Dog - Breeding for Owners 8. Homing the Puppies and Vaccinations
When will I be able to home the puppies?
Puppies should not go to new homes under the age of six weeks, except in special circumstances. From the point of view of socialisation and bonding the sooner the puppy goes to a new home the better. If homes have not already been secured advertising should be directed to ensure that the puppies are rehomed by the time they are 8 weeks old.
What about vaccinations? Should I keep the pups until this has been completed?
Puppies are provided with some immunity to the major canine diseases from their mother before and shortly after birth. This is particularly true if the dam’s vaccinations are up to date. Some of the mother’s antibodies cross the placenta and enter the puppy’s circulation but most of the protection comes from the mother’s milk, particularly the first milk or colostrum. These maternal antibodies protect puppies against diseases to which the mother is immune. It is for this reason that it is important to ensure that any booster inoculations are administered prior to mating your bitch.
The protection afforded by maternal antibodies depends on many factors and sometimes wanes as early as 5 to 6 weeks whereas in other litters it can last until they are over 12 weeks old. It is therefore worthwhile discussing this with us before the litter leaves. It may be worthwhile considering administration of a first vaccine prior to going to their new homes. We will supply the necessary certificate and instructions regarding further vaccination. See handout Puppy vaccination.
What about my bitch? Do I have to do anything to dry up her milk supply?
From approximately three weeks, as you start to wean the puppies they should be feeding gradually less and less from the bitch. She will be happy to leave the nest for longer periods and depending on her breed or type will probably enjoy increased periods of exercise. At the same time her milk supply should be diminishing naturally and in consequence the frequency and quantity of food should also be decreased.
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