What is a swimmer puppy? Basically it is a puppy whom, for several reasons, as will be mentioned, has developed a flat chest and sternum. When viewing puppies from above while they are in their bed, a swimmer puppy will look to be flat, sprawled out with their legs sticking out the side of them instead of being tucked under them. Almost resembling a turtle. This generally happens when the puppy is around two to four weeks age. These puppies are unable to stand or crawl.

CAUSES: Over heating, especially from heating pads when the weather is mild more than cold. Lazy, well fed, overweight puppies are more prone to this. A dam who has a plentiful supply of milk and keeps feeding the puppies non stop. Breed specific, although some breeds are more prone to swimmer puppies, all breeds can have a swimmer puppy. Singleton litters are more prone to this condition.

TREATMENT: Keep the puppy cooler, and remove the dam more often so the puppy will not consume as much milk. When you return the mother to the bed, put the affected puppy on the opposite side of the bed and let him crawl back to her. Make a huge pillow case blanket to fit the bed, inside place egg cup foam, and the material the pillow case blanket is made from should have good traction for the puppy. We are looking to make an uneven but tractable surface for the puppies to crawl on. If you cannot get the egg cup foam, roll newspapers into balls and place inside the pillow case blanket.

A few times a day, take the puppy, place on your lap on his back, take hold of the front legs first and for a few seconds turn them in bicycle round motions (as though he is riding a bike) then do the same for the back legs. Generally these measures are all that are needed to correct this problem. The sooner it is addressed the more positive the outcome.