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Can puppies drink evaporated milk

Labrador Puppy
Labrador Puppy

Puppies can drink evaporated as long as used in moderation and fed using correct feeding techniques. Studies conducted on milk composition and intake by puppies has resulted in scientists coming to the conclusion that milk alone can support normal growth for upto 4 weeks after birth after which it becomes important to add supplemental food for keeping up their growth process in a healthy manner. Weaned puppies require 22% protein in the dry matter of their diet to grow normally that can be fulfilled through puppy formula. Should evaporated milk be the only choice, care must be taken to ensure that the milk has been sourced from goats or cows only. 

But before proceeding further it is important to understand in a better manner about evaporated milk.

What is evaporated milk

Evaporated milk or unsweetened condensed milk is a shelf-stable canned milk that has been processed by evaporation of 60% water from the milk. It is made from fresh, homogenized milk and after the evaporation process, the product is further chilled, stabilized and sterilized before being packaged.

Because of its prolonged evaporation process, it is of a darker color than that of raw milk and has more nutrients and calories than fresh milk per unit volume. Additionally it contains anticoagulants and stabilizers with added Vitamin C and D beneficial to the health of the puppies. Having the taste of normal milk with a thicker consistency, it can, with due precautions, take the place of colostrum in puppies. But care should be taken in ensuring the proportions of ingredients added to it.

What do studies say about the benefits of evaporated milk in puppies

From the newborn stages to weaning period, puppy milestones are similar to that of human babies because of which human studies on evaporated milk can be used as an assumptive basis for puppies.

In a study conducted on human babies fed evaporation milk formula, the subjects at the end of the study had greater anemia with lowered thiamine levels and increased weight than that of subjects being fed breast milk. The study proved that infants being fed evaporated milk should receive iron supplements additionally for their safety.

Other studies comparing evaporated milk and pasteurized milk in children have recorded improved phosphorus retention with better nitrogen and calcium retention in comparison to that of pasteurized milk. This is important as all three of the elements are important for healthy teeth, bones and an overall healthy metabolism in puppies

As of now these researches have been limited to humans. No such studies till date have been conducted in canines regarding the benefits of evaporated milk or its safety. Correlating the findings with that of canines requires further data and research. Any research based theory can only be assumptive.

Often confused with condensed milk and sometimes referred to as pasteurized milk, it is important to understand that both evaporated and condensed milks are pasteurized. Condensed milk contains sweeteners and should never be used in puppies. Evaporated milk on the other hand is unsweetened and is safe when used in moderate amounts.

Evaporated milk vs Condensed milk vs pasteurized milk

Evaporated milk Condensed Milk Pasteurized Milk
ProcessHeated till 60% water content is evaporated Heated and sweeteners addedHeated with or without sweeteners
Shelf life after being opened 3-5 days1-2 years7-10 days
UsesEnriching agentSweetenerNormal drinking purpose 
Safety in puppies Moderately safeUnsafe Depends on preparation method

Why is it important to bottle feed puppies

Despite the continuous evolution of dog breeds resulting in more than 400 breeds in the current times of different morphology and functional diversity, the maternal instinct in the female dogs remains the same in all breeds. Newborn puppies are born deaf and blind and the bonding with their mother for the next 3-4 weeks plays an important role in allowing them to survive. Additionally during this time colostrum or first production of the mammary glands becomes a crucial source of immunoglobulins and nutrition for the newborn puppies. Apart from ensuring a safe growth period, it works on developing a healthy immune system with protection from disease.

Unfortunately situations can arise where the female canine is unable to feed her puppies. Conditions of 

  • Death of the mother
  • Painful bacterial infection in mother ( mastitis)  making her milk toxic and unusable 
  • Very young mother who hasn’t yet developed maternal instincts
  • Stress due to overwhelming labor or change of location causing the mother to abandon her puppies 
  • Canine mothers who have undergone a C-section that has impacted their lactation
  • Lastly a few naturally aggressive females that are prone to rejecting the whole litter or the weakest of the puppies

In these conditions it becomes important to bottle feed puppies to ensure them of a fighting chance to survive. Commercial puppy milk replacers are often the first choice of feeding in cases where the mother can’t be relied on for milk. Evaporated milk because of its similarity in richness and density to colostrum can also be used as an alternative. Especially during unavailability of puppy formula or while feeding large batches of orphaned puppies in shelters, evaporated milk can be converted into a homemade formula and be used as a readily available feeding option in puppies.

How to use evaporated milk in puppies

Method 1

1 can of evaporated milk ( preferably not low fat ) mixed with 6 oz boiled cooled water, 1 carton vanilla yogurt ( 8 oz) and 2 egg yolks. One tablespoon of mayonnaise can be added to this mixture if required. After preparation it can be stored in the refrigerator for upto 3-4 days.  Add a drop of Pet Nutri drops in the mixture before feeding time.

