Tag Archives: feeding

Feeding Newborn Puppies

Sometimes tube feeding is the only way to save newborn puppies, however there are other options that can be tried first, and this article offers advice on that topic. By clicking on the title below”To Tube or Not to Tube” you will be taken to Mary Wakeman’s website where many other useful articles scan be found.  Enjoy!

Sally Gift, Mesa AZ

To Tube or Not To Tube

by Mary C. Wakeman, D.V.M Canine Fertility

March 16th, 117    The Best of Breed of Online Show Dog Magazines

The answer to this depends entirely upon whether you want your puppies to live or not. What! You say, tubing is the ONLY way to save puppies. And besides, it’s fast. Fast, yes, and deadly. It’s one of those things that sounds too good (easy) to be true; and if it sounds too good to be true it is; we know that it is in our most private thoughts.

Fast and deadly isn’t doing your part by the bitch or the puppies. You may be certain that you are getting the tube in the esophagus (which leads to the stomach) and not the trachea (which leads to the lungs). But, this isn’t the problem I’m referring to. Consider this: when we eat, the process of eating stimulates waves of contraction throughout our entire GI tract. You know very well that as puppies nurse they defecate. That reaction is due to these waves of contraction, which are called peristalsis.

OK. So, we have a sluggish or weak puppy. We put it on the bitch and it won’t nurse. What to do! TUBE. NO! If the puppy does not have a good sucking reflex, it will not have any peristalsis. This means the milk we force in through the tube will just sit there. When the tube is removed, it forces itself back up the esophagus, into the trachea, and ends up in the lungs. It does not travel down through the stomach into the intestine.

Now, how big is the stomach of a newborn puppy in your breed? 1/2 cc? Less? As much as 1cc? Probably not much more. That stomach is just a slightly wide spot on a narrow tube.

So; let’s stick 2 1/2 cc into it . Fast and Deadly. The stomach and esophagus will stretch a bit, then return to it’s original shape and size after the milk runs into the lungs. Not going to raise many puppies that way.

Well then, what do we do? Easy. We give them sub-cutaneous dextrose and saline. Sugar in salt water. The solution which is used for IV therapy. All puppies need 3 things. Warmth. Water. Sugar. That’ all they need right away and for an additional few days if necessary.  So, we take the weak puppy out of the whelping box. We drop a few drops of colostrum onto its tongue several times in the first few hours. Got that immunity taken care of. We keep it in a confined box with a heat source – a heating pad or light bulb, and we give subQ dextrose in saline to supply the sugar and water. We gently stimulate it to urinate and defecate. We’ve met all the puppies needs.

How much fluid do we give? We give enough to satisfy any current dehydration debt and to provide a cushion for an hour or two in the future. How much is that? It is enough so that when we refill the syringe with dextrose and saline, the last 10 cc injection we gave hasn’t already disappeared. And it will disappear, just that fast, if the puppy is already dehydrated.

So first, we need to satisfy the back log, and then we put in some more. We want to raise a good sized lump – say the size of a golf ball on a 12-16 oz puppy. We want that golf ball to stay there a while. If it does, we can safely leave the puppy for a couple of hours. As time goes by, the fluids in this reservoir will be absorbed and the lump will disappear. Also, gravity will take a hand in removing the lump, shifting any spare fluids down around the neck. We can keep this puppy going in this way for 2 to 4 days easily. There no danger here, if the area is clean when and where we inject, and as long as the needle is parallel to the body – not pointed down at the body. We don’t want to pith the puppy (look it up). With the needle parallel to the body, the worst we can do is squirt the wall. The wall can take it.

Fluids given intravenously, by contrast, would run the risk of drowning the puppy – excess fluids in the veins will force their way out through the lungs. This result is essentially the same as that of tubing. Not good. SubQ fluids are essentially outside the circulatory system – just in a repository under the skin. If a fluid defecit exists, they can be instantly drawn into the blood stream. Until then, they have no other effect on the body.

