Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Neonates (1-14 days Old) - Informational Post

So here it is, 12:30 a.m. March 27th, and eight of the nine pups are now fully 48 hours old. The ninth will be 48 hours old in a little less than two hours. To simplify things, let's just say they're two days old now (hehe).

DH and I are doing our 24-7-trying-to-make-sure-no-puppies-get-smothered routine. We tag team to make sure someone is doing puppy-head-counts about every 10 minutes round the clock (I get the late night shift). We check every time we walk by the box, every time we hear Kenya move, whenever Kenya settles into the box after having been outside, and whenever we think to (which is constantly at this point!). It may seem excessive but after our experience with Elsie laying on top of one of her pups three years ago, we won't take any chances. We'll do this for the entire first week of their lives. Hopefully, by then they will have become strong enough to squirm out from underneath Kenya if it happens. I'll trade a little sleep for healthy puppy survival any day of the week!

So far, so good: only one or two "rescues" necessary so far. :)

Kenya is a fabulous, careful, calm, relaxed mom. She barely moves once settled in except to clean or stimulate the pups. Kenya's job as a mom, however, is a topic for another day. Just know she's fabulous! :)

So the pups are officially neonates now, have been since they popped out and will be through the end of their second week. Here's what we know about them at this stage and can expect from them for these first two weeks of life:

  • their eyes are closed and ears are sealed (won't open until 14-21 days)
  • they respond only to warmth, touch, and the scent of their dam (Kenya)
  • they can't regulate their own body temperatures, so they need external sources of heat (like Kenya's body, the heat lamp, or a heating pad).
  • because they can't regulate body temp, they are very susceptible to any excesses in temps (cold or hot), so the more constant the temps, the better. A chilled puppy can quickly become sick. A hot puppy can dehydrate.
  • they can't regulate their peeing and pooing yet either (can't even do it yet voluntarily); Kenya has to stimulate them to do both (they're being on their backs for her to do so is the first step toward learning submissive posture)
  • they sleep 90% of the time
  • they're still developing neurologically, so they twitch a lot (part of their nerve development)
  • their forelegs are far stronger than rear legs at this point
  • when they try to find their mom, they bob their heads (looking for scent) and push themselves in the direction of her scent (often pushing themselves in a circle). 
Hee hee.  That's Canine Puppy development, Neonatal stage, in brief. :) 

To summarize simply:  they're 100% on Kenya for literally everything! :)  And Kenya is happy to oblige.

I'll post this now just as an informational post.  I'll give you puppy update in a separate post in a couple hours (also have some fun, puppy-noise video!). :)

In the meantime, just so you know, the pups are thriving, Kenya's doing a superb job as a dam, and we're sleep-deprived but deliriously happpy that things are going to smoothly so far.

Update specifics to follow.

'til next time,

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