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Bottle Feeding Your Puppy

Bottle Feeding Your Puppy

When bottle feeding your puppy, start by filling the puppy bottles with water and then put on the nipples and invert the puppy bottles to see if they leak. By squeezing the puppy bottle slightly the increased internal pressure aids in discovering leaks. If the stream of water from the hole in the nipple is less than the diameter of a straight pin, heat a needle and enlarge the hole a little. Wash all the puppy bottles and nipples in hot, soapy water and then sterilize them. Pour just enough formula into the puppy bottle that will provide a single puppy feeding and warm it to room temperature. This can be done by holding it under hot tap water, while turning the bottle.

Once the milk is warmed, hold the puppy in a normal upright position and poke the nipple into his mouth. Some pups will get the hang of it right away while others are less perceptive. Squeezing a little drop of milk on to the tip of the nipple before putting it into the pup's mouth may encourage some pups to start sucking on the nipple. Never squeeze milk out of the bottle while the nipple is in the puppy's mouth! This is one of the quickest ways to strangle him with milk.

If you are having difficulty in getting your puppy to suck and swallow voluntarily, put the puppy back and try another. Use a separate bottle for each puppy. There are three reasons for this. First, you know exactly how much you are feeding each puppy and can measure precisely how much that puppy drinks. Second, if you get a disease outbreak you will reduce the chance of spreading it from puppy to puppy with an unclean nipple. Third, if you need to go back and try to get him to drink a little more, you do not need to keep close track of how much he already has eaten because the amount he still needs is what is left in his own bottle.

While the puppy is nursing he should have a bowel movement and should urinate. If either fails to occur it usually can be provoked by a little stimulation by gently rubbing his anal area or sponging the groin and buttocks with a little warm water. Some owners place their pups on a warmed, folded, terry-cloth towel while they feed them. The roughness of the towel helps stimulate the elimination. The danger in bottle feeding is in the possibility that a puppy will suck some of the milk down his windpipe and strangle. If enough milk is sucked down, the pup will drown outright. Even if the amount sucked in is too little to drown the puppy, it will still injure his sensitive lungs.

When the lungs are injured, pneumonia is almost always the result. Between 12 to 24 hours after strangulation the puppy will refuse to eat, begin to experience breathing difficulty, produce bubbling and gurgling sounds as he breathes and very shortly, die. You must prevent this from happening by every means possible. When a puppy gags or strangles and milk starts coming out of his mouth and nose, take the bottle away immediately. Place the puppy between your palms, head outward, and use your fingers to hold its head and backbone in a straight line. Place your puppy between your legs, at arm's length, and swing it up and down. The centrifugal force produced by this will sling the milk out of the puppy's mouth and nose and, with luck, out of the windpipe as well.

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