[BLOG] Neonatology: why I don’t see breast-feeding puppies and kittens as an option Part II

Last part of our post of Feb 24th

#3 Bottle-feeding does not work? Tube feed then!

Sometimes, puppies/kittens simply don’t want to be bottle-fed. Very often, it’s because they are too week to properly suckle the bottle. For these cases, tube-feeding is THE option. That would have been my go-to option for this Colorado woman. And every breeder should know how to perform it, I think.  This is a very handy technique to master in the breeding world. I know, some of you are scared of tube-feeding puppies and kittens, and I understand that. But trust me, this is easier than what you think. Talk to your vet, he might be able to show you how this should be performed (I was personally training my breeder clients in France) and supervise you at the beginning until you get more confident. You can also watch this video as a starter, that will give you a better idea on what to expect. Switch back to bottle-feeding as soon as the puppies/kittens look stronger.

#4 Monitor weight gain

A healthy puppy/kitten gains weight on a daily basis. Well, they can lose up to 10% of their initial bodyweight the first day after birth. But then a DAILY gain should be observed. And that’s the best indicator of a newborn’s health. Hard to say how much a puppy/kitten should gain on a daily basis, it really varies depending on the breed (we use to say it should be between 2-4g/kg adult bodyweight/day). My rule of a thumb is that, as I said, this daily gain should be observed. If you don’t have one already, I would therefore recommend you to buy a kitchen scale.

#5 They lose weight or they plateau? Consult with your vet.

As I said, monitoring the growth curves during these first weeks of life is one of the best indicator of the newborn’s health. Except the 1st day of life, you should never observe a weight loss or a plateau, especially if you bottle- or tube-feed. Usually on puppies/kittens suckling their mothers, if this is observed, I would recommend to start bottle-feeding/tube-feeding the neonates (because maybe they don’t get enough milk from the mother because of competition on the mammary glands with the other pups, etc). If 24h after starting bottle- /tube-feeding (or if this is something you’re already doing) I would recommend a consultation. Maybe there is something else (generally a bacterial infection) that requires medical care.

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