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19 November 2010

As the puppies grow bigger, their sucking reflex gets stronger.  They now eat more (usually) and they are sucking on everything, especially since they are also teething.  "Sucking on everything" includes each other.   If they had a mother, they would be permanently attached to her underbelly, but since they don't they have attached themselves to each other.  Max is a logical subject, having a prominent body part, of course.  The girls have smooth bellies, so it's more difficult to find something to latch onto.

I've had this situation with every litter of pups.   Originally Ashley told me to keep them separate, but then she checked with a vet years ago who said that the comfort they received was more important than any "bad stuff" they might be ingesting.

So I've let each litter suck on each other ever since.  

The family hosting the 3 siblings of this group said they had to separate the puppies because of sucking.  I told them what I had been told a few years ago and got the following response:

It is true they do get comfort from the sucking and the urine is sterile, so the one doing the sucking is just fine. However the one being sucked on is the one in danger of a few things... puppies can suck very very hard so the pee-pee area gets swollen and pretty inflamed. The sucking is not pleasant for one being sucked on, it is painful. After some time going to the bathroom burns. The saliva from the one doing the sucking is definitely not sterile and can cause an infection... this is especially true for males. Through the years dealing with kittens and puppies alike I found that if you separate them they actually calm down and stay asleep for longer periods of time. They do not whine as much. They also stay much cleaner and dryer.

I figured she could do it her way and I'd do it the way I always had, but then I took a look at their bottoms and bellies.

RedBottoms.jpg (45074 bytes)

It was clear that these guys sucked much harder than any of our other puppies and I decided that the other mom was right--they needed to be separated.

So our little one-cage, puppy dormitory has now become a 3-cage puppy condo.

PuppyCondo.jpg (100121 bytes)

Each unit comes with its own mama teddy bear. 

Unfortunately, so far this hasn't resulted in them calming down more or sleeping longer.  In fact, just the opposite.  Laverne put up such a fuss after being fed and letting her suck on my finger for a long time, that I finally decided to put her in with Patty.  The two immediately took after each other like they were both in heat and the sucking began immediately, so I moved Laverne back to her own condo.

Then Max, who had just finished a full bottle, set up a cry too.   Now that their eyes are opened, they can see us and I guess that reminds us that they want to be with us.  I finally got them all calmed down to covering the cages with towels so they can't see what's going on.

As of this writing, all is calm and quiet.  I'm hoping that in a day or two, the bellies and bottoms will start looking normal again.  Heck, my arm is all scratched up from those sharp little claws--I can just imagine what pain it causes to tender bellies, along with the powerful sucking!

When they get a bit bigger and able to play with each other, I'll give them periods of time when they will be together--and when they start eating solids, they can be together, because the sucking reflex will start to disappear.

I hope.


Pattysm.jpg (83860 bytes)

Patty has freckles on her nose


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