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Help! Hand Raising Pups


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Help please!

I have a mum who had bubs on Friday night. Mum is a poundie and is so thin and sickly.

She had 9 pups and sadly we have lost 3. I now have to hand feed the pups but everything I read about what and how often is conflicting

I have Biolac which I am giving every two hours ish. Sometimes a little longer as I don;t want to wake them to feed as they get so unsettled when I do

So I was wondering how often do you feed pups and what do you feed?

When can i space out the feeds more?

I saw on Leerburg a recipe for a formula for hand rearing it had evaporated milk, egg yolk, yoghurt, and water. Any tried this?

When do I introduce food into their diet (too young now I know....)


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Just keep feeding those pups every 2 hours its the best you can do.

Make sure mum is getting as much as she can eat and keep giving her the pups to clean and keep trying them on her the more they attempt to suck on her the more milk she should bring in.

Doesnt matter whether it is divetalc or biolac as long as it is for puppies.

What sort of bottle are you using to feed them with? People have various ideas i just like normal baby bottles for newborns and have had no trouble up till now with pups being able to suck on them.

Make sure they are being cleaned as they cannot do it themselves. If mum cant do it you will have to do it for them.

We handraised a litter at the beginning of the year, we lost one but the others did fine with lots of TLC. A lot behind other litters but they have more than caught up now that they are 8 months old and so far have a wonderful bond with humans and are extremely doggy social as they were socialised by some of my other girls.

Its a long hard road but I am more than sure you can do it.

Best of luck

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I'm using the bottles and teats that the vets gave me. The teats are so long it is ridiculous! Look like they were made for giraffes!

Having read those old threads I might hit up a friend for some baby bottles and latext teats?

Mum is still cleaning them which is great but at the moment we have to keep them off her for 24 hours as she had an injection this morning.

If pups are next to my bed during the night should I wait for them to wail as a sign they need feeding or set the alarm to do it?

I'm sleep deprived............

Thank you so much for all your advice


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Hi Winterpaws,

I fed my bubs every 2 hours with a formula I got from the vet, the furthest apart I ever got them was 4 hours (and they were much older). Mine were eating TINY balls of mince by 3 weeks old but still getting their formula. Sleep deprivation is the norm I'm afraid. If mum is able to give some milk that will help (the bubs need the Colostrum).

All the best,


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Hi Winterpaws,

good on you for taking on this task.

Don't count on getting too much sleep at this stage.

Others have given you good advice on feeding, but I will also add, that keeping them warm enough is also vital.

These little tackers cannot regulate their own body temperature until at least ten days old. Until then, they rely on mum's body heat and heated box or room etc.

Cold can kill quickly, so keep an eye on them in this regard.

Good luck


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Yeh, good on you for doing such a good job. I recollect being told to feed my lab pups every hour in their first week (the mother had to go in to hospital 4 days after giving birth). I had to mark them to differentiate them cause they'd wriggle back together and I couldn't tell which one I'd just fed. There's was no sleep. Could you get a helper to do a 'shift' while you get some sleep. I hope all goes well.

Edited by Katey
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Hi winterpaws

Well done on taking on mum and bubs. I have used the evaporated milk recipe for years and have found our pups have always done better on it than on the commercial formula's so I think it's a matter of what works best for you. I have raised 2 orphaned bubs too on this (who are now 6 1/2yrs old) we fed them at mimimum every 2 hours but also everytime they were whingy. So at times it was hourly but they didn't have a mum to help them in between so yours may stretch out sooner. I also use it to give extra to any bubs when they're not getting enough from mum or for larger litters. I'll put the recipe here too that I use and it wouldn't hurt to give it to mum as well to help her put on weight and make a little more milk and help the bubs along.

The recipe I use is

1 tin Evaporated Milk

1 tablespoon Glucose

2 egg yolks

1 tablespoon water mix it together and store in the fridge you may need to use a tea strainer before putting it in a bottle though makes it much easier. We also only use baby bottles or syringes with our bubs (syringes only when a pup's not strong enough to drink) but they do well on the babies bottles.

All the best with the bubs


Enroche Staffords


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I swear by Biolac but you do need to feed every two hours, day and night. Give mum a few drinks each day too, that will help build her up as well as promote her milk supply.

I have to ask though, why was she allowed to have the pups given the appalling condition she is in? Was she surrendered/impounded after the birth? Poor poor baby.

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:) we had success with the premmie teats, and NUK premmie one's seemed popular. And after the first week, I added another pin hole to allow a better flow.

I'd also be giving Protexin, its a soluble pro-biotic specific for babies.

Don't be tempted to make up the biolac stronger or thicker, so as to fill them better, it can dry out the gut and cause horrific constipation in a baby. Better to stick to the two hourly regime - although I know how exhausting it is. And I found Biolac a great milk for pups.

good luck, hang in there.

keep them warm too.


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Your doing an excellent job I am sure, and with that many I can only imagine how tired you must be. :scared:

I only ended up hand raising one puppy and found Biolac to be excellent and yes I too did the 2 hourly feeds. I was very tired but she put on weight and thrived in the end so was all worth while.

As for keeping warm well this may not be practical for you but I put both a prem-baby hat and booties on my baby puppy and she slept under my arm in bed with me on a towel. As she had no mum or litter mates to keep warm with I found I was doing the lot, oh and my lovely hubby helped too.

Once on semi solid food things get a lot easier, oh and a good vet never goes astray either.

keep up the great work.

Bandar :love:

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