We had successfully survived the first week – something that most people might take for granted, but not I, not since we lost that first litter. Weeks 2 – 3 are less about survival and more about development I found.
Bonny and I had a routine that went something like this:
Puppy eyes are misty blue when they open and they cannot really see that well at first.
Their weight doubled except for Little, Little Girl who I wondered it we might lose, but with dedicated nipple manipulation we always managed to find her a fifth teat and when we were not around she learned to keep alert until a litter mate had finished feeding and then she would pounce on vacated spot.
Now Bonny was more relaxed with her brood, I found her easier to manage when I was weighing, checking tummy buttons and generally getting them used to being handled.
Once I was sure the puppies were ok, I would change their bedding using good old Dettol to wipe out box and then dry it before using papers and puppy pads underneath a newly washed and dried vet fleece. White was a great colour for their bedding. For instance I saw yellow stains and found one of the puppies had a yellow discharge from its tummy button. After googling this madly, I used sterile cotton wool ball and iodine and this dried it up nicely. A white vet fleece also showed me colour (sorry) of Bonny’s discharge (going a nice browny pink already) and if it had been red, we would have made a trip to the VET to get her checked out – especially after first week.
Once everyone was settled back in their new freshly cleaned bed I would put my feet up and have a nap.
And so would they!
Evenings were busy with meal times (hooman’s too) and exercise for both Hector (a walk) and Bonny (balls thrown and retrieved in the garden). Bedtimes were reasonably early (around 10pm) when once garden break, food supplies replenished and water refreshed were done. I went to bed immediately after the dogs were settled, setting bedside alarm for 2am (when I would go downstairs and check all was ok) and making sure baby alarm was switched on so I could hear (and wake instantly – I had it on LOUD) if the pups were in distress.
My 2am check-up was really appreciated by Bonny who would be:- too hot – she is sleeping on heatpad which is on – switch off heat pads; desperate for a garden break and some fresh air; in need of some hooman company and a little nurturing of her own or any other reason. She always welcomed me at my moonlight visits and I enjoyed this special time (of our own) together.
So that was the daily routine during the first three weeks.
To round up, the puppies opened their eyes and became aware of Bonny, each other (for huddling) and started to crawl rather than swim to their mother’s side. They were still twitching in their sleep, they were still deaf (little ears folded flat to side of heads) and all was well.
If the first three weeks had been worrying and stressful the next five were to prove utterly exhausting and totally joyful as the pups grew, developed individual personalities and learned how to play.
From the above – to below…
Read final installment (which I will write soon!) on the lives of Litter 2011, Hector and Bonny’s successful litter when you can see if the puppies above made their bid for freedom!