Puppy Diaries #2: Picking Our Pup and Bringing Her Home (8-12 Weeks)

Dear Diary,

After an exhilarating and exhausting seven-hour drive, including stops at every. single. wayside. between Kenosha, Wis. and Minneapolis, we made it! We are home, and we have a pup. Her name is Sommer (Norwegian for “summer” and pronounced the same). She’s eight weeks old, weighs five pounds, and wakes up every few hours to go outside. Somehow our boys manage to sleep through the whining and crying (Sommer’s, not mine), so the nighttime duties are left to my husband and I. Potty accidents, worries about whether she’s eating and drinking enough, appointments for vaccinations — the experience is uncannily similar to bringing home a baby. In a nutshell? Bringing home Sommer has been intense, hilarious, fun, heartwarming and a little crazy at times.

Puppy Pick-Up Day Arrives

You would’ve thought I was waiting to hear whether I’d been accepted into the Ivy League by the way I was pacing a path into the carpeting that August afternoon. In reality, I was waiting for a text from our breeder to find out which puppy of the five in the litter would be ours. I shouldn’t have been tense, but we were last on the list, so we had no control over which pup we’d get. And, I’d made a big, fat rookie pup mom error: Via the photos and emails from the breeder during the previous eight weeks, I’d gotten attached to one particular pup.

Our breeder had warned against such foolishness. My higher self, the one that meditates, eats vegan and practices yoga daily, understood that all the pups were equally fabulous and any one of them would make a great dog. Our boys certainly felt that way, as they changed favorites every week. But my less-evolved self had fallen head over heels with one pup: The little girl wearing the pink collar.

Admittedly, the fact that we have two (human) boys had me naturally leaning toward a girl, even if it was a canine girl. When Nicole shared that there were four girls and one boy in the litter and that the first family to pick wanted a boy, I was happy as could be. Still, of the four girls, the girl in the pink collar reached out and grabbed my heart. It wasn’t that she was the cutest or most photogenic, although of course, she was both cute and photogenic. In the photos, she had a look on her face that said she wasn’t 100% convinced about this photo-taking operation, which made me chuckle. She looked like one cool customer. Everything inside me screamed, “that’s our dog.” I shared photos of the litter with my mom, and she picked the girl with the pink collar. I showed the photos to a friend and my sister-in-law, and they each picked the girl with the pink collar. Still, I didn’t share my wish with Nicole, as I didn’t want to seem desperate or weird, two things that I was starting to wonder about myself.

On the day that families went to the breeder to pick their pup, we were an hour away in Chicago, visiting friends. Because we were last on the list, we couldn’t pick our dog until the end of the day, which wouldn’t allow us enough time to make the seven-hour drive home to Minneapolis. We’d agreed that whatever pup we got, our breeder would send her to a nearby trainer for a night, and we would pick her up the next morning. All afternoon, I paced as I tried with varying levels of success to keep my mind occupied. Finally, at 5 p.m., a text came in from our breeder, saying: “Congrats! The pink collar girl is yours!”

I won’t pretend I didn’t dance around the room and cry a bit while screaming, “The pink collar girl! She’s ours!”

Meet Sommer! The Pup behind Puppy Diaries.

I breathlessly texted back, telling her Sommer’s name and sharing that she was the one we secretly wanted all along. Our breeder responded that two different families had decided to take Sommer, but wound up choosing a different pup. These happy coincidences seem to happen with each litter, she said, and it never ceases to amaze her how things usually work out for the best.

Faith in the universe affirmed, we set off the next morning for the trainer’s house. There we found a gaggle of pups romping in an outside pen. Some were digging at the edge of the fence, but Sommer was wisely keeping an observant eye from a distance. The trainer handed her over, and I scooped her up in my arms and snuggled her.

What Causes Bad Breath in Puppies?

Bad breath is one of the most common symptoms in dogs and is a very common complaint from dog owners. It most often occurs in adult or senior dogs but puppies can get bad breath too!  Learn more about the Causes of Bad Breath in Dogs? and Why Some Dogs Breath Smells like Fish.

Below, we will review common causes of bad breath in puppies, how to stop bad breath, and review products you can use to make puppy’s bad breath better.

Here’s Why Puppy’s Get Bad Breath

The reasons puppies get bad breath can be some of the same reasons as older dogs although there are some differences in puppies.

