Raising White Valley Boston Babies
This page is dedicated to our whelping and rearing process; our puppy care regimen, nursing mom diets, the weaning process and all the preparation we put into our dogs, and ways in which we prepare babies before making the transition from our home to yours!
Care of White Valley breeding dogs
Before even considering a pairing, we ensure that both dogs are in the most optimal health, peak condition and are mentally matured enough for breeding. Females must have at minimum, reached their 2nd heat cycle. Both dogs must have at least reached 12+ months of age in order to be evaluated for their OFA health clearances. By the time they've passed these evaluations, we will have already begun to make preparations for which dogs we will decide to breed and when. Both males and females are tested for Brucellosis about 10 days prior to breeding.
Once our females are expected to come into heat, I start giving them once-daily prenatal vitamin chews. Both males and females are free-fed a high quality dry food, along with extras such as a variety of fresh meats, eggs on a regular basis, and occasional treats & marrow bones. A healthy, balanced diet is always important, even during the "off-season" when they are not breeding, pregnant or nursing. We give our adults and puppies NuVet Wafers or powder once per day during the "off season", to support thriving immune systems, healthy bones, joints, hearts, eyes, GI tracts, glowing coats, skin, teeth, eyes and overall longevity & quality of life! If you're interested in purchasing NuVet products for your new baby, please visit the "Puppy Preparations" page or click here: www.nuvet.com/835799
We allow one natural breeding per day (24hrs) within standing heat (the point of a female's season that she will stand and be receptive to the male) for 2-3 days; occasionally, they will breed 4 or 5 days. But we want to get as accurate a "due date" as possible, so we do not allow breeding's with more than 5 days in between. Males are continued on a high protein supplemental diet until we feel that they are replenished and settle back down to their normal pre-breeding behavior.
On day 30 after the last successful breeding, we take the female in for an ultrasound for pregnancy confirmation. If pregnant, they are continued on prenatal vitamins for the duration of their pregnancy (63 days), or if they're not pregnant, we only continue the prenatal's until they reach the diestrus stage of their cycle (or, "going out" of heat).
In a normal pregnancy, not much changes in terms of their diet and care. We continue to feed a high quality diet, with increases as needed, and allow regular (non-strenuous) exercise as normal.
Around day 58 of gestation, an elective x-ray can be taken to determine puppy count/litter size and assess individual puppy sizes vs the dam's pelvic orifice. This will help with making the best informed decision as to how many puppies to expect and whether the vet feels as though they will be small enough to safely and naturally pass through the birth canal.
About a week or two prior to whelping, females will be quarantined from other dogs and animals. I have a designated "puppy room" in the house dedicated to our moms and their babies. This room is fully sterilized and sanitized; we remove our shoes, wash our hands and remove & replace any articles of clothing exposed to other dogs/animals, prior to entering their room.
Quarantine may sound awful but they are absolutely loved on every day and have access through their dog door to a pre-treated area outdoors. They also don't mind the private, quiet space away from the hustle and bustle of our busy farm life...and all the extra pregnancy luxuries they enjoy. Call me overzealous or a little excessive but this is for the health and safety of babies that we made a decision to bring into this world; they didn't ask to be here; the very least I can do is to ensure that I bring them into a thoroughly clean, safe, protected environment!
Since Boston Terriers are considered a "head breed" and known to occasionally need assistance or C-sections, a vet is always informed of an estimated due date and is on stand-by via private cell, should any unexpected issues arise during the whelping process.
Canine gestation typically lasts an average of 63 days and can vary from 59-65 days from the time conception takes place. In most cases, our females deliver their pups between 62-64 days post initial breeding...sometimes exactly 63 days on the nose, from the very first breeding!
The arrival of a litter is a huge deal in our home and I admittedly go a little overboard in my preparation. I'd much rather be fully prepared for anything than to have something unexpectedly happen and it end in heartbreak! I prep my whelping room sometime in the last week of pregnancy; I make sure to have plenty of blankets, towels, tools and equipment, a fully stocked first aid and medical kit, injectable fluids, antiseptics, (I occasionally keep oxytocin on hand should the need for it arise), snacks and supplements for mom's in labor, a scale to weigh pups, weight charts and plenty of energy drinks stocked in the fridge (for myself of course)...and the list goes on.
