Category Archives: Puppy Info
Yesterday evening I went into the puppy room and greeted the babies as I usually do and got a greeting back!! The little ears are starting to open! Almost all the pups woke up and “looked” around / turned their heads to see / smell what was there. One little pup even growled and barked at me!! Such a sweet little hi-pitch bark …. trying so hard to sound aggressive! 🙂
Getting ready for the big day when Puppy comes home for the first time is very exciting. However, is your home ready for Puppy? Here are few considerations….
Bowls: Obviously the first things you need to get for Puppy are 2 bowls – one for water and one for food. These should be stable and not easy to tip over. The water bowl should be placed in a ‘permanent’ position, so that Puppy knows exactly where to go when he is thirsty. Food too should be served at the same venue each meal time. The bowls should be cleaned regularly (every day) and food bowls removed after 20 mins so that ants and birds don’t get at Puppy’s left overs.
Bed: You get to decide what kind of bed Puppy will have. The main point is that Puppy has a place that is his own – a place where he can sleep undisturbed, where he can ‘hide’ when overwhelmed or afraid, a ‘safe’ place that is just his. The regular ‘dog blankets’ that look like they are made of scraps of carpet under-felt, do not wash or wear well. I recommend a large blanket folded in 2 or 4 as a base and an old towel that he can scuffle up to put on top. GAME stores have large grey single bed size blankets that serve the purpose very well. You can even fold the towel into a circle to make a nest for him to snuggle into – especially as he is used to sleeping in a heap with all his warm siblings. Maybe warm up one of those micro-wave bean bags for him to act as a sibling to cuddle with. Wrap the bean bag snugly into another towel to prevent puppy getting burnt in case it is too warm, and also to prevent him chewing it open. Cushions are nice and comfortable, but make sure they are covered with a durable fabric – something like a thick denim, otherwise you will wake up to find the cushion has been de-stuffed and there is a huge mess and a very happy Puppy who had great fun pulling it all apart. We have experienced several of these ‘snow’ days where the lawn is covered with the white stuffing of a nice soft pillow. Now we just stick to blankets – easy to wash pretty much indestructible. Baskets (wicker or fabric) and/or crates are good options, but expect them to get chewed; and they can be expensive. But they certainly help define the ‘safe’ place for Puppy.
Food: Puppy has been weaned on ROYAL CANIN STARTER FOOD – specially designed for 0 -3 month olds. However, if you decide to use a different brand of food, that’s your decision. We recommend the best food that you can afford for the first 2 years while he is growing and developing. (Hills, Eukanuba and Royal Canin are considered the top 3 brands). Thereafter, you can ‘downgrade’ if you choose to do so. If you do want to switch foods we recommend you do it over 5 days. First day 80% Royal Canin + 20 % new food; second day 60% Royal Canin + 40% new food; third day 40% Royal Canin + 60% new food etc for the 5 days. This will help prevent a runny tummy.
Puppy Toilet: We have been working hard to get the pups to “go” on newspaper, so make sure you leave a few pieces lying near his sleep area, again keep them in the same place all the time, so he knows that is his designated toilet area. As he grows older, he will learn better control, and eventually will be ‘potty trained’ to go on the lawn. After each meal, take Puppy outside to where you want him to “go”. Be patient, you may have to stand for a while as he sniffs around and choose the exact spot. Before bedtime, take him again to his toilet spot. He will soon learn that this is where he should “go”. When it is toilet time, don’t pet him or fuss. Just take him on his lead to the “toilet” and wait while he does his business. When it is done, then praise him for being so clever. He’ll soon get the hang of it.
Collar and lead: Have a small Puppy-sized size collar and lead for taking him outside and teaching him basic lessons. This will need to be changed once he grows up to an adult size collar and lead. The adult size now will not only be too big, but also too heavy.
Toys: See my previous blog on “Toys”. A largish sibling-size soft toy may be a comfort for the first night away from mom and siblings.
Puppy-proof your home: Pretend you are Puppy and go down on your hands and knees and find all the lovely dangly, tempting things to tug on and chew on. Look particularly for cables and cords – lamps, computers,television, etc are wonderful chew-things for Puppy to tackle. Low-hanging table cloths are begging to be pulled down, often with dire consequences for any ornaments on top. Look for any ant traps / roach traps that may be hidden in places you can’t reach but Puppy can. Keep plastic bags out of his reach. If there is trouble to be found, Puppy will find it. Check all perimeters for holes, sharp objects, bits of wire poking up, etc. Watch out for any sharp stones or dangerous objects on the ground. Don’t leave any dangerous tools standing around outside, eg spades. And please be aware of poisonous plants – Puppy chews anything. What you miss, he will find.
