Sunday, January 15, 2012

Bottling Feeding and Hand Raising Puppies

*This is a guest post written by one of our talented volunteers/foster parents.  She is a huge help to Mostly Mutts when we have puppies that need a temporary home.  

I have been rescuing kittens and puppies for 15 years.  Over the years, I have learned some useful tips that may help you if you are raising an orphaned animal. It is a lot of work, but so rewarding when you raise a happy, healthy puppy or kitten that would not have made it otherwise. Please remember even with the best care we all lose a puppy or kitten from time to time, with no explanation. Sometimes no matter what we do we cannot save them all, but please don’t give up and not try again. I promise the rewards are worth it all!!
I found a formula recipe on-line several years ago and have had great success with it. It can be used for any orphan animal and they all seem to love it. You can make this formula at home and it has 11 calories per CC.  The problem with commercial formulas that you buy at the store or vet’s office is that it only has 1 or 2 calories per CC. This formula makes for fat happy puppies!! I have used this formula several hundred times and it works better than any others that I have tried. I also think this formula helps them from getting diarrhea as easy and they seem so satisfied after eating it.

Here are some general rules for bottle feeding puppies:

I prefer human baby bottles over the pet bottles.  If your puppy has a good sucking reflex, they should work just fine.  It will take a couple of feeds for the puppy to catch on.

Take time to check the hole in the nipple before using the bottle the first time. The hole is the right size if, when you turn the bottle upside down, milk drips from the nipple with only a gentle squeeze of the bottle.  If you need to add holes to the nipple, heat a needle and poke into the nipple several times.

A puppy may have little bubbles by his mouth, but there should not be milk running out if his mouth.  Burp your pups after feeding them.

I feed every 4/5 hours for a healthy puppy. Most puppies will eat ½ to 1 oz. a feeding.  But, it may take a couple feedings to figure out your puppy. Keep a record of each feeding and the amount they took.  This way you start to see a pattern. Remember over feeding is worse than underfeeding.  By this I mean, feed less often but more at one time.  A healthy puppy will stop eating when they are full. If a weak puppy refuses to eat wait 30 minutes and try again. (At this point try Karo Syrup, if he still does not eat).  Sometimes a very young weak puppy has to be fed with an eye dropper, but be very careful not to put too much in his mouth at one time.  You do not want the puppy to aspirate it into his lungs.  Just be patient and the puppy will latch onto the bottle in no time. Just make sure the puppy eats something every 4 hours.  If he eats a lot at one feeding and then not that much the next time it is ok. This formula is heavy and stays with them a while, which means less feedings and more sleep for you. I usually feed at around 2 pm, 6 pm, 10 pm, 2 am, 6 am, and 10 am, the first week. After that if the puppy is eating well at all feedings I delete the 2 am feeding.   Yeah!! As long as your puppy is gaining weight things are heading in the right direction. A kitchen food scale with grams is the best way to weigh your little one. Keep a record that you can easily refer to.

 I always place pups on newspaper in a different Rubbermaid container for a few minutes after eating, this helps them get use to going potty in a different place other than their bed. If pups still need to be stimulated, I still place them on newspaper while I clean up the bottles and then I stimulate them and put them in their bed. You can start a routine at an early age so housebreaking later is easier. Once puppies are 3 to 4 weeks old, I give them a big area with a sleeping place, eating place, play area and newspapers for going potty.  The first few days in the playpen are the most important. If the puppy potties on the newspapers don’t clean it up. Just add another piece of paper over it.  This way the smell is still there and they learn that this is the “area” to potty.  Also, if you catch the puppy in the right “area” praise him right away.

Bottle Feeding Recipe

1.       10 oz. can of goat’s milk. You can buy it at Wal-Mart, Publix and Kroger. It is with the evaporated can milk.
2.       1 raw egg yolk
3.       1 cup of whole yogurt (avoid skim or fat free)
4.       1 Tsp. Karo Syrup or Corn Syrup (Not Honey!!!)

Place ingredients in a blender and blend or use a wire whisk. Be careful not to over blend and create a milk shake full of bubbles. Keep refrigerated and discard leftovers after 7 days.  Remember this recipe has raw egg in it, so whatever you don’t use at a feeding must be thrown away.

Warm formula to room temperature before feeding the puppy. Never feed cold formula or a cold puppy. Always warm the puppy before feeding them.

At about 3 to 4 weeks, I start adding moistened food to the formula and let them lick it up.  Slowly decrease the formula until your puppy is eating solid foods.

Newborn puppies cannot regulate their body temperature very well. They can quickly become chilled, or hypothermic, if their mother, their siblings, or their environment does not keep them warm. You will need to keep your puppy on a heating pad for the first couple of weeks.  I use a large Rubbermaid container with a heating pad under it to help keep the puppy warm.  Make sure it does not get too hot and the puppy has a place to crawl away from the heat.  Keep several towels between the pad so the puppy does not get burned. Also, keep heating pad on very low. In addition, avoid drafts by placing the puppy’s box away from windows, doorways, and any air conditioning vents. If you are raising a litter, the temperature can be a little lower because they will huddle together and keep each other warm.

The normal rectal temperature for a newborn puppy is 95-99* F. If its rectal temperature is below 94* F degrees you are dealing with a potentially life- threatening case of hypothermia. The pup needs to be warmed immediately. But, be careful not to overheat the puppy or warm it too quickly; this can be fatal in a weak puppy.

Here is a copy of a chart that I keep on each litter when bottle feeding. This helps make sure no one gets left out and you can keep tabs on how much they are eating and when you stimulate them.  I put a “P” when they go to the bathroom.


 9/1 Hugo
 ½ oz
 1 oz
 ¾ oz P
 ½ oz
 ½ oz
 1 oz P
 9 oz.
 Has crusty eye


Hypoglycemia quickly develops in a newborn that is not nursing frequently. If this worsens, the puppy will become progressively more depressed and weak and could lead to being unresponsive and comatose.
If it is showing any signs of this, place a few drops of corn syrup on its tongue. This simple procedure is often sufficient to revive a hypoglycemic puppy. Add another feeding to his schedule for the next couple of days to avoid this from happening again.

Orphaned Puppies Need Help Defecating
Mothers stimulate their puppies to defecate (pass stool) by licking around the puppy’s anus. To prevent your orphaned puppy from becoming constipated, you’ll need to mimic this action by using a soft cloth or cotton ball moistened with warm water. Gently stimulate the puppy’s anal area after feeding for the first 2 weeks of its life.

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