Can I Visit the Puppies?

When I have a litter I get asked that question many times a day, not just from puppy families but from friends, neighbors and even strangers that have heard that I have a litter of puppies.  In my heart I really wish I could share this special time with everyone, but for the safety and well being of the puppies and their mother, I have to tell people "I'm sorry, but no."  I know this is hard especially for the families who are excited about getting their new family member and want so much to see them. I hope you understand that my puppies are more important to me than the chance of losing a prospective family for not allowing a visit.  

 When a puppy is born, they are called neonates and are considered premature.  Their ears and eyes are sealed shut, so they are both deaf and blind and depend on their sense of smell to find their mother.  They cannot maintain their own body temperature, and are dependent on their mother and the warming light to keep warm.  A puppy that becomes chilled will become sick and can pass away within hours. In addition a neonate puppy depends on its mother to lick their stomach to help them digest her milk and stimulate them to urinate and defecate.  For the first 10 days the puppies are totally helpless and dependant on their mother and my help.  It is important that I keep things clean, quiet and stress free for the puppies, their mother and myself.  Remember I have been through this all with my girl....I am her nurse and her mid wife, as well as her loving owner.   She has just given birth over many long hours, hopefully a smooth delivery with no trip to the vet for intervention.  This maybe her first litter or she may have had a litter before, but she is tired (as well as I am) and needs to settle into her job of being a wonderful mother to 1-12 puppies, who can be very demanding on being fed or "having their diapers changed"....and of course everyone needs this done at the same time.  Having people come into my home can upset the mother; she is going to be very protective over her "babies" especially if she does not know who are. This can cause stress and affect her ability to produce milk, or create the possibility of a puppy getting hurt if she stands quickly or tries to move them to a safe place.  There are other things a mother can do to a litter if she is stressed, which I shudder to even think about  and is one of the reasons I stay with my girls, sleeping right next to the whelping box for weeks following their birth.

A puppies immunity is dependent on their mothers colostrum ( first milk) when they are born and her milk that follows the colostrum.  At 2 1/2 to 3 weeks I normally start to wean the puppies to puppy food.  When the puppies start to eat regular food, the need of their mother's milk decreases; this also means their immunity starts to decrease, making them susceptible to illness that their mother has protected them from.    Most illnesses and diseases are innocently carried on people’s shoes and clothing and can be harmful for days if not weeks after exposure. Entire litters of puppies can be wiped out within hours by diseases such as the "parvo virus". These diseases can be picked up unknowingly by people in a school yard, a park, on a sidewalk, at the corner store or even the neighbor’s yard. I will not take the risk of exposing my dogs and my puppies to diseases that could cause them to become ill or cost them their life.  Remember if you are getting a puppy from me, I am also doing this to protect the puppy you are getting.    Yes, I have heard that pet stores, other breeders, or other kennels let families visit puppies; the reality is that their number one concern is selling that puppy. Just because someone allows you to see the puppy, it does not indicate the quality of that puppy, where it is raised or the time and care that has been put into that puppy, that can effect the puppy throughout the it’s lifetime.

When the litter of puppies has received their first vaccine, I will consider allowing the families to come meet the puppies.  This is also dependant on how the puppies have responded to their vaccine.  If I believe any of the puppies are ill, visits will be postponed. (sometimes a  reaction to the vaccine may occur- a vaccine is actually giving the puppy a weak dose of the disease so the puppy can build up an resistance to that disease)  I generally will invite the families to a "Puppy Party" open house held during the weekend following the puppies vaccine.  This gives everyone a chance to interact with all the puppies and their mother.

 Attendees will need to follow these instructions:

  • Wear freshly laundered clothing, that you do not mind getting dirty.
    You will be on the floor/ground playing with the puppies.
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  • Come directly from your home for the visit, do not stop and get out of your car on your way for any reason.
    If you need to stop to eat, please go through the drive through.
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  • Upon arrival you will be need to sanitize your shoes.
    ( dip soles in bleach water or spray the soles of your shoes)
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  • Before being able to pet or handle puppies you will need to wash your hands.
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  • This visit is for families only, please do not bring your neighbors or their children.
    Yes, you may bring Grandparents or significant others.
  • Please remind children that puppies get excited and may nip.
    They are not allowed to strike a puppy, for any reason.
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  • Children must be seated to hold a puppy; they are not allowed to carry the puppy around.
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  •  This is a visit only; you will not be picking your puppy that day.
    Please interact with all the puppies and do not get your heart set on just one.
    Choosing puppies will happen the day the puppies go home in the order I received deposit.