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 advisable 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

Try your bottles well in advance, I have only had to bottle feed once, for one day, and went into a panic when I couldn't get any milk out. Not all teats have pre filled holes, and trying to make a suitable hole was extremely difficult. Thankfully I had these marvellous things, called the Miracle Nipple made with a pre filled hole, and designed to alleviate the chance of an animal swallowing the entire nipple or biting the nipple in half. This nipple is also designed with a kneading pad for the animals to knead with their small paws as they would naturally do while nursing on their mother. Made in the USA and available in the UK from Amazon.

Or in the US direct from their website HERE.

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.


If you are tube feeding, you can connect the tube to the syringe and use the end of the tube to remove the formula from the snack bag. If you are bottle feeding, just pour the warmed formula into the bottle. This formula has ten to twelve calories per cc and will put weight on your puppies. You will not have diarrhea or constipation with this recipe.





This is the safe amount to feed your puppies if tube feeding. When you tube feed - you do this for the puppy to survive and not to get chunky monkey puppy. You do this minimum level so the puppy doesn’t drown or starve. This is the chart I have put together myself using 8-10 online charts and worked out the average. All were within a couple of ml of each other over a 24hr period. When tube feeding I 100% advise using liver water - be it what you’ve made or what you’ve bought. - Courtesy Carole Blackburn-Harvey