Archive for the ‘puppies’ Category


Thursday, October 19th, 2017

Since a certain puppy whose name rhymes with “schmorson” ESCAPED today (there’s always one who’s the first over the wall, this time it was Orson on their four week birthday!), we are in the process of hustling to build them their new digs in the living room. If all goes according to plan, they’ll have a 6 x 8 pen with a window view through the sliding doors into the yard! This will also make visiting easier. Since Zhora is still feeding them regularly (although I am getting the feeling that the bitey teeth are making that less appealing to her, more on that later), they’ll go back into the Dura Whelp box in the guest room overnight, and into the big pen during the day. At least for a few nights.

Today’s new enrichment item was a piece of tinfoil that made new sounds and was weird to grab and move around. The BAD thing about all this enrichment is that they think that EVERYTHING is there to be played with (which is what you want, of course, that’s a big part of the whole point of the Puppy Culture thing) – and now the cord for the heating pad seemed interesting to Ruffles all of a sudden, so we’ll have to address that for safety!

And they got to eat some MEAT! They all tasted some ground beef and three of them were pretty good eaters! Orson lay on his back and let me feed him tiny meatballs as if they were grapes. Ruffles happily ate tiny meatballs from my fingers (also important for learning how to take food from hands, which you don’t really think of as a skill they need to learn, but they do!), and Frito had to be convinced by having some put in his mouth, but once he tasted it he ate with enthusiasm. Popcorn and Chex ate some but then the sandman came for them and they needed to snooze. Everyone got a dose of BeneBac again this morning, since I knew I was going to start really insisting that they eat solid food and I wanted everyone’s digestive systems to be happy.

The last two litters took to eating solid food like, well, proper Vallhunds should take to food! I started offering food at three weeks and they ate it. This litter seem to be holdouts. I’ve been offering them various things over the last week, getting them to lick off our fingers, using various different bowls and plates. They just haven’t seemed to want to eat much that wasn’t ZhoraMilk. However, a bit of chatting to other breeders and research on the good old internet gave me a couple of ideas for today, and they seemed to help. First, I added some Karo syrup to their goat’s milk, and the sweeter taste seemed to make it more appealing, they all at least lapped some up. And they all seemed to like raw ground beef (90/10 if you’re interested). So I feel a bit better that they all at least ate SOME solid food, since Zhora isn’t going to be able to keep up with providing them with 100% of their calories for very long! Plus…the teeth. Owwy.

You can see their shapes changing, they’re less roly-poly and starting to look more streamlined. They’re all walking fairly well and they’re using the litterbox as best they can (they will have a turf patch in the big house which will make the potty area larger and easier for them to use, plus it should help a LOT with housetraining).

25 Days Old – BABY FOOD

Monday, October 16th, 2017

So the puppies had visitors over the weekend, and spent some time in a pen in the living room. They met a PUMPKIN thanks to Nicole.

Melanie and Rick came to visit (note the Tish photobomb in the background)

They haven’t been all that interested in non-Zhora-milk food. But tonight I think I found the magic potion – beef baby food. They all ate quite a bit of it off my finger.

Grandma Nina loves her grandpuppies.

Did you see how cute these things are?

Nina and Tish are allowed into the puppy room for supervised visits. Nina tries to nurse them and Tish wants to zoom with them (but is actually being quite gentle and respectful, for Tish). Zhora doesn’t mind at all.

Also they took turns coming out to watch Star Trek tonight and Ruffles actually played with Grandma Nina while on my lap:

23 Days Old

Saturday, October 14th, 2017

Lots of playing with each other and with us!

Eating little bits of Royal Canin Puppy Mousse.

They have a startle reflex now (but no fear associated with it yet), so we’ve suddenly become very clumsy and are dropping things and slamming doors and generally being obnoxious. You want to exercise their startle/recovery reflex a lot before they start to associate the startle with fear (which happens later in their development).

Frito trying to snooze on Ruffles, who is playing bitey face with Chex

They all have teeth in varying stages of eruption, some almost all the way in, some just poking through. Poor poor Zhora. I have been putting lanolin on her teats to try and keep her as comfortable as possible.

