Orphan Care

Ideal Room or Box Temperatures:
  • Birth to 5 Days: 85-90 Degrees 
  • 5-20 Days: 80 Degrees 
  • 20-34 Days: 75 Degrees
Nutrition and care:
  • Provide a nest box with tall sides so puppies or kittens cannot climb out. 
  • Keep the nest box clean and dry. Expect to change the bedding several times daily.
  • Supplemental warmth can be provided by placing a heating pad under half of the box or by placing a covered hot water bottle in one end of the box. Make sure the babies can crawl away from the heating source if they get too warm. 
  • Use puppy or kitten formula only. Milk or human baby formula can cause diarrhea.
  • Feed at 100 degrees (body temperature). Discard reconstituted formula after 24 hours. Feed 2-tablespoons/4 oz. body weight. (15% of body wt. Divided into 4-6 meals)
  • Feed every 3-4 hours around the clock for one week, then every 6 hours. Do not wake the babies to feed them. They will awake and let you know when they are hungry.
  • Test the feeding bottle for proper flow rate. Do not squeeze the bottle when feeding. If formula comes out of the baby’s nose, they are eating too fast. When feeding place the baby with feet on the table. This mimics normal feeding position. 
  • Begin offering formula in a saucer as soon as eyes are open. (Usually about two weeks of age.)
  • Slowly begin to substitute water and a high quality puppy or kitten food for the formula at four weeks of age. 
  • Rub rectum and abdomen with cotton moistened with warm water after each feeding to stimulate bowel functions. Babies will not urinate or defecate on their own until they are two weeks of age. Bathe as needed to prevent urine scald and skin infection from fecal accumulation. Be careful not to let the baby get chilled.
  • A crying puppy or kitten is either COLD or HUNGRY!
Whenever possible a mother’s care is always best. Hand raising puppies and kittens is very time consuming, and the outcome isn't always favorable. Even with the best care not all babies survive. However, if they do survive, it makes all the effort worth it!