How To Raise A Healthy Rottweiler Litter And Puppy
by WCR/Bob Flynn
Possibly the #1 question(s) we receive here at WCR is "What do you feed your puppies & how do you keep them so healthy?" Simple questions to a wide and varied answer; feeding and raising is very much like breeding, it is a personal choice for personal reasons and everyone has their own ideas, opinions, and tactics. These simple questions I have seen cause very heated "debates" because it is so personal to the Breeder. We at WCR have our way that we feel is very simple, very straight forward, common sense based and most importantly proven itself time and time again. THIS IS OUR OPINION AND OUR PROGRAM.
THE HEALTHY PREGNANT BITCH
Here is where it all starts with us, and this entails a bitch that is healthy prior to the breeding. Healthy for us goes further than conditioning; it means blood work, nutrition, free of all worms, parasites, etc. For our program, this is the minimums that are conducted non stop, our girls are kept in top health at all times. A healthy bitch makes healthy pups, simple logic that is the fact.
We worm regularly here, every dog is wormed with Panacur and/or Nemex II. Pregnant bitches are wormed for 3 straight days with Panacur granules starting at day 45 of pregnancy, this helps in assuring the puppies will be a worm free as possible when whelped. Prior to breeding, we also have our bitches checked for E-coil and any possibility of infections.Outside of that, no other meds are given to our pregnant bitches, especially antibiotics.
Our bitches get a standard diet while pregnant and we do not deviate on bit. Increases in protein amounts, increases in vitamins can have a very serious and harmful effect and proteins in dog food these days are more than high enough. Ear flushes have steroids that can and will cause serious birth defects, so we only perform baths with baby shampoo if needed on our pregnant girls. No outside products will touch our girls during pregnancy. People need to understand that increases in proteins and anything else that can increase the growth in pups enutero can has a terrible effect later on in their growth periods, we have seen this in others pups in their attempts to accelerate growth. Stay with the bare basics and let nature dictate, otherwise prepare yourself for something very bad, as stated we have seen it and the pain it caused the breeder and their client was more than anyone should bare. How do we know this? They never deviated before and followed the advice of others that never tried what they advised to do, a solid breder with nary a problem ended up with total disaster that was unimaginable from simple supplements. In fact, I am in disagreement with the amount of protein in todays dog food as too high, along with calcium. The old dog food recipes for Rottweilers I find more suitable, especially for pups.Some old school thoughts are timed honored such as slow growth, which is why we here are kibble based -vs- the raw forum, that is my preference. Kibble today is far superior than kibble of old and can be balanced better and more complete without guessing. Every breeder we have known that went to raw returned to kibble based. We do add meat and that is on its own meal plan with it usually being half chicken fryers raw with skin, another old school product.
THE HEALTHY PUPS
We have garnered many accolades from Vets all around North America about how healthy our pups are when they go for their Vet Checks and vaccination updates. As mentioned above, it all starts with a bitch in excellent health and free of parasites and the like on a great nutritional program. Our pups are TOTALLY free and clean of fleas, worms, coccidia, giardia and the host of others, plus their coats are vibrant, their play drive is high and their appetites are impressive.
We use wooden whelping boxes and you can learn how to make your Rottweiler whelping box here, and before any new arrivals come, we sanitize and re coat the box inside and out so as to not harbor any bacterium's and such. If you use wooden boxes or reuse any box it must be coated or truly sterilized. Wood in particular harbors everything and a plain cleaning of bleach followed up with ammonia will not kill everything. Many a pup or litter has died due to bacteriums in boxes from prior litters or mold spores. Our box is lined with freshly laundered linens that are changed 2 or more times daily, which are then washed on the Sanitize mode of our front loader to assure a healthy clean environment. Prep before the pups arrive is paramount and if we are doing a whelp in house, our "kit" has the following items:
These are just the raw basics, our kit goes further with IV set ups, med's, etc. The whelping box needs to be warmed prior to the whelp, we use the range of 75 degrees with very good success. We place the Ceramic heater above the box and have a thermometer mounted at floor level to get an accurate temp. We also have a box set up separately as a warmer for the pups and IV solution.
Once the whelp starts, each puppy is "caught" with a clean, warm cotton towel and immediately suctioned with the bulb syringe and vigorously rubbed. All cords are tied off with the heavy duty thread, cut with the sterilized ceramic scissors (super sharp) and then the cord end is covered with Betadine Solution to inhibit infection(s). Pups are then given Nutracal prior to being placed onto mothers freshly washed with Betadine teats for nourishment. Already, the pups are off to a great start in a safe and super clean environment. All linens are changed throughout the day, every time the bitch leaves the box, new linens are applied to assure cleanliness.
Day 3 is when the pups are taken for their tails and dew claws, which at this time we will do a random blood sampling for Parvo Antibodies. This gives us a strong idea as to where the pups sit "naturally" with moms antibodies and gives us a base line to work from when they are weaned off mom and then given their first series of shots.
Status quo for the first two weeks, now we start the pups on a worming schedule. Week 2 the pups will get liquid Nemex II one time.
During the entire period of time that the pups are in house, we will routinely wipe down the box and surrounding area with A-33.
"A 1-step disinfectant, cleaner, fungicide, mildestat, virucide, odor counteractant in a premeasured 1/2oz packet to clean floors, walls & other hard surfaces. Has a 14-day residual. Low foaming, phosphate-free. Kills Parainfluenza, Canine Distemper & Parvovirus, Feline Pneumonitis, Rhinotraceitis & Microsporum canis. Effective against a broad spectrum of gram positive & gram negative bacteria, such as: staph, E. coli, Strep, Campylobacter fetus & more. Used in hospitals, veterinary clinics & food processing facilities."
Week 4 is yet another worming of Nemex II and the start of foods for the pups. Food will consist of puppy kibble ground to a powder, Olewo Carrots, Esbilac and low fat plain yogurt. We get great, firm stools 100% of the time with this and the pups thrive and grow strong and lively.
Week 5 we give the first round of Parvo Vaccinations, we use Progard 5 exclusively and with great success. Also at this time, we are starting to switch from puppy kibble to a great holistic food named "The Honest Kitchen." There is no finer food, especially for puppies anywhere. The other items are still included, only the kibble was switched for the "Honest Kitchen".
Week 6 is the start of worming using Panacur granules x 3 days. By week 6, the pups should be fully weaned also.
Week 7 we give the second round of Progard 5 and later that week we do a puppies blood sampling at random.
Week 8 the pups are ready to go home. We send the pups home with Olewo Carrots, Structure and kibble. All clients are instructed to continue the vaccination schedule at week 10, 13 and 17.
One of the most important things is keeping the pups area clean, clean, clean. This means picking up stools as quickly as possible. Disenfect regulary with A-33 and religously use the Olewo Carrots, Structure and Cocci Guard, your pups will flourish. Rarely do we ever loose a pup, we contribute this to a great whelping box that is safe, sleeping with the bitch and pups for those first weeks, habitually changing linens, a healthy bitch, wormings regularly with a good wormer, feeding with Honest Kitchen, Olewo Carrots and cleaning up the messes quickly. Simple, effective, safe and your clients and their Vets will love you.
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