Blazingstar Crimson Topaz RA
Elbows: OFA Normal
Eyes: Clear (including
DOB: Sept 13, 2015
Black, carries liver
Kistryl Toffee CD RE
Elbows: OFA Normal
Eyes: Clear (gonioscopy
DOB: April 14, 2018
Liver, carries yellow
Cricket whelped 10 puppies between 7:30 and 11:45 pm on August 29. You can imagine our surprise at the arrival of 10 because the vet who did her ultrasound thought there were 6-7 puppies. The whelping was smooth and uneventful, and Cricket is being a wonderful and attentive mom to the puppies. They all gained an impressive amount of weight during their first night, and are off to a great start.
It was surprising to have such an overwhelming number of male puppies born in one litter. I laughed though, because Cricket was the only female puppy in her litter, along with 7 brothers.
It was a busy week looking after 10 neonates. The puppies are weighed twice daily to make sure they are growing well. Smaller puppies, or puppies with smaller weight gains are given some private nursing time, which helps them all to keep up. I'm happy to report the puppies had a great week and are all thriving. I trim their nails every 3 days, and we started ENS and ESI (more about that next week) when they were 3 days old.
Unfortunately Cricket developed mastitis mid-week. Our vet prescribed a gentle antibiotic that's safe for nursing puppies. Thankfully, it was effective at treating the mastitis.
I am very impressed with what a wonderful mother Cricket is. Tennis balls are her favourite toys, and she likes to bring a tennis ball into the whelping box to show the puppies. She wants so badly to make a nice den under our front porch to raise the puppies in. I made the mistake of letting her outside unsupervised one day this week, and she went under the deck in just seconds. No amount of treats or cooked chicken breast could coax her out. Finally, I sent Mark out to try, and was worried he might have to take the deck apart. To my surprise, he had her out in seconds. It turns out he brought a gun outside and fired it, which had her come running. She's crazy about hunting and wouldn't miss a hunting trip for anything.
WEEK ONE PORTRAITS
WEEK TWO PORTRAITS
The puppies all doubled their birth weights early in the week. I've been happy with how well they've been growing, especially considering what a big litter it is.
This period in puppy development is so important in their development. The puppy brain grows in size 700% from 10 days before birth to 30 days after. Dogs are born with many more synapses than they need, and then the brain goes though a process where it prunes synapses that aren't being used. Puppies raised in an enriched environment have significantly more synapses than those who aren't. By providing an enriched environment in these early days, the puppies will enter adulthood with a more complex brain. We use Early Scent Introduction (ESI) and Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS) from day 3-16 in order to stimulate their brains while their eyes and ears are not yet functional.
Cricket finished her antibiotics mid-week, which was wonderful as it gave the puppies diarrhea. You can imagine the mess 10 puppies with diarrhea can make are capable of making. Their eyes started to crack open towards the end of the week, and they are just starting to get up onto their feet to toddle around the whelping box.
The milk demands on Cricket's body continue to increase as the puppies grow in size. She's eating 4 large meals each day. I'm sure she'll be relieved when puppies begin eating solids.
The puppies are growing so quickly. Their eyes are completely open, and their ears are now opening as well. They are up on their feet now, though are still a bit wobbly - much like toddlers who are learning to walk.
Mid way through the week, we added large potty trays to their whelping box. We've been helping them learn how to use it, and we've witnessed a number of them crawl into the potty area to go to the bathroom. Strawberry was the first one to poop in the potty box, and I was so proud.
Tangerine was the first one to escape the whelping box. I woke up at 3:30 one morning (I'm still sleeping in the whelping room with the crew) to find Cricket nursing a lone puppy on the floor outside of the whelping box. Tangerine was hungry and managed to climb out to search of his mom. Another board was immediately added to the box entrance to prevent any more escapes.
The puppies have started to make all kinds of great little sounds this week. There is whining, some little barks, and my favourite - a few sweet puppy growls. They've begun mouthing one another and toys in the whelping box. Cricket still prefers to eat her meals while she nurses puppies. Because I'm working to get so much food into her, I'm happy to oblige. A number of the boys have surprised me with their eagerness to eat meat, and regularly crawl over to try to steal some of Cricket's meals. It's a bit early to introduce them to solids, so they are quickly redirected back to the milk bar. I anticipate they will go wild when they are served their first raw meal.
THREE WEEK PORTRAITS
WEEK FOUR PORTRAITS
This week was a pretty exciting week for the puppies. Mid-week, we moved them from their whelping box in a bedroom, to a larger pen in the living room. They now get to experience the hustle and bustle of our lives. Litter training has progressed nicely this week. There were a couple of incidences where a puppy got his front paws into the litter box, but left the rear hanging out - so close to success! By the end of the week, there were very few accidents outside of the potty boxes. Using potty boxes not only makes for a clean pen, but will also make the puppies very ready to be housebroken once they go to their new homes.
The puppies also began to eat solid foods this week. They starred with raw ground turkey, and then enjoyed a raw food made specifically for young puppies. They all have hearty appetites.
On Saturday, we took the puppies outside for the first time.They had a great time exploring, feeling the breeze, smelling new smells, and soaking in the sunshine. They got to hang out with their dad and a number of them checked to see if he had any milk available. Mark brought out a goose for them to check out as well.
I order my raw dog food from a company in Lacombe that delivers it to pick up locations once a month. Last month (with Cricket eating SO MUCH), I had underestimated the amount of food I would need. We ended up having to place 2 special orders through the month, which meant 2 trips to Lacombe. This month, I carefully calculated and estimated the amount I would need to get all 13 dogs through the month, so that we wouldn't have to make any extra trips to Lacombe. Once I picked up the large order of frozen raw meat, I had a pretty frustrated husband. Between our 3 freezers, he only managed to find room for 2/3rds of it. Lucky for me, my parents had room in their freezer for the rest, and don't live too far away. Mark told me I need to buy another freezer, but that sounds like a blue job to me - lol.
Sorry about the late update! I started editing the week's pictures late Sunday night and realized we had missed one of the puppies when we had taken portraits earlier that day.
I think the word of the week is 'regurgitation'. Cricket has begun to regurgitate her meals for the puppies; unfortunately mostly on the rug near the puppy pen. We're working to keep her away from the puppies after she eats so she doesn't have the opportunity to regurgitate meals for them. Regurgitation is a natural way bitches wean their puppies. I can't blame her for trying to fill