It’s hard to believe that the first week of puppy life has already come and gone. It may not look like it but there are indeed 10 puppies somewhere in that photo above – we have a couple that really like to lay between Ivy’s front paws so sometimes they miss out on the photo op! As you might be able to tell, things are getting a little crowded at the milk bar with 10 hungry mouths to feed – but Ivy is doing an excellent job of caring for her puppies and I try to keep a vigilant eye to make sure that everyone gets an equal chance to eat. (In a sense I am the milk bar police – ensuring that the premium spots located farthest from Ivy’s head [where there is usually more milk] are shared amongst everyone; there are a couple of boys that like to steal those spots).
The pups have all gained well and have almost doubled in size since they were born. They are all weighing close to 2 pounds now and seem to grow overnight. They really only have two things on their agenda these days: EAT and SLEEP! Both of which they do quite well. Over this upcoming week they will become a little more active as they gain mobility – although already they are quite agile at crawling around the whelping box. Their eyes have not yet opened, and they cannot hear yet either – but they have an amplified sense of smell – so no matter where Ivy is in the whelping box they can easily locate her and scoot quite quickly to reach her.
My main job at this point is to keep Ivy completely satisfied and supported in the food department. Feeding 10 puppies requires a huge amount of food intake – and offering meals that are too large in size does not help her tummy very much. So I break down her energy requirements into 4 or 5 meals throughout the day. Her meals currently consist of beef, turkey or fish mixed with ground veggies like spinach and carrots, rice or oatmeal once a day to give her some carbs for energy, a splash of goat’s milk or yogurt, eggs, sardines or a beef bone – as well as probiotics, kelp and a vitamin blend. So far Ivy is truly enjoying the endless buffet of food!
I also make sure bedding is kept clean and dry and that no one gets trampled or accidentally squished whenever Ivy comes in and out of the whelping box. We also weigh the puppies daily during the first week to make sure that everyone is gaining fairly and adjust puppies at the milk bar accordingly if need be…
Lastly I make sure Ivy gets out for a little R&R break from the babies for a nice walk every day – fortunately it hasn’t been too cold here lately, a little rainy but Ivy never minds.
We will look forward to an exciting week ahead as the pups become more active and open their eyes for the first time sometime next week!
We are thrilled to announce that Spinnaker and Ivy’s pups have finally made their grand entrance into the world!! Ivy is now the proud mom of 7 lovely girls and 3 adorable boys. We did actually have one other little girl puppy born, but she took a bit too long to get out of the birth canal and unfortunately she could not be revived when she arrived. It is always a very sad occasion to lose a puppy – and an unfortunate reminder of just how fragile life is. Just as every human parent marvels at the birth of a child – I always feel a huge sense of awe when any puppy is born. Every new life is such an intricate miracle.
Ivy is usually no drama queen but she certainly chose to draw out this particular chapter in her life. Over the last few days she was getting slower and slower on our walks and wanted to be the centre of attention at all times (which we were only too happy to oblige). By Wednesday she began pacing and panting and digging and searching for a perfect outdoor location to have her pups! Fortunately I was able to convince her that I had a much better spot in mind – INDOORS! As Wednesday turned into Thursday’s dawn the panting, pacing, restless behaviour became more intense and by Thursday at 1:00 p.m. (after around 15 hours of Stage 1 labour) we had our first little bundle of joy – a big boy who came bursting into the world and seemed only too ready to take his first breath. Following that, Ivy took a fairly leisurely pace with delivering her puppies – sometimes an hour break in between and then a large 2 hour break after the 7th puppy. Her last puppy was born at 10 pm so it was a full day of puppy whelping for Ivy…. I’m sure she was exhausted by the time it was all done but at the same time she seemed very relieved to not be carrying around 20 extra puppy pounds anymore.
This is Ivy’s second litter so she has quickly settled into her maternal duties and has been spending her hours carefully cleaning and caring for each puppy. She whines as soon as one of them wanders into another corner of the whelping box and is most content when all ten are snuggled up to her tummy for a drink. She will only leave them for a quick 60 second bathroom break or to quickly lap up a bowl of food….. She is definitely one dedicated mama.
My biggest job now will be keeping bedding clean and Ivy comfy and fed around the clock. My other important job is to make sure that everyone gets an equal turn at the milk bar…. Sometimes the boys tend to monopolize things and the girls get left for last — so I try to monitor things and ensure everyone gets a fair share. The milk demands of 10 puppies will be high so we will make sure that Ivy has 24 hour room service and lots of highly nutritious meals.
We are grateful for this wonderful new family of pups and can’t wait to watch them grow!
We are heading into the final stretch of Ivy’s pregnancy and counting down the days until we hear the pitter patter of little paws in our home once again! Ivy’s waistline has been growing bigger with every passing day; she still loves her time outdoors but there is a definite waddle in her walk and the extra weight of babies on board is seemingly starting to slow her down just a little. We will still try to maintain a couple of leisurely walks each day to keep her in top form for delivery day.
Ivy is quite happy that we have increased her diet over the last few weeks and she enjoys a broad variety of foods these days: beef tripe, smelt, eggs, raw beef or turkey with spinach, apples, blueberries, carrots, and sometimes a little bit of rice or pasta. I’m sure her appetite will start to slow down this next week as the available space for food in her tummy becomes less and less.
Over this next week we will set up the whelping area and get all the towels and blankets and puppy supplies sorted out and ready. We will keep a watchful eye for any signs that the puppies are getting ready to make their appearance and do our best to keep Ivy pampered and comfortable until the big day is here!