In the first 3 to 4 weeks of life, dogs exclusively consume in breast milk. As a result of its specific composition, this completes the food supplies, sufficient nutrients and energy (proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water) for adequate growth and development. Therefore, the first question we must answer when we have assumed the responsibility of growing newborn puppy is:
What to feed orphaned puppies?
Like other mammals, in the first few days after birth, a dairy secretion whose composition is entirely different from that of healthy breast milk. This modified milk is called colostrum. Its primary role is to achieve the first immunization of newborn babies by passively transferring antibodies from mother to chicken. Learn more by clicking this URL.
Therefore, a primary objective of those who have assumed the role of “adoptive parents” of these puppies is to provide them with the possibility of eating as large amounts of maternal colostrum.
In situations where the mother’s refusal to raise chickens is not due to causes related to dairy secretion, illness or physical shortage of the female, we can try to force breastfeeding. Practically, we sit down and keep the female in the lateral decubitus (the natural breastfeeding position) and let the newborns suck. We repeat the operation every two hours in the next 24 to 48 hours. It is very likely that, following these maneuvers, the female accepts the chickens and assumes the full role of the mother.
If we can not provide (in the first 24-48 h) the feeding of orphans with maternal colostrum, the hygiene conditions should be strictly applied to prevent illness. Also, for these puppies, the vaccination schedule will be implemented more quickly.
Unless we find a female “nurse” able to take up newborns and breastfeed, we will have to find a replacement breast milk with a similar composition or as close as possible to it.
A first option would be fresh / pasteurized cow/goat milk. However, as stated in “Artificial Feeding of Newborn dogs” these substitutes cannot provide adequate nutrition because:
- Concentration in protein, fat, and calcium is much lower compared to existing milk,
- The lactose level is over that tolerated by the newborn puppy,
- The energy density of cow/goat milk is about twice as low
It should also be borne in mind that nursing newborns with cow’s milk can sometimes cause their bloating or diarrheal states accompanied by dehydration, with dramatic consequences on survival chances.
Feeding, in the first 3-4 weeks, of young orphan dogs with milk replacers, specially formulated for dogs or cats and marketed through specialist stores (pet shops or veterinary pharmacies), is the ideal option. With Kibble Coupons, you can save money on dog food.
These substitutes ensure a complete and balanced diet that thoroughly covers the nutritional and energetic requirements of orphan chickens, guaranteeing a growth and development rate similar to those naturally fed by the dog.
At present, the supply of milk substitutes for dogs or cats is very varied. Not all the assortments are the same; An intermediate solution was the preparation of some alternatives, which have as their primary ingredient the fresh, non-standardized cow’s milk. It is combined with water, oil, raw eggs, etc. based on recipes prepared by nutritionist veterinarians. Even if they are not entirely balanced from their composition in essential nutrients, these formulas can be used as an emergency solution for a few days, until a commercial substitute is purchased.
In conclusion, orphaned dogs should be provided with a substitute whose composition in essential nutrients and energy density is similar or as close to that of breast milk. The commercial formula of milk replacers is the optimal and most convenient way to feed these newborns. The balanced composition of essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals ensures the full coverage of nutritional and energy requirements. They are always very easy to administer, and their preparation does not take long. The use of cow or goat milk is not an optimal solution, as there are significant differences in quantitative composition compared to bitch. Recipes of milk replacers, prepared at home, from fresh cow’s milk, are a compromise solution that can be successful.