The Pups


During the first few days of the pups, we need to provide the mother with water and food near her nesting place, making sure that she does eat and drink, we also must take her out for her walks. Some bitches can take a week or more before leaving the nest, we must avoid this at all costs.
Once the pups are born, we must also ensure that they all get breast fed within 12/25 hours of birth, to ensure that they receive their share of colostrums as well as the mother’s antibodies which will protect the pubs against future illnesses, especially contagious ones. Past the 48 hours, the capacity to absorb whole proteins decreases substantially and the intestine cannot absorb the mother’s antibodies.
We must also observe the mother’s behaviour towards the pubs. It may behave abnormally (trying to kill the pups or has done so in the past), in which case the pups need to be removed.
In such an instance, we have two options available to feed the pups. One is to restrain the mother while the pus eat and the other is to bottle feed them (the vet can help to advise).
In case as above described or in cases of orphans, we must bear in mind various things:
1. Temperature: during their first 2-3 weeks, puppies can not regulate their body tem perature; therefore the room temperature must be kept at 30-32ºC during the first week, at 27-30ºC during the second and at 21-26ºC dur ing the following ones. They must be kept in a box from which they cannot get out maintaining it clean and dry at all times.
2. Feeding: These days there are many brands of mother’s milk substitutes in the mar- ket, each with its own pres- scription of quantity and feeding frequency. Generally every 3 / 4 hours, gradually decreasing the frequency until 6 / 8 hours at the 4 weeks of age.
3. Handling: Once the pups have eaten, it is essential to imitate the mothers’ tongue on the lower abdomen to help them do their business, use a piece of cotton mois- tened in warm water. This must be done until they are 3 weeks old. During the first 10 days the pups’ eyes will be shut and cannot hear for the first 13 days. They will start walking properly after 20 days.
Weaning must be done progressively, starting from the 4th week start feeding a bit of dried mixed food with a bit of warm water so as form a puree on a small plate. As the pups get used to eat, gradually reduce the amount of water. Once the pups can eat and drink on their own they can be separated from the mother and from their brothers and sisters, in most cases this will be between 6 – 7 weeks.
Finally make sure that the pups do not go out in the street, nor must they be in contact with other dogs nor should they be touched by strangers in the house, nor must they get wet unless they have been properly vaccinated
On the next issue we shall talk about vaccines and worming.
Season’s Greeting, Cecilia.

Author: egladstone

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