It’s been an exciting few days here!! Ivy spent most of this past Sunday morning and afternoon panting and pacing and…. digging. Yes, digging. Ivy had found a couple of “perfect” spots out in our yard where she figured she would build a den, settle in and give birth to her pups. I did finally convince her that the clean, snuggly blankets and a cozy spot indoors might be better suited for what lay ahead! She continued to be very restless well into Sunday evening and finally, just a little after midnight the first puppy was born, a strong healthy baby boy. Within 20 minutes another pup appeared and for the next 4-1/2 hours Ivy concentrated on delivering her new family into the world. 8 beautiful pups in total. This is Ivy’s third (and final) litter so she is a pro when it comes to motherhood; I’m sure after the long day she was extremely tired but she settled right into her role, cleaning and caring for the pups and making sure everyone was within sight. As soon as one puppy would start to crawl away from her she would become quite concerned — so my job right now is to make sure everyone stays close to her and she can account for each little pup. My other job is to make sure she gets LOTS of food as providing milk for 8 puppies requires a lot of fine dining on her part. Lastly my job is to make sure blankets and bedding are kept clean and warm and that Ivy feels safe and comfortable.
Pups are born with their eyes closed and no ability to hear yet – and they remain this way until they are around 10-12 days old. Their number one sense at the moment is their sense of smell. It is amazing how even only minutes after birth they can find their way to Ivy simply through their amplified sense of smell and begin nursing for their first meal.
The pups are all doing well and are gaining weight nicely. At birth they were all around a pound each, with the boys being slightly larger than the girls. We welcome our new kids on the block: Mr. Blueberry, Mr. Kiwi, Mr. Plum, Mr. Tangerine, Miss Watermelon, Miss Cherry, Miss Pineapple and Miss Peach. We look forward to spending time with these little ones over the next 8 weeks as they begin the biggest adventure of their lives!
Ivy is heading into the last 7-10 days of her pregnancy and is probably enjoying the fact that this has been a cooler-than-usual spring. Her favourite hobby these days is to find the coolest spot on the tile floor and relax (usually never far from my side). Of course her second favourite hobby is seeing if there is some extra food hiding somewhere…. even though she gets 3 very generous meals a day 🙂 Her tummy has become visibly larger and she is now carrying around approximately 20 extra pounds in puppy weight… She still has a happy bounce in her step when we go for a walk – but our walks are shorter these days and we try to take advantage of the cooler parts of the day. In terms of puppy progress – as I mentioned in the last post, organs and puppy anatomy are all in place – at this point in Ivy’s pregnancy these will just continue to mature and develop and the pups will start to grow hair and look more like baby puppies. Their eyes will remain closed and don’t open until around 2 weeks after they are born. When Ivy is resting you can feel the pups moving and I can only imagine that it is starting to get crowded in there!
This week we will set up the puppy room and the whelping box where Ivy’s puppies will be born. We will get all the birthing supplies ready, towels and blankets washed and everything prepared for the big day. And we will keep trying to keep Ivy as comfortable and pampered as we possibly can. We can hardly wait to meet Ivy and Hugo’s family and it won’t be long now!!!
The excitement continues to mount in our household as we countdown the last weeks before Ivy’s babies arrive!! It was raining heavily today – so no outdoor photo of Ivy and her progress…. Just Ivy in her favourite spot in the kitchen, hoping that food will fall from the sky to quench her growing appetite. Ivy is receiving 3 meals a day now to support her growing pups – but apparently no amount of food is ever enough food! Her tummy continues to grow in size – it may be hard to tell from the photo but our once slim Ivy now has quite a tummy and it will only keep getting bigger from here on in. My job is to find the balance between food, exercise and her nutritional needs…. as too much food during these last few weeks would be very hard on Ivy. When she comes down to the final days and delivering the pups she needs to be in top (albeit pregnant) form. She is still enjoying her daily walks and loves to lay outside on our back deck and take in the sounds and smells of spring.
In terms of puppy development, all the groundwork for organs and bones has been laid…. at this point everything will just continue to mature and fill in. As I mentioned in the last post, the puppies will gain 75% of their size in these last 3 weeks – so this is a crucial time in their early life. It is utterly amazing how much growth takes place in such a short timespan.
We will continue to spoil and pamper Ivy to the best of our ability – although she is pretty easy-going and just takes every day as it comes, never asking for much…. except maybe more food!!
Can’t wait for the big day to get here!!
It seems like an eternity since we have had puppies in the house!! Our beautiful girl Ivy is heading into the last 3 weeks of her pregnancy and WE COULD NOT BE MORE EXCITED!! The picture above is from today – and you can’t really tell from the photo but Ivy is starting to lose her well-trimmed figure and one can easily see a little bulge in her belly now where pups are travelling on board. Her tummy currently measures around 81 cms which is an increase of 10 cms over her regular waist measurement. Weight gain and/or waist gain has been minimal to this point which is in step with the intricate nature of how puppy fetuses form. The development of puppies from the date of conception to their actual birth only takes 9 weeks and things will really start to ramp up now as we enter the last trimester.
