REARING may properly be said to begin with the bitch in pup, for unless she is properly cared for, and kept in good health, she cannot be expected to produce strong healthy pups, or to be in a state to nourish them properly when born, and until such time as they can feed independent of her.

On the proper nourishment of pups and the careful guarding of them against the accidents and diseases to which they are liable, the future of the dog largely depends; it is, therefore, a subject demanding in all phases and details the consideration of the breeder, and his constant and practical attention.

Writing, as I do, for the instruction of the inexperienced, and to give reminders and suggestions to the experienced, it will be convenient and of practical advantage to deal with the subject in detail, and first for consideration is the treatment of -

The Bitch In Pup

Breeders should keep a record of the visits of their bitches, that they may know when, if a bitch proves pregnant, she may be expected to whelp. As an aid to this, and in other kennel matters, dog owners are greatly indebted to W. Kelsey - himself a successful breeder and exhibitor - for his "Kennel Record," published by John Van Voorst and Co.; in it is a table, with double columns, one showing the date of visit, the other the day the pups are due, calculating sixty-three days as the period of gestation, which is in the very large majority of oases correct. Having this knowledge before him, the owner has the line of treatment indicated, as that must vary as time proceeds. For the first two or three weeks no alteration whatever in diet, exercise, or work is needed, except a slight increase in food, if the bitch shows a desire for it.

It is a good practice to have the bitch thoroughly washed on returning from a visit to a strange kennel.

Grooming should be practised regularly, and close attention given to the skin, so that the appearance of parasites, or of any eruption, may be promptly checked, by appropriate measures being adopted.

I have for some time adopted the plan of giving a dose of worm medicine about the second or third week, and I think it is beneficial, even if the bitch is free from worms; the vermifuge and cooling medicine given following it does no harm, but good, and if, as is so often the case, these parasites are present, it lessens the chances of the pups being born with the germs in them, as they so often are, and have them developed whilst still in the nest. So far, this practice has been with me only experimental; but as I think it has had good results, and cannot do any harm if a safe vermifuge is administered, I recommend it to be tried by breeders. I give a dose of Spratts Patent Cure for Worms at the end of the second week, and if worms are expelled I repeat the dose in four or five days.

It is not easy to tell whether the bitch is in pup before the fourth week has passed; by that time the teats begin to enlarge, and there is a ridgelike swelling between them; from that time forward the flanks begin to fill out and the belly becomes round, until about the seventh week, when it falls considerably, becoming pendulous, and as the pups become due inclines backward.

Exercise should be continued until the last, but after the first few weeks no hard exhaustive work should be done, nor violent exercise, such as racing or jumping allowed, and during the last week walking exercise only should be given.

The bitch should be kept in good condition, but not fat or fleshy, for that not only interferes with parturition but is apt to prevent the secretion of milk, and both produce and aggravate milk fever.

Bitches in pop should have at all timet access to clean water, as some are, when in that condition, unusually thirsty.

Many suffer from sickness when in pup, and these should hare a wine-glassful of lime water in sweet milk two or three times a day. The food for the last four or fire days should be sloppy but nutritious, such as broth thickened with stale bread or biscuit and a little cooked meat.

Where a number of dogs are kept, the bitch in whelp should be separated from the rest for the last week, as she then becomes restless, and is anxious, looking out for a place she approves in which to deposit her young.

Selection, of Place for Pupping. - This should be prepared for the bitch, for if left to herself she will choose some out-of-the-way inaccessible hole or corner where she cannot be approached or assistance given to her should it be required, or the pups - about which the owner is sure to be curious - examined.

Let it be in a sheltered place, under cover of course, with a board in front, not so high that she will have to jump over it and possibly strain herself, but simply enough to add to the retirement of the nest and to keep the bedding from being dragged out. It should be on a board floor, and soft fresh hay is the best bedding. Let there be plenty of room, and the situation such that there is perfectly free access and unencumbered action for owner or attendant should it be necessary to interfere. Where one dog only is kept, and a wooden kennel provided, it should be of the pattern I recommended in The Country tome years ago, and which I shall describe further on; a kennel of the ordinary kind is the very worst place a bitch can pup in, as she is sure to get to the far end, and neither she nor pups can be examined without forcibly dragging them out.


Healthy bitches in fair condition very rarely require any help or interference, and, in fact, the more they are left to themselves and the quieter they are kept the better.

In very difficult and protracted eases which exhaust the animal, doses of liquor ergota, a fluid preparation of ergot of rye, administered in a little water every half hour, is often of great service in accelerating the births, the dose for a dog 601b. to 1001b. being thirty drops. If the bitch is very much exhausted, a very small quantity of brandy in a little gruel may be given. In wrong presentations and eases of deformity it is always best to seek the assistance of a qualified veterinary surgeon.

At all events, never interfere too soon in any case of prolonged or difficult parturition, and never let a pretentions fellow, ignorant of the anatomy of the animal, interfere with force, as they are so apt to do.