Ruffles and Chex

They are ridiculously cute. They are all at least trying to use the litter pan, some closer than others, but all at least trying.

Unpopped Popcorn!

Orson in the “off” position

Jim being attacked by Popcorn:

Videos of bitey face:


Something HUGE Just Happened!

Friday, October 13th, 2017

Orson just actually PLAYED with me! He raised his little paw up and then kinda-sorta POUNCED on my hand! They are very interactive with us now, tails wagging, growling, coming over to sniff and lick our faces!

I was woken up by a crying puppy this morning, he was having a difficult time pooping. They’re a little constipated (which isn’t unusual, adult dogs almost never get truly constipated, but baby puppies sure can, especially while nursing, and it can be quite serious if left untreated). So I gave everyone a dose of milk of magnesia, and will keep doing that every 4 hours or so until they have a touch of diarrhea, that’s how you know you’re done according to  the puppy experts.

We are offering them food three times a day. They’re interested to varying degrees (Popcorn, Orson and Ruffles the most), but they’re all eating at least a little bit.


Thursday, October 12th, 2017

How did this happen so fast?!

You will notice on the puppycam that their bedding has changed a few times over the last week. The littles were up and walking well but the biggers are heavy enough that they were having trouble getting enough traction to get their legs fully under them. After a few different attempts (rolled up towels underneath), I had a brainstorm in the middle of the night and just turned their Dura Whelp pad upside down so they’re on the rubber backing and voila! Five walking puppies!

They will get their first taste of real food in the next day or so…video will be made!

20 Days Old! TEETH!

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017

Today I added a litter tray (it’s an old cookie sheet with a wee wee pad taped over it, for absorption and also it has an attractant odor, Popcorn and Frito were the first to use it!).

Litter pan at bottom right.

I’m also adding an egg crate foam pad underneath to give them yet more stuff to climb on.

And I noticed when I was doing their nails this afternoon that they have TEETH coming in! Poor, poor Zhora….but they will start to get some actual food this weekend!

On the puppycam you can see Jim gave them some toys to start interacting with.

Now that their eyes are open and they’re starting to be able to hear, they are really starting to interact with each other a lot – playing bitey-face, biting each others’ tails and legs, and nursing on each other. Popcorn and Frito (the little ones are further along in their walking skills, since they started earlier) can actually RUN a few steps at a time now.

They don’t have their startle reflex yet, but that should appear any day now, at which point we will trigger a startle/recovery several times a day – per Puppy Culture, triggering a startle/recovery regularly is important.


17 Days Old!

Sunday, October 8th, 2017

They got LOTS of time out of the box for snuggles yesterday. And Orson knows how to HOWL! I tried to get it on video but haven’t managed yet. Today he crawled away from everyone while Zhora was feeding and cleaning them because he had to poop (since both he and Popcorn are starting to try and eliminate away from the others, even thought Zhora is still stimulating them and cleaning them, I will put a litterbox in there asap)….but apparently pooping on your own is worth howling about. Zhora isn’t ready to not clean up after them (good mama), so she followed him and helped him out. Very cool to see them start displaying their natural instincts to keep the den clean. And hilarious that he has to sing about it!

Popcorn and Ruffles (the best pillow is your big sister)


Chex and Frito (the best pillow is your little brother)

Chex (tongue out Sunday!)

16 Days Old Already!

Saturday, October 7th, 2017

Thank you for all the kind comments you’ve been making here, they matter! If you’ve been expecting a reply to an email you’ve sent, please send me a quick reminder, since I’m a bit distracted and haven’t been keeping up as well as I could.

I will try to add some pictures here later, so check back for edits if you like.

As you can see from this video, now that they have eyes, they are quite interested in their first (but definitely not last) games of bitey face. Zhora is also paying noticeably more attention to their faces now, licking and nudging them, instead of just dutifully pottying them. They actually sit up and look around, and look at Zhora and us in a Mr Magoo sort of nearsighted way.

In addition to yesterday’s early morning drama with barfy Popcorn (she’s fine now to all appearances), in the afternoon I noticed that Zhora wasn’t letting the puppies nurse on her right inguinal teat (the inguinal ones are the ones furthest back), and was licking at it. I checked it and it was quite hard, red, hot and sore.