Then I wait...and sometimes wait and wait some more. I clear a couple of days on my calendar around due dates, so I can be sure to be home to assist when I'm needed. I try to allow as natural a birth as possible; sometimes I need to help remove sacs, cut umbilical cords, I check mouths and palates for abnormalities, and I suction mouths and noses as needed. But other than that, I allow mom some space, pet and calm her, and offer calcium, nutrient rich bites of food here & there and some form of liquid (water, bone broth, whatever she prefers) to ensure her energy levels are staying up through this process.
Puppies are weighed at birth, after they've gotten a chance to dry off. I make sure everyone gets colostrum through nursing and observe mom's behavior to ensure she is accepting and taking care of her new babies. The next few days will be critical in terms of quiet bonding time for mom and babies so I assess condition of puppies periodically, supervise and weigh them daily.
By one week of age, new mom's are settling in and taking great care of their babies! This is the time I will start weighing pups on a weekly basis, rather than daily. I will also take One Week puppy pictures and share them on social media and with any place-holders on my waiting lists. Puppy picks are not determined at this time, but everyone is so excited to see the new babies, I'm happy to share photos/videos.
At 3 days of age, dew claws are removed; this is done in our home. It is a very simple, quick procedure and I like doing this at home so that I can immediately give pups back to mom's after they're done and cleaned up. Nursing tends to be a great comfort to them and they forget all about the periodic, minor discomfort to which they were just subjected. By doing this at home, we're also protecting babies from any unnecessary exposure to possible germs/contaminants by taking them to the vet at such a young, delicate age.
Sometime within the first week, I have assigned names or nicknames to each puppy as identifying markers for record-keeping purposes and for those who are interested in specific pups. They are minimally handled except when needed.
For the next few weeks, as nursing demand increases, mom's are provided with additional meals divided into a couple of portions a day; their main diet consists of ground and other types of beef, fresh and ground chicken, mackerel, salmon, tripe, fresh or boiled eggs, Mother's Pudding, Nursing Porridge, high quality canned foods, liver, occasional sardines, and beef or turkey satin balls (not all at once, of course). They're also free-fed their normal high quality dry food.
Many breeders know that this week is a milestone for most puppies! There is so much uncertainty within the first two weeks; sometimes puppies who appeared just perfect, pass away or issues arise seemingly out of nowhere. It's devastating and heartbreaking, but most generally a puppy's failure to thrive will present itself within the first two weeks. For this reason, I do not normally start accepting deposits until after this age. Though it's not always a guarantee, it's typically a time that breeders have a better idea of who is thriving and who may be declining.
By now, eyes are open and puppies become much more active...they really start getting around! Squirmy babies make for longer photo sessions! Two Week puppy pictures are taken, babies nails are usually trimmed starting this week. Nail trimming will continue to be conducted weekly until they leave our home.
Exciting week for the babies! This is the week we start puppies on mush (blended puppy food, NuVet powder and warm goats milk)! Mom's are starting to spend more time outside their puppy room, to get a little alone time and a break from babies. This week is important in preparing puppies for a structured schedule and potty training! Puppies are given their first round of oral suspension de-wormer (Panacur).
By this stage, I have made the appropriate rearrangements in their room to designate a feeding area, a sleeping area and a potty area. And by the end of this week, they really start getting the hang of it! At this time, they start out slow and only use puppy pads. Three Week puppy pictures are taken and most puppy buyers waiting already have a really good idea of the puppy they want!
Puppies are starting to get around better and are developing the beginnings of individual personalities. At this life stage, they're starting to gain better use of their chubby little legs, vision and finding their voices. They're learning to interact and play, their mom's are teaching them appropriate behavior and manners. They're getting better settled into set schedules and eating their puppy mush very well!
This is also the week that I start separating mom's for short periods during the day to prepare them for the weaning process. Four Week puppy pictures are taken. A small dose of Totrazuril coccidia preventative is administered. Nail trimming continues...
As week four wraps up and week five begins, puppies are getting a little better with the idea that mom is leaving them sometimes during the day. They're now one week into the weaning process and throwing less of a fit about it...just a little. They're really developing a liking for their play time! When they're not sleeping or eating, of course. Litter pan and puppy pad use is becoming a normal part of their daily habits.
Personalities are getting more prominent and they're starting to establish an order amongst themselves. At this point, we can usually tell which pups will be more assertive and which pups will be more laid back.
