Bottle-feeding a young pup is truly heartwarming, although you might have a hard time figuring out exactly how much milk he needs. Manufacturers of canine milk replacer should suggest a feeding recommendation amount, but you'll need to watch out for cues that he's full as well.
Amount of Formula
A new puppy requires roughly 2 tablespoons of prepared formula daily for every 4 ounces of body weight. So if you’re fostering a lab puppy who weighs 12 ounces, you’ll need to make sure he gets 6 ounces of formula total throughout the day. Exact amounts may vary slightly depending on brand, so check with your veterinarian before feeding your tiny fuzz ball on your own.
Generally puppies need to eat about every two hours during the first week after birth. This means your new puppy needs 12 meals daily, amounting to 1/2 ounce of formula every couple hours for a 12-ounce puppy. As your helpless pal gets a bit older over the next few weeks, his feeding intervals expand to every three to four hours. So your 2-week-old pup, weighing 24-ounces -- or 1.5 pounds -- should get 12 ounces of total formula each day. You’ll need to give him about 2 ounces of milk replacer every four hours or so at this weight.
How To Feed
Infant pooches don’t need anything but puppy milk for their first three to four weeks of life until you start weaning. During this time frame you’ll have to feed your furry bundle of joy from a bottle or syringe. Ideally you should allow the fur ball to lie horizontally, just like he does when he’s nursing from his mama. Gently slip the nipple into his mouth and squeeze the sides of the bottle enough to release a drop or two of milk. He should start suckling on his own after that. If you see milk escaping through his nose, you’ll need to stop right away. This lets you know that his belly is already full and the milk is heading back up -- it has nowhere to go.
Powdered Milk Considerations
If you’re using powdered puppy milk replacer, it’s important to mix it exactly how the manufacturer states. Feeding your infant pup milk that is too thin can result in diarrhea and inadequate nutrition. On the other hand, if you make it too thick, your little rascal could become severely constipated.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.