BIS Aust. Grand Ch. Chinaroad Flying Colours weighing 75 grams at birth, receiving his first bottle feeding.Having hand-raised puppies of different breeds over the years, I have had much success and wish to share this information in an effort to assist those who have a problem. My main Löwchen success story is with Multi BIS Aust. Grand Ch. CHINAROAD FLYING COLOURS, pictured left at one week of age, weighing 75g (approximately 2.6oz) at birth.

Archie, one of our hand-raised Kangaroo'sWe have also had tremendous success raising orphaned Kangaroo Joey's on Wombaroo. Archie, our favourite, grew to a full size red roo. The milk replacer I used exclusively with Solo was WOMBAROO MILK REPLACER for Canines, an Australian made product which is excellent! You do not need to add anything to Wombaroo, except water! I highly recommend their products! To give all orphaned animals a great chance to survive they should be given the opportunity of starting on Wombaroo. Click here to see the range they carry!


The first 36 hrs of a puppies life is the critical period nutritionally. Healthy puppies will nurse right away and then every few hours. The pups must nurse from their mother within 12 hours of birth to receive her antibodies against disease. After 12 hours, their stomachs will not absorb antibodies. After this first 12 hours, if the mother does not have enough milk, or if her litter is too large, then the pups' diet can be supplemented with commercial puppy milk replacer. Cow's milk is nutritionally inadequate for puppies. 

Supplemental heat should only be used for orphans or if the room's temperature is too cold for the mother's comfort. A newborn pup can't generate body heat until it develops the shiver reflex, at about two and half weeks of age. Orphan pups need an environmental temperature of about 97°F (36°C) the first week, in the mid 80's the second week, then in the 70's. If the mother is there to keep the pups warm, high temperatures are unnecessary and will make her uncomfortable.

If you have more than one puppy to raise, provide separate boxes and beds. With separate quarters you can monitor bowel eliminations and food intake. 

Orphan puppies less than one week old must be stimulated to urinate and eliminate. This is accomplished by gentle massage of the abdomen and genital area with a piece of cotton wool or tissue, dampened with warm water.

  • Aspirate the pups' throat and nostrils at birth

  • Always pre-boil water and cool prior to using in formulas.

  • A Healthy pup feels warm, and has a full belly of milk. He twitches and never lies perfectly still. (Activated sleep) - The muscles are getting stronger during activated sleep

  • A Puppy in trouble will feel cold to the touch. Lays limp and refuses to nurse. This puppy needs your assistance in hope for survival. 

  • If you have another nursing mother you can give her the litter but you will still need to help her by bottle feeding or tube feeding the pups.

  • Never feed a chilled puppy if a pup's temperature is below 94 degrees - they should NOT be nursing and you should NOT be tube feeding 

  • There is always the danger of a pup inhaling milk into its lungs and then getting pneumonia. Make sure your nipple hole is not too large or too small.  Stick a hot paper clip in the nipple. Hold it upside down - the milk should drip out, but never flow.

  • The pup may have little bubbles on the side of its lips, but the milk should not run out of the sides of the mouth.

  • Encourage the pup by wiggling the nipple across his lips.

  • Burp puppies after feeding, to reduce any gas they may have.

  • You will know if he is getting the milk by measuring the amount in the bottle and after burping can you see if he has a full belly or if he needs more.

  • Calorie and fluid intake must be adjusted so puppies consume adequate formula to meet nutrient needs for growth, but not over or under consume fluid volume.

Making up formulas and feeding a litter of puppies is very time consuming. It seems like as soon as you're finished, its time to begin again.

An aspirator
An aspirator to clear
pups' throat & nostrils at birth.


Puppy feeding bottle by Wombaroo The hand raising of newborn toy dogs is time consuming, tiring but  most of all an accomplishment of devotion. Yes it can be done. No doubt you will be frazzled and irritable but it does not last forever. 
There are many reasons why this must be done. Perhaps your dam has had eclampsia or a Caesarean birth with complications or a premature birth where puppies have not developed their sucking reflex. For whatever reason you are responsible for bringing these tiny lives into being. I will give you fair warning, however, every one you save will be doubly precious and very hard to part with. Their temperament is especially calm and they will be strongly "bonded" with you. 

I weigh every newborn twice a day on a gram scale for the first two  weeks. This early handling makes for a placid pup. 
The pups most at risk for mortality include the following:

  • Whelps that are 20% below birth weight of their litter mates. 

  • Whelps that feel cold to the touch and are limp or conversely cry constantly and crawl aimlessly. I usually suspect an infection in a very vocal puppy. This can be an e-Coli or herpes virus to name a few. . . In a distressed puppy under 6 days of age I usually start them on a liquid form of Ampicilin or cavulonic acid. One caution here, however, if a crying whelp feels well rounded and is feeding it could be simple overheating. Some breeders think if warmth is good hot must be better. Use common sense here.

  • Whelps that are chilled. A cold pup is a gagging pup and is soon a dead one. Since the exact cause can not always be ascertained here is the recipe step by step for any ill neonate.

  1. Remove pup from dam and put under your clothing in direct contact with your skin. 

  2. Constantly for the first half hour rub coat upwards to it's neck.  While doing this turn pup over every few minutes to ensure lungs are drained 

  3. Now the hard part. The only chance of survival is for you to master the art of tube feeding. Your baby will need a feed once each hour with a glucose and sterile water solution at ½ ml. per 1 oz. (30g) of body weight. This may take 2 to 3 hours depending on the condition of the pup and after slow warming next to your skin. In 3 hours most viable pups will be wiggling and cheeping. Tube feeding is not difficult if the proper size tube is used. Your Vet should be happy to demonstrate. For those who are not in travelling distance of his/her surgery I can send diagrams, tubes and detailed instructions.

  4. However if you have a respectful relationship with your Vet he is the man/woman to see. Please do not wake a professional at 3 in the morning with a moribund pup and expect miracles. Discuss these things before whelping takes place. 
  5. If all has gone well your squirming baby is ready for his first milk feed. I start mine with goat's milk equally diluted with sterile water for the first three feeds. These are given every 2 and one half to 3 hours. 
    Pup should be fed with a marsupial teat in a sitting up position. If wrapped in a hanky and placed on a pillow on your lap things will go well once pup has learned to suckle effectively. Sometimes this takes a feed or two. (Remember breast feeding your first babe?) You will teach each other what feels right. Apologies to male breeders out there but you get my drift.

By Carla Timmins


As an orphan Toy breed pup gets a little older, I start using (human) baby bottles (Nuk or Avent brands) and teats for newborn's (Pigeon cross-cut size 3 months has been recommended also). 

Go HERE for our Puppy Milk Replacer Recipes

Go HERE to learn about WOMBAROO Puppy Milk Replacer


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