It's Day 4 already! Puppies are growing leaps and bounds and doing very well, they have all gained several ounces, some gaining 2 oz./day!! Because they are doing so well, I'm focusing a lot on keeping Hope healthy, making sure she gets the nutrition and calories she needs, as well as mental breaks and rest. I check her temperature several times a day to be sure she's not fighting infection- mastitis or uterine infection. She goes out for several short walks on leash. Also trying to get the post-whelping diarrhea under wraps so she doesn't get dehydrated, and also watching her post-whelping discharge. Sorry if that's TMI, but it's what I do. So Hope is doing well and is a great mama to her pups, feeding/cleaning/responding to them, but the second day her temp went up a bit, just above normal range, so I worked to get her temp down and monitored her, and she was back in normal range by evening. Here are some pics of the first couple days. We clipped puppies claws yesterday, and began ENS (Early Neurological Stimulation) today.
Hope's puppies were born this morning, 4 boys and 3 girls! All are doing well and already gaining an ounce or 2 each. These first few days are mostly about making sure they are thriving and gaining weight, and helping mama have a clean non-disrupted place to feed her puppies. We change out the bedding a few times a day to keep things extra clean and dry. We check puppies weights daily the first 2 weeks, and check mama's temperature to be sure she isn't getting any types of uterine infection or mastitis. She eats A LOT and will spend most of her time with them the first week especially. We make her special foods like liver, boiled chicken and rice, mother's pudding (goats milk, egg yolks, oil, sugar, gelatin), calcium supplements, puppy food (it's higher calorie and protein/fat), and broth, just to name a few of things on her menu! We want to keep her calories and calcium up for nursing, it's a whole lot easier than supplementing the puppies ourselves. It's important the puppies have a temperature controlled environment, not too hot, but definitely not too cold as they are unable to regulate their own body temps yet. We keep either a heat lamp or heating pad in their box at all times, but only in one area so they can move away from it if they get too warm. Mama stimulates them to eliminate by licking their bums and bellies. If she doesn't do it, we have to do it for her. So far Hope is an excellent first time mama and doing all the things she should be doing! It's pretty amazing to watch instincts kick in and she'll do all the things without being taught. She watches over them well but is not overly worried or overly protective, she is such a relaxed and chill girl, you'd never guess this was her first time!
The other day we took Nova to Hobby Lobby with us, let her sniff around, meet some people, see sliding doors, grocery carts, etc. (of course we asked the employees if it was alright first, and brought a bag with cleaning supplies in case of a mess). It is so important for puppies to get exposure to different places, sights, sounds, and people. All in appropriate doses! Short car rides (Nova gets carsick easily so we've worked slowly with that so she doesn't attach anxiety to riding in the car, ginger capsules help with the nausea), short trips to stores that accept dogs, visiting friends and family, different trails, beaches, parks, and meeting dogs that are friendly to puppies. It's also crucial that highly dog-trafficked areas are avoided until vaccinations are completed.