Litter of 4-5 week old puppies, need suggestions please

Discussion in 'Puppy Forum' started by incognito, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. incognito

    incognito New Member

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    I am fostering a litter of 4-5 week old puppies and I cannot get ahold of anyone at the shelter that has any helpful advice (or even a nice attitude). I have called and sent emails and nothing. Anyhow, I need some suggestions on how to keep these guys clean. I have 4 males and 1 female that are small mixed breeds. I currently have them in a exercise pen that is roughly 32x64 inches. I have been using newspaper on the ground and keep their food and box on one end and am hoping they will figure out to poop and pee on the other end. I have the food/bedding on the closest end to the room entry so they don't trample through poo to come see me (they are in the kitchen where we have tile floors). They poop everywhere, even in their food bowls. Then they walk in it and their bedding gets poopy and even the baby pen sides are covered in poop. I can keep it relatively clean during the day but oh my gosh, it is messy when I wake up in the morning. I had to just give them all baths this morning because half of them had poop on their heads from I'm sure their siblings walking on them. I have considered buying pee pads but that would get very expensive since the entire floor will have to be covered and changed several times throughout the day.
    Is this just because of their age? I know they never got taken out at the shelter and they were so nasty when I brought them home, just permeated poop smell coming from them. My house just reeks and I am hoping no one asks to come over for the next 3-4 weeks that I have them. I know one thing, I need to photograph all of this to show anyone I ever meet that wants to breed their dogs. Totally disgusting! I wish they could wear diapers like babies, lol.
    Also, any other tips are welcome. They are on Wellness grain-free dry, puppy milk in a saucer, and are switching from Pedigree canned to something higher quality today until they can eat dry all the time. They are in the middle of being wormed. I am only fostering them until they are 8 weeks old and can go back to the shelter to get adopted. The shelter said they were going to put them to sleep since they are younger than 8 weeks. I have been told they are 4 weeks by one employee & 5 weeks by another so I really don't know how old they are. They all have very sharp teeth and will bite at my pant legs. They play and explore. They snack on the dry food. I do plan to bring them back to the shelter to get checked out by the vet later on in the week as I suspect they have demodex mange and to see if they can tell me how old they actually are.
    They are all very cute and my kids are really enjoying helping me out. We do not plan on keeping any of them but my husband & I both know that could change at any moment, lol. The only girl is very tiny and is brindle & reminds me of a chihuahua. Two of the boys are tan with white and the other two are black with white and brown feet. Their mom was a mix that came from a owner surrender of 21 total dogs. She was brindle and resembled a greyhound but small but she was totally a mutt. She had 3 other puppies but a different person took them home to foster. The momma already got put down.
    Sorry this is so long!!
     
  2. Kat09Tails

    Kat09Tails *Now with Snark*

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    Get a secure large pen (your pen sounds small) and move them outdoors for a good deal of the day if you can so long as you have a safe location and the weather doesn't completely suck. The smell isn't good for you and it's not good for them so really you'll just have to do your best to keep up on it.

    For indoors try to find an X pen and a kiddy wading pool, medium wood chips (avoid sawdust) or paper bedding, and a shop vac. The X pen should just stretch around the kidding wading pool, it'll protect your floor, and be much easier to sanitize. Just newspaper at this age isn't going to cut it as it would barely cut it for a single pup.

    Cleaning up after litters at this age is just gross. No getting around it other than you will be cleaning up after them frequently and that's just how puppies work. Try to give them as much space as you can and they will learn eventually how to keep themselves clean. If it gets too overwhelming you can split the litter again with another foster family.
     
  3. incognito

    incognito New Member

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    That is a good idea with the kiddie wading pool inside the pen, I wonder if the ones at Walmart are the right dimensions to fit inside the pen I have. Each panel is 32 inches and I have it set up so they have one panel by two panels worth of room. I will check that out! Thanks for the tip. I am leary about leaving them outside, is that really okay for puppies? My two dogs are indoors and I have never left them outside alone for more than 20 minutes. They both hate being outside though. I can try to work on a play yard for them though for at least part of the day.
    Anything to make this more workable though. Since I only have them for a few weeks I will try to make it work. I know I will not be volunteering for this many puppies every again and I wish the people at the shelter had better prepared me. I know it is my fault for not considering this though. I am going to make the best of it though. Thanks again for the kiddie pool idea though, so smart!!
     
