Whelping a Singleton

When the dam only has one puppy... There IS cause for concern. There are many things not in the puppies favour.

#1 the pup may be too big to deliver naturally, MOST singletons must be delivered c-section

#2 Many dams often will not go into labour with a singleton puppy, as there are not enough hormones to trigger labour.

#3 As we have found, many dams will not produce milk with a singleton. The hormones are just not there, as a dam is on a supply and demand format. No demand, no milk!

Read about all the other things to watch for, and follow Saul's story.

Singletons have a lot against them. Only 50% live. It starts in eutro, they get bigger, it is like a fish that grows the size of its bowl, so they are harder to get out. Sometimes one puppy is not enough to give the needed hormones to make the dam go into labour. If you have not done an xray, or an ultrasound, this may come on you unexpectedly, this is why I ALWAYS do an xray. A singleton, can also risk the life of your dam.

Meet MistyTrails Soltero of Czar (Saul). VERY Vocal and lively with a good set of lungs. Very dark muzzle, quite handsome and manly. There was only one Mastiff pup born this time. Going to be quite different than Sassy's 11 puppies born last litter. I thought BONUS, this will be a piece of cake, but NO, it is just as hard. And very frustrating.

The puppy is on a warm rice pad, because he does not have any littermates to keep in warm.

Since there is only one puppy, I am using only the back 4 teats, and not the other 5. I hope the others dry up. I have Sharpee marked the back 4 A, B, C, D, and I will rotate him on these ones. If I let all 9 nipples come active, apparently I am asking for mastitis, as there is no way he can keep up to draining all 9. By one week old, I discovered, I should have only worked on the back 2.

The marking of the teets is more so my helpers, and kids can help. We also make a chart to help keep track of feedings.

The singleton pup is put into a box with a lot of stuffed toys so he can climb and snuggle up against them. He also needs the exercise of climbing over littermates to simulated him.

The pup has gone from 750g to 744g from 9am to 5pm. I will supppliment once before bed. I gave him 7cc and brought him back up to his birthweight and now he is sleeping with his teddies, on a warm mat and is more content. I gotta long nite ahead of me... I shouldn't have to supplement him again, but will sleep with them and put him on his mom to nurse, every 2 hours. He is soooo cute.

Sassy, the mommy Mastiff, is pretty sore. Poor girl, but she did eat a can of Tripe. I am a little concerned, this was a painful surgery, and before labour, so milk can be slow to come in. We did give her an injection of oxytosin, right after the c-section, as this can assist in milk production/let down.

The pup was born at 750 grams. on Tuesday. By Wednesday went down to 720 grams. TIME to interfere. Mom does not have milk yet, BUT, you don't want to supplement too much, and not have milk come in. I let pup suck and cry for an hour, then I tube fed him, 20cc. You have to watch with a bottle not to aspirate him, Bottle is the better option, but this puppy refuses a bottle, so must be tube fed. Also with this breed, and a bottle, they often get it in the nose, and that is asking for pneumonia. So tubing is much easier (BUT... ONLY if you know how)

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You have to watch singletons do not get too fat. Pups who get too heavy too fast and do not learn to walk by 2 weeks old are called Swimmers. Swimmers cannot walk and their chest flattens. They need therapy to get up and get moving, and it can ruin their bodies forever. A singleton is a candidate to become a swimmer because he doesn't have to move or fight for a nipple. This is something I am aware of, and will watch.

Some cuddle time, keeping the pup warm.

4:00pm on day 2. The pups weight is down to 710 grams

Worried, ?? Yes! But if I totally supplement the puppy, the dam's milk will not come in. The dam is sore, and growling at the puppy, I cannot leave the puppy alone with her for a minute, yet she needs to suckle. This is taking up, JUST as much time, as a litter of 11. OH my. But, I did this. I will see it through.

The pup sucked for 45 minutes on colostrum, and never got more than a gram. So I tubed her 20cc to give her a boost and a nap. When she wakes in 2 to 3 hours, she will have the energy to suck to bring in that milk. If
 I do not supplement this puppy a little, then he will become weak, and not have the energy to suck in a couple hours.

I am only supplementing him enough to keep him strong, but not fill him up, and I do not supplement until AFTER he sucks for a good 1/2 hour.

I can save this puppy by taking over. If I let nature take its course I would loose this puppy. Many breeders would call this, fading puppy syndrom. I WILL NOT LET THIS HAPPEN. I could take over anytime, and just start tubing every couple hours. But... I want to see if I cannot get the dams, milk to come in. It IS BEST If this puppy has a doggy mommy, and not all me.

I just want the milk to come in. He is down to 708 grams, but good news, he nursed for an hour, and went up to 712 grams, that is a start. So I am getting some milk production. I also tube fed him another 20g.

On 2.5 days, I am worried, the most I can get is 3cc of colostrum, and NO sign of milk.

THIS puppy is NOT suffering, I am trying to find a balance, to supplement him enough to keep him alive and strong enough to nurse, to bring in the milk. So what I am now doing, is letting him nurse every 2 hours, for up to an hour, then supplementing, him after his exhausted efforts of sucking. He is content. If I did not supplement him, This puppy would die.

