Bottle-feeding newborn puppies is a month-long, nearly round-the-clock commitment. If the mother is available and can nurse her babies, this is the best option. The second best option is finding another nursing dog who will accept the puppies. If neither is possible, try to enlist help in the feeding schedule.
Prepare the formula according to the package instructions.
Pull up prepared formula in the syringe. The packaging on your formula should give you guidelines on how much to feed your puppy. The general guideline is 1 cc of milk-replacement formula for every ounce of body weight at each feeding.
Set the puppy on his stomach. Never bottle-feed a puppy by holding him on his back. This can cause the puppy to get milk into his lungs and result in pneumonia.
Place the syringe in the puppy's mouth. Push the milk into the puppy's mouth slowly. Give him plenty of time to swallow. If you feed him too quickly, he may choke.
Feed the puppy again in three hours. If your puppy seems to be thriving, you may be able to forgo feedings from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. In the first few days of your puppy's life, however, he will likely need a couple feedings in the night. A newborn puppy needs six to eight feedings in a 24-hour period.
Place the puppy's belly against your shoulder about halfway through his feeding.
Pat or rub the puppy's back until you hear him release air.
Burp the puppy again at the end of the feeding. You may not hear your puppy burp each time, but you should attempt to get him to burp twice during each feeding. This helps him release any air that was trapped while he was feeding. If he retains the trapped air he can become bloated.
Moisten a cotton ball with warm water.
Place the puppy in your palm so that he is resting on his back.
Massage the puppy's genital area with the cotton ball until he urinates and defecates. Puppies are unable to eliminate without this stimulation until they are one to two weeks old. Your puppy may not eliminate after every feeding but you should make an attempt at every feeding.
- Newborn puppies cannot generate enough body heat to stay warm. When he is not being fed, provide your puppy with a bed in a small cardboard box. Include a heating pad with a towel between the pad and the puppy.
- The puppy should rest easily after his feeding. If he is whining or restless, this likely means he didn't get enough to eat or is cold. If he didn't burp or eliminate during the feeding, make another attempt.
Bethney Foster is social justice coordinator for Mercy Junction ministry, where she edits the monthly publication "Holy Heretic." She is also an adoption coordinator with a pet rescue agency. Foster spent nearly two decades as a newspaper reporter/editor. She graduated from Campbellsville University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in English, journalism and political science.