In early 2016 our family made the decision to mate our beloved 2½ year old female Cavalier Maltese cross “Bundty”.
So named after a lovely little Bundt cake she had proved to be a beautiful calm dog often seen around Dunsborough Vets or out on school visits. Because of her lovely nature (both with people and other dogs) and robust health, which for most dog owners are the two things of utmost importance, the family decided to have a litter of pups with her so that friends and family could have their own little bit of her.
Along with Tessa, our behavioural dog trainer, we decided to mate her with a Miniature Schnauzer because of that breeds lovely nature and robust health as well.
Meet Bundty...A Mother's Journey
We decided to mate Bundty with a pure bred Schnazuer male called “Sam” from Bakers Hill north-east of Perth. Through observing her for signs of oestrous or “heat”, checking the cytology (cells under the microscope) from the lining of her vagina, and measuring her blood progesterone level we were able to time the trip to Bakers Hill perfectly. Thankfully Bundty and Sam got along famously and were seen to mate three times over her six day stay.
Within a couple of weeks of her return we noticed that her nipples were becoming more pronounced and darker in colour and she became even more loving than normal. She was still eating and exercising as normal and was very happy. About twenty days after mating we performed an ultrasound to confirm that she was pregnant and this showed that there were multiple embryonic vesicles (pregnancies) present.
Then, 7 days later we re-ultrasound' her and were able to identify healthy pups with normal strong heartbeats.
During her last 2 weeks of pregnancy she kept her daily walks up but only 30 – 40 minutes once daily rather than twice daily.
She became a bit fussier with her food in the last fortnight of her pregnancy and needed to be fed 4-5 small meals daily, including lots of barbecue chicken and good quality puppy biscuits.
In the evening of the 59th day after her first mating she refused to go for her evening walk which is very rare.
The following morning she refused breakfast but then had a small amount of mince for lunch which she promptly vomited up.
All five pups proved to be very contented, fed well from day one and rarely cried. Their eyes began opening at about day twelve after birth and by day sixteen all pups had their eyes fully open.
They were all able to walk around from about day twenty of life and from day twenty-five on wards began to run and jump and explore the world!!
All Bundty’s pups were wormed regularly and received their first vaccination at six weeks of age. We spent a lot of time conditioning them to many of life’s strange noises and routines so they would be given the best chance of settling in to their new homes.
They went to their new homes at about ten weeks of age.
Her pregnancy was uneventful but she did start leaking clear sticky mucus from her vulva at about forty days pregnancy. Normal gestation for a bitch is sixty three days but anywhere from fifty eight days is within acceptable limits for normal.
At about day fifty we took two X-Rays to see if we could identify the number and size of the pups. Can you?
At about 6.30 pm she was noticed to be a bit restless and panting a lot. At 7pm she obviously started contracting and her first puppy (a male) was born at 7.30pm (sixty days from the first day of mating).
The next two pups (both males) were born at 8pm and then 8.30pm. She had a break and fed these three before having the only female pup at 9.30pm. Bundty appeared very tired after delivering this puppy and slept until about 10.45pm where she then delivered the remaining pup, also a male. The pups were very even in size ranging from about 250g to 280g in weight.
As an aside she ate all five placentas and chewed the pups umbilical cords off very close to the stomach wall. The pups fed very regularly through that night.
Following whelping (giving birth) Bundty has thrived and was very proud to show her puppies off to everyone but still remained protective of them. She ate about four to five times more than normal and preferred meals spaced about four hourly – with a combination of chicken, puppy biscuits, Tuckertime and chicken broth.
As a routine she was also given a calcium syrup supplement twice daily she soon became happy to leave the puppies safe in their spacious den whilst going on a short walk.