Watercubs & Kivisilmän
working show-quality newfoundlands
|Introduction||Our Dogs||News||Puppies||Working||Articles||Photo Gallery|
|Puppies at the moment||General information about litters||Our previous litters|
Before the whelping
On the second of June Ruuti (Kivisilman Monitoimikone) woke us up 5.30AM early morning by wanting to go outside and dig a hole for herself in the bushes. We managed to coax her inside with a loaf of bread. Fifteen minutes later, we noticed that she was panting very heavily and stopping every few minutes for a breather. She was starting the opening phase of the whelping process. Puppies..!
A few last things were rushed downstairs to the puppyroom, and after that the rest of the day spent on our tiptoes waiting for Ruuti to start pushing the puppies out. The opening phase has always taken roughly 24 hours (or more) with our previous litters, so we were expecting Ruuti to start whelping towards the evening or early morning of that day. It was quite a warm day, so Ruuti insisted going outside on the porch in the shade to cool down and start digging her den. She emptied her bowel, refused to eat, but drank a lot of water (helped her gulp it down by adding some canned dog food to it). She was getting ready for the delivery.
Towards the early
evening Ruuti was already getting exhausted from all the panting
(opening phase), she realized that she could get moral support from
her mother Capri (Larinkallion Brysselinblicca). She insisted on
getting next to Capri (almost climbing on top of her, with at least
her head resting heavily on Capri's tummy), and she finally relaxed
enough to get a few hours' sleep. It was amazing to watch as Capri
seemed to know what was happening with Ruuti and patiently let Ruuti
come lie right next to her.
We moved Ruuti downstairs to the whelping room around 11AM, as she had started having stronger contractions and was clearly stopping to concentrate every time she contracted. Around 11.30AM the first fluids came out, and the first brown male saw daylight at exactly midday 12.00. The next brown male arrived at 12.30, after which Ruuti had a longer break to deliver the third and last brown male at 14.45. The only female of the litter was born at 15.40. All the puppies were born hind-end first, but Ruuti had strong contractions, so they all came out on their own, and we didn't need to interfere to help. Ruuti knew instictively what to do: concentrate and push, check her behind if anything came out ;-), and then open the bag chew cut the umbiblical cord and start licking the puppy. She was absolutely superb, especially for a first-time-mum.
As the ultrasound had estimated, Ruuti had four gorgeous puppies :-). Isn't it amazing what modern technology can do, as the father of this litter would have turned 27 this year!!
Ruuti getting ready to push the third baby out :-)!
We usually give temporary names to the puppies directly after they're born to avoid calling them by numbers or by the colour of their nail polish. They are MUCH more to us than ”red”, ”yellow” or ”green”. The nail polish is there, so that we can distinguish each and every puppy clearly (for the weight monitoring). The temporary names we gave the boys were Puikko, Tapio and Sampo (in birth order), though we will be changing them as the families express their call name choices to us. It is completely up to them to determine the call names, as they'll be living with the puppies 24/7 for hopefully 10-12-14 years :-) !
The official names, introducing:
born: passed away soon after birth "Puikko"
born: Kivisilman Rapakontaa (brown male) [means ”over to the other
side of the ocean”] (temporary call name: Sampo)
All the puppies have found fantastic homes :-). Our next litter won't be until 2012 summer :-).
These next few days are crucial for the puppies to establish a solid growth pattern. They will be kept under an infrared heater, so that Ruuti can still lie next to the puppies (on the very cold tile floor) all the time. Of course the puppies will be ON Ruuti for most of the time, but as puppies cannot regulate their core temperatures, it is important for the air to be warm enough for them to use all their energy for growth instead of maintenance energy (heat), but the room to be cool enough for the heavy-coated Ruuti, so that Ruuti can actually stand being next to the puppies. Ruuti will have a little fever after the whelping for the next few days, so lying on a cool tiled-floor will only further help cool her down and keep her comfortable.
We weigh the puppies roughly every 6-12 hours (when we change shifts) to see if any of the puppies have gained or lost weight. Even though a rapid weight gain is crucial, we must not let the puppies over-eat either. So far we haven't had problems with that, despite Merita being quite the girl and bullying the others out from their teats if she feels like she got the bad teat to suckle on ;-) !
