Should I Give My Puppy Formula: The Complete Guide + 5 Reviews - One Vet (2024)

What is the Best Puppy Formula?

What is Puppy Formula?

Puppy formula or puppy milk replacer is a product made for newborn puppies to work in place of or together with breast milk.

Puppy formula is very similar to dog milk in texture and taste. However, it should not be mistaken for ordinary cow or goat milk. Puppy milk contains several other ingredients to boost its nutrition profile.

Puppy formulas can be either commercially produced or made at home. There are several brands of commercially made puppy milk replaces.

Do all Puppies Need Formula?

No, not all puppies need formula.

If you are wondering should I give my puppy formula, the answer depends. In fact, a formula is a second option if breast milk is not available or adequate. After birth, until a puppy is ready to eat solid food or dry puppy food (a few weeks old), breast milk is enough to support and sustain all the nutrition needs and calorie requirements of a puppy.

So no, if a newborn puppy is feeding adequately on her mother’s breast milk, it doesn’t need to get started on formula. Just make sure that the mother is nursing the pups with enough milk.

Giving a well-nourished puppy milk replacement powder may actually have some disadvantages. It may result in reduced milk production since breast milk production depends on how much the babies are feeding.

Therefore, pet parents should be careful about their puppy’s needs.

What are the Benefits of Puppy Formula?

While a puppy milk replacer cannot provide for a new puppy what the mother’s milk can, it can still provide some benefits. Some of the benefits milk replacers can give young puppies include:

  • Growth. Milk replacement formula contains high amounts of protein that help promote growth in newborn puppies and increases their body weight.
  • Energy. With their high metabolic rate, pups need a steady supply of energy. Milk replacers contain adequate amounts of carbohydrates and fat to supply the required energy. A good energy supply also helps very tiny pups gain some weight.
  • Vitamins and Minerals. If you get a high-quality puppy milk replacement, it should be enriched with different vitamins and minerals that support the health of the pup.

The Best Puppy Formula Reviewed

Should I Give My Puppy Formula: The Complete Guide + 5 Reviews - One Vet (1)

Summary: This is our top pick among the most efficient milk replacement puppy formula containing essential proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. It helps to boost your pup’s immune system and build stronger bones and cartilage. This gives them more energy to explore and play. This product is great to feed puppies who are unable to nurse off their mother’s milk for any reason. Additionally, it contains vitamin A supplement and vitamin D3 supplement for that extra health boost.


  • Easy to digest
  • Tasty formula
  • Maintains a healthy digestive system
  • Suitable for puppies, birthing or lactating mothers, and adult dogs
  • Contains natural milk proteins and calcium


  • Contains artificial flavors
  • The flavor might not suit some pups

Ingredient Analysis

  • Vitamin B12 Supplement: Helps to boost immunity and improve nerves and brain health in growing pups
  • Riboflavin: This helps to breakdown crude protein, crude fats, and carbohydrates by turning them into much-needed energy
  • Niacin: Improves digestive health and helps to destroy harmful bacteria in the digestive tract
  • Calcium Pantothenate: Helps to reduce any problems related to your dog’s hair and improves their coat by giving it a shine
  • Biotin: Gives your dog a more healthy coat and gives them the energy to play all-day
  • Folic Acid: This is a form of Vitamin B and helps to improve the red blood cell count in their bodies

Review: This product is great for puppies who are not receiving the necessary nutrition after being born. It is also easy to digest and easy on their stomachs.

Should I Give My Puppy Formula: The Complete Guide + 5 Reviews - One Vet (2)

Summary: Available in 3 sizes, this milk replacer is a great food source for orphaned or rejected puppies. It is able to match the levels of protein and energy found in natural mother’s milk. It also contains the perfect balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. It is easy to use and comes in convenient packaging. Additionally, it is affordable for most pet parents and a hit with pups. It is also easy to store in a cool and dry place.


  • Made using a tasty flavor
  • Contains prebiotics and probiotics
  • Offers necessary vitamins and minerals
  • Easy to digest
  • Ideal supplement for post-surgery


  • There is little information about the source of the ingredients
  • Could lead to stomach aches in some pups

Ingredient Analysis

  • Potassium Chloride: This helps to give your pup healthy bones and teeth
  • Choline Chloride: Helps in the development of the brain and improves liver health
  • Riboflavin: Supports digestion by improving the body’s ability to break down food
  • Vitamin B12 Supplement: Offers a boost in your pup’s immunity and is a great source of nutrition for their brain

Review: This is great for pups who have been rejected by their mother or have been orphaned. It makes them healthy and boosts immunity.

