Eight Days Old!

So I was fortunate enough to have saved some PTO for the Agility Invitational (which I won’t be going to because puppies + COVID). That plus the fact that we had an extra body at work to help out meant that I splurged and took two weeks off. I go back next Monday but will be home as much as possible. BUT, that means I am starting to try and get into a schedule that will continue after I return to work. So here’s what a typical day looks like:

  • get up (I will likely have been up several times in the night to move a complaining puppy or let Alice out), let Alice out, go and get the other dogs (I am sleeping in the puppy room with Alice and company, Jim is in the bedroom with the other dogs) and let them out
  • move puppies to the holding box while I change their bedding
  • cuddle and weigh each puppy, record weight, do Early Neurological Stimulation (until day 16), return puppy to whelping box.
  • feed the dogs. Right now Alice is eating her usual ProPlan Sport 26/16 but she is also getting some canned Royal Canin Gastrointestinal and canned tripe, into which I mix her Panacur C (she is still working through the 30 day fenbendazole treatment to reduce any worm burden on the puppies), B Strong (a vitamin B supplement), a probiotic (right now I’m using ProPlan FortiFlora SA), and some mother’s porridge (a cooked mixture of steel cut oats, yoghurt, goat milk, eggs and Karo syrup – this helps support lactation). She also gets a DHA supplement (Catalyst Chews), a capsule of sunflower lecithin (to help prevent mastitis) twice a day and Doc Roy’s Healthy Bones calcium/phosphorus.
  • Get puppycam set up and running
  • starting next week then I will get ready and go to work

One of them actually just about barked yesterday, so I am reassured that they really are Vallhunds. They make a wide range of noises at this age which is interesting since they can’t hear yet and likely won’t be able to hear for at least a week or two. They squeak, grunt, grumble, whine, whistle and mutter to themselves.

They have a heating pad in the middle of the box but they are almost never on it (I found this to be the case with my first litter, born in January, too). They’re usually in a loose pile (this means they are at an ideal temperature) or even spread apart (which means they are warm). You almost never see them really huddled together (which means they are cool). With my first litter I was so terrified of them getting cold that I actually overheated the box so much that Nina wouldn’t get in there with them for any length of time (I used a heat lamp then, for about two hours). Using a localized heat source UNDER the bedding means that the puppies can move on and off it as needed since they can’t internally regulate their body temperatures yet. Heat lamps, while many breeders do use them with good success, can promote dehydration and make it harder for the puppies to get away from the heat, and can also make the box uncomfortably warm for the dam. They’re also a fire hazard. So I’ll stick with my heating pad. I did just get a seedling mat with a thermostat so I will be interested to try that out. Many breeders are starting to use those instead of heating pads because they are very thin and you can get very precise temperature control.

I commented this morning as I was doing their Early Neurological Stimulation that it was like astronaut training. Only for a few seconds a day. On puppies.

This morning’s weigh in (remember at this age we want to see an average gain of 5-10% per day, but also remember that this is a spot check):

Alfa (red collar female): 444 grams (9.63 % gain)

Bravo (orange collar male): 451 grams (11.36% gain)

Charlie (yellow collar female): 408 grams (10.27% gain)

Delta (green collar male): 503 grams!! (10.31% gain)

Echo (blue collar male): 420 grams (9.09% gain)

Foxtrot (purple collar female): 478 grams (6.94% gain)

Golf (pink collar female): 496 grams (16.43% gain YOWZA)

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