Nottoway River Alaskan Malamutes

 Cleaning Tips for Breeders and New Puppy Owners

Bacteria and parasites such as worms and Coccidian are a risk for puppies. Puppies are still developing their immune system so it is necessary to take precautions to help ensure they are avoiding exposure to these as much as best as you can.  One way it to make sure puppies are properly dewormed and vaccinated at your veterinarian’s recommended ages.  One of the other most important ways is proper hygiene routines.  

We looked all over trying to find ways to keep our puppy areas clean.  This litter we had 11 puppies. Imagine how challenging it is to clean up after 11 puppies and keep your house sanitary.  Larger breeding programs that have a building specially built for such things have a great advantage if they are set up like a boarding facility, but when you are a small family breeder and raise the puppies in the house with you this can be very challenging.  We thought about trying to find a way to put puppies outside off the ground in a climate controlled area; however, building something like that is very costly and the puppies do not get the interaction with us that we so value when trying to ensure the puppies have good temperaments and personalities as well as socialization.  We do have a kennel area that is up off of the ground where the puppies can go outside and get some sunshine; however, we do not like to expose our puppies to the outdoor elements until they have been vaccinated and built up their immune system, not to mention risk of flea, tick or mosquito bites.  So, we hunted for ways to maintain our litters indoors without exposing ourselves to an intolerable mess and help keep the puppies coccidian free.  Here is what is working so far.  This is intended to help other small breeders and new puppy owners. I am sure there are other good procedures but this is what is working for us and helping our puppies be coccidian free. 

We have a puppy room that is puppy proof.  We have a linoleum floor in there.  The rest of our house has bamboo wood floors.  In my family room, I also put down a large piece of linoleum on our hardwood floors to make for easier cleanup and set a large puppy playpen on it.  When the puppies are not interacting with us we put them in the in the puppy room or in the playpen (the pen is a lot larger than it looks in the picture. Each one is 5-foot x 4-foot).  We put them in the pen or puppy room when not being supervised to help ensure they are not chewing up anything dangerous.  Please note puppies will tear up anything left in the pen with them so leaving puppy pads in the pen can be a choking hazard. Cleaning up fecal matter and urine immediately is the best way to prevent coccidian or bacterial infections.  We use disposable gloves and paper towels to pick up fecal matter and soak up any urine on the floor.  Sometimes the fecal matter sticks to the floor and is difficult to scrub. This is where the steam mop is a miracle worker.  Attach a piece of the dry sweeping pad to the steam mop and let the steam to sit on the spot a few seconds and it mops right up.  Change the pad and steam the whole area.  We keep changing pads until no dirt is seen on the pad. Then we mix a 10% ammonia solution (10% ammonia to 90% water) and spray on the floor with the spray bottle.  There is information that says ammonia works better than bleach when fighting coccidian. (We do use a 20% bleach solution occasionally to kill other bacteria. Be sure to NOT use the same bottle, nor use bleach on ammonia residue.  Bleach/ammonia mix is deadly).  We use a dry sweeping pad to spread the solution to completely cover the floor. Let this sit for 20 minutes.  The rinse well to make sure no residue is left (the residue can irritate puppies’ skin).  We do this by using the steam mop and dry sweeping pads until all the residue is gone. Sometimes we use the microfiber cleaning rag on the steam mop to steam the floor or use it to dry the floor. If the rag is soiled it is best to dispose of it or use ammonia in the washer when cleaning it.  No matter how often you clean puppies always manage to step in feces and urine, sometimes roll in it.  So, keeping the puppies clean is also essential.  Over-washing can be drying to puppies’ skin so it is very helpful to only use puppy shampoos that are sulfate free.
As you can see in the picture I have the play area separated.  Our playpen joins together to make a large play area or can be put together to make two separate areas.  During bath time we have found it easier to keep clean puppies in one area and puppies needing baths in the other. 

We wanted to help other small breeds and new puppy owners learn how to clean up the unavoidable messes easier.  Tips we wish we know when we started breeding. 

Steam Mop (We have the kind dry Sweeping pads fit on)

Dry Sweeping Pads (Note: dry, not wet.  The wet ones have added chemicals or fragrance that irritate puppies skin). 

Spray Bottle

Clear Ammonia

Microfiber cleaning rag (fits steam mop)

Disposable gloves

Paper towels

We recommend picking up fecal matter and clean up urine as soon as you see it.  We recommend sanitizing the floor at least 2-3 times per day and as needed throughout the day.  We use 10% ammonia solution in the morning and evening in addition steam mop throughout the day.   

So far this is working to help us avoid coccidian and other issues. We wish we knew about the wonders of steam years ago!  One of those duh moments.