By: Alton Hargrave
Raising a puppy into a dog can be a very rewarding experience. It is like seeing a family member grow up, but in fast motion. Of course, I am talking about dogs not people.
My wife, Barbara, and I raise Yorkies and Maltese and tend to think of them sometimes as family members. Except, these guys never need to borrow the car keys or stay out too late.
One morning, we had a litter of six Yorkie puppies born. Both of us were on hand to help the mother. Most of the time, a mother dog doesn’t really need any help, but sometimes there are problems. I had to cut the umbilical cords and tie them with dental floss.
The mother dog would ordinarily chew the umbilical cords by herself. With some breeds, such as Yorkies, sometimes the mother has too much trouble turning around to reach the cord, so I was there to help.
After the puppies were born, we put them in a warm room in our house on top of a dry, clean, warm bed consisting of a wooden frame about 24 inches square, made of 1 by 12 inch boards. There is no bottom. This square just sets upon a cloth pallet on the floor.
For the first week, we inserted a small heating pad beneath the pallet. If you buy the disposable bed pads made for human use, they are great for the mama and her babies to lay on.
We kept a close eye on the little family every day. Making sure the puppies were warm and dry. You can tell when the puppies are warm… they will tend to spread out on their bedding. Cold puppies tend to bunch up tightly together to conserve body heat.
Make sure the mother dog is clean and that all the puppies are nursing. The mother’s udder should be checked every day for milk production and infection. She will not go far from her puppies during the first few days, so bring her food and water very near to her.
For a mother dog to do well, she needs a quiet, secure place to be with her puppies. Stress can have a negative effect on the mother dog and her puppies. Keep other dogs away from her. Strange people can cause undue stress. Don’t bring in all your freinds and their children for the first several weeks.
A lactating mother dog uses a lot of calcium and should be given calcium pills each day. If she suddenly goes into shock, she may be too low on calcium and will need immediate attention from your vet.
For about a month, the mother will take care of most things. After a few weeks, the puppies will open their eyes and start trying to stand up and walk. Playing comes soon after.
In about 4 to 5 weeks, the puppies will be ready to start eating solid food. A mixture of canned and dry food with a little water to soften it is recommended at first. Then, slowly reduce the moisture content until the puppies are eating canned or dry food only.
Alton Hargrave offers advice and resources for those interested in a business online. His website, bigthicketonline.com contains honest information regarding website software and low-cost solutions for your business.
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