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Bottle Feed

How to Bottle Feed a Chihuahua

Reasons to Bottle Feed 

There may be several situations in which you may find yourself having to bottle feed a Chihuahua Sometimes the dam is not able to provide the puppy with milk. There are several reasons this may occur:
  • The dam's body may not be able to produce enough milk 
  • The newborn may not be strong enough to suckle 
  •  The dam may reject the litter or just the smaller of the litter
  •  The Chihuahua puppy may be orphaned 
In any of these cases, it will be an important responsibility to properly bottle feed the Chihuahua puppy, as he will only have you to provide enough nutrients to stay alive. 

The Age to Bottle Feed

In general, puppies begin the process between weeks 3 and 4; however for this tiny breed, most Chihuahuas begin weaning at the age of 4.5 weeks and are on solids foods by week 7. For those that are undersized, weaning may not be complete until week 8, which can prompt a small delay with placing the puppy in his new home as a little bit of extra time will be needed for growth and food toleration.

Bottle feeding a Chihuahua is the process that comes before any weaning. It may begin from birth and it will slowly decrease by week 3 and 4 as solid foods are introduced. 
solid white Chihuahua newborn
A fabulously solid white Chihuahua newborn
Photo courtesy of Christy Leach of BonBon Chihuahuas
How Often

A newborn Chihuahua puppy should be bottle fed every 3 hours. This is done around the clock, not just during the day. Therefore, the pup should be drinking 8 times in a 24 hour day.

How Much

The best way to know when you have fed your Chihuahua puppy enough milk replacement is to notice his or her tummy. It will round out and look a bit full when the pup has had enough. However, it is very important to not feed the puppy too much. He or she will be eating about 8 times per day; there is no need to overfill the pup and it may lead to health problems

Once the Chihuahua puppy is 4 weeks old, you can lower the feedings to 4 or 5 per day. By 5 weeks, the pup should be having 2 or 3 bottle feedings along with a soupy mixture of food and water which will be the weaning process.

By the end of the 7th week, you will be just about done and in the middle of strongly encouraging the puppy to ingest solids as his main food source.

You will want to weigh your pup and then follow these guidelines:

For every 1/4 of a pound (100 grams) a Chihuahua pup weighs, you will need to feed the dog .67 ounces (20 milliliters) per day. For example, if your puppy is 1 pound, an estimate of how much to feed the dog would be 2.68 ounces (80 milliliters).

Do keep in mind that this is an estimate. Each dog is very different. If the tummy rounds out and the puppy seems to have plenty of energy, he or she is most likely receiving enough. If the puppy seems weak and has difficulty feeding, your dog's veterinarian will be able to tell you if the pup is getting the correct amount of nutrition. Each week that goes by, guidelines suggest reducing the amount of milk replacement by .2 ounces (5.9 milliliters)   
What to Feed a Chihuahua Newborn

Some people have interesting ideas about what to feed a newborn puppy when bottle feeding. Some swear that goat's milk works wonderful. Others create a recipe that they claim offers optimal health. While you can mix together your own concoction, ones which include yolks, corn oil and yogurt, among other ingredients, you will be tired enough taking constant care of your newborn Chihuahua and purchasing a high quality milk replacement is recommended. 

These are time tested and contain exactly what a newborn needs; now is not the time to experiment. Choose a well known, high quality brand. If you are not sure which replacer is best, look to our recommended products under "Food" in the Chihuahua Specialty Shoppe
alert Chihuahua newborn
Super unique color Chihuahua puppy, alert and happy
Photo courtesy of Chelle of Highland Hills Chihuahuas
How to Bottle Feed a Chihuahua Newborn

Keeping in mind that you will need to feed the puppy every 3 hours, you will want to prepare at least two bottles at a time. The formula must be mixed extremely well, having any lumps will not only possibly clog the bottle, but can be hurtful to the dog's digestive system if it gets past the holes in bottle tip and into the puppy.

Some nipples will not have any holes, so that you may make ones necessary for your particular breed of dog. For the Chihuahua, it is recommended to use a sterilized needle to make 3 holes. However, the goal is that once the bottle is shaken and held upside down that only 2 to 3 drops come out. Make 1 hole at a time until you see that this correct amount of milk is coming out.

If too much comes out, your Chihuahua puppy could choke inhaling it, and if not enough comes out, your puppy will swallow air, thus leading to potentially painful stomach gas.

The temperature of the milk should be room temperature. Be sure not to heat the formula up, this can cause great injury to the puppy's mouth and throat.

While you may be tempted to hold the Chihuahua puppy as you would a baby, the dog should be allowed to lay down on its tummy and feed. 
After Each Feeding

You will need to burp your Chihuahua since more air is taken in via the bottle than otherwise with suckling the dam. This is done in the same fashion as with a baby. You will hold the puppy with its tummy against your chest and shoulder. Gently pat the back until you hear a healthy burp come out.

Newborn puppies have no idea of the bowel elimination process. Normally the dam stimulates the anus which triggers the body to expel the bowel movement.

If you are on your own, taking care of a Chihuahua newborn, you will need to do this. Using a soft, clean wash cloth the outside anus area of the puppy should be gently massaged. This will trigger a bodily response that will cause the puppy to eliminate.
Since this can be quite messy and the pup is certainly not old enough to be house trained, this can be done over newspapers which can then be quickly thrown away.
To Recap

These weeks of bottle feeding your Chihuahua puppy will be very busy for you and very important to the health of your dog. With love, patience and time, in just 7 weeks or so, you will have a rambunctious Chi puppy running around your home.

If you have any concerns about the feeding of the pup or other health questions, speak to your dog's veterinarian right away. With newborns, a small issue can quickly worsen into a serious one. Don't forget that with The GIANT Book of Chihuahua Care (in both print & eBook), you can earn all of the details of newborn Chihuahua care & tons of information for the lifetime of your Chi.
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