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Sponge Feeding Puppies

The following videos are located on YouTube. The link to each one is under the title. There are many others but we found these to be the most helpful for our situation. These videos NOT to be considered veterinary advice. They are simply demonstrations showing what some breeders have done to supplement their puppies.

Lilly Blossom Drinking From the Miracle Sponge

This video does an excellent job of explaining the materials necessary and the method of sponge feeding puppies. We, however, did not keep Gingham separate from the litter as shown in this video nor do we recommend that portion of this method. The video also shows a fabric ring that was placed around the puppy’s head. We didn’t have one and found it wasn’t necessary. One excellent tip included in this video shows how to get a small puppy to urinate using warm water and a q-tip. This is an excellent method that could be used with any puppy.

Sherry Chevalier Demonstrates Sponge Feeding

A very short but excellent demonstration of sponge feeding a puppy. It demonstrates the process succinctly and the breeder tells why she uses a syringe and how well she likes this method.     

Sponge Feeding Miss Purple

Just a simple video showing the process of sponge feeding. In this video a medicine dropper is used in place of the syringe to apply the formula to the sponge. This is an alternative method, but by using this method there is no way to measure how much is being given to the puppy. Syringes have graduations in the side showing how much liquid is in the syringe. This can be helpful, especially at the beginning when the puppy is very young.

Gingham Becomes Pixie

By Don Bullock

A story about how the runt of the litter becomes an AKC Champion and how sponge feeding was the key to her survival.

At the June, 2017 BHCSC meeting it was decided that we should publish some tips and stories from club members about experiences they have had with their bassets. It was hoped that these stories and tips would help and encourage others. While the initial concept was to publish these in our newsletter, Basset Tales, it was also decided that they could eventually be published to the website as well. I had been working on a video that I thought might fit into this theme. Since it can’t be published in the newsletter I decided to publish it on the BHCSC website. What follows is a summary of the video.

Some of you who go to the dog shows may know Pixie who is owned and shown by Ron and Mary Lukins. She was a puppy in our last litter we named Gingham.

Very early on Pam and I noticed that Gingham was not getting enough milk while suckling on her mother. She was losing weight. We tried a fairly new method of supplementing her, sponge feeding.

As shown in the video supplementing Gingham was very successful. She went from being the runt of the litter to becoming an AKC Champion and lives with Ron and Mary Lukins.

This is a good example showing just one issue that breeders may face with a litter of puppies. It’s one of those things that separates responsible breeders from the rest. It’s an inspirational story.

We found this sponge feeding process is quick and easy to do. It’s something that every breeder should know about and check into. Based just on the number of views the first video listed below has, many people have been interested in this topic. That YouTube video has 2,445,919 views. Obviously many breeders have faced similar situations with their litters.

Gingham Becomes Pixie


Supplies for sponge feeding:

     -     Triangular “face” sponges made from latex free material

They are often called Wedges and come in different formats.

The sponges look like this.

Some come loose in a bage like this.

They also come as round or rectangular blocks that have to be separated.

The "laytex free" label is important according to those who are experienced with using these sponges. It's also a good idea to trim the small point to fit better in the puppy's mouth but make sure that parts of the sponge can't break off. They would be s choking hazard.

-     Puppy formula

There are many different brands. We found what we used at Petsmart. It comes in either a dry version that needs to be mixed with liquid (follow directions on the package) or a liquid form. We used the liquid because it was much easier to use. Don't forget to heat the formula. Puppies want the formula warmed just like their mother's milk. Getting the temperature right may take some experimentation but make sure it isn't too hot.

This type comes in a can just like those used for soft drinks. They are very quick and easy to use.

This can is a little different but just as easy to use.

These are versions of dry mix formula. it comes in cans or package form. They must be mixed as per the directions on the package.

-     Goats Milk Many breeders supplement puppies using goats milk in addition to the formula. While some companies that make puppy formulas also produce goats milk mixed in we just bought it at our local grocery store. We found it in the dairy section. It needs to be heated too.

This type comes in a can just like those used for soft drinks. It's made by a company that produces puppy formula too. It is very quick and easy to use.

As with the formula goats milk can also be found in a power version that has to be mixed.

Goats milk is usually available in the dairy section of most grocery stores. This version should be no different than that sold by pet stores.

-     Syringe

Try to get the largest one that you can. That will make it easier to keep the sponge soaked in formula. Since our puppy supplies didn’t have a syringe Pam got one free from the pharmacist at a drug store. She just explained what she wanted if for. As shown in one of the videos listed below a medicine dropper will work too but we recommend using a syringe.

Syringes like this will work just fine.

A medicine dropper will work as well but it lacks the ability to more accurately measure the amount of liquid.

Additional Videos on Sponge Feeding

Please understand that this information is not to be intended to replace any veterinary advise. While this method of supplementing worked for us in this case it may not always be the best choice. When in doubt always consult your veterinarian.

NOTE: This video was produced by Woebgon Bassets

solely for educational purposes. Use on this website has been granted to the BHCSC.

Copyright© By Donald W. Bullock. All rights reserved.

NOTE: Below the video link is information on sponge feeding as well as links to YouTube videos showing this method being used on puppies. These are just a few of the many videos on this subject that can be found by searching YouTube.