How To Take Care of a Puppy that Can't Nurse

In a litter of newborn puppies, there are sometimes puppies that cannot nurse. These puppies are in danger of dying. They will die of starvation or be smothered by the mother dog. By killing a weak puppy, the mother creates a bigger chance for the other puppies to survive.

Taking care of a puppy that can’t nurse is difficult. The puppy will require lots of attention and time. Oftentimes caring for these puppies may take hours, days and nights. But the success of this endeavor is rewarding. A healthy puppy makes everything worth it. Below are tips on how to care for a non-nursing puppy:

  1. Isolate the puppy. Determine in a litter which puppy does not nurse from the mother. Usually, this puppy will always be yapping. This puppy will be weak and sometimes be found separated from the group.
  2. Be careful when handling the puppy. At this stage, the mother will be protective and have the tendency to fight separation from her puppies. It is important to calm the mother to get the non-nursing puppy. If not, the puppy will continue to weaken and die. Or it may be eventually be killed off by the mother.
  3. Set up the puppy bed. Create a bed for the puppy. The bed should be clean and soft. Lay towels or old clothes in a small area. It is advisable that the bed is not placed on higher ground. If the bed is elevated, there is danger of the puppy being injured if it falls off. The size of the bed should allow the puppy to move around or roll over.
  4. Feed with puppy formula. With a small baby bottle, feed the puppy with formula. Formula and bottles are available in local pet stores. The bottle should have a soft, yet tough nipple. Puppies will require feeding every few hours. Hold the puppy carefully and offer the bottle to its mouth. The puppy will lick it and eventually feed on it. Hold the bottle diagonally and steadily. Make sure that the nipple opening is filled with formula. This prevents the puppy from sucking on air that can cause it to have stomach problems. Maintain feeding the puppy every a few hours, even at night.
  5. Help with bowel movement. Use soft wet wipes and wipe the puppy’s bottom every after feeding. Gently wipe across the bottom. This action will stimulate the development of the puppy’s muscles, which are needed for bowel movement. It is normally performed by the mother for her puppies. If this is not done, the puppy may refuse to defecate. The digestive system of the puppy will retain fecal matter and the body will absorb toxins. This may make the puppy sick and die within a few days.
  6. Deworming and vet help. Deworm the puppy after two weeks. Local pet shops sell deworming medicine. An easier option is to take the puppy to a veterinarian. Have the puppy checked for diseases and dewormed.

Within a few weeks, the puppy will be strong enough to feed itself. The puppy will be healthy enough to play with its siblings.


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