Last updated: January 25, 2020

By DogLovely Team

Puppies are among the most adorable things on the planet. But life is cruel, and it doesn’t care about sweetness or beauty.

Find out how to feed a newborn pup without mother!

It’s not a rare thing to find a litter of puppies without a mommy around. It’s only natural to panic in such circumstances. You start to wonder:

  • What should I do?
  • How to take care of newborn puppies without a mother?
  • What to feed a newborn puppy?

Keep calm, and let me answer all your questions.

Keep puppies warm

The first thing is that you must keep the puppies warm. Newborn puppies cuddle next to each other and their mother for warmth. They can’t regulate their body temperature very well, so use a heating pad or a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel. The temperature in the nest should be around 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the first week, and it should be kept around 70-80 degrees until the puppies are about two-and-a-half-month-old.

Keep the puppies warm and use a heating pad or a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel to warm them.

What to Feed a 4-Week-Old Puppy Without Its Mother?

The first few weeks of your puppy’s life typically involve eating, staying warm, and learning how to be a dog. New-born puppies rely on their mother to provide them with all the care they need to develop and grow. However, if your puppy has been orphaned from their mother for some reason or another, then you will need to take over the parental role.

For the first 4 weeks, puppies receive all the nutrition they need from their mother’s milk. If your puppy’s mother is out of the picture, then you will need to use a canine milk replacer. It’s best to use one that is targeted for puppies. Although you can use cow’s milk and other milk replacers temporarily, they’re not recommended for long-term use as they can cause diarrhea and other issues.

At 4-weeks-old, puppies can begin to start eating solid food. They still need canine milk at this age, but you can start introducing puppy kibble or wet food to their diet. The entire weaning process takes around 3 weeks.

Remember that at 4-week old puppies can start eating solid food. Puppy kibble or wet food are important for the diet of your newborn pup.

puppy bottle feed
Puppy kibble or wet food are important for the diet of your newborn pup.

Pups under 4 weeks should be fed with milk replacement formula.

How to Feed an Orphaned Puppy or Pup that doesn’t want mom’s milk

Newborn puppies under a week old usually need to eat every 2 hours.

sleeping puppy mom 2
Less frequent feeding as puppy grows. Transition to solid food at 4 weeks, 3-4 daily feedings.

If their mother is not around to nurse them or if your pup doesn’t want mommy’s milk, then you will need to make sure they are fed via a bottle or syringe.

Make sure you make a fresh batch of your puppy’s milk replacer each day. The formula should be heated up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit before being fed to your puppy. It’s a good idea to speak to a veterinarian to get information on bottle-feeding and the best commercial canine milk replacers.

Once your puppy begins to grow, they do not need to be fed as frequently. When you begin to transition your puppy from canine milk to solid food at 4-weeks-old, you can start feeding them less regularly.Normally, puppies at this age require feeding around 3 or 4 times per day.

You should add warm water and milk replacer to your puppy’s dry kibble or wet food before mixing it all together, either byhand or with a blender. The texture should look like gruel or baby food. It’s generally recommended to add one-part canine milk replacer with an equal partof dry or wet food.

Filtered water or water that has been boiled and cooled is the safest for your puppy. Only replace one of yourpuppy’s milk feedings with the gruel mixture at first. After 4 to 5 days, you can replace another. You can gradually start decreasing how much milk and water you add to your puppy’s food every 3 or 4 days, too. By about 7 weeks or 8weeks old, your puppy should be eating only solid food.

Once the pup starts eating solid food, please, moisten it first and always opt for a dry food which is specifically formulated for pups!

How to bottle feed newborn puppies with puppy milk replacement formula

Veterinarians don’t recommend giving a newborn puppy cow’s milk unless it’s an emergency. To feed the puppy, you’ll need a special pet bottle with a nipple or a syringe. You can find some really good pet bottles with a nipple on Amazon.

To feed the puppy, you’ll need a special pet bottle with a nipple or a syringe.

Here’s how to bottle feed newborn puppies step-by-step:

  • Prepare the milk replacement formula by following the instruction on the package.
  • Wait for the formula to cool down to room temperature.
  • Test it on the inside of your wrist.
  • Take the puppy and place it on its stomach. Don’t attempt to feed it on its back. It’s dangerous and can lead to pneumonia and aspiration.
French Bulldog puppy - feeding without mother
Avoid cow’s milk for newborns. Use pet bottle with nipple or syringe. Feed carefully on stomach, not back.

If you’re using a syringe, place it in the pup’s mouth, push slowly and give the puppy time to swallow. If you’re using a bottle with a nipple make sure that the milk is dripping slowly, otherwise the pup can choke.

How often to bottle feed newborn puppies?

Just like human babies, newborn puppies eat a lot. They need around six to eight feedings a day. When the pups are around 3-4 weeks, they should do just fine with four feedings a day. At 4-5 weeks you can start weaning them by preparing gruel. Gruel is dry dog food soften with puppy replacement milk or water.

Pups eat 6-8 times a dat when they are newborn.

It’s also important that you burp the puppy twice – halfway through the feeding and after it. To burp the pup, place its belly against your shoulder and pat its back.

Is there anything else we need to know to care for newborn puppies without a mother? Yes, there is. You need to help them pee and poop. It sounds weird, I know, but you just have to do it. First, moisten a cotton ball. Then place the puppy on its back, and rub the genital area. Continue the massage until you the pup does its business.

How Much Should a 4-Week-Old Puppy Weigh?

The ideal weight for a puppy that is 4weeks of age depends on its breed. In the initial few weeks of your puppy’s life, you should expect to see their body weight double or triple. Healthy puppies typically gain between 10% to 15% of birth weight each day. Unfortunately,puppies that do not gain enough weight during the first few weeks are normally too weak to survive.

Orphaned or rejected puppies need milk replacer to substitute their mother’s milk.

Newborn pups need food every couple of hours
Inadequate gain can risk survival; milk replacer for orphaned pups.


Newborn puppies need to feed every couple of hours for several weeks. At around 4 weeks old, puppies can start to eat solid food in addition to canine milk/milk replacer. When puppies reach between 7 and 8 weeks of age, their diet should consist of only solid food.

? Top Pick for Natural Dry Food for Puppies

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Why Doglovely Recommends It

  • The box contains packets which you can easily take with you if your travel. The 12 packets inside this colored box helps you manage portion control and this is quite important for newborn puppies.
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  • The Ginseng Root may sound exotic in dry food for puppies, but it’s a superfood which has proven benefits on skin health and promotes strong joints.
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Dog Behaviour & Training,

Last Update: April 2, 2024