Hand Feeding Pets using Silicone Tipped Soft Syringes

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Posted by David Louvet on
Updated at: December 11, 2020

Hand Feeding Pets using Silicone Tipped Soft Syringes | Innovet Pet

Newborn puppies, kittens and birds may need nutritional support if they are orphaned or are not able to nurse naturally. Signs of inadequate intake include failure to grow, weakness, lethargy, enlarged abdomen, restlessness, and frequent vocalization. Hand-feeding neonatal orphaned neonatal pets can be the only way of saving their lives. Although this procedure is relatively easy it should be performed appropriately to avoid serious complications such as aspiration of liquids, pneumonia, and death.

Hand feeding can be performed using syringes, nursing bottles, and feeding tubes. Silicone Tipped Soft Feeding Syringes from Innovet are the only syringes in the market designed specifically for hand-feeding animals. These specially designed syringes have a unique tip made with medical grade silicone that makes the hand feeding of liquids, foods and medicines easy. Using Innovet Silicone Tipped Soft Feeding Syringes prevents damage to gums, cheeks and teeth.

How To Hand-Feed Puppies And Kittens

  • If you are giving your pet a milk replacer or other liquid that is not a medicine make sure that is warm (at body temperature) before you draw up an appropriate amount into a Silicone Tipped Soft Feeding Syringe.
  • Hold the puppy or kitten on its side, and slowly and gently insert the silicone tip into the mouth.
  • After the tip is comfortably in place slowly deliver food or medicine.
  • The stomach area can be palpated to see if filling. Stop feeding if it feels bloated.
  • Remove the syringe. Clean and rinse the outside and the inside of the syringe, and allow drying. 

How To Hand-Feed Birds

  • Check the fullness of the crop. In young birds the crop can be visualized while feathering is incomplete and in older animals the fullness can be checked by gently feeling the crop with a thumb and index finger. Normally the crop will empty every 4 hours. A crop that remains full or is not emptying properly could be the indicator of a disease.
  • Remove the bird from the nest box and place him/her on a towel. Cup a hand gently around the bird while you administer the food or medicine.
  • Carefully introduce the Silicone Tipped Soft Feeding Syringe into the mouth. You can tap the beak gently to encourage him/her to open the mouth. The Syringe should be carefully passed into the left side toward the right side of the mouth.
  • Slowly pass the amount of food or medication indicated by your veterinarian.
  • Remove the syringe. Clean and rinse the outside and the inside of the syringe, and allow drying.

Caution: If not performed correctly, hand feeding can lead to aspiration of fluids, which can have serious consequences. Hand feeding should be performed slowly and you should make sure that your pet is able to swallow the liquids that are being administered.

The most common causes of diarrhea in the orphaned neonate are overfeeding and inappropriate dilutions of milk replacer. To avoid this, ask your veterinarian what is the appropriate dilution and dose of milk replacer before you hand feed an orphaned pet.

More information on hand feeding pets click here.

About the author:

Dr. Stephanie Flansburg-CruzDr. Stephanie Flansburg-Cruz practices mixed animal veterinary medicine and she has a special interest in shelter medicine and animal welfare. Stephanie enjoys volunteering at local animal shelters, reading, writing and traveling.



Wings Aviary. Hand feeding Instructions. Retrieved on January 15, 2016 from: http://www.wingsaviary.com/Handfeeding_instructions.html

Bassert, J.M. & Thomas, J.A. (2014). McCurnin’s Clinical Textbook For Veterinary Technicians. Elsevier Saunders. pp. 320-325

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