Bottle Feeding Puppies and Kittens
Sometimes moms can't take care of their puppies for various reasons. Common causes are insufficient milk supply, uterine infection, mammary gland infection or eclampsia. When this happens, bottle feeding or tube feeding is necessary.
Bottle FeedingThe amount to bottle feed is important and the rule is until the tummy starts to distend! The tummy should feel full but not stretched. The stomach is just under the ribs. Warm formula to 100º F (barely warm, not hot) and if any doubt, check on your wrist for too hot.
- Always feed upright on sternum and tap them after to remove air bubbles to prevent colic. Never hold a puppy or kitten on its back when nursing.
- After each meal the kitten or puppy should be stimulated to urinate and defecate. Massaging their anal area with a damp cotton ball or cloth will provide this stimulation.
- Keep puppy or kitten warm for proper digestion to occur.
- 18 cc per pound is the stomach's maximum volume. It is better to underfeed first few feedings and feed an extra feeding than to overfeed. If they spit up after feeding, back off volume for next feeding.
- Until baby is five days old, feed every two hours or feed when baby start to get restless and tummy is empty. On day four, you can skip feeding every two hours from midnight to 6:00 a.m. We have to sleep!
- Note that dam or queen milk is 15 percent fat minimum. Use a milk replacer such as Foster Care™ with balanced fat and protein for better results when bottle feeding.
- If they are off mom longer than 24 hours, give a warm washcloth bath once or twice a day to keep them clean. Don't forget to stimulate urination after feeding and burping.
Bottle feeding a litter can only be described as a lot of work. Enlist other family members to share in the feeding responsibility and you'll be successful.
If you need help, call us at 1-800-786-4751.
- Dr. B
Don Bramlage, DVM, Director of Veterinary Services at Revival Animal Health
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.