Friday, July 21, 2006

Petunia's pug puppies at 6 weeks and counting!

Six weeks is a wonderful, magical age. The puppies are absolutely enchanting!
My voice is associated with food, so they all come running when I call them. But still, when I sing "where are my puffalumpies?" and they all stumble over themselves in a rush to get to me, with their little miniature puffy noises, it still warms my heart!
They are starting to get more and more individual time. I've been taking them into the other room one at a time to help them with their security when they leave the pack. Let them know it's ok to be indendent for gradually increasing amounts of time. They're having fun investigating new surroundings and already, they understand that the pug with the coolest toy wins and have found some interesting things to call toys.
For those of you with multiple pugs, you know exactly what I mean. Next to humans, having the coolest toy is the best thing in the world. Especially if it's light enough to be both larger than the dog and still able to carry it around like tupperware bowls.
Pugs often have a fear of stairs and young Isabella was very agile. She could run up and down then with no hesitation. Then she discovered the little girl's room with barbie doll toys. What a glorious day! For weeks, Isabella would sneak down one barbie related toy at a time (until they were discovered and confiscated), and was the queen of the cool toys. Her cunning ability has earned her a permanent high ranking in the pack.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Anesthesia Protocol - VERY IMPORTANT

NEVER GIVE FRENCHIES (these instructions are applicable to all brachycephalic breeds): Ace promazine Pentobarbital aka Pentathol (injectable anesthesia) Metofane (inhalant gas) Halothane (gas anesthesia)

USE WITH CAUTION: Dormitor (reversible anesthesia/sedative)

SATISFACTORY CHOICES FOR FRENCHIES: Ketamine (usually used in combo with valium as an injectable anesthesia/sedative) Valium (see above) Torbutrol (analgesia)

OPTIMUM CHOICES: Propofol (injectable) with either of the following 2 gas anesthetics as a maintenance: Isoflurane(aka IsoFlo) OR Sevoflurane (aka SevoFlo)

EXTRAS FOR C-SECTIONS: (This is in addition to the Optimum anesthetic protocol listed above) Atropine given at induction Place the mom-to-be on IV fluids Oxytocin injections (usually one after all the pups are out and she begins sewing up the uterus and the second about 20-30 minutes later) Antibiotic injection post-op

INTUBATION vs. MASKING/CONING DOWN: EVERY brachycephalic dog that goes under anesthesia should have an endotracheal tube (ET) placed in their trachea! Always! We need to protect that airway at all times.... The tube should be left in until they are VERY awake and about to chew it out... I use the intravenous propofol to induce anesthesia (which puts them under) this gives me a few minutes to place the ET tube... then I connect them to either the sevo or iso... so they are always tubed... Be Careful when masking a frenchie down. Masking them down can sometimes be harder on brachycephalic dogs because they struggle to hold their breath (so they don't inhale the strange smelling gas) which can irritate the airways and deplete their oxygen levels (which you do not want before surgery). It is my opinion that using injectable and then tubing them gives them an optimum oxygen supply which is ideal for frenchies.

Lori Hunt, DVM

The Prince Mark

Pugs originated in China centuries ago. There were 3 flat-faced breeds that were popular and one of them was the lo-sze, which they believe to be the direct predecessor of the pug.
As legend has it, there was an emporer with an only daughter. He was very protective of his daughter and she was not allowed any friends so that she could study the ways of her position and assume authority at the appropriate time. She concentrated on her studies and it was a lonely life. Her nanny loved her and snuck in a small dog to keep her company. The princess hid the dog in the sleeves of her robe and carried it with her everywhere, and that's how its face became smashed.
One day while out in the garden working with her father, the pup snorted and his cover was blown. The emporer demanded to know what the source of the sneeze was. Out came the pup, and the emporer was enchanted. He loved the "little prince."
The wrinkles on the forehead form the chinese character for prince. This forehead wrinkle was highly prized among the lo-sze and they were bred to continue it. You can still see this in some of the pugs today (our Daisy has this wrinkle formation).

