Foster

TIPS ON FOSTERING A BABY ANIMAL

A note of encouragement: Even if you have never done this before, you can learn and do it successfully the first time.  That was what happened when our founder, Dr Chan Kah Yein (not a vet!), picked up three newborn kittens by the roadside way back in 2006 (please scroll to the bottom for photos).

If you have picked up a baby animal and cannot find any fosterers, this is what you can do:

1. Warmth
Keep the animal warm by using towels, hot water gloves or hot water bottles. Your body warmth is also ideal. Place them on your chest. 

2. Nutrition
Feed the kitten/puppy every 2 hours with lactose-free kitten/puppy milk (bought from the vet’s or petfood store). You can use a syringe, a feeding bottle or drop the milk onto your palms between the thumb and first finger and let the kitten/puppy suck. DO NOT OVERFEED. DIARRHOEA KILLS.

(The recommended amount of KMR milk for kittens is 30ml per 113g of body weight per 24 hours. One scoop of powdered milk to two scoops of warm water.)

Puppies should gain 8-10% of their body weight per day while kittens should gain about 10-15g per day. Please weigh them daily. 

DO NOT USE commercialised COW’S MILK because it contains lactose which may cause diarrhoea and in turn, may lead to dehydration and death.  
If you really have no choice, goat’s milk may be an alternative, but dilute it. 
Wipe the kitten/puppy’s mouth area with wet cotton pad to prevent a milk rash after each feed.  

If you do not have kitten/puppy milk, give glucose water, only as a temporary measure. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar level) can also kill. Use kitten/puppy milk as soon as you can. 

If the kitten/puppy already has teeth, you can give canned wetfood or steamed chicken breastmeat. 

How to estimate a kitten’s age: 
https://www.aspcapro.org/blog/2014/07/03/tip-week-4-ways-tell-kittens-age

How to estimate a puppy’s age: 
https://www.wikihow.com/Tell-Your-Puppy%27s-Age

If the kitten/puppy is already about one month old, raw food is also possible. 

If you prefer home-cooked meals:
http://www.thewholepetdiet.com/2011/06/25/spots-whole-pet-diet-chicken-stew/

In giving solid food, always give small amounts and check the stools. If there is diarrhoea, stop giving the solid food. 

In nursing infant animals, it is important to check for dehydration by doing the pinch-test. Pinch the skin on the scruff and let go – it should bounce back immediately. If it takes some time for the skin to bounce back, this may indicate dehydration. If the animal is severely dehydrated, a vet’s immediate attention is needed. If unsure, always consult a vet. 

Key points to ensure survival of infant animals:
Warmth, Nutrition & Hydration

3. Urination & Defecation
Infant kittens/puppies cannot urinate or defecate by themselves, so you have to assist.  After each feed, massage the kitten/puppy’s tummy and private parts with a wet, warm cotton pad to stimulate urination and/or defecation. Baby animals sometimes may not defecate every day if the milk is adequately absorbed, but they must urinate every day. If they do not, please take them to the vet immediately. 

4. Medical attention
Bring the baby animal to the vet’s AS SOON AS POSSIBLE for proper medical advice. The vet will advise if deworming can be done. Certain worms like hookworms are very deadly and can cause death. 

5. Weight check
Weigh the baby animal daily to monitor weight and keep a record. There should be an increase every day. 

Holding the baby animal close to your heart is very comforting for them. 

Dr Chan’s 15-year old male dog, Bobby, provided warmth for every single kitten they have ever rescued!

When ready, publish for adoption: any reliable adoption portals or shout outs on Facebook. The best is to rehome them to people