Homemade Milk Replacements for Puppies

Updated November 21, 2016

Under special circumstances, puppies are not able to drink their mother's milk, so milk replacement formulas may be necessary. Always consult your veterinarian to be sure your puppy is healthy enough to drink milk replacement, and that the formula you plan to use is appropriate.


Determine your puppy's specific caloric needs before making a milk replacement at home to avoid over- or underfeeding. Also, be careful to avoid feeding your puppy too much lactose, which can increase the chance that the puppy will develop diarrhoea. One way to avoid too much lactose in a homemade milk replacement formula is to use as little cow or goat's milk as possible.

Always boil the water that you use in milk replacements to reduce the risk of contamination that may make your puppy sick. And before you feed the puppy a homemade formula, warm it to the puppy's body temperature (about 38.3 degrees Celsius).

Recipes suggests whisking together one 295ml can of evaporated milk, 85.1gr sterilised water, one egg yolk, one cup whole milk yoghurt and 1/2 tbsp of Karo syrup or corn syrup.

Dr. Race Foster and Dr. Marty Smith at caution that most homemade milk replacements should only be used as an emergency alternative to store-bought formula. For this emergency replacement, mix together one cup whole milk, one pinch table salt, three egg yolks, one tbsp corn oil, and 1/4 tsp of a liquid multivitamin.


As Drs. Foster and Smith suggest, avoid feeding homemade milk replacements to puppies for an extended period of time. This is because they're typically not as nutritionally balanced as store-bought formulas.

These homemade milk replacement formulas are sometimes thick, so if you feed puppies with a bottle, you may need to widen the hole in the nipple to make it easiest for the puppies to drink the formula. Healthy puppies will only eat until they're full.

These homemade milk replacement formula recipes make more servings than a puppy can eat in one feeding, so store the leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

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