Below are 8 possible causes of bad breath in puppies:

  1. Ingestion of Stinky Stuff. Puppies explore the world with their mouths and can chew on and/or ingest things as they explore. This is especially true with puppies that are teething between the ages of 8 weeks and 6 months. Learn more about Teething in Puppies. Puppies may ingest foul and sometimes stinky things that can cause bad breath. Some examples include dead animals they may find in the yard, mulch, compost, trash, and/or spoiled food.
  2. Ingestion of Foreign Bodies. Puppies may ingest un-digestible objects that can lead to problems that cause bad breath. Ingested items can get stuck in the stomach and intestinal tract that can cause vomiting and bad breath. Learn more about Gastrointestinal Foreign Bodies in Dogs and Puppies.
  3. Tooth Abscess. A tooth abscess is an infection around the tooth that can cause bad breath. Although less common in puppies, it is possible to have a bad tooth at any age.
  4. Oral Ulcerations and Infections. Ulcers in the mouth can occur from a puppy that ingests or licks caustic substances. Because puppies are curious and commonly get into things causing chemical exposure that can lead to oral ulcerations and infections. Caustic substances that a puppy may lick or chew on include cleaning chemicals, soap and detergents, laundry or dishwater detergent pods and liquid potpourri.  These agents can cause oral ulcerations and infections that cause bad breath in puppies. Another cause for an oral infection is wounds that occur from a fight. Some dogs sustain bites around and in the mouth from fights with other animals.
  5. Respiratory Infections. Pneumonia and infections of the trachea can cause foul smelling breath. It can be especially noticeable during exhalation (breathing out) and coughing.
  6. Problems with Bones. Some bones given to puppies can break and splinter causing trauma to the oral tissues. Bones can also become lodged in the roof of the mouth or around the lower teeth and jaw. This can cause trauma to the tissues, an infection, and foul odor.
  7. Digestive Problems.  Some puppies may have digestive problems that can lead to bad breath. Feeding a high quality easily digestible food formulated for puppies can help digestion.  In addition, puppies commonly have worms which should be treated by your veterinarian with a deworming medication.
  8. Other. There are additional causes of foul breath in dogs that don’t commonly occur in puppies but are common in adult dogs. They may include gum disease, periodontal disease, oral tumors, lung cancer, kidney disease, and uncontrolled diabetes (diabetic ketoacidosis). Some pet owners even describe their dogs breath to have a foul fish type odor.  Learn more in Why Does My Dog’s Breath Smell Like Fish?

If you suspect your puppy has any of the problems identified above, is not eating, vomiting, appears lethargic, is coughing, and/or seems painful around the mouth, please see your veterinarian as soon as possible. They can help you evaluate your puppy for abnormalities that can cause bad breath.

How to Help Stop Bad Breath in Puppies

Below are a few tips to help stop bad breath in puppies:

Brush those teeth. One of the best things you can do to help bad breath in puppies is to brush their teeth. Make it a positive experience. Pick out a veterinary approved toothbrush and veterinary toothpaste that has an appealing flavor to your puppy. Start slowly by touching your puppy’s teeth and gums gently and rewarding your puppy with praise for positive behavior.  Learn more about How to Brush Your Dog Teeth. Here is an article on dental products for dogs.

Provide safe chew toys. Ensure your puppy has plenty of safe chew toys that cannot be ingested. Some puppies will chew on and ingest toys, which can lead to life-threatening obstruction in the stomach or intestines. Ensure they are safe for your puppy’s size and are not a choking hazard.

Here’s How to Help a Puppy Who Will Not Eat

Having a puppy that will not eat can be an emergency. Puppies less than three months, especially the small and toy breed dogs, are predisposed to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) when they don’t eat.  Examples of toy breed dogs include Yorkshire terrier, Maltese, Shih tzu, Pomeranian,  Chihuahua, Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Havanese, Italian greyhound, Miniature pinscher, Toy poodle, and Pug.  The inability to regular blood sugar in young dogs is referred to as juvenile hypoglycemia. In fact, there are special care needs for toy breeds. Learn more about Caring for Toy Breed Dogs.

What Do You Do When Your Puppy Will Not Eat?

What do you do when your puppy won’t eat?  Look at our 5 steps below to help your puppy.

Step 1. Look for Why.

The first thing to do is to try to figure out why.  Some reasons a puppy will not eat can be minor and others can be serious and even life-threatening.

Causes for a puppy will not eat include:

  • Gastrointestinal parasites (worms) such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms
  • Viral infections such as parvovirus or coronavirus
  • Intestinal protozoan infections such as Coccidia or Giardia
  • Bacterial infections
  • Ingestion of toxins
  • Stomach upset from a sudden diet change or table foods
  • Getting into the trash and eating spoiled food
  • Ingestion of a foreign body (which is an indigestible object such as sock, toy, panties)
  • Other –congenital problems such as a liver shunt, heart defects, as well as many other problems that can affect organ function

Step 2. Evaluate your puppy.

