What's the best way
to Feed Puppies
with no Moms?
Feeding Puppies without a Mom
By: Jane Bicks, D.V.M.
A substitute lactating dog, even though she is a stranger, is optimum.
It is essential that the puppy gets the first milk (colostrum) within 24 - 48
hours of birth, which the substitute mom may be able to provide.
If that is not possible, then you will have to become the mom.
Colostrum is now being sold through veterinarians and health food stores,
so you can add it to the formula for the first week.
How often to Feed Puppy Formula
You'll have to serve frequent meals, as often as every two hours
being optimum. Keep the puppies warm by placing them on a heating
pad (with no access to the wire), set on low, and run a vaporizer
in the room.
Since there is no canine mom, you have to weigh each puppy on a
gram scale to make sure it is gaining weight, feed it by bottle or eyedropper,
and then place it back in it's den after cleaning it's mouth and other end
with a damp cloth or tissue.
The easiest part of playing mom is buying the milk substitute or
making it. I recommend buying one of the brands available in your
pet store or through your veterinarian. Those formulas have the
additional nutrients your homemade formula will lack.
Remember the formula you are feeding should resemble mom's
milk, so heat the portion you will be feeding to room temperature.
Check the temperature by putting some of the formula on your wrist.
It it's okay there, it's fine to feed it to the puppies. Just like with
How to Bottle Feed a Puppy
If you don't have experience hand feeding puppies, ask your veterinarian
to show you. All you will have to do is hold the puppy as you would
a baby (supporting it's head), and allow it to suck from the bottle.
If it isn't sucking, then small amounts of liquid need to be squeezed
from an eyedropper that is placed in the side of the puppy's mouth -
being very careful to make sure it doesn't enter the windpipe.
Slow and easy is the best approach.
How much Puppy Formula to Feed a Puppy
While its impossible for me to tell you how much to feed the puppy,
10 - 20 milliliters per feeding is a good place to start. It's better to
under feed than to give them too much.
Once you've done it a few times, you will be able to judge if the puppy
is full by the increased size of the abdomen, and eventually gauge the
amount of puppy formula by that.
Don't handle the puppy after it has eaten, except to wipe it's behind
with a damp cloth to stimulate defecation. Place it gently back on the
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