infection, and behavioral problems.
  • Congenital defects Some puppies are born with genetic or developmental abnormalities that affect their organs, systems, or structures. These defects may be inherited from their parents or caused by environmental factors during pregnancy. Some common examples are cleft palate, heart defects, liver shunts, and spinal cord malformations. These defects can interfere with the normal functioning of the puppies and cause various complications.
  • Low birth weight Puppies that weigh less than 75 grams at birth are considered low birth weight. They have a higher risk of fading puppy syndrome because they have fewer energy reserves, lower immunity, and weaker suckling reflexes. They may also be neglected by their mother or bullied by their littermates.
  • Infection or disease Puppies are susceptible to various infectious agents, such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. These agents can cause diseases such as parvovirus, distemper, herpesvirus, septicemia, pneumonia, and intestinal worms. These diseases can cause severe symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, fever, lethargy, seizures, and bleeding. They can also weaken the immune system and make the puppies more prone to secondary infections.

How to Treat Fading Puppy Syndrome at Home?

If you suspect that your puppy has fading puppy syndrome, you should seek veterinary attention as soon as possible. However, there are some things you can do at home to help your puppy survive and recover:

  • Keep your puppy warm Providing a warm and clean environment for the mother and the puppies. You can use a heating pad, a hot water bottle, or a warm towel to provide a source of heat for your puppy. Make sure to wrap the heat source in a cloth and check the temperature frequently to avoid burns. You can also place your puppy in a box or crate with blankets and a stuffed animal to simulate the mother’s presence.
  • Mother Milk Ensuring the puppies nurse enough colostrum (first milk) from the mother, which contains antibodies and nutrients.
  • Feed your puppy frequently You can use a syringe, a dropper, or a bottle to feed your puppy with milk replacer or formula designed for puppies. You should follow the instructions on the label and consult your vet for the appropriate amount and frequency. You should also stimulate your puppy’s genitals with a moist cotton ball or tissue after each feeding to help them urinate and defecate.
  • Monitor your puppy’s condition You should check your puppy’s weight, temperature, hydration, breathing, heart rate, and behavior regularly. You should also look for any signs of infection or disease, such as discharge from the eyes or nose, coughing, sneezing, swelling, redness, or pain. If you notice any abnormality or deterioration in your puppy’s condition, you should contact your vet immediately.
  • Check Mother Condition Checking the mother for signs of infection or disease, such as mastitis (breast infection), metritis (uterine infection), or canine parvovirus.
  • Giving antibiotics to the puppies if they have bacterial sepsis.

How to avoid Fading Puppy Syndrome?

Fading puppy syndrome can be prevented by taking some precautions before and after the birth of the puppies:

  • Choose healthy parents You should ensure that both the sire and the dam are healthy, vaccinated, dewormed, and free of any genetic or congenital defects. You should also avoid breeding dogs that are too young or too old.
  • Provide proper prenatal care You should provide your pregnant dog with a balanced diet, fresh water, regular exercise, and a comfortable environment. You should also monitor her health and behavior throughout pregnancy and consult your vet if you notice any problems.
  • Prepare for delivery You should prepare a clean and quiet area for your dog to give birth. You should have some supplies ready such as towels, scissors, gloves,

Fading puppy syndrome is a serious and often fatal condition that requires prompt veterinary attention. However, with proper care and management, some puppies may survive and recover from this syndrome.

For more information, you can refer to these sources: Fading puppy syndrome – Wikipedia

Home Remedies for Fading Puppy Syndrome

While it’s crucial to seek professional veterinary care for a comprehensive treatment plan, there are some home remedies that can be beneficial in treating fading puppy syndrome. It’s important to note that these remedies should be used in conjunction with veterinary guidance. Here are a few remedies to consider:

  • Nutritional Supplements can play a vital role in supporting your puppy’s immune system and overall health. Consult your veterinarian for suitable supplements to enhance your puppy’s diet. Omega-3 fatty acids and probiotics are examples of supplements that may aid in their recovery.
  • Regular Veterinary Check-ups Regular veterinary check-ups are crucial in monitoring your puppy’s progress and adjusting the treatment plan accordingly. These check-ups allow for early detection of underlying health issues and ensure that your puppy receives appropriate medical attention.
  • Herbal Remedies may offer support during the treatment of fading puppy syndrome. However, it’s important to consult with a holistic veterinarian before introducing any herbal supplements or remedies. Herbal remedies such as chamomile and ginger can help soothe the digestive system and reduce stress.