Up until now, much of the development has been unseen – cell masses have turned into embryos which have developed into fetuses. At this point all the organ development in the pups is well underway; eyes and claws and individual digits are formed, skin pigmentation is forming; faces, jaws and noses are defined and skeletons are solidifying. It is truly a miracle when you think about just how much takes place in such a short amount of time!!! The pups at this stage are around 2 inches in length – but they won’t stay that way for long. 75 percent of their growth in terms of size will take place in these next3 weeks… which means that now we will really start to see a visible difference on the outside when it comes to Ivy’s overall appearance. She has already made it quite clear that she needs more food (what golden doesn’t love food!) and she is needing even more snuggles, cuddles, reassurance and one-on-one time these days (and we are only too happy to oblige). We are making sure that she receives the best diet possible to provide nutrition for her growing family; typically these days she receives a combination of raw food (beef, turkey, or tripe with ground veggies such as carrots, blueberries, spinach) along with an egg or sardines, on occasion some duck, fish, rice or pasta and then some holistic kibble to top things off. We also make sure that Ivy gets lots of long walks to keep all of her muscles in top condition for the big day and prevent any excessive weight gain. So the countdown is on! We can hardly wait for the arrival of Hugo and Ivy’s precious pups!!
Well this will be our last PUPPY CHRONICLES’ post for awhile…. The pups are 8 weeks old today and so this is the part where now the real adventures begin! This last week here has been wonderful despite the fact that winter has been hanging on with all its might and we haven’t had the excursions outdoors that I would have liked! But I am thankful for our covered porch as the puppies would make many trips out there during the day, always able to come in from the weather when they would start to feel chilly. They loved being able to run full tilt from one end of the porch to the other and chase after whoever had the latest coveted toy.
The pups have been a delightful bunch to watch during these past 8 weeks and are so very, very smart. They were all sitting to wait for their dinner in the above photo — unfortunately the rest of the pups were right at my feet or I would have had all 10 in the photo.
Yesterday was a full day with baths and nail slips, microchipping and the first official visit to the vet. Since the vet clinic is around a 45 minute drive away, just the car ride in itself was an adventure for the pups. They all fared well and of course created the most fussed about spectacle when they arrived at the clinic. Everybody immediately stopped what they were doing, staff and visitors alike, to cuddle and snuggle and greet the pups. The pups could not get enough either! The puppies all passed their exam with flying colours and I was very proud of their interactions with everyone. They were friendly, happy, curious, gentle, charming — who could ask for better ambassadors for the golden retriever breed.
The pups start leaving today and so it will be a bittersweet time of good-byes…. As much as I will miss each and every one of these cute little faces, I know that I could not possibly keep all of them and give them the type of attention, time and life they deserve. I feel very blessed to have a whole new network of exceptional families that will become the life and love of these little beauties….. So now may their journey begin. ❤
We have seriously had far too many indoor recesses this past week – but the pups are all doing well and ALWAYS in good spirits. The weather has been looking more like January than April these days; this morning with a -20 C windchill the pups were still wanting to go outside…. (I was the one that needed coaxing). They love to scamper around on our covered deck but they don’t last very long before they start to get chilled and paws get cold…. then back to the boring indoors we go. I continue to add new toys and chew things for the pups, but truly nothing competes with the great outdoors in their minds!
The puppies had quite a few visitors over the Easter weekend which they thoroughly enjoyed. They are all very social and love any chance they can have for attention. They are spending more time awake – with our routine usually starting in the early morning: I feed them breakfast then take them outside or let them play in the puppy room while I clean up, disinfect their puppy pen and throw bedding and blankets in the wash. While I am tidying up they are happy to seek out toys, chase each other, check on what I am doing or get into something they shouldn’t (that I haven’t foreseen). They are at the age now where they love to explore EVERYTHING and leave no stone unturned. Their motto is: into the mouth first and ask questions later. We are busy trying to reinforce good chewing choices for the pups and constantly redirect their efforts when they are chewing something they shouldn’t. (It’s a work in progress!) They then crash into innocent slumber for around an hour and we start the routine all over again….
Ivy still checks in on her pups frequently although we are trying to further wean her off feeding them as they head into the final week before heading out for new horizons. The pups are all weighing between 11 and 11-1/2 pounds so there is no shortage of food to keep their bellies full. They LOVE mealtime.
We will be doing our temperament assessments later this afternoon – but I have no worries that they will all score well. They are a confident and happy bunch – I don’t think their tails stop wagging except to sleep…. We will look forward to then pairing each puppy with their forever family.
Hopefully there is warmer weather in the forecast for the coming week so we can get outside and maximize every last minute of their final week here with our family.
The puppies are getting bigger and busier every day. We finally had a chance to venture out doors on Tuesday and Wednesday as the temperatures warmed up a bit – but today we are back to freezing with snow/rain/sleet here in Muskoka, so the pups have been confined to “indoor recess” once again. They really loved getting outside and hopefully the ground will start to dry up enough that I can get them down romping around where they can explore more fully in the days to come. Unfortunately at this young age a wet puppy equals a chilled puppy – so until the slush and snow dry up a little, we will have to be content with the deck area.
The puppies spend more time awake and are at that stage now where nothing is safe from mouth exploration! Any and everything that might be at puppy level needs to now be puppy appropriate. Over the past week Ivy has taken to the habit of delivering any beef bones that come her way and laying them down in the puppy area for the puppies to enjoy (Sometimes she does this before she has even had a chance to enjoy them herself.) This has certainly given them something much better to chew on! We have taken the puppy activity box out of the area now as things that were once amusing to run through, bat at and look at are fast becoming tempting chew toys.
The pups continue to eat 4 meals of kibble with goat’s milk and either yogurt, eggs or fresh meat with Ivy visiting frequently throughout the day for snacks. She is such a good mum and always wants to be a part of whatever is going on with her pups – whether it be feeding, cleaning, playing or re-organizing the play area. The pups are all weighing in between 9-1/2 and 10 pounds.
They are a content little bunch and there is nothing like starting each morning with their 10 sweet faces and waggy tails to greet me 🙂 We will look forward to getting outside more in the week ahead and meeting and making more friends!!