Thursday, August 28, 2014
Six days old and growing fast. All pups are now very chubby and active - and vocal if something or someone gets between them and a nipple! Fern is eating well, maintaining her weight, and is very calm about everything. Hard to believe this is the same wild-eyed dog I saw last weekend. She's all settled in to her routine now and a very attentive mother, but after she takes a trip outdoors she lingers in the family room for awhile. Max of course tries to engage her in play but she just brushes him off. Poor guy.
Spots are starting to show as shadows now. In another few days the pups will begin spotting up, which is an amazing process to watch. The chubby pups also have fat little necks and needed to have their collars lengthened last night. So far I am satisfied with the adjustable Velcro puppy collars. There was some concern the collars would rub, but the tender puppy skin looks just fine. Green boy continues to get his antibiotics twice a day for the little scabby area on his back.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
On Monday the pups took their first road trip, visiting the Vet to have their dew claws removed and get a little checkup. One of the pups had a small scab and a bruise on his back, probably thanks to his Fern's insistence on carrying her pups around the first few days. He's on antibiotics as a precaution. You can see the little scab on the boy with the Green color.
Pups are growing like crazy, and are all strong and active. Tonight I nee to nip off the ends of their pointy little toenails to keep them from scratching Fern and each other as they scrabble for nipples. Trim is excellent on all, with most of the blacks showing complete rims and noses already. The livers are not far behind. Almost all the pups have spotted faces like their sire Duncan, and I'd say most have his shorter ears as well. Fern had Dumbo ears as a puppy, although they turned out to be very attractive when she grew into them.
Fern had to be coaxed to eat for the first couple of days, as she was making milk but not eating very well. Suddenly yesterday she was ravenous. It takes a lot of food to make enough milk to feed 8 hungry pups. She's really settled in to this Motherhood thing now, and seems to have resigned herself to keeping them in the whelping box rather than constantly looking for someplace to move her new family.
Monday, August 25, 2014
Things have settled down a lot since yesterday. Fern appears to be eating normally, and we have a routine that works for both of us. She still picks the pups up a lot which makes me uncomfortable, but she's given up the idea of moving them to a "safe place" and seems resigned to remain in the whelping box, at least until someone forgets to latch the pen!
Pups are growing like crazy, and everyone is doing well. Big, strong, chubby pups, all vigorous nursers. Today we pack them up and take them in to have their dew claws done. Fern will not be happy, but the bitches all seem to survive having their pups removed for a couple of hours.
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Everything seems to be back to normal today, but Fern gave us a bit of a scare yesterday! She's producing plenty of milk and the pups are gaining weigh quickly, but Fern hasn't been eating very well. A little deli chicken, some ground turkey, but no regular meals. She just wasn't interested. Some bitches have upset stomachs after whelping, and allowing them to eat the placentas is often blamed. Eating placentas is natural behavior and I try to intervene as little as possible during whelping, leaving the bitch to rip open the sack, clean up the pup, and cut the cord. Most Dal girls have good instincts, and Fern was no exception. She did most of the work while I tried very hard to keep my hands out (as much as possible).
Late yesterday afternoon I heard a pup screaming and raced down to see Fern standing in the box, wild-eyed and panting, with a pup in her mouth. She leaped from the box and tried to get out of the pen with the pup - trying to move it to another (in her mind, safer) location. We've encountered this occasionally in the past, where the bitch gets restless and wants to move the pups somewhere/anywhere. It makes me nervous when bitches carry pups in their mouths, and Fern made me very nervous as she was determined to move the pups. We started her on oral calcium (I have it on hand for whelping), Tums (calcium carbonate) and spoon fed her vanilla ice cream. Her temperature was normal but her ears felt hot and she was panting heavily, so I wiped her face and ears down with a wet towel. The next two hours were stressful for all of us as Fern was restless, Kept trying to dig up her rug, and whenever we were not watching carefully, she'd pick up pups and move them around - interestingly, she picked up the black-collared pup about 90% of the time. Her favorite?
We gave Fern additional calcium, and more ice cream, and things finally settled down. We also added some small towels to her box so she could do some "nesting" without digging up the rug and run the risk of burying her pups and accidentally laying on them. She ate her first regular meal later in the evening, and had an uneventful night. Ron and I took turns keeping an eye on things, but Fern seemed to be back to normal. No more wild-eyed looks, or frantic behavior. She's fine this morning, and the pups look wonderful. Hopefully it will stay that way, but we'll keep a close eye on things today!