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woody2shoes

Newborn Puppy Can't/won't Suckle...

29 posts in this topic

Hi, my whippet had a litter of 7 yesterday, 4 days early. She is a maiden. All except one pup are nursing well and going strong. The last born, a boy, was quite tired when he finally arrived and since then has been unable/doesn't know how to suckle. He is smaller than the others but appears to be well developed, doesn't have a cleft palate and he is a fighter. He is feeding well on Wombaroo every two hours. I am using a sponge. Naturally, I'd love him to nurse on his mum. He tries and tries but to no avail. It's heartbreaking.

Does anyone have any techniques to suggest? Has anyone experienced this and had any success getting their pup to nurse? We will hand feed him til he can be weaned but naturally, if we can get him to nurse, he would be better off.

Thanks in advance.

w2s

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Alyosha   

Suckling takes quite a bit of strength for a newborn. If he was very tired he may still be fatigued. I would just keep topping him up to build his strength. But before each top up give him a go at the boob. If he still lacks strength just let him rest then try again later. That way he won't continue to get exhausted.

Try him on a bottle if you have one, rather than a sponge, to help his sucking reflex take over and mouth strength improve.

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Suckling takes quite a bit of strength for a newborn. If he was very tired he may still be fatigued. I would just keep topping him up to build his strength. But before each top up give him a go at the boob. If he still lacks strength just let him rest then try again later. That way he won't continue to get exhausted.

Try him on a bottle if you have one, rather than a sponge, to help his sucking reflex take over and mouth strength improve.

Thanks! That does make sense.

He appears reasonably strong but if I had to describe his suckling reflex, it does suggest to me that he may still be very tired. He gets around the whelping box well enough but as you say, suckling does take a lot of strength. His mum was in early stages of labour for a quite a number of hours and came "this" close to delivering the first boy, and another couple of hours passed before finally going into full labour. She then delivered his 6 siblings in fairly easy fashion but it was then another two hours before this little fella arrived. He was exhausted and so was she.

I have been trying him on the boob regularly and will keep doing so. Thanks for the tip. I keep hoping he will latch on. I was led to believe that the sponge might help him develop a suckling reflex. Is that not the case? Sadly, I don't have a bottle. Can you suggest what sort to get please?

Edited by woody2shoes

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Rebanne   

the sponge method seems to be highly recommended overseas. Try putting him on a nipple another pup has got started that may help

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Little bottles can be purchased at the downtown cheaper shops. Crazy Clarks stuff like that. You can get smaller nipples and bottles(premy ones) from a good chemist.

I would also strongly recommend Impact Colostrum to give as soon as possible. You can give this to anyone of the babies if they a bit slow.

If baby really wont suck try an eyedropper. Slow I know but the last thing you need to do is get milk down the lungs.

Impact colostrum you can get from the vet

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Hi, my whippet had a litter of 7 yesterday, 4 days early. She is a maiden. All except one pup are nursing well and going strong. The last born, a boy, was quite tired when he finally arrived and since then has been unable/doesn't know how to suckle. He is smaller than the others but appears to be well developed, doesn't have a cleft palate and he is a fighter. He is feeding well on Wombaroo every two hours. I am using a sponge. Naturally, I'd love him to nurse on his mum. He tries and tries but to no avail. It's heartbreaking.

Does anyone have any techniques to suggest? Has anyone experienced this and had any success getting their pup to nurse? We will hand feed him til he can be weaned but naturally, if we can get him to nurse, he would be better off.

Thanks in advance.

w2s

I am on a great FB group

LINKY

very good advice and ideas

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Aziah   

the sponge method seems to be highly recommended overseas. Try putting him on a nipple another pup has got started that may help

Yes, get everyone else feeding and wait until she lets down then remove one of the pups from a back nipple and put the small puppy on.

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Have you checked that the pup does not have a cleft palate ?.

Pup has been checked but I'd be double checking, particularly at the back of the mouth where a CP might be missed.

Edited by Haredown Whippets

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Have you checked that the pup does not have a cleft palate ?.

Pup has been checked but I'd be double checking, particularly at the back of the mouth where a CP might be missed.

Yes, clefts in the soft palate ore usually missed unless your vet is very experienced with newborns. Sometimes they cannot be seen at all in a live puppy, depending on where they are located.

It isn't unusual though to have a puppy that takes a few days to work out how to suckle. Just keep topping them up with a tube, sponge or bottle and keep trying them on the teat when hungry by holding the shoulders so the nose rests on a teat that has already been started. Opening their mouth and attaching them usually results in them spitting it out so I just try to help but not force them. It can get really frustrating. Once attached they may need to be held up while they feed if they are weak. Sometimes these are puppies that end up with bad bites, but not always.

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JRG   

Nutripet (Troy) or Nutrigel (ilium) are good for giving an energy boost to weak babies.

Squeeze a small bit (about 0.5cm -- 1/4 inch in the old terms!)on your little finger put on to the baby's tongue (it is like sticky toothpaste). It smells and tastes delicious! Before you know it the pup will be sucking your finger hoping to get more and the battle is half won.

