Although puppies can drink evaporated milk, it’s not nearly as good for them as milk from their mother. Only use evaporated milk in a time of need. It’s also important to make sure the source of evaporated milk is from dogs and not cows.
It is frustrating (and even frightening) to care for newborn puppies if they refuse to drink milk or are unable to. It is also very distressing when a mother dog does not provide the milk that her puppies need. In either case, you’ll need to find other methods to make sure the puppies are getting the nutrition they need.
As you explore other options, you’ll probably read about evaporated milk. But is evaporated milk good for puppies? Can it replace mothers milk? If not, what is the best option?
We will answer all those questions in this article, but let’s start by answering a more important question…
Why Aren’t The Puppies Nursing?
Mother Isn’t Producing Milk Yet
There are several reasons puppies may not be getting the milk they need from their mother. The most common reason is that the mother dog may not be producing enough milk for all of her pups. If the puppies were just born, it might take a while to get the milking process started. Usually, milk will be produced within 24 hours of the litter being born. If it does not happen, the puppies may become agitated and start crying for milk. At this point, you’ll need to look for something to help them.
The mother could also have a medical issue going on. She could be suffering from mastitis, which makes it impossible to nurse. Mastitis is when the milk duct gets blocked and cannot release the milk inside. Symptoms of this condition include extreme breast pain and cracking around her nipples.
The mother dog may not be able to nurse her pups if she has some sort of infection. If the bacteria entered her body via her nipples, she won’t nurse to prevent passing the infection onto her puppies.
The mother may also simply be too tired to feed. Birth is an extremely stressful and taxing experience, recovery takes some time. She may just need to rest before she can handle a whole litter of mewling pups. Care for your mother dog and make sure she is comfortable and rested.
Evaporated Milk- a Substitute?
As you can see, there are a number of reasons puppies might not be getting the nutrition they need from their mother. Regardless of the reason, you’ll need to find another way to get the pups their required nutrients
You may receive the advice from others to turn to evaporated milk in this scenario. Evaporated milk is cow’s milk. It is not ideal for a puppy’s diet, but in a pinch, it is ok.
Make sure you get the unsweetened kind and mix it with some other ingredients to bring it closer to the nutritional content of regular dog milk.
Try adding three ounces of boiled water, ten ounces of evaporated milk, one cup of whole fat plain yogurt, one raw egg yolk, and half of a teaspoon of corn syrup into a plastic container and shake it up. This will add more protein and fat to the milk and will (hopefully) not upset your puppies’ stomachs too much.
Whatever kind of milk you are using for your puppies, do not leave it out on the counter. It can quickly become rancid, so it is best to keep it sealed in the fridge or just make a new batch.
Do not use evaporated cow’s milk for an extended period when you take care of puppies. Evaporated dog milk is available at many pet supply stores and will work much better.
It is important to note that no other milk will provide the exact blend of nutrients present in dog’s milk, so any substitute you use should be temporary. Other forms of milk run the risk of giving your puppies diarrhea, bloating, or other issues.
The Top Two Alternatives
It is quite common for mothers not to be able to breastfeed, so there is definitely a market for replacement milk for puppies.
When it comes to replacing mother’s milk, you have a few options. As discussed above, you can use evaporated milk, ideally for a short amount of time.
Since evaporated milk is not the ideal long term solution, here are some other options that may be better.
Goat’s milk has been a reliable puppy milk replacement for years. Cow’s milk is very upsetting to the digestive systems of puppies, even if it is better than nothing.
Goat’s milk is more of an acceptable replacement. It is easier for the puppies to extract nutrients from goat’s milk than cow’s milk. While it’s not as readily available as cows milk, it is a better alternative overall.
Evaporated Dog Milk
Milk expires rather quickly, but evaporating the water out of milk can preserve it and give it a longer shelf life.
Evaporated dog milk can be found at some veterinarians, pet supply stores, or other retail locations. Obviously, nothing can replace the real thing, so this is the ideal replacement if you have to replace the mothers supply.
How Often to Bottle Feed Puppies
If the mother dog is too tired, has an infection, or is unable to feed, it’s now your responsibility to feed the puppies.
If you’ve never fed puppies before, you probably have a lot of questions. It’s daunting to become the parent of a whole litter of puppies, but it is doable!
Once you find out what formula you’ll be using to feed the pups, your next question is probably how often to feed them. You’ll want to bottle feed them every 2-3 hours.
Warm the milk to body temperature before feeding the pups. Place a towel over your lap and place the puppy on their stomach on the towel.
Do not force the bottle into their mouth. Just put it next to their nose and let them find it. If the puppy has trouble finding the nipple, gently place it against their lips. This should be enough to get them to start drinking. Puppies need to be fed milk for about five weeks, at which point you can transition them to puppy food.
A Word of Caution
Always be careful when feeding your puppies. Double-check with your vet before you make any drastic changes to their diet. It is always a good idea to make sure the momma dog is still in good health as well. Sometimes the health of the puppies takes precedence in the minds of owners, but do not forget about the momma!
Also, be careful to only get unsweetened evaporated milk if that is the replacement you are opting for. Any kind of sweetener or flavoring may irritate the pups’ stomach. The puppies will not be getting any nutrients if the milk causes diarrhea!
Raising puppies is a challenging but enriching experience! There is nothing like watching them grow up and become playful, energetic dogs.
Caring for puppies may be a lot of work, but in the end it’s definitely worth it. Make sure the puppies are getting the nutrients they need, and schedule checkups with your veterinarian. Always consult with them before you make major decisions about your puppies. It is better to ask something you might think is a stupid question than to make the wrong decision. And remember: you got this!
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Bryan Harkins is an avid dog lover and the proud owner of dogdorable.com, a website dedicated to all things canine. With years of experience working with dogs, Bryan is passionate about providing valuable information, tips, and resources to help pet owners provide the best possible care for their furry companions.