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Keeping pups warm

Dear Doc, I reside in Benson,NC.We have twelve chocolate lab puppies born on 12/23/99.Mom is doing well. We purchased a warming pad for mom and pups as they are getting to be a little much for indoor care. What temperature would be safe for all in whelping box.Outside temps here at night dip into teens rising to fifties at mid-day.We are also using a heat lamp to supplement on cold nights.Any help would be appreciated.Sincerely,David Denmark.

David, a couple of things worry me with your situation. The first is that new born pups are easily chilled (hypothermia) which can be quickly fatal. The second is that I have seen too many wrecks with heat lamps, electrical cords and dogs. If the temperatures are consistently below freezing at night I think it's safer blocking off a portion of the garage (away from chemical storage, antifreeze, etc.) for mom and the pups. I like to use a cutoff cardboard moving box with clean bedding for the puppies bed. If you have to use the warming pad (watch the cord)! keep it on low and make sure the mother has enough room to get off it if she wants. Allow the family out during the day to explore and give you a chance to clean up the tornado damage that only 12 lab puppies can cause. Have fun! Dr. Mike

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