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I am raising orphan puppies...any advice??


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  #1  
October 25th, 2010, 02:52 PM
My3Boys64's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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My Boxer's uterus ruptured during labor and she passed away 4 days after She was able to feed the pups (she had 3 surviving) for 3.5 days but since then I have been bottle feeding them formula. My vet handed me some papers with info but they where mostly about whelping and weaning - nothing about rearing pups and I want to do everything right. The puppies are now 8 days old and I am feeding them every 3 hours 1 - 1 1/2 oz each of puppy formula I bought from Petsmart from a Soothie baby bottle (they did not latch well on the small puppy nipples), I burp them afterwards and I stimulate their urine/bm once during and after each feeding. I have also been wiping them off at each feeding since they tend to get poo on them. They are in the master bathroom closet in a large plastic tub with a soft blanket inside. I change and wash their bedding/box 1 or 2 times a day and keep their room at 86 degrees (I just switched from 88 today because they had been sleeping far apart and panting like they where too hot). I am weighing them everyday to be sure they eat enough and they are growing very fast! I plan to start them on lapping up formula at the start of week 3 - then rice cereal - then gruel - finally weaning to puppy food by 6 weeks. They will go to their new homes at 8 weeks.
There is alot of info on the internet but it is not all consistent so I am trying to get some personal advice from breeders, vets etc. Some websites say I can start them on feeding every 4 hours now and that I do not need to feed during the night, other sites say I should feed them once during the night (6 hours inbetween) which is what I am doing now. The pups are all growing fast, but the largest one is significantly bigger and he seems more advanced too - his ears have flopped over and he seems to hear me when I come in - is it possible his ears are open already? They are all moving around well now (more like walking, less slithering on their bellies) and have begun making little growling and barking noises that are too cute. I am wondering if I think they advance well and seem ready for lapping food sooner than 3 weeks if I am allowed to try? I am not trying to get out to bottle feeding them - I am just wondering and thinking ahead about the weaning process. If they are eating well by, lets say 5 weeks do I still need to give them bottles? Can I just give them formula in a dish or mixed with food? How long to they need the formula? The can only says, start weaning at 3 weeks. I also want to know when exactly I can stop helping them pee and poop? I read 3 weeks. And, when exactly can I first take them into my living room and outside for socialization and training? How do I make sure I am teaching them correct doggie behavior? I mean, I have worked with dogs for many, many years and I know all about training - just not the pre 8 weeks stuff. Would it be wise for me to let the puppies play with my neighbors male beagle? He is really friendly with other dogs - I thought maybe they could run around in the yard together and he might teach them some dog behavior I cannot. Oh, and when they can have a real bath? Like can I bathe them at 7 weeks when I have the new owners come to see them? I know when to start deworming but what about heartworm preventative and frontline? Of course, I can call my vet and ask - but I was just throwing out the questions I have. If anyone has any time to help me with anything I would greatly appreciate it! TIA I know I asked alot
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  #2  
October 26th, 2010, 12:31 AM
The Lesha's Avatar Avada Kedavra
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OMGoodness... first of all.. I'm so sorry for the loss of your Boxer. Second, girl you seem like you know what you are doing! Seriously, I mean you really have it working. My mom raised puppies and pretty much did the same you are doing now. getting up every few hours like baby and feeding them....

When the puppies were able to growl or make noises, my mom stopped with the 4 hr feediings and went with the every 6 hr, no night feedings, she listened to them, when they started to "talk" she knew they were hungry and went to feed them. She laid out a bowl of formula at 4 weeks and watched them to see if they'd take it, each of them started to lap at it between week 4-5. Im unsure when she started with with the dry food, but I do know she began with formula mixed with the dry food. So I'd do the test formula bowl, watch and then test the dry food mixed with formula. The key thing is to watch all of them and make sure everyone is eating. You may have to formula feed the smaller ones for longer.

