Tips for Bottle Feeding a Puppy
You've gone to the shelter and found the perfect puppy, the puppy you and your family just have to have and now have the need to take care of your new puppy at home. Or, your female dog has had a beautiful litter of puppies but for some reason or another is not nursing them.
Do these scenarios sound familiar? If so, or if you've found yourself in a situation where you have a puppy that cannot be nursed the natural way, you are going to have to feed him or her by hand. The most effective means for accomplishing this is via bottle feeding.
When you first take on the task of bottle feeding a puppy it is extremely important to remember that the younger your puppy is, the more often you are going to have to feed him or her. During the puppies first two or three days of age you will need to bottle feed approximately once every two hours and for the rest of the first week a minimum of once every three hours.
After the first week your puppy is going to need to be fed at least five or six times per day. As puppies get older the frequency with which you will need to hold a bottle feeding session will decline.
You're first order of importance when considering to bottle feed a puppy, or making the preparations to do so, that what you feed him or her is nutritionally balanced to fit the puppies needs. There are a number of puppy milk formulas on the market that will take the guesswork out of mixing your own formula, three of the most common are: Esbilac, Puppylac and Hartz Advanced Care Puppy Milk Replacement.
Now that you've determined what you're going to feed your puppy, you need to have a bottle to actually perform the task of feeding. Most veterinary clinics, pet stores and pet departments in larger department stores will have bottles specifically designed for nursing puppies. If you are unable to procure an actually puppy nursing bottle you can substitute a human infant bottle equipped with a preemie nipple.
The actual bottle feeding process is really quite simple. First mix the formula and be sure that it is mixed well and without clumps as otherwise will cause the formula's nutrients to not be dispersed well and also bottle nipple will plug. While the formula is cooling to room temperature make sure you puppy is lying on his or her belly.
Gently insert the nipple into the puppy's mouth. If you're puppy doesn't take the nipple directly let a small drop fall on his or her mouth and with an extremely gentle prying motion open your puppies mouth and insert the nipple that way. Once the nipple is in place your puppy should take to the nipple and begin sucking naturally.
Be careful to not overfeed your puppy, play it safe and allow them to only drink a little less than they desire. Overfeeding can result in a number issues that can be detrimental to your puppies health that may require veterinary assistance to correct. It is always better to feed a lesser amount but increase the frequency of feeding sessions.
Just as with a human infant, puppies need to be burped too. At the end of a feeding session hold your puppy upright against your shoulder and gently pat his or her back. By doing so you will decrease the likelihood that your puppy's belly will bloat and will lower the chances for your puppy to become colicky.
About the Author: Matt operates the website A Happy Dog