The Finesse Way
Your Puppy's Environment
We believe producing high quality puppies comes down to three main factors: health testing, nutrition, and environment. When it comes to the environment your puppy is raised in, we prioritize cleanliness, family life, and enrichment programs designed to set your puppy up for success. All our puppies are raised inside our home as part of the family. They are never left unsupervised. As our puppies grow, we change our puppy areas to accommodate their growth by expanding play pens and introducing new enrichment toys. By the time your puppy is 5 ½ weeks they are introduced to outdoor areas of our home with different surfaces and play sets. Some of which include dog ramps, Little Tikes Climber toys, artificial turf, cement, rubber mulch, stairs, etc. We also follow the BadAss Breeder program which primarily focuses on intentional and purposeful curriculum and handling that creates confident puppies that learn the world is safe, people are kind and dogs are friendly (Forrey, 2020). All of which results in confident puppies ready for family life.
Before our Mama dogs give birth, we slowly begin introducing them to their whelping area. It is important our dams feel safe and comfortable in their whelping area. Our whelping area always includes a small utility cart stocked with whelping supplies, a whelping box with pig rails to prevent puppies from being squished, heating pads, Nest Camera, an area our mama dog can take breaks from her litter, and a feeding station for our mama dog. We always ensure the area is spacious enough for both our dams and us – we love to be able to sit with mom and comfort her throughout the day. By day 3 of your puppy’s life, we begin Early Scent Introduction and continue until day 16.
The most critical and vulnerable time for puppies is during their neonate period (0-2 weeks old). From the moment a puppy is born, it is crucial they are always kept warm- puppies cannot regulate their own temperature. To assist our mom dogs and puppies during the neonate period, we use our top-rated Puppy Warmer Incubator and Oxygen concentrator (which includes a nebulizer) to keep our puppies in optimal internal temperature and provide them with adequate oxygen levels. Both our Puppy Warmer and Oxygen concentrator are portable which allows us to use it when we transport newborn puppies to their first vet appointment or in case of emergencies (i.e., cesarian section).
3-3 1/2 weeks
By the time your puppy reaches 3 – 3 ½ weeks, they begin starting to walk and wanting to climb out of their whelping box. At this time, we remove the whelping utility cart. We place EZ Whelp pads on top of Weather Tech Tiles to ensure the EZ Whelp pads stay in place and provide adequate traction. We allow the puppies to leave the whelping box for periods of time to practice their walking and begin introducing toys and pee pads. By the end of week 3, your puppy can already hear. We begin introducing common everyday noises (ex. vacuum, cars passing by, thunderstorm, train, people talking, etc.)
During your puppy’s 4th week, we remove the whelping box, add new toys, and Lixit Water bottles. During this period, your puppy begins learning to use the pee pads as an area to relieve themselves. By the time your puppy reaches 5 ½ weeks, we expand their play area while maintaining the same set up.
6 1/2-9 weeks
At this time, your puppy’s play area is expanded to 20’X12’. This gives us enough room to begin introducing crates inside their play area, a ball pit (Little tikes Turtle Sandbox filled with ball pit balls) and other enrichment toys throughout the day. All puppies remain in their puppy area during the night but are periodically taken outside throughout the day or allowed to roam parts of our house with supervision.
Raising puppies = messes
It is very important the area your puppy is raised in is properly cleaned and disinfected. As adorable as puppies are, they can be very messy! Spilling their food and water everywhere, to stepping on their own feces while they are pooping.
To minimize the spread of any pathogens, we follow a very thorough cleaning protocol recommended by VIROX. Whelping areas and puppy play areas are cleaned at least 2 times a day using RESCUE (a veterinarian grade accelerated hydrogen peroxide surface disinfectant). Beddings and toys are washed daily or as needed on a sanitize cycle. After cleaning all surfaces using RESCUE, floors, crates, play pen panels, and other high traffic areas are steamed using the DUPRAY Commercial Steam Cleaner (345 degrees Fahrenheit steam),
killing any remaining bacteria, pathogens, protozoa and other bio matter on contact. Puppies are given baths as needed. However, paws, bellies, and rear ends are wiped daily with chlorhexidine wipes to reduce the spread of any protozoa or parasite eggs.
All outdoor surfaces, including artificial grass, dog ramps, concrete, etc. are sprayed after each use with our WysiWash Sanitizing System (EPA approved, safe use around animals and humans). This helps prevent the transmission of pathogens outside and prevents the buildup of microorganisms.
In House Fecal Testing
We recently purchased a research grade microscope, centrifuge, and fecal parasite flotation kit for our in-house fecal testing. Proper parasite control is one of key elements to raising healthy puppies. Although all dogs carry dormant forms of parasites, parasites become activated during times of stress or pregnancy, and are passed down to puppies. As such, it is believed all puppies are born with parasites.
Before breeding and as part of our prenatal / postnatal care, we routinely deworm our dams. All puppies are placed on our parasite prevention treatment plans beginning at the age of 14 days. To better assist us, we use fecal flotations to determine if puppies have any parasites, and if so, determine which parasites are present in their fecal.
By doing so, we can best adjust our deworming treatment plans by targeting specific parasites, instead of broadly treating for multiple parasites, and risk overtreating our puppies. Fecals are tested every two - three weeks depending on treatment plans. After retesting, we adjust deworming medications, based on fecal flotation results.