Sometimes, mother dogs are not able to produce enough milk to feed their pups. Other times they may be unwilling to do so, or maybe the puppy was separated from the mother much too soon. Regardless of the reason, a good puppy milk replacer may need to be considered to feed puppies at home by yourself.
Table of Contents
- Top 5 Best Puppy Milk Replacer Brands
Milk replacer for puppies is the equivalent to baby formulas for humans, except it's specifically made for nursing puppies without their mother. Generally, it's best for mother dog to feed a newborn puppy, if you do have to switch to bottle feeding a puppy, always consult with your veterinarian beforehand.
A puppy milk replacer brand isn't the only factor to consider. Veterinarian will also guide you in the proper amount and times to feed, which needs to be adjusted as puppies age. Below are some of the best puppy milk replacer choices you can try.
What's a Puppy Milk Replacer?
Commercial milk replacer for puppies is a good way to ensure the puppy gets all the nutrition and nutrients for healthy and steady growth. However, whenever it's possible, a newborn puppy should be nursed by mother at least for the first 2-3 days, because the mother's milk provides essentials to protect the puppy from diseases. After that, you can switch to one of these best puppy milk replacer brands without any concern.
If you're familiar with human infant formulas, then know that milk replacer for puppies is the exact same thing, only designed for dogs. It contains all the essential nutrition a young dog requires. Some brands also fortify their dog milk replacers with additional vitamins, minerals, digestive enzymes and probiotics. A few can also be designed for a certain health issue, like a puppy with a sensitive stomach. The below listed best puppy milk replacer brands have been chosen based on these factors of quality
Not all dog milk replacers for puppies are the same.
If you're shopping around for puppy milk replacers, remember that every single brand will have a different formula, and not all of them are the same, or even have enough in the milk powder to provide puppies with the right amount of nutrition. While the below best puppy milk replacer brands have been chosen as the most nutrient-appropriate for young dogs, some other brands lack specific nutrients, and this has been shown in studies.
While there are several papers on the nutrient density of milk replacers for puppies, this one in particular led by Cailin R. Heinze compared commercial puppy milk replacers with the contents of natural mother's milk, and found a few issues (Heinze et al. 2015).
The study concluded that some brands of puppy milk replacers had lower concentrations of long-chain Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) than what can be found in mother dog's milk. There were also lower levels of arginine and calcium, and, depending on the individual product, other nutrients.
With that in mind, always choose a proven formula that your veterinarian approves of, and that has a lot of positive reviews from other pet owners. We've picked five of the best milk replacer for puppies brands below based on these factors.
When choosing the best puppy milk replacer, pay attention to the ingredients and the formulation itself. And whenever bottle-feeding a puppy, only use a milk replacer for puppies; human, cow's or goat's milk are not good options (although these ingredients will be included in most specially formulated puppy milk replacers).
How to Use a Milk Replacer for Puppies?
The health of a puppy is very fragile in the first few weeks of existence, which is why it's important to take extra care when dealing with something like bottle-feeding a puppy and particularly when using commercial milk replacer for puppies. Keep the following in mind.
Pre-made puppy milk replacers should be refrigerated, but before feeding a puppy, warm them to room temperature. The needs of your puppy will vary, thus you'll have to keep adjusting the feeding amounts based on the individual dog. It's good to consult with a vet about this, but the rule of thumb is to divide each feeding portion into equal amounts and feed very young puppies every 3-4 hours, and older puppies every 8 hours or so.
Several studies show that both underfeeding and overfeeding a puppy can be dangerous to the dog's health, growth and development. For the exact serving amounts, always follow the instructions on the packaging. Currently, Esbilac is the best puppy milk replacer brand (rated #1 below), so here is how you'd feed a puppy if using this type of product:
Daily: 2 tablespoons of liquid Esbilac per every 4 oz of puppy's body weight
Remember to keep weighing your puppy every day, and adjusting feeding amounts based on that. In the puppy's 6th week of growth, you can start mixing puppy milk replacer with weaning food as your puppy gradually begins to adjust to solid foods. For all puppies who are now on solid foods, you can add 1 teaspoon per 5 lbs bodyweight on top of food.