The Magic Corner

We have an elevated whelping pen situated at the foot of the bed. There comes a time in each litter, usually toward their 4th week, when they become aware of the world around them. They start to listen for familiar sounds, anticipate momma jumping in to feed them, and have fun with the humans in their environment. Yesterday they found the magic corner - the one that is closest to all the action. One of them jumped up into the corner and peered out, earning him a hand to play with for a few minutes eventually followed by a bowl of yummy food.
They are becoming interactive with each other now, cashing a tail if it happens to be wagging in front of their face, moving off to the corner to eliminate away from the pile. We have their area split into bed and puppy pad, and they're already at least a 50% rate onto the puppy pad and tomorrow they'll be 4 weeks old. I'm so proud of them!! They are progressing wonderfully and already lean into the hand for some affection and they love their belly rubs. They aren't easily startled by much and seem very content. Within the next few days we'll probably see the first head-cock as they try to tune in even more with their surroundings.

Expecting Tiki's Puppies

Petunia's puppies are keeping us very busy. We've been playing with them, working on their tracking, giving them developmental toys and watching them learn and grow. They are enchanting! Last night they graduated from the whelping pen to an exercise pen with a place to sleep, a place to potty, a place to eat, and a place for momma to escape from them when she's in the pen. They ran and ran and played and enjoyed their newfound freedom of movement. They investigated and watched the big dogs run by and had a total blast. After the others had settled down for a nap, there was one who was still very interested in his surroundings. He started entertaining himself, running backwards, bouncing forwards, as if he were battery operated and someone was using a remote control on him. He captured everyone's attention with his charm and antics and it was none other than our Flapjack.
Within the next few days, Tiki's puppies will be arriving. This will be the first time we've had overlapping litters and hopefully the last!! She is such a big girl and at the "umph" stage. That little sound comes out with almost her every movement. When she goes to use the bathroom, her belly drags the ground. She looks into my eyes and I know without a doubt she'll be happy when these puppies are delivered! We have cleaned out the whelping pen and are prepping the area for our next delivery. I noticed some mild scratching and put a few drops of natural oil flea repellant behind her ears and on her tail (staying away from the chemicals during her pregnancy). She must have had a reaction, though, because she scratched from the time we went to bed till 2:30 in the morning. So there we were at 2:30 am in the bathtub, washing out that oil. She settled in for a good night's sleep after that, though. Thank goodness!!
As we continue to watch Tiki closely and care for Petunia's puppies, we won't have much time for the computer. But I'll be back with a birth announcement and some more interesting articles soon, I hope!!


I'll admit that telling the difference between 7 all black 4-week old puppies is challenging, but they really do each have their own personalities to the keen eye. Let's take Flapjack, for instance (so named by a 12-year old girl who is wonderful with animals). Most animals offer a resistance to being on their back. Although lively and playful when on his feet, as soon as Flapjack gets scooped up into our hands to be checked over or cleaned by Petunia, he snuggles right in and is happy as a clam. He ponders us with his studious expression and is tickled pink when we reward him with a belly tickle. He has a deep soul for his short time here on earth.

When to start weaning puppies?

