Archive for the ‘puppies’ Category

Thirteen Days Old!

Sunday, January 16th, 2022

Mr Pink is first to have eyes! A couple of others look like they will open their eyes in a day or two, but he’s first:

Soon the super fun “Mr Magoo” stage will start. We’re also checking a couple of times a day to see if they can hear yet. One of the most important things I learned from Puppy Culture is that there’s a period of about a week when puppies have a startle reflex to sound, but don’t have a fear response yet, If you can trigger that startle reflex several times during that period, the puppy may grow up to be less sound sensitive. Anything you can do to help a puppy have a better life is worth doing!

Now that they are quite mobile, I have added a little bumper mat as a bed for them. It’s also something novel in their environment!

From days 3-16 I perform Early Neurological Stimulation on my litters. This is a “can’t hurt/might help” thing, since they get a lot of handling anyway, but I’d always rather err on the side of having done something than wish I’d done it later. Orange Girl didn’t start until day 5, because I felt she had enough stress just gaining some weight.

There are five exercises designed to stress specific things and hopefully help the puppy develop a more robust response to stress as an adult. It’s like astronaut training for puppies, although we usually call it their ritual abuse. Tactile stimulation (a Q-tip on the pads), vertical position (head up), head pointed down, on the back, thermal stress (a damp towel that’s been in the fridge).

Here is Purple Girl with her ENS today:

11 Days Old!

Friday, January 14th, 2022

I increased Alice’s food again, as you can see, she’s putting everything she has into making amazing milk for them, they’re enormous! Several of them have almost stood up, and they should have eyes and ears over the next few days. They are quite vocal and make lots of adorable sounds.

And here’s a puppy talking to itself in the wee hours, volume up (one of the many reasons sleep for me is overrated!):


Monday, January 10th, 2022

The puppycam is up! Not exactly thrilling viewing right now but it’s up!

Five Days Old!

Saturday, January 8th, 2022

Orange Girl is caught up now, she’s big enough that you can’t immediately pick her out of the group. Alice went for her first walk today since they were born. We’re continuing Early Neurological Stimulation. Their vocalizations have expanded, until the last day or so all their sounds basically boiled down to “help I’m stuck” and “damn this milk is tasty”. Now they make a wider range of sounds, including what sound suspiciously like proto-barks.

The PuppyCam will hopefully be up and running tomorrow!

Purple Girl

Four Days Old!

Friday, January 7th, 2022

Lots of eating and sleeping around here. The puppies too.

Orange Girl is doing great, I haven’t supplemented her in two days, and I also stopped giving her private nursing sessions, I just keep an eye to be sure she’s getting her share, but she’s really looking plump and good!

Photo/Video dump:

Orange Girl at the front

End of Day Three!

Thursday, January 6th, 2022

I weigh puppies twice a day for the first couple of weeks. It’s “noisy data” as Jim says, so you get the overall trend much more clearly with more information. Ideally you want an average of a 10% gain every day, the average and the trend are more important than the single details.

Here are this evening’s weights and trends:

  • Red girl: 283 grams (16.94 % gain)
  • Orange girl: 150 grams (!!!!!!) (20.97% gain – I can’t even tell you how much this makes me happy, and this is WITHOUT supplementation, just with some private nursing time)
  • Yellow girl: 208 grams (7.77% gain, but she had a 12.21% gain yesterday)
  • Green boy: 297 grams (16.93% gain)
  • Blue girl: 281 grams (17.08% gain)
  • Purple girl: 311 grams (CHONKETTE 13.50 % gain)
  • Pink boy (AKA Mr Pink): 286 grams (13.49% increase)

Alice makes very good milk, and I supplement her with mother’s porridge, which is steel cut oats, whole milk, Karo syrup, eggs, and whole milk yoghurt. She is being an excellent mother.

Finally, here’s a cool video of “activated sleep”. Baby puppies pop like popcorn in their sleep as their muscles and nervous systems come on line (you can see little Orange underneath Purple here, and you can see that she is really filling out and developing a bit of pudge, everyone else turned into beanbags quickly, while Orange looked like she was at lean agility weight until today!):

Three days old!

Thursday, January 6th, 2022

Today we start Early Neurological Stimulation.