Im unsure about the doggie socialization or the potty training ... but I can tell you from expirence, that I got my old cocker spaniel at 7 weeks and I had to potty train him myself. He was just weaned from his mother. He would only walk a little ways from his beddingto potty. then back to bed.

And I belive you can bathe them at any time, with normal puppy shampoo just not a flea shampoo til they are 4-6 mths? Im not sure on that, its been awhile since I had puppies. I do remember though my breeder said if the puppy had fleas to bathe them with dawn dish soap. and I think hearworm prevention begins at 6 mths but I could be wrong. I hope you can get some help with this. Good luck!
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  #3  
October 26th, 2010, 10:20 AM
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Heartworm prevention starts at 6 WEEKS as an infected mosquito can infect them at any age. Frontline can be started as soon as 8 weeks. But given that we're coming into winter in most states and you're in Virginia both of these can probably wait until late winter/early Spring so as not to tax their immune systems needlessly.

I would not let them outside at this point as they're completely unvaccinated and really didn't get many antibodies from mom either so I'd definitely wait on that until the've had 1-2 rounds of vaccinations so they have a chance in that department. Potty training doesn't usually start until 8-9 weeks of age. Right now I'd keep them indoors and just start letting them explore their (safe) surroundings, learn from each other (they will learn socializing from each other as well which is very important). I'd recommend continuing to mix formula with their food until 8-9 weeks of age personally. And I'd HIGHLY recommend that you keep them until they're 10 weeks instead of 8 for a variety of reasons. You may also want to get some powdered colostrum to mix with the formula and later solid food. And please make sure to choose a healthy kibble when you do wean to solid food.

Everything else I think you're doing great with and keep up the wonderful work. And I'm very sorry for the loss of your own dog, very sad situation indeed.
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  #4  
October 27th, 2010, 11:07 AM
My3Boys64's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Thank you ladies for being so kind and helpful. : ) I was ready to be yelled out for letting my dog get pregnant. I would have deserved it to a degree. You see, she was 4 years old and not yet spayed b/c when she was 5 months old she broke 2 growth plates in her leg and needed two surguries that cost us $4000.00. Then we got pregnant and had to pay half of the c-section, then pregnant again (c-section) and DH lost his job for about 4 months, ugh! so anyway, we moved out to the country on a mountain and when Lucy was in heat ths past time our neighbors Pit Bull dug under our fence and got in twice! Thats how she got pregnant. We did everything we could for her and the vet says that we could never have known her uterus would have ruptured or helped her - but still we blame ourselves and its very difficult to handle the guilt. Sometimes I feel like I killed my dog. DH said he kept hearing that commercial about spaying/neutering your pet playing over in his head while we where at the vet. We know we will never let anything stop us from spaying/neutering a dog in the future! In the end we should have paid for a spay considering we ended up paying over $3000 in prenatal care and the surgury to try and save her after the birth.....Meghan - Lucy was a white Boxer. Here is a picture - its my old signature.