Pre-made milk replacer for puppies in liquid form can be stored in a refrigerator for up to 24 hours. All unopened milk replacers for puppies can be stored in a cool, dark, dry place (see expiration date on the packet), but once you open the powder container, you must refrigerate it and it will last about 3 months. You can also freeze it for up to 6 months. FDA has a guide here for you on how to store and handle all types of milk replacers for puppies.
With that said, there are only two main rules to follow: consult with a veterinarian about proper feeding procedure for your puppy, and make sure to follow the guidelines on the label of milk replacer for puppies that you've bought. Here are the five best puppy milk replacer brands for you to consider and discuss with your vet.
Top 5 Best Puppy Milk Replacer Brands
1PetAg Esbilac Powder
Enriched: Vitamins, minerals, probiotics, amino acids
Source: Skimmed milk + whey concentrate
Size: 12 oz / 350g
- Puppy Milk Supplement: Supply...
- Puppy Milk Replacer: Provides...
- Balanced Diet: This puppy milk...
- Easy-To-Use Formula: This...
- Excellent Care Solution: PetAg...
The first best puppy milk replacer brand is well-known to most pet owners who are familiar with bottle-feeding puppies. Esbilac has been the #1 best-selling brand for years, and have maintained great reputation due to their perfect skimmed milk formula that works for most pups, and the added probiotics, prebiotics, minerals and vitamins.
Puppy milk replacers are the next best thing to mother’s milk. They’re great substitutes as food source when weaning pups off their mother’s milk, or when frail ones have digestive problems, or when the nursing mother has issues on health or milk production. If you’re a pet owner facing any of these situations, then PetAg’s Esbilac is your best bet.
This product is proudly made in the USA from all-natural ingredients and enriched with vitamins and minerals in a formulation that closely matches a canine mother’s milk. In powder form, it is available in 3/4-oz packs and 12-oz cans, while in liquid form, it can be had in 5-oz emergency packs and 8-oz cans.
INGREDIENTS: Vegetable oil, casein, whey protein concentrate, dried skimmed milk, butter fat, monocalcium phosphate, egg yolk, calcium carbonate, L-arginine, DL-methionine, sodium silico aluminate, potassium chloride, choline chloride, lecithin, monopotassium phosphate, magnesium carbonate, ferrous sulfate, salt, dipotassium phosphate, calcium pantothenate, ascorbic acid, niacin supplement, magnesium sulfate, zinc sulfate, folic acid, vitamin E supplement, silicon dioxide, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine hydrochloride, pyridoxine hydrochloride, manganese sulfate, vitamin D3 supplement, copper sulfate, potassium citrate, potassium iodide, biotin.
This first best puppy milk replacer brand has an easily digestible formula has long been a staple in dog shelters and foster homes where newborn puppies are often in situations where they cannot be nourished by their own mothers. Since PetAg Esbilac closely mimics the natural milk from bitches, puppies find it highly palatable. This high acceptance makes it on top of the list of the best puppy milk replacers for most pet owners and pet caregivers. It’s a breeze to prepare, too, and mixes well in warm water.
Majority of pet owners found this to be the best puppy milk replacer for their young dogs, and they also found out that it’s a great way to introduce solid food to puppies. They simply pour the mixture on top of dry food and their puppies quickly take to the familiar taste of the milk. In no time, they’re licking the solid food as well. The puppies easily tripled their birth weight after less than a month, and their humans swear that Esbilac is the main reason for this remarkable growth and good health.
2Pro Bloom Dehydrated Instant Goat’s Milk
by The Honest Kitchen
Enriched: Probiotics, digestive enzymes
Source: Goat's milk
Size: 6 oz / 170g
- NUTRITIONAL GOATS MILK: Just...
- FOR CATS & DOGS: Just add...
- HUMAN GRADE: The Honest...
- ALL NATURAL: This wholesome...
- MADE IN THE USA: All...
The Honest Kitchen is a trusted maker of wholesome human-grade dog food, and have recently introduced milk replacer for puppies to their line of pet products. Their Pro Bloom Dehydrated Instant Goat’s Milk comes next on our list of top Best Puppy Milk Replacers, and here’s why.
It is made from pasture-raised and free-ranging goats in the Northwest Pacific and contains no wheat, soy, corn, preservatives, or synthetic ingredients. What it has that other milk replacers may not have, are billions of live probiotic cultures that are vital in strengthening the immune system of vulnerable pets.
