4 week old puppies and nursing - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-22-2016, 10:46 AM Thread Starter
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Red face 4 week old puppies and nursing

Good morning,

I have been really impressed with everyone on this forum. Such wonderful information. I sure used it while our girl was pregnant to absorb every ounce of your knowledge. We have 4 week old puppies. Piper (our 2 year old girl) had 7 puppies right before Thanksgiving. They are all very healthy. At 4 weeks they are between 5 pounds (our runt) and 6.7 pounds (our big female). I weigh daily to make sure they are gaining. They sleep well and seem very happy. This will be her only litter and the pups are all homed with stud parents, friends, and family. So here is my questions.

Piper seems to be less interested in nursing. She has to be asked to lay down and I usually sit with her to make sure everyone gets a chance to nurse. She has been gradually backing off. She spends very little time with them. She is still in the room, but prefer to lay on her bed or be with the kids. She is nursing every 2-3 hours in the day. And every 4 hours over night. Again....me asking her to go in the whelping area. I did introduce some food after chatting with the vet. I make a pureed mix of goats milk, baby rice, and blue puppy food. They have had that twice a day for the last several days. The love it.

Based on their age and her lack of eagerness to nurse I am wondering if this is the natural progression of weaning. The vet says its best for her to nurse to 8 weeks. Does that mean like once a day when they are a couple weeks older? should I force the nursing.

Thanks for all your help!
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-22-2016, 05:55 PM
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My bitches will feed puppies up to eight weeks. But I feed her puppies twice a day somewhere around four weeks, just regular adult food, softened with hot water, and then I will add some dannon's yogurt and egg. The dam eats with the puppies and I let her go ahead.

The bitch will back off of feeding for a number of reasons. One is if the puppies' toenails are actually hurting her. They need to be trimmed at least once a week. If her teats are sore or infected. If she is not feeling well. If you boosted calcium prior to whelping or in the early weeks, the puppies are growing and drinking a lot more, and she may not be making enough. A calcium deficiency can be very dangerous. Any extras with calcium need to be continued -- I rarely augment calcium and usually do so with yogurt or cottage cheese rather than calcium supplements. So my dogs generally produce what they need on their own. When we supplement, their body doesn't try so hard to glean it or make it. And people stop supplementing when the puppies seem to be on a good footing, and that happens to be when they require the most, because you have 7 puppies that are no longer a grand total of 7 pounds, they are more like 49 pounds, and eating for growth. It's a huge job.

Take her temperature. If that is normal -- 101-102 degrees, check her teats, clip the nails, and if the puppies are growing well, no need to take her to the vet yet. If the temp is 103 or higher, or lower than 100.5; or if one or more mammary gland looks significantly larger than the others, or infected;or if her demeaner changes; if she has any weakness, trouble standing or stiffness in walking -- VET NOW.

Some bitches are awesome dams and will play with and tolerate their puppies until they are 3 years old (or older). Others are ready for the puppies to be gone at 8 weeks. And others are ready a bit younger than that. Sometimes younger dams can be less maternal and more playful/less careful with puppies. A year or two later, they change a lot. Sometimes young dams are awesome -- highly individual. When people come to see puppies, the dam may be full momma bear at 3 weeks, Cujo at 5 weeks, and fine at 8 with strangers. Other dams are not as aggressive, and just give some worried looks -- why is that small strange human running back and forth in here, do something about it now, please. Just saying that to prepare you. It is possible for your female to show another side of her personality when she has baby-puppies.

Heidi Ho, Odie
Joy-Joy, Bear Cub, Hepsi-Pepsi
Cujo2, Karma Chameleon
Ramona the Pest, Kojak -- who loves you baby?
Tiny Tinnie, Susie's Uzzi, Kaiah -- The Baby Monster.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-23-2016, 10:09 AM
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Some of my girls would feed pups forever. Others start slowly weaning around 5 weeks. I usually start offering new food (I feed raw so pups are weaned onto ground chicken) at 5-5.5 weeks (depends on the size of the litter) and the females can nurse as long as they wish up until 7-7.5 weeks. As long as the pups are not acting hungry, acting fussy or not gain sufficient weight I don't stress about it. I like my puppies lean and not fat rolly polys. My females tend to have a lot of milk.

I would definitely clip toenails to make sure they are not hurting your girl. If you are supplementing already then slowly cut down on the number of times she goes in there to nurse and increase the gruel to 4X a day. As long as she chooses to at least nurse for a short while I would allow it.

Lisa Clark

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-23-2016, 04:05 PM
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maybe she needs more food and liquids to produce milk to meet the needs of the growing pups?

It is normal for the mothers to leave for longer periods and then give a big nursing session - standing up -

the pups will paw at her udders , so yes , clipping the sharp tips of the pup nails sure makes it more comfortable.



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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-24-2016, 05:20 PM Thread Starter
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