Pups that have been orphaned is not only a sad situation but dangerous as well. Without the proper care the pups can wither away and die. Many of us have seen the tiny bottles with formula that can be fed to pups and other animals who have been orphaned but some pups simply won’t take the bottle. In addition, it’s extremely time-consuming to feed the pups, usually every four hours, particularly if it’s a large litter. If you work it can be impossible to manage.
Tiny bottles and formula for dogs can be found at any pet store. It’s expensive, to say the least, particularly if you have a large litter. You can easily wrap up hundreds of dollars before the pups can be weaned. Do not try feeding the pups cow’s milk which can make them extremely sick. If you’ve chosen to try the bottle method be sure and follow the directions on the formula can for how much and how often to feed them, as well as the proper mixture. Don’t give up hope too quickly, if the pups won’t take the bottle, because many pups eventually do learn to drink from the bottle and do just fine. Continue trying the bottle unless major weight loss is noticed, then take the pups to the vet immediately.
It’s sometimes possible to find a wet-nurse dog. Although most dogs won’t approach another mother’s litter some dogs feel it’s their duty to try to feed every pup they encounter. Even if the female dog is not a mom and has no milk, it will develop milk upon letting the pups suckle. These dogs are rare and are hired out like a nanny. It’s even possible to find such dogs that will nurse kittens or other animals.
If you’ve never witnessed a wet-nurse dog you’re in for a surprise. They immediately take to the pups, as if it’s their own litter, and not only nurse but clean and teach the pups. Check the local paper under the pet section, in case someone has run such an ad, or run an ad of your own stating that you’re looking for a nurse dog. Some people may own just such a dog but it has never occurred to them to hire the dog out to help. Maybe they’ve seen one of their dogs try to nurse another of their dog’s litter. If you do get a response you’ll need to decide if your dog will stay at their house for the next few weeks or if the pups will come to yours.
Check with local veterinarians for wet-nurse dogs. Some vets may have been given a card, by someone who has such a dog, in case someone should inquire. Ask if you can put a card up on their bulletin board (most vets have one), stating that you are looking for a nurse dog.
If you have a dog that has nursed some other animal’s pups consider hiring your dog out to help others. People who will do anything to save the lives of the pups will be happy to pay a small fee to “borrow” your dog. And, if you’re afraid you’ll miss the dog too much, consider asking the person for “visitation rights” during the coming weeks. Stop by and see your pet, take her for a walk, or just spend time with her and “her pups”. You’ll feel good for helping others and so will your dog. And, you can make a little extra cash off of your unique and caring pet.