Ethical Breeder

I borrowed this from the English Setter club Code of Ethcis and I feels strongly it should apply to EVERY breeder and breed club:

“I am the caretaker not only of the individual dog but of the reputation and welfare of the breed as a whole.”

“It is incumbent upon me to set the example of each dog being individually cherished but only the physically and temperamentally sound being bred.”

“I accept the premise that if I breed a litter those dogs are my responsibility throughout their lifetime.”


To read the full article where I read this please go to:

An argument for ethical dog breeders

Post Whelp – a list of helpful info

There have been many articles on information good breeders suggest for post whelp health for the newborns and dam. Do a search for breeding on The Stafford Knot website in the Library section and you will find several interesting articles submitted by breeders from around the world. I wont go into too many details but I will offer a little informational list of must haves based upon our experiences.

Make sure you have calcium citrate on hand. Its fine to use the convenient tubes but after whelping get yourself a bottle of the higher quality capsules 1000. Also, a B-Complex and DLPA 750. I would also suggest buying a homeopathic kit made for birthing and one for emergency care. Read the books that come with each ahead of time so you are partially familiar with the contents.

Go to the suggested reading list on this page and pick up several good books on whelping/breeding – especially Book of the Bitch and one on newborn care. Sign yourself up for Puppy Culture and pre-watch at least the 1st few videos if not the entire course. Keep pedialyte, lactated ringers solution with both adult and newborn set-ups, colloidal silver 500, tube feeding sets, oxygen, fresh frozen plasma, liver water, whole milk yogurt, fresh raw goat milk, fresh eggs (yolks), a big green cabbage and local raw honey. Do not use cottage cheese thinking you are feeding calcium – go read the package and you will be surprised. Yogurt is a much better choice plus its full of probiotics. Get full fat grass fed sourced.

Get two working thermometers, new batteries for flashlights, thermometer, scales and anything else which requires batteries. Buy a USB laptop red LED light – comes in handy for overnight checks in whelping box. We have USB outlets in our wall outlets and there is one right behind our whelping box where I keep one of these plugged in.

Set up a warming box or drawer. I have both – the box for when/if I have to leave the house to go to the vet – the drawer is the top drawer in a dresser I use for weighing and keeping my charts updated.

Get your essential oils and diffuser, Thieves wash/wipes/cleaner/sanitizer/soaps, etc….put all your vets on speed dial and visit an emergency clinic to pre-fill out forms in case you need to rush there in the middle of the night……on a Saturday/Sunday night…..when your bitch has a temperature of 103.6 and mastitis is setting in – get your Thundershirt out as its perfect for holding that cold cabbage on her teats for a couple hours alternating with warm compresses (a sock filled with rice works well for this heated in microwave or a hot water bottle is also perfect )- you want moist heat to expel milk once her teat is soft – alternating back and forth…..checking for both color and smell to make sure her milk is safe for the babies to nurse from.

Learn how to use lactated ringers to administer fluids. This is very important. Dehydration in both newborn puppies or in the dam can be serious and life threatening. Keep them hydrated!

Buy whatever laundry soap you plan to use in bulk – we use Young Living Thieves and white vinegar for softening. Wash and change whelping box bedding often! Clean the box several times a day with your Thieves spray and a clean cloth like a diaper. Its very important to keep everything clean.

We check temperatures, weights, poop and pee daily – these are simple ways to make sure the health is spot on for your bitch and her whelps. rotate the teats your pups suckle from in smaller litters. Watch for any redness, dark spots, swelling or hardness – watch for this several times per day – mastitis can come on very quickly and its best caught very early. Remember broad spectrum antibiotics can still pass onto puppies through the milk and also can cause nausea. If you can use homeopathics instead and get success try them first.

I’m certain this is not all encompassing information but its just a sleep deprived stream of thought blog entry which I hope has offered someone a little information they didn’t already have in their arsenal. I am not a veterinarian nor am I attempting to replace their advice – I am just offering up info based upon our own experiences  – take it or leave it but always seek the advise of medically trained professionals if in doubt.

Below is a list of homeopathic remedies for treating Mastitis

Apis Mellifica… This is a great remedy for painful and swollen glands. This is particularly common after whelping.

Bryonia Alba 30c… is highly beneficial for glands that have become hard. Other symptoms may include the legs being stiff and signs of constipation.

