There's a variety of different reasons why a puppy is struggling to eat as much as they need. Some puppies are weaker than their siblings and get pushed off of the nipples, becoming exhausted from multiple failed attempts to feed. Others just simply fail to thrive and need interference or else they won't survive. We choose to use Goat's Milk Esibiliac Formula for our growing puppies when they need assistance with their feeding. Goats milk contains helpful enzymes that make digestion faster and easier for puppies than standard cow milk. Goats milk is also a great way to create puppy gruel and makes the transition easier. A variety of feeding methods can be used depending on the feeding drive of the puppy. Some may choose to use medicine plungers to measure out the formula and dispense it, but forcing the formula into the puppy's mouth instead of letting them feed at their own pace can choke them and result in life-threatening aspiration. We prefer to start with a bottle and see if they will take to it. Then, if they are struggling with the bottle, we try a medicine dropper or sponge, and as a last resort, we use a feeding tube.
Fable and Legends 1st litter
Newborn puppies are unable to properly regulate their own body temperature, meaning that we must step in to make sure their environment is optimal. After trying several different whelping set-ups, we have found that our pregnant females prefer a kiddie tub over all others because the curvature of the border allows them to get in a better position for giving birth. The kiddie tub is lined with large, reusable incontinence pads and towels so that the mother can dig and nest as she needs to be comfortable. These are changed out regularly as they become soiled and the plastic tub is disinfected. A large heating pad is placed underneath half of the kiddie pool on a low temperature setting so that the puppies can crawl to either the warm or cool side of the pool as needed. The newborn puppies have their dew claws removed and tails docked by three days old. Dew claws can become problematic later one in life as they have a nail but no bone which can become caught on things like fabrics and possibly torn off. Quickly removing this while they're still young prevents this trauma later on in life. Docked tails are entirely based upon preference and is standard for the breed because of their historical hunting duties.
No matter the number of preventative measures taken, most puppies are born with some sort of intestinal parasite. It is recommended by veterinary offices to deworm the mother throughout her pregnancy with a product that is considered safe for developing puppies. Our dogs receive monthly dewormer and heartworm preventative as well as flea and tick treatments. We use a more gentle dewormer, known as pyrantel pamoate, on our puppies as it is safer for their sensitive stomachs and is appetizing for easier treatment. They are treated at two, four, six, and eight weeks and receive dosages of 0.25 mL per half pound. We also administer the deworming liquid orally via a calibrated dropper to ensure accurate measurements. Several monthly dewormers on the market are safe to administer at eight weeks old, but we leave this decision up to the new owner and their veterinarian. Our puppies are cleared by a puppy examination at our local veterinarian before they go to their new home. If there is evidence of any intestinal parasites remaining, we will treat them again with a stronger daily medicine to ensure the stubborn hitchhikers are gone. All results from the puppy examination are recorded in a health record pamphlet which is provided to the new owner.
A very important part of puppyhood is socialization. Puppies receive a good portion of their socialization from their littermates and mother, but to set them up for success it is important to incorporate other methods. A good example is handling desensitization. Handling puppies daily will help them to be more comfortable with touching, petting, playing, and even being picked up later on in life. Flipping them on their back and rubbing their belly will also get them accustomed to the sensation so that they trust their owner if they flip them on their back. A puppy without proper desensitization will resist when their owner picks them up, tries to flip them over, or even tries to handle one of their paws. This is not only essential for grooming and veterinary visits, but it also enhances day-to-day interactions between an owner and their dog. Exposing the puppies to many different people is also helpful so that they associate everyone with positive things like play. We enlist our family and friends to help with this socialization so that they are familiar with children, men, women, and the elderly. My favorite pastime is talking to our puppies as they grow. Speaking to them while they grow is soothing and associates voices with comfort, improving the owner and dog relationship because they recognize your voice as something important.
Athos, Tales and Legends 2nd litter
To make sure that our puppy parents have all of the starting resources that are necessary, each puppy is sent home with a puppy care package! This includes items like a bowl, waste bags, current food, pee pads, a blanket and variety of toys. A mothers scent is very important to puppies and can be comforting for the change to a new home. All blankets and toys given out in the care packages have had contact with the mother so that your puppy can carry her scent home with them. You will also receive all appropriate paperwork and documentation in a file folder for safe keeping. We love to receive updates of our puppies so we can be involved while they grow up! We will also provide as much help and feedback as we can when we are faced with a puppy owners concerns or questions. I hope this information can help bring some understanding to how our beautiful puppies are raised in our home.