Orphan Puppies or Supplemental Feeding
Note: This is a guide and does not in anyway mean to replace instructions that should come from your veterinarian.
|Puppy Weight In LBS.||Puppy Weight In Ounces||Amt to Feed CC’s per feeding||Amt to Feed Ounces per feeding||Orphans Feed Every||Method Of Formula Calculation|
|3 to 7||1 cc per oz wt||3 hours||1 cc per oz wt.|
|8 ounces||12 cc||4 hours||1 1/2 cc per oz wt.|
|10 ounces||15 cc||4 hours||1 1/2 cc per oz wt.|
|12 ounces||18 cc||5 hours||1 1/2 cc per oz wt.|
|14 ounces||21 cc||5 hours||1 1/2 cc per oz wt.|
|16 ounces||24 cc||5 hours||1 1/2 cc per oz wt.|
|1 1/4 lbs||20 ounces||30 cc||1 ounce||5 hours||1 1/2 cc per oz wt.|
|1 1/2 lbs||24 ounces||36 cc||1 1/3 oz||5 hours||1 1/2 cc per oz wt.|
|1 3/4 lbs||28 ounces||52 cc||1 3/4 oz||6 hours||1 oz (30 cc) / lb wt.|
|2 pounds||32 ounces||60 cc||2 ounces||6 hours||1 oz (30 cc) / lb wt.|
|2 1/4 lbs||36 ounces||68 cc||2 1/4 oz||6 hours||1 oz (30 cc) / lb wt.|
|2 1/2 lbs||40 ounces||75 cc||2 1/2 oz||6 hours||1 oz (30 cc) / lb wt.|
|3 pounds||48 ounces||90 cc||3 ounces||6 hours||1 oz (30 cc) / lb wt.|
The quantities shown are for cats and dogs. The quantities are accurate guidelines for both tube feeding and hand feeding. The following information is a combination of my own experience with breeding yorkies and input from many other breeders and vetinarians.
The smaller the puppy, the more frequently it needs to be fed. The stomach is smaller and it is growing at a high rate of speed. Every attempt should be made to maintain a regular schedule. The goal overall is to feed an orphan a certain amount in a 24 hr period.
For example, a 10 ounce puppy should receive a total of 90 cc’s (3 ounces) in a 24 hour period. Even though the chart above shows 3 hour intervals for 3 – 7 oz puppies, if a puppy is weak or dehydrated, you probably want to feed it every two hours for a couple of days, or until it is clearly improving. To do this, figure out how much that puppy should consume in a 24 hour period and divide it by the quantity of 2 hour feedings in 24 hours (12), and feed that many ccs of formula per 2 hour feeding.
As a puppy gets older, they will eat more some feedings and less other feedings. You want to judge their intake based on the quantity ingested in 24 hours.
Weigh Those Puppies
You must weigh the puppies! Use a good scale that measures in ounces like a postal scale or baby scale. Some breeders recommend a digital scale if possible. I put a small oblong plastic food storage container on the scale to place a puppy in, and adjusted the scale back to zero. If you are supplementing, always weigh the puppy the same way – either before or after feeding. Weigh at birth, three times a day for the first two days, and then for rest of the first week weigh twice a day. After one week, if they are gaining according to schedule, weigh once a day to keep track of progress and to be aware of any potential problems early on. After about 3 weeks you may not need to weigh any more.
To Supplement or not to Supplement
An average schipperke puppy weighs 6 oz at birth. In the first 24 hours of life the puppy should either gain a little, or stay at it’s body weight (or darn close). Each consecutive day in the first week should show a 1/2 to 1 oz gain. If a puppy is not gaining within these parameters, you may decide to give a supplemental feeding, say, morning and evening for a day or two until it gains according to schedule.
