Archive for November, 2008

What You Need for a Mama Dog

Planning on fostering a pregnant Mama dog? Here’s a list of what you might need:

* A few good resources on how to whelp puppies.

* A secluded room away from family commotion and other animals.

* A door that closes and nothing in it that you would mind getting ruined – including the door and walls.

* A floor that is easily cleaned with a bleach solution.

* A space heater that you can leave on all day and all night without fear of fires. Not one of those kinds that blows hot air. We have an oil one. You could also use a heat lamp. You need to keep the room at 85 degrees Fahrenheit for the first two weeks of the pups’ lives. They can’t control their own body temperature on their own until 4 weeks of age.

* An area for whelping, nursing, and eating, and a space far enough away from those for elimination (for those stray Mamas who weren’t house trained.)

* A plastic or wood “box” with sides high enough so little young pups can’t crawl out but older, bigger ones can. We use a small turtle sandbox – it is perfect. I’ve also heard of people using plastic swimming pools. With Bella I build a box that was too big and she hated it. Never used it.

November 21, 2008 • Tags: , • Posted in: nutrition, pups, whelping • No Comments

Ravenous Mama Dog

Annie’s cold is getting better – finally. Have I mentioned that yet? She came to us with the beginnings of kennel cough and has been on antibiotics since. She has stopped coughing and now just sneezes huge amounts of snot everywhere. It’s gross but I’m glad she’s getting better.

She continues to gain weight. I was talking with a friend and when I mentioned how much she is eating she was shocked…so I thought I’d let you all know. Normally, a lactating female dog needs 3 to 4 times their regular food intake. Annie is eating the following each day – 2 cups puppy formula, 6 cups dry puppy food, and two cans of puppy food. I guess that is a lot. She is still ravenous at each feeding so I haven’t noticed how much she is actually eating until I listed it out. It is sort of crazy. But she is trying to make up for her lean times before coming to us and in addition she’s feeding 8 pups.

Annie nursing pups

Annie nursing pups

Nursing takes a lot out of a mama! It gives a lot too, though. The hormones, prolactin and oxytocin, that are released help mellow out the mama dog and make her more attached to her pups. And the immunity that is transferred during nursing is invaluable. Even though Annie is sneezing all over her pups (and then dutifully licking them clean) they are not getting her cold. The antibodies her body is creating to fight her cold are going directly to her pups as well, keeping them safe. And don’t think that because we have puppy formula we will be using it with the pups – it is simply a fast way to get a high quality balanced meal into Annie. I strongly believe in letting nature take its course and letting mama wean her pups. It happens easily enough because at 3 weeks the pups get their sharp little teeth and start using them on everything. That shortens the nursing sessions abruptly!

Mommy instincts kick in

sleeping puppies

sleeping puppies

Annie is finally looking like a normal dog. Her ribs are receding and her hip bones don’t stick out any more. And her pups are getting FAT! Good for her! When they were born you could see all of their ribs. But now, three days later they look fat and happy – just like pups born to healthy moms. It is amazing how little it takes to help these doggie families along. She’s been with us just two weeks and already her health troubles are becoming a thing of the past. For anyone who wonders if they can help these sorts of dogs, don’t question it – the question is absolutely, yes you can. It takes so very little – just clean water, nutritious food, a warm bed, a clean place to live and medical care if necessary. Just stuff you’d provide for your own dogs. Please, if your heart moves you, help out in any way you can. Ok, public service announcement over.

Annie is also becoming more trusting. She greets me with wags and allows me to pet her. This morning, for the first time since I met her, she put her head into me and just relaxed as I scratched her neck and head. It was good to see her opening up. She also seems happy to see my son. But she is wary of people she hasn’t met before.

November 20, 2008 • Tags: , , , • Posted in: Annie, pups • No Comments

Annie’s Pups: Day 3

I decided that enough is enough and that I had to change that dirty bedding she’d been nursing on for the last 24 hours. Normally I like to change the bedding twice a day but since she has seemed more shy around me I wanted to give her some space. But it was getting gross so when Mike pottied her tonight I quickly changed the soiled bedding for fresh and got a good look at the pups.

Looks like we have 7 males and one female! And three with stubby little tails! Australian shepherds?? Time will tell. At this age all pups from all breeds look alike. Their size and breed characteristics don’t start to show until a few weeks later. All seem to be getting enough milk and are quieter now, telling me that they are feeling happy and full. Good work Annie. She is doing well too, still skinny but looking better than she did last week when she came to us.

November 18, 2008 • Tags: , , , • Posted in: Annie, nutrition, pups • No Comments

Eight Pups for Annie

Annie & pups on day 2

Annie & pups on day 2

Finally, she emerges!! She refused to leave that tiny crate all night. But at 9am she needed to potty badly enough to go out with me. And then she was starving. As she ate I moved the pups from the crate where she whelped them to the plastic turtle sandbox where there’s more room to nurse.

I gave each pup a cursory look over to make sure all was normal. We have four cream pups, three black pups, and one brown one. Eight pups…sigh. We were hoping for less. But at least there are fewer than Bella’s eleven. That was INSANE.

Annie is starving and her pups look really skinny for pups. It is so hard for stray dogs to get the nutrition they need. I’m amazed she did as well as she did. All were born alive, alert, and so far seemingly healthy. Had she delivered this group outside they would all be dead shortly I fear. The cold temperature and her depleted condition would have been too much of a stress. It is so sad. PLEASE SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR DOGS! Don’t keep letting this sort of thing go on.

November 17, 2008 • Tags: , , , • Posted in: Annie, pups • No Comments

Birth Day for Mama Annie

Another outside day for Annie, this time helping Mike burn the brush pile. He said she was chasing the embers, leaping into the sky. Then she settled down with a stick and chewed and chewed. At around 6pm he went down to let her out and came back up saying, “I’ll try again later, she didn’t want to go out” and I knew without a doubt that she was going to whelp her pups tonight. She has NEVER EVER not wanted to get out of the room that we’ve reserved for her. Ever. So, I was right and when I checked her at 7pm one little white and tan pup had been born.

Annie was clearly not thrilled with my presence so I’ve left her alone for most of the night. I check in and actually got to see one of the pups born, but it isn’t like the first time with Bella who clearly wanted me involved and actually waited until I was free, after putting the baby down for the afternoon nap, to find me and tell me she was whelping. That was fun. But this is fine too. Much less work for me!

I just now went in and gave her some water and food. She seemed thankful. My current concern is: How am I going to get those wet towels into the wash?? She decided to have the pups in the small crate and I am not going to put my hand in there to fish her and the pups out. She and I are not that close. I figure, she’ll have to get up eventually, then I’ll do it.

November 16, 2008 • Tags: , , , • Posted in: Annie, whelping • No Comments