Fostering a Litter of Puppies to Another Mom
Fostering a litter is done for any number of problems. Most commonly, fostering is needed due to large litters, sick moms or being orphaned. Dog moms are the best in the world. If a litter or a single puppy needs to be mothered and nursed, generally they will mother and nurse them with no issues. They may look at them a little funny the first time or two they clean them up, but they nearly always accept the new responsibility with ease and gentleness.
Consider the Puppies' Age
When we have a big litter and we need another mom to raise a few extra that are the same age as her puppies, little help is needed except for supplementing calories, vitamins and calcium to foster the extras successfully. She is in the same milking cycle as the age of the other litter and her production and quality of milk should match the demand.
What if the Foster Mom's Puppies are Older?
When fostering a newborn litter to a mom whose babies are early weaned or older, we must remember she is backing off milk. Milk production peaks at two weeks and begins to taper from that point to weaning at around four to five weeks of age. To be successful, you will need to encourage this foster mom to increase milk production.
- Start your foster mom on Oxy Momma™ at twice the dose for one week then follow with the normal dose thereafter. Oxy Momma™ has fennel, fenugreek, and other herbs that promote healthy lactation. Using Oxy Momma™, your foster mom will experience an increased milk production in three days and will have all the vitamins she needs to milk successfully.
- Calories double at two weeks lactation and your foster mom may not want to eat more as her hormones are saying back-off calories in later stages of lactation.
- Give mom canned food twice a day to get her back to the food bowl. She will need to milk hardest when the litter is two weeks old so we need to get production to follow litter growth.
- To help stimulate your mom's appetite, top dress her food with yogurt, Parmesan cheese or a quality milk replacer like Foster Care™ (it is a great source of calcium). Whatever you can do to get mom to eat more that first week will help.
- Supplement your mom with calcium to meet her increased requirements for milk production.
Female CullingWatch for "Female Culling." Moms that detect a cold lethargic baby will set them to the side and not tend to them. Culling is done on temperature, not sickness. When fostering babies, the slow puppy may not get the milk needed and start to chill. Pull the baby, warm up and feed!
Helping a sick mom, a mom with few puppies and another mom with too many are all reasons to foster. When fostering is done right, it saves puppies and reduces the need for bottle feeding. Support the foster mom's lactation and you too will see that dog moms are the best moms in the world!
If you need help, call us at 800.786.4751.
- Dr. B
Don Bramlage, DVM, Former 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.