This is a slightly different formula to the above mentioned best puppy milk replacer from Esbilac, but it's great for newborn pups and kittens, and even for adult pets that have special dietary needs and requirements for added probiotics.
INGREDIENTS: Dehydrated goat's milk, dried aspergillus oryzae fermentation product, dried candida rugosa fermentation product, dried trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation product, dried pineapple fermentation product; dried lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried lactobacillus brevis fermentation product, dried bifidobacterium longum fermentation product, dried streptococcus thermophiles fermentation product.
On top of being the second best puppy milk replacer for bottle-feeding young pups, the Pro Bloom is also given to puppies as a healthful drink, as flavorful food topper, or as added moisture to dry pet food. Pet owners are convinced that the formula’s probiotic content is responsible for enhancing their pets’ overall wellbeing. The Honest Kitchen Pro Bloom Dehydrated Instant Goat's Milk has resulted to healthier skin and shinier coat in pets and much improved digestive system. A lot has been said about skin irritations and intestinal issues that were healed after a few weeks on this product.
For a large number of pet owners who went past the Esbilac formulation, this probiotic formula has been a real life saver and they've rated it as the best puppy milk replacer for their own individual dogs. This is especially true for dogs that had been on long-term drug treatment. This probiotic milk has been most instrumental in their recovery and in restoring their normal digestive flora and other bodily functions. This translates, of course, to reduced vet bills, happier pet owners, and pets that are bouncing with life and energy.
3Goats Milk Esbilac (GME) Powder
Enriched: Sensitive stomach formulation
Source: Goat's milk
Size: 12 oz / 350g
- Recommended Puppy Food: Ideal...
- Vitamins, Minerals, and Amino...
- Powdered Milk: Can also be...
- Natural Whole Goats Milk: No...
- Excellent Care Solution: PetAg...
Third on the list of best puppy milk replacer brands is another option from Esbilac with a different formulation. Mother’s milk contains colostrum, which is secreted in the first few days after a bitch gives birth. Colostrum helps protect newborn pups from various infections and provides all the nourishment that a puppy needs at this early stage of life.
So it takes a superior kind of milk to satisfactorily replace this natural milk for puppies. PetAg’s GME is especially formulated for puppies with sensitive tummies, as well as for adult dogs that are hyperactive or overly stressed. It is prepared from whole goat’s milk and other all-natural ingredients to make it palatable to puppies while providing them the nutrients they need. This comes in powder form and is sold in 12-oz cans.
INGREDIENTS: Dried whole goat milk, soybean oil, calcium sodium caseinate, calcium carbonate, choline chloride, monopotassium phosphate, salt, L-arginine, DL-methionine, lecithin, dipotassium phosphate, carrageenan, magnesium sulfate, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, silicon dioxide, copper sulfate, vitamin E supplement, calcium pantothenate, ascorbic acid, niacinamide, maltodextrins, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, manganese sulfate, folic acid, riboflavin, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine hydrochloride, pyridoxine hydrochloride, biotin.
After also reading this third best puppy milk replacer reviews from other pet owners, many of them find this powdered goat’s milk so much easier to prepare than the other best puppy milk replacer brands mentioned above and below on this list in liquid form which they need to freeze, thaw and whisk. With PetAg’s GME Powder for Puppies, they do away with the mess and long wait entailed in thawing. This does not cause any stomach upset which is a common concern especially for newborns. Dogs love it and this makes it easier to introduce them to solid food eventually.
Same as the rest, this is a great milk substitute and food supplement for orphaned newborns, malnourished and picky pups, lactating bitches, and even convalescing senior dogs. The growth and development of dogs fed with this milk were observed to be above average, and that’s the biggest consideration when deciding on which best puppy milk replacer brand to choose for your pooch.
4Livestock Milk Replacer, Grade A Ultra 24
by Milk Products Inc
Enriched: Vitamins, minerals
Source: Skimmed milk + whey concentrate
Size: 8 lbs / 3.6kg
- Universal Milk Replacer,...
- Complete And Balanced...
- All-Milk Protein Sources...
- Made In The Usa
Third best puppy milk replacer brand is formulated for multi-species, rather than for young dogs specifically, yet it works perfectly well for majority of puppies. Grade A Ultra 24 from Milk Products, Inc.is a nursing formula made from dried whey protein concentrate, dried skimmed milk, and other wholesome ingredients.
