We all love cute and cuddly, squeaky, wriggly, adorable little puppies. But before your bitch is mated, it would be wise to think of the hard work involved in caring for a litter of puppies properly.
Apart from the actual birth or “whelping” itself – and very often this takes place in the early hours of the morning, the “safe” time when fewest preditors would be around in the natural world – there may be complications such as a womb infection, a retained plascenta – both of which may require surgical intervention.
The bitch may not be able to produce enough milk or has inverted nipples or mastitis, and is unable to feed her puppies – in which case they will need to be bottle-fed – trust me, this is not a job for the faint-hearted, or for anyone who needs more than a couple of hours spasmodic sleep in a day!
Your bitch will need encouragement to feed in the first week after birth, but after that your bitch’s appetite will shoot through the roof, and she will need 1 meal for herself plus 1 meal for each 2 puppies in the litter – if it is an odd number of puppies, round up to the next number. So with a litter of 5 or 6, the mother will need 4 times her normal food intake. She will also require lots to drink – as any breast-feeding mother will know.
Then there’s the puppy washing – not the puppies, the blankets!!!
The bedding needs to be changed several times a day- as soon as a damp patch can be felt or a yellowish stain can be seen (puppies have yellow pooh!) This will increase – as the puppies grow so do their bladders! – we can’t have the little darlings getting smelly can we! Then there’s the drying of the blankets – in british weather?!!!
Don’t get me wrong, this can be an delightful time, but just for those of you who thought that it was easy. Wake up and smell the puppies!!!
Anyone requiring advice or help, whether you have pedigree puppies or a mongrel litter, please contact us