In this next article we will discuss some other issues regarding litters and German shepherd puppies
It is not always an easy thing to decide when to take mom out of the whelping area or decide when to stop her nursing. There are a number of variables affecting that choice.
First of all, is mom enjoying her time with them or is she frustrated and getting a little aggressive. Mom’s can start being frustrated when the pups start to get teeth or are very aggressive to nurse. You will need to be vigilant that she doesn’t intentionally or unintentionally hurt the pups. Some litters can develop and get teeth more quickly than others. I take her out if I notice this behavior.
Secondly, if it is an unusually large litter and they are over 4-5 weeks and mom jumping in and out of the whelping box. I get the pups used to softened food and then get her out. I don’t want injured puppies.
Thirdly, is it time. I feel you can start getting puppies used to softened food as early as three weeks. But I like to get mom out at about 5-6 weeks of age. Normally mom will decide this naturally. However, this is good time to begin incremental weaning if she has not.
If mom is still swollen with milk, we are careful taking her out of the box and stopping nursing too precipitously. I have done this and ended up having to milk mom and reduce food intake to relieve pressure and stop lactation and try to aleviate mastitis. Mastitis can be very painful for mom and can lead to infection and even death. It is best to incrementally take mom out of the pen, let’s say for the daytime, and then put her back for the night, and let the puppies drain her milk. Then just do one feeding, and then finally as her milk begins to dry up, take her out permanently.
By the way, it is almost impossible to use a breast pump on mom. And the milking syringes don’t work well. You really have to massage from the back of the gland forward and squeeze to allow the milk to be released.