How to start tube feeding & what I have done. Always refer to your vet first!
The tube needs to be marked at the end of their rib cage.
I will start off by saying. DO NOT tube feed unless your vet has taught you how to do this! Also, make sure that you get the tube into the stomach and not into the lungs. The puppy should be able to breathe with no problem and make noises if the tube is in the stomach. You measure from the mouth to the end of the rib cage and mark the tube (pictured left). As the puppy grows, you will have to adjust this measurement. Aspiration is the biggest risk and this is caused by not getting the tube in correctly or by over feeding. Lay them in your lap flat or a flat surface to feed. The neck and head should be up and bent slightly. The tube size to start is an 8FC Urethral Catheter, at one pound it will be a 10FC, and when she is bigger a 12FC. Don't forget, once the tube is inserted -- hold the head/tube steady so the tube doesn't slip!
The first 2 weeks -- I fed Lady BB every 2 hours around the clock for the first two weeks (if you need a 3 hour nap at night, it's okay to do this once a night after the first week is over). I fed her 1 cc per ounce of body weight. Make sure that the puppy is nice and warm before you feed them. They have to be warm (95 to 99 degrees) to digest the food. Also, the milk should be a little warm to your wrist when you check it but not hot. I weighed her twice a day to increase the amount I was feeding on a regular basis. If the Mom is not helping her/him potty -- you must do this with a cotton ball and warm water. Do this about every time you feed them. *NOTE, when I first started tube feeding -- I started out with lower amounts because she had not been eating. My Momma dog still cares for BB, which keeps her warm. If your puppy is without its Mom/littermates, use a heating pad the first 3 weeks. DON'T keep them too hot or you will dehydrate them! They need to be between the temps above
From two weeks old to three weeks old -- I planned to start feeding her seven times in 24 hours. BUT: I ended up increasing her feedings to 9 to 10 times in 24 hours because she wasn't gaining weight like she needed to with just seven feedings... you may have to make adjustments according to weight gained or lost. She also went to the vet because I thought she was getting an infection (4th vet visit in two weeks). He put her on Cefadroxil 15ml, which is the best antibiotic for puppies. She gets five drops twice a day in her formula. She is also being tube fed clear and unflavored Pedialyte twice a day (the antibiotics caused an upset stomach). Please keep her in your prayers, she is such a fighter! I really thought on April 3rd, that she was losing this fight...
From three weeks to four weeks old -- I will feed her 8 times in 24 hours (unless she needs more feedings based on weight gain). For example, 8am, 10am, 12pm, 2:30pm, 6pm, 8pm, 10pm, and 4am. Remember to weigh them daily to know how much to increase the amount being fed. The puppy should be gaining weight daily (about 2/3 of an ounce). Make sure that if you have a large breed puppy you find out if they need more formula then a smaller breed from your vet. At 4 weeks old you will need to add meat to the diet -- HOWEVER, set this up with your vet.
From week four until six weeks old -- Okay, at this point a puppy can't thrive on formula alone and the amount needed would be too much for their stomach to hold. So, for Lady BB I went to my vet and he has a high calorie canned meat (Hills Prescription Diet a/d). At first I will mix the meat with water and formula but by six weeks old it will be meat, water, and Di-calcium phosphate only (puppies need di-calcium and the canned food is for adults but it's very fine and the best kind to get through a feeding tube). For a two pound puppy it's one can a day of this meat with the Di-calcium.... The can is the size of a tuna can (meaning it's a small can). NOTE:at 5 weeks old Lady BB started eating hard puppy food on her own and drinking from a water bottle. Try this before feeding the canned meat through a tube.
Six weeks old and after -- Lady BB eats hard puppy food and drinks water from a bowl or rabbit water bottle. She has only needed one clean out of her cleft by my vet. This was at 5.5 months old.