Are you thinking about breeding your dog? Curious about what you’re getting yourself into? Wondering what taking care of puppies for eight weeks is like? I’m going to tell you and I’m not going to sugar coat it.
First off, it is a LOT of work.
The first few weeks are actually pretty easy. You regularly change out the puppy pads and the rest the dam (puppy mom) handles. Then, you decide it’s time to start adding food to their diet. So, you start by blending up the dog food in your blender and adding water and/or puppy formula to it so the puppies can consume it. Right about here is where it starts getting messy. Dogs don’t have much for manners and the food/slop gets everywhere. Fortunately, the dam is happy to help clean up (which, in our case, led to other issues that I won’t go into detail on). Eventually, you add less and less water to the food and the dogs start eating dry puppy food. Around this time, you will introduce a bowl of water to their pen. Here is where it gets messier. In addition to learning to lap up the water, they like to play in the water and get it all over the place.
Second, it is a MESSY job.
Then, the dam decides she’s fed up with nursing and tired of eating feces. Yup, you read that right, in addition to feeding, the dam will eat the puppies poop for the first few weeks. At this point, its time to start potty training the dogs anyhow. You now will begin the process of teaching the puppies to use the outdoor restroom-aka, the grass. Actually, I had a former neighbor who taught his dog to go on a designated gravel section of their yard. Whatever you choose, it’s time to start teaching the puppies. So, beginning first thing in the morning, you take the puppies outside. Since they haven’t really mastered commands yet, you will need to carry them. In our case, we have eight puppies and can carry two squirmers at a time. That means four trips outside to the designated area and four trips back in. Those eight trips are done every time the dogs need to go outside and they need to go out a lot. Any time the dog wakes up or finishes eating, they need to be taken outside. On average, we take the dogs out eight times each day. When we take them out, we tell them “outside, go potty” and I would say 80% of the time, they do their business outside. The other 20%…well, our washer is literally running all day long. We have three sets of bedding for them. It almost never fails-one will be in the pen, the other in the washer, and the third in the dryer. So, prepare yourself for dealing with a lot of puppy poop and pads.
Oh, I almost forgot. If they poop outside and you don’t pick it up right away (because you’re busy getting the other dogs out to the area or because they happen to relieve themselves at night) they will inevitably roll in it or one will step in it and then jump on another dog. So, you will also become an expert dog groomer. Speaking of, we started trimming the puppies nails around week five.
Finally-Puppy Purchases, Vet Visits and AKC Registration
If you’re registering the litter, there is some paperwork that will be required and will come at a cost. For us, we spent a little extra to get the new owners additional information regarding the puppies and caring for them. It takes a little time to go through the process, but is well worth it.
The puppies will need to start vet visits off quite early. We were told to have dewclaws removed within the first few days. We took our puppies in to the vet to have them removed at day 3. (You can do this yourself if you’re brave enough.) From what we’ve heard/read, the sooner you remove the dewclaws, the easier it is. In addition to the dewclaw removal, you will need to have the puppies dewormed and get them their shots. Also, you’ll want to take the dam in for a checkup to make sure the whelping process went ok and there is no infection.
Since you want to make sure the puppies are going to good homes and to make sure the interested purchasers follow through, you will want to request a deposit for the dogs. In addition, you will want to put together a contract.
Puppy Cuteness and Cuddles
Thank God they are a lot like babies and are cute as can be. They are definitely worth the work and I can’t wait to see how happy they will make their families. I know one family that will be especially happy. We are planning to keep one!
And, since raising puppies is a lot like giving birth, I’m sure I’ll want to do it all over again in a few years…