Tiniest puppy Orange Girl finally made back her birth weight plus a gram. I didn’t tube feed her yesterday because she was holding her own, and she not only held her own overnight, she gained a gram!

She’s energetic and feisty, just tiny.

Here are biggest puppy Purple Girl and smallest puppy Orange Girl at the milk bar this morning:

One Day Old!

Tuesday, January 4th, 2022

Everybody did well overnight, I was up every couple of hours to check on them and rescue anyone who was stuck behind Alice (the puppy room is our guest room right off our family room and I sleep right beside the whelping box). When I weighed the little Orange girl yesterday afternoon she’d lost more weight than I was comfortable with (you expect some weight loss in the first day, but she was already so tiny and looked really scrawny even for a neonate), so I decided to supplement her a bit with tube feeding.

Tube feeding is an invaluable skill for a breeder. I learned how when I was helping Popcorn in the C litter get over a difficult birth. Often tiny puppies like Popcorn and Mouse the Orange puppy end up burning more calories net than they take in because nursing burns calories and sometimes the teeny ones have to work harder to get the milk to let down. Tube feeding is a relatively simple procedure once you get over the initial anxiety of doing it, and it gets calories directly into the puppy without any need for the puppy to expend energy getting them.

This is one of those things that breeders can disagree vehemently about. Some say you should let nature take its course and truthfully MOST puppies who are tiny and lose weight early WILL come back around and be OK eventually. But for me, it’s relatively trivial to take out some insurance and get the extra calories in to help them stay on top of things rather than letting them catch up, as Dr Marty Greer says: “nobody starves to death in my house”. Mouse already looks plumper and less scrawny, and she actually gained a tiny bit overnight. I also supplemented the Yellow puppy since she lost a bit and I was doing it anyway for Mouse.

I use Myra’s Formula for tube feeding, it’s a very calorie dense and balanced formula and is easy to make at home.

Alice is an excellent mother just as she was last time. I gave her a quick rear end bath this morning since her hind end was a nightmare after whelping and the normal lochia she is passing. She is eating very well, basically she’s on Hobbit rations now: breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses… Actually she’s eating four meals a day of her usual Pro Plan Sport food, plus some i/d canned food to help her stomach recover from the inevitable post-whelping diarrhea, plus some Mother’s Porridge (steel cut oats, egg, whole milk, yoghurt, karo syrup), which helps support lactation. She also gets one sunflower lecithin capsule twice a day to help prevent mastitis, one Oxy Momma tablet, and a calcium supplement to ward off eclampsia and support lactation.

They’re HEEERE!!!

Monday, January 3rd, 2022

We welcomed the E litter pupsicles (from 10 year old frozen semen) last night (in the wee hours of this morning). Five girls and two boys. One of the puppies (orange girl) is the smallest I’ve ever had in Swedish Vallhunds (131 grams, like a mouse), but so far she seems vigorous and is nursing well. We had to talk to Dr Gray when things seemed to stall, and I gave a micro dose of oxytocin, after that she got down to business. Purple girl was upside down (feet first or head first is fine as long as the puppy has its legs stretched out like a diver and as long as it’s facing downwards, upwards is going against the shape of the canal it has to get through so can be sticky). She was not only upside down but she had her front legs along her sides instead of in front of her. I had to work a finger in behind her front legs to get her legs out so she could be born. Alice decided she wanted to be on the bed, so I covered it with hospital pads and it was easily the most comfortable whelping I’ve ever done, usually I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck the next day. This morning I’m just tired.

They have a seedling mat with a thermostat set to 95 in addition to the heating pad under one part of the box (the seedling mat is insurance, it’s cold here).

Collar colors are rainbow colors in order, not gendered. Here are their birth weights

Red collar girl – 188 grams

Orange collar girl – 131 grams

Yellow collar girl – 165 grams

Green collar boy – 199 grams

Blue collar girl – 209 grams

Purple collar girl – 228 grams

Pink collar boy – 213 grams.

Everybody lost a bit since birth (expected), now we keep a close eye to make sure everyone is gaining going forward.


Thursday, December 30th, 2021

We’re getting close now. Temperature is still normal (they usually have a fairly drastic drop in temperature 12-24 hours before whelping, if you manage to catch it), puppies haven’t moved down yet, but she’s lumpy and uncomfortable and I’m thinking it will be in the next couple of days….so excited!!