If you would like to see pictures of her and the litter friend request me on FB Danielle Raley-Metcalf | Facebook
Anyway, I have not been online much b/c I have been so busy but I did read your replies. I went to the vet and met with veterinarian to ask her some questions about the puppies, she is also a breeder and OB vet so she was very helpful. One thing I did not know about was the Colustrum. I am feeding them Esbilac (sp?) formula, its mondo expensive ($80 for 5 lbs) but its supposed to be the absolute best - I do not see anything on the ingredients that says colustrum so I am not sure if it has it. Do you know if it does? Can I get the powdered colustrum to add to the formula at the pet store? I also am interested to hear why I should keep them for 10 weeks? I had read that it was important for them to be with their mother to 10 weeks for training and such and I planned that for when Lucy was still living - but now that she is gone I figured they should have them at 8 weeks since both of them have good old dogs who can help train them. Also, my SIL is gettinig one of them and she is super excited about it. As I said she has an old dog and he is her life. They have no kids and their dog is like their child so I know the puppy will be awsomely cared for, and her husband is out of work so he is home all the time. She has asked if she could have her puppy at 5 weeks and she could continue the bottle feeding on her own. I said no b/c I thought the puppies need eachother for warmth and companionship but my MIL butted in saying Nakoa and Rob can provide everything the puppy needs and I should do it b/c I have my hands full and actually said I was being rude by saying no! We got into it a bit and I left telling my SIL we would talk in private about it some other time. If it was you, what would you do? I just want to be sure all the puppies get the best care I can give. It is true that Rob and Nakoa would be able to dote on the pup one on one in a way I cannot possibly do - but I wonder if it is wise to seperate them at that age? Nakoa rescued their current do when he was 5 weeks, so she has experience with caring for a pup that age. I am just not sure what to say or do.
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  #5  
October 27th, 2010, 11:16 AM
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Honestly not sure where you get the colostrum. I don't breed but my white boy came from a breeder and she uses it and sent me home with enough for an additional 2 months. You can do a search. It doesn't come with the formula it's something separate you have to buy. Just do a search online for it.

On keeping them until 10-12 weeks it's just as important for them to stay with their littermates to have that socialization time with their littermates as it is to stay with mom (more so with their littermates IMO). They learn bite inhibition, how to properly play, socializing, among other things via their littermates which is extremely important. Absolutely DO NOT let those puppies go (any of them) at 5 weeks. An old dog is not a puppy of the same age. The puppy will not play with an older dog like it will it's siblings. They learn bite inhibition from their siblings not their mother. Extremely important all those pups stay together until AT LEAST 8 weeks preferably 10. Explain to your SIL she will have PLENTY of puppy time I promise. Many reputable breeders keep the pups until 12 weeks and trust me there is still plenty of puppy time left even at that point. She may have experience and that dog may have turned out okay but why risk it when you don't have to? And there's no guarantee this one would be okay. At 5 weeks they can't even regulate their own body temperature yet. Personally I'd say absolutely no way, but that's just me.

Good luck and hope everything works out. And yes definitely spay and neuter. Humane Societies usually do discounted spays/neuters, there's usually mobile clinics in areas as well that are pretty cheap. We had our male done for $70 and that included everything. Best of luck!
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  #6  
October 27th, 2010, 12:04 PM
My3Boys64's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Yeah, I can't have anything happening to these puppies so I will just tell her no. I will explain what you said and just tell her the vet told me to keep them for 10 weeks.
We did not know about the humaine society spaying/neutering! Is it really that cheap?? I can't believe it...we had no idea that was out there! How do you know the humaine society will not do a butcher job? Have you always had good experience doing that? Our vet was going to charge $500 to spay her when we took her when she was 2. Anyway, we are keeping one puppy and I am spaying him at 6 months for sure. I remember when we neutered our last dog when he was 6 months it was alot cheaper b/c anestesia for a lighter dog costs alot less than an adult dog. BTW, we are feeding the puppies Pedigree Puppy food b/c thats the brand we always feed our dogs. Is that good food? Should we buy that Science diet food from the vet or something?
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  #7  
October 27th, 2010, 12:15 PM
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Well how much it costs depends on where you are as those are county funded and females are always more than males. In my area it's between $60 and $102 which depends on weight, undescended testicles, in heat or not, pregnant or not, male or female, but yes it's really that cheap. My regular vet was going to charge $350 for my male Boxer that had undescended testicles, I got it done at the mobile clinic for $100 even so yeah HUGE difference. They also do low cost vaccinations and other small services usually as well. The Humane Society is HUGELY monitored by teh government, they don't do crummy jobs. Spays and neuters are REALLY basic they do them all the time. Every animal they adopt out must be spayed/neutered so they do hundreds a week.

