Puppy Milk Replacer Formulas

Proper nutrition is imperative to the healthy growth of a puppy and when mother's milk is unavailable; puppy milk replacer formulas can be essential in making sure a puppy gets what he needs. One of the most important things that they can receive is their mother’s colostrum which contains the necessary antibodies and nutrients to provide them with protection from many diseases and which also contains growth factors that are believed to help stimulate the synthesis of proteins, improve the utilization of fats, and promote the growth of cells. Sometimes, due to unforeseen circumstances, mother’s milk is not available for a puppy and replacement formulas are needed to make sure they are receiving proper nutrition. But, proper nutrition through a replacement formula is not the only thing necessary to ensure a puppy’s health and growth.

Feeding the Puppies

With the help of a veterinarian, puppies can be cared for through replacement formula in conjunction with a nurturing hand to replace the care that an orphaned puppy might have received from his mother. There are many versions of milk replacement formulas for puppies, and a veterinarian should be consulted about the best one to fit the puppies’ needs. Puppies should be fed according to their strength and weight and they need to be weighed daily to note any weight loss which may indicate a deficiency in nutrition. If after 48 hours the puppy loses weight, a veterinarian should be consulted.

When using a replacer formula, mix only the amount needed for a 24 hour period. A puppy should be fed daily about ½ ounce of formula for every 2 ounces of body weight. For week or small puppies the formula should be fed every 4 hours; for puppies that are stronger and more active, feeding should be at 8 hour intervals. The needs of the puppy will greatly depend on the growth rate, breed, and activity of the puppy.

Nurturing the Puppies

Proper digestion is dependent upon the puppy’s body temperature; the puppy should be kept warm to aid in proper digestion. Also required for young puppies’ survival is imitating their mother’s care by gently wiping the puppy’s bottom with a moist washcloth until it has a bowel movement and wets. After the puppy has been fed, hold his head on your shoulder and gently rub his back until he burps. Water should be made available to puppies when they are 2 weeks old.

Puppies should be allowed to consume as much formula as they want. The formula can be heated by placing the bottle into a pan of tepid water; be sure to test the temperature on your wrist to see that it is slightly warm. Do not microwave the puppy formula. There are many versions of formula available for puppies; consult your veterinarian in order to ensure proper nutrition for your puppies. Chilled puppies should never be fed milk replacement; if mother’s milk is unavailable, there are specially designed formulas and your veterinarian should be consulted.

Weaning the Puppies

When healthy puppies are around 25 days old, when they can lap from a bowl, they can be weaned. At this tender age it is best to lend a high-quality food with warm formula to form a paste. For the first week, feed the mixture between 3 and 4 times daily. Increase the amount of dry food each week and after 6 to 7 weeks the puppy should be completely on dry food.