Hand feeding puppies is no easy task by any means, and only those with the dedication, heart and time should attempt it. We have successfully raised entire litters, one with 11 pups. The number one thing to insure a good chance is to let the pups nurse off the bitch a couple of times during the first 48 hours, (even if this means muzzling and physically restraining her) it is during this time that the all so important colustrum is being produced. This “first milk” contains antibodies and essential nutrients needed by the pups as they have limited immune system operation during the first few weeks of life. The colustrum is what gives the pups their so-called maternal immunities. This is not to say pups cannot be successfully raised without it, but it definitely gives them the upper hand. Now for the dirty work. I would also like to mention we would not intentionally breed a bitch that is a known poor mother or puppy killer.

First things first, what to feed. Chances are you will be caught off guard with a bitch that earthier dies during whelping, or is a poor mother, and as most people do not keep stores of esbilack puppy milk replacer, here’s what you need, to get you through the first day, and until you can get the milk replacer. Two egg yolks, no whites, one cup of milk, (cow or goat) a pinch of salt, a teaspoon of corn syrup, and a high calorie vitamin. (We use a little peak and a little red cell) mix all ingredients throuly and strain to remove large pieces of egg yolk, feed this mixture using a normal human bottle.
General feeding and care

We use a 50/50 mixture of the above mentioned recipe and a commercial brand puppy milk replacer for the first few weeks, then go to just the homemade stuff. If any pups develop loose runny stools, feed less food, more often if severe or does not clear up, take off food for 24 hours and give only un-flavored pedialite, then resume feeding. We begin moistened puppy food as soon as teeth start coming in (about 3 weeks) and try to wean them to this entirely by the middle of the 4th week.

Pups must be kept separated, as their suckling instinct is very very strong, and they will suck on each others faces, legs privates etc. causing not only discomfort for the pups, but rashes and local swelling. We use a large box with separators in it. Pups must be kept warm, as they cannot regulate their own heat during the first weeks. A heating pad placed under their box, and set on a low setting will normally suffice, a cover may be placed over the box if it is unusually cold in the room.

Feeding Quantity

The smaller the puppy, the more frequently it needs to be fed. The stomach is smaller and it is growing at a high rate of speed. Every attempt should be made to maintain a regular schedule. The goal overall is to feed an orphan a certain amount in a 24 hr period. For example, a 10 ounce puppy should receive a total of 90 cc's (3 ounces) in a 24 hour period. Even though would normally feed at 3 hour intervals for 3 - 7 oz puppies, if a puppy is weak or dehydrated, you probably want to feed it every two hours for a couple of days, or until it is clearly improving. To do this, figure out how much that puppy should consume in a 24 hour period and divide it by the quantity of 2 hour feedings in 24 hours (12), and feed that many ccs of formula per 2 hour feeding. As a puppy gets older, they will eat more some feedings and less other feedings. You want to judge their intake based on the quantity ingested in 24 hours.

Weigh Those Puppies

You must weigh the puppies! Use a good scale that measures in ounces like a postal scale or baby scale. Some breeders recommend a digital scale if possible. Always weigh the puppy the same way - either before or after feeding. Weigh at birth, three times a day for the first two days, and then for rest of the first week weigh twice a day. After one week, if they are gaining weight on a regular basis, weigh once a day to keep track of progress and to be aware of any potential problems early on. After about 3 weeks you may not need to weigh any more.

Don't Feed A Chilled Puppy!
You must warm that puppy back to normal using a heating pad or hot water bottles covered towels, and perhaps give it some warmed fluids (pedialyte or water with a tiny bit of caro syrup) by mouth or subcutaneously. A chilled puppy will not feed well or digest well. This is not meant to be sufficient information to revive a chilled puppy. Contact your vet immediately should you have a puppy end up in this state to get proper instruction.

A healthy puppy will often sleep on its back with its feet in the air. They twitch and jerk while they sleep. No movement during sleep, often curled quietly on their stomach indicates there may be a problem.