I am so excited to announce that Lexi has been bred to Falko vom haus Burns again, and we are expecting a litter due August 22nd, 2019. When most people think puppies, they think cute, cuddly, and so much fun! When I tell people I raise puppies, I often get told "Oh you must be in heaven!" and often times, I am. However, much like the joy of having a newborn baby in the house, puppies come with their fair share of work; so while you're loving it, you're also sleep deprived and constantly cleaning up poop.
So what goes in to preparing for puppies? It doesn't seem like too much, but I am a planner. I love planning, I have all sorts of plans from the immediate care that Lexi requires to the distant plans I have for the puppy I keep from this litter. I plan for best case scenario and I plan for worst case scenario. Right now the preparation is pretty minimal, mostly because I already have many of the supplies I will need. Lexi is on pre-natal vitamins, getting an adequate amount of exercise but nothing too high-impact, and she eats...a LOT. Her table manners have gone out the window and she
gets several snacks throughout the day to satisfy those cravings. I can relate, mama, I remember what pregnancy was like. She also gets a lot of extra attention because oh my goodness is she needy! She gets so needy while pregnant, and this is from a dog who is already always by your side. As I sit typing this she is actually scolding me because I stopped petting her. She demands attention by shaking her head around in a figure 8 motion and wiggling her butt while she makes this weird sound that is something between a howl, a whine and a growl; letting me know that she is very displeased I am not petting her. It always merits a laugh, it is interesting how communicative she can be. Outside of pregnancy she does that when she wants outside or wants me to throw her toy.
As we get closer to her due date I will re-stock the whelping kit, and start keeping an eye out for puppy items that come on sale. I like to have a variety of toys for the puppies to play with and explore, and different chews for them to try. Take home items for my puppy families are always fun to put together, too. I start to stock pile potty training supplies, rewash all of the whelping box bedding so it is fresh, and of course, snuggle Lexi some more. A couple of weeks before her due date, I completely rearrange my house and set the whelping box up. Time to double check that I have all my supplies on hand and get in touch with my vet to schedule the pre-whelp x-ray. We are getting close! I start a poll to guess how many puppies she will have and when she will have them, winner gets a bag of my favorite coffee.
A week before puppies are due Lexi likes to play this game of "act like I am in labor for several hours so mom gets all nervous and then stop right after she calls the vet." Sorry vet, false alarm...again. Pretty sure she thinks it is hilarious. I do not, just for the record. I always keep my vet's office informed of her progress during the day, so if I need them for an emergency at night it doesn't come as a surprise. Time to triple check I am not missing any whelping supplies and make sure everything is prepped and ready to go. Here is the list: fresh towels, thermometer, heat lamp, baby scale, second set of whelping pads and box liners, iodine, surgical clamp and scissors, dental floss, probably some more towels, benebac, plain greek yogurt for Lexi, raw goat's milk (for Lexi but also in case the puppies need supplemented if her milk supply tanks), nutri-cal, puppy id collars, my charts for keeping track of each puppy's weight, time of birth, etc., my white board for charting the time each pup was delivered so I can be sure she hasn't stalled out during labor, and of course the numbers of my vet and emergency vet on speed dial in case things go wrong. It always
starts out all orderly, and by the time it's over I look like I haven't slept in a week and Lexi is snoring away with a batch of sweet little puppies snuggled up to her nursing happily. Usually it's about the time my kids wake up and want breakfast.
Whelping puppies is stressful, but exciting. If everything goes smoothly then you are home weighing puppies every 12 hours to ensure proper weight gain. If it goes poorly you're typically at the vet's office praying. I am fortunate that, although we have had some complications in the past, we have never lost a puppy. Our biggest issues have been after the litter was born and a low milk supply. Overall, I feel ready for what is to come.
The final step of preparation before whelping? Sleep while you can!