How much and how often should I feed orphaned puppies?
Orphaned puppies should be fed on a strict schedule, preferably every 2-4 hours. Puppies up to two weeks old can generally consume their daily intake in 4-5 meals per day. Small breed puppies should be limited to 10-15mL per feeding during the first week of life in order to prevent diarrhea.
Commercial milk replacers are labeled to help you calculate the total volume to be fed per day. To calculate the amount for each feeding:
It is recommended that you warm puppy milk replacer to approximately 100°F (38°C) before feeding, but be careful not to overheat it. Cold formula, overly rapid feeding rates, and overfeeding can lead to regurgitation, aspiration, bloating, and diarrhea.
If the orphaned puppy develops diarrhea, reduce the formula volume. It is better to slightly underfeed than to overfeed neonatal orphaned puppies. Puppy milk replacer should be the sole source of nutrition until 3-4 weeks of age at which time the weaning process may begin.
The transition from formula to solid food is a gradual process, so be patient. Use a high-quality food formulated to support growth and reproduction. Introduce small amounts of semi-solid or solid food to supplement formula, and transition to solid food by 5-6 weeks of age.
What do orphaned puppies need for proper nutrition?
Water is a critical nutrient for orphaned puppies, just as it is for all other stages of their life. Normal water intake is relatively high for puppies, needing 130-220 milliliters (mL) of fluid per kilogram (kg) of body weight each day.
On average, the total fluid volume fed per day (including milk replacers) should be approximately 180mL/kg of puppy body weight. Mothers milk is highly digestible and very calorie dense. Compared to cows milk, milk from a puppys mother contains more than twice as much protein, which helps to explain why cows milk is not ideal for feeding orphaned puppies.
Commercial puppy milk replacers are recommended as they are superior to cows milk and home-made mixtures. The milk replacer you choose should meet several key nutritional factors. For every 100g of milk replacer fed (on a dry matter basis), there should be:
What should I track in a logbook?
Maintaining a logbook about the orphaned puppies does not need to be complicated. The intent is to simply keep track of how they are doing so you can identify if there are any potential concerns with their development.
Tracking their weights, milestones, and routines are key, so be sure to record details of when their eyes open, when their teeth begin to erupt, their food intake, and stool consistency.
TIP: Individual puppies must be identified in some way, so consider colored collars or nail polish on a few front toenails.
Feeding Puppies 8 weeks old
If you just adopted a new puppy, you surely have your hands full. Puppies should be fully weaned by 8 weeks of age, so theres usually no need to moisten his food or give him formula. In case he isnt completely weaned, you can use certain liquids to wet his dry food, but he should never have cows milk. Feeding your 8-week-old pooch cows milk aggravates his intestinal tract, leading to sudden onset bowel problems.
Weaning is the period of time when puppies go from nursing every few hours to eating solid food. You can start weaning puppies as early as 3 to 4 weeks old by offering them small amounts of moist food several times per day. The process takes several weeks, but usually puppies are weaned and eating on their own by about 7 to 8 weeks of age, according to the ASPCA.
Even though your puppy may seem fully independent and able to handle anything you feed him by 8 weeks, cows milk can make him very ill. Canines dont have the enzyme in their intestinal tract that breaks down cows milk. The milk passes through his fragile digestive tract, virtually untouched. Hell wind up having soft stools or may possibly suffer from uncontrollable diarrhea until the dairy fully exits his system.
If your pooch seems uninterested in food and needs a little moisture in his food to soften it up, use water instead of cows milk. Pouring a small amount of water onto his food brings out the meaty smell, enticing him to eat. Another alternative is canine milk replacer. This type of milk — available at any pet store — mimics his moms milk and is easy for his body to break down.
Your ferocious 8-week-old pooch really only needs a premium type of dry kibble to eat. Opting for premium brands, versus bargain varieties, ensures his growing body gets all of the nutrients he needs. Cheaper dog foods often use low-quality ingredients that pass right through his body, with little absorption. Dry kibble is important because it not only nourishes his body, the crunchy chunks help scrub his teeth clean. If youre unsure which brand is right for your furry pal, talk with your vet to get a recommendation.
Continuing to moisten his food long after he is weaned or feeding him canned foods, might cause problems. Wet food sticks to your barking buddys teeth, possibly causing early plaque formation. Canned food tends to have way more salt than puppies actually need, reports PetPlace.com. The excessive sodium gives him an upset belly, leading to diarrhea.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in womens health and personal defense. She holds a masters degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.