While we are satisfying the puppy’s needs in this way, we will also repeatedly present a nipple to the puppy, several minutes after we have placed a drop of Karo syrup on its tongue. The Karo give the puppy an energy boost, so that when we place it on the bitch, it will make as strong an attempt to nurse as it can muster. We will also present the puppy with a bottle, as it will be easier for it to get milk from the bottle’s nipple than from the bitch, most of the time, during the first couple of days.

One of the greatest deterrents to getting puppies started, after tubing, is the ‘Pet Nurser’ which is widely available. Few if any breeds will nurse off of this thing – maybe a couple of toy breeds I’ve never encountered. Rather, puppies from 4.5 oz to 2# and up will readily take a Playtex preemie, or Playtex 0-3 months nipple (slow flow), one which has a flat, button-like shape. ANY puppy which does want to suck, but is unable to get enough from the bitch, should be asked to take the Playtex nurser. And if they don’t learn to nurse from it within the first few minutes, as soon as an hour or two after birth, it’s your fault, because they like this nipple just fine.

Of course, you have to put the right stuff in it. The concept of using a formulated synthetic milk replacer seems a bit bizarre. Cow’s milk is good, it’s complete, it contains the same things as dog milk. It’s not quite as good as dog’s milk, however, because it’s too dilute. Cow’s milk is 1/2 as concentrated as dog milk. So, all we have to do is go to the store and buy evaporated milk. Nothing could be simpler; comes in a can, easy to store and have on hand, useful for other purposes. We use the evaporated cow’s milk, in the slow flow nipple (no modifications to the nipple, we want it to go in slowly, and to require some exercise from the puppy to make it work). We add a dollop of Karo syrup for energy and palatability, warm slightly, and that’s it; it’s perfect.

Some of us seem to have a need to make life more complicated than it has to be. If you think your puppies suffer from the rare human problem where the size of the cow butterfat globule is too large for comfort, you can search out a source for evaporated, canned goat’smilk. And you might wish to do that because it will make it seem as though your puppies have a special problem, not a routine, ordinary problem. However, goat’s milk has no special benefit for dogs. It also must be fed undiluted from the can, with some Karo.

Note: The only puppies I have ever seen which were nutritionally stunted – and didn’t recoup their early deficits when put on solid food – were 2 giant breed siblings which were fed fresh goat’s milk. To this day these two are ‘minis’. Fresh ruminant milk has 50% too much water in it. Evaporated ruminant milk is just fine as long as you don’t screw it up by adding water. If you are faced with total milk replacement due to the death of a bitch, you will eventually have to add an egg yolk (without the white) to a can of evaporated milk with Karo, in order to raise the protein level even more. But, there is no need for this when we’re simply supplementing.

These puppies which are eager to nurse, but just can’t get anything from the bitch’s nipples, will have good peristalsis. They will work at the nipple and develop their lungs and their body muscles, though only a fraction as well as they would if they were working on the bitch’s nipples. One caution when supplementing the large litter to lessen the stress on the bitch. You must be careful not to OVER feed. The idea is to take some load off her, so you should keep her out of the box for some time every day. We don’t want to supplement and then let them drink their fill from their mother as well, then we’ll only have fat and colicy puppies, not a mother in better shape.

The next question is, will their mother lick them and stimulate the urination and defecation reflexes? If she’s not yet into that, we also have to wash their tummies with a warm wet tissue. This will stimulate the elimination reflexes. We can’t skip this part either. If we do, they’ll all colic. Some bitches, even though they have milk and the puppies nurse with no problem, just don’t like to clean their puppies. If so, then it’s our job. We caused these puppies to be born, the buck stops with us; if they need to be cleaned we have to do the job. We have to be gentle, but we have to be just as certain that we’re successful in stimulating defecation and urination as we are that the puppies are getting enough to eat. What goes in must come out!

One good way to help you be certain you’re getting each one fed and cleaned is to place colorful yarn collars around their necks. This way we can identify each puppy at a glance, no waking them or dislodging them from a nipple in order to check markings. And later, when one puppy is repeatedly striking a pose we can see from a distance which one it is. Helps us identify that BIS Puppy.

