Fifty pounds of puppy

Today Kate told me that Bronte was still looking thin.

I said, “Oh dear – what is she eating?”

“Everything I can get into her!”

“Well, I don’t know; that concerns me a bit,” I said, worried. “She should be putting on a lot more weight now that the puppies are weaned.”

“Oh, no, she’s still nursing them,” she said.

“She IS? Well, that’s OK, nursing a couple times a day shouldn’t be draining her that much.”

“Oh, no, they nurse about every hour,” was Kate’s reply.

At this point a high-pitched wheeze escaped me. “Are you serious? But she doesn’t have any milk still, does she?”

“Well, they were nursing earlier, and the one underneath got all soaking wet because the milk dripped all over her head.”




That bitch is still SUSTAINING eight puppies at eight weeks old. Fifty pounds of puppy off a 33-lb bitch. They are at about 500 calories a day now, so even with the food they’re eating she’s probably giving them a couple thousand calories every single day. NO WONDER she’s still thin. And holy heck, she is the most giving brood bitch I’ve ever seen.

I’m bringing back from NY the puppies who belong here on the coast; they’ll be meeting their owners on the Tuesday after Memorial Day. The plan has always been for me to take Bronte home with me as well, to get my own hip x-rays for her (she was already checked, but I am building a library of hips and I want every Cardi who lives or has lived with me to get a film at my vet’s, so I know they’re consistent). The thought was that I’d bring her back to NY within a few days, but Kate and I have decided that poor Brontosaurus doesn’t know what’s good for her and she’ll probably NEVER wean as long as she has access to her puppies. 

So Bronte is coming back with me to go to Club Med – I’ll make sure she’s dried off safely (with that much production I’m worried about mastitis), we’ll feed the heck out of her, we’ll pamper and massage and play with Clue and have long conversations about puppies. When she’s well back on her feet and gaining not only weight but bulk, we’ll meet Kate again and get her back to NY. I think it’ll be a really good vacation for everybody – I get Bronte back for a little while, Kate’s puppies have to learn to look to her and not to Bronte, and everybody sighs and sits back and relaxes after the incredible frenzy of looking after puppies so intensely for so long. 

I’m really looking forward to it, probably more than I should :D.

Many, many pictures to come, of course!


(PS: Kate didn’t do anything wrong by letting her continue to nurse – if anything, it was poor mentoring on my part because after Kate started solids with them I told her to just follow Bronte’s signals and to increase their feeds as the nursing decreased. The only problem is that every other bitch I’ve ever even HEARD of dries the puppies off pretty much by force by six or seven weeks at the most. I had one that still let my keeper puppy nurse for a few moments at a time after 8 weeks, but that puppy was just sucking on skin by that point – there was no milk there. Bronte is not only still letting them nurse, she’s standing patiently until they’re completely done. Next time, we’ll know better and we’ll stagger the weaning and separation more deliberately.)


8 thoughts on “Fifty pounds of puppy

  1. Aw, as an AP mom, I can’t help but think, “She’s so nurturing!” LOL. Is it going to be traumatizing for Ella (or any of the pups) to wean rapidly?

  2. Also, I’m bringing about… oh, an entire notebook full of questions. I’m hoping that in the few hours I’m with you and Kate, some of your knowledge will get to me through osmosis! (Yes, dear readers, I’m meeting Joanna and Kate! Whee! On my birthday! Best present evah!)

  3. awwwwww, sounds like Bronte took the “breast is best” stuff to heart! 😉 LOL, she must’ve been listening to you all this time. You weren’t kidding about her temperament, were you? I’m sitting here and I can’t help but smile even tho I now know it’s probably not good for her to still be nursing her pups. I’m surprised tho to find out that dogs wean so early. (see, I know nothing about puppies or dog-breeding!)

    Maybe Bronte’s a SuperBitch!

  4. Erika – No, it won’t be traumatic for them to wean. They’re at least two weeks over the normal weaning time anyway. Puppies don’t nurse for comfort; it’s all about voracious feeding. As long as they’re given the calories they need in other forms, they’ll make the adjustment just fine.

    Bronte will be VERY glad to be rid of them, I think – she has been the best mom in the world but her body has pretty much eaten itself to put everything in milk. The only danger to her is mastitis, so I’ll watch her carefully and use cabbage leaves (yes, they work on dogs too!). I’ll be building up not just fat but muscle, and probably supplementing calcium (they leach calcium from their bones to put it into the milk, so by this point she’s probably critically low) to get her all back to where she needs to be.

    Dogs are built to lose weight and gain weight fast – I’ll post pictures and you’ll be shocked by how fast the weight and bulk come back on.

    Micaela – normally the moms are running and hiding from the puppies by the time they’re about four weeks old. They begin to go in only to give them a quick sip and then shake them off and run. By six or seven weeks the puppies are usually totally weaned, though they will still try to mob the mom if they can find her.

  5. She DOES have the best temperament, and GoGo too (if you ever meet them you’ll see!) and these puppies… ::gush:: I can’t stop gushing. I am just so amazed, especially after seeing so many wierd, freaky temperaments on Cardigans. And then I see them all trying to follow the FedEx guy home, and climbing into the lap of anyone who sits of the floor, and my heart swells and I feel SOOO proud.

  6. Pingback: Fifty pounds of puppy « Ruffly Speaking: Railing against idiocy … « Dog dayz Blog

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