We have a puppy centre which allows for a maximum of three Broods with their respective litters at any one time.

All of our broods live in homes with a family, in most cases the Raiser who brought puppy up for GDA will opt to keep her and care for her throughout her breeding career.  We will only allow her to have four litters up to the age of six years, should she not have produced four litters she will retire regardless due to her age.  She is only bred once a year and only after 18 months of age.  Should we see that she has not recovered fully since her last litter and comes into season; we will not inseminate her so will allow for a lengthened recovery period until her next season.

Brood baby shower

Our mothers come into our puppy centre ten to fourteen days prior to her due date to give her time to habituate to the new environment. This is of extreme importance to give her this time to adjust; stressful situations are avoided at all costs due to the ensuing implication on the health of the puppies she is carrying.

The volunteers who attend to the Puppy Socialisation will also make time to spend with the mom just giving her a lot of TLC. Grooming and general care is taken with her to get her ready for parturition.

The brood is meticulously monitored and charted on her eating, bodily function hourly habits. Her temperature is also monitored to give us an indication closer to her due date of rise and fall.

Most of our moms will begin showing indications of being close to whelping by food refusal, nesting; where she will dig in the blanketed area, circling may occur, constant cleaning of herself and panting will lead up to contractions beginning.

We sit in the area on the floor with her throughout the whelping. Assistance is given should she be unsure of what to do with the first few puppies born where we will break the sac and encourage mom to lick it off puppy, the sac is attached to a placenta. The mom will chew through the umbilical cord and ingest the sac and placenta in most cases. The placenta is rich in nutrients, which is beneficial to the mother. Immediately this is done we attend to the details of each puppy in that pup is weighed, sexed and palate checked for clefts, this is all charted and time of birth is noted. We mark pups in order of their birth with a non-toxic nail polish which is reapplied throughout the eight week period puppy is with us. This marking identifies puppies in the daily weighing and medical monitoring being done.

All puppies are marked with a non-toxic paint to identify them in order of their birth

Although the mom is usually disinterested in food prior to parturition, after a few pups have been born she will become very hungry. We feed her Hills ID tinned food in small portions to keep her energy levels high as a whelping can take between eight to fourteen hours and longer in some cases.

Puppies will immediately begin to root and latch onto moms teats after being towel dried. Mom will stimulate puppy by licking them, this in turn will encourage their suckling which has the effect of causing mom to release oxytocin that assists in bringing her milk in. This is called colostrum, which carries mom’s antibodies thereby protecting puppies. They have a six-hour window period to take in as much colostrum as possible. Pups intestinal tract actually has “holes” which allow puppy to absorb the colostrum, again within a certain time limit before these close and stop absorption.

A brood making sure her puppies are suckling

Once mom has safely delivered all puppies, she and puppies are transferred into a clean, disinfected run to rest and settle in with her neonates.  Heating is set at 26 degrees Celsius as pups are unable to regulate their own body temperature for the next three weeks.

Brood and her puppies settling in

We will stay with her and puppies for another hour to ensure she’s settled and puppies are thriving in their new outside world.

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