Puppies make the world a joyous place. However, all that cuteness needs taking care of and as happy as puppies make us, they need special nurturing, especially during the first few weeks.
The most important part of taking care of a newborn puppy, of course, is feeding it. Newborn canines have special nutritional needs and feeding them with milk several times a day is essential for their survival. If you happen to be taking care of an orphaned newborn puppy, you’ll need to stock yourself on a lot of milk.
1. What kind of milk can newborn puppies drink?
Newborn pups get their nourishment only from milk as they are too young to be fed with anything else. Puppies can be bottle fed, but newborns are too small and can’t drink from a bottle. As such, you have to use a syringe to do the trick.
There are three basic types of milk, which puppies can drink.
- Goat milk
Goat milk is perfectly safe for newborn puppies to drink. Furthermore, it’s actually healthy for them. Pups need vitamins, proteins, fatty acids, calcium and other minerals just like us, humans. Goat milk provides all of that, even when it’s raw. It’s rich on a vast variety of vitamins, including B, E, K and D. Newborn puppies still have a fragile immune system, but goat milk is suitable even for pups with digestive problems.
- Cow milk
Can newborn puppies drink cow milk? Yes, they can, but they mustn’t. Cow milk is high on fats, which aren’t good for newborns. On top of that, it’s high on lactose and some pups are lactose intolerant. Cow milk can cause diarrhea, vomiting, cramps and bloating, so your best bet is to stay away from it.
- Pet milk
The so-called pet milk is basically a milk replacement product for puppies. Many companies offer this canned product, which is specially manufactured to meet any pup’s nutritional needs. These milk replacements are lactose free and are filled with tons of crucial ingredients like vitamins and minerals, which are essential for your newborn puppy’s growth.
So, what kind of milk can you give a newborn puppy? Your best option is either goat milk or a high quality milk replacement for canines. As dogs are mammals they survive on milk, especially during the first couple of months.
As they grow up you can switch to solid food, such as granules or puppy mush food.
2. How much should newborn puppies eat?
Or in other words, how much milk should a newborn puppy drink? The amount and frequency of bottle feeding actually depend on the pup’s age and size. Basically, a newborn should receive around ½ milk of its body weight on daily basis.
However, it’s best to consult with your vet when it comes to the exact formula depending on your canine’s breed.
The amount of milk you should give to a newborn puppy also depends on the way you’re feeding the dog. Syringes and bottles have different measurements and sometimes bottle feeding can prove to be more difficult than syringe feeding.
3. How often should you bottle feed a newborn puppy?
It depends on the doggie’s age. Newborns aged up to 2 weeks need to be bottle fed every 3-4 hours. As such, you’ll have to bottle feed the baby around 12 times a day. It’s of extreme importance not to overfeed it as newborns don’t have a sense of satiety by default. Younger pups will have to eat even more often than that. Right after they are born they’ll try to find their mom’s breasts once every two hours, but after the first week you can feed them once in every 3-4 hours.
During the third and fourth weeks the pups can drink milk every 6 hours. They’ll still be too young for solid food, but once they reach the fourth week, it’s time to start the weaning process. At 4-5 weeks of age the puppy still needs nursing. However, it’s crucial to begin the weaning, as it’s a natural process all canine moms go through with their babies at that stage. Around the age of 8 weeks the puppy is ready to make the transition to solid food or mushed puppy food.
4. How to feed newborn puppies by a bottle?
Or in other words, what are the essentials of bottle feeding for newborn puppies?
- For starters, it’s best not to use a bottle if your baby pet is less than 2 weeks of age. It’s still too small and its mouth won’t adjust well to the nursing bottle’s nipple. For pups aged up to 2 weeks the safest bet is to use a syringe – without the needle tip, of course.
- Bottle feeding for newborn puppies is actually pretty easy. You need to make sure that the comforter, nipple or soother is safely secured to the bottle so no milk will be spilled.
- You’ll need lukewarm milk, which is neither hot, nor cold. Once you’ve secured the nipple, you have to use both hands. Hold on to the bottle with one hand and carefully hold on to the newborn puppy with the other one. The pup has to be comfortably placed horizontally and never lying on its back. The best way to bottle feed a newborn puppy is to hold its head on 45 degrees while it’s sucking.
- Start by gently placing the nipple into the puppy’s mouth. Slowly squeeze the bottle to release a few drops of milk. After the puppy has tasted the liquid, it will start sucking on its own. Keep feeding the canine, but don’t overdo the limit, otherwise you’ll bloat up its belly.
- Don’t allow the doggie to suck too rapidly. If you see milk coming out of its nose, stop immediately. It’s better to give less milk more often rather than to give it larger quantities on less frequent basis. Too much milk can cause diarrhea, bloating, vomiting and even pneumonia if it goes into the puppy’s lungs.
- Don’t give into the urge to spoil the cute newborn by giving it too much milk. Always keep the baby’s health as a priority. If you can’t devote yourself to taking care of a newborn puppy and to bottle feeding it on hourly basis, make sure somebody else in your household can do this. Malnourishment can lead to fatal results, just like overfeeding. Make sure that all the people residing in your household are properly instructed on how to care for the newborn puppy before you leave it unattended.
Do you have questions? Or perhaps you want to share your experience with us? Just leave a comment, Doglovely wants to hear from you!