We are fortunate to have a home with numerous bedrooms that have allowed us to set up areas to meet the needs of various stages of life. In order to keep everything clean and in good condition it must be waterproof. We use waterproof laminate flooring or epoxy on top of the hardwood floors. It took some trial and error and replacing flooring every couple of years until we discovered this long-lasting and easy-to-clean solution. There is vinyl sheeting on the walls to make it washable and keep the puppies and dogs from chewing on the plaster and drywall. While these materials make everything waterproof and easy to sanitize, it also still feels like a family home.
Each room is equipped to meet the needs of the dogs living there. Having separate areas allows us to control any possible cross-contamination, as well as temperature, humidity, noise, and access. Regardless of its use, each area is equipped with an air purifier, mops, buckets, cleaning supplies, and vinyl gloves. Good sanitation is absolutely vital to raising healthy dogs! The nursery with the nursing moms has many, many electrical outlets to support the heating pads needed to keep everyone warm and growing. In addition, the expecting and nursing moms have a potty porch so they do not come in contact with any other dog population or their waste. This practically eliminates the chance of them picking up any diseases, bacteria or viruses. The ambient temperature in the whole house is 78F and the Nursery and Puppy Rooms are kept at a steady 85F. Yes, it gets warm for the human inhabitants but we provide plenty of fluids to keep everyone well-hydrated!
Our grooming area is outfitted with a custom crate bank designed to facilitate faster drying after a bath. The Flying Pig stand dryers ensure that you have two hands available to keep dogs safe and to brush out following a bath. Bathing and a thorough drying immediately after keeping dogs from getting chilled and make the whole process more pleasant for them.
We use dedicated dog refrigerators with the contents labeled and dated, maintain a strict deworming and vaccination schedule, and all the dogs are handled daily by multiple people to ensure they are socialized and friendly. Our dogs eat and drink from stainless steel dishes that are washed and sanitized daily with a dedicated dog dishwasher, and bedding and pads are changed and washed daily. We use washable pee pads in our pens and they are changed twice a day. We feed Life’s Abundance All Life Stages as a free-fed dry kibble, along with Primal Freeze-Dried Nuggets. All dogs are served 1-2 cooked meals with meats from our own raised beef, pork, poultry, and lamb. Nuvet Supplement is given to the puppies and the expectant or nursing moms to support their immune systems.
The expectant moms are moved to the nursery at day 45 of their pregnancy and they, and all the nursing moms, get some special TLC with home-cooked food to ensure they are getting all the calories and minerals they need to maintain their own condition while they are growing puppies and then making milk to feed their litter. In addition to the food fed to the puppies and dogs, they are given fish, cottage cheese, eggs, shredded chicken thighs, and breast meat, and supplemented with Nuvet Pills.
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The nursing moms are monitored carefully to ensure that they are kept clean, especially their lady parts, so they are more comfortable and their puppies are not exposed to the discharges that come with birthing and post-birth uterine drainage. This also allows for frequent palpation of their mammary system and nipples to ensure that milk is flowing freely and the temperature and firmness of each mammary is normal. Moms have their undersides shaved before they whelp to help their newborns easily find a nipple and feed adequately. Puppy nails are trimmed at least once a week so they don’t scratch up their mothers, and puppy butts are checked daily for any hair that might create a clog and interfere with their bowel movements.
Our actual pens are made of vinyl panels that can be connected in any configuration. They come in 4-foot lengths which slide together, 24 inches in height, and can be cut to create doors or to provide access to multiple pens. The vinyl is easy to wash and sanitize, practically indestructible and can be taken apart and stored in a relatively small space when not in use.
The dogs have beds made of plastic storage boxes that can be easily washed and inexpensively replaced when they get chewed. We use cloth pads and blankets in each of the beds for comfort and nestling.
The moms in the nursery have whelping boxes made of under-bed storage containers outfitted with made-to-size pads/blankets and heating pads. Their whelping box is within a larger pen outfitted with a pee pad and bare flooring so they have the opportunity to take a break from their maternal duties and cool off on the floor if they want.
We have been blessed with happy, healthy, well-socialized dogs and puppies by using this system. If you have any specific questions, please contact us and we are more than willing to share what we have found to work best for us.
The virtual tour of my home and dogs produced an overwhelming number of inquiries about how we created the facilities and the materials we used. This is a summary of how we designed and set up a system to raise healthy Biewer Terriers. We are USDA and state PACFA licensed which means the dogs must be contained and sanitation requirements must be met. I will first go through the general set up and then the specifics.