Why Do Newborn Puppies Twitch?

By Dr.B / a couple of years ago


Puppies just don't hit the ground running when they're born. They still have a mountain of development to climb as they grow and mature.


In this video we see puppies — first nursing on mom — then twitching. At first blush, if we're not prepared, this looks scary and violent as if they're starting to have a seizure. But this is very normal. It is a full-body neuromuscular activity, which we now understand to be associated with their central nervous system developing and connecting with itself and their musculature.

The activity is observed beginning at day 5 and continues through the first 3 weeks of life. It is very random and is unpredictable. It can be observed during sleep and rest when their muscular activity is quiet and not stimulated.

Puppies that are nursing or attempting to walk or crawl do not have the twitching behavior. It can only be observed after they have fallen asleep. Science does not believe it is related to dreaming — but who knows…

I find it relaxing and calming for myself ! — to see them to develop and connect with their environment right before my very eyes. What about you? … Dr. B...

- Dr. B...

For example:

  •  their eyes are not open,
  • their ear canals are not open,
  • vision is zero and
  • hearing is attenuated.
  • Likewise their muscular and nervous systems are not developed.
  • They can not walk or run.
  • They must learn to crawl before they can stand and take a few steps and then eventually run and chase each other and their mother across the lawn.


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