If you are caring for a litter of puppies, making sure they are getting the nutrition they need can be difficult. A mother’s milk is best, but it's not always an option. If you have an orphaned pup or one with a poor sucking reflex, bottle-feeding and nutritional milk replacement is necessary. Puppy formula is available in many stores; but you can make your own with a few ingredients, including Karo syrup.
Karo syrup is a brand name of corn syrup, so really any generic brand will do. This sweet syrup is included in many homemade puppy formulas to reduce the risk of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Puppies that are bottle- or tube-fed are at an increased risk of low blood sugar. This is especially true in toy and small breed dogs. By including Karo syrup in the formula mixture, the pup receives increased calories and sugar to last until the next feeding.
Hypoglycemia can develop quickly in puppies that do not feed frequently. When puppies feed on mother’s milk, they usually have constant access to milk and nurse as needed. With bottle-feeding, that is not the case and even a few minutes can make a difference. Symptoms of low blood sugar begin with weakness and can quickly lead to seizures and coma. If you notice these symptoms, a drop of Karo syrup on the pup’s tongue will raise the blood sugar. Immediately take the pup into the vet to have him evaluated. You may need to increase the frequency of feeding times.
Like newborn babies, puppies are not able to digest cow’s milk. Because of this, never use it in puppy formula. To make your own puppy formula with Karo and evaporated milk, you will need a 10-ounce can of evaporate milk, 3 ounces of boiled water, one raw egg yolk, 1 cup of whole milk yogurt and ½ teaspoon of Karo syrup. Mix these ingredients in a blender or mix with a wire whisk. Do not over-mix, as this will create bubbles that are not good for your puppy’s tummy. For an alternative, replace the water and evaporated milk with 10 ounces of goat's milk.
If you have an orphaned puppy or one that does not seem to be thriving on mother’s milk, consult your veterinarian before attempting to bottle-feed formula. Bottle-feeding a newborn puppy takes commitment and is not an easy task. Your veterinarian will advise you on the needed nutrients and the methods for feeding.
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- Whispering Hills Kennels: Hypoglycemia Must Be Treated
- Brightwood Animal Hospital: Canine Raising Orphaned Puppies
- Ed Frawley: Bottle Feeding and Hand Raising Puppies
- The Bluebonnet Norfolk Terrier Club: Breeding Tips and Tricks
- Recycled Pets NorCal: Tips for Caring for Newborn Animals
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