Thursday, May 27, 2010


by Julie Clemen, Rise N Shine Poms
My first litter of hand raised puppies that I based this article on.

First you need puppies! Then you need a small room you can control the temperature in fairly easy.

Tools of the trade:

100% cotton pads (square or round) work great and don’t “shed” like cotton balls.

Formula (I’ll list some recipes at the end) you can use home made or store bought. My preference is Just Born mixed with fresh goats milk.

Nutri Drops, Fading Puppy Syndrome, IV fluids, Bene Bac, Pedialyte, Nutri Stat, Nutri Cal, Phazyme infant drops.

1 cup measuring cup that can be put on stove top.

Syringe and silicone nipple ( Mothering Kit available through Jeffers) or you can use the small pet bottles. I found my puppies loved the silicone nipples over the latex or rubber nipples. At a week old I switched to human small baby bottle with silicone nipple from my local grocery store.


Notebook for a weight chart

Cup Warmer

Thermometer to keep track of room temperature

Heating Pad

Whelping Box - something small I used the bottom of a 100 crate. Across the front of the crate I tape a piece of cardboard as tall as the crate so they can’t crawl out.

Comb or soft brush

Lots of Towels!

My babies arrived via c-section on a Sunday morning. The mother was deathly ill from pneumonia due to a bad case of bordetella. She was too sick to even look at puppies so I was on my own totally! I immediately gave them Fading Puppy Syndrome and did every hour for the next 6 hours.

I prepared their box. I took a standard human heating pad and took a bath towel folded it in half and wrapped the edges around the heating pad. This fit perfect in the bottom of the 100 crate. I turned the heating pad on to 1.

I also had a heater in the room so my room was a constant 80 degrees. I weighed each puppy then placed it in the box. I took a towel and placed it over top of the back of the crate leaving 6 inch opening towards the front and tucked it under the crate sides. I just let the puppies be for the first 6 hours. At 6 hours I gave them Just Born 1 cc’s per ounce. But knowing what I now know I would only give goats milk or glucose for the first 24 hours. They have a hard time digesting the first 24 hours. The mother’s colostrum is thinner than their regular milk. I fed the pups every 3 hours. Every book I read and even the formulas gave different opinions on how often. I decided every 3 hours and this worked for me.

I syringe fed for the first week. Tube feeding is a whole other ball game and I’m not going to get into that in this article.

I would pour the formula into the measuring cup and place on low on the burner…you could also boil a pan of water take it off of the burner and place the measuring cup in it to warm the milk. The trick is to just warm the milk not cook it or you’ll constipate them. If your milk develops a skin on top toss it and start over.

At this same time I would boil the nipple and sterilize it and the syringe by drawing up the boiling water into it.

I fed the pups first then got them to defecate after they ate. I found this much more productive than trying to get them to poop first. To stimulate them to poop I dipped the cotton pad in warm water ( I used a coffee mug) then gently rub from below the tail up to the base of the tail in semi quick strokes like a mother dog would lick. Their poop due to the formula is the consistency and color of Gulden’s Mustard….ok so you won’t look at mustard the same again but it’s worth it! It can be seedy looking. I gave Bene Bac to the pups as directed on the label. Make sure you burp your puppy after feeding. Hold the puppy in the palm of your left hand and with your right hand start at the base of the tail and make slow circular motions all the way to the top of the pups shoulders. If they don’t burp that is OK.

It’s very important to make sure the puppies don’t experience any drafts for the first couple of weeks. They cannot regulate their body temperature. It’s also important to make sure they are not getting too hot. You can check for dehydration by lifting their skin up on in the middle of their back if it snaps back they are fine if it rolls back they are dehydrated. You can add Pedialyte to their formula or just give separate between feedings. If the skin is sticking straight up they need IMMEDIATE attention and should be given IV fluids under the skin. Hydration is very important.

Make sure their skin is pinkish red color but not bright pink red. If it’s a bright pink red they are too hot. If you turn the heat down and it doesn’t change you then need to make sure they haven’t developed a bacterial infection, which can occur between 5 to 7 days that can fatal. Take them to your vet for antibiotics.

When feeding the puppies if milk comes out their nose…it’s not a good thing. Immediately wipe it off their nose. You don’t want them to inhale it into their lungs which could turn into Pneumonia. It’s not the end of the world if the milk comes out the nose just try and avoid it. It seemed in my experience if the pups drank too fast it would come out their nose. When this happened at 1 and 2 days old I did give them some amoxi drops to make sure it wouldn’t go into pneumonia.

