I haven't written in the blog for a few days because I was off for dog shows in Ferndale, CA, up by the California-Oregon border. We had a nice trip--Molly won BOB two days and was 2nd in the Hound Group one day. 10-month old puppies Bolt and Coco showed in their classes and Bolt was Reserve Winner's Dog one day.
The pups are continuing to grow like weeds, especially Knut and Sigrid. Little Inge is only half the weight of Knut but her growth curve is steady. I decided to add Salsa's puppy weight to the chart and you can see that Inge is tracking her mom exactly. Indeed, when I hold Inge it is deja vu--seems just like holding Salsa three years ago. Salsa was also the smallest in the litter and, in fact, I supplemented her with bottled milk from time to time. Well, in the end, Salsa turned out to be the largest girl as an adult.
The other development is that eyes are open now and they are lurching around the whelping box in a semi-walk.
Knut is up to 4.0 pounds and is now exactly twice the weight of Inge, who is 2.0 pounds. She is, however, an adorable clone of her mother. The first photo below was taken last night while Cheri and I were watching Sherlock on TV and Inge was sleeping in my lap.
I decided to give Inge bottle boosts for the next few days as she is not competing well with her piggy siblings. As you can see from this photo, she is an enthusiastic nurser.
Because a couple of the pups had diarrhea, I had a fecal test to see if there was anything like coccidia or roundworms. The test came back negative for all parasites, so I guess the runs were just the result of overly good milk production. Salsa is a great producer, keeping up an average weight gain of 6-8%, even though she herself is not showing the "Biafra dog" signs we sometimes see with mothers of large, rapidly-growing litters. Yesterday I gave Inge a bottle supplement two times, once in the morning and once before bedtime. She had about 3 ounces in the morning and 1 1/2 in the evening. Today she was up 2 1/4 ounces from yesterday, which is a 7% gain.
Salsa had a little excitement today. This morning early she made her way into the garage through an open door from the back yard, where she found a bag of kibble that I had on a workbench to give to Amanda and Pete, who were coming today to pick up Angkor. She ate a hole in the side and managed to gorge herself. Before I knew she had done it I gave her a normal breakfast, which was an additional 4 1/2 cups of kibble. Then I noticed that she looked like a dog that was about to bloat--her whole rib cage looked expanded. She threw up a couple of times, which seemed to releive some of her distress. Now she just acts like she has major indigestion--which she probably does. No dinner tonight.
Our supplementation routine for Inge is working--her weight chart is starting to turn up and she gained a greater percentage than the average for the litter for the second straight day.
The following photos are of Olav, our black-nosed show prospect.
We are in a very low-maintenance period at this point. The puppies are thriving--Knut hit five pounds today and Inge is an ounce shy of three pounds. They are walking around the whelping box pretty well now and have learned to run over to the low door closure when a human comes into the room and speaks. They are getting plenty of cuddle time and seem to like it. Every morning I take each puppy from the box, weigh, and place in the dog bed next to the box. When they are all weighed and out of the box I take up the sleeping mat, underlying indoor-outdoor carpet and wet newspapers, replace with fresh materials, and return the pups to the box.
The pups are getting big enough that it is pretty crowded at the milk bar.
Salsa has been tapering off of motherhood. Even though she is getting 8 cups of kibble per day, I think she is having trouble producing enough milk to satisfy the hungry bunch. So yesterday, a few days earlier than usual, I prepared some of the goat's milk formula that we always use in the weaning phase and gave the pups their first taste of food from a pan. I fed them in their whelping box and they sort of got the hang of it. There was the usual amount of mess for the first time, plenty of feed in the pan, but after cleanup they settled in for the night. Salsa did get up (from our bed) at about 4 am to nurse them.
This morning after weigh-in (pretty large gain--8.5%, usual for the first day on pan food) I moved the little critters out to their new home, one of our 5x8 indoor kennel rooms with an outdoor 5x30 ft gravel run. The room has a dog door, which is temporarily pinned up so that it is open. I will place an oil heater in the room to keep them warm at night and in a week they will be large enough to use the flap.
