The neonatal period is the first 4 week of life. During this critical period, the puppy or kitten has a different physiology and rate of development and than during the rest of the pediatric period. Once the puppy or kitten is 6- 8 weeks of age, then all of the development is complete and the youngster can be considered a "growing" adult.
The goal of orphan puppy and kitten care is to maximize their health, well being, and socialization until they can be placed on a foster mother or adopted. The needs of the healthy young are very simple, water, nutrition and the proper environment. Obviously these husbandry issues are more critical in the newborn and the sick than the healthy 8 week old.
Average puppy and kitten deaths during the first 12 weeks of life approach? 11%-34%. Still births or death within the first 24 hours account for 5% of the losses; an additional 5% loss occurs during the neonatal period; and 0%-5% loss in transitional & socialization periods. Infectious diseases are not the most common cause of neonatal or transitional period mortality.