Mary C. Wakeman, D.V.M Canine Fertility

Article
Photo by Dustin Hartje

Tube Feeding Puppies

Over twenty years ago a I co-bred a litter with good friend of mine who handled the whelping of our eight Gordon Setter puppies . Everything went smoothly at the birth and they were all plugging along, doing great and gaining weight when out of the blue, four days after giving birth, the dam became critically ill. An emergency call and wild ride to the vet revealed that Eclampsia had struck, and in addition to being life threatening for our bitch it created the need to completely take over the feeding of those eight newborn puppies, the dam could no longer nurse due to this condition. Without tube feeding, this litter’s chances of surviving and thriving would have been fairly slim. Bottle feeding eight puppies around the clock and all by oneself was not an option. Tube feeding only means by which my dear friend could save those babies.

And that brings us to to thanking Barbara Manson for sharing this excerpt on tube feeding and for bringing this topic to my attention, it’s something I hadn’t thought of in awhile, but it certainly should be given space here, so here we go!

Tube Feeding Puppies

The following is an excerpt from the book, Feeding Dogs and Cats by Mark L. Morris Jr. DVM, Ph D and Lon D. Lewis, DVM, Ph D.  Copyright 1984, Mark Morris Associates, Topeka, Kansas.

Tube feeding, for most people, is the easiest, cleanest, fastest, safest and most preferred way to feed orphans,  An infant feeding tube (available from many hospitals, pharmacies or pediatricians), number 8-10 French, or a small male urethral catheter can be used.  Once weekly, mark the tube 75% of the distance from the nose to the last rib.  This is the length necessary to just reach the stomach.  If more is inserted, when withdrawn it will frequently come back doubled, possibly damaging the esophagus.  Attach the tube to a syringe, aspirated the amount of formula needed and expel any air aspirated.  Open the mouth slightly, and with the head held in the normal position (not flexed upward or downward) gently pass the tube to the mark.  If an obstruction is felt before you reach the mark the tube is in the trachea.  If this is not the case, slowly administer the formula over a two minute period to allow for gastric dilation.  If resistance is felt, stop.  It probably indicates the stomach is full.  With these precautions, regurgitation rarely occurs.  If it does, withdraw the tube and do not feed any more until the next scheduled feeding.  For the first few weeks of life after each feeding, burp the animal (just like an infant) and swab the genital area with moistened cotton to stimulate deification and urination.

Below you’ll find more resources, including websites with photos to help guide you, simply click the colored links to go to there.  This is also where I ask other breeders if they have techniques or advice about tube feeding that can be shared with others to help round out this information? Please use the comment section to add your thoughts or if you’ve got more detail to add than can be shared in comments feel free to send me your notes or an article at gordonsetterexpert@gmail.com and I’ll get it published on here.

Many thanks to talented photographer Susan Roy Nelson for the peek-a-boo photo!

What Every Gordon Setter Owner Needs to Know

Bloat is sneaky and it’s fast. Bloat doesn’t allow time for you to think it over or make a plan. Bloat will strike a Gordon Setter like a snake hidden in the grass with no warning. It takes a dog down so fast that if we aren’t with them when it strikes we may miss the small window of opportunity available to save them. Bloat won’t wait for us to be there, it attacks our dogs at all hours of the day or night, whether we’re home or gone to the store, sleeping, out mowing the lawn, doing housework, changing the oil or folding clothes in the laundry room. We simply can’t be with our dogs every minute of every day, but we do need to understand that for our dogs to have any chance of surviving bloat, every passing minute counts like an hour. To save your dog’s life you must know how to recognize bloat, have an emergency plan in place and enact that plan without delay at the first warning sign. Always error on the side of caution.

For a Gordon Setter to survive bloat it takes quick recognition of the condition and immediate veterinary treatment. That means we can’t hesitate, can’t wait to see, can’t delay for any reason. We need to get veterinary help as fast as possible.

If you own a Gordon Setter and are not sure how to recognize bloat this article is especially for you. Bloat refers to gastric dilatation – volvulus (GDV), stomach torsion or twisted stomach – an extremely serious condition and life threatening emergency.

