Feeding a Puppy That Can't Eat Dry Food Yet

I am looking at a puppy that is 8 weeks old and still wants mom's milk. He won't eat puppy food. Any suggestions?

By Pam from San Diego, CA

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You're not supposed to give puppies "people" milk. If you will check at your local Wal-Mart or contact your vet, there is a milk replacement for puppies. I raise Yorkies and what I do when they first start on food is to put a small amount of dry food in a bowl with hot water, make sure the food is covered. Let this sit until it cools off to lukewarm and it should have absorbed the water by now and it makes a soft dog food they can eat. Don't give them canned dog food, this will often times give the little guys diarrhea. Good luck with your puppy!

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Talk to your vet or local pet supply store about Nutri-Cal. It comes in a tube and is a feeding supplement for puppies too young to feed. Also, you might try getting Gerber baby food, their meats. There's beef, chicken, turkey, veal, and ham. Give a little of this mixed in with some kibble mush. No milk! Our teacup Chihuahua weighed only 11 oz. when we brought her home 2 years ago and these things seemed to work great for her. Also, watch the pup's water intake as very young puppies can get dehydrated quickly. Our vet gave me a syringe with the needle removed so I could shoot some Nutri-cal and then some water (not too much at a time!) into Mitzi's mouth. She's now a robust 2 year old and weighs in at a whopping 4 lbs. Also, she still likes her baby food and won't eat her meals unless I put just a little on top and smear it around. What a spoiled brat!

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My family raised 21 puppies totally by hand from the time they were two weeks old. The vet's office gave me a recipe consisting of evaporated milk, boiled water, white corn syrup, and infant vitamins instead of suggesting I buy the prepared formula (he knew we couldn't afford that for 21 pups). When the pups reached about 6 weeks of age we started feeding them puppy chow that we had made soggy with warm water. All of the pups survived, and we kept one who is still quite healthy. I can't remember the ratios, but I'm sure most, if not all, vets know this recipe or something similar.

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I fed a litter of great Pyrenees pups from the time they were 5 days old. A breeder gave me a recipe for formula that worked great. It was a can of Pet milk (evaporated milk), 1 cup of plain whole fat yogurt, 1 can of baby food beef, and a can of water. Just mix up in the blender. They grew fine and seemed very satisfied.

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NEVER give a pup cow's milk.

I'm a breeder and when I get pups that need to be bottle fed I use goat's milk. You can buy it in a can in the grocer store down most baking aisles. Or sometimes in the milk case. Fresh goats milk is sold by the quart. You will need to dilute it half and half so it's not too strong. At 3 to 4 weeks old you can start the pup on dry food moistened with warm goat's milk to make it soft and add a little bit of baby jarred meat from Gerber. I prefer turkey or chicken it's easier on their tummy.

At first put a little on your finger to get them to lick it. Make sure if pups don't have teeth yet to smoosh it up and add more liquid like thinned out oatmeal. As they get use to it over the next couple weeks thicken it up, and by 8 weeks old you should be able to just moisten the dry puppy food with warm water. I have raised many of pups like this and they all turned out healthy. Good luck!

Oh yes. In a previous post someone mentioned Nutrical. You can get this from Petco or Petsmart as well. If a puppy was small or a small breed I would use this once a day as well too. It's great source of vitamins and minerals also provides protein, and calories for the pup as well as glucose (sugar) for small pups so they don't go into hypoglycemic shock. Good luck.

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At 8 weeks old he should be weaned from his mother. He also should have been on dry food for the last couple of weeks. Do the current owners have an explanation why the puppies are not on their own food or is it just this one that won't eat? If it is a matter of won't or can't that is a huge difference. If he can't eat choose another puppy! If he won't find out why before you take the puppy. They should have been feeding the litter softened dry puppy food then weaned them over to straight dry puppy food. The mother should wean them herself around 8 weeks. I hope this helped, I raised puppies for several years so I do know of what I speak, at least what I believe. Good Luck.

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Dear Pam,

We always fed our puppies Weetbix. Now I am Australian, but you'd have to have a similar version in the US. It's a wheat breakfast cereal. Just add a little hot water on the wheat cereal then some milk and mush it up until soft. Hope this helps. Good luck.

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I work at a pet store and have found that the more you give them soft food, the more they won't eat dry food! Sometimes you have to stand your ground and insist. You can try wetting the hard food a little bit, but not much. I agree with latrtatr, he should have been started on dry food while still at the breeders. I don't recommend feeding wet food constantly because it's not food for their teeth. Dry food helps to remove plaque from teeth. I recently got a Yorkie puppy and I gave him some canned food at first and then after he didn't care to eat the dry food, but I just stood my ground and now that's all he eats. If your puppy goes more than 2 days without eating, I would talk to a veterinarian. Sometime else to try is mixing a tablespoon of cottage cheese in with the food. Be sure to mix it very well because that will encourage them to eat more dry food. In most cases, however, sometimes a puppy won't eat for a day or so, but eventually they get hungry enough and give in!

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Feeding a Puppy
Feeding a Puppy
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Pets Dogs HealthOctober 25, 2010
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