Belladonna 30c… may be prescribed by homeopathic vets for treating hot and swollen glands. The affected dog may also be restless and excited.

Hepar Sulphuris Calcareum 30c… can be used to treat glands that have become painful. There may also be a pussy discharge too.

Phytolacca 6c… may be beneficial for treating painful and hard lumps in the dog’s breast glands. The affected dog may appear listless and the glands may appear blue in color.

Urtica Urens 1 m… can be prescribed by homeopathic vets to help restore milk production as the infection starts to subside.



Preservation breeder or busine$$ breeder? PART 2

Moving forward from my last post of the same title (  I want to share the experience of what can happen after all the time, research, planning, expense and love of producing that special litter goes in an unplanned direction. . . . from the viewpoint of a preservation breeder that is….because puppy farmers and prolific breeders and business breeders dont care enough to do any of this and for some stupid reason they can stick 2 dogs in a yard with no testing or plan and get ginormous litters of mediocre puppies.

So anyway… you find yourself on day 63 post ovulation (because you have done all progesterone and LH testing and a surgical AI implant you know the due date pretty well) and your bitch is not entering phase one. You head back to the repro vet (a 3 hour round trip drive) to check fetal heartbeats and run progesterone…progesterone is reaching that low point but not yet there and heartbeats seem okay…so home you go to wait. Nothing. Meanwhile every scenario runs through your mind as to what could be happening inside your bitchs’ womb. After what seems to be an eternity and still no signs of labor you and your vets (because you use several and have now called them all plus stud dog owner, friends, consulted FB groups, read all your books…) decide its time for a cesarean. Surgery is always scary and risky. Its not what you want to do.

Surgery goes well. You are in the room to assist and finally see your puppies. There are two as was expected. Both are boys as was not exactly what you were hoping for but thats fine. They are placed into the incubator to receive oxygen while you sit with your bitch as she recovers. That’s difficult to see. Ask anyone who has had anesthesia how it feels as you come out of it…not so great. As you look at the tiny boys your mind goes back to the first ultrasound where one of the little dots looked a bit off….kinda squished, not as round as the other. Then you recall the heartbeat check the other day when one had a slightly lower heart rate than the other. Something just is not quite right but the vet and the techs assure you they are both just fine….except its not. The boys are small. Tiny. 4 & 5 ounces. One takes a while to get the hang of suckling but you’ve seen this before and it could be the effects of moms anesthesia. The tiny 4oz boy looks a little less formed and a little ‘grayer’ in color…but again the veterinarian and all the techs are sure both are fine. They are each given fresh frozen plasma and tube fed a belly full of replacer and home you go…..

Once home you weigh them again b/c you just cannot believe how tiny they are and you see that the tech has made a mistake on the larger of the two boys which is what you suspected anyway. He is small but not tiny at 7.9oz. You decide on oxygen, FFP, ringers and sitting patiently in the whelping box (which you now wish was just a little bigger) trying to get the boys on mama for colostrum….the first night is a sleepless one for everyone as the attempts to keep the puppies alive through the night becomes a serious task. One boy seems strong enough but the other one….something is not right.  You call a good friend who has more experience and of course she comes over – arms laden with her emergency puppy supplies ready to assist you in any way you can to save these little lives.

You now tube feed, try liver water drops, Nutri-drops, more ringers, more FFP, more oxygen….you can tell one is fading but sometimes he perks up and suckles enough to get your hopes up…until he begins to rattle and grow weaker. At the 36 hour mark he is gone. An angel whom you barely knew but loved just as much as you love any of your dogs.

No time to grieve except a short burst of tears between the two of you because you still have a tiny life to concentrate on and you settle in for another sleepless night. You have one beautiful baby boy in your carefully planned litter that you now have spent almost $6000 to produce and you will do anything to make certain he thrives….and thrive he does!

Five days after he is born he has more than doubled his weight to an almost respectable 10.8oz! He is shiny, plump and content. Your bitch is finally settling in with regular calcium citrate, B Complex and DLPA (which by the way we are also taking along with ignatia because both aid with grief recovery). You are still sleeping next to the box but actual sleep is occurring and measured in 2-3 hour intervals! Deep breath and fingers still tightly crossed but you are now ok enough to name this little singleton. There is a little light at the end of the tunnel.

