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growth. But the tail and dew-claws may always be best done, and with least pain, while with the dam; besides which, her tongue serves to heal the wound better than that of the young puppy, who has hardly learnt to use it. Regular dog-fanciers bite off the tail, but a pair of scissors answers equally well; and the same may be said of the dew-claw. If, however, the nail only is to be removed, which it always ought to be, the teeth serve the purposes of a pair of nippers perfectly, and by their aid it may be drawn out, leaving the claw itself attached, but rendered less liable to injury, from having lost the part likely to catch hold of any projecting body.
When weaning is to be commenced, which is usually about the fifth or sixth week, it is better to remove the puppies altogether, than to let the bitch go on suckling them at long intervals. By this time their claws and teeth have become so sharp and so long, that they punish the bitch terribly, and therefore she does not let them fill their bellies. Her milk generally accumulates in her teats, and becomes stale, in which state it is not fit for the whelps, and by many is supposed to engender worms. The puppies have always learned to lap, and will eat meat, or take broth or thickened milk, as described in the last chapter; besides which, when they have no chance of sucking presented to them, they take other food better, whereas, if they are allowed to suck away at empty teats, they only fill themselves with wind, and then lose their appetites for food of any kind. But, having determined to wean them, there are several important particulars which must be attended to, or the result will be a failure, at all events for some time. That is to say, the puppies will fall away in flesh, and will cease to grow at the same rate as before. In almost all cases, what is called the “milk-fat” disappears after weaning, but still it is desirable to keep some flesh on their bones, and this can only be done by attending to the following directions, which apply to dogs of all kinds, but are seldom rigidly carried out, except with the greyhound, whose size and strength are so important as to call for every care to procure them in a high degree. In hounds, as well as pointers and setters, a check in the growth is of just as much consequence; but as they are not tested together as to their speed and stoutness so closely as greyhounds are, the slight defects produced in puppyhood are not detected, and, as a consequence, the same attention is not paid. Nevertheless, as most of these points require only care, and cost little beyond it, they ought to be carried out almost as strictly in the kennels of the foxhound and pointer as in those devoted to the longtails. These chief and cardinal elements of success are,1st, a warm, clean, and dry lodging; 2ndly, suitable food ; 3rdly, regularity in feeding; and 4thly, a provision for sufficient exercise.
NECESSITY FOR WARM AND DRY LODGING.
All puppies require a dry lodging, and in the winter season it should also be a warm one. Greyhound whelps, up to their third or fourth month, are sometimes reared in an artificial temperature, either by means of a stove, or by using the heat of a stable, the temperature chosen being 60° of Fahrenheit. Beyond this age, it can never be necessary to adopt artificial heat in rearing puppies, because for public coursing they are required to be whelped after the last day of the year, and four months from that time takes us on to May, when the weather is seldom cold enough to require a stove; and then during the summer months they are gradually hardened to the vicissitudes of the weather, and as they become older their growth is established, and they are no longer in danger of its being checked. It is true that some few coursers always keep their kennels at 60°; but on the whole, as we shall hereafter find, the plan is not a good one, and need not be considered here. But far beyond the warmth is dryness essential to success. Dogs will bear almost any amount of cold if unaccompanied by damp, provided they have plenty of straw to lie in; but a damp kennel, even if warm, is sure to lead to rickets or rheumatism, if the puppies escape inflammation of some one or more of the internal organs. Take care, therefore, to give a dry bedstead of boards, lined with the same material towards the wall, (the cold of which strikes inwards and gives cold,) and raised somewhat from the floor, which will
otherwise keep it damp. Puppies soon learn to lie on this, and avoid the cold stones or bricks, except in the heats of summer, when these do no harm. The stone or brick floor should be so made as to avoid absorption of the urine, &c., which can only be effected by employing glazed tiles or bricks that are not porous, or by corering the whole with a layer of London or Portland cement, or with asphalte, which answers nearly as well. Care should be taken that there are no interstices between the boards, if the kennel is made of them; and in every way, while ven tilation is provided, cold draughts must be prevented. Cleanliness must also be attended to rigidly by sweeping out the floor daily, and washing it down at short intervals, and by changing the litter once a week at the least. In the summer time, straw is not desirable, as it harbours fleas; and, if the boarded floor is not considered sufficient, a thick layer of deal sawdust will be the best material, as it is soft enough, without harbouring vermin of any kind; the only objection to it being that the puppies are apt to wet it often, after which it becomes offensive.
The feeding of puppies is all important, and, unless they have plenty of food sufficiently nourishing to allow of a proper growth, it is impossible that they should become what they might be if fed with the best materials for the purpose. From the time of weaning to the end of the third month, when a decision must be arrived at as to their subsequent management, very little deviation is required from the plans described at pp. 204, 205; that is, the puppies should be fed every four hours upon the thickened broth made from sheep's head, and thickened milk alternately. After that time, however, their food must be given them rather stronger and of a somewhat different nature, as we shall find in its
proper place. This food will be required for any kind of dog, but a single puppy may very well be reared upon thickened milk, with the scraps of the house in addition, including bones, which it will greedily pick, and any odds and ends which are left on the plates.
Regularity of feeding in puppies, as in adult animals, is of the utmost importance; and it will always be found that if two puppies are equally well reared in other respects, and one fed at regular hours, while the other is only supplied at the caprice of servants, the former will greatly excel the latter in size and health, as well as in the symmetrical development of the body. It is also very necessary to avoid leaving any part of one meal in the pans or feeding-troughs till the next, as nothing disgusts the dog more than seeing food left in this way. The moment the puppies fill themselves, take away the surplus; and, indeed, it is better still to anticipate them by stopping them before they have quite done. All this requires considerable tact and experience, and there are very few servants who are able and willing to carry out these directions fully.