Think Outside the Box
The ultimate puppy nursery should be a warm, safe, well-equipped haven for all.
Chris Walkowicz |
Posted: Wed Mar 23 00:00:00 PST 2005
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Probably the most important item in a puppy nursery is a scale. A baby scale is ideal, although if you have a toy breed, you might want to consider a meat or postage scale, which can be more accurate for ounces in the first few days. The scale can tell you if a pup's in trouble, if it's dehydrating, not eating, becoming ill, or simply being shoved away from the dairy bar. When a pup loses weight or doesn't gain two days in a row, this could be a sig n of a problem. As long as it's active and nursing, a one-day loss is common.
The second vital ingredient to a successful whelping is a thermometer. The digital ones are wonderfulno more shaking down and squinting to read between tiny lines! You'll need this to record the dam's temperature for about a week prior to whelping. (I temped twice a day to establish a night and day decrease/increase.) Should anything worry you about the dam or the pups, one of the first things your vet will ask about is her temperature.
This means, naturally, you'll need a notebook to record all vitals: when did the dam's temperature drop, how long did she labor before producing the first pup, what did each weigh, and so on. I liked to note the time, gender, weight, color and activity level of each pup.
The fourth essential is a means of identification. I found rickrack suited my needs. It's available in a rainbow of colors and various widths. (The Champion hopeful always got the purple one.)
And the final necessity is a heating device. Some breeders choose to elevate the heat in the room, but this can overheat the dam. Others use covered heating pads or heat lamps. Whatever you choose, make sure pups are always warm to the touch, as their body temperature is lower at birth than a few days laterand that they can crawl away from the heat if they wish.
Packing the Suitcase
You could use a suitcase for the essentials, but a rubber box was my answer for storing items I used for whelping. Other helpful items: alcohol for cleansing, KY or petroleum jelly, and surgical gloves for an internal exam (should you need to). Styptic helps with a bleeding umbilical cord.
A clock or watch helps you determine the time span between pups and the next contractions. A watched pot may not boil, but it's necessary for a breeder to be nearby watching this precious "pot." It's a good idea to have a crate close to the box to confine the dam while working on a puppy. Most bitches want to do it all themselves, and can become upset and get in the way if you're doing a delicate procedure.Page 1 | 2 | 3
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