Your puppy birth to 8 weeks
I wanted to create this page to give everyone a better idea of what is all involved in breeding and planning for the litter of puppies. Many don’t really realize what all involved in this process.
A good place to start is at the beginning with you. I plan a breeding based on interest from you on a puppy. This is why I ask for a deposit before I breed. There are hours and hours of planning, work and costs to breed and raise a litter of puppies for you.
My moms and dads are first by making sure they are physically fit and free of parasites by using high quality food and a regular worming schedule. When she comes into heat she is bred between day 9 and day 14 of her heat cycle every other day for a total of 3 ties as I found I have a higher conception rate using this plan. If the breeding is successful, I can expect puppies approximately 63 days from the first breeding.
I have invested in my own ultrasound machine and check for puppies around 21-23 days after breeding. I then contact families to let them know of impending birth date and that I will deposit their checks in the next few days.
I continue to monitor mom and babies throughout the pregnancy to ensure a successful pregnancy and whelping.
About a week before pups are due I set up my whelping area, get all my supplies ordered and set up for the whelping. My kennel is comfortable so I move out there a couple days before they come so I can monitor mom and finish last minute planning. I stay out there for the first 4 weeks to make sure everyone is safe. Moms can lay on a puppy and not realize it. They have a camera on them I can watch and hear from my cot when I need rest.
Moms' temperature is monitored 2-3 times a day and recorded so when her temperature drops I can expect puppies to arrive in 12-24 hours. When it does begin I can expect to be up for a couple days before she’s done so I will cat nap when she does.
When a puppy is born I place it on a warming table, suction fluids and get it breathing well.
I tie the umbilical cord if needed and clean it and take puppy’s temperature. I have a spreadsheet where I document time of birth, temp, sex, weight and any other information about the puppy. I will also give it a specific collar color that will be his identification. I then give the puppy back to mom and allow them to bond and the puppy to nurse as nursing releases natural oxytocin for the mom to move forward with her next puppy. When not nursing I move puppies to a warm tote with oxygen. This process is repeated until whelping is complete.
Puppy Progress Weeks 1 & 2
For the first 2 weeks after birth puppies are monitored closely. I check their weight gain progress and temperature. I also check for any signs of dehydration and to make sure they can potty. Mom will keep pups clean, she stimulates them to potty so I don’t always see that they are going.
Puppies can’t regulate their body temperature or go potty on their own until about 12 days old. In larger litters I supplement feedings with formula to insure everyone are getting what they need.
Puppies first 2 weeks are all about eating, sleeping and potty. Steady weight gain, activity searching for food, plump and warm scooting around some. Eyes and ears are beginning to open usually beginning day 10 and by day 14 they are fully open but can’t see well.
At 2 weeks old they all are given their first dose of worming medicine.
Puppy Progress Weeks 3 & 4
In their 3rd week eyesight and hearing improves and pups are up on all 4 but clumsy and fall down but this is all normal progress for them learning to use legs and strengthening their muscles. Puppies aren’t as fragile now the high danger period has passed.
By the end of 3 weeks I begin to introduce a mush I make out of kibble soaked in hot water to which I add a powdered formula and canned puppy food. Their teeth are beginning to come in well and mom doesn’t want to spend so much time with them. I have set up the whelping area so she can move away from them when she wants. But she is usually with them all night. Pups are also moving farther away from the nesting area to go potty as they don’t like to mess where they sleep. Pups are monitored for motor progression, weight gain and temperature.
This progression continues through week 4 and puppies should begin to develop their own personality. They play and bark and sleep and eat and just become little individuals.
By the end of week 4 they are eating well on their own. I worm them at 4 weeks and also introduce their potty area where I use pine flakes. Usually by the time they leave they use this area exclusively for their bathroom
Puppy Progress Weeks 5 & 6
In week 5 puppies are introduced to hard kibble. I keep this available to them 24/7 along with water. They are still getting soft food in between but they gradually move away from the soft kibble by 6 weeks. I begin the weaning process to make this as comfortable as possible for mom. It helps cut her milk supply gradually. By the end of week 5 she is only nursing them twice a day.
I vaccinate at week 5 for parvovirus distemper, hepatitis, kennel cough and parainfluenza. I believe this protocol is the safest for puppies as they take 2 weeks to kick in and I wean at 6 weeks so when moms natural antibodies are subsiding in the puppies the vaccines are kicking in. I also microchip puppies at this time.
In week 6 puppies are wormed and my veterinarian has been scheduled to come out for a wellness check on all the puppies and mom.
I have taken mom out completely at this point to dry her milk out.
At this age puppies have become puppies. They play hard, eat well, sleep, poop, pee and repeat.
At this point most families have begun to pick their puppies.
Puppy Progress Weeks 7 & 8
Puppies are growing well and play nonstop practically. Their forever homes are chosen and mom is visiting them occasionally but doesn’t have a lot to do with their care anymore. She will play a bit, sniff them a little then want out. I let puppies outside weather permitting. I have a very nice play area for them.
Puppies are given a 2nd 5 way vaccine at around 7 ½ weeks and a final worming at 8 weeks.
Between 8 and 9 weeks puppies are ready and can go to their new forever homes.
I also have a page called Puppy Process that has other information available that explains how to apply for a puppy from me.