A Guide to Litter Raising

This is not designed to replace information provided by a Vet. It is an overview of the AI and birthing process. We recommend you educated yourself with information in books, the Internet and consultation with a medical professional. We are not a Vet and we assume no responsibility for your animals by using any information provided here. Enjoy.

Dam Post Natal Care

Your Dam will be groggy after her C-Section and sore for a few hours. When we get home we let the Dam (under supervision) walk and pee. Then we put her in a crate outside our bedroom . We use out Patent pending whelping system. It puts heat under the pig rail and doesn,t cook mum. We introduce the puppies to her and put them on a teat. If she groggy she might roll on a puppy, so watch and make sure she is attentive. New Mothers can be confused at first, but they always seem to rise to the occasion and except responsibility.

Most of the time everything goes smoothly, puppies are weaned and all is well, but things can go wrong in a hurry and early detection is key to averting disaster.


Problems fall into four categories

1. Internal congenital problems, a puppy dies with in hours or a few days of birth and mother may neglect them before you realize a problem is developing
2. A Puppy is small and weak and is not getting enough nourishment or warmth
3. The mother’s milk is weak or non existent.
4. The entire litter catches a bug, parasite or virus

Get a kitchen scale with a 0-4LB range. A thermometer and the scale are the most useful tools do not skip this step! We weigh and chart every puppy’s weight daily. Puppies will loose a little weight in the first 24 hours. But after that they will gain weight every day. 1/2 Oz  (15grams) per day is good.  Any weight loss after day one needs to be taken very seriously. The key to success is early diagnosis and treatment. Puppies have very little reserves and a puppy in trouble can die in hours. If the whole litter is loosing weight, then the litter has a parasite/virus or the mother’s milk is failing. Go to your Vet immediately.

If a single puppy is loosing weight, check he doesn’t have a cleft pallet. Put him on a nipple and see if he nurses, Check to make sure the puppy is not cold. New born are unable to regulate their body temperature for about 10 days and drafts and a cold room can make a puppy drop fast. If the puppy is lethargic and not nursing then visit the Vet.

We also check mother daily. Express milk from every teat, check the C-Section stitches and check her temp is around 101-102F. Milk fever (low calcium) and Mastitis from a blocked nipple are real threats that are easily cured but untreated can be death to the Dam and the entire litter!

The best environment is a warm crate with attentive care, check the mother and puppies every few hours. Dams must have good quality food and additives such as Goats’ milk and cottage cheese to help Dams calcium uptake. If you hear quiet puppies and suckling noises and they are gaining weight daily, then you are doing a good job. Continually crying or lethargic puppy or a restless Mother are the sure signs of a problem.

How to Bottle Feed

Feed a puppy that is not getting nourished like the rest. Or just to have fun and bond with your babies. Never feed a cold or lethatgic puppy, get it warm first. Use a regular human baby bottle with a 0-3 month silicone nipple. The small pet bottles with tiny nipples are a waste of time. The human bottle nipple looks huge but trust me they work great. Mix up an 1oz (28cc) of warm goats milk or Similac. We use the powered Meyenburg product.

Buy it on Amazon for about $12 a can. Will last a whole litter, Keeps for ever in the pantry and you can quickly make up just what you need with warm water and junk what you don’t use. Or get whole or condensed goats milk at the supermarket, Don’t use cows milk, puppies can not digest it. The first time you feed the puppy will not latch on to the nipple. Use your pinky finger as a pacifier. The puppy will suck on it, Then deftly swap your finger for the bottle. If that doesn’t work, open the puppies moth with thumb and fore finger on the corners of the mouth and insert the nipple. They can be very stubborn, but once they get a taste they will remember next time and gladly except the nipple. Keep the bottle tilted so milk is in the nipple. Have a tissue on hand to mop any milk on the nostrils. Don’t flood the puppy. You can get milk in the lugs and esparate a puppy. Stop feeding when either they have had enough or the tummies are nice and round. Take it easy though a puppy can really swell up it’s tummy and drink more than it needs. Burp after feeding. The puppy not you!

