|We do love our beauty sleep.|
“The Wrong Turn”
Chanel has always been an exuberant mom and she demonstrated this fact the other day. On her way back into the house from a washroom break, she marched right past her own whelping box and straight into Paige’s, settled in and began to nurse Paige’s two-day old pups in true Golden spirit. Fortunately, Paige didn’t seem to mind.
It’s exciting for us when the puppies’ eyes open at around the 10-day mark. Many of the puppies’ critical organs including their brain are not fully formed and they will spend several weeks developing rapidly. Since the gestation period in dogs is short (63 days), the tradeoff is that puppies are quite helpless at birth. Biologists refer to species that produce immature dependent offspring as altricial, which means “to nurse, to rear or to nourish”. It refers to the need for the young of these species to be fed and taken care of for a long period of time. Puppies are born with their eyelids tightly shut because the eye itself is still developing and is extremely fragile. The closed eyelids serve as a barrier to protect the eyes from potential damage. Now that their eyes are open, it will take a few weeks before their eyes mature and their eyesight begins to approach normal. The puppies are also born functionally deaf since their ear canals are closed. While their ear canals begin to open at around the same time, the ears are much more fully formed than the eyes and their hearing will be quite acute within a week or so.
At first glance, it may appear that the puppies spend all their time sleeping, but they spend a good deal of time exercising. As but as they lay there asleep, they are constantly twitching. These involuntary actions, referred to as “activated sleep”, help strengthen their leg muscles and begin to build muscle mass. This allows them to plod around on all fours when they’re in search of their mom for a snack. The rolled-up socks and towels that we used to create an obstacle course of sorts help accomplish the same thing, so the gang is getting pretty adept at staggering around.
That’s it for now but be sure to join us next week for another riveting installment of “Puppy Tales”.