When I fed straight Just Born in the beginning the pups would have a pasty mouth and would easily become dehydrated. I started mixing it with Fresh Goats milk. ( a note on goats milk. If the mother goat is in the first month(s) of milk production the milk is richer than towards the end of their milk cycle and you will have to adjust your feedings accordingly) The goats milk was more “watery” and they didn’t dehydrate. Because the goat I was getting milk from was toward’s her last month of production her milk wasn’t rich enough to sustain the pups on it just plain. I found too that if I made the “formula” to thin it had a much greater chance of coming out the pups nose than if it was thicker.

I had a problem with the two pups sucking on each other private parts and drinking the pee and not wanting to eat as much. At two days as hard as it was I had to separate them. Splitting a 100 crate was too small so I moved them to a 200 crate bottom. You can try a rolled up towel and place between them or I created a T out of card board and placed it long ways down the middle of the whelping box. With the front of the T covering the opening to the crate. Because they no longer have a sibling to cuddle with it’s important to give them a “faux” sibling either by a stuffed animal or you can use a sock stuffed with other socks and tie a knot at the end.

I came up with the following schedule 7 am, 11 am, 2 pm, 5 pm , 7pm and 11 pm. This worked great for me. I did this for the first 2 ½ weeks. After the first two weeks I switch to every 4 hours round the clock. At 3 weeks I switched to 5 hours at nigh. During the day 4 hours and at 4 ½ weeks I switched to 6 hours at night but 4 hours during the day.

I weighed the pups 2 times a day every day no matter what. This is the only way to make sure they are continually gaining and that you are feeding them enough formula. I made a weight chart and kept a clip board right next to my scale.

I increased the puppies formula according to their weight and added a cc. Some books said they would stop when they got full…not mine..they would drink until it made them sick so I would have to make sure I didn’t over feed them. My pups never cried when they were hungry.

I did encounter constipation. I used mineral oil a 1/8 of a cc up to ¼ of a cc on a one pound pup. You can also try a ¼ dollop of Nutri Cal. I did have to give an enema. For this I used a #5 French feeding tube and syringe. I took a mild soap (used almond castile soap) one squirt of soap to a cup of water. I drew up 1 cc of soapy water into a syringe. I inserted the French feeding tube into the rectum and squirted ½ of the water. I then took it out and stimulated the pup if it didn’t go then I repeated the above and used the rest of the soapy water until it pooped.

I didn’t have any problems with colic. Everyone recommends phazyme infant drops for this problem.

Since the pups have no mom to clean them at 2 weeks I would take a wet warm wash cloth and rub them with it. I would also take a comb and comb their fur to help stimulate the natural oils in their coat that a mother dogs licking would do. I comb them every day. At 2 weeks I also trimmed their toenails and the hair around their anus. I really trimmed this short as when your hand stimulating them the hair makes it harder to clean their bums. At 3 ½ weeks I trim the hair on the pads of their feed to make sure they have good traction. I also trim the hair in front of their eyes. You want to make sure that no hair touches their eyes as it can irritate and cause damage to the cornea of the eye.

I was able to reunite the puppies after they had been separated at 4 weeks of age.
Most books talk about weaning hand fed babies at 3 weeks. I found that pom babies are just not developed enough to do this. I started weaning them at 4 weeks. First I have them drinking/licking off a spoon for a few days the I pour their milk into a plate saucer. Once they have the hang of that I start switching them from milk to solids.

I take my dog food and stick it in the coffee bean grinder and pulverize it until it’s a powder. I take a tablespoon and add about 2 to 4 tablespoons of hot water and let sit for a couple of minutes and let the food totally absorb the water. I then add some milk too it so that it’s soupy and pour into the saucer. I continue to give the pups bene bac or some sort of accidopholis for their GI tracks during this time. After a couple of days of soupy I gradually make it thicker and thicker. Then I’ll take their regular kibble (this is when they have teeth) soak it in the water until soft and give this to them. I will mix in a bit of Gerber meat baby food.

I checked for worms at 2 weeks and 4 weeks. Though the sample came back clean I did worm them with Nemex 2 at 4 weeks and one did pass a worm. I’ll worm them again at 6 weeks.

Vaccinating and worming are a personal preference. Because my pups have no colostrum I will vaccinate them at 5 weeks. The vaccines state it can be given at 4 weeks but I feel their immune system can’t be developed enough by then. I over vaccinated a dog once and ruined her health. It made her prone to skin problems so I won’t do that again. I will then repeat the vaccine at 8 weeks. For the first shot I will do full shots of just parvo and distemper. Again you must do what you feel is right. There is no right or wrong but they do need to be vaccinated.

Best wishes with hand rearing your puppies!

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