At five weeks old, the puppies were easily climbing out of their whelping box and were making messes everywhere. They quickly chewed up puppy pads (and towels, blankets, and toys!). Gracie decided that she was done eating their poop now that they were eating solid foods in addition to nursing, so clean up became a constant chore.
10 puppies x 6-8 daily poops each = a whole lot of poop!
Gracie became less and less eager to return to them after her mama breaks for walks and pets. She resumed her trips up to the school mid day to get Nora, and loved laying around with human company while Nora played with her toys in the afternoons.
When it was time to rejoin her puppies, Gracie would gently turn her head to the side. “Who do you want to go in there with those 10 puppies? Certainly not me!”
Gracie was such a good girl though and always ultimately listened to the command to come. As she approached the gate, all 10 puppies scrambled to meet her and many would tumble out as she went in. The puppy pen fencing was low, only 2 ½ feet, so the kids helped me scoop up the escapees and place them back in the pen with Gracie.
I was a little worried about Gracie’s physique. She was ever thinner despite eating enormous quantities. She had a patch of hair loss. Her nipples had suffered from endless scratches from the puppies’ mobile nursing (jumping up and suckling as Gracie walked around).
The vet gave me some dewormers for Gracie, along with a shampoo that would hopefully help her skin. They advised me to trim the puppies’ nails to help with the scratches, an idea that seemed daunting.
I administered the dewormers and then gave Gracie a bath. On a walk later that afternoon, Gracie’s poop was full of roundworms. Problem identified (and hopefully solved).
I trimmed each of the pups’ front nails.
10 puppies x 10 nails each = lots of patience.
It wasn’t as difficult as I had predicted and thankfully, there were no accidental quick cuttings!
This little (well, big) family was growing and thriving. As the fifth week came to a close, I felt overwhelmed by the mess and pleased with our progress…