Should I Give My Puppy Formula: The Complete Guide + 5 Reviews - One Vet (3)

Summary: This puppy formula is great for those pets who are in their weaning stage. Therefore, it contains all those nutrients required to maintain a healthy body, including Coconut oil, canola oil, whey, casein, vitamin b12, taurine, riboflavin, and many more. For best results, you can precede this with mother’s milk. It is made using a highly digestible formula that is easy on your pup’s stomach. Additionally, it is also easy to use.


  • Easy to use
  • Affordable packaging
  • Made with premium ingredients
  • Contains natural milk protein
  • Does not need to be refrigerated


  • Could lead to an upset stomach in some pups
  • Might cause vomiting in some pups

Ingredient Analysis

  • Rice Flour: This is a great source of protein, fiber, and vitamin B
  • Dried Meat Solubles: The primary source of protein that helps build your pup’s muscles giving them the energy to play all-day
  • Dried Skimmed Milk: Might cause an upset stomach in some pups as it is known to boost digestion
  • Dried Milk Protein: This is also a source of protein but can cause a reaction in some pups

Review: The Esbilac puppy milk replacer can be used up to three times a day or based on what your vet suggests. It can be stored in a cool and dry place.

Should I Give My Puppy Formula: The Complete Guide + 5 Reviews - One Vet (4)

Summary: This pup milk replacer has been formulated to match a mother dog’s milk as close as possible. It mixes easily with room temperature water making it easy to administer to your pup. It has been loaded with calcium for healthy bones, magnesium for cardiovascular health, Vitamin A for better eyesight, and linoleic acid for healthy skin and coat. It can also be used as a supplement for pregnant dogs.


  • Available in both liquid and powder formulas
  • Contains an optimal balance of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients
  • Perfect supplement for pregnant dogs
  • Helps build bones and muscles
  • Gives your pup a healthy coat


  • The feeder bottle needs to be purchased separately
  • The scent might not suit some pups

Ingredient Analysis

Review: This pup formula is great for improving their bone and muscle health. It also helps with their eyesight and makes them capable of fighting off infections.

Should I Give My Puppy Formula: The Complete Guide + 5 Reviews - One Vet (5)

Summary: This milk replacer is great for puppies under 35 days old as it offers them complete and balanced nutrition. It is also a great supplement for pregnant, lactating, or convalescing adult dogs. It is capable of providing energy to your dog’s GI tract and thus improves their ability to fight off infections. It also gives your dog a healthier coat and skin.


  • Affordable and easy on the pockets
  • Has a great flavor
  • Convenient to use
  • Has a long shelf life
  • Improves your pup’s health overall


  • The smell might not suit some pups
  • Contains artificial flavors

Ingredient Analysis

  • Choline Chloride: Helps in the development of the brain and improves liver health
  • Vitamin B12 Supplement: Helps to boost immunity and improve nerves and brain health in growing pups
  • Folic Acid: This is a form of Vitamin B and helps to improve the red blood cell count in their bodies
  • Riboflavin: Supports digestion by improving the body’s ability to break down food

Review: This affordable puppy formula is a great way to provide the essential nutrients to your canine baby. It is also great for pregnant and lactating pup mothers.

Can You Use Baby Formula for Puppies?

No, puppies should be fed with puppy milk or a suitable replacement made especially for puppies. Baby formula is made to meet the nutrition requirements of a human baby, not a puppy.

This basically means that baby formula caters to the growth and development of a human baby. It can contain certain ingredients that could cause potential harm to puppies. Therefore, do not ever replace puppy formula with human baby formula.

What Kind of Formula do Puppies Need?

There are three forms in which formula is sold; powdered, liquid (ready to drink), and concentrate. However, liquid and powdered formulas are the most popular among pet owners.

Let us take a look at the types of formulas available:

  • Liquid Formula. Liquid formula, just like the name says is, well, liquid. Liquid formula has the advantage of being ready to drink. All the dog owner has to do is pour it into a feeding bottle and give the puppy. Sometimes, the milk comes in a feeding bottle where one can just attach the nipple and it is ready. On the downside, liquid formula is more expensive and requires much more storage space.
  • Powder Formula. The powdered formula is no doubt the most popular formula. It comes in a can from which you can scoop any desired amount and mix with water to make the milk. Powdered formula is more affordable than ready-to-drink formula. It obviously requires more preparation time but the process is manageable for most pet owners.
  • Concentrate Formula. This is a concentrated form of puppy formula and can be difficult to administer. This is because a small quantity of this can contain enough nutrition for your pup. It is best to consult a vet before using this as a food source for your pup.