I volunteer for a Boxer rescue and EVERY rescue that comes in is done by a mobile service, either Humane Society or another one in our local area and we've never had any issues with any of them. I've had 2 of my own dogs done by them one of which had an undescended testicle so it was complicated and they did a fantastic job on him, my other 2 dogs were through a Boxer rescue and they were done by them as well and are just fine and my 3 cats were done by a similar unit (adopted) and did find also. That's all they do all day everyday is spays and neuters.

Honestly $500 for a spay is REDICULOUS. Highest in my area I've seen is $300 and even that's on the high side. You could easily go to a clinic and get it done for $70-$110 depending on weight, place, etc.

No, unfortunately Pedigree is a very cheap quality food. As is Science Diet (despite the large price tag). Check out Dog Food Analysis - Reviews of kibble and check out the 4, 5 and 6 star foods. Personally I'd recommend Taste of the Wild it's an all life stages food so can be fed from puppy years through senior years, is a good food for the money as well. If you're on a REALLY tight budget and have a Costco membership then I'd recommend their food or their gran free food as both are decent quality for the price.

Some good brands:

Wellness, Natural balance, Taste of the Wild, Canidae, Solid Gold, Blue Buffalo, Kirkland, California Natural, Innova, just to name a few.

Hope that helps some!
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  #8  
October 27th, 2010, 12:27 PM
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Here's some info for the Humane Society in your area. Looks like you pay the Humane Society a discounted rate and then they give you a certificate to take to a vet in the area that participates in the program (willingly) and will take the certificate and receives a portion of the payment from the Humane Society. This works well too:

Humane Society of Warren County Virginia - Community Services

You can give that number a call and discuss with them as it doesn't list rates on the site. If you're planning on doing it at 6 months I'd call in the next 1-2 as there are waiting lists sometimes of a few months. That's for your county.

Here's a few other links you can look at:

Dewey Animals, Inc. Adoption Page

Transport Unit | Shenandoah Valley Spay and Neuter Clinic
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  #9  
October 27th, 2010, 12:41 PM
My3Boys64's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Thank you so much!! I am looking into those foods now, then I will check out the neuter stuff, I think I will do that with T-Bone (our puppy) , since its so much cheaper.
You will not believe what my SIL is saying! I called her to tell her I want to keep the puppy 10 weeks and she says she does not want the puppy if she cannot have it by 6 weeks b/c she wants to train it and have her dog train it. I told her training does not start until 8-10 weeks anyway and I am going to be putting them in a pen we are building with newspaper in one side for going potty. She said she did not want a newspaper trained dog. I said thats the only way b/c the puppy cannot go outside until its vaccinated. She says she has a vet appointment already at 6 weeks and that the vet told her the only reason I should keep the puppy is for immunity from the mother and since she died there is no reason Nakoa cannot take over the care. Im like...who is this crazy vet? We argued alot and she finally broke down when I said we would be happy to keep there puppy as DH wanted to keep two anyway - then she said we can see how the puppy does as the weeks go by and maybe she can take him at 7 or 8 weeks but that she will come and pick the puppy up for his 6 week appointment. Is that really necessary? I am deworming them myself - I would imagine its not safe for them to be exposed to a vet office right now, thats what my vet said. I hate that she is being so difficult. I had to remind her that it is MY puppy as of right now. LOL
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  #10  
October 27th, 2010, 12:50 PM
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Well you don't start formal training (sit stay, etc) in a formal puppy training class until 4 months typically. Some do a formal puppy training class which is more for socialization but those usually require at least 2 sets of vaccinations so those don't start until 10-12 weeks either typically. What's she wanting to train it for at 6 weeks old? At that point it can BARELY regulate it's own body temperature nobody's teaching that dog anything except how to socialize with other pups it's own age, how to eat, drink, and bite inhibition. Puppy shouldn't even be outside at 6 weeks so no potty training going on at that point either. Even then TRUE potty training for pup doesn't start until 3 months or so, yes we start them earlier but it's really us that are trained, not the dog as they are too young. If it makes you feel any better, my pup came to me at 8 weeks from a breeder (she was going to keep them until 10 but had a family emergency and had to leave the state so plans got changed). At 8 weeks he had NEVER been outside (at that age they just squat and go, they probably won't even use the paper they're just too young), he was "paper" trained if that's what you want to call it. I started formal potty training at 9 weeks old, now at 3 1/2 YEARS he has NEVER pooped in the house and I could count on one hand the number of times he peed in the house (I was very diligent). So he started out on paper at that age, or just going wherever, but by 4 months he was sitting by the back door to go out and by 6 months he was 100% trained but no pup is potty trained at 6 weeks or even 8-10 weeks it just isn't possible that's like saying a 1 year old human baby is potty trained, it just doesn't happen.

