“The Job Description”
It’s always a bit confusing for a mom giving birth by C-section. For the weeks leading up to the birth, a mother-to-be knows she’s going to have a litter. When they’re delivered by C-section, it’s rather perplexing for her because the babies seem to appear out of nowhere…..and they already have demands! Chanel warmed up to the idea quite readily and immediately began to bond with them, but it took a day before she came to the realization that the job came with responsibilities. After 24 hours, she stepped up to the plate and began to lick and nudge each of her offspring to clean and stimulate them as they are initially incapable of eliminating on their own. For the first couple of days, we had to coax her out of the whelping box for her bathroom breaks which are conducted in record time. She even insists on a “dining in” meal plan so that she can continually tend to her flock.
With eleven in the litter and only so much “equipment” to go around, we try to get the puppies to nurse in rotation to ensure that everyone gets their share of their mom’s milk that contains antibodies so vital for the first several weeks of their lives. Thanks to Chanel’s dedication, the milk bar is open twenty-four hours a day so the puppies’ weights have almost doubled since birth. We weigh them at least twice daily for the first couple of weeks to carefully monitor their progress. Mom is a great help keeping the supply of milk flowing as she instinctively rotates sides which helps to keep the supply of milk flowing. The pups don’t spend their entire time eating; they spend a great deal of time sleeping!
Puppies are born without sight or hearing and their eyes don’t open until sometime during the second week, so for now their senses of smell and touch are what guide them to their target. They use their tiny forelimbs, coupled with great tenacity, to propel themselves around as they seek out their sustenance and warmth. Since their body temperatures will not have been regulated until after week three, the little gang relies on their mother and each other for warmth. Of course, we have a heat lamp at the ready to use whenever mom’s on her break.
That’s it for now, but be sure to join us next week for another beguiling installment of “Puppy Tales”