Tube Feeding - Puppies or KittensAlthough tube feeding is not preferred, it may be necessary if a baby is too weak to nurse.
- The feeding tube should be bigger than you think they can swallow as a tiny tube can fold up in the lung.
- Measure from the corner of mouth to the last rib and mark the tube. If you do not get to that mark, you are in the lung. The stomach is behind and slightly under the rib.
- Pass the tube across the tongue – right to left or left to right and aim for the opposite side, back of throat.
- Position puppy or kitten with head slightly extended as they nurse, not with their head straight up in the air. Straight up causes a straight shot to the trachea.
- I like to dip the tube in milk replacer – they seem to taste and swallow it better.
- Babies do not have a gag reflex until their eyes are open, so do not plan on them coughing if you are in the lungs!
- Food not mixed well (cold or hot)
- Feeding too rapidly
- Over feeding
(Food should be mom's temperature before feeding. Give slowly.)
- Contaminated instruments (hygiene)
- Incorrect or poor quality mixture
(Wash all feeding equipment each time and mix only enough for 24 hours.)
- Lack of good bacteria in gut
- Usually occurs after one week on bottle
- Probiotic once daily in milk will solve
If you need help, call us at 1-800-786-4751.
Don Bramlage, DVM, Director of Veterinary Services at Revival Animal Health
To Learn MoreAvoid Bottle Feeding Issues in Kittens and Puppies
Nursing Puppy Loss - Webinar
When Puppies and Kittens Need Milk Replacer
38 Tips for Healthier Puppies
Basic Kennel Management Guide - E-book
The materials, information and answers provided through this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of your personal veterinarian or other pet health care professional. Consult your own veterinarian for answers to specific medical questions, including diagnosis, treatment, therapy or medical attention.