Caring for Canine Teeth
For the first two weeks the bitch will stay with the puppies almost constantly. Then she will start leaving them for periods which gradually increase in length. She may stay where she can keep an eye on the whelping box or may wander off if allowed her freedom. She will not go far, however, and no fear need be entertained that she will desert them.
By the time the puppies are four weeks old some tiny, needle-sharp teeth will have erupted. They will prick the skin of the nipples and breasts and make nursing more and more of an ordeal to the bitch. In some cases this is so irritating that it becomes necessary to bathe the breasts several times a day with a warm boracic acid solution, or a warm, very dilute solution of Zonite. At other times it becomes necessary to use an ointment, such as Ozonol. "When ointments are employed, the puppies must be kept away from the mother, and before they are returned, the breasts and nipples must be thoroughly sponged off.
There are several substitutes for the milk of the dam appearing on the market under various trade names. They come with full directions, and if put up by a reputable firm may be used with confidence. They are easily prepared and may be mixed in quantity if kept refrigerated. These preparations are used by many breeders, while others prefer to make up their own formulas, using either sweet whole milk or condensed milk. A useful formula is made by shaking the yolk of an egg into six ounces of whole milk to which has been added one-half level teaspoonful of lactose, a small amount of dicalcium phosphate, and a teaspoonful of cod-liver oil. This, like all other formulas, should be warmed to body heat before feeding.
If the puppies learn to lap while they are still nursing, what they get from lapping is merely supplementary feeding and does not have to be as carefully balanced as it will be after they leave the dam. For this purpose I use condensed milk diluted with one third of boiled water. To this is added a small amount of dicalcium phosphate and a few drops of cod-liver oil for each pup.