I guess there must be some physical changes in the puppies that signal us to take a deep breath as the most immediate danger has passed. Pippi’s milk came in beautifully and everyone’s gaining nicely. We’ve got good weight gain on everyone, including the littlest ones. I chose to supplement the three tiny ones with some goat milk during the second day, just to give them a little jump start.
This is also the time when our bitches start with the heavy panting, and also some restless behavior. I’ve never had children but I’m told that the first time your milk comes in it’s uncomfortable (that’s medical-speak for PAINFUL) and just producing that milk has to be an effort, so it’s not particularly surprising that the bitches begin to pant and want more support to stay in the box.
Her liquid intake is equally impressive - from the time she started whelping to through the first day of the puppies‘ lives, she drank almost two gallons of goat milk and at least two quarts of water. Most of that was offered to her in the whelping box as at that point (the first two days) she was not voluntarily leaving her puppies.
Interestingly if you offer a bitch a calcium rich food in the late stages of her pregnancy, she will probably turn her nose up at it. But as soon as she begins whelping, she will lap up as much goat milk or other calcium rich food you can give her. The reason for this is (spinning it down to a lay terms-nutshell) when the body gets more calcium than it can use, it “gets used to” excreting the excess. So if a bitch gets any more calcium than she needs during pregnancy, a whole system kicks in to get rid of it. But after whelping, she has a HUGE draw on her calcium stores. The problem is, if her body is in “excrete” mode, that’s a process that’s slow to reverse, and that will make the bitch unable to assimilate the massive amount of calcium she needs (as her body is dumping it as fast as she takes it in), which can complicate delivery, make milk production difficult, and even threaten her life if calcium levels get too low and she goes into eclampsia (or “milk fever”). This is, by the way, why calcium supplementation is not recommended for pregnant bitches. Paradoxically, supplementing calcium during pregnancy will actually make things much worse.
Pudding Recipe for Nursing Mothers:
1 package vanilla pudding (VERY IMPORTANT - do not use instant pudding!!! It has an additive that can give the puppies diarrhea. Use the kind of pudding that has to be cooked.)
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups milk (I use raw goat milk but pasturized goat or cows milk is fine if that's what you have)
4 egg yolks
Cook on low heat to a pudding consistency.
I offer it to my bitches and let them pretty much have as much as they like.
It's basically the recipe on the pudding box with twice the amount of milk and extra egg yolks.
If you don't have a package of vanilla pudding on hand you can mix the following in a saucepan and cook to pudding consistency.
2/3 cup sugar
6 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups milk (or one can evaporated milk plus equal parts water to make quart)
4 egg yolks
3 teaspoon vanilla