To Foster or Not To Foster?

Deciding whether or not to foster puppies from a large litter can be a very delicate decision. With Lilly’s latest litter of 7 puppies, the option was available since Rosie had puppies just a few days before Lilly.

In making a decision, I draw on past experience, and specifically past experience with the mother that has the big litter.

I believe this is Lilly’s third litter. I believe her 1st and 2nd litters both had 6 puppies and she raised them both beautifully and without needing any intervention from me.

As the hours passed with this litter, my eyes were watching carefully to be sure everything looked good and the puppies remained robust looking, strong, and fully hydrated.

Each time I peek in on Lilly’s pups I am looking for specific details…like is there a puppy off to the side, do any of the puppies feel cool, are they in a warm clump near mama, are they each getting a turn to nurse, is there any pup that is excessively crying, is the mama keeping the puppies nice and clean and dry?

If any of those factors are not meeting my expectation, I begin to consider the options and what can be done to keep the puppies thriving.

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This is what we want to see, puppies close to mom and content.

Another staple indicator of monitoring the puppies’ health is to weigh them regularly. After all the babies were born yesterday, which was over a 6 hour period of time, I got a beginning weight on each of them.

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I did one that evening and then did it again the next morning. I was happy to see they had all gained a tiny bit, or at least had maintained their birth weight over the first night. During this time, I am still evaluating and running through my mind the pros and cons of possibly giving a couple of the puppies to Rosie to raise.

But as the day went by today, all factors were looking very positive, and by this evening, we have a solid weight gain from each puppy.

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The tools are simple…a letter scale, Longaberger basket, and a sticky note pad.

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I will keep track of weights for the next few days to be sure things keep moving forward in a healthy and positive way. At this point, I think I will let Lilly keep all her babies because she is doing a superior job.

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Happy little hot dogs, twitching and sleeping, and eating, just the way it should be!!

(PS, for my English buffs, I know I wrote in past tense, then present, then past again. But I’m on my phone, so not going to change it!)

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