The pups have settled into their new home and are learning to use it. They have not ventured out the dog door yet and I put the flap back down during the night. I have a thermostated oil heater in their room, surrounded by an ex-pen so they can't get very close to the heater or chew on the cord. It is thermostatted to keep their little room at 75°. They are learning to look forward to people coming out to see them and run to the gate to be held.
Today I switched the morning weigh-in to my postal scale, which weighs in quarter-pound units. There is always a discontinuity when I switch from the ounce postal scale to the large postal scale, and the start of pan food exacerbates the discontinuity, so the weight chart will look a little crazy until I have been weighing them with the new balance for a few days. Here is a photo of Ulrika (4.75 pounds) on the large postal balance.
Salsa did not nurse the puppies at all yesterday and she slept in her crate during the night. In the morning her boobs were packed with milk, to the point that she was dripping. So Cheri and I coaxed her to lie down on a dog bed in the kennel to let the puppies nurse. They did, with enthusiasm, and then I fed Salsa her own breakfast. While I tidied up the kennel she went out the dog door to do her business. A few minutes later she came back in, looking like a Shar Pei. Apparently she had been stung on the face (probably in her mouth) by a yellowjacket wasp. It is unusual for the wasps to be active early in the morning because it is so cool. In fact, the insect was probably sufficiently sluggish from the cool weather that she was able to catch it with her mouth. We gave her four 25-mg benadryl tablets and the swelling started to diminish. This photo was taken about an hour after her sting. Here is a photo of Ulrika (4.75 pounds) on the large postal balance.
Things went smoothly for the first full day and night in the kennel room. I put the dog door flap down at night because the pups still haven't ventured out on their own. I tack it up when the sun comes up in the morning. I expect that within a day or so the pups will start to venture outside on their own. Yesterday I sat on the concrete apron in the kennel run and lured them to the dog door. After lots of peering outside, Sigrid finally worked up enough courage to climb out and down the wood block steps. It was a very uncomfortable environment, though, and she went right back in.
I am sort of behind on the blog--I had a two-day absence for a business trip to New York City, and have been busy dealing with some work projects. Salsa had a bout of aseptic mastitis, which sometimes happens when weaning is abrupt. In this case, she lost interest in nursing and we moved the pups to the milk supplement--rice cereal and then to the Taste of the Wild puppy kibble with only minor nursing a few times. Cheri massaged her impacted mammary gland several times with hot towel packs and after a couple of days the impaction has subsided and now she seems fine. The pups are vigorous and apparently healthy, but several of them are not gaining weight the last few days. I have completed the transition through the goat milk phase and the pups are getting only the puppy kibble now. I soak the kibble for a time with hot water to soften it and feed them in a pan in their kennel room four times a day (7 am, noon, 5 pm, and 10 pm). They are getting two cups of the kibble each time and they eat almost all of it, but they always leave a bit in the pan (quarter cup or so), so they are getting as much as they want. This bunch has moved to solid food much earlier than most of my litters, so it is possible that what I am seeing is normal for pups of this age. I expect that in the next few days the smaller ones will take off on the weight chart.
This litter is one of the more unusual ones I have had. The pups are not the typical "vacuum dogs" at feeding time! They just haven's seemed that interested in the food pan. I think it is probably because when Salsa turned in her resignation notice last week, I moved the pups to a rich diet and they had as much as they could eat--there was no need for the feeding frenzy that often happens when the puppies are competing for a limited amount of food. For the last few days, since they have been on all kibble, they have been eating, then leaving the food bowl to go play awhile, then returning to eat some more, and so forth. It has been taking them about 20 minutes to finish the food I put out, and they haven't always even finished it up. Today they are starting to show the "vacuum pup" behavior. They have had two meals today, one at 5:45 am and one at noon. Both times they cleaned their food bowl and at the noon meal, they managed to put down 2 cups of kibble in just 8 minutes. They are also starting to show the expected fast weight gain that I am more accostomed to at this age--the gain from yesterday was more than 1/4 pound per puppy!
My friend Louise Vangsgaard came over to visit today (and brought a big stack of newspapers, an important commodity at this point in a litter). Louise is coowner of Sheila, the mom of my last two litters, and she is helpiing me show two of the Sheila-Cruz pups, Coco and Bolt, who will be a year old next week. She likes to get down on the floor and be attacked by the puppy crowd.