It is not easy to rear a new born pup for a first timer unless there is some understanding about the pup and the mothers care. There is a lot of effort involved especially if the litter is large or if the dam is not showing interest or if the dam has had a caesarean etc. this article therefore is meant to tell the readers about the importance of care for new born pups.
The gestation period of the bitch is two months on an average. Technically it is sixty two days plus or minus five days, the upper limit being seventy days. On the day of delivery the bitch becomes restless. Her temperature will drop by a degree or more and the owner can use this as an indicator of impending delivery. This is because of the lowering of the hormones responsible for maintaining pregnancy. Once the actual delivery starts, the pups should come at regular intervals and the gap between pups should not exceed three hours. In case the time delay is more the Veterinarian must be called. Generally the bitch can handle her delivery on her own. All she needs is a quiet environment and some warm milk. She may not want to leave her pups and so do not force her to go outside for her nature’s calls. An easy way however to get her out is to hold one of her pups in your hand and to leave the room, she will follow you.
After the delivery is over the bitch should be cleaned. In case it’s her first pregnancy she may be a careless mother therefore needing help. The most common causes for early mortality in pups include hypothermia, getting crushed under the dam and inability to pass the muconium or the first motion. The low ambient temperature will cause certain death in the newborn pup, as they are unable to maintain their body temperature till the end of the first week. The body temperature of the neonate is 97 degrees Farenheight, in comparison to the adult that has normal body temperature of 102 degrees. Recent studies have clearly proved that Herpes virus thrives at low temperatures and this is the cause for what is normally called the “Fading Puppy Syndrome” in newborn pups. The second cause of death is when the new mother casually rolls over the pup and crushes it to death. The last but not the least cause is the inability of the pup to pass motion. Normally the dam will lick the genitals and anus to stimulate the pup to defecate. In case the dam shows a lack of interest, the owner will need to use a wet cotton ball to stimulate these organs.
The ideal temperature is 27degrees F. In winter the best method to maintain the temperature is to hang a bulb above the pups. It can be lowered if the pups snuggle against each other, as they are then feeling cold. If the pups are dispersed far away it means that the pups are feeling too warm and the bulb must be elevated. Sanitation of the surrounding areas needs special concern. As the pups are initially weak to withstand any infections the area must be kept spotlessly clean. Avoid letting any unwanted person from entering the room, as they are sources of infection. I have personally always advocated that one should leave all foot ware outside the room before meeting these young animals. Keep the children away as rough handling is not advisable.
Having a litter of pups can be very challenging. It is also a lot of hard work physically and mentally. Before actually breeding your pet, visit your veterinarian and ask for details and other crucial information on breeding.
( Dr. Gautam Unny is a practicing Veterinarian in Delhi and can be contacted at 011-2215 3622 or 98100- 53451. He is the author of the bestseller ‘ A Manual on Dog Care’ by Rupa & Co. available at all leading stores. To order the book contact Rupa & Co at 011-23278586 & 011- 2327 2161)