The puppy has been sucking for min. 30 minutes, every 1.5 hours, for 3 days, and still nothing. I gave the dam lots of liquids, good food, the room is not to hot. It's been three days and we are still waiting for milk.

I AM NOT SLEEPING, as I have to be up, every 2 hours around the clock. I am getting tired.

While I wait for the milk and hope it comes in, I am faced with 2 choices. I take him off and totally tube him, and hand raise him. Or, a breeder friend, has a dam in Whelp, I think I may borrow her dam and 4 puppies, for a week. Just to get past this every 2 hour thing. Once he is at every 4 hours, it will be easier.

Sassy the real mommy cries constantly, I do not know what is going through her mind, but she is frustrated as well I think. She licked the puppy for the first time, last night.

Most people do not have this option, but if you know of someone with a dam in whelp, you can use a surrogant mother. I do have the opportunity, to borrow a friend's dam, and puppies, that are 1 day older than Saul. I JUMP at this opportunity!!!

Here we have, Saul and his new brothers and sisters. When you add a puppy to a different litter, you MUST use caution. The new dam Can and often WILL kill the new puppy, so exercise caution, do not leave unattended for the first while.

Saul got 4cc's of milk from his new mom, and I tubed him another 20cc. I still have to help, as his foster mom is a 10 pound Havanese... And I will still need to supplement him.

I have added a very large breed dog, to a toy breed dam. The larger puppy is very very hungry, and is a bit too assertive. He wants food. So, what I am doing, is every 2 hours, I am giving him 20cc of mamalac, to take off the edge, and he is now, gently nursing, and not in a panic to get food. He knows there is food. The dam was worried, but with this technique of taking the edge off of the puppy, and with him being more gentle, she is accepting him. This is the first time, I have done this, but with the help of mentors and friends, we have come up with this awesome answer to our situation.


In the morning the pup weighed 796g and at noon he weighed 832g.

Sassy the Mastiff mom is howling for her puppy. I put him on Sassy, and he got 8grams of milk. WOW unbelievable... grin... her milk is finally in on the back 2 teats.

I will put the puppy on the real mom once a day, as well as on the Havanese mom. Sassy the Mastiff mom is not as attentive to cleaning, so I will still put him with the Havanese mom too.

By the end of that night the pup weighed 874g

DAY 6 - Mastiff getting some Milk

DAY 6 - MiLK in the Mastiff mom. Not a lot, but enough for one feeding a day.

In the morning the pup was 874g. I left him alone with the Havanese dam all night, from 11pm, to 7am, she tended to him 100%.

A PLEASANT turn in his FATE...

Saul the Mastiff puppy is doing very well. He is with the Havanese dam, and four adoptive Havanese puppy siblings who are a 1/4 his size. The Havanese dam tends to all his needs.

During the day I also tube him 20g every couple hours, and the Havanese dam tends to him all night. Sassy comes in once a day, and he gets about 10cc of milk from her back 2 teats

I would say, he has the best of everything. ONE SPOIL'T puppy.

At one week old, his weight compared to a nursing puppy, is Exactly on, in fact, he is bigger.

All the Havanese puppies, cuddle up to Saul the Mastiff puppy. All is wonderful. The Havanese dam, cares for him 100%, however I still supplement him every 2 hours during the day, on top of her milk. She loves him as her own.

Look how much larger the Mastiff puppy is than the Havanese puppy. The Havanese pup is one day older than the Mastiff pup.

By keeping the singleton Mastiff puppy with the Havanese litter, it gives the Mastiff pup all of the stimulation and warmth he needs from the other puppies. Not to mention the care the mommy Havanese dam is giving him. The pups and dam do not know they are different breeds. To them, they are all one happy family.

Sassy, the Mastiff mom has been giving 10cc a day of milk from her back two teats. On day 9 Sassy gave 20cc milk letdown to Saul.

Sassy pulled Saul in Close, cuddled him and puts her arm around him. Soooooooooooooo sweet.

Kissed him. Sassy does love him. She has very little milk today. But LOVE overflowing.

And they went to sleep.

Sassy has minimal milk, but twice a day she gets to snuggle and feed Saul. She gives him about 10cc. I tube him 60cc of goats milk every few hours.

I think Saul is going to be a BIG Boy. He is not chubby. Starting to walk about and gets OUT of the whelp box. So nice and agile.

At 3 weeks as SAD as it was, Saul was getting too big, to be raised by a toy dog mom, and the babies. He started to walk on them, so we have started him on goats milk and pablum. His Havanese mom will leave in 2 days.

3.5 weeks old -- Saul ate, made a mess, and fell asleep in it, so we left him to rest. LOL

Saul is totally paper trained at 3.5 weeks.

I have put Saul, next to the 10 week Havanese, so they visit through the fence.

A 10 week Havanese puppy is socializing with 3 1/2 week old Saul.

He still visits with his mom, Sassy, but she doesn't tend to him at all. 

Courtesy of MistyTrails Havanese


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