We are all well up here and Gigi’s six puppies are hovering around two pounds – so, it’s time for their first deworming treatment. I use Nemex II, a gentle de-wormer, on a 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10 week schedule on the puppies . . . usually, beginning at the 2 week mark – but Gigi’s puppies tend to be smaller and so, I like to wait until they are at least two pounds in weight. The dosage is 5ml = 10 pounds. And the oral syringes are quite small. A dose of less than 1ml is really, really tiny and requires a special oral syringe.
All of the non-pregnant adults get the Nemex II, as well. Remember, it is the dogs with whom your new puppy will interact who will expose your puppy to ‘the nasties’. Mine don’t mingle with rescue dogs or frequent dog parks or play with animals from outside of our TT circle – so, my focus is on preventing Lyme, mosquito-spread conditions and, of course, distemper, hepatitis, parvo (the worst for puppies) and parainfluenza. I also ask the vet to administer the oral kennel cough vaccine – but I don’t use heartworm meds. There’s just too much cancer in dogs, it is on the rise and we don’t know from where it is coming. We must protect against rabies, as it is wise and mandatory, if you plan to register your animal in your town. This is the most serious vaccination and not to be ignored.
When thinking about vaccinations, know that all dogs get the same dosage, regardless of body weight. This means that a Chihuahua is getting the same amount of vaccine as a Great Dane. You can have your dog’s blood titered to determine the level of antibodies present, before you agree to a booster vaccine. It is an expensive process, though, especially for rabies.
My rules of thumb are:
1. How many cases do I personally know of the condition, in the areas where we live/travel, as well as asking my vet about their experience?
2. Is the treatment life threatening or is it a course of antibiotics or other meds?
3. Can I protect my animals, either topically or by spraying my yard with non-‘chemical’ products? I add this last question, as I spray monthly for tick and mosquito control, so as to minimize any exposure to Lyme carrying ticks around my house. Tick Killz is the product my pest control people use – it is essential oil based in a soap spray, similar to what we use in the garden to control certain pests. ( www.tickkillz.com )
Based upon the answers to these three questions, I then make my decision. I always invite my veterinarian’s input – make sure you select a veterinarian who has at least one holistic vet on staff AND who understands what you mean when you ask for the vaccinations to be delivered away from acupressure meridians. There have been correlations between tumor locations and injection sites – and while I have no personal experience with this, I like to know that my vet has enough of an awareness of alternative therapies, that this topic ‘rings a bell’.
When it comes to the selection of a puppy for a forever family, I do not let any of my forever families select their own puppy without my concurrence. Not only does someone need to manage the collective and various situations, I must finesse my way through the puzzle of the best pairings of puppy with forever family situations. Understanding a puppy’s personality takes time. This is my role. And that is not even considering gender; the number of males and females is always a surprise and where gender is important to a forever family, there is no denying that Mother Nature holds all of the aces. (I was going to write ‘trump cards’, but that seemed too close to being a political reference – so, sorry, all you bridge players! We lose!)
When a family truly and sincerely wants to participate in their puppy selection, I require that they visit the pack at least two times after the puppies are six weeks of age, so that we can see them individually in action, as they try on different facets of their personalities. They learn from each other, from me, from their mum, from their toys and environment – and from the older dogs in the pack. One day, a puppy might present as shy and the next day, it might present as action-oriented. Their socialization involves controlled exposure to sound, surprise, change of indoor and outdoor locations, change of containment and lots of crate training, which begins at four/five weeks of age, when they move out of the whelping box and into their first wire playpen.
I require that my puppies be crate trained by their forever families, as it truly sets them up for social success and aids in house training. While it was unheard of, when I was a child – it is a terrific idea and something I wholeheartedly believe in. Allowing a puppy free reign in a household is like allowing a human child full access to its environment. Not only might the puppy or child have an accident; they can’t handle freedom, without knowledge of allowable boundaries.
My crystal ball isn’t always perfect and size seems to be the wild card. With that in mind, I cannot guarantee adult size of an animal – but with the learning that comes from a previous breeding, my crystal ball is a little less foggy. Gigi’s first two litters of puppies were on the smaller size – and the litter with the larger sire resulted in small to medium sized animals. Billie’s breeding is a repeat breeding and her three boys were medium to large in size, even though she is a 20 pound bitch. This gives me the confidence to expect medium to large animals out of this second breeding.
Ziva x Charlie is a first time breeding but my guess is that all of the animals will be medium to large in size. To me, that means 25-30 pounds. I say that mostly because Ziva is 26 pounds & 15 3/4″ at the withers and the TTs from Charlie to whom I’ve been exposed have all been medium in size. So, medium to large as an estimate gives me a little wiggle room.
Once the puppies are born and have had their first wellness checks and dew claws removed, I will have real information and can begin my work for the forever families who have entrusted me to breed their new family member. Sometimes, I feel powerful! And other times, I feel powerless. It keeps me humble.
Every day brings surprises and a schedule. I am so grateful to be able to share my home life with this cast of four legged characters. They bring delight and joy to me and I welcome sharing them with the best forever families who find me.