Great. Mastitis starting? Just what we needed.

So I put ANOTHER call into the vet, just to give them a heads up, since we were heading into the weekend and mastitis can get really bad, really fast, and in rare occasions can even be fatal. I didn’t think she HAD mastitis, but that teat wasn’t looking happy and I was worried it could be a risk.

I quickly reviewed the awesome information in my awesome Facebook repro group about it (since I’ve never had to deal with it before, luckily), sent Jim to the store, and went to work trying to head things off.

Here’s what I did:

  • Zhora has already been getting 1 large capsule of sunflower lecithin twice daily, this can help prevent mastitis. She’s been getting this all along, but I think it’s very likely been helpful in making sure this DIDN’T progress to mastitis
  • I soaked hand towels in hot water (not too hot to touch, don’t want burns too, but as warm as is tolerable), wrung them out, and laid them on the affected teat. I did this for 10-15 minutes at a time, changing and resoaking the towels as they cooled.
  • I massaged the affected teat (I’m telling you, this dog breeding thing is all glamour) during the warm compresses.
  • I expressed some milk to make sure it wasn’t bloody or purulent (it wasn’t, it was just milk)
  • I put puppies one by one on it on their own so they could really work at it and drain it after the warm compresses, and massaged it while they nursed. I did all this with Zhora up on the bed on a waterproof pad.
  • Cabbage leaves – washed and then placed in the freezer for 10-15 minutes until they were very cold, then crushed with a rolling pin, then applied to the affected teat and held in place with an ace bandage (what we call a tensor bandage in Canada). Left that on for 15-20 minutes. Zhora herself and the other dogs kept trying to pull the cabbage out and eat it…
  • I alternated the hot compresses/massage/nursing puppies/cabbage leaves/rest throughout the evening last night and this morning that teat is back to normal and just like the others! Hooray for being proactive!
  • I think she likely had a clogged milk duct that started this, and this helped unclog it. I will keep a close eye on things as I have been all along, but she seems fine this morning!

I also got some canned tripe and added that to Zhora’s meals, I don’t know why I didn’t remember that before, tripe can be great for helping with digestion, and I usually also feed it to puppies when they first start eating. It’s disgusting, which is why dogs love it, but it is really good for them. I’m also going to go back to the dogs’ usual one raw meal a day routine starting today (they usually get one kibble and one raw meal per day, I stopped the raw while Zhora was pregnant, since it can be difficult to keep the calcium low enough and properly balanced with the phosphorus, and that is vitally important in the later stages of pregnancy, since too much calcium can predispose the dog to eclampsia and uterine inertia). I am sure they will be excited to have raw again (they eat Doggone Raw, which is a local company and sourced and made locally)!

Weight checks:

  • Ruffles – 946 grams (4.76% gain)
  • Orson – 1044 grams (HE’S OVER A KILO! 6.42% gain)
  • Chex – 960 grams (4% gain)
  • Frito – 875 grams (6% gain)
  • Popcorn – 614 grams (SHE’S OVER 600 GRAMS! 11.84% gain, she sure made up for the vomiting!)

The Fab Five today. Clockwise from top: Ruffles (on her back), Frito, Chex, Orson, Popcorn.

15 Days Old – It’s Always Something

Friday, October 6th, 2017

As Roseanne Roseannadanna said – “it’s always something”.

You learn something new with each litter, and this one appears to be my Masters level course in dog breeding…

So the puppies had a dose of mild dewormer (pyrantel) yesterday. This morning about 4 am, I was awakened by a puppy crying and crying and crying. I looked into the box to see that little Popcorn was walking around (she is by far the best walker so far, she has almost completely given up walrusing now), walked into a corner and proceeded to poop diarrhea. And then she threw up. Now I have never seen a 2 week old puppy throw up before, and I have to admit I was pretty freaked out, especially when she did it a second and then a third time (once all over her brother Orson). I suctioned her because I was scared she might aspirate the vomit. She was very uncomfortable so I gave her some simethicone (Gas X) and cuddled and comforted her as best I could. She eventually settled down an hour or so later, but I put a message into my repro vet right away.

