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contented, than in a fresh place; but it is not so easy to get at her there if anything goes wrong with either mother or whelps, and on that account it is not a desirable place. A board, large or small, according to the size of the bitch, with a raised edge to prevent the puppies rolling off, and supported by bricks a few inches from the ground, is all that is required for the most valuable animal; and if a piece of carpet, as before mentioned, is tacked upon this, and some straw placed upon all, the height of comfort is afforded to both mother and offspring. The use of the carpet is to allow the puppies to catch their claws in it as the are working at the mother's teats; for without it they slip over the board, and they are restless, and unable to fill themselves well; while at the same time they scratch all the straw away, and are left bare and cold.
During whelping, the only management required is in regard to food and quiet, which last should as far as possible be enjoined, as at this time all bitches are watchful and suspicious, and will destroy their young if they are at all interfered with, especially by strangers. While the process of labour is going on no food is required, unless it is delayed in an unnatural manner, when the necessary steps will be found described in the Third Book. After it is completed, some lukewarm gruel,
made with half milk and half water, should be given, and repeated at intervals of two or three hours. Nothing cold is to be allowed for the first two or three days, unless it is in the height of summer, when these precautions are unnecessary, as the ordinary temperature is generally between 60° and 70° of Fahrenheit. If milk is not easily had, broth will do nearly as well, thickening it with oatmeal, which should be well boiled in it. This food is continued till the secretion of milk is fully established, when a more generous diet is gradually to be allowed, consisting of sloppy food, together with an allowance of meat somewhat greater than that to which she has been accustomed. This last is the best rule, for it will be found that no other useful one can be given ; those bitches which have been previously accustomed to a flesh diet sinking away if they have not got it at this time, when the demands of the puppies for milk drain the system considerably; and those which have not been used to it being rendered feverish and dyspeptic if they have an inordinate allowance of it. A bitch in good health, and neither over-reduced by starvation nor made too fat by excessive feeding, will rarely give any trouble at this time; but, in either of these conditions, it may happen that the secretion fails to be established. (For the proper remedies see Parturition, in Book III.) From the first day the bitch should be encouraged to leave her puppies twice or thrice daily to empty herself, which some, in their excessive fondness for their new charge, are apt to neglect. When the milk is thoroughly established, they should be regularly exercised for an hour a- day, which increases the secretion of milk, and
indeed will often bring it on. After the second week, bitches will always be delighted to leave their puppies for an hour or two at a time, and will exercise themselves if allowed to escape from them. The best food for a suckling bitch is strong broth, with a fair proportion of bread and flesh, or bread and milk, according to previous habits.
DESTRUCTION OR CHOICE OF WHELPS AT BIRTH.
Sometimes it is desirable to destroy all the whelps as soon possible after birth, but this ought very seldom to be done, as in all cases it is better to keep one or two sucking for a short time, to prevent milk fever, and from motives of humanity also. If, however, it is decided to destroy all at once, take them away as fast as they are born, leaving only one with the mother to engage her attention, and when all are born, remove the last before she has become used to it, by which plan less cruelty is practised than if she is permitted to attach herself to her offspring. Low diet and a dose or two of mild aperient medicine, with moderate exercise, will be required to guard against fever, but at best it is a bad business, and can only be justified under extraordinary circumstances.
Management in the Nest.-Choosing.–The Foster-Nurse. - Feeding before
Weaning.--Choice of Place for Whelping.–Removal of Dew-Claws, &c.— Weaning. ---Lodging. - Feeding. - Exercise. - Home Rearing o. Walking. -Food.- General Management.-Cropping, Branding, and Rounding.
THE MANAGEMENT OF WHELPS IN THE NEST.
This, till they are weaned, does not require much knowledge or experience beyond the feeding of the mother, and the necessity for removing a part when the numbers are too great for her strength to support. For the first fortnight, at least, puppies are entirely dependent upon the milk of their dam or a foster-nurse, unless they are brought up by hand, which is a most troublesome office, and attended also with considerable risk. Sometimes, however, the bitch produces twelve, fourteen, or even sixteen whelps, and these being far beyond her powers to suckle properly, either the weak ones die off, or the whole are impoverished, and rendered small and puny. It is better, therefore, especially when size and strength are objects to the breeder, to destroy a part of the litter, when they are more than five or six in the greyhound, or seven or eight in the hound or other dog of that size. In toy dogs a small size is sometimes a desideratum, and with them, if the strength of
the dam is equal to the drain, which it seldom is, almost any number may be kept on her. For the first three or four days, the bitch will be able to suckle her whole litter; but if there are more puppies than she has good teats, that is, teats with milk in them, the weak ones are starved, unless the strong ones are kept away in order to allow them access, so as to fill themselves in their turn. To manage this, a covered basket, lined with wool if the weather is at all cold, should be provided; and in this one third or one half of the puppies should be kept, close to the mother, to prevent either from being uneasy, but the lid fastened down or she will take them out in her mouth. Every two or three hours a fresh lot should be exchanged for those in the basket, first letting them fill themselves, when they will go to sleep and remain contented for the time fixed above, thus allowing each lot in its turn to fill itself regularly. At the end of ten days, by introducing a little sweetened cow's milk on the end of the finger into their mouths, and dipping their noses in a saucer containing it, they learn to lap; and after this there will be little difficulty in rearing even a dozen ; but they will not, however carefully they may be fed in aid of the mother, be as large as if only a small number were left on her, and therefore greyhound breeders limit their litters to five, six, or at most seven ; destroying the remainder, or rearing them with a foster-nurse.