The puppies are here!! They are so cute, but now what do I do?? Whether a new breeder or an accidental puppy mom, thing just got real. You now have a handful of puppies and you’re really not sure where to begin. How do you care for a newborn litter of American bully puppies?
Let’s go over the basics: Temperature, Cleanliness, and Nutrition.
Temperature is very important. Newborn puppies cannot keep themselves warm. So you must keep their room at a even 90*. Some people prefer a heating pad, others a space heater in the room, others a heat lamp placed over the puppies whelping box, or habitat. It is important to keep them warm but not to over bake them either. The perfect temperature is critical in your puppies survival. Too warm can lead to your puppies dehydrating and inevitably death. If you decide on a heating pad method, make sure it is set to LOW and covered with a towel. This will provide a comfortable temperature. The important part is to not toast the entire area. Give them the option to waddle closer, or away from the heat source as their bodies need, within their new home.
Immune systems are non existent at this point. The smallest germ can kill your babies. Keep them separated from all other pets in the household (except the mom).I know your first instinct is to show the puppies to every person that comes in your house, because they are just that cute. DONT! No one should be around the puppies at all until they have at least done their first set of vaccines. When personally handling your puppies it is important to wear latex gloves which you will dispose of after each wear. That way you know your hands are clean and free or bacteria that could potentially pass along to the puppies. Also, whether you are keeping them in a whelping box, a laundry basket, or a baby pool, their area needs to be kept immaculate! The mother will stimulate the puppies to go by licking them and will most likely eat the excrement, so your cleaning of puppy droppings in the beginning will be minimal. However, the mother is expelling and discharging, and this will need to be kept off the puppies. If you are using blankets, wee wee pads, or newspaper, it will need to be changed frequently (multiple times a day) and you will want to wipe down the mothers privates with a warm wet towel to keep her fresh as well to avoid infection. As the puppies get older and go on their own, you will have a constant job of changing their box or habitat to keep it clean, because as babies, all they do is eat, sleep, and poop.
If you have an absent mother or neglectful mother, you will need to make your puppies go. At a young age they cannot do this on their own. The easiest method to induce a pee or poop, is to gently rub a warm damp towel over their privates, it will feel just like the mothers tongue and will allow the sensation to make them go. You do not want to use cold water or a soaking wet towel. The goal is to leave the area dry and warm, because as already stated, body temperature is critical!
There is a large variation in the size of American Bully puppies and other breeds so I can not tell you the puppies should weigh ‘X’ amount on each week. But it is important to keep track of each puppies weight every single day for the first few weeks. You want to see a gain in weight every single day, even if its an ounce. If your puppy is losing weight or stuck on the same weight for several days, their food intake is lower then should be and you need to pay close attention to this. If they are nursing on mom, then you may find that one puppy is not getting enough nipple time, due to stronger more aggressive eaters in the litter. If you are bottle feeding then you simply aren’t feeding enough. Speaking of feeding, if your mom is nursing her pups and they are steadily gaining, you have a slightly easier whelping job on your hands. This is not the case in all puppies. For one reason or another, the mother may have no interest in taking care of her puppies, or the mother may be absent from the equation all together, and you are now the surrogate mother of all these tiny fur-balls. If bottle feeding is the route you go, any old milk will not due. Cows milk, or the milk humans drink is NOT good for puppies. Your options for a milk substitute are GOATS MILK, or pre-prepared puppy formulas, such as Esbilac. Esbilac is pricey but a very good product. Many people will choose the powdered version (just add water) over the liquid, canned, ready to go version because of the cost. This is totally OK! It isn’t any less of a product, however make sure to purchase distilled water for the mixture, and DO NOT use tap water. Tap water contains bacteria that could make your puppies sick.
Now you know what to feed, but WHEN do you feed? For about the first 3 weeks of your puppies existence they will need to be fed every 2-3 hours. Yes, it is a full time job. If the mom is caring for them, they will crawl to her on a consistent basis for food whenever they are hungry, which will basically be every time they are awake. If you are controlling their food then you are on a 2-3 hour clock between each meal. (TIP: for bottle fed babies, buy a brand like PLAYTEX as your bottle, avoid the bottles made for pets they are of lesser quality, don’t provide the right amount of milk, and the puppies never take to the shape of the nipple and feeding will be much more difficult then it needs to be).
Time for a break!