Personally I don't believe in starting vaccinations until 8-9 weeks of age but that's my opinion after a ton of research as dogs are over vaccinated horribly in this country. No, puppy going to the vet at 6 weeks is NOT necessary. You can buy the vaccinations and do them yourself if you choose or not do them at all until 8-9 weeks of age which is fine too.

You're nicer than me, I'd tell her too bad so sad she can go adopt a pup at the Humane Society or a shelter and leave the family drama out of it that way. Just doesn't sound like she has the pup's best interest at heart to me and is acting like a child not exhibiting any patience whatsoever. Even my then 5 1/2 year old understood it was in the puppy's best interest on why we were waiting to bring him home...sheesh!

Also you may want to do a fecal on the pups before deworming, it is not always necessary. My pup was not dewormed because none of his litter had them. The breeder just took a sample into the vet (labled them) and paid $15 for each fecal to be done so the pups didn't have to go into the vet at all for that. All came back clear, I had another fecal done at 9 weeks and it came back clear so we were all good and the deworming was never needed. It is a poison so if you can skip it due to it not being needed then it's probably better. But it'll cost you a bit more to pay for the fecal test for each pup obivously.

Last edited by SpazTaz; October 27th, 2010 at 12:59 PM.
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  #11  
October 27th, 2010, 01:21 PM
My3Boys64's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Oh, I had no idea it was a poison! I am very anti anything unnatural or poison - I think I will do the fecal test to try and avoid it.
Also, I found a colostrum called Nursemate ASAP and I ordered it. I am thinking about buying some California Natural but I am still checking out all the brands. How cool that they have these real foods! I wish I had known about Pedigree! We have always wanted our dogs to eat good stuff and we always give one meal of meat and veggies - so I know my husband will be willing to pay for this food.


When DH gets home I am going to talk to him about how to handle my SIL, I already called my vet to talk about it and she said its up to me really. She said the puppy should be OK to go at 7 weeks as long as the owner is responsible. I know Nakoa will be that, she is extrememly responsible - I just worry that she will do something wrong thinking its right. It doesnt surprise me that she thinks she can train a 6 week old puppy - she has some strong minded opinions about things that often make no sense. apparently she is unaware how lucky she is with her current dog - he is a GREAT dog - she thinks it all comes from her "training" him from 5 weeks of age. She knows alot about caring for a dog and whatnot - but she does not really understand dog behavior and instincts. She thinks of her dog as a person b/c he acts like one. She is a bit weird.
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  #12  
October 27th, 2010, 01:56 PM
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Well vaccinations are toxic too, so is Heartworm prevention and Frontline...some things are beneficiary some aren't. If it's needed that's great, but yeah it's a medication, no medication is harmless 100%.

I'd encourage you to visit Boxer World Boxerworld.com - Welcome to Boxer World - The Ultimate Dog Resource!. You can look at the message boards there or post questions as well and also look at the information. I guarantee they will all say 8-12 weeks for your pup to stay with it's littermates. The longer the better.
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  #13  
October 27th, 2010, 07:12 PM
My3Boys64's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Cool, I am going to Boxerworld now. Thanks again for all your help! You have been more than helpful, thank you for taking the time.
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  #14  
October 27th, 2010, 08:10 PM
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You're welcome! Let us know how everything turns out :-D
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