Identifying Fading Puppy Syndrome at 12 Weeks

Signs and Symptoms

At around 12 weeks, puppies are in a critical stage of development, and signs of fading may become more evident. Look out for the following symptoms:

  1. Lethargy Puppies with FPS may display constant tiredness and lack of interest in their surroundings.
  2. Weight Loss Fading puppies tend to lose weight despite attempts to feed them properly.
  3. Weakness They may have difficulty standing, walking, or maintaining balance.
  4. Dehydration Puppies may exhibit signs of dehydration, such as dry gums and sunken eyes.

Common Challenges

Pet owners may encounter several challenges when dealing with fading puppies at 12 weeks:

  1. Emotional Stress Watching a puppy struggle can be emotionally draining for pet owners, causing anxiety and sadness.
  2. Nursing Difficulties Fading puppies may have trouble nursing, leading to frustration for both the puppy and the mother.

Fading Puppy Syndrome at 8 Weeks

At 8 weeks, puppies are more independent but still vulnerable. FPS may present differently compared to the 12-week stage.

Differences from 12 Weeks

  1. Developmental Stage At 8 weeks, puppies are still developing crucial motor skills and social behaviors.
  2. Resilience Some puppies may recover from FPS with proper care and nutrition, while others may require intensive support.

Risks and Precautions

  1. Weaning Difficulties Puppies transitioning to solid food may face challenges due to their weakened state.
  2. Infection Susceptibility 8-week-old puppies are still prone to infections, and preventive measures are essential.

Fading Puppy Syndrome at 3 Weeks

Early detection of fading puppies at 3 weeks is vital for their chances of survival.

Early Detection and Care

  1. Monitoring Weight Regularly weigh puppies to track their growth and identify any sudden decline.
  2. Consulting a Veterinarian Seek professional advice if any signs of fading are observed.

Supportive Measures

  1. Supplemental Feeding In consultation with a vet, supplement the puppy’s diet with appropriate milk replacers.
  2. Isolation Isolate fading puppies to prevent the spread of infections to healthier littermates.


Can fading puppy syndrome be prevented?

While fading puppy syndrome cannot be entirely prevented, there are measures you can take to minimize the risk. Ensure the mother receives proper prenatal care and nutrition. Keep the environment clean and free from stressors. Promptly address any health concerns to prevent them from escalating.

How long does it take for a puppy to recover from fading puppy syndrome?

The recovery period varies depending on the severity of the condition and the individual puppy. With proper care and treatment, some puppies may recover within a few days, while others may require weeks of dedicated attention. Regular veterinary check-ups will help assess the progress and make necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.

Can I treat fading puppy syndrome without veterinary assistance?

While home remedies can provide some relief, it’s crucial to seek veterinary assistance for an accurate diagnosis and comprehensive treatment plan. Veterinarians have the expertise and resources necessary to provide the best care for your puppy.

Are there any specific breeds more prone to fading puppy syndrome?

Fading puppy syndrome can affect any breed; however, certain breeds may be more susceptible. Smaller breeds, such as Chihuahuas and Yorkshire Terriers, are often at higher risk due to their delicate nature. It’s important to be vigilant and proactive in monitoring the health of puppies, regardless of their breed.

Can fading puppy syndrome be fatal?

Unfortunately, in severe cases, fading puppy syndrome can be fatal. This is why it’s crucial to seek immediate veterinary attention at the first signs of distress or illness in your puppy. The early intervention significantly improves the chances of a positive outcome.

How can I provide emotional support to a puppy with fading puppy syndrome?

Emotional support plays a significant role in a puppy’s recovery. Provide a nurturing and comforting environment, spend quality time together, and offer gentle affection. These gestures can go a long way in boosting their spirits and overall well-being.