Method 2

10 oz. evaporated milk ( whole fat or partially skimmed ) mixed with sterilized water ( 3 oz.), 1 raw egg yolk and 1 cup whole fat yogurt ( whole fat or partly skimmed).  You can substitute the evaporated milk with goat’s milk and skip the sterilized water. If required add 2 tablespoons of regular mayonnaise.

Method 3

Mix one cup of Carnation Evaporated milk ( rich in proteins, calcium and vitamins) with one cup of boiled, cooled water, 2 tbsp natural yogurt, one raw egg yolk and one tsp. honey. Blend the ingredients and refrigerate them. Warm the mixture ( 101 degrees) before use. Use the mix before 7 days and discard leftover formula after feeding.

Method 4

Mix one cup of evaporated milk with 1 tsp salad oil, 2 egg yolks and 1 drop baby Vitamins. Feed the mixture to the puppies at normal temperature. If required you can use goat’s milk instead of evaporated milk. If the solution feels too thick in consistency, add water to dilute the mixture to the required consistency.

Method 5

One cup of evaporated milk with 4 oz. plain fat yogurt, 1 egg-yolk and 1 tsp multi-vitamins. To this mixture mix one envelope of Knox unflavoured gelatine. The addition of gelatine is especially useful in keeping the stools of the puppies solid. Do Not use condensed milk in case of evaporated milk as the sweetener can be harmful to puppies.

Method 6

Mix 13 oz. of evaporated milk with equal amounts of water( 13 oz.), 4oz. of plain yogurt, 4 egg-yolks with 1tbsp multivitamin. If the mixture feels too thick, add more water till the mixture feels the right consistency. Newborn puppies need the mixture to be as dilute as possible to digest the food properly

Method 7

Mix equal quantities of evaporated milk and warm pre-boiled water. To this add one beaten egg yolk, 1 tsp calcium sandoz, 1tsp glucose water and 3 drops of pentavite vitamin drops. If you observe the powdery residue of calcium floating on top, strain the mixture before feeding it to the puppies. Having very narrow esophagus, this is important to help them swallow properly.

Method 8

Blend 1 can evaporated milk, 2  egg-yolks, 1 tbsp whipping cream, 1 tbsp honey. Dissolve 2 packages of Knox unflavoured gelatin with 1 can of water. Combine all the ingredients together and add water of required. You can refrigerate the mixture and warm it before serving. This particular method boosts the health of the puppy along with helps it wean smoothly.

Method 9

Make a meat broth using a mixture of evaporated milk, equal amount of water, 6 oz. container plain yogurt and one strained jar of baby food meat. You can either opt for veal, chicken or lamb but make sure it doesn’t have any additives. Blend the ingredients and use a crosscut nipple to feed the puppies. You can use this as a regular diet or supplement it with other meals.

Other important methods to remember

A mixture of 1 cup whole milk, 1 pinch table grade salt, 3 egg yolks without whites, 1 tbsp corn oil with 1/4th tsp liquid vitamins blended and served warm or room temp. can be used as emergency puppy milk replacer

For weak, chilled or sick newborn puppies, milk replacer should never be used. Rather 8 oz. lactated ringers solution mixed with a tablespoon white sugar/ white Karo syrup should be used till the puppy is strong enough to be on replacers

Powdered formulas are an efficient way of substituting for mother’s milk in puppies and recommended strongly by veterinary experts

How much milk to feed the puppies

1kg of bitch milk contains approximately 1350 kilocalories which is decided among its litter. A puppy needs 3-4 milliliters of milk per gram of weight gain . Its caloric requirements on the other hand are 2.5 times greater than the maintenance requirements of an adult dog of the same weight. For eg – a one month puppy weighing 3 kgs ( adult weight 22 kgs), it should consume approx 600 kilocalories per day to gain the desired weight.

Information Resource

Can’t they drink plant based milk

Plant based milk is safer for dogs and puppies than traditional milk because of its relatively low lactose content with lack of sugar. That said, not every plant based milk should be consumed by dogs because of the toxins associated with the original compound.

Here are some plant based milks with their safety levels for dogs

Type of milk Safety for puppy
Almond milk Safe when consumed in moderation 
Soy milk Safe when consumed in moderation 
Oats milkVery safe for dogs
Cashew milk Safe when consumed strictly in moderation 
Flaxseed milk Safe when consumed in dosage amount 
Banana milk Unsafe 
Coconut milk Safe when organic and unsweetened with being consumed in moderation 
Pistachio milk Not recommended 
Macadamia milk Highly unsafe

Why  the preference for goat milk?

There are numerous reasons why goats milk is preferred for dogs / puppies in comparison to cows milk or other animal based milks. Some of them are

Goat’s milk has fat molecules ⅕th in size of cow’s milk. This makes it more digestible and tolerable to puppies

It lessens mucus and has great anti-inflammatory properties

Is rich is Caprylic acid, a yeast fighting fat that inhibits allergic reactions with staining problems in dogs

Contains Conjugated Linoleic Acid that has anti-cancerous properties 

Has higher amount of probiotics in it along with having a longer shelf life