If you have a bitch that has either insufficient milk to raise a large litter or no milk, you may be faced with having to bottle feed. It is always adviseable to get some bottles on standby. If you get into difficulties, and/or the puppies are not feeding and gaining weight, you should contact your vet for advice, some puppies need a little help and have to be tube fed, and this should not be attempted unless you know what you are doing.

Some general tips

Always boil your water before using - allow time to cool. Wind the puppies after feeding. Puppies may have some bubbles around the mouth, but milk should not come out of the mouth, nor down the nose.

When the bottle is held upside down the milk should drip out, and not flow out in a continuous stream, if a puppy gets milk in their lungs they may get pneumonia.

Calorie intake needs to be adjusted according to growth of puppies. A general rule of thumb is 1cc per oz of body weight every 2 hours.

You need accurate scales to weigh the puppies, kitchen food scales are fine, you will need to check on weight gain or loss of each puppy.

You can buy powdered puppy milk but an old recipe used by many breeders today is just as good, and most think better than any commercial powder.

  • 10 oz. of canned evaporated milk OR whole goat's milk (DO NOT USE COWS, SKIMMED OR WHOLE MILK) Whole goat's milk is by far the best to use and can be bought from Morrisons, Tesco and Asda and other large supermarket chains. Make sure you are using EITHER evaporated milk OR whole goat's milk not both, and do not use sweetened condensed milk.

  • If using evaporated milk add 3 oz of cooled boiled water

  • 1 raw egg yolk.

  • 1 cup of plain yogurt (avoid skimmed or fat free).

  • 1/2 tsp Karo or Corn Syrup (not honey)

Place ingredients in a blender or hand whisk and blend. Be careful to not over blend and create a milk shake full of bubbles as the bubbles will then go into the puppy. Keep cool and discard leftovers after 7 days.Warm formula to body temperature (dogs are around 101 degrees).