Saturday, August 2, 2014

Struggle in the Whelping Room

There is a struggle going on in the whelping room. These 10 spirited tiny canines may be blind and deaf, but they are certainly not helpless!

Newborn puppies are born functionally deaf and blind with their ear canals and eyelids sealed shut.  They are essentially mostly mouth and programmed instinctively to do one thing: eat. At all costs.

Cinder and her family resting on day two
The gestation period for dogs is short: just 63 days on average. Dogs are hunters by nature, and part of the reason they are born deaf and blind can be explained by their hunting instinct. Simply put, getting the pups out of the mother's belly and onto the ground as quickly as possible aids in mom's ability to hunt and feed herself and her offspring. When pups are born, their eyes, ears and critical parts of their brain are still forming. Despite their birth, the eyes, brain and hearing still needs about another 10 days to two weeks to develop. Even when the eyes and ears do open, they're not perfectly formed yet and will require another few weeks to fully develop.

Newborn puppies are born deaf and blind. Pictured here is Halo, center gray pup

Cinder's pregnancy lasted exactly 63 days from the first breeding. But her kids are hardwired for survival, as this video will show. Right now, 10 pups are competing for eight nipples, and sometimes things get tense. Even while nursing, the puppies growl and push each other off the nipple, each jockeying for the lion's share of Cinder's milk.

from the whelping room. Kinda...grrr!