Monday, September 29, 2008

Ten Days Old and Gaining!

Gaining weight is a good thing.

Well, for puppies that is. ;o)

Here's the Elsie/Ridge litter gang at 10 days old:

Yup, if you look closely, all nine pups are in there lined up along Elsie's belly (well one is climbing on her front leg)! And they look twice the size of what they were a week ago. That's as it should be.

All have doubled their birth weights by now, some sooner than others, so I think we might be outta the woods! A new-to-me guideline I learned from Momma Teese in AZ this week is that pups should double their birth weights by the time they're 10 days old. That's one she learned from another breeder, and after watching her own litters, realized it was a great gauge for assessing growth.

The only other growth-guideline I knew about came from our vet who said the pups should be gaining anywhere from a half-ounce to an ounce in weight every 12 hours (for the first few days after birth). That's 1-2 ounces a day. That's how I knew we were in trouble, first with Green (who lost weight the first two days after birth, but who grew wonderfully once we put him alone on Elsie's full teats), and then with Red and Black, who not only didn't gain regularly, but had stretches of losing weight, too (White's issue, if you recall was not failure to thrive, but rather diarrhea).

Having this additional guideline (doubling their weights by 10-days-old) is a great resource for me. And it looks like we're doing okay!

Here's the skivvy on their sizes (remember 16 oz. = 1 pound):

Miss Pink (birthweight: 15.2 oz): 2 pounds 6.5 oz.
Mr. Blue (birthweight: 1 pound 0.8 oz): 2 pounds 15 oz.
Mr. Green (birthweight: 14. 5 0z): 2 pounds 6 oz.
Mr. Red (birthweight: 14.8 oz): 2 pounds even
Mr. Yellow (birthweight: 14.9 oz): 2 pounds 9 oz.
Mr. Black (birthweight: 12.8 oz): 1 pound 11 oz.
Miss Sky (birthweight: 14.1 oz): 2 pounds 8.5 oz.
Mr. Lime (birthweight: 14.4 oz): 2 pounds 3.5 oz.
Mr. White (birthweight: 15.6 oz): 2 pounds even

Red, Black, and White are still our little guys, but they're all reaching appropriate milestones and they're all progressively gaining weight.

White, who had diarrhea, is doing wonderfully and gaining rapidly. He has not had a supplemental feeding (bottle feeding) since Friday, and he's competing just fine with the big boys and girls for nummies from Momma Elsie. We're no longer worried about him.

Red, who hasn't gained as quickly as the rest, has increased in weight continuously over the last three days, but seems to be leveling off again. We'll continue to keep an eye on him. But he's developing soundly, doing all of what the other pups are doing. I think he may just be smaller.

Black is still tube feeding, but we're tapering a bit since he's nursing better. He's also just starting (and I mean just) to resist being tube fed (resisting is a good thing -- it means he's strong enough to protest). So we think we may be turning the corner with him. He finally pee'd on his own this morning (all the pups are doing that now in the whelping box)(yay!), and he's barking (yay!), and he's pushing up with his back legs (yay!), and he's finding Elsie's teat on his own (yay!).

But there's no way he can compete with the bigger pups during nursing. He just gets pushed aside.

So we're still giving him alone-time with Elsie for nursing when her teats are full. And we're still supplementing him by tube feeding. I'm not sure how long this will last (it depends on his gains), but we're glad to do it for him (now that I'm over my sheer terror of hurting him). He's going to make one special companion for somebody down the road; he's one special little guy.

With each passing day I'm feeling less anxious and more relaxed, and I'm thoroughly enjoying puppy grunts and puppy breath and puppy squiggles. :o)

Now that I'm more relaxed, I can say that sometimes the pups are just hysterical to watch in the whelping box (I'll post some videos again later today). So I'm smiling, laughing, and enjoying them a whole lot more. The black cloud of worry seems to be passing.

And I'm getting some sleep (had 8.5 hours last night from 8 p.m. to 4:30 a.m.). We even left the pups alone with Elsie from midnight to 4 a.m. -- first time yet (we were still worried about her squishing Mr. Black, but the rest could squiggle out from under her if they had to).

DSD drives back to Maine today (think of her, please, as you will -- it's an 8-hour drive and she'll be alone with Baxter). She's leaving later this afternoon (sleeping in really late this morning and early afternoon if she can so she'll be well rested for the drive). She's literally been a godsend -- what a help it's been to have extra hands and eyes here!

Now I may as well enjoy the next few days of relative calm before the pups get more active and independent. The REAL work begins soon enough (Elsie is already cutting back on cleaning up after her brood, ignoring their pee puddles completely). Instead of twice a day, I'll be cleaning the whelping box four times daily.

But that's okay--it just means we have active, lively, thriving puppies, and that does my soul good to know.

Thanks for hanging in there with us!

'Til next time,


Cindy Del Vecchio said...

Oh my gosh, they're so darn cute! I wish we could bring ours home at 2 weeks instead of 8. This is going to be a long wait! So glad the boys have turned the corner.

JuliaR said...

I am so happy things are progressing so well. I will send good driving vibes DSD's way!