Good Luck

Edited by JRG

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fractures in palates can sometimes be hairline and barely visible.

I'd not bother with a weakling that cannot suckle, it might sound harsh but a sucking reflex is the very first thing nature gives (or doesn't give a puppy) when it comes to survival. Puppies that struggle to suckle and do not thrive from birth often have other complications that do not become truly apparent until they reach a couple of weeks of age.

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Thanks everyone for your replies. I'm taking all advice on board.

Baby is starting to pick up now. His suckle reflex is actually quite good but his mum doesn't have a lot of milk to reward him more for his efforts and he is still building up strength. Hopefully the milk supply issue and his strength will continue to improve.

I am letting him nurse as much as possible then topping up with formula by bottle which he loves. He is putting on weight slowly but surely now.

Dehydration became an issue yesterday (lack of vigilance on my part - I was still extremely sleep deprived from the whelping) so he is now on treatment to ensure it doesn't happen again. I could kick myself for not noticing it sooner. Poor boy.

I really like the idea of the Nutrigel so will give that a go tomorrow.

I appreciate that some might have let a pup like this go but that is/was not an option for this little fighter. Hopefully he continues to grow and thrive as I have grown very attached to him.

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Kirislin   

Glad he's picking up. Get yourself a bottle for your whelping kit if you intend to breed any more litters. You might not need it but it's handy to have just in case.

How about some photos of mum and bubs?

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Haven't had a chance to read the forum in a while but just read this one on the puppy not suckling - took me back several years to a pup that was born on the pavers when his mother wanting a toilet break squatted and delivered him - he unlike this one was first born on a St Patricks Day so named him Patrick. He was tiny and couldn't seem to get a hold on the nipple - so I fed him with an eye dropper for quite a while till he could - he had a funny little mouth that wouldn't quite close and his tiny tongue poked out a bit. I worried about his future and rang my vet who said he could be pts but to me that was not an option - he also said the telling point would be if he could eat solid food when the time came. He could eat and very well too. A lovely couple came and the wife choose him the smallest pup with the funny mouth - I disclosed his full history but she wanted him nonetheless - her husband said well if you are taking the smallest I am taking the biggest so he can look after his little brother. Now quite a few years have passed and I still see them from time to time and do you know that tiny pup with the funny little mouth grew into a beautiful dog with a perfect mouth - and he is still called Patrick - so hopefully your dear little whippet will do the same.

Good luck with him I always feel they are worth persevering with.

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Alyosha   

Lovely story Mini girl!

I too am happy to persevere if they are strong enough in other ways. I had a tiny puppy in a previous litter, born with a broken tail. He too had trouble latching on, and I hoped it was just a lack of strength as he seemed to be a fighter. I tube fed him for a few days and he took off. He caught up and even passed some others, did everything first in his litter - opening eyes, getting on his feet, eating solids etc. He now lives overseas as a family member and military working dog (mascot & welfare). He is so treasured by so many - the couple of days lack of sleep were well worth it long term!

Sometimes pups are weak for reasons we don't know and it's not meant to be. Sometimes they can use a little extra support to find their feet, if the spirit is willing.

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Lovely story Mini girl!

I too am happy to persevere if they are strong enough in other ways. I had a tiny puppy in a previous litter, born with a broken tail. He too had trouble latching on, and I hoped it was just a lack of strength as he seemed to be a fighter. I tube fed him for a few days and he took off. He caught up and even passed some others, did everything first in his litter - opening eyes, getting on his feet, eating solids etc. He now lives overseas as a family member and military working dog (mascot & welfare). He is so treasured by so many - the couple of days lack of sleep were well worth it long term!

Sometimes pups are weak for reasons we don't know and it's not meant to be. Sometimes they can use a little extra support to find their feet, if the spirit is willing.

I need a Kleenex getting all misty but isn't it wonderful to see and just one of the reasons we keep doing it. He sounds like he turned out to be a wonderful boy. I love happy endings. We should start a thread on pups that beat the odds to go on and become special.

Edited by mini girl

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Jed   

Sounds as if it is all coming together.

Good luck. Sometimes they don't have a sucking reflex in the beginning, particularly if they are born a little early. I think it would be a good idea to have the vet show you how to tube feed - often helps with pups who are having difficulty sucking.

I'd not bother with a weakling that cannot suckle, it might sound harsh but a sucking reflex is the very first thing nature gives (or doesn't give a puppy) when it comes to survival. Puppies that struggle to suckle and do not thrive from birth often have other complications that do not become truly apparent until they reach a couple of weeks of age.

And many pups like that, given a caring breeder and some attention, thrive and go on to be perfectly healthy dogs. It is the decision of each breeder with each pup.

My opinion is that it was my decision to bring the litter into being, so it is my responsibility to give each one maximum opportunities to thrive and grow. Pups with serious problems usually die in a few days to a week anyhow, no matter what you do. Heartbreaking, but at least you did your best. JMHO

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