What to Feed Newborn Puppies

Usually, newborn puppies will spend their first three weeks living off their mother's milk, but if you find an abandoned newborn, you have to provide another option. Make sure the puppy gets all the necessary nutrients from the food you provide that he would get from his mother.

Newborn Diet

There are many commercial milk replacer formulas that nourish and satisfy the nutritional requirements and can be purchased at any pet store. However, if you find a puppy and would like to feed him immediately, mix 1 cup of milk, 1 tablespoon corn oil, a pinch of salt and three egg yolks with no whites. Blend the mixture to evenly distribute the ingredients.

Because a newborn puppy cannot yet generate his own heat efficiently, the temperature of the food is important. Heat it to 95 or 100 degrees, and test it on your arm as you would with baby formula.

Feeding the Puppy

Newborn puppies must be fed with hand feeding or bottle feeding. Puppy bottles can be very effective if they are the right size. If you tip over the bottle and milk comes out easily, the nipple is too big. This could drown the puppy. The nipple should be just big enough that the puppy can easily eat. You can also use a dropper.

To hand feed a newborn puppy, you must use a spoon since the food is still liquid. You can pour each spoonful slowly down the puppy's throat, but be very careful. If you move too quickly, the fluid may enter the puppy's lungs instead.

Feed your puppy four to six times per day, depending on how healthy he is. Commercial milk replacers give instructions how much and how often to feed. Feeding too much can lead to diarrhea.

Newborn Dangers

A well-fed puppy will have a round belly and be generally content. If your puppy is crying frequently and trying to suckle inanimate objects, that is cause for concern. The two biggest dangers facing your underfed puppy are dehydration and hypoglycemia.

Dehydration can be detected by checking the puppy's skin and gums. If skin has lost elasticity or gums feel dry and sticky, your puppy needs more liquid.

Hypoglycemia are harder to detect. Symptoms include depression, muscle twitching and convulsions. If you suspect hypoglycemia, immediately take your puppy to a vet. If you have corn syrup at home, put a few drops on his tongue.

If your puppy's stool is runny, possibly green or yellow, you are feeding too much. Cut back the food a little. It's better to give puppies a little less than they want.

If his stool is too hard and he's straining to defecate, the formula is probably too concentrated. Add some water to make it easier to pass through the system.

When a puppy hits three or four weeks, you can start to transition to solid food by wetting it down and mixing it with the milk replacer formula. However, the first three weeks are very important to your puppy's health development. If you provide him with the correct nutrition, he will be off to a great start.