Tip 76 – Food for newborn kittens and puppies
When Mom is around and willing to feed her healthy newborn kittens or puppies, there is no need to give the newborns any extra food. Nature is the best provider and mother’s milk has all the nutrients that newborn kittens or puppies need.
There are times though when you may find a newborn puppy or kitten without its mother. There are also times when a mother refuses to feed or abandons her newborns. Under these conditions you may ask yourself what do I feed a newborn kitten or puppy.
Feeding a newborn puppy or kitten requires special care. The diet must be healthy, rich in nutrients, and dispensed several times a day on a strict schedule. It’s crucial that you use top-quality ingredients when preparing the mother’s milk substitute and scrupulously observe basic hygiene rules. The slightest carelessness may lead to serious health problems, such as diarrhea, and even death.
Keep the formula in the refrigerator (up to two days) and heat only the portion needed for each feeding. Use a pet-nurser bottle available at a vet’s office, or in a pinch you can use a bottle for human newborns. Avoid using an eyedropper, because the puppy or kitten cannot suck at it and the milk might accidentally get drawn into the lungs.
The prescribed daily milk portion corresponds to 25 percent of the animal’s weight. Feed it six times a day during the first two weeks, then four times a day afterward, until it is weaned.
Mother’s Milk Substitute for Kittens and Puppies
240 ml (8 oz) Homogenized (3.25% milk fat) or evaporated milk (if you use evaporated milk, dilute two parts milk in one part water). Mother’s milk substitutes are also available at a vet’s office.
5 ml (1 teaspoon) Canola oil
1 drop Multivitamins for humans (or for kittens)
2 Egg yolks
5 ml (1 teaspoon) Corn syrup
Put all ingredients in a mixer and warm the milk before each feeding.
After each feeding
Help the tiny animal to burp after each feeding. Then wash its abdomen and genitals with warm water to stimulate urination and defecation. Gently dry then rub the animal.
Weaning kittens and puppies
You can start weaning a kitten or a puppy as early as the fourth week. Here’s How:
- Add 5 to 10 ml (1 to 2 teaspoons) of Pablum, a rice cereal for human consumption, to each meal’s portion of the formula.
- At five weeks, encourage the animal to lick the Pablum-added formula from a dish. Add enough Pablum to get a thick consistency.
- At six weeks, start giving kitten or puppy food, dipped in or mixed with water and Pablum-added formula. Encourage the animal to eat from a dish.
- From six to eight weeks, gradually reduce the amount of formula and Pablum until they are eating only the kitten or puppy food.
Portions of this text reprinted by permission from First Aid for Dogs and Cats by Chantale Robinson published by Sogides Ltd.