Think like a puppy. Try to imagine all his needs. And do your best to make his home as safe for him as you can.
Safe toys are an important part of a puppy’s life. Be careful when choosing toys for your puppy. There are many cheap toys available, but I would suggest rather invest in toys made by recognised companies who have taken safety into consideration. Sure they are more expensive, but think how much is your Puppy worth to you. If unsure of the safety of a toy – don’t buy it.
Check for things like:
1) What is the toy made of? You don’t want the toy to be made of any toxic substances and the cheaper toys often have unknown substances in them. We don’t want to poison Puppy through his toys.
2) What does the toy contain? Some soft toys are stuffed with harmful substances. If Puppy chews the toy open – what will he be exposed to? For example, avoid anything with polystyrene balls. Aweful stuff to eat, but Puppy may decided to try eat it. Not good.
Squeeky toys are fun, but some dogs (like mine, who are gundogs) will try to kill the squeek! This means the toy is likely to be thoroughly destroyed in the effort to get to the squeek. Once the squeek is dead, then the toy is no longer fun. But in the meantime, its stuffing has been ripped out and spread all over the place.
3) Is the toy too ‘fluffy’? Some soft childrens toys are too fluffy for Puppy and the fluff comes off and may get stuck in Puppy’s throat. Puppies should get puppy toys, not human toys.
4) Size of the toy: – avoid toys that are too small. Keep things like Lego and Mecano (anything that has small components) away from Puppy. Toys should be big enough to NOT fit whole into Puppy’s mouth where it can get stuck and block the airway. This is especially important when it comes to balls. No table-tennis balls for example. Rather be safe than sorry. A tennis ball is a good size ball, even if it seems too big for Puppy at first.
5) Are there any parts of the toy that come off? Sometimes the cute toys with attached eyes and noses are not a good idea if Puppy can chew they eyes or nose off. Again, these pieces tend to be small and can get stuck in the throat or intestines and cause problems. Hard toys with ‘spikes’ can also be a problem, even if the spiks are soft. Again Puppy is like to swallow the spikes, even if they are small. These could cause a problem when getting eliminated, especially when Puppy is still small himself. Bigger dogs are unlike to have a problem passing chewed bits of toy, but the little guys have little intestines.
6) Will the toy unravel or fray? Be careful of toys that may unravel or fray – like a ski rope. Rather choose a knotted rope toy made specially for dogs – they are generally a good buy and not too costly either. The fibres are thick and unlikely to fray into small pieces. These are good and safe for cleaning teeth. The knotted rope is also a good starting toy for teaching “retrieve” as it has the same shape as a dumbell.
7) Raw hide bones and hoofs: – there are many varied opinions on these. Personally, I like to stick to natural rather than processed. Dried oesophagus and dried pigs ears are expensive, but tastier and healthier for Puppy. Hoofs are better if ‘uncleaned’, but boy can they stink?!!
8) Which bones are safe? Avoid any small bones that can get swallowed whole – bones should be chewed so that they can be digested, not swallowed whole. Also avoid any bones with sharp edges eg lamb bones. These have potential for perforating the intestines – nasty! I often go to the butcher and get a thigh bone of a cow, which I then ask the butcher to cut both vertically and horizontally to make four pieces. This opens the bone to expose the marrow. This is a HUGE favourite with all my dogs, young and old alike as they can safely get to the marrow and it keeps them busy for a long time. And don’t get a fright when you find Puppy’s poop is white the next day – its the chewed bones coming out.
9) Are chicken bones safe? Again this is a debatable issue. Many people claim that chickens today which are bred in chicken houses have very soft bones as they do not get to run outside in the sunshine where they would build strong bones. We give our dogs chicken bones, but make sure to take off that sharp little bone on the drumstick. Chicken gravy / fat is a lovely treat to pour over their kibble on occassion.
If in doubt, think like a puppy. What can I chew? What can I destroy? What can I swallow?
You have invested a lot of money in buying your Puppy – look after your little investment!
Whenever the weather is good and it is warm outside at lunch time, we take the puppies onto the lawn for a picnic lunch. They get loaded into two transporter baskets and airlifted by two adults to the grass. After the pups have eaten, we allow Jade in to ‘clean up’. While she is busy, the little ones make a dash to the “milk lorry” for a quick milkshake to wash down their porridge-lunch.
Sometimes we get visitors who like to watch them eat, and then play with them for a short while. Young visitors get taught how to handle the puppies correctly, using two hands to support both the chest / front part and the stomach/ back part.
