As puppies grow older the bedding in the nest box can be leveled by bringing it down from the sides. This keeps the puppies in. Much of the bedding material will have to be changed soon after whelping is over because of the large amount of amniotic fluid present which accompanies the birth of each puppy.
The floor of the area where the puppies are is of importance. If it is of concrete or rough wood, it should be covered with several thicknesses of burlap or cloth before the bedding is put down. If the thorough surface is not covered, the pups will wear away their navels, infection will creep under the skin, and the puppies will die unless treated promptly. Indeed thousands of puppies die each year from infected navels.
Treatment for this consists of cleaning away the infected parts and injecting an antibiotic. An antiseptic powder or ointment should be applied and worked under the skin, which should then be covered with a gauze pad bound in place by adhesive tape. It is best to keep the supply under treatment isolated and carry it to the mother for nursing five or six times a day. The puppy should be treated until the skin has grown across and healed. Another method is to dissect the infected area away and suture the skin together. Healing may require five days more.
As soon as puppies begin to crawl about, a pen must be made for them. They can use sand runs. Grass and concrete are the devil’s own devices for spreading worm infestation. The best plan for small kennel dogs one that has everything to recommend it and a few drawbacks are to provide a wire-bottom pen. The wire for the bottom of the pen, one-inch square mesh, should be 9 or i-gauge, preferably welded. Lighter netting soon breaks, unless the puppies are a light breed. Smallish bitches can be kept in this kind of pen and allowed to whelp in the hutch.
When the puppies crawl out on the wire and defecate, there is no chance of contamination. If the droppings are removed under the pens every day, even flies cannot transmit infestations of embryonated worm eggs. The only serious objection to the use of these pens is that puppies raised in them often cannot successfully be introduced into houses with hot-air floor registers unless these registers are screened from the pups. Having trained themselves to defecate over the wire flooring in the pen, the puppies search tirelessly for a similar surface to use for the same purpose in the house. When a pup finds the furnace register, the owner often feels that the idea of a wire-bottom pen was all a mistake.
Raising puppies in cool or even cold weather is generally more successful than when it is too hot. When they are cold they will pile up to keep warns, and their mother is less likely to lie on them than she is if they have spread out to keep cool. The best temperature is that which will induce the puppies to remain huddled together to keep warm. If a little pup gets drilled by falling out of its box, for example, but is still alive when found, heat may revive it. Never give up. As it becomes more animated, let it suck some warm formula and watch the quick change.
Hiccoughing in healthy puppies is common enough to call normal but why they hiccough nobody knows. A puppy settling into sleep as well as a wide-awake-playing puppy may hiccough for a few minutes.
As little puppies grow, they occasionally. twitch. You may see this jerking in one after another and think it means that they have fleas or are sick. It doesn’t; instead, it means that they are healthy and doing well. If they fail to twitch, they are unthrifty, possibly underfed, or anemic. It has been suggested the sleep a puppy experiences while twitching is similar to the REM (rapid eye movement) sleep of humans.
How early may little puppies be dewormed? Since they may be born with intestinal parasites, it pays to have fecal examinations made starting at three weeks of age. If they are infested, they can safely be dewormed at any age.
Consult your veterinarian for a fecal analysis and the proper medication for the type of worm present. Capsules of Piperazine may be obtained where dog medicines are sold, and are safe and efficacious for roundworms when used as directed. However, hookworm and whip-worm infestations should be treated with the advice of a veterinarian, who has the most effective safety products available.
In the case of hookworms, owners are occasionally advised to build the puppies up before having them dewormed. Actually, it is almost impossible to build puppies up in competition with a heavy worst infestation. It is also well to realize that, even if this building up could be done eventually, there usually is no time – hookworms cannot be eliminated too soon because of the anemia they cause.
Puppies open their eyes on the tenth day after birth. The corner next to the nose opens first. If the puppy’s eye bulges before it opens stake it to a veterinarian promptly. You will probably save the eye by so doing. It may be opaque when it opens, but it will usually clear. Always clip the sharp nails of puppies when they are a few weeks old, and keep them clipped. This may be done safely with a human nail clipper if you have no special dog nail clippers. If the nails are allowed to remain long, injury to the eyes of one or more puppies may result. Hundreds of puppies have scars or, worse, are blinded every year by the failure of the owners to take this simple precaution.
The training must take into account the personality of the dog to be trained. A sensitive Toy Poodle may be trained more easily with rewards than the overexuberant Boxer, which may respond better to training with force. The discipline necessary for a Poodle may be a harsh word, something often completely disregarded by a Boxer.
The age of the dog is another important consideration since it is easier to train one with some maturity than a devil-may-care puppy. However, the objective of the training is an important matter and may have little to do with age, as in the case of housebreaking.
Many professional trainers recognize German Shepherds or Alsatians as being more easily trainable than other breeds and will accept them at six months of age in their training programs. Most other breeds must be ten or twelve months of age for professionals to accept them for training.
Some breeds inherit aptitudes to perform functions by developing and training themselves. Just give them the opportunity and with virtually no training by the handler/owner they do what their breed is supposed to do. The Beagle is a good example of self-training. All that is necessary is to take one into a field that has rabbits and, if the inherited genes are there, its trailing and barking develop naturally. The sighthounds, such as the racing Greyhound, are other good examples. Bird dogs, including retrievers, also inherit their aptitudes but usually require some training by handlers to perform their functions properly.
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