Friday, June 30, 2006

Caring For Unthrifty and Premature Shih Tzu Puppies

Caring for Unthrifty and Premature Shih Tzu Puppies

If this is your Shih Tzu matron’s first litter she may become nervous or even terrified. Your attitude at this time is very important. The manner in which a Shih Tzu matron accepts or rejects her offspring is often in direct response to your attitude or even the whelping box site.

Normal Shih Tzu puppies are plump and firm at birth. They have good muscle and skin tones. The skin on the abdomen, feet and mouth is pink. If Shih Tzu puppies cry continuously or constantly squirm and crawl, these are signs of infant distress. Well-nourished, healthy Shih Tzu puppies are warm, quiet and sleep most of the time. They yawn at awakening. Do not excessively handle newborn Shih Tzu puppies. Do not allow others to handle newborn Shih Tzu puppies. Only the breeder or caretaker should handle newborn Shih Tzu puppies. Excessive handling of more than one person increases the chance of transmission of infections to the newborns.

Unthrifty Puppies

Unthrifty Shih Tzu puppies have poor muscle tone. Obvious signs of discomfort are constant crying and initially high levels of activity. Unthrifty Shih Tzu puppies appear thinner than siblings and are limp to touch because of poor muscle and skin tones. Unthrifty Shih Tzu puppies may feel cold to your touch or cooler than their siblings. The skin over the abdomen, feet and mouth interiors may appear reddish purple or paled when compared to other siblings.

An unthrifty Shih Tzu puppy is usually incapable of sustained nursing and readily loses nipple contact with the dam. They become easily chilled. Such unthrifty Shih Tzu puppies may respond positively to a few milliliters of raw liver juice fed daily for their first few weeks. Supplementary tube or bottle feeding for three or four days every four hours around the clock may be necessary. If you notice a weak, unthrifty Shih Tzu puppy, remove it from the litter and maintain it in the puppy box. You can place the Shih Tzu puppy back on the dam at regular intervals under your close supervision. This way the dam is able to stay in touch with the weak unthrifty Shih Tzu puppy. She will stimulate elimination, clean and nurture them at this time. This regular periodic tactile time helps avoid failure-to-thrive syndrome. Many weak and unthrifty Shih Tzu puppies can be successfully saved.

Premature Puppies

The first 24 hours are critical to premature Shih Tzu puppies. They must be maintained on an hourly schedule. The next 48 hours requires an every 2 hour schedule around the clock. The following 48 hours can be stretched to a 3-hour schedule around the clock. By the fifth day, premature Shih Tzu puppies, can be changed to 4-hour intervals. At one week, the night feedings only can be set to a 6-hour schedule, resuming 4-hour intervals during the day. This is a highly intense schedule for a breeder or Shih Tzu puppy mid-wife. It must be maintained until the premature Shih Tzu puppies are ready for their first semisolid foods at about 13 days of age and after their eyes have opened. Many premature Shih Tzu puppies can be saved on this routine.

Connie Limon is a Shih Tzu breeder. She publishes a FREE weekly newsletter with a focus upon health and wellness for you and your pets. Designer pet clothing is offered on the website. Sign up at:

Getting Shih Tzu Puppies Started

Shih Tzu – Getting Shih Tzu Puppies Started

It the absolute best that Shih Tzu puppies nurse from their mother right away.

Shih Tzu puppies are born incompletely developed their ears and eyes sealed. Shih Tzu puppies can smell at the time of birth. Newborn Shih Tzu puppies are somewhat aware of their siblings. Shih Tzu puppies will vie with each other, seeking heat and life-giving colostrums and milk from their mother. Early Shih Tzu nursing is highly important because colostrums antibodies are absorbed only the first two days of life. The Shih Tzu dam also receives benefit from the first Shih Tzu puppies’ nursing. The Shih Tzu puppy nursing action aids uterine contractions that help her deliver the rest of her Shih Tzu puppies.

Because of the Shih Tzu dam’s abdominal distention, the first one or two Shih Tzu puppies may not be able to nurse right away. A Shih Tzu dam’s breasts are often taut during the whelping process. Shih Tzu puppy nursing can be difficult until pressure impeding the Shih Tzu dam’s flow eases and the glands become relatively flaccid. Usually by the third Shih Tzu puppy delivery, enough pressure has been relieved in the dam that sufficient Shih Tzu puppy nursing may begin, aiding her uterine contractions. If the Shih Tzu litter is small, the dam may not encounter this problem.

If a Shih Tzu puppy fails to nurse right away, but continues to nose around, you will need to help the Shih Tzu puppy along. Put the Shih Tzu puppy to one of the dam’s teats and express a small amount of colostrum. If the Shih Tzu puppy continues to nose aimlessly, open the Shih Tzu puppy’s mouth to initiate sucking. Express some colostrums from one of the Shih Tzu dam’s mammaries and rub a small amount on and around her nipple area to help entice the puppy in the correct direction. Gently insert her nipple into the Shih Tzu puppy’s mouth while expressing additional colostrum/milk. Do not worry if the Shih Tzu puppy, being one of the first born, still refuses to nurse. Shih Tzu puppies can go one or two hours without nursing and remain healthy.

Not every Shih Tzu puppy is born vigorous toward nursing. Sometimes Shih Tzu puppy sibling rivalry stimulates a newborn Shih Tzu puppy. If a Shih Tzu puppy is reluctant to nurse two hours after birth, one or two tube feedings may be necessary to prevent dehydration.

Any instinctive Shih Tzu puppy behavioral aberrations from the norm should be reported to your vet. The Shih Tzu puppy could have an unnoticeable birth defect preventing an ability to nurse properly. Such Shih Tzu puppies should be mercifully and humanely put to sleep as soon as possible.

Shih Tzu birth defects are not necessarily either congenital or hereditary. In some cases, they can be caused by an insufficiency or surplus in diet. Two beautiful and health Shih Tzu dogs can be brought to a union that looks good, genetically speaking, on paper. Genetics is a science. It is not exact. Because both desirable and undesirable Shih Tzu genes are passed from one generation to the next, one can never be certain what will be presented in a Shih Tzu litter. There is always some risk in Shih Tzu breeding. Shih Tzu breeding is not for the fainthearted or for those not willing to devote a lot of time, money and energy.

Connie Limon is a Shih Tzu breeder. She publishes a FREE weekly newsletter. A professional newsletter with a focus upon health and wellness for you and your pets. Discounts are offered to subscribers. Sign up at:

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