There is nothing more stressful than finding yourself responsible for caring for a group of orphaned puppies if the mother dies or for any reason refuses to breastfeed. While this will take time and commitment, never fear – it’s something you can do.
Materials You Need:
- Water bottle
- Towels, old socks, etc. insulation materials such as
- Additional cloths for wrapping babies while holding them
- wash cloths
- A scale – mail or kitchen for weighing babies
- A chart to keep track of their weight
- Special foods such as Oxbow Intensive Care (available from a veterinarian)
- A small unnecessary syringe
- Straw, grass, vegetables, greens, etc. A selection of real foods such as
Materials You Will Not Need
A number of sources recommend using milk, milk blends or diluted evaporated milk instead of breast milk. This is not necessary as babies can consume real food with assistance. Animal products are harmful to guinea pigs as always.
Step 1 – Set Up the Living Space
Take the hot water bottle and fill it with warm, but not HOT, water. Place it along the side wall of the shoebox. Fill the remaining areas with insulating materials. Do not pack tightly as you want the babies to be able to nest around. Be sure to check the water bottle regularly to make sure it’s still warm. Refill as needed.
Step 2 – Weight Each of the Babies
Every baby immediately after birth weight. This will be a task you’ll do every day, so making a schedule helps. A baby’s weight will be an indicator of how well they are developing. Don’t worry if you see small drops in your weight within a few days, this may be normal. Take the time to provide some extra food and see if that helps. If not, please make an appointment with your veterinarian.
Step 3 – Feed Every Two Hours for the First Two Days
Prepare the food solution in advance. To prepare the food, apply Intensive Treatment and soak it in water to soften it. Then mash into a liquid. Insert unnecessary syringe. Aim to give about one to two cc of solution per baby. Lift the baby you are planning to feed and wrap it in a cloth to keep it warm while feeding. Feed gently using the syringe (or a spoon will work if you prefer.) It’s important to be slow and gentle, not forceful, as it’s easy for babies to choke or inhale food.
Step 4 – Promote Elimination
Young guinea pigs cannot dispose of waste without assistance. All you have to do is wipe each baby’s genitals with a warm cloth after each feeding. Then watch to make sure normal eliminations happen. This can be life-threatening if elimination does not occur for a long time, so you may need the help of a veterinarian.
Step 5 – Introduce Solid Foods
In addition to keeping a variety of adult guinea pig food in the babies’ cage, young guinea pigs also learn by modeling. If you have another guinea pig in your household, this can be a role model for the puppies. Let the pups watch the adult guinea pigs eat.