A dog is a dog is a dog! That’s the way some folks think about canines; they tend to view all dogs as being pretty much the same, size excepted, of course. But when you’re considering getting a dog, there are fundamental differences between purebreds and mixed breeds to be aware of.
Purebred dogs normally display a specific appearance and uniformity of body configuration. Many years of carefully supervised, selective breeding insure predictability of dogs temperament and behavior characteristics in each breed. Choosing a purebred puppy means you’ll know in advance his looks, size and general temperament. Though all dogs are individuals and can vary somewhat in personality, a purebred comes with a kind of insurance policy.
Mixed breeds or crossbreeds frequently offer little clue to their ancestry since they’re inevitably “accidents,” when a dog in heat escapes from home for a fling on the town. Even if she herself is a purebred, the identity of her paramour(s) remains a mystery. Thus, her puppies’ ultimate physical appearance, size and temperament present sheer speculation to a potential owner. With those risks of uncertainty aside, however, the owner of a mixed breed can generally expect raising a loyal, devoted, fun-loving companion that will be truly a unique individual.
You’ve just bought or adopted a beautiful little female puppy and you’re wondering all about her anticipated heat cycle. Depending on her breed and/or size, she will start her first heat at approximately six months of age. Some large breeds may not go into heat until they reach about their 14 month.
Signs To Look For
One of the first indications a female canine (accurately known as a bitch) is beginning her heat is some bleeding from her vagina, along with swelling of her vulva. You’ll have to look sharply if your pup is a small or toy breed, since these gals may only show slight bleeding. Also, male dogs hanging around your house are a pretty sure sign your little gal is a dog in heat.
Heat Lasts About 21 Days
The heat cycle occurs twice annually and normally runs about three weeks, during which time a bitch can become pregnant if bred. Breeding at her first heat is generally frowned upon by experienced dog people, since pregnancy saps a good deal of energy and strength while a young dog is still growing into maturity. While she’s in heat, be sure she can’t get loose out of the house to prevent her being bred accidentally. After the 21st day, clean up around her vulva and surrounding coat area
Dogs add to their own population explosion with thousands of unplanned for and unwanted puppies being born every day. Unfortunately, these numbers far outstrip the availability of homes for all these puppies. So it becomes inevitable that millions of them are gassed annually, much to the sadness and despair of dog lovers nationwide.
The obvious solution to helping avoid the problem of such high dog birth rates is to spay and neuter pet animals not intended for serious breeding programs. Spay and neuter procedures are safe, simple operations that any veterinarian can do, ordinarily at reasonable cost to owner. Although there still exist a few “old wives tales” purporting that spaying makes a dog gain substantial weight and promotes laziness, these results are pretty much fallacious nonsense. Continuing a good diet and normal regular exercise avoids both conditions.
For females the procedure eliminates their twice annual heat cycle and greatly lessens the chances of contracting various cancers, such as breast, uterine and ovarian cancer. For males neutering decreases the threat of prostate problems. Also credited to the operation, is the belief that it develops a more affectionate nature in both females and males
Oh, boy!Your vet has verified your fondest hope-your little canine princess will soon become a mother. Puppies are such a joy to think about. But, don't forget that there's a lot of work involved, too.
One of the first indispensable things on your list should be buying or building a whelping box. Its purpose, of course, is to serve as a safe, secure place where Mama dog can give birth to, and raise her litter of pups. The box can be made of wood, plastic or metal and must be well-built, draft free and easily cleanable. It will be home for the puppies for about four to five weeks, so should be roomy enough to contain them comfortably for eating, playing and snoozing.
Typically, the proper whelping box will have three tall sides and a shorter one in front so Mama can easily come and go as necessary, yet high enough to keep the pups from getting out. Inside, the box should have a five-to-six inch guard rail of wood, plastic or metal horizontally encircling all sides and placed about five inches above the flooring. This rail provides safety space the puppies can crawl into and keeps Mama from accidentally crushing them against the sides when she lies down.
Overall, the box size is determined by the size of your mother-to-be. She should be able to lie down on her side and fully stretch out while nursing her brood. Too large a box may let the pups wiggle away from mother and their littermates and get chilled. Too small a box and Mama might lie down or step on a pup. Whelping boxes can be bought in various sizes and most makers offer advice on appropriate sizes for different breeds.
Should you be handy and decide to make your own, an internet search can uncover sites with free detailed building plans.
Weaning puppies is a fundamental component in raising a litter. It’s the routine of starting the pups on eating food other than their dam’s milk. How and when an owner begins the process is extremely important to the puppies social, emotional and, of course physical development.
Generally, at about 24 days of age, the puppies begin being dissuaded from nursing by the dam. Concurrently, they start slackening the time spent suckling and devote more interest to investigating their surroundings. This is the optimum time to introduce them to a mush made with the same brand of food their mother eats, only in a dry puppy variety mixed some water. Small portions in a shallow bowl can be fed three or four times daily.
At first the pups will make an unholy mess of the dining process, wading around and even sitting in the bowl. Better habits will eventuate, though. Through the process, the dam should be allowed to clean up her puppies and finish whatever food is left in the bowl. Over the next few weeks, as the “kids” are consuming greater quantities of food, Mama should be given more free time away from her brood. Under normally ideal circumstances the puppies will be completely weaned by seven to eight week of age, and ready to go off to good homes.