Maremma Puppy Feeding
- Pups start out nursing on their moms and we start introducing food to them before six weeks of age. That said, we did have had experience with bottle fed pups..(too many for mom in the litter!) so have started some out on a homemade puppy formula:
1 c. whole milk or goat milk (we used powdered goat milk replacement we had here for the kids),
3 egg yolks (no whites),
1 Tbsp oil and
a pinch of salt.
Another homemade puppy formula recipe I found good (depending on what ingredients I had in the cupboard/fridge!) was:
1 Tbsp Plain whole Yogurt
1/2 c. Evaporated Milk
1/2 c. Boiled Water
1 Tsp. Oil
1 drop Pediatric Multivitamin
2 Egg Yolks
The first recipe worked well for me though and pups grow well on it. Feed 'em lots and often for the first while....we have successfully nursed pups from day one... Luckily, we had several sizes of nipples/bottles on hand (go buy some as soon as you know your dam is pregnant!).
- We start out giving the pup drops out of an eyedropper until they get used to the taste of the milk and the fact that I was now the Momma. They might start out stubborn and refuse - just be patient and keep going until they drink (which they will do eventually - once they get hungry enough!)
Be especially careful not to put any pressure on the bottle/feeder though as the pup will aspirate the milk very easily and the results are usually tragic: pneumonia and a very quick death unless you have a vet within minutes of you!
- Also, for the first couple weeks, you will need to burp him once he has fed and then, using a wet cloth, gently massage his rectum, etc., to help stimulate him to waste: poop and pee. Newborn pups are unable to eliminate waste without your help!
After the eye dropper, graduate them to a kitten nipple from the pet store...looks like a baby doll bottle...and they can do well on that but soon it will be too little. We usually use a Pritchard's Teat next (available at farm supply stores...for sheep/goats) which we just fit onto plastic pop/water bottles. Some people use baby bottles/nipples and have success with them. Our bottle babies didn't like them as much as the Pritchard's. Here's the feeding schedule:
-For the first 48 - 72 hours a pup needs feedings every 2-3 hours. (They will cry when hungry!)
-For the next/first week, he needs feeding about every three hours (with a four hour stretch in the night) and he eats about 3.5 oz (25-35ml)/100 grams of body weight.
-During the second week they should get 15-20 ml/100 grams of body weight, every four hours with a six hour stretch at night.
-As they get to be about three weeks, I start adding some probiotic yogurt, decrease the eggs to 2 egg yolks and also add a children's multivitamin, ground up. This is the age when I start introducing 'drinking out of a dish' by pouring a little in a dish and using the bottle to lead the pup to it. Because I can't say it enough, let me repeat: It is very important not to 'push' their noses into the milk to avoid aspiration.
-At four weeks, once they have the hang of drinking out of the dish, I start to add well-soaked kibble/mush or finely ground raw meat to the bowl(s). They need about 20ml formula/100 grams of body weight in weeks three and four, four times a day. This is the age where I also start giving the other (nursed) pups the same food: kibble/mush soaked in the starter formula. Just make sure the orphans get extra as the other pups are still nursing!
-Weeks five and six I gradually decrease the 'soaking' time of the kibble so it started to get crunchier - by week six the pups are getting dry kibble or unsoaked raw meat.
Always keep fresh water available, once they start getting familiar with the dish. Add heated water bowls to your supply list if you live up north like us!