Your puppies are 3 weeks old and your sleep deprevation is crazy! Well your life is about to get a littler easier, at this point you can begin to space out your feeding times a little more, You can now feed every 4 hours, and believe me that 1 hour extra of sleep is well deserved! By the 4th week your puppy can begin to eat out of a bowl on their own. Once this is happening you will slowly want to introduce a puppy cereal to their milk to make it thicker, and fill their stomachs better, which will lead to longer times of feeling full and once again lengthen the times needed between feedings.
At about the 6th week, you can start adding in Kibble to their milk, soak the kibble for a decent amount of time before you allow the puppy to eat, that way it is soft and easy to swallow. How much of this should you be feeding? At this point you cannot overfeed the puppy. Since it is eating on its own it will stop when it feels full.
The puppies are 8 weeks now and there is no longer a need for milk of any kind. Your puppy should be solely on kibble or if you are feeding raw, then strictly on raw. Plus don’t forget a fresh bowl of water! The puppies will be pretty much walking and running! Most likely they are still confined to a small area which is OK. But at this point you will need to start allowing them to get regular exercise. Most people will allow them to roam a closed off area like a kitchen or bathroom. Learning how to move and jumping and playing is crucial to a healthy puppy.
Puppies should be handled daily, given love, attention, and petting. Pre-shots and vaccines remember to wear your gloves. Post shots and still young, just wash your hands with a gentle soap and water. You have gotten them this far, no reason to chance getting them sick, take the few seconds and just wash up before handling. If at all possible from weeks 6-8, it is important to allow your puppies to interact with an adult dog of good disposition. This will help teach them to abide by rules and learn how to be a good dog. Keeping the puppy with their mother and littermates should be done until they are 8 weeks old, to instill a sense of comfort and security.
I have written a separate blog on a vaccine schedules. Following a vaccine schedule is very important to ensuring a healthy puppy. Please make sure to read our blog on the correct ages, and age appropriate vaccinations for your puppies. http://bullygirlmagazine.com/when-is-my-puppy-due-for-what-vaccine/.
Good luck with your new litter. Whenever in doubt always ASK questions to fellow breeders, and your vet. No question is a stupid question if you are not 100% sure of the answer, little lives depend on you getting it right.
A lot of so called breeders get caught up in the “HYPE” of becoming rich by breeding dogs, and selling puppies. Well, let us be the first to tell you that it is just that, “HYPE”. What separates those who are successful through breeding from those who are unsuccessful, is that the successful breeders aren’t in it for the money. They have a bigger vision, which is to produce quality dogs, and enhance the breed. Most successful breeders don’t breed more than twice a year, because they understand that female dog pregnancy carries serious risks that shouldn’t be taken lightly. There are many things that can go wrong during the her pregnancy that could put not only the pups life at risk, but the mother as well. Unless the mother has proven to produce high quality, physically correct, healthy pups on a consistent basis, additional breedings are not worth the risk.
Breeding shouldn’t even be considered until your female dog is at least two years of age. This will ensure that she is mature, and can get full health clearance. It is also good practice not to breed your female in back-to-back heat cycles. Not only does this raise your risk as far as health goes, but ethically it is just not right. If you breed a female dog every single time she comes in heat, when does she ever have the time to just be a dog? From the pregnancy to the whelping of the pups, to raising a litter, a mother can get overwhelmed, and stressed. Some breeders will argue that there are times when it is ethical to do a back-to-back breeding. But from experience, most breeders who feel the need to get as many breeding’s as possible, do not have the best interest of the breed in mind.
Good breeders do health testing, take dogs back when necessary, and treats every dog like one of the family. Any breeder who consistently breeds the same female dog, regardless of the fact that the pups she is producing are of lower quality than the breed standard, is overbreeding and is only in it for the money. Take your time when doing research for a reputable breeder. They are out there. Nine times out of ten, if they interview you before giving you a pup, they offer a health guarantee, and want you to keep in touch to see how your pup is developing, they are a good breeder. Beware of overbreeders, they will sell you an unhealthy pup, and disappear in the wind with your money.
Back to Basics: Caring for your Dog
Dogs are definitely great companions, and make wonderful additions to any loving home. However, it’s imperative that you understand that their health and happiness is as much a priority as your own.
A balanced diet is very important, whether it be a puppy or a full grown dog. A lot of health issues can be prevented, simply by making sure that your canine is eating healthy, nutritous food and getting all of the necessary vitamins. You should consult your vet to find out which dog foods have the right nutritional balance for your dog.