The veterinarian will come and check the puppies and Ruuti out today (day after whelping) to see if he'll need to administer an oxytocin shot to make absolutely certain that everything that needs to be out IS out. We counted all the placentas (first two came out with the puppies – the last two after Merita, the last puppy), so she should be good to go, but better safe than sorry, as it would be devastating if she DID get an infection due to us not being careful enough.
The oxytocin will also help with the milk let-down (especially important if the litter is huge or if the female is not producing enough milk), though Ruuti has plenty of milk for everyone to go around. She has a total of 4 +1 teats on each side, with the first elbow-teat being ”not the best”, meaning that Ruuti is able to milk everyone at the same time. The puppies with the smallest weight-gain (note: not necessarily the smallest puppy) will need to go to the best teat (often located towards the back). Our smallest puppy with the least weight gain (at this point) is puppy number one, Puikko, though he is doing relatively well as he hasn't LOST weight, he just hasn't gained any yet (12 hours from birth).
Ruuti is finally relaxing and calming down; she wants to either turn on her back feet up to milk the pups or lie on her tummy ”froggy position” whilst, of course, snoring very deep. She's definitely enjoying all the attention she's getting.
is a very good drinker; she's been drinking A LOT of cool fresh water
throughout the whelping process, which is a relief as it is crucial
for her to drink a lot to keep the body's fluid balance correct. She
has be expelling a lot of fluids through milking, but also through
panting heavily (typical for the opening phase, contractions and now
with the high body temperature after whelping). We have a new
baby-thermometer in the whelping room which will help us determine
how warm we should keep the room, and if the warmth is only due to
the humidity. During the whelping, the rooms' humidity rose up to 74%
(with 24.9C), which was definitely very, very high for us and Ruuti
to tolerate. Some good ventilation was needed to bring down the
humidity (and temperature)! But think how much water Ruuti expelled
through panting during the actual whelping, as the whelping room has
quite a large air space and the humidity kept rising over 70% for
most of the time, even though regular ventilations were done. A
window could not be kept open, as the puppies must not be exposed to
any draft. That will cool down their body temperatures very quickly,
especially if they're wet from Ruuti's slobber (Ruuti cleaning after
we lost the little Puikko 5-6 June night. There was
nothing we could have done to save the little boy, but in a way we
are all glad it happened now, and not later when the puppy was 2-3
(or more) weeks.. Of course we are devastated that we had to lose him,
but more so are "his family" who were waiting to pick him up in
August..! Unfortunately the losses are something every
breeder will need to go through at some point. We will be burying the
puppy in one of the local forests where we often go for walks. We
were going to send it to be opened, but it is not routinely done here
in Belgium, and so it would have been an expensive hassle to arrange
it, and we just don't have the time to fight over that right now, but
we'll need to see if we can get more info about actually doing for
future in cases like these (as every breeder will at some point
unfortunately lose puppies). Ruuti is a dog and so is not mourning
after the loss of the little one, but she did "scout the house
to find the puppy, but quickly realized he was not with us anymore.
Ruuti is now busy with the other puppies :-D.
06.06.2011 (day 3)
08.06.2011 (day 5)
are now fed and finally quiet. And Ruuti is now sleeping next to
them; snoring. Ah, quiet house - sorta!
a quick update:
Updated 09.06.2011 (day 6)
The basket is now officially out of the puppy room (day 5-6). We we still keep it there in case we need to quickly chuck the puppies out of the way, but they're not sleeping there anymore. The puppies have developed very thick coats, and staying in the basket (even if it is well ventilated) is too much for them. They prefer to head towards the very cold tile floor, or at least close to the cold tile wall. Even though it's not THAT hot in the puppyroom anymore, as the humidity has dropped a lot in the last few days (good thing), and the door is always open to the rest of the house (to keep it cool).
no basket, the puppies also get much more exercise, and are hence
much calmer after the feedings. They will roam around for five-ten
minutes after the feedings, and then settle down to sleep for a few
hours. Ruuti has so much milk that the feedings only occur ever 2-3
hours, despite the pups only needing to drink for a few minutes to
get full. But that's good news for us (more sleep!) and Ruuti (can go
into the corridor to cool down). The door from the puppyroom is open,
so she can come in and go out as she wishes. Usually she'll go into
the corridor after feeding, sleep there for a while, and come back
when she starts hearing the pups move around, ready for their next
feed. Ruuti will occasionally come in to just check that they're all
OK, and will sometimes just lie next to the puppies to give them some
company :-). But it's all great, as she gets to decide where she
wants to be, and the puppies are more than content with all the
attention they're getting either from Ruuti or us (though I have to
note here than when the puppies sleep, they sleep, we would never
distrub them just so that WE could cuddle them – it's important to
let them sleep, and be totally relaxed when they sleep. That way
they'll learn that nothing will ever come to them when they're
sleeping, and will be must more trusting also later in life. If we
were waking them up from their sleep constantly (even if it was for a
cuddle), they could become neurotic, never learning to sleep the deep
sleep as they would expect something unexpected to happen everytime
they close their eyes).
