Newborn Chihuahua puppies are often unable to nurse from their mother for a number of reasons. There may be a lack of milk or unwillingness or inability on the part of the mother. Hand-feeding your puppies requires patience and dedication, but you'll help your newborn Chihuahuas become healthy, happy adults.
Weigh each puppy before feeding. Chihuahua puppies are fed based on weight, and knowing how much each pup weighs prior to feeding helps ensure each puppy gets the right amount of milk. Each puppy should be fed approximately .75 cc for every ounce of body weight for the first four weeks, increasing to 1 cc for every ounce of body weight until weaning onto solid food. This amount may vary per puppy, so watch carefully during feeding for signs that a puppy is still hungry.
Mix the puppy milk replacer with the proper amount of sterilized water indicated on the can. Milk replacer comes in both concentrated liquid and powder forms, so read the label carefully to mix up the proper amount of milk. You can store unused formula in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
Warm the milk replacer to body temperature gently in a pan of simmering water. Pour the milk into a heat-proof container and suspend it in the hot water, stirring gently for even heat distribution. Place a drop of milk on the inside of your wrist; if it's no longer cold but isn’t hot to the touch, it’s ready to feed. The tiny bodies of newborn Chihuahua pups are very sensitive to temperature change, and milk that is too hot or too cold will cause digestive upset.
Pour the proper amount formula into a small syringe and attach a nipple to the tip of the syringe. Invert the syringe and see how the milk flows from the nipple; if a small drop of milk forms on the nipple, the flow is adequate. If the nipple remains dry, poke three or four tiny holes in the nipple with a needle to increase milk flow.
Feed the puppy every two hours for the first 48 hours after birth. The tiny stature of Chihuahua puppies necessitates frequent feeding to ward off hypoglycemia and other health issues. After the first 48 hours, you can feed puppies every three to four hours.
Wrap the puppy in a clean towel and lay him belly-down on your lap. Hold the nipple near the puppy's mouth, allowing him to latch on when he catches the scent of the formula. Chihuahua puppies typically have a strong suck reflex and will nurse on their own, but if a puppy seems slow to drink, slowly depress the syringe. Small milk bubbles around the mouth are normal during nursing; slow down if the puppy coughs or milk comes out his nose.
Clean the puppy’s belly with a warm, wet cotton ball after feeding to encourage elimination. This simulates the licking of the mother’s tongue and prevents digestive issues. Rub the cotton ball around the genitals, wiping up any mess before placing the puppy back with his littermates.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
- Call your vet immediately if you notice signs of lethargy, dehydration or refusal to eat. To test for dehydration, grasp the skin over the puppy’s shoulder and lift gently away from the body; if the skin remains tented and wrinkled, the puppy is dehydrated.
- Never feed Chihuahua puppies cow’s milk. Chihuahuas are lactose intolerant, and cow’s milk can cause severe digestive upset.
Louise Lawson has been a published author and editor for more than 10 years. Lawson specializes in pet and food-related articles, utilizing her 15 years as a sous chef and as a dog breeder, handler and trainer to produce pieces for online and print publications.