Carefully look at your puppy for additional symptoms besides the not eating. Look for any underlying causes as well as evaluate your puppy for additional abnormal symptoms. Look for:

  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Worms in the stool
  • Fleas or ticks
  • Lethargy or weakness
  • Trembling, muscle twitching, and seizures
  • Limping
  • Signs of pain or discomfort
  • Coughing or trouble breathing
  • Pale gums

 

Step 3.  Get Help.

Puppies can get sick and go downhill quickly. Don’t wait too long to seek medical help for a puppy that will not eat. If you see any of the signs above, please see or talk to your veterinarian.

Your veterinarian may ask you about exposure to trash or toxins, history of deworming, vaccine history, and additional symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea. They may check your puppies body temperature, check a blood glucose level, perform a fecal examination, as well as other tests depending on your puppies examination and clinical signs.

Step 4. How To Help a Puppy That Will Not Eat

  • Below are tips that can encourage puppies to eat.
  • Begin by offering your puppy his regular food once again. If he refuses, continue on to the next step.
  • Moisten the regular food with water of chicken broth for moisture and flavoring. Sometimes make the food more appealing.
  • Offer different canned puppy foods to help stimulate your puppy’s appetite. The best approach is to add a small amount of canned food to his regular food and hope that he eats the combination of regular food with some of the canned. Canned food can be more palatable and has the additional benefit of having a higher water content which helps with hydration.
  • Feed a bland diet such as a combination of boiled hamburger with rice. You can purchase a commercial version of this diet e.g. Hill’s Science Diet i/d or make your own. Get the recipe here –  How to Make a Bland Diet for Your Puppy.
  • Heat a small amount of canned food in the microwave for a few seconds to release the aromas (but ensure it is not too hot to the touch) to stimulate interest in the food.
  • Offered baby food such as a chicken flavored food.
  • Syringe feed. When mixed with water, baby food or canned dog food mixed with water can be easy to pull up in a syringe to gently syringe feed. Sometimes getting a small amount of food into a dog or puppy can encourage them to want to eat. Please make sure your puppy is alert and has a normal swallowing reflex to minimize the risk for aspiration.
  • Only feed a small amount at a time to ensure your puppy tolerates it and doesn’t start vomiting.
  • Besides food, encourage your puppy to also drink. Ideas include:
    • Give your pet an ice cube to lick
    • Adding an ice cube to the water bowl can encourage some pets to drink
    • Allow your puppy to lick water from your hand or your finger
    • Offer small amounts of Pedialyte®
    • Offer low sodium chicken broth

If you try these tips and your puppy still won’t eat, the best and safest thing is to take your puppy to the veterinarian.  If your pet seems weak, becomes unable to stand, and/or you notice any additional muscle twitching – this is an emergency. This can be a sign of a low blood sugar. This is an emergency situation. Immediately call your veterinarian or closest emergency clinic. To help a low blood sugar, you can rub Karo® syrup on his gums.

Step 5. Avoid It

If you figured out why your puppy wasn’t eating – avoid the same situation in the future.  For example, if your puppy got into the trash, avoid exposure to the trash. If your puppy has worms, make sure you follow the prescribed a treatment and ensure you follow all instructions from your veterinarian.

Additional Articles of Interest Relating to Food for Picky Dogs:

What You Need to Know About Rehoming Puppies

Owning a puppy is a big commitment. And while puppies may seem like a good idea at the time, you may come to learn that you are actually getting more than you bargained for. If you got a new puppy only to find that it isn’t working out, rehoming may be the solution. Rehoming puppies happens for many reasons.  Here are the top 5 reasons for rehoming puppies:

  • Gifting – You received a beautiful new puppy as a Christmas gift or a birthday gift, only to discover that it wasn’t a good fit for you. You may also buy a new puppy as a gift for your children, only to find that they are not responsible enough to care for the puppy.
  • Impulse buy – You noticed the cute little puppy and bought it before having a chance to think through the whole puppy experience.
  • Too big of a commitment – You find that house training and dealing with the needs of a puppy are just too much for you.
  • Allergies – Family members experience pet allergies they didn’t know they had.
  • Other pets – Introducing a new puppy may upset the status quo in your home. Other pets in the home may not get along with the new puppy and this can create a difficult living situation.

There are many reasons you could be looking to rehome a puppy. Whatever the reason, you’ll be happy to know that there are good homes out there with good people who are looking for rehomed puppies. All you have to do is make the right connection.

