The area established for the mother-to-be and litter should be large enough for the box, her food and water, and a place to occasionally rest away from her puppies. Many new mothers suffer from temporary incontinence. As a result, they require provision of an emergency elimination area near the box, one well covered by newspapers. A movable doorway barrier such as those employed for toddlers is ideal for a matron's confinement to a specific room.
You will have to invest into an exercise pen, which are portable fences made of rigid-wire paneling, are slightly more expensive to purchase and handily used anywhere in the home. These items can be purchased through well-equipped pet suppliers and catalog sales.
Be prepared to give up a portion of your home for no less than three weeks. Small and medium-sized puppies generally present no management difficulties over a prolonged time period because they require moderately little space in which to be raised. Large and active breeds pose their own problems, as these puppies grow rapidly.
Puppies can be moved once they are mobile - able to clamber out of the whelping box, endowed with strong visual capabilities and eating independently from a dish. The selection of their new location should be as conducive to rearing physically and emotionally stable youngsters as was the whelping box's site.
Some breeders keep their puppies and matron in the garage. A garage can be dangerous. Although cars may no longer be parked there, residual toxic fumes often remain in this enclosed area. Dogs' sense of scent is 600 times greater than that of mankind. If use of a garage is planned, adequate preparations must be made no less than a week prior to puppy occupancy.
All refuse must be removed. Storage items such as yard tools should be placed safely behind a solid barrier, away from inquisitive puppies and dam. The floor requires preparation by repeated mopping with the same antibacterial and antifungal disinfectant used on the whelping box. Deadly toxic oil, antifreeze and other vehicular discharge on the garage floor must be completely eliminated.
Previously opened cans also may emit toxic fumes unnoticed by human scenting abilities. All paint, oil, yard sprays and cleansing and waxing materials must be removed prior to the puppies' relocation.
Expect your life-style to be disrupted when you raise a litter. Most puppies, like babies, "opt" for the odd hours in which to be born. You could miss the birth of your litter if your matron is kept by herself when close to term. Importantly, your matron might "scatter," neglecting puppies in excited confusion of her first and subsequent births.
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