  4. incognito

    incognito New Member

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    Okay, I got the kiddie pool and set it up. So far I like the set up much better. Plus they are out of my kitchen and in the dining room so that is bonus. I tried letting them play in the playpen outside while I set up their new home but they hated it and cried to get out. I let them out and had the kids watch them while I finished up their spot. Then I made sure there were no spots in the fence that they could squeeze through and I feel okay letting them play out there for a bit. I don't want to let them cry it out outside because it may tick of my neighbors.
    Is there any way I can tell if they are 4 or 5 weeks old? I tried googling it but I couldn't really find anything helpful. They have all of their sharp little teeth and are eating very well.
     
  5. ~Tucker&Me~

    ~Tucker&Me~ and Spy.

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    I don't know enough about young puppies to give advice but thanks so much for doing what you are doing. You are making a huge difference in the lives of these puppies, and doing a very very kind thing :)

    Poor momma dog :( They just didn't have the space?
     
  6. Kat09Tails

    Kat09Tails *Now with Snark*

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    You're probably at 5ish weeks. That's usually when they begin the rampant chewing stage.
     
  7. Kyllobernese

    Kyllobernese Member

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    I would be inclined to take them off the milk and just give them water. The milk along with the canned food is probably making their stool very loose as it should be firm enough that you can just pick it up. I would also gradually switch them over to a dry food. Just make sure they have water available at all times. What size pups are they?

    I usually start my puppies on soaked dry puppy food and gradually change them over to all dry. I have never fed puppies milk, the only milk they ever got was from their mother. If their stool is so loose that they are tracking it all over it is probably their diet.

    My last few litters I have litter box trained them using wood pellets and that has made it so much easier.
     
  8. ThoseWordsAtBest

    ThoseWordsAtBest Wu-Tang Steph

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    With our shelter litters, we are big fans of TARPS! Kiddie pools, x-pens, and tarps are a savior in cleaning up after these guys. Some litters are neat, others love to trample in their poop. I've been most successful in the past with the handful of foster litters I was crazy enough to take with an x-ray, a large dog crate, and a tarp under neath every thing. Most have just flocked to sleeping inside the open crate and pooping every where else outside.

    At that age I would also skip out on the milk and just soak dry food like others have suggested. I'm sorry you're having a bad experience with that shelter. :(
     
  9. stardogs

    stardogs Behavior Nerd

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    Puppies are messy at this stage! When I fostered a small litter a few years ago I found it very helpful to layer the papers thickly vs just what I needed for one change. This way I could just lift up a couple layers when I needed to spot clean vs having to try to put down more after lifting up the current stuff. I changed the paper completely about once a day.
     
  10. incognito

    incognito New Member

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    Well, the kiddie pool really was the best advice ever! Unfortunately, I did not know it but they had distemper when I brought them home and they just got worse and worse. The shelter vet said it was kennel cough & we treated with antibiotics. On Monday the shelter vet recommended putting them all down. It was just awful. One was showing neuro signs, one was very lethargic, one was about a day behind and the other two were about three days behind. It was worth all the effort and love but it was so hard. I am a lot better today but I was just sick all day Monday and Tuesday.
    Thank you for your advice, it helped make the 2 weeks I had them a whole lot easier.
     
  11. smkie

    smkie pointer/labrador/terrier Staff Member

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    I am so terribly sorry, for all the heart break. (((((HUGS and HUGS))))))))) for trying so hard on their behalf.
     
  12. incognito

    incognito New Member

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    Thank you. It sure was a life lesson. I knew vaccines were important but now I have first hand knowledge why. I don't think I'd ever pull puppies from the shelter again, I'd pull them before they go to the back. Our shelter sends out pleas for puppy fosters when they come in so they don't have to go to the back and get exposed but the ones I got had been there for at least 2 weeks. I decided to foster an adult dog next, didn't want to put my kids through that again so soon. He's a great dane/hound mix. He may be a foster failure. I really like him and so does my husband. He just needs some manners. He doesn't know "no" or "settle" or "get back" or anything. He obviously came from a home because he is housetrained but it is odd he knows no commands. I'm heading over the the training forum to get some ideas and hopefully find some book or website recommendations for training.
     
  13. Freehold

    Freehold New Member

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    Puppies are really hard when they come from shelters like that. Unhealthy moms, unclean birthing and living environments, weaned too young, sadly the risk of serious infections like Parvo or distemper is high. Also once you've had them come home with that the virus can remain in your home for an extended time afterwards. The best solution would be to remove the moms from the shelter before giving birth then treat the whole litter in isolation until everyone is cleared as healthy.

    Honestly when you described the mess I was wondering if they might be sick. It's not normal for puppies to be quite as messy as you described. Although I also suspected being removed from their mom too soon and unclean environment prior to weaning might have caused the bad habits too.

    Sorry for your loss. Hopefully your Dane x settles in well and whether he stays or goes ends up a happy boy :)
     

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