Feeding a puppy during its first weeks of life is of vital importance for its proper development. Although its diet varies over time, we must make sure to provide it with the necessary nutrients in this first stage of its life in which the animal is most vulnerable. In this way, we not only protect his health as a puppy, but we guarantee his physical and mental well-being in future periods of his life. Therefore, in this article we give you the details about how to feed a newborn puppy, indicating the appropriate amounts and other guidelines that you should take into account.
Feeding a puppy: the necessary nutrients
When feeding a puppy dog, we must bear in mind that the nutritional requirements are different from those of a dog that is in its adult age. During the first weeks of life, dogs need a high number of proteins, minerals, vitamins and fats. All this is concentrated in mother’s milk, which is why the ideal would be for a newborn puppy to be breastfed by its mother.
The best way to feed a puppy is by letting it suckle. Breast milk meets all the nutritional needs of the little one during their first weeks and is the best way to guarantee their health and well-being. This is mainly due to the fact that their milk is rich in proteins and salts that help prevent diseases. This compound is known as colostrum and its absence increases a newborn dog’s chances of survival by 50%.
Feeding a newborn puppy: artificial milk
In the event that there is no option for the puppy to be breastfed by its mother, we can resort to the use of artificial breast milk. This alternative is very useful when one or more puppies have been abandoned by the mother or in the unfortunate case that she has died.
Feeding a puppy formula
- Go to the vet. The first thing we should do when we have a newborn puppy in our hands is take him to the vet. It is possible that, in the event that we have found it abandoned or do not know its origin, the puppy suffers from malnutrition or any other problem that puts its life at risk.
- Askyour vet for artificial breast milk. There are different commercial preparations in powder format that can be easily prepared at home to feed the dog. You can also choose to prepare breast milk for dogs.
- You must buy a bottleto be able to administer the artificial milk preparation to the puppy. It is important that each puppy has its own bottle, since in the event that one of them suffered a disease we would avoid contagion.
How to bottle a newborn puppy
Once we have bought the formula, it is time to prepare the bottle to give it to the puppy. These are the guidelines that you should take into account when doing it:
- Read the instructions on the package insert. When buying formula, it is important to consult your vet about how to administer the different feedings. However, we can consult the product instructions to find out how much to give the puppy, depending on its weight and age.
- Typically, the number of feedings is one every four hoursup to three weeks of age.
- We prepare the artificial milk and bring the nipple to the animal’s mouth, making sure that it has a suitable temperature -37ºC-. In the event that he is asleep, stimulate his appetite by approaching the bottle carefully so that he feels like eating, always without forcing it.
- It is not necessary that the puppy is lying down, in fact we can let him continue lying on his bed to maintain his body heat.
- We wait until the puppy finishes the bottle and then we massagethe puppy’s genitals with a damp cloth. This is the best way to simulate the mother’s tongue, which licks her puppy after meals so that it defecates and urinates. Therefore, we must perform these massages until we achieve it.
- Once we have fed our puppy dog, we wash the bottle well. The best option is to boil it with hot water to ensure a complete cleaning.
Tips for feeding a newborn puppy
- Don’t use cow’s milk. It is common to think that puppies can be fed cow’s milk, but the truth is that it is not the most suitable food. Cow’s milk is poor in nutrients compared to the milk produced by a pregnant dog. Additionally, lactose can cause diarrhea and other problems in the newborn. Therefore, always opt for formula milk to feed a newborn dog.
- Suitable environment. Create a space in the home for the puppy or puppies to be comfortable. This space must be clean, away from any danger and have a suitable temperature. Under normal conditions, puppies would have the body heat of their mother, so we must not forget this aspect and guarantee a temperature between 30ºC and 32ºCduring the first week. From the second week on, the temperature should range between 26ºC and 28ºC.
- Control your weight. The development of a dog is rapid, especially during the first months. Therefore, the best sign that you are healthy is that you are increasing in size and weight. In the event that the puppy does not eat, does not gain weight, does not defecate or suffers from diarrhea, we should go to the vet.
- Do not reuse the milk. If there is milk left after giving the bottle, it is convenient to keep it in the refrigerator and not use it after 12 hours.
- Take care of their socialization. During the first months a very special bond is created between the mother and her cubs. It is for this reason that in the case of raising a newborn dog without a mother we seek proper socialization. For this reason, once the first weeks have passed and with the authorization of the veterinarian, we can begin to join our puppy with other dogs. In this article we explain how to socialize a puppy with adult dogs and people.
- After 6 weeks of life, the dog will start to consume solid food, so we recommend reading this article about how to feed a puppy dog that will be very useful.