This is a frequently asked question. There are many things to consider when weaning. Obviously, the longer they are on mother's milk, the longer they are protected from the diseases that surround them in the world since mother is giving them colustrum to keep them healthy. Breeders looking only for profit might wean very early, as well as puppy mills trying to send the puppies off to the broker before they're even 6 weeks old. That being said, there are some legitimate reasons for weaning early.
Many toy dogs have health issues with large litters and their puppies have to be weaned early (see upcoming article regarding eclampsia for more details).
On one particular pug litter, our vet advised us to wait until all the puppies' eyes were open, count 5 days, then begin to introduce them to food. The goal was to have them onto alternative feeding sources by 5 days after we had initiated the process.
After many experiments over time, we have found this to be the most effective initial introduction to food and although we have chosen this route, consult your veterinarian before proceeding with any alternative plan (the ratios may change depending on consistency of the final product and how many puppies there are to feed): 4 large scoops (comes with the bottle) of powdered puppy formula such as Esibilac, 1 scoop of colustrum, 1 squirt of liquid or paste vitamins, 1 small jar of (human) baby food such as chicken & gravy, 1-2 baby food jars of hot water. Mix thoroughly and test the temperature on your wrist like you would a baby bottle. If there is too much liquid, add some (human) baby cereal from a box to thicken it up. It should be somewhere between milk and pancake batter in consistency, depending on what your puppies prefer.
The next step up would be to add in some yogurt to give them some good probiotics, and some cottage cheese to begin adding texture (some use boiled hamburger, as well). Once their teeth are in at 4 weeks old, then start introducing puppy chow. Soak the puppy chow until it is soft, run it through a food processor with the water, and let them lap it up. At this point, some yogurt, cottage cheese, baby food and other products can still be added. As they grow, make the puppy chow more and more chunky until they are able to eat strictly puppy chow softened with water by 6 weeks, and dry puppy chow by 8 weeks.
We add in a few other things here and there like flaxseed oil and other supplemental products, but we make sure that the puppies are on straight puppy chow and water by the time they go home to their new families. If they are accustomed to all the added items, they might suffer a drastic change in diet when they go with their new families and it could cause them diarrhea. They are too small and have too many things to adjust to in their new lives to add diarrhea to their problems, so we make it as easy on them as possible.
Beware that weaning early can be very time consuming and it requires a committment. Be conscientious of the health of both the dam and the puppies when making any decisions.

Puppy Eliminations

Nature's ways are truly wonderous and awesome. Do you know that puppies cannot eliminate either urine or feces the first 2-3 weeks of life? The mother stimulates the areas and then ingests the eliminations which prevents odor from accumulating and drawing potential predators. One of the many ways she protects her babies from harm as they grow.
However, this same miracle can be quite tasking when the mother cannot or will not perform her duties. Most people only think of having to feed the puppies, not of having to help them eliminate or go through the puppy building exercises. Not to mention the temperature they need to be since they cannot generate their own body heat, and several other considerations. Definitely not for the faint of heart!
On that note, I witnessed the litter's first elimination this morning. One brave sole departed from the rest of the pack to find a corner of solitude and let 'er rip. So now it's time to think about separating the crate into a sleeping area and a potty area. If given this opportunity, most puppies will be paper trained before they go home!

Do Pugs Shed?

If you haven't heard it before, let me tell you - pugs shed. No way around it. Puppies aren't bad. Adults have much more. A high quality diet can lead to lower amounts of shedding. Good food, ensuring that the dogs are getting their essential fatty acids (I use an occasional flaxseed oil supplement), and regular brushing with a decent shedding comb (like this small one from PetEdge) will help keep the hair under control. Some people have given up and only buy clothing that matches their pug :) Another handy tool to keep around is the Pet Hair Magnet. But even shedding hair can't keep an owner away from their beloved pugs!

Collar or harness?

Consider which type of collar you plan to use. We recommend a harness (a type that adjusts in both the front and the back). Brachycephalics have enough issues with breathing, don't add to it with a choker collar. Be more creative in your training because a choke collar can cause them to have more issues than just training issues! They have been linked to collapsed tracheas. Sometimes collars and harnesses can rub in the wrong places and cause a loss of hair (around the neck, under the arms, etc). Often, this hair will not grow back, so work with a local pet store rep to help you adjust the harness and ensure that it fits your pug properly. Some nice harnesses we've used include Lupine (I prefer the 3/4") and Puppia.

Choosing a puppy

Choosing a puppy is a very personal process. Be sure you've looked at plenty of puppies from different sources before making a decision. Never buy on the spur of the moment. Always research health issues associated with the particular breed you're considering so you know what you might have to deal with as adults. Ideally, meet the puppy's parents. Find out what you can about their health history and their parent's health histories. Be prepared to answer breeders' questions about the living conditions into which the puppy will be going. If children are involved, bring them to meet the puppies, too! Can you fall in love with a puppy's picture? Absolutely! And if you are a strongly intuitive person, you might even be able to read a little about the puppy's personality through the pictures. But be sure to see them in person before making a commitment! Puppies of any breed can steal your heart, and pug puppies are born expert heart thieves!