I can’t stress enough how much of a puppy raisers life is about puppy poop. Did they poop? When did the poop? What did the poop look like? I truly hope you never have a poop-in-the-store-story. (Don’t worry you will, but I hope you don’t – here is an awesome blog about that by Alex Wegman.) Puppy raisers trade poop stories like WWII pilots talk about their missions. Seriously.
When you become a breeder caretaker you life still evolves around poop. Really it isn’t that bad, as the first few weeks the mom “takes care of it.” Then when the pups get on solid food it becomes the BC’s duty to clean up. Again if you are lucky enough to have a Sabina litter, it hasn’t been that big of a deal as they all like to hurry in their potty box. Even when they don’t make it all the way in (the boys are notorious for getting their front paws in and the important part still on the outside), you can see they are making an effort to get there. Yay! Good hurry!
That is until your litter has diarrhea. It is akin to the end of days. If it is really bad you begin to hope and wish for the Mayan apocalypse. Really really hope for it. Now some of you might be saying “yeah – so what? all dogs get diarrhea.” You are right they do, and as puppy raisers you must likely will have to deal with it a time or two. However as your rolling your eyes remember this – it isn’t ONE dog with diarrhea it is NINE-NOT-HOUSEBROKEN- PUPPIES who think that EVERYTHING should be investigated. Did I mention this is INSIDE your house where the temperature is probably close to 80 degrees?
The truth is that there has been a little bit of diarrhea in the earlier litters. Generally each little one gets a touch of it for a day or so and then it moves on. This litter was all diarrhea, all the time. To the point that we decided a little medical intervention was needed in the form of Keopectate for dogs. Dogs shouldn’t take the current over the counter formula of Keopectate due to the chemical compound. However there is a hideously pink chalky concoction that is vet approved, BC tolerated, and puppy hated.
Of course I personally don’t have a jug of the stuff lying around so I call a longtime Canine Companions BC as she usually has some. She does but has just left for an out-of-town trip. No worries she says, just let yourself in and take what I have. She gives me directions not only to her house but how to let myself in. You know I am telling you this because you already know there is a story here right? Right.
I get there – no thanks to the new Apple Maps on my iPhone, that want me to drive through the northerly neighbors yard and pasture. Once there I let myself in through the front gate and walk up to the house. (Which is quite charming on a lovely plot of land – perfect for puppies!) and that is where I skipped over an important part of the directions.
I am not going to list all the directions here but lets suffice it to say it involved looking in a pot for the key. I looked in half a dozen pots but couldn’t find the key and really didn’t want to call (I don’t know why) before I realized that I wasn’t looking where I was supposed too. Probably because it is at this point I heard the sirens in the distance I was secretly praying they weren’t for me because some kind neighbor had called the cops.
Once I found the key and let myself in I was in doggy heaven. You people think I have a doggy room, my room doesn’t have ANYTHING on this room – which has it’s own doggy washing station. I would love to have this puppy room. I have decided to have this puppy room I would either have to bust through the closet wall into our guest bathroom or completely take over the garage. I don’t need to ask I already know Dave’s answer is no. I mean his answer is NONONONONONONO!
I find the pink stuff, some syringes and head home.
Once there I pick up the puppies I know who are having diarrhea (including Bizzy who earlier pooped right on my foot) and begin. This is when I realize how much easier this would be if a) it tasted like chicken, and b) I had two or three more hands. I didn’t taste it but I could tell it didn’t taste like chicken and I really couldn’t wait around until Dave got home.
So with a pup snuggled in and held tight by squeezing him between my elbow and side and using that same hand to apply a tiny bit of pressure on the sides of his mouth so he would open I shoved in the loaded syringe with the other. Now this isn’t an injection, but I give great injections so that was the easy part. Then drop the syringe in the sink and use that now free hand to stroke the throat to encourage swallowing. That part wasn’t quite fast enough because the puppy snarfed pink stuff all over me.
For those of you who have kids who might have ever threw up pepto bismol on you – yeah you know what this is like then. Too tired to clean it up I move on to the others and before the end of the day everyone is on it. I have all the doses noted on the white board, a med schedule etc. Dave rolls his eyes when he gets home. What does he know he isn’t covered in bubble gum pink droplets of snarfed vet approved Keopectate. Thankfully diarrhea round one began to clear up in a couple of days. We had a couple of diarrhea free weeks and then another little outbreak but we managed that one too.
Truthfully, besides the horrendous smell, the only real worry about the diarrhea is to make sure that the pups are still eating and gaining. If they aren’t then you can get into problems. If they are gaining it isn’t really that big of a deal; however, for the comfort and the mental wellbeing of the BC the quicker you can remedy it the better.
Puppy poop – puppy diarrhea specifically – is the most powerfully sticky substance on the planet. NASA should really take a look at the molecular structure of this stuff, or at least the KrazyGlue people should take note. It gets everywhere and on everyone. You really don’t want to be bathing puppies but you have to keep them clean, so it is a battle. Did I mention the smell? It isn’t like puppies and raising litter is all rosy smelling or anything, but man this stuff is enough to raise the dead.
In the end, all the end’s cleared up, and we got on to what we call “good” poop. Nice solid little packages that are easily cleaned up and tossed away. When you visit a litter most if not all BC have you remove your shoes, hand sanitize etc. They will tell you it is so that the puppies don’t get sick, and they are being honest. While there is always a risk of an unvaccinated puppy getting Parvo or Distemper the much higher and almost more feared is the big D. Diarrhea.
Diarrhea 2 / Breeder Caretaker 2
Alls well that ends well, mainly things end well when the ends are well.