Mother Dog Health
A few things that can be done to attain success in raising a healthy litter of puppies are as important as ensuring the mother’s (or dam’s) health before the puppies are born. This insurance must go back to the period before she is bred. She probably would not have come in the season unless she had been in good health. Your primary considerations, therefore, are preventing disease and providing good nutrition. Parasites are enemy number one of the puppies to be born. If the dam is infested, her puppies are almost certain to be infested either during the embryonic period or after birth. Infestation after birth can result from contact with the mother’s breasts or feet or with the infested run.
Puppies under three weeks of age can have worms in them old enough to be laying eggs; that can only mean that the puppies were infested while still embryos. Because this condition is not readily apparent, the pups may become so unthrifty (the veterinary term for unhealthy) that death occurs very soon after birth. It is most important, therefore, to make sure that the dam is free of parasites of all kinds, both external and internal, and that the exercising area is free of worm and flea eggs. Fleas and lice make the mother scratch and increase the danger of injury to her offspring. Fleas spread tapeworms also, and lice may cause anemia in both dam and puppies.
Be sure the mother is well fed but not allowed to become fat. One of the better grades of dry dog food is probably the best choice if the economy, as well as quality, is any consideration; if the economy is not a consideration, good canned food or table scraps arc satisfactory, provided they include enough calcium, phosphorus, iron, and vitamins. Too many table-scrap diets are low in calcium and iron. Milk will furnish calcium; meat, phosphorus, and iron; vegetables, some of the essential vitamins. We have found that a little alfalfa-leaf meal of 20 percent protein content or higher will do more to ensure success in pregnancy than any other supplemental ingredient of the diet. Most dry commercial food contains an ample amount of this.
If there is reason to suspect the pregnant female needs more calcium than her normal diet provides, add half a can of undiluted evaporated milk daily for a forty-pound dog. This is a natural source of available calcium. Dried eggshells powdered in a blender are a more economical source; give a forty-pound dog a level teaspoon of the powder daily. Tart these supplements two weeks before the delivery date and continue until the weaning process begins.
As a pet owner, you are recommended to take care of the mother even though you will find the bitch prefers to be left alone with her pups in a protected area. The bitch and its puppies would not like any human interference and it would be ideal for them if they are treated with one or two of their family members.
See more: Paraphimosis in Dog
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