It is so common to find puppies and kitties without their mother, and it is very hard for the person who will become the “adopting mother” to act right, especially if the animals only have some days of age.

The puppy’s mother does some basic functions that are very important in the first days of life like giving food, balancing the environmental factors and making eliminations easier, as well as socializing and educating labours that are very important in the third or fourth weeks onwards.

Undoubtedly, food is the most important thing. Nursing is divided into two periods: the first one that lasts one or two days, and the obligatory nursing that lasts about 30 days.

The first milk produced by dogs and cats is denser and more yellow than the usual milk and is segregated during the two or three first days. It contains great amount of anti-bodies which will give passive immunity to the puppy and will protect it against many infections for the two and three first months of life, after this time, the puppy will be able to develop actively its own defences against infections. In cats, this first milk can be substituted for any other in lactation, cat’s milk has a good number of anti-bodies during all the lactation, however dogs need this first milk, and this is not always possible in Spain, because it is not sold here, although it is in other countries like France. However, this first milk may be substituted for serum obtained from the blood of a healthy dog.

The period of obligatory nursery lasts 30 days, until the puppy is able to eat solid food. A new-born dog or cat can take milk about 20/25 times per day, it is recommended they take each three hours for the first two or three days, and then, each 4 or 6 hours, depending on its growing up and until it is able to eat alone from a dish, thing that usually happens between the 15 and 20 days of life. It is recommended to use bottles with the size of the teat adapted to the size of the animal and with very little holes.

Generally, it is better to give commercialised milks to dogs. We have to bear in mind that dog and cat’s milks have more proteins, grass, calcium, phosphor and Ferro than cow’s milk, so if we choose a formula made at home, we must give cow’s milk plus one yoke of egg per each quarter of litre, and add some vitamins.

It is essential to keep the conditions of temperature and humidity for the puppy, this is what the mother does with her own body, especially the first days, keeping a 25-27º and 50-60% humidity. We also should put the puppy face up and pass a wet cotton 3/5 times per day over the anal and genital area in order to make urination and defecation easier, the same as their mother does.

Finally, as our puppy does not have any brothers or sisters around it, and has a lack of social contact, it should be touched by different people for long periods in order to favour its socialization.


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