How to Tube feed a puppy

Bottle feeding puppies is lots of fun, but it is time consuming, It takes about 20 minutes to hand feed a puppy and a litter of 6 will take a couple of hours. By the time you have feed the last one get ready to start the whole process again. Not very practical and impossible to do if you have a regular job and want any sleep at night.

The easy solution is to tube feed. A litter of six can all be feed in 10 minutes. The process is fast and safe as long as you follow a few simple steps. Puppies need 1cc of milk for each OZ of body weight every 3 hours. So a typically 8 oz new born needs 8cc of warm milk. Don’t use cows milk it is hard to digest. Goats milk is the best and it is available in cartons, condensed in cans or as a powder. All are fine, I like the powder because you can make enough for a feeding and not refrigerate or waste unused milk. Look at the video below it is explained in detail.

Remove Dew Claws around 3 or 4 days old

We remove the dew claws, they can hang on furniture and other objects. Removal is purely optional, some think it is unnecessary or even cruel, you be the judge. Removing them is easy if done early. But becomes a painful and expensive surgery if left to be done later in life. Keep the dew claws if you are going to do coat color genetics tests. Make sure you know which babies the claws come from.

Taping Ears

Frenchies are known for the big bat like ears. They pop up at about two weeks. And often flop back down at 5 weeks! This especially happens to bigger and fatter pups. Occasionally I see older Frenchies with floppy ears. Not a good look and completely avoidable. If you are experiencing ear flop, tape them up. It will fix the problem in a day or sometime a week or two. But it always works for us. I like the  wide  first aid tape. But even electrical tape will work. Here is how you do it.

Swimmer Puppies

Puppies eyes open around ten days. Shortly after at about 2 weeks they are up on all fours and starting to move around. Give them a towel or carpet to get traction on.  If you have a big fat puppy in your litter there is a good chance it will swim around the whelping box and never get up on all fours like the others. It lays with it’s legs splayed out and never gets up.  It may even develop a flat chest. Tape up the hind legs. Works every time. But don’t wait too long, easy fix if you start early, much longer process if you wait a week.

Giving Shots

Giving your Puppy shots is fast, easy and painless. You can purchase shots on line or from your Vet. Typically puppies get shots at 6, 9 and 12 weeks. The rabies shot at 6 months and then booster shots every year. But if you administer the rabies shot you will not get a rabies tag.

Going to the Vet

You should already have a Vet you trust. But educate yourself. The Vet must evaluate your litter in minutes, you have days. So be alert and try to diagnose any problems. If your Vet confirms your diagnosis you are probably on the right track. If their diagnosis is different, ask questions. Learn from the experience, but make sure their explanation fits the facts. Vets are human and can make mistakes too.

Hospitals and Vet Office’s are visited daily by sick animals with contagious diseases. Limit your exposure. Keep you litter and Dam in the car until it is your turn to meet the Vet. Have them in a travel crate and do not let them walk on the Office floor. Wash your hands before handling the litter. Every surface of the Vet’s office has microbes on them. The door handle to the building (the first and last object you touch) has been opened by every other visitor before you and they have sick animals. We use a handy wipe to open the door.

This also sounds a bit overboard. But new born only have protection through the Colostrum in the Mothers first milk. Their immune system is weak and they have not received any shots. Puppies do not have a strong immune system for 6 months or more. We don’t take puppies to dog parks or large Pet stores until they are at least 6 month old.

The Joys of a Litter

A healthy litter and Dam don’t just happen. It takes work and planning. Make sure you have the time to do the job. If you are a Mother then you already know the commitment and the joy. I still get excited with the whole miracle of life. If you need help, I can’t guarantee we will have the right answers but we will always try. Call James, If you are in trouble and need advice 580-799-2873.

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