Water is just as important as food. Clean, fresh water should be available to your dog throughout the day. All food and water bowls, should be cleaned as often as possible to prevent any bacteria from growing inside them.
Every dog, of every breed needs exercise. Exercise will not only help them to burn calories and stay healthy, but it will stimulate your dog’s mind. The amount and type of exercise will vary depending on the breed of the dog. Keeping your dog active with exercise will keep them from getting bored and pickup up bad habits such as: chewing on furninture, or running throughout the house.
The type of breed that you have will determine the amount of bathing and grooming that you will need to keep up with. For example, long haired dogs will need more frequent brushing to reduce shedding, whereas a short haired dog will just need a maintenance brushing here and there to maintain a healthy and shiny coat. Again, check with your vet to see what the best practices are for the type of dog that you have, or will be getting.
Also, make sure to check your dogs coat daily for fleas and ticks. Especially during the warm seasons. Your vet should also be able to give you options for flea and tick prevention. Avoid giving your dog any type of medicine or product that has not been prescribed by a veterinarian. There are many poisonous medicines and products out there that could harm your pet.
Always keep your dog, no matter what size, on a leash when you are outside of your yard. If your yard is not fenced in, then keep your dog on a leash when outside, period. Puppies, as well as large dogs, could take off in any direction and be harmed or worse by oncomnig traffic. Dogs get excited very easily. Keep them on a short leash if you see anything that may cause them to get excited. This will enable you to control them better, should this occur.
Eventually your companion will need to relieve themself. When walking your dog, alway keep a pooper scooper, or bag with you at all times, to clean up any mess that they make.
Following these guidelines will help you and your dog live a healthy and stress free life. For more great article of taking care of your dog, visit www.bullygirlmagazine.com.
4 Ways to Prepare for a Bully Breed Dog Show
Bully Breed Dog Shows are popping up all over the globe, as the breed becomes more and more popular. If you have bully breed dogs, and you are looking to put them inside a registry show ring, there are a few things you need to do first.
BOND WITH YOUR DOG
This is one of the simplest, yet most important steps you can take to guarantee a more positive experience at a bully breed dog show. If you and your dog don’t share a bond, you can’t expect your dog to behave, and perform at a high level inside a show ring. All of this work needs to be done outside of the show ring. Take your dog for long walks. Play with your dog. Let him or her know that they are part of the family, and there will be nothing that they won’t do for you. It is a natural canine instinct for a dog to want to please their owner. So bond with your dog, and praise all of their accomplishments. You will see a big difference at any event, when your dog feels like it’s you and him/her against the world.
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
Far too many people show up to bully breed dog shows, with no former experience, and no type of training or preparation for the event. You can’t expect to take 1st place inside a show ring, against someone who has a ton of experience and knows exactly what the judges are looking for. Again I stress that all of the work begins outside of the show ring. Find someone local to you who has shown inside the ring before, and ask for tips and advice. Have them show you how to stack your dog properly when inside the show ring. Most registry websites will have a list of their judges, with some form of contact information. Give the judges a call, or send them an email and pick their brain. They will be more than happy to give you tips and advice on how to properly show dog, because they would rather have a show ring full of professional looking handlers, than a bunch of people just winging it and hoping for the best.
LOOK THE PART
I’m not saying that is guaranteed that you will ever lose at a bully breed dog show, strictly because of the way you’re dressed. But, if it came down to your dog and one other dog for Best in Show, would you want to be the guy the in the dress clothes, or the guy in the street clothes. In my opinion, it all adds up when judges are making crucial decisions. Maybe not for easy choices, but when there is a tough call, I would definitely feel more comfortable knowing that I look the part.
If possible, arrive early to the event. This will allow you to set up and get your dog, as well as yourself, comfortable with the environment. Take him/her inside the show ring and practice before the crowd gets there and praise him/her for doing a good job. Introduce yourself to the show hosts, staff and judges. Fill out whatever necessary paperwork to register your dog for the show. Get all of that stuff out of the way, so that you can focus on the show ring, and taking home some trophies, and ribbons.
All of these things will help you to have a better experience at a bully breed dog show, whether you take home 1st place or not. You will definitely give your dog the best shot possible, by having a strong bond, practicing, looking the part, and arriving early to the event.
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