This was the first time we had a chance to chart puppies from birth until 8 weeks old.
We tried to take as many pictures as possible so we could have a journal of our Golden Retriever puppy growth week by week.
When raising guide and service dog puppies we usually bring home our puppies at around 7-8 weeks old.
On occasion we are allowed to see puppies before 8 weeks of age, but they need to stay with their mother and siblings during those important early weeks to get milk and antibodies from mama and learn how to interact properly with siblings, learning important behaviors like bite inhibition.
Our experience with puppies from birth to 8 weeks old was limited at best.
During our days as a foster we raised two litters of puppies, but both were already 3-4 weeks old by the time we got them home.
More recently we had the opportunity to meet Archer’s litter when they were 4 weeks old and then again at 6 weeks to do temperament testing.
Unless you get the opportunity to raise a litter of puppies it’s unlikely you will get to see much of the early stages of puppyhood.
The good news is I’m going to share my pics and experiences with Raven’s Litter from birth until 8 weeks old.
QUICK TIP: If you’re raising a litter of puppies check out Puppy Culture DVD which has tons of great tips for raising a litter of puppies. We actually own the Puppy Culture DVD and Workbook which includes charts, lists, worksheets and other great information for raising your litter.
If you’re raising a litter of puppies don’t limit yourself to just the information in the Puppy Culture DVD and Workbook (or any single source). We (and so should you) gleaned information from DVDs, YouTube Videos, White Papers, Websites, Mentors, Trainers, and Personal Experience.
Keep your eyes and ears open and absorb it all like a sponge!
Golden Retriever Puppy Growth Week By Week Pics
I’d love to make this one long post chronicling our Golden Retriever puppies growth week by week for all 8 weeks, but it would probably amount to over 50 pics and a very slow loading page so instead I’m breaking this into 8 blog posts (one post for each week) that will include my notes and 3-5 pics from that week.
Birth To 1 Week Old
Guess what? This was the first litter we ever whelped!? We got a lot of advise, but we were largely on our own.
UPDATE: We’ve now raised two Golden Retriever litters, a German Shepherd Mix litter, and Chihuahua litter for a total of 23 puppies!
At some point in time I’ll put together a quick guide on whelping a litter of Golden puppies, but until then let me tell you a few quick items we purchased and built:
- Whelping Kit for 12 Puppies – this kit came in super handy. I wasn’t sure how many puppies we’d have so I ordered the 12 puppy kit.
- Large Puppy Dish – great for feeding the puppies when they moved to solid food.
- Whelping Mats – we ordered 2 of these mats and washed them several times a day.
- Whelping Box – Our friends really like the EZWhelp Fab System Whelping Box. We have a homemade whelping box built by my father-in-law, but if we continue raising litters I plan on purchasing an EZWhelp Whelping Box.
UPDATE: Guess what guys and gals? We recently put together a whelping checklist with all the supplies we gathered together to help out with our second litter of Golden Retriever puppies. Check out our whelping supplies checklist here.
Puppy Weight Chart:
- Largest Puppy: 1 lb .5 ounces
- Smallest Puppy: 1 lb
When these guys were born they were tiny! However, none were overly huge and none were extra small. No runts and no beasts.
Day 1 – The Umbilical Cord
One of my jobs when helping deliver Raven’s litter was to make sure she didn’t chew down the umbilical cord too far. It was my understanding that when the cord was chewed down to the base of the belly it was sometimes difficult to get it to stop bleeding.
I took the hemostat and pinched the umbilical cord about 2 inches from the base of the pups belly then cut the cord rather than let Raven chew it off.
I kept the hemostat on the cord for about 2 minutes to let it clout. The umbilical cord dries up quickly and then within a day or 2 it falls off.
Day 3 – Mama And Puppies Need Rest
Life of a 3 day old puppy: Sleep, Eat, Pee/Poop. Repeat. Raven was a good mama and took care of her poops.
She stayed in the whelping box almost the entire first week only taking breaks to pee/poop and eat her own meals.
Puppy eyes and ears are closed at this stage and puppies army crawl around the whelping box looking for a teat to suckle.
By the way, did you know I had to increase Raven’s food by 3-4 times during the nursing period!
Day 5 – The Puppy Piles
Puppies cannot regulate their own body temperatures and it’s important to make sure they stay warm.
We did everything we could to make sure our pups stayed warm by adding a 150 watt heat lamp to the whelping box and portable heating unit in the puppy room.
As I mentioned Raven stayed in the whelping box most of week 1 and of course…the puppy piles!
A few other notes from week 1:
- Something to note about pee/poop. Raven had to lick the her puppies butt/genital areas to stimulate her pups to pee and poop. One thing I learned is if I had a puppy on my lap then do not let Raven lick those areas or be prepared for a little accident on your lap.
- As well as stimulating the puppies to pee/poop, Mama Raven cleaned all the green gunk off of the pups when they were born and was diligent about keeping the whelping box clean by licking up any area soiled by her newborn puppies.
- While caring for Raven and her litter Raven was really blowing out her coat that first week, but as time went on it slowed down. I heard from other friends this is common and that Raven blew out her coat much less than other mama dogs.
- UPDATE: After raising our second litter I learned the importance of Probiotics. We got Probiotics for Raven before her first litter, but forgot to order them for her second litter. After an upset stomach for the first week or so we realized our mistake, got Probiotics, and no more upset tummy. 🙂 We gave Raven the Purina FortiFlora Probiotic.
So week 1 of our series on Golden Retriever pups is in the books! Check out our other Golden Retriever puppy growth week by week blog posts:
- Week 1 – This is Week 1!
- Week 2 – Pups eyes are opening starting to waddle.
- Week 3 – First bark! Good or Bad…Adorable 🙂
- Week 4 – Little guys are starting to eat solid foods.
- Week 5 – Puppies love car rides…in the laundry basket 🙂
- Week 6 – Fluffy, cute, adorable…that’s a 6 week old puppy!
- Week 7 – The great puppy escape artists!
- Week 8 – Our golden puppies head to their new homes.
Have you ever had a litter of Golden Retriever puppies?
Tell us about your experiences with puppies in the comment section below.
Are you about to raise a litter of puppies? We highly suggest Puppy Culture DVD and Workbook to get your started.
Not raising a litter, but getting ready to bring home your first Golden Retriever puppy? Puppies for Dummies will give you the basics on how to raise and train your new puppy.
UPDATE: I was recently asked when we start weaning and what do we feed our puppies. Check out Week 4 when you have a moment…hint: we start feeding our puppies Wellness Core Puppy Formula mixed with warm water for about 10 minutes at around 4 weeks old 🙂