Turns out my plan was “perfect” per Dr Gray. That plan is: simethicone as needed and a probiotic, which they all have on board now, and monitor them. Odds are she just had a gastrointestinal reaction to the dewormer, which happens (pyrantel is a very benign dewormer, but that doesn’t mean that every single puppy is going to tolerate it perfectly every time, and diarrhea and vomiting afterwards are not uncommon, I’d just never seen it before in such a young puppy). The unfortunate fact is that even if they don’t tolerate it particularly well, it’s still important to deworm them, since worms can weaken and even kill puppies. After talking to Dr Gray though, we decided to just check fecal samples on the puppies in a few weeks and deworm them only if we feel it’s necessary, since I used the 30 day fenbendazole protocol with Zhora, so their worm burden should be very light, if they even have any. I always at least TRY to do the right thing, and the CDC recommendation for deworming puppies is 2, 4, 6 and 8 weeks while they’re with the breeder, and then per vet recommendations, and that’s what I’ve always done. We can only kill certain life stages of parasitic worms, and they are at risk of regular exposure to them in the environment, so regular deworming and other parasite prevention is an important part of good dog management.

They’re all a little quiet today, so they’ve all had a dose of a good probiotic (Benebac Plus) and will get another in a week or so. Popcorn (along with everyone else) is nursing well today (we’ve been watching them like hawks), hasn’t vomited since early this morning, and she seems no worse for wear.

It’s always something.


Thursday, October 5th, 2017

They made it to their second big milestone – two weeks! Two weeks marks their first deworming with pyrantel pamoate (a very gentle dewormer to dogs, but effective against most common canine intestinal parasites). This is necessary even though Zhora has been on a 30-day deworming protocol with fenbendazole (Panacur C), which has been shown in studies to reduce the number of “encysted” larvae being passed to puppies in breast milk. No matter how good your parasite prevention is (my dogs get monthly heartworm preventative, which also prevents most intestinal parasites, along with flea and tick prevention, and I check fecals several times a year), canine intestinal parasites have this nasty way of “hiding” from the dewormers, called “encysting”, and can still be transmitted to puppies even if the mother doesn’t appear to have a parasite burden. This is why deworming is recommended for all puppies, even if their mothers don’t appear to have worms, and even if the puppies themselves don’t appear to have worms. Most dewormers are quite safe and gentle to dogs, even young puppies, and reducing parasite burdens on puppies can be a huge factor in their survival and general health. I deworm with pyrantel every 2 weeks starting at 2 weeks of age, and do a three day course of Panacur at about 6 weeks.

The puppies loved the pyrantel, it’s actually a human product I use (for treating parasites in children), and it’s sweet and flavored. They also get a probiotic although because they got colostrum and have been nursing well all along, their gut flora is probably starting to be nicely established.

We are now down to the last two days of Early Neurological Stimulation.

I’m still clipping their nails with a human nail nipper, but I will try starting the Dremel next week if their nails appear to be hard enough.

Weight check:

Ruffles – 842 grams ( 8.37% gain)

Orson – 925 grams (5% gain)

Chex – 880 grams (5 % gain)

Frito – 795 grams ( 10.26% gain)

Popcorn – 544 grams (9.9 % gain)

Once again the two littles were the biggest gainers, although Ruffles was right behind them. As long as they are all gaining 5-10% per day on average, they’re doing fine.

They are all able to stand up now, although Popcorn so far is the most advanced when it comes to walking. They are all trying to walk, even though if they’re in a hurry (like if Zhora has made an appearance) they revert to walrusing, since for now it’s faster for them. Frito can walk backwards but hasn’t quite figured out forward gear yet. The ones with open eyes are spending more time sitting up and Mr Magoo-ing around. Their eyes should be open all the way in the next couple of days, everybody has at least a sliver of eye open now.

What’s interesting is that, just as Jane Killion from Puppy Culture says, as soon as their eyes started to open, Zhora started licking and nuzzling their faces instead of just paying attention to their bottoms. She is starting to interact with them as individuals, not just furry blobs of need.

I want to thank those who reached out to me about my little rant about the anti-breeder folks yesterday. 🙂