Jade sometimes lies down and plays with the puppies too, which they love. The pups are still little and can stay awake for about 20 minutes before falling asleep. Then we scoop up the sleeping babies, put them back into the two transporter baskets and return them to their puppy pen inside.
The weather over the weekend was so wonderful that we decided that the puppies could have their first taste of sunshine, fresh air and green grass. So we allowed the temperature in their puppy room to cool down to match the outside temperature and then we took them outside at lunchtime when it was warmest. We packed them in 2 crates and carried them to a picnic towel placed on the lawn, where we then unpacked them one by one. Of course they had never seen or felt grass before and were quite curious as to what this kinda prinkly green stuff was. Jade of course was on hand, although she thought it more fun to go bark at the gate. Whenever she came back to check on the pups, they immediately recognised the “milk lorry” and ran up for a quick drink. They are all tall enough to reach the teats when Jade is standing. Even Baby Dog who has to stand on tippy toes and hang by her gums. We usually help her whenever we are around when the milk lorry is on hand.
While outside, I took the opportunity to give them their first de-worming medicine. Each puppy only gets 1ml of the chalky white stuff, and boy do they hate it. I draw up the required amount in a small syringe and gently squeeze it into their little mouths. It’s rather funny to watch them taste it and then shake their heads to get the taste out. I have some experience in this now, and expected that kind of reaction, so I gently held their little mouths closed until most of it is swallowed. Otherwise I would be covered in little white chalky dots.The little teeth are starting to come through the gums now and you have to watch put for those little canine teeth. Boy are they needle sharp?!!
And they love to play!! No matter what the other one is doing, play is always in order. Today I watched one pup ‘attack’ the tail of another pup while he was trying to eat. When they are not playing, they like to make a heap and go to sleep. It is quite sweet to see the tangle of arms, legs, heads and tails. I can only think it is more for comfort and contact than for warmth, as the puppy room is still kept at a constant warm temperature – usually about 25 degrees now.
The puppies have discovered that they have siblings! And siblings are fun to play with! They like to mouth each other, paw each other, head butt and just have fun. Siblings’ ears and tails are the most fun to try to gum on (no teeth yet, remember). They are also discovering their own body parts – whose leg is this? Whose tail is this? I saw one little pup try to lift its back leg to scratch behind its ear – except the leg didn’t quite reach before puppy rolled over. Very entertaining, but very short-lived. They can only stay awake for 20 mins to feed and 5 mins to play. This will lengthen over time. Usually play time happens after a meal once their little tummies are full and they have been re-charged with food.
Its all about learning! Today we started to wean the pups. I ground up some of the Moms-and-Babes food and added some water to make a soft porridge. I covered the floor of the whelping box with newspaper and placed the bowls into the box. Then we had to put the pups in front of the bowls. Some of them immediately went to investigate, and took a sniff and a lick; others turned away not sure what this was all about anyway. Some we had to give a little taste of porridge on our finger first before they tried it. Everyone had a go in one way or another. Well, what a mess! Good thing I put the newspaper down first! Some put their paws in, some put their whole face in… some preferred to lick it off their brothers and sisters. By the time they were done, there was porridge everywhere! I had to wipe some of their faces with a facecloth and wash some paws. Jade then came in and did clean up operations. Next time it will be better – they will have an idea what to do.
So now they are really little dogs and the little characters are starting to emerge. Some are able to growl and bark – it so cute to get barked at when I go into their room!! They have discovered that they have siblings and are starting to play. It is very entertaining. Jade is very patient with them and lets them climb all over her. Sometimes she also plays with them and grabs one of their legs gently in her mouth. Very sweet. They are able to go to the toilet by themselves now, although Jade still licks them (nappy change) between and before meals. My work is about to increase, especially as I want to start to introduce them to puppy food this week. Once we do that, Jade no longer eats all their waste. Then it will be my job to clean up after them all day.
We have real dogs now –not just brown bundles of fur. The little ones’ eyes are open although it will still take some time for their vision to become clear and defined. They can definitely hear! I just have to open the door and step into their room and they wake up. And they can walk!! Some can walk as many as 12 steps before topping over or flopping down! We are still up every 3 hours in the night to check on the littlest pup and to give her the extra feeds she needs. She is doing so well is slowly gaining weight, although she is still half of what the rest of the litter weigh.
Here are some pics of how the pups spend their Saturday afternoons…….
The puppies are now 2 weeks old and are wobbling around on their little legs. They have doubled their birth weight and are eating well. The little eyes are starting to open and peer at the world. When I enter the puppy room , I greet Jade and the pups and I see the little ones are waking up and responding to my voices. So their little ears are opening too.