Gordon Setters, according to a study by the University of Perdue, ranked as the 5th highest breed most susceptible to bloat. The 2004 GSCA Health Survey lists cancer, hip dysplasia and bloat as the top three health concerns expressed by Gordon Setter owners and breeders. According to Dr. Jean Dodds “The mortality rate for gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) approaches 50 percent.”

Recognizing the signs of bloat

  • Restlessness or pacing – unable to find a comfortable position to lay down
  • In the early stages the dog may not show a distended belly though it may feel tight
  • May be lethargic, obviously uncomfortable, walking stiff-legged and hanging head
  • Salivation – drooling – these can be signs of severe pain or distress
  • Retching – vomiting – or gagging
  • Frequent attempts to vomit
  • Enlarging abdomen – the belly feels full, swollen, rounded, may look and feel like a balloon
  • Thumping the abdomen produces a hollow sound, like a kettle drum
  • The dog may groan when you press on the belly
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • The dog may go into shock – gums become pale, weak pulse, rapid heart beat, possible collapse

If even a slight suspicion of bloat exists, immediately take the dog to a veterinary hospital. Emergency veterinary treatment is necessary for your dog to survive and every minute makes a difference. Do not delay.

Which dogs are most susceptible

  • Gordon Setters are at risk.
  • There appears to be a genetic link. Dogs who have parents or siblings who are affected may be more prone to bloat. Learn more about the research at The Genetics of Bloat – Tufts Now
  • Dogs over 7 years old are more than twice as likely to develop bloat as those 2-4 years old.
  • Male dogs are twice as likely to develop bloat as females. Neutering does not appear to have an effect on the risk.
  • Dogs fed once a day are twice as likely to bloat as those fed twice a day.
  • It appears that dogs who eat rapidly or exercise soon after a meal may also be at increased risk.
  • Dogs that tend to be more nervous, anxious, or fearful appear to be at an increased risk.
Photo by Susan Roy Nelson
Photo by Susan Roy Nelson

A few things that may help to prevent bloat:

  • Feed your Gordon Setter two or three smaller meals each day.
  • Make water available all day so your dog doesn’t want to gulp large quantities at one time, limit the amount of water your dog drinks immediately before and after eating.
  • Avoid vigorous exercise, excitement, and stress on a full stomach.
  • Diet changes should always be made gradually over a period of three to five days.
  • Feed dogs individually and in a quiet area.
  • Do not use a raised food bowl.
  • Dogs who survive bloat are much more at risk for future episodes, preventative surgery should be considered.
  • There are there are those who also advise to avoid dog foods that contain high fat (fat listed as one of the first 4 ingredients) and foods that contain citric acid. At this time, no cause-and-result relationships between these and bloat have been verified, though certainly there is no harm in avoiding them should you wish to do so.

More detailed information including treatment options and reference material for this article will be found on the sites listed below:

Bloat (Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus) in Dogs  – Doctors Foster and Smith

Dr. Jean Dodds’ Pet Health Resource Blog | Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (Bloat) in Dogs.

Gastric Volvulus (Bloat) in Dogs: A Life Threatening EmergencyWeb MD Pets

The Genetics of Bloat – Tufts Now

GSCA Health Survey 2004 Results

The Genetics of Bloat on Gordon Setter Expert

Sally Gift, Mesa AZ

Beauty and the Feast

As it’s fair to say that athletes pay strict attention to the food they eat in order to maintain their body at peak performance, why would we not assume the same holds true for our Gordon Setters? Now, before you start hyperventilating because you’ve got a kennel full of dogs and you think I’m about to tell you to shop for meat and organic veggies to prepare your own home-cooked meals, take a deep breath – that’s not where we’re headed today. (But some of you should also know that I totally respect those with the dedication to do that!)

