So far, this litter has been perfect! Salsa had the courtesy to start at noon and be done before the cocktail hour, so there was no bleary-eyed mid-wife duties in the middle of a night. There were no complications and all seven puppies are vigorous and even gained weight in the first 18 hours, which is often not the case. In fact, the average gain is over 8%, from an average of 12.4 ounces at birth to an average of 13.4 this morning.
Last night Cheri and I shared the responsibility of sleeping on the floor next to the whelping box. We put down two big dog beds and I took the first shift and was relieved by Cheri at 2 am. It probably wasn't necessary as Salsa seems to be a very careful mom. I even saw her scoot one puppy to the side with her paw to make a clear spot to lay in. My duties during my shift was usually just to get up and "rescue" a puppy who had crawled away from the warm pile and was unable to find its way back. Here are some photos I took this morning.
Salsa is progressively taking over. Last night neither Cheri nor I actually slept in the bathroom with the whelping box, but one of us (mostly Cheri) got up every two ours of so to check and sometimes rescue a puppy that had wandered away from the comfort pile. Salsa has a hearty appetite and is clearly producing milk in good quantity. This morning's weights showed a whopping 10% gain in the last 24 hours. This never ceases to amaze me--it would be as if I gained more than 20 pounds in one day! And it is all just DNA giving orders to turn milk into fat, protein and bone.
We are settling into the routine of early whelping-box time. Salsa is still very bonded to the puppies and doesn't want to be out of the box even for a few minutes to go outside to relieve herself. I change the mat in the box every morning and while doing this I put the seven puppies in a plastic box that has a heating pad in the bottom under a layer of dry towels. The box sits on a low bathroom stool beside the box. This morning while I was changing the pad Salsa nosed the box off the stool, dumping all seven puppies on the floor. There was an appropriate amount of squealing but fortunately, at this age, they are pretty plastic so as soon as they got back in the pile with mom all was forgiven.
This morning's weights show continued strong growth, with the average weight now more than a pound each. The graph makes it look like the smallest girl had a bad day, but I suspect yesterday's weighing was incorrect as today's weight is on a straight line with the first two points.
Today's photos are head profiles; the top in my hand and the bottom nestled between Salsa's two front legs.
Salsa is making milk big time now and the puppies are growing like weeds. This morning's weighing showed a ridiculous 17% average gain since yesterday. However, this might be an artifact since I had to use a new scale today--the one I started with quit working. As well, Salsa is starting to get a little bored being in the whelping room 24 hours a day. This morning she was willing to leave the puppies for 10 minutes to come to the kennel and eat breakfast with the rest of the dogs. But as soon as she was done she scampered back to the whelping box and took count.
Boredom is starting to set in for Salsa. She is more trusting and willing to leave them and has been taking her meals in the kennel with the rest of the adult dogs. This morning she even left her little family and followed me out in the backyard while I did the poop patrol in preparation for the gardeners. Vigorous weight gain continues and the puppies are quite strong now and can scoot around the box pretty fast. It is no longer necessary to rescue "lost" puppies as often. I took the following photo with my iPhone yesterday and put the picture on my Facebook page. It caught on and in 24 hours it had 204 "likes" and 22 comments. The puppy is the largest boy. Which reminds me--I need to come up with some temporary names soon.
[Note added June 26: The livernosed pup in the picture is Knut. The picture has proven to be very popular; as of today it has 260 "likes" and 24 comments.]
I am trying out temporary names based on Scandinavian kings, queens and consorts (prompted by our recent trip):
We will see how these fit for awhile. The pups are getting increasingly strong. They are six days old now and the average weight has gone from 12.4 ounces at birth to 22.9 ounces. So they are on schedule for the normal doubling in the first week.
The pups are one week old today and right on schedule the average weight has doubled from birth. The biggest puppy is Knut, a strpping livernosed boy with a big white blaze on his chest, who weighs exactly two pounds today. The smallest is Inge, a livernosed girl who was 9.9 ounces at birth and today weighs a bit more than 19 ounces. I am expecting visitors today--granddaughter Camille and my friend Louise Vangsgaard is bring home Angkor, the 12-week old from the Sheila-Ruger litter. Louise has kept Angkor the last week so that Cheri and I could give more attention to the new puppies. first week.
We are 8 days old and, a bit ahead of schedule, some of us are starting to actually creep around the whelping box. Mom has moved into the guest bedroom (dog bed just outside the whelping box) so she can keep a watchful eye and not have to be in with us on our hard mat.
Not much to report today. The pups are continuing to grow and are starting to creep around the whelping box. By Sunday when they are two weeks old they will probably be lurching and we also expect the eyes and ears to open this weekend. Salsa is at the stage where she is on duty when required but spends more time out of the box than in it. Normally she sleeps on the dog bed at the door of the box but last night at 4 am she crawled into the bed between Cheri and me and slept there the rest of the night.
I filled out paperwork to send the AKC for litter registration. It was a bit more complicated than usual since Fanning does not yet have an AKC number so we had some extra paperwork and had to submit a DNA sample. Hopefully I did it all right and the litter will be registered without any further ado.
Lisa got Fanning's DM results and he is N/N. Since Salsa is also N/N, all of the puppies are clear by parentage. To establish that for their records I will have to submit DNA swabs for each puppy since AKC wants to be completely certain that the pups are really from Salsa and Fanning.