puppiesIt seems like no time since I wrote my weekly column sitting on the floor at the side of our welping box while our pet Labrador “Blossom” had her puppies.

Today the puppies are 3 weeks old and they have changed so much in such a short space of time.

All puppies are born with their eye-lids sealed shut and their ear canals closed. For me, one of the biggest joys of having a litter of puppies is being able to observe the instincts of mum and pup. Blossom can tend towards being a bit clumsy but watching her pick her way across the welping box and carefully make sure of her brood before lying down is amazing. Likewise, watching un-seeing and un-hearing puppies wriggle on their tummies towards mum at feeding time is incredible. The pups know just what to do and where to go as if they had been doing it for years.

At about 2 weeks of age, the eyes start to open and the un-focusing, milky eyes try to pick out light and dark. Their hearing starts to develop and they start to react to human voices though they look around with no understanding of where the voice came from.

Blossom licks the puppies to encourage them to pass water and keeps them spotlessly clean.

At three weeks old, they are suddenly much more aware of their surroundings. We have just moved them from the room where they welped, where Blossom and the pups have had privacy to bond quietly. They are now in the kitchen where they will start to become more aware of the sights and sounds of the household. We try to make sure that our puppies are fully socialised and so being reared from this age in the kitchen gives them lots of interaction with people and our other dog.

The puppies’ appetites have rocketed over the last couple of weeks and their rate of growth is phenomenal. There are the very early signs of some teeth coming through in the puppies’ mouths and, with that in mind and the fact that a litter of eight hungry Labradors take some serious feeding, we have just started to give them a little supplementary food to try to ease Blossom’s workload.

Blossom is nearly at the stage where the hardest part of her work is behind her but we are now braced for the next few weeks when the puppies will start to take a little solid food. Following the laws of nature….what goes in must come out………and so our hard work is just beginning!