The puppies are already getting on their wobbly four feet (day 5). Sampo (also lovingly called the ”Beachball” (Rantapallo) due to his always full tummy!) was the first to try it out, but Tapio and Merita are following his example. Expanding their area was therefore very important as now they get to practice walking, exercise their muscles and also develop their sense of balance. A few of the puppies are already ”running” away to either the cool floors or under the door to the actual sauna ;-) ! It's amazing how they ”know” where they're going even though their eyes haven't opened yet. Though I have to say I do wish their eyes opened soon, as for example Merita ”ran” into the wall yesterday accidentally on one of her escape trips ;-)!
puppies' temperaments have swapped again. Sampo is now the ”Orka”
from out N-litter, meaning that he's the whiniest puppy ever :-D. He
whines if he doesn't get enough food, if he's too full, if he's lying
on the wrong side, if he's unhappy, etc.. the list just goes on. But
then again he'll be fully content and happy if he's in our arms being
rocked, or sleeping Ruuti's tummy ;-) ! I think he's already getting
spoiled for always getting what he wants! Tapio is now much less
bossier than before, though he still is the escape artist of the
group, always wondering off to new places! Merita's not that greedy
anymore, and actually skipped a meal yesteday to have her beautysleep
as she'd stuffed herself full the previous time!
puppies are not just ”crying” anymore, but they're definitely
extending their vocal range from content grunts to unhappy murmurs
all the way to whining if they're lost or confused. They're starting
to sound like little-dogs, but no barking yet. They ARE yawning well
though (first yawns day 4-5). And their umbiblical cords have come
off (around day 3). Today (day 6) will be their first nail clipping
session, as the nails are surprisingly long and sharp! In general I
think their feet are much bigger than any of our previous litters'
paws, but it might just be that I've already forgotten. They're HUGE
compared to the rest of their bodies.
Vera is very jealous of all the extra attention Ruuti's getting. Everytime we come upstairs form the puppyroom, she flops on her back (four feet up) and starts smiling, wanting all the cuddling and attention she can get. And who could resist the ”smile” :-) ! This week we've been joking that her face muscles must be hurting already since she's smiling all the time! It really is a ”smile” with her front teeth showing as widely as she can manage :-)!
Update 10.06.2011 (day 7)
Today the puppies are exactly one week old. The nails have been cut, the pups are starting to move around and they have almost doubled their birth weights. The weights today morning were 1260g (Tapio), 1240g (Sampo) and 1400g (Merita). I don't know how Merita is so heavy compared to the boys, as she doesn't look any bigger than the others. Actually Sampo probably looks the biggest, just because of his always full tummy.. Hence the nickname Rantapallo (Beachball).
now Ruuti has TOO MUCH milk. She gets uncomfortable if the pups don't
drink every hour, but the pups are STUFFED. They physically can't
drink anymore than what they're drinking now or otherwise they'll
just cry the whole day and night due to their over-full tummies.
Luckily the pups know (at least most of the time) when to stop
drinking, i.e. when they've had enough. Ruuti's eating much better
now, almost back to normal food :-).
Tapio surpised us yesterday and repeatedly tonight. I've been writing in the blog that Sampo was the first to get on his four feet and wobble around, but Tapio actually pooed on his own several times last night! The way he does it is that he'll stop drinking, go to the side, get up on the wobbly four feet and concentrate real hard (to not to fall over and to push the poo out). Amazing, but then again, we're easily amazed when it comes to puppy development :-). You know what this means; the puppy-poo-phase is starting ;-) ! But we're really glad that Tapio knows how to already instictively ”leave the nest” to do his business outside. If he keeps up that skill, he'll be potty-trained in no time (and that'll make our lives a lot easier) !
Today it's time for the weekly chick-pics :-) !