Just enjoying the last moments of solitude….
Tia has had a great week. She is still participating in her usual daily activities; walks through the woods and playing with her golden buddies and has not really showed any change in pace. This is of course good to see as daily exercise and activity are very important for any mum-to-be. Her abdomen is expanding, now measuring 83 cms and her “baby bump” is very clear for all to see…
Tia is eating well and we have increased her meals by around 15% to accommodate the little pups growing inside her tummy. We will continue to increase this amount over the next two weeks and take great measures to ensure that she is receiving a broad variety of protein sources and nutrients. Her favourite dishes this week appear to be Green Tripe and a Pheasant/Elk Dinner combination (which she gobbles up in no time) – however her appetite is always very hearty for whatever we offer. She is now getting a little lunchtime snack as well as both breakfast and dinner so she is quite happy about how pregnancy has affected things in the meal department. Tia continues to seek out my company almost 24/7 and if she is not outdoors on a walk or watching squirrels from the kitchen window, she is glued to my side…. We will set up her whelping box over this next week so that she can start to feel comfortable in there, even though this is her second litter and it should be a familiar spot for her.
At this stage the puppies continue to grow; eyes, kidneys and liver are all in the process of developing now and the pups especially gain in the weight and size department. Their coat will continue to flourish and they are starting to look more and more like a miniature dog.
We will be trying to get as many household tasks and pre-Christmas errands out of the way over these next two weeks as we count down the days until Tia’s much- awaited family makes their grand entrance into this world!!
Puppy fetus at 40 days courtesy of National Geographic
Tia has had a great week and the puppies continue to develop on schedule inside her tummy. Above is a photo of the almost primitive looking fetus that continues to grow; from here on in growth will take place at an amazingly rapid rate. 75% of the puppies’ birth weight is gained during these final weeks of gestation.
At this point the skeleton, which started as cartilage is solidifying (ossifying) and claws are beginning to appear. The coat is also just beginning to make its appearance; organs such as the stomach and bladder are now in place. Even after many years of breeding, I am still in complete awe of how much growth and development takes place in such a short span of time.
Tia is just now starting to lose her “tucked up” and trim waistline. Her abdominal measurement began at 70 cms and has slowly crept up to 75 cms as of today. That amount of weight gain is just right for this stage in her pregnancy. However – it will be awhile before she sees those kinds of low numbers again…. Over these next few weeks her food intake will increase significantly to allow for the puppies growing inside. Right now her diet consists mainly of raw beef or chicken with vegetables, and the occasional feast of tripe, sardines, eggs, duck, rabbit or turkey. One can never underestimate the importance of an optimum diet for an expectant mum.
Tia’s daily routine has not changed much — she is more affectionate and stays a little closer to me than usual, but other than that she still enjoys romping outside with the others and her most favourite pastime these days is to sit at the corner kitchen window and keep watch for squirrels or chipmunks.
We will keep counting down the days in great anticipation of the arrival of Tia’s new family.
Yesterday was an exciting day in our household as Tia’s trip to the vet clinic (and subsequent ultrasound) confirmed what we had hoped!! We are proud to announce that Kingston and Tia will be giving us the best Christmas present ever this year with puppies estimated to arrive around December 14th! We can hardly wait!
The photo above is from Tia’s ultrasound exam. The large black circle in the middle of the photo is a single puppy sac and the white shape inside it is the fetus in progress. Because a female dog has a reproductive system shaped more like the letter U and very different from humans – an ultrasound cannot get one aerial shot of things to determine how many puppies are on their way. The best a vet can do is follow along the U shape and try to make a prediction….. However we have yet to see any ultrasound count unfold with complete accuracy. Yesterday it was calculated that Tia is carrying 8 puppies – so time will tell how that unfolds. Often as we approach the final week – the measurement of a girl’s abdomen can tell us quite a bit – so that is something we will be monitoring. In some cases breeders choose to have an X-ray done in the final week to get an actual count — by then the bones of the puppies have calcified enough that they will show up on an X-ray and a final count is possible. However – we do not usually subject our pregnant mums to an X-ray unless we have reason to believe there are concerns for the puppies or the mum’s health. Bottom line is that we will most likely just have to wait until the big day to know how many pups will actually arrive – but we do know that it is not a small litter.
To say that the amount of development that will go on between now and December 14th is AMAZING is an understatement. Up until now the majority of growth has been cellular — however by this stage of things the eyes and ears are beginning to form, the toes are separating and major organs are developing. With so much growth in such a small window of time, diet and exercise are crucial during the entire pregnancy. To go from a simple embryo to a living, breathing puppy in the space of 63 days is nothing short of a miracle. We have had Tia on the best diet possible and will continue to make sure she is given every support needed over the month ahead. Right now she would eat everything in sight if I would let her (!!) – but fortunately she hasn’t sent us out for ice-cream and pickles yet! So far Tia is handling things all in stride – she has not really missed a beat and continues to enjoy her usual schedule. The only change of note is that she has become much more affectionate than usual (if that’s possible) and has been practically stuck to my side for the first four weeks of her pregnancy – which is typical for many goldens during pregnancy.
We will look forward to the exciting days ahead and will update the PUPPY CHRONICLES weekly for those who would like to follow along 😀