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Breastfeeding is essential for the puppy, it is not only a source of food, but also a source of bacteria that will initiate the colonization of its digestive system and a source of antibodies. In fact, as with human beings, the dog is not born with defenses but acquires them directly from mother's milk until its immune system begins to mature.
The essential time of lactation is 4 weeks, however, the ideal is that lactation is maintained for 8 weeks, since it is not only about feeding the puppy, but also about letting its mother start the learning process, to through gentle bites, licks and grunts.
Sometimes maintaining breastfeeding for 4 or 8 weeks is not possible due to various problems that can affect the mother, therefore, in this AnimalWised article we show you how breastfeeding should be feeding prematurely weaned puppies.You may also be interested in: Feeding newborn puppies
Do not take puppies under 2 months old
We must resort to a good nutrition plan for puppies weaned prematurely when completing lactation has not been possible due to a medical problem, such as mastitis in bitches..
Therefore, this information should not be used to separate a puppy from its mother prematurely, Since this has very negative consequences for the dog, in addition to being deprived of the sense of belonging to a group, it can present the following problems during its first stage of growth:
- Separation anxiety
- Suck on other objects, such as cottons or fabrics
We know that the arrival of a puppy at home is a highly positive experience, but to be responsible owners we must ensure that this is also a positive experience for the puppy, therefore, whenever we can avoid it, we should not take a puppy under 2 months old.
What kind of food to use?
For a minimum time of 4 weeks it will be essential to feed the puppy with a artificial milk whose composition is as similar as possible to that of its mother's milk, for this you must go to a specialized store.
Under no circumstances can cow's milk be offered, as it is very rich in lactose and the dog's stomach cannot digest it. If it is not possible to find an artificial milk for puppies weaned prematurely, then we will opt for the pasteurized goat milk, whose lactose content is the most similar to mother's milk.
The milk must be at a warm temperature and to offer it we will use a bottle purchased in pharmacy and specific for premature babies, since the outflow offered by these bottles is the most suitable for such a short-lived puppy.
Once the first 4 weeks have elapsed, specific solid food for puppies, such as patés or grain feed, will begin to be introduced. Initially alternate with milk intake until very progressively, after 8 weeks, the puppy's diet is solid in its entirety.
How often does a prematurely weaned puppy need to be fed?
The first three days should be fed continuously, that is, every 2 hours, both during the day and at night, once the first three days have elapsed, we will feed it every 3 hours.
This frequency in feeding should be maintained for the first 4 weeks, later, we will begin to alternate the feeding of the bottle with the administration of solid feeding.
Other care of the prematurely weaned puppy
In addition to providing the puppy with a diet as similar as possible to that offered by its mother, we must provide specific care to keep it healthy:
- Stimulate the sphincters: During the first days of life, a puppy is unable to defecate or urinate on its own, therefore, we must stimulate it by gently rubbing a cotton ball on its anus and genital area..
- Avoid hypothermia: A newborn puppy is prone to hypothermia, therefore, we must provide a heat source and keep it at a temperature between 24 and 26 degrees Celsius.
- Get you contact: All dogs need contact, but especially puppy dogs. We must spend time with them and stimulate them, but never interrupt their sleep hours.
- Healthy environment: The immune system of a prematurely weaned puppy is very weak, to avoid any infectious disease we must keep the puppy in a suitable and completely hygienic environment.