What I do want to say is, what you put in your dog’s mouth is going to make or break her, from weight, to fertility, to coat quality, your dog will only be as good as the food she eats. Not only do our Gordon Setters deserve that we feed them well, they will also perform better when we make the right choices. And to make the right choices we need to look at more than price when choosing food, we must take some time to learn the ingredients that went into the food and if it’s a complete and balanced diet.

pup n adults fence
Photo by Bob Segal

Reading dog food labels to understand the ingredients used to be a difficult, long and tedious task. Standing in the pet food aisle for hours on end, turning over bags of food to read the small print while going from one brand to another sucked. Frankly, you could be there so long the store owner grew suspicious of you, and before you knew it a clerk was patting you on the shoulder asking if they could help, when what they really intended was to show you out the door because they believed you were homeless and hanging out in the store to stay warm.

I’ve compiled some links to make it easier to find good articles that will help you understand more about what goes into making a dog food and how to choose the right one. You could start here for some helpful information How to Choose the Right Dog Food.

Then go to The Dog Food Adviser  to find free ratings and rankings that include the ingredients in nearly every brand of dog food. Another source of information on feeding your dog can be found at the Dog Food Project.

And then, best of all there are online pet food companies who will ship food on a regularly scheduled basis right to you door, no need to hit the pet food store on your way home from work, did I mention that I love this? I use Pet Flow because I pay the same price as my local big box pet stores but no sales tax or shipping charges so I actually save a bit of money. There are dozens of companies out there if you’re looking for this service.

I’m hoping some other breeder/exhibitors will chime in to add their two cents about feeding. We all have our favorites and have found some wonderful products that are fabulous for our Gordon. We’d love to hear from you and hope you’ll leave a comment below!

Reasons Your Dog Will Love Bone Broth | Dogs Naturally Magazine

L Ward photo
Photo by Laurie Ward “Gordon Puppy Selfie”

Many of our readers and contributors favor using “natural” elements in their Gordon Setter’s diet and we’re thanking Guest Blogger – Laurie Ward for sharing this “natural” link with us today. The Reasons Your Dog will Love Bone Broth includes a simple recipe to cook a broth that is sure to please even the picky eater. Did you know bone broth is good for joints, will detox the liver and promote a healthy gut?

Any other questions regarding broth’s goodness just ask the dog! Click the link my friends and you’ll arrive at the article.

Reasons Your Dog Will Love Bone Broth | Dogs Naturally Magazine.

Books about breeding that are not X-rated!

Once I was young, naive and considered crazy by my family. Well, actually my family considered me crazy for a number of reasons, but to stay on topic the one I’m referring to here was my desire to breed show dogs, Gordon Setter show dogs to be exact. What was I thinking?

I digress, you see what I wanted to share with you today was the book that became my “dog breeding bible” way back when we all “walked a mile to school, barefoot through the snow”. And, if you’re too young to have heard your parents (or grandparents for some of you) say that, you’re probably too young to be witnessing sex between dogs so perhaps you should skip on out of here.

Back in 1980 a fine lady by the name of Ann Serrane authored this fantastic book called “The Joy of Breeding your own Show Dog”. I read that book from cover to cover so many times I’ve memorized whole chapters. I kept that book next to the whelping box every time I had a litter (no, you don’t want to know what the stains were from on some of the pages). Ann’s book starts at the beginning, before you’ve bred the bitch, and covers everything from simple genetics and pedigrees through whelping the puppies and caring for fragile newborns. Ann taught me so many things, like the importance of knowing the traits of the dogs in the pedigree to other life saving things like using a glucose solution to rehydrate newborns to keep them strong so they could nurse. She taught me when to call the vet and what that vet would really need to know. (Told you I memorized whole chapters!)

Joy of Breeding Show dog

I’ve read several other books about breeding dogs, but they just weren’t as useful to me, some were missing information that Anne had included, others were not as clearly written, and very few offered me new ideas or concepts.  I don’t know, must have been a first love sort of thing, but no book ever quite replaced this one for me.

There was a reprint of this book and I’ve found used copies online, I’ve seen it at dog shows and have even found a site where it can be downloaded – though I’m not seeing the fun in having an electronic copy that can’t be left around for a few puppies to chew.

So, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest how about you all share with us!

What’s your favorite book about breeding dogs? Do you have one? Who wrote it and why did you use it?

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