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How to Burp a Newborn Puppy

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Newborn Puppy

A time may come when you'll need to figure out how to burp a newborn puppy. Just like babies, a newborn puppy may need to be burped after having a meal. Even if the objective is good, some people may feel a tad bit uncomfortable in burping something smaller than a little human baby. Whatever makes you feel unpleasant about the task, try to keep in your mind that sometimes you just need to do it, regardless if it's your little baby or a little puppy. Here's a brief guide of why, when and how to burp a newborn puppy.

Dog Fear of Water

Why Burp a Newborn Puppy?

Well, before learning how to burp a puppy, try to understand the main purpose behind the task. A burp is needed to free the newborn puppy from air that's trapped in his stomach.

Every time a puppy eats, there are chances that air is also swallowed at the same time. This air then accumulates in the puppy's stomach and needs to get out, otherwise it creates a bloated feeling. Even as adults, we sometimes experience that bloated feeling of trapped air and it could be very uncomfortable. So imagine if your little newborn puppy has to endure that feeling!

Puppies who are bottle-fed are more likely to develop trapped air. To minimize the quantity of air being swallowed and the chances for bloating, it's important to ensure the bottle being used has the correct sized opening, explains veterinarian Dr Suzanne Hurst. When the bottle is tilted upside down, the formula should drip, but without streaming out.

If the bottle is not releasing enough milk, it could cause the pup to swallow more air and that means more work on getting the pup to release it through burping. When to burp a puppy? As in human babies, air tends to trap after eating a meal. Puppies who are bottle-fed therefore should be burped after each feeding.

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"Nursing bottles that do not release enough milk lead to more air being trapped that you need to release through burping. If too few or too small a hole is made, the puppy will ingest too much air and become bloated and colicky." Dr. Ron Hines

How To Burp a Newborn Puppy 

how to burp a puppy

Fortunately, burping a newborn puppy is very easy. All you need to prepare before burping your little newborn puppy is patience, gentle hands and sensitivity. With those three things in mind, you should no longer feel scared of hurting you lovely cute newborn puppies.

Each puppy is ultimately an individual, and therefore, you may find that some puppies will need to be burped halfway when bottle feeding them in order to finish the formula otherwise, there is risk that the space is taken by air and the puppy may become colicky.

Here's a brief guide on how to burp a newborn puppy. If the puppy is very small, you will burp him by making some small spiraling, circular movements using your fingers placed just above the puppy's hips, just forward to his shoulders.

You may find that you'll need to repeat this a few times paying extra attention to listening to a possible quiet expulsion of air. Alternatively, you can "sit" the puppy in your hand and gently massage the abdomen and even gently bounce the puppy. Always keep in mind to be very gentle. Premature puppies in particular have very delicate skin even though they have some downy skin.

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For larger, older or more vigorous puppies you can lift the puppy as very gently as possible, and just as you would with a human baby, hold the puppy against your shoulder with his belly in the inner side firmly, tapping him on his back using the palm of your hand. You can also try to gently rub the puppy's sides in hopes of helping release any trapped air bubbles. Slowly, the trapped air will be released. If the tapping doesn't yield a burp, you can place the puppy back on your lap and try again a few minutes later.

For how long should newborn puppies be burped? It takes approximately one to two minutes to release all the trapped air from puppies’ bellies. After burping, the puppy can resume feeding, but you must take care in turning the bottle nipple end down so that milk completely fills the nipple. This helps avoid ingestion of air.

pppy bloated

Signs of Trouble

What if the puppy fails to burp though and starts getting bloated or colicky? First off, have you been stimulating him to go to the bathroom? If not, that is very important!

Newborn puppies cannot eliminate on their own and mother dog usually takes over the task by licking their bottoms. If the puppy is orphaned or mother dog is not caring for it, it's up to you taking over the task so that your puppy can get relief and pee and poop as needed.

To do this, simply after every feeding, gently massage the pup's bum and private areas with a cotton ball or Kleenex moistened with warm water until the puppy urinates and defecates. It's not fundamental that urine or stool is produced after every single feeding.

Second, another question to ask oneself with a gassy puppy is: is the puppy kept warm enough? A puppy being too cold has trouble to digest food and this can lead to the food fermenting and causing gas pain.

If your puppy is warm and being stimulated to eliminate, and despite this, he is still bloated and colicky, you may wish to consult with your vet and ask if it's OK to give a few drops of an anti-colic medicine made for human babies that helps with trapped gas. Veterinarian Dr. Ron Hines suggests using simethicone which is sold at Walmart under the brand name of Equate Infants Gas Relief. If the problem persists though, it's time to see the vet.

" Many times the puppies can get colicky and bloated...Add a few drops of infant anticolic medicine simethicone, Infants' Gas Relief, or baby Mylanta drops to the formula to help release the gas and bloating." Joan, veterinary technician

Photo Credits:

Flickr Creative Commons, Bev Sykes, Bottle Baby CCBY2.0

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References:

  • Breeding a Litter, the Complete Book of Prenatal and Postnatal Care, Beth J. Finfer Harris

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