If they are still lagging behind you may need to feed a third supplemental feeding during the day. The goal here is for the puppy to feed from its mother to stimulate milk production, then reduce or eliminate the supplemental feedings. A smaller or weaker puppy, or a larger than average litter (more than 4 Schip puppies?) will likely require supplementing to catch up. Communicate with your vet immediately any concerns you have about the mother not producing milk (or enough). Occasionally, an infection in the mother can cause problems, and can affect milk quality to the detriment of the puppies. Occasionally you may need to step in and feed full time.
Two ready-to-feed puppy formulas that come highly recommended are ‘Just Born‘ and ‘Nuturall’. Many breeders swear by fresh goats milk. I have not tried it. I have been using the Just Born and the puppies love it!
What do I feed them with?
Personally, I like to use a 3 cc syringe to feed the puppy for the first week to be able to measure the exact amount they are consuming. After a week, I like to use a human baby bottle. It was suggested to me to use an Evenflo (4 oz) bottle and standard nipple. This works, though with any nipple, the thicker formulas have a harder time flowing through as they cool. You want to feed formula warm (not hot). You may want to use a hot needle to pierce another small hole in the nipple. You do not want the formula to flow so quickly as to cause bubbles in the puppy’s nose. Too much of this can cause formula to get into the lungs, and new problems could arise. You may want to experiment with what nipple style works best for you. When feeding, place the puppy on your lap on a small towel or a folded couple of paper towels. It might poop while being fed. Half way through or at the end of the feeding, pet the puppy firmly, or put on your shoulder to rub to instigate it burping. They often do, though may not.
A note about overfeeding – When the healthy puppy gets to about 11 days of age, you can pretty much let them consume as much as they want at a feeding. Just make sure it is enough. If they over-consume for several feedings diarrhea may develop. Diarrhea can quickly dehydrate a puppy, as well as stop the ability for them to gain. It can ultimately cause other problems in the intestine like intussusception (bowel blockage) or colic. You don’t want to experience any of these! If diarrhea develops from over feeding, back off on the quantity per feeding, that is, make sure at any one feeding they are not gorging themselves.
You still want to feed them their 24 hour ration. The older the puppy, the more relaxed you can be about this. Note: A good mother will clean up the puppies before you notice that the puppy is experiencing diarrhea. You need to pay close attention. A puppy that is behind in weight is likely to over do it when they are given the opportunity to free feed again. Start them back with smaller feedings, but more frequently so as to deliver their required amount. After a day or two of this, they might not gorge themselves. One breeder had a puppy gorge herself to the point of interfering with her breathing. The puppy was already weak and it became a problem. Her vet removed some of the milk from the puppy to take pressure off of the diaphragm and all was well again.
How much is enough at each feeding?
A way to gauge when a puppy has had enough to eat is to feel along the sides of the tummy (on the flank, back toward the hind leg). It should feel full without being hard and distended. It will take practice on your part to get used to what they feel like before they feed, and then when they are full. They have a layer of muscle under the skin back there. Don’t mistake the tightness of the muscle for the feeling of being hard and distended. Wait until it moves around a bit and keep feeling it.
Don’t Feed A Chilled Puppy!
You must warm that puppy back to normal using a heating pad or hot water bottles covered towels, and perhaps give it some warmed fluids (pedialyte or water with a tiny bit of caro syrup) by mouth or subcutaneously. A chilled puppy will not feed well or digest well. This is not meant to be sufficient information to revive a chilled puppy. Contact your vet immediately should you have a puppy end up in this state to get proper instruction.
Tube feeding is a skill that I haven’t learned yet. I have been told by a respected breeder of many years that it is something that I should learn. Tube feeding allows delivery of the formula into the puppy’s stomach. It is a skill, and done improperly can have serious consequences.
Done correctly can make sure the puppy is getting fed without the issues of air locks and burping. You don’t have to negotiate with the puppy how much is going to go in! Well, once I experience it, I’ll be back to fill this part in…A healthy puppy will often sleep on its back with its feet in the air. They twitch and jerk while they sleep. No movement during sleep, often curled quietly on their stomach indicates there may be a problem.