My Cursed Kingdom
This is my kingdom, i am the slave.

From birth to adolesence- A guide to rearing puppies at home.

So you have decided that you want your dogs to have puppies. Take your time, think again, and again, and again. The whole process is not as easy or fun as it sounds. If you have brought up kids then think of this as bringing up quadruplets or octuplets!

If you are absolutely certain that you want to go ahead with the process and have puppies, then by all means go ahead. The cute little puppies running around the garden after 3 months is completely worth it.

The things you should keep in mind before embarking on this once in a life time adventure are;

  • Do you have enough time to take care of the puppies? Because without any exaggeration, it will take up every single minute of your life for atleast 2 months.
  • Do you have enough people to take care of the puppies?
  • Do you have enough money to take care of them?
  • Do you have enough space for them?

Once you have made sure that you have all of the above issues settled, continue reading as I will guide you through an overwhelming experience of a lifetime.

Planning to mate:

I will not go too much in detail of this topic but a few things you should consider before mating your dam are the health and purity of the sire, arrangements with the sire owners and don’t forget to consult your vet for any queries you have regarding the whole process. You will usually have to mate your dam three times (usually 11th, 12th and the 13th day of her menstrual cycle). This makes the bitch more comfortable with the whole process and makes it easier in the future. Mating more than once does not mean high number of puppies. If you are unfamiliar with the mating process either read about it online or consult the vet. After the mating process is complete you have to patiently wait for app.63 days from the first mate for the little ones to arrive.

The day of delivery:

Make sure you have no plans for the 63rd day. My chocolate Labrador had her pups exactly on the 63rd day. Be prepared with supplies like:

  • Clean towels
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Thread to tie the umbilical cord if needed
  • Gloves
  • Lots of old newspaper
  • A box to put the puppies in

Most people will tell you that you will not need to interfere and the dam will do everything herself, but this was definitely not true in our case. I had to play the role of the doggy obstetrician. We had the puppies in our front garden. The dam usually stops taking food a few hours before she begins to get contractions. She runs around, not knowing what is happening to her. Don’t worry and try to stay close to her and make her feel you’re there to handle the situation. Soon the contractions will start getting grouped together and the first puppy will appear. Some dams lie down to give birth, mine gave birth to most of the pups standing up and straining. My dam did not have motherly instincts from the word go. She refused to clean the new borns or take the membranes off of them, which is usually considered natural for them. I had to carefully peel the membranes off the pups and allow the amniotic fluid to drain out so they could breathe. Holding them upside down for just a little bit helps a lot. Then after the placenta was also expelled, I waited for all the blood to drain from the placenta to the pup before tying a thread on the umbilical cord close to the puppies belly and cutting the away part off. I found doing this much better than relying on the mother to do it herself.

After repeating the whole process for 6 puppies they were all cleaned and put in a box. The average gap between each delivery was about half an hour.The mother took a long nap after that since she was so tired.

Day 1 onwards:

The puppies should be put to mother’s milk as soon as possible. It is the only nourishment they will get for atleast 4 weeks. In our case the mother was more difficult to handle than the puppies. After all it was our choice to have the puppies not hers! She was apprehensive towards the puppies and refused to feed them. We had to hold her down everytime the puppies needed to be fed and put the pups to the teats ourselves.

Ideally the dam will present no trouble during this process. The new born puppies have to be fed every 2 hours round the clock, the most tiring part of the whole process. It’s better to take turns otherwise it’s not a one man job! We found it better not to leave the pups with the mother. As soon as their feed was over we would put them in a big box, lined by towels and newspapers. We kept the puppies in a small room with an electric heater keeping them warm all day. Keep in mind that winters are not the best time to have your puppies.

Make sure the mother gets about 300% more feed than usual and lots of fluid. This will help her make more milk for her young ones.

A lot of times some of the puppies won’t be able to feed properly from the mother themselves. They may require being bottle fed. Consult your vet before starting bottle milk. Make sure it is lactulose free since they pups aren’t able to digest that.

1 week onwards:

By now a routine should have been established (by now you have probably gone crazy too). The pups still need to be fed every 2-3 hours round the clock. They will start gaining weight slowly. Take care of the weaker ones. Keep switching places of all the pups during a feed so that the healthier ones do not hog all the milk filled teats. Stroking the puppies on their genitalia with a wet cotton swab will cause them to urinate and defecate after every feed. Most of the times the mother herself licks the pups and cleans them. That was not the case with our dam. It took her a lot of time and patience for us before she started caring for her kids herself.

By about 14 days their eyes will begin to open and slowly they will start bearing weight on their legs. Make sure to keep them away from sudden temperature changes and drafts and keep changing their box newspaper regularly so they don’t catch a chill. If the pups start panting or crying a lot make sure the room temperature is not set too high. At about 2 weeks the pups should get their first deworming dose. This will help them to gain weight better since invariably most of the pups are born with worms. You will see them in their stool. It’s a good idea to start putting newspaper under the pups as soon as they are about to pee or poo, this will help you even later.

4 weeks onwards:

By this time the mothers milk will start to dry up and the pups should be shifted to another diet. Baby food (Cerelac) is a good option and contains all the nutrients they need. Slowly the baby formula should be replaced by puppy food and milk as the need may be. The feeding frequency by now would have been decreased to every 4-5 hours. But still not too less since the puppies are in their growing age. They will start moving around much more independently from their mother and their cuteness will begin to show. As the puppies grow they will need more space to move around and a small bathroom may not be enough for them. So be prepared before hand.

8 weeks onwards:

By now they are old enough to go to their new homes. Their teeth will have increased in size and they will start chewing on anything they see. It’s a good idea to give them some toys otherwise they will ruin a lot of your good stuff. It is a good idea to start telling people the puppies are up for adoption ahead of this time because it will take them some time before they are adopted. By now they should have a good habit of excreting on either newspapers or wherever you have chosen for them. By now they should also have been dewormed 3-4 times to get rid of all the worms. Feeding should continue for atleast 4 times a day.

And before you know it, they will be in their new homes and you will be missing them. Enjoy the time that they are with you and don’t stress yourself out too much. Don’t let yourself down too much if one or two puppies are lost during the process. They are fragile creatures and it is natural for the weak ones of the litter to die. It’s always easier to manage a small litter. That’s about it. Thanks a lot for reading. I tried to keep my experience sharing short and simple. If you have any questions please feel free to ask them.

2 Responses to “From birth to adolesence- A guide to rearing puppies at home.”

  1. What a great blog, It really helped me … Thank you very much for sharing such valued information..

    Highly appreciated!! 🙂

  2. You’re welcome. I’m glad this article helped you out.

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