It has been one week since our dachshund “Elsa” gave birth to 6 very cute and beautiful puppies.
With a litter of 6 pups in our house, our focus has been on the wellbeing of the puppies, their mom Elsa, and Reggy, the dad of the litter who has been very interested in this whole process. So other activities took a back stage. Just like newborn babies, all they do is eat, poop, sleep- and repeat. However, the pups have grown considerably and have already doubled their birth weight. I presume it will be another week before they are going to open their eyes for the first time but they do crawl around in their whelping box searching for their mama or to find their siblings to cuddle with.
So in the past week I had to get up several times at night to let Elsa outside to do her business. The pups feed every few hours and Elsa’s food intake has doubled, too. She does a great job looking after her puppies and cleans them up regularly. This does affect her digestive system in addition to the affects after giving birth. What it also means is that in order to keep the whelping box clean there is an increase of laundry in the house. I’m glad I have a good washer and dryer in addition to a pile of extra towels.
The first night I spent on the sofa next to the whelping box to keep an eye on Elsa and the newborn pups ready to assist. Instinctively Elsa knew what to do but there was some unrest. The pups wanted to feed and Elsa nursed them often. Now, a week later, the pups and Elsa have gone into a more settled routine and times in-between feeding are longer and the pups sleep content for longer time periods. This is probably due to her increased milk production and I think in the quality (and quantity) of food she now consumes. While Elsa spent all the time with the pups in the first days, she now leaves them to sleep by themselves. She stays close by napping but checks on them frequently.
Elsa cuddling next to a pup
Reggy sniffing a pup
I am glad that so far Elsa seems to be producing enough milk to feed her pups. We have the Esbilac Puppy Milk Replacer powder (a USA product) at standby (thank-you Teresa Warren), but I was not able to feed any to the pups yet. They refused the nipple and/or the milk.
If you think the cost of a can of powdered milk ($33) is exorbitant, then the cost of the little plastic pet nursing bottles ($9) and the plastic syringes ($8) are ridiculously outrageous. (Both products are produced in China and they were the only options available at the pet stores). They look like children’s’ toys to me! Not only are the nipples of the bottles too hard for sucking, even with a cross cut opening and squeezed, there is hardly any milk flowing out.
In desperation I bought the syringes but I fear I could harm the pups with their hard and pointy tip. So I keep the milk as a supplement for feeding once they are old enough to start on solid food.
It’s all a learning process, but I have to say we adore the puppies and I enjoy the whole progression and involvement of it. It is an experience I would not want to miss.
Meanwhile in the garden I have been amazed at the size of some of my Canna Indica plants. Their growth might be attributed to the rich soil they are planted in. Last fall I had cut up several banana peels which I dug under at the spot I buried the roots of the Cannas. Also I wanted to share some of the critters in our garden. At least the ones I managed to capture. :-)