What are the Ingredients in Puppy Formula?

There are five key ingredients that need to be present in every puppy formula. These include:

  • Protein. This is the most important ingredient for growing puppies. It helps in developing muscles and building tissues. You can add one raw egg yolk, which can help to strengthen muscles and promote their growth.
  • Vitamins & Minerals. Since newborn puppies are very sensitive, they have a poor immune response and are prone to several diseases. The puppy formula should contain essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E supplements, to provide support to their natural defenses.
  • Carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are responsible for providing energy to help your pup move around and play. This also helps to improve their digestive system and helps in the proper absorption of energy.
  • Optimal Ca:P Ratio. This basically indicates the optimal calcium to protein ratio. Calcium is a prominent nutrient that helps build your dog’s bones and cartilage that will help them when there grow into adult dogs. Therefore, dog food must contain calcium.
  • Omega Fatty Acids. Omega fatty acids are considered to be good fats. These acids help in the cognitive development of your pup. They support brain development, healthy skin, and shiny coat.

How do You Make Puppy Formula?

If a dog is not able to feed her puppies and no formula is available, you can resort to homemade puppy formula.

Homemade milk replacer is made to imitate the nutrition composition of dog milk. It is therefore highly advisable to follow the recipe to the dot without making any unnecessary adjustments.

Homemade Milk Replacer Recipes

Puppies Cow Milk Replacer


  • 1/2 cup of evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup of sterilized water
  • 1 tbsp. of Karo syrup
  • 2 tbsp. of whole-fat yogurt
  • 1 dropper of liquid vitamins
  • 2 raw egg yolks


  • Add the ingredients to a blender and blend till smooth.
  • Serve immediately or refrigerate until it is needed for up to 2 days.

Goat Milk Replacer


  • 1 cup of goat’s milk
  • Two raw egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp. of Karo syrup
  • 1 dropper of liquid vitamins


  • Combine all the ingredients and mix them thoroughly.
  • Add to a serving bottle with a nipple and serve immediately or keep refrigerated for up two days.

How do I Choose Puppy Formula?

There are three basic factors to keep in mind before you choose your puppy formula –

  • Do Your Research. If you are using the formula for the first time, take your time to research your options. Use the internet to find out more about different formula brands. Ask fellow dog owners what formula worked for them the best. This way, you can make a more informed decision for your pup based on facts.
  • Consult Your Vet. Do not hesitate to ask your veterinarian what formula is best for your pup.
  • Experiment. If you choose a formula and find that it is not the best, you can change it for one you believe will work better.

Should I Give My Puppy Formula: The Complete Guide + 5 Reviews - One Vet (6)

  • Rich with essential proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Helps maintain a healthy digestive and immune system for your dog or puppy.
  • Suitable for all dogs: This pet supplement is recommended for vulnerable dogs like puppies, birthing or lactating mothers, and senior dogs.

How do You Use Puppy Formula?

The first consideration when giving a puppy milk replacement is good hygiene. Poor hygiene can give your puppy infections due to their low immunity. Always prepare and serve the milk replacement in a very clean environment.

Ensure that the milk is at the right temperature. Not too hot and not too cold. The milk replacement should be warm and not hot to touch.

Bottle feed the puppy as it cannot yet feed on her own. Always feed the puppy on her tummy as she would be while suckling her mother.

Should I Give My Puppy Formula: The Complete Guide + 5 Reviews - One Vet (7)

Keep a feeding log to help you understand the puppy’s feeding habits better. The log may also be useful if or when you visit the vet.

In case your puppy is not getting enough nutrients, a puppy milk replacement is a suitable choice. Milk replacers can provide your puppy with the necessary nourishment to grow into a healthy dog.

A puppy milk replacement should be used with extra precaution. First, only use it when necessary. Secondly, choose a high-quality dog’s milk replacement and finally, prepare and give it in a very clean environment.

Milk replacers should only be used as an alternative milk supply, not the main one. Breast milk should always be the first resort when feeding a puppy.

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