Their puppy mush is getting less ground up and contains a little less liquid by this time, and they're learning to use their teeth to crunch their food. They're doing exceptionally well with their litter pan and puppy pad training!
This is the week I introduce them to an open kennel. The kennels I use are wire crates and we allow the puppies to come and go as they please. They have comfy bedding, "blankies" and safe chew toys in their kennels. At this point, we do not close them in the crates.
Week Five puppy pictures are taken and most people have chosen their puppy for reservation. Since puppies are so active and wiggly, puppy pictures are usually substituted for videos, which most people absolutely love to see!
Yet another nail trimming needs to be done for the babies and they're given another round of de-wormer.
Week Six marks another milestone for White Valley babies! Lots of new things are happening this week! Mom's have started to spend a lot more time away from puppies and they're gaining much more independence. They're getting around great; they're super cuddly and loving, personalities are very obvious, they're exploring more and we can now begin to determine which puppy will suit which family best! They're growing at a great rate, becoming fat, sassy babies!
Puppies are now learning to eat only solid foods and get to enjoy a bowl of warm goats milk once a day. They now only get to nurse for brief periods a couple of times a day, starting towards the end of this week. Mom's will begin naturally weaning them by this age, so we go by her behavior and tolerance in terms of the lengths of time we allow them to nurse.
First puppy vaccinations are administered this week (Nobivac 5-in-One vaccine). I usually have AKC puppy applications/documents in by now and have all associated paperwork & agreements ready.
During this week, after vaccinations, the pups have gotten the opportunity to explore appropriate sized pre-treated areas outdoors through the use of their dog door or we carry them outside for "reccess". They've also begun to learn to use the dog door to take potty breaks! What an exciting time! They're being familiarized with gate functionality and we've gotten them accustomed to a closed puppy play-pens/crates for very small amounts of time.
Week Six puppy pictures and videos are taken and sent to families, as well as shared on social media. Did I mention that puppy nails grow incredibly fast? Well, they do! Another nail trimming is conducted this week too!
White Valley babies are wrapping up their final week with us and getting prepared to move into their new homes, with their new, anxiously awaiting families! Such a bittersweet time for me; I've bonded with and grown so very fond of them, I hate to see them leave. But at the same time, I'm so excited for families to meet their new babies!
This is the week the puppies take their first rides to visit the vet for their exams. They're given their last dose of dewormer early this week. They will have a full wellness exam and fecals conducted to ensure that the dewormer and coccidia preventatives have successfully done their jobs. Health certificates are acquired after they pass exams, where applicable. The babies are microchipped this week and their microchip numbers can be registered with the appropriate registry.
Most everyone has already decided on a name for their new babies, and have already begun preparations to bring them home! This is a very exciting time for puppy buyers! New puppy packs are loaded and ready to go!
The dog door is becoming more of a familiarity for them now and they come and go for potty breaks and playtime. It's so exciting to see how much they've grown and learned! Smart little babies!
I've made additional arrangements to the puppy room and now they're used to the gates occasionally being closed and are learning to respect boundaries.
Mom's are officially about done with weaning and are kicking babies off! They're more than happy to play and tussle with their babies and they've taught them manners well. By the end of this week, they will only be on a high quality kibble; no more nursing, no more goats milk.
More puppy pictures and videos will be taken and shared for Week Seven, as time allows, and nails are trimmed as needed...and it's usually needed! Am I repeating myself yet?
Week Eight marks the most eventful day of the White Valley babies' lives thus far! They're thriving, active, friendly, loving wiggle-bottoms! They're thrilled to play and interact with their humans, nicely conformed to their structured schedule. Babies are fully weaned doing well on their puppy food. They've also gotten a great start to potty training through the use of litter pans, puppy pads and their dog door over the last several weeks.
Through all the weeks before this, so many steps have been taken to ensure their comfort in transitioning to their new homes! We've worked hard to make sure that puppy pick-up day and coming home goes as happily and flawlessly as possible.
We are always happy for new owners to excitedly hold their babies for the first time; one final puppy picture will be taken of each of these babies and their new humans before we send them off with a cuddle and a kiss.
This wraps up our section of Raising White Valley Boston Babies! I hope this information serves its purpose and provides you with sufficient details on the breeding aspect of our program. If you have any questions that are not answered here, please feel free to reach out and ask away! I'm always happy to help! Thank so much for visiting!