… be continued……

Using Young Living Essential Oils when whelping

Therapeutic grade essential oils are an excellent natural support system for both new puppies and your bitch. Here are a few oils we have used.

  • Stress Away : This was invaluable to calm any anxiety, both for mama and breeder.  Stress Away is a blend of Copaiba, Lime, Cedarwood, Ocatea, Lavender and Vanilla, which is not an essential oil but an essence.  Just a swipe to the back of the neck and inside the wrists did the trick for humans and a drop or so in diffuser for the bitch.
  • Joy: This was diffused throughout pregnancy and beyond, as well as a drop over the heart.  A wonderful blend that not only promotes bonding, but love and an open heart as well.  Contained in this blend is Bergamot, Ylang Ylang, Geranium, Rosewood, Lemon, Mandarin, Jasmine, Roman Chamomile, Palmarosa, and Rose.
  • Helichrysum: This single oil was invaluable on the cesarean section incision to heal tissue trauma and stop minor bleeding.  A few drops directly on the incision from day one not only expedited healing but also relieved pain. You can continue with this for a week if needed.
  • Frankincense: I placed a drop in the palm of my hand and rubbed this on my newborn puppies feet within hours of birth as an immunity booster.  This oil affects emotional balance, the immune system, the nervous system and the skin.  This oil can also be used on the incision if cesarean is needed for healing.
  • Lavender: Well known for its anti-inflammatory properties, again can be used on incision if cesarean is needed.
  • Peppermint: If the bitch is vomiting a drop or two of this in diffuser can alleviate the nausea.
  • Cistus: Helps to contract and strengthen the uterus.  This works well regardless of method of delivery.  Apply 1 to 2 drops on the lower abdomen once per day for 5-10 days after delivery.
  • Myrrh: This can be applied directly on the puppies umbilical cords, just a drop, for about 3-4 days to promote healing.
  • Deep Relief: Often during a C-section the body reacts to the anesthesia by shaking uncontrollably, which can be a common side effect.  Anyone that has experienced this knows the toll that it can take on your muscles.  Deep Relief is a roll on blend containing Peppermint, Lemon, Idaho Balsam Fir, Clove, Copaiba, Wintergreen, Helichrysum, Vetiver, and Palo Santo.  Just a little of this rolled in your hands then massaged on your bitchs’ back will ease her muscles.
  • Fennel: This is to increase milk production. You can use it two different ways, directly to the teat (well avoiding the nipple area) or two drops under the tongue. Can put the drops in a teaspoon of honey and allow your bitch to lick.  I have noticed an increase in milk supply within hours of application.  Word of caution, you should never use Fennel for more than 5 consecutive days.
  • Melrose: If you experience milk duct clogs/mastitis in your bitch you can put a drop or two where you feel the clog and then apply a warm compress to drive the oil in.  You can repeat as often as needed.  Melrose is a blend containing Rosemary, Melaleuca, Clove, and Niaouli.
  • Geranium: Occasionally you may find once the umbilical cord falls off, there may be minor bleeding in the area.  A drop of Geranium will safely stop any bleeding.

Our Favorite Five EO’s to use for Mastitis Care:

1. Tea Tree 

Also known as melaleuca, tea tree oil is one of the best-known antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-fungal oils that exist in the world. It helps to fight the disease-causing bacteria causing the mastitis. It should be applied topically on the infected area, undiluted, or diluted with a cooling oil like coconut oil if you wish.

2. Lavender 

Calming, relaxing and soothing in nature, lavender oil is also highly antibacterial and has cleansing properties that will help get rid of the infection quickly. It can be used in the same way as tea tree oil.

3. Oregano 

Highly antibacterial, oregano oil has been researched and found to be more potent than many popular antibiotics prescribed by doctors today. Dilute one drop of oregano oil  in 1 tsp of raw honey and allow the dam to lick it off your finger or a spoon, or feed to her in a vegetable capsule 1 – 2 times a day.

4. Basil

Another cooling essential oil that can help draw out the heat and infection. I applied 2 – 3 drops of basil oil diluted in 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and massaged it firmly into the infected lump.

5. Frankincense

A highly spiritual and grounding essential oil, frankincense can help de-stress and relieve tension in dams who are undergoing anxiety, mental strain or general stress. Frankincense can be applied to the infected teat.

*Please note: Be sure to wash off the areas where you have used the oils prior to allowing puppies to nurse!