Wags Life will keep your puppy for 8 weeks after birth to ensure your puppy is completely weaned, properly socialized, and has had a sufficient amount of time to bond with their mother. During this time your puppy is learning important social and behavior traits from their mother and littermates that will be very beneficial when you take your puppy home. In addition to all of this there is much going on each week while they are with us.
When a litter arrives, we allow mom and babies a lot of private time during the first few days. The newborn litter stays in our bedroom for 3 weeks so we can keep a close watch on each puppy and mom. We are making sure each puppy is nursing and that mom is cleaning and stimulating each one. We are also making sure mom doesn't lay on one of the puppies or that they wiggle under a puppy pad or towel. The mother receives a warm water bath the morning after birth to ensure her health and the health of her puppies. We keep a close eye on mom to make sure she has no issues after the delivery. On day 3 or 4 we take the puppies to our vet to have a health check and get their tails docked and dewclaws removed.
During their 2nd week of life, the puppies will begin to open their eyes between 10 - 14 days. They will be able to hear between 2 1/2 weeks to 3 weeks old. We continue our watch of the puppies ensuring all are nursing and thriving. Mom begins to leave the puppies alone more frequently but is never far away. We handle the puppies more than the prior week. We clip all of the puppies' toenails and clip the hair around their back end.
The puppies can now see and hear and want to venture out a little more. We move them and their mother to a bigger pen in what we call the "puppy room". We give them a couple of toys to investigate. We start supplementing their mother's milk with milk replacement for puppies. They begin the deworming process at this age.
The puppies are now becoming more active. They are still a little wobbly on their legs. They start to play with each other and are more interested in toys. We spend time playing with them and holding them. They look forward to us coming into their room. We now add softened puppy kibble to their milk replacement. A dish of water is added to their pen to get them used to drinking. Mom still comes in to nurse her babies but not as frequently.
The puppies are now steady on their feet. They are wrestling with each other and playing with toys. They are beginning to find their voice and you may hear little barks or growls. Personalities begin to emerge. We now take away the milk replacement and feed the puppies kibble soaked in warm water. They have a few teeth but not enough to chew hard kibble. Their 2nd deworming takes place. During this week I send out an email to each new owner requesting to set up a puppy pickup day and time. I also find out if they want their puppy microchipped. Lots of information regarding what to bring along and what to have ready at home is passed along.
The puppies are now very active. They will visit our vet for a health check, and we will give them their first vaccinations. They will also be groomed in the latter part of their 6th week. We continue with feeding them softened kibble. They are learning to use the washable puppy pads in their pen. New toys are added frequently to continually stimulate them. We place a small crate in their pen for them to play with so they will be familiar with it at their new homes. As always, we spend time playing with and handling them.
The puppies are very active and wrestling constantly. The noises sound like adult dogs growling at times. Clean-up is constant in the puppy pen. Mom still wants to visit them occasionally but doesn't want to stay in the pen for long. They have been transitioned to eating dry kibble and have plenty of teeth at this stage. They receive their last deworming from us. All puppies that are getting microchipped will have this done during week 7.
The puppies have received everything they need from their mother, siblings, and us. They are ready to go to their new homes and pick up schedules have been arranged. The morning that each puppy is leaving they will receive a bath, and if needed, a touch up on the grooming. The blanket in the care package is taken out and rubbed on the mother and siblings so the scent will be there when they go home. Our greatest joy in this process is watching each family meet their puppy and seeing the smiles that the puppy brings!