Important Puppy Development – Make sure you have the right stuff
As a responsible breeder it is vital to have a sound understanding of how all dogs minds develop. It does not matter what breed your puppies are, they all develop the same and need the same care of the breeder.
Breeders should learn these developmental stages so that they are equipped to support healthy socialised puppies that will grow up to be well-balanced, happy members of a human family. It has now been widely reported that the root cause of most adult dog behavioral problems can been pin pointed to the ignorance and poor care of puppies by the breeder.
Clarence Pfaffenber identified the developmental stages ‘common to all dogs’ I have used her work to write these posts and I will cover briefly these first stages in the follow up posts with downloadable charts, but if you would like to read about this subject, which I highly recommend, I would suggest you read ‘Think Dog. John Fisher’
Before we look at the developmental needs of a puppy here are a few items you will need set up ready for your new born puppies…
To care for your young puppies you need a few important things;
- Whelping box
This needs to be placed in a room that can kept warm, or you can use a heating pad or light
2. Heat sources
Newborn puppies are able to maintain a body temperature about 12°F warmer than the air temperature. The temperature under the heat lamp in the whelping box should be around 85°F for the first 2-3 days, and then can be dropped to 75-80°F depending on the surrounding temperature. A temperature of 70-75°F on the far side of the box is fine. Puppies head toward the heat source to nurse so do not have the heat source warmer than the bitch. Hanging a household thermometer on the inside of the whelping box will help you know the temperature in the box. Puppies typically lay side by side or on top of each other to share warmth. If the puppies are scattered throughout the whelping box and away from the heat lamp, the temperature is too warm. If they are all piled on top of each other, it may be too cold. Puppies need the extra heat, as they are unable to regulate their body temperature until several weeks old. The rectal temperature of newborn puppies is about 97°F and rises each week until about 4 weeks of age when it is a normal adult temperature of 100.5-102.5°F. Find out more about rearing newborns
You will need to weigh the new born puppies daily for the first few weeks to check that each puppy is getting enough milk and that they are all developing at the same rate – Why not keep track of your puppies weight with this Yogadogs printable puppy weight chart Printable Puppy Weight Chart
4. Clipping Claws
The puppies’ nails must be trimmed weekly starting a couple of days after the birth. This will help stop some of the scratches on the dam’s mammary glands.
5. Bed for Mum to go into next to whelping box
By the age of 3-4 weeks, Mum will want to be able to rest a little away from the puppies, it is a good idea to put a bed next to the whelping box so Mum can go and rest but still will be able to keep an eye on her pups
6. Towels, Blankets and Training Pads
You will need lots of towels, blankets and training pads – I would beg and borrow from family and friends for these items as they are going to get ruined so there is no point in buying new. I did end up buying a couple of small fleece blankets that the new born puppies do like to sleep on
7. Shallow dishes
When the puppies are around 3 1/2 weeks old you will need to start feeding them and weaning them off Mum
‘A healthy puppy is firm, plump, and vigorous. Puppies should nurse every 2 hours or so. If they nurse until their stomachs appear round and they sleep quietly, they are eating enough. If they are crying and moving a lot, they are not eating enough. They may be swallowing air, which makes the stomach appear larger. As they become weaker, they will lay still and not cry. A puppy may lose weight in the first 24 hours (less than 10% of birth weight), but after that, the weight should increase steadily. Their weight should double in the first 7-10 days. Before, during, and after nursing, the bitch will lick the stomach and perineal area to stimulate urination and defecation. She will continue to do this for 2-3 weeks.
Puppies should gain 1-2 grams/day/pound of anticipated adult weight. Weigh the puppy daily for the first 2 weeks, then weigh at least weekly. A food scale typically works well for weighing the puppies. Failure to gain weight is often the first sign of illness in puppies.
At about 3 weeks of age, the puppies will begin to imitate the bitch eating and drinking. A secure shallow water dish should now be available at least part of the day. At 3½ weeks of age, the puppies can start receiving puppy mush.Prepare the puppy mush by placing 2 cups of high quality dry puppy food in a blender with 12.5 oz liquid puppy milk replacer and fill the rest of the blender with hot water. This should be blenderized until the consistency of human infant cereal. (This feeds 6-8 puppies of a medium-sized breed.) The puppies should receive 3-4 meals a day of this to start. Once the puppies have checked it out, walked in it, and have eaten some, the dam can be allowed to finish it and clean the puppies off. Each week, increase the amount of food, decrease the amount of the milk replacer and water that is added and the time of blenderizing, so by 7 weeks of age, the puppies are eating dry food. Once they are on dry food, it may be left in with the puppies (when the dam is out of the box) or the meal times can continue. As the puppies eat more solid food, the bitch may be let away from the puppies for an ever longer period of time.
By the time the puppies are 6½-7 weeks of age, they should be fully weaned from the dam’s milk, eating dry food, and drinking water. If the weaning is not rushed, she will naturally start decreasing milk production, as the puppies increase their intake of solid food. As the puppies begin eating the puppy mush at 4 weeks of age, start changing the bitch’s diet back to adult food to also help her decrease milk production. Start by replacing 1/4 of her puppy food with adult food. Keep increasing the adult food and decreasing the puppy food until by the 7th week postpartum she is eating only adult food. During the last week of weaning, the dam’s food consumption should be less than 50% above the maintenance levels and declining toward maintenance levels. Hopefully she has been fed well during pregnancy and lactation so she weighs the same at weaning as she did before pregnancy.’ To read full article
This post has affiliate links in, I have put them on this post because I have used them in the past and think they are good items.