Sometimes it becomes necessary to feed your newborn puppy.
Sometimes it becomes necessary to feed your newborn puppy. This can be because of abandonment or loss of the mother, because the mother cannot produce enough milk to feed all of the puppies, or because one of the newborns is not as strong as the others and is not receiving enough nutrition. Feeding a young puppy is best accomplished with a bottle specially designed for newborn animals. The opening in the nipple of the bottle should only allow one drop to fall at a time when the bottle in inverted. Sometimes a slit will work better than a small hole for this purpose.
Use a milk replacer formulated for puppies – do not use cow’s milk or goat’s milk as the fat, protein, and lactose levels are not correct for a puppy. If you are using liquid milk replacer, it should be ready to serve as is. If you are using powdered milk replacer, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instruction for reconstitution. If the formula is too concentrated then the puppy may become constipated and if the formula is too dilute, not only will your puppy not receive the proper amount of nutrients but he could develop diarrhea. Both of these can be life threatening to your puppy. Never heat the formula itself – instead, soak a bottle in a mug of hot water. After a minute, test the temperature of the formula on the inside of your wrist. It should feel warm, but not hot.
Puppies should be held in the horizontal position for feeding – this is a natural position for feeding and will reduce the risk of aspiration of formula. Gently insert the nipple into the puppy’s mouth using a prying motion while you apply pressure to the sides of the bottle to release a drop or two of milk. From then on the puppy should suck on its own. Resist the urge to over feed puppy. It is much safer to give them a little less as over feeding can lead to pneumonia if milk is aspirated. It is much safer to feed smaller amounts more frequently than larger amounts less frequently. If milk bubbles out of the puppy’s nose while nursing, the milk is flowing from the bottle too quickly. This could be due to a too-large hole in the nipple, overfeeding, or squeezing the bottle during feeding.
The most important part of orphan puppy care is frequency of feeding. Newborn puppies have no fat or glycogen stores to use as energy when the milk is digested. It is crucial to the newborn to feed the puppy every two hours during the first week of life. Yes – even through the night. After the first week, the newborn can be fed every three hours for weeks two through four. When the puppy is four weeks old he can be fed every six to twelve hours depending on how much solid food they are eating.