It contains 24% crude protein, 24% crude fats, calcium, selenium, and other vitamins and minerals. It’s a universal milk replacer that’s top on the list of pet owners and pet caregivers in providing nourishment for puppies and other animal young that cannot be nursed by their own mothers. This product is made in the USA and is available in 8-lb resealable packs.
INGREDIENTS: Dried whey protein concentrate, animal fat (preserved with BHA, BHT, citric acid, and ethoxyquin), dried whey, dried whey product, dried skimmed milk, coconut oil; citric acid, potassium sorbate (preservatives); lecithin, calcium carbonate, dicalcium phosphate, L-lysine, sodium silico aluminate, DL-methionine, ethoxylated mono-diglycerides, choline chloride, ferrous sulfate, magnesium sulfate, zinc sulfate, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, taurine, cobalt sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite, folic acid, ascorbic acid, vitamin B12 supplement, calcium pantothenate, niacin supplement, pyroxidine hydrochloride, biotin, riboflavin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, artificial flavor.
We know that puppies get separated from their nursing mothers for various reasons, and when it cannot be avoided, it's good to have one of the best puppy milk replacer brands on hand which young dogs find palatable and helps them attain their full growth potential. Dog owners are thankful to have found Milk Products Livestock Milk Replacer, Grade A Ultra 24 for that very same reason. They had in their care orphaned or abandoned pups that were not yet completely weaned. Without Ultra 24, they believe that the puppies would not have been able to survive.
Since this is formulated not only for dogs but for other animals as well, this is a staple in foster care homes for animals and in households with multiple pets. Dog owners were happy to note that their puppies’ stools were firm, no stomach issues were observed, and bowel movement has become regular. The price is so much cheaper than most leading brands that pet owners are keeping stock just in case.
5Milk Powder for Puppies
Enriched: Probiotics + pregnant dogs formulation
Source: Skimmed milk
Size: 10.5 oz / 300g
- Milk Formula: Supplies...
- Milk Replacement: Provides a...
- Replacement for Mothers' Milk:...
- Feeding Instructions: The...
- Excellent Care Solution: PetAg...
Last on the list of best puppy milk replacer brands is another popular American made formulation. PetAg’s Petlac puppy milk replacement makes it to our list of these best milk replacers for puppies because of its carefully formulated ingredients and probiotics. It contains 29% crude protein and 28% crude fat and is fortified with vitamins and minerals.
These nutrients are vital to a puppy that needs a lot of growing up and body building. The introduction of live microorganisms to the pups by way of their milk replacer will strengthen the dogs’ natural resistance against bad bacteria in the environment. Thus, this is also highly recommended for convalescent dogs to give them a bigger chance of fully recovering.
INGREDIENTS: Vegetable oil, dried skim milk, soy protein isolate, casein, dicalcium phosphate, maltodextrins, choline chloride, sugar, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus fermentum fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium bifidum fermentation product, dried Pediococcus acidilactici fermentation product, monopotassium phosphate, L-arginine, DL-methionine, fructooligosaccharide (FOS), magnesium sulfate, potassium chloride, taurine, iron proteinate, natural and artificial flavor, salt, dipotassium phosphate, calcium pantothenate, niacin supplement, copper proteinate, zinc sulfate, folic acid, silicon dioxide, vitamin E supplement, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine hydrochloride, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, calcium iodate, biotin.
According to a large number of reviews under this last best puppy milk replacer brand from PetLac, pet owners recount their own stories about runts that were so weak they seemed like they had zero chance of survival. Luckily, they found PetLac Milk Powder for Puppies. Now these runts have grown into playful and energetic pups. The owners think that it’s the probiotics in the milk that’s keeping health issues at bay, and rightly so. Probiotics do a lot of things, but mainly, they boost the immune system.
Nothing could really take the place of a bitch’s milk, but this is one of the best puppy milk replacer choices out there as it does wonders for puppies that have no way of availing themselves of their mother’s milk, such as the case of rescued puppies or the bitch dying after giving birth. This also works great as transitioning milk prior to weaning puppies to solid food, and a lot friendlier to the pocket than most dog milk brands.