No doubt you want to ensure that your puppy goes to a good home, so there are several steps you can take when rehoming puppies to ensure a good match. Here are a few things to look for:

  • Make sure the new owners understand the commitment of owning a new puppy, especially if they are a first-time puppy owner.
  • Make sure the puppy will fit into their home life, especially if they have children or other pets in the home.
  • Make sure the new owner has the time and the financial resources to care for a puppy.

Rehoming Puppies

Rehoming a puppy is easier than rehoming a dog. Since the puppy has not spent as much time in your home it will be easier for him to adapt to a new home life with a new family.

A rehomed puppy is more desirable when it is spayed or neutered, and when all of its vaccinations are up to date. By taking care of these things up front, you will increase your chances of being able to find a good home for your puppy.

When looking for a new home for your puppy, start with your inner circle. Speak to friends and family members, neighbor and co-workers. Maybe someone you know would be willing to take the puppy.

Talk to the breeder or the person you bought the puppy from – often times they will be able to help place the puppy in a new home. Talk to your veterinarian. He or she may know of someone who is interested in adopting a new puppy.

If you are still unable to find a new home for your puppy, it’s time to advertise. Make some flyers with a good photo of your puppy. Tell your puppy’s story – what is it about your puppy that makes him special? Describe your puppy’s physical characteristics as well as his personality. Is your puppy good with other household pets? Does your puppy love children? Give as much information as possible to increase your chances of making a connection. Post the flyers in high-traffic areas, like the supermarket, your veterinarian’s office, at work or at school.

Don’t forget about the power of social media. Use your social media accounts to reach out to others. Post your puppy’s photo or a great video, and tell his story. Ask your connections to share the information on their social streams. Look for adoption websites where you can advertise. Ask your local shelter if they have a website where you can post your puppy’s information, or see if they have a newsletter.

Rehoming your puppy to a stranger can be a little daunting. After all, how can you be sure that you are sending your puppy to a good, loving home? When rehoming puppies, it’s good to take some precautions. Ask the right questions to find out if the potential new owner is ready, willing and able to care for your puppy. It’s okay to ask potential owners to fill out an application, and it’s okay for you to ask to see their home before making your decision.

Interested in Owning a Rottweiler? Here’s What You Should Know

If you’re interested in owning a Rottweiler, you should first acquaint yourself with the characteristics of the breed to make sure that it is a good fit for you. While Rottweilers are popular family pets, it is important to understand both the positive and negative characteristics of this breed before deciding to own one.

When choosing a breed, it is best to consider such factors as size, temperament, compatibility and health problems, and to see how this breed would (or would not) fit into your family lifestyle.

About Rottweilers

A Rottweiler is a medium to large dog. Just remember, that cute little puppy will grow into an adult that is about 22 to 27 inches high with an average weight of between 90 to 135 pounds. That’s a lot of dog, and most of it is muscle. The Rottweiler possesses great strength and has a broad, deep chest. It lives for about 10 to 12 years and is genetically predisposed to hip dysplasia.

Rottweilers have short, coarse hair and should be brushed about twice a week. Brushing encourages the growth of new, healthy hair and removes older hair that is ready to shed. Brushing also allows you to bond with your Rottweiler. Beginning this regimen while your pet is a puppy is an excellent way to begin a close, trusting relationship.

Rottweilers are prone to obesity. It is important that your Rottweiler gets enough exercise and eats a healthy diet.

The Rottweiler is an intelligent dog. They are strong, powerful and fearless, making them good watchdogs. The Rottweiler is an extremely loyal dog and will instinctively guard his family and territory.

With the right training, the Rottweiler is a wonderful companion. But without continued socialization, companionship, supervision and obedience training a Rottweiler can be too much dog for many households.

The breed is considered a working dog and guardian, and it is believed to be a descendant of the herding drover dogs of the ancient Romans. This is a breed that needs a job to be happy. They do well as police dogs and therapy dogs. You have to keep a Rottweiler entertained with physical activities, especially walks, exercise and outdoor activity. Without these needed distractions, a bored Rottweiler may become destructive.

With Rottweilers it is important to remember that they need extensive and continuous socialization to be good family companions. Training should start as a puppy, as early as six weeks of age.

Rottweilers have a reputation for being a dangerous dog, but this dog will only become vicious if it is trained to be that way. Still, certain regions have passed legislation banning this breed; so make sure to check for local regulations before you purchase a Rottweiler. In addition to legal regulations, you may also have trouble getting renting a home or getting a homeowners insurance policy if you own a Rottweiler.

Owning a Rottweiler

If you’re interested in owning a Rottweiler, do your homework. Buy from a reputable breeder. Learn all that you can about the breed. When looking for the right Rottweiler, do a careful search to avoid over-aggressive or unstable lines. Observe the dog’s behavior and ask the right questions.

Raising a Rottweiler from a puppy allows you to train and socialize him. If a Rottweiler puppy is raised with children, friends and other pets it is more likely that he will become a well-socialized dog.

It is important that you commit to training your Rottweiler and that you be very consistent. Most Rottweilers are inclined to be dominant but they will respect an assertive owner who knows how to lead a strong-minded dog. You’ll need to teach your Rottweiler puppy social skills and to harness his natural territorial instincts in a positive way.

Young Rottweilers can be very rambunctious. They are rowdy and enthusiastic jumpers. Unsupervised, they can become nuisance barkers and diggers.

If a young Rottweiler is raised with other pets in the home, they are usually good with them, but Rottweilers can be very aggressive toward other dogs of the same sex – and they can see cats as prey.

A Rottweiler may not be a good choice for first-time dog owners. If you are fully committed to training and socializing your Rottweiler puppy, it can become a very loyal and loving companion and a great family pet.

If you are interested in owning a Rottweiler, take the time to familiarize yourself with characteristics of this breed and make sure they are a good fit for you and your family. Owning a Rottweiler requires a commitment to training and socialization, so make sure that you are prepared to put in the required effort.

Learn More About Rottweilers

To learn more about this amazing breed, go to:

 

10 Thoughts You Have After Adopting A Puppy

Adopting a puppy is a thrilling experience, but it is also a time that is filled with a variety of questions. Especially if it’s your first puppy. Before you bring home a puppy, there’s a number of things you’ll want to do to ensure you have everything you need when you bring the puppy home. Once you do bring home your puppy and are enjoying playing with her, you might observe some behaviors that make you curious.

This article features some of the common thoughts new puppy owners experience in the first few days of owning a puppy.

This Puppy is SOOOO Cute!

Bringing home a puppy is an absolute joy. The first few hours you have with your new puppy at home will feel like they’re moving in slow motion. The adorable little pup will do basic things like run across the room or fall asleep in your lap, but these things will tug at your heartstrings and seem like the cutest acts you’ve ever scene. Enjoy these puppy moments.

 I Thought Cats Were the Curious Ones?

Your new puppy is going to be curious to check out your her new home. They’ll range throughout your home smelling and exploring all the rooms, objects, and potential napping locations you have to offer.

Is She Supposed to Sleep This Much?

You’ll likely be surprised how much your little puppy is sleeping. While you’ll want to cuddle and play with your new puppy as much as possible, your puppy does require plenty of shut eye. A puppy needs to get about 18-19 hours of sleep a day, so you’re going to notice her taking plenty of naps.

Ouch! His Little Teeth Hurt!

Biting is common for little puppies. When they were still living with their mothers, puppies will often play-bite with their littermates. Because of this positive playing with their littermates, many puppies will play-bite with their pet owners thinking it’s fun for each of you. Here’s a guide for training your puppy to stop biting.

Why Doesn’t She Want to Go in Her Crate at Night?

When it’s time for bed and you go to place your new pup in her crate, you might face some pushback. If so, no worries it’s normal. Here are some tips on crate training your puppy.

How Often Should I Be Taking Her Outside?

Typically you should be taking your puppy outside to use the bathroom shortly after she eats. If she’s alone during the days when you’re at work, taking her out for a long walk once you get home is a great way for her to get some energy out.

How Long Until She Starts Listening To Me?

Puppies are cute to look at, fun to play with, and great to cuddle with. But, they do lack the skills to listen to commands. At least at first. Here’s a guide to start teaching your puppy basic commands.

Can I introduce My Puppy To My Friends? And Their Pets?

You’re going to be excited to show off your new puppy. Snapping adorable pics on your social media accounts will only get you so far. Conditioning your puppy to get use to being around other humans and pets is called socialization.

Some puppies will adapt to the company of others rather quickly and seamlessly. Others will take a while. It largely depends on the type of environment your puppy grew up in. Regardless of how prepared your puppy has been for socializing with humans and other pets, there are good and bad puppy socialization methods that owners should be aware of.

That’s Not the Bathroom!

It’s inevitable that your puppy is going to have some accidents early on. The tremendous sense of smell, and preference towards habits, will make cleaning up after these accidents essential for you as a pet owner. If your puppy can identify the stench of their urine, they’re likely to repeat the accident in a similar spot. Here’s some tips for getting rid of puppy urine smell.

She Seems Perfectly Healthy, But How Can I Be Sure?

You’ll want to set up an appointment with a nearby vet shortly after you bring home your puppy. You’ll want a vet to give your puppy a full examination to make sure she is in good health and to set up a schedule for the necessary vaccinations your puppy will need.