A WEEK-BY-WEEK LOOK AT WHAT'S GOING ON
Getting a new puppy is SO EXCITING...and we know, it's near torture to have to look at all those cute pictures and imagine the joy you'll feel when you finally get to pick your puppy up and meet them for the first time! In an effort to make the waiting a little easier, we thought we'd give you a little info on what the puppies are doing each week from the time they're born until the time they can finally come home with you! Each week is incredibly important to their development, and we're excited to share more with you!
JUMP TO WEEK:
WEEK ONE - THE JOURNEY BEGINS
When all goes well, the first week or so of the puppies' lives is fairly uneventful and is mostly colored by eating, sleeping, and well...to put it nicely, practicing using their digestive systems! Their mommas are their main caretakers during this week of their lives. Unless there is a puppy that needs extra care, this includes feeding their babies and making sure they are clean and safe. It's kind of gross, but this means they stimulate their puppies to go to the bathroom...and then eat it. Was that TMI? Sorry if it was, but that's actually their instinct and is helpful to replenish the mother's nutrients post-whelping.
However, we still have a BIG part in raising the puppies at this stage! Our team closely monitors the puppies' growth with two or three daily weigh-ins to ensure puppies are gaining an appropriate amount of weight each day. We are also constantly ensuring that their momma's are provided with everything they need to feel happy and safe with their brand new babies. Often times, this means providing the mommas with plenty of fresh water and yummy, calcium-rich mix-ins to their food to ensure that they are producing enough milk for their puppies. Our employees are also constantly monitoring the moms' lactation to ensure we are clear of any post whelping infections. A healthy momma means healthy babies!
If we have a puppy who is struggling this week, we know it is likely in critical condition and gets round-the-clock care by our experienced whelping team. This often includes tube feeding, very frequent weigh-ins, constant monitoring, and visits to the vet's office when needed. Unfortunately, because the puppies are so young, there are few diagnostics that the vet can run. We've handled more newborns than many doctors, and are lucky to work very closely (like, we just text the doctors instead of call nowadays!) if we have any issue with our puppies. In many cases, we're able to prevent a potentially dire situation. JLDD is proud to boast our mortality rate in our puppies is FAR below the standard for breeders worldwide due to our commitment to each puppy we choose to bring into the world.
We also start the puppies with ENS this week, which is short for early neurological stimulation. This is basically a practice we use to begin breaking the puppies into sensory development and recovery. We know it seems scary to do this to puppies so young, but it's been proven to produce happier, healthier, and more well rounded dogs! It consists of holding the puppies upside down, right side up, on their backs, and using a cool compress on their paws for about 5 seconds on each position. Each day, we can see them getting more and more comfortable with these practices. Every puppy in this litter will be receiving this practice daily until they're a little over 2 weeks old.
Now that the puppies are in their second week of life, things are usually fairly well stabilized with them. Most of the time, puppies have more than doubled their birth weights by this time as they spend most of their time eating, sleeping, pottying, snuggling...and then doing it all over again all day, every day!
Their mommas still spend most of their time snuggling in their box with their little ones, taking breaks regularly to cool off from their warm box and have some yummy, calcium rich snacks to support their milk supply. When puppies are this young, they actually cannot regulate their own body temperatures, so it’s up to us to ensure that they have the heat sources they need to stay nice and toasty, which makes them more apt to keep their hearty appetites - which is VERY necessary at this point in their lives! The vitamins and antibodies that they are gaining from their mothers’ milk during this period of their lives are incredibly important to the puppies’ development. The puppies are also born with both their eyes and ears sealed shut, so they can’t hear or see anything we do at this point. However, their senses are incredibly strong and they can almost always find a heat source or their mothers. Sometimes, we find ourselves whispering to them and then thinking to ourselves - wait a minute, they can’t hear me. What am I even doing? Ha!
While we’re usually out of the ‘danger zone’ of losing puppies at this point, our team is dutifully still doing two daily weigh-ins, both in the morning and during the evening to ensure that each and every puppy is growing at an appropriate pace. As aforementioned, puppies are generally at least twice their birth weight at this point and are getting ADORABLY chunky! It’s so much fun to see them growing both physically, and mentally. We know it seems silly to say that they’re growing mentally already, but their ENS this week is already showing massive improvements from last week. The puppies are reacting less to the stimuli we’re creating for them, and are ALREADY on their way to becoming excellent best friends for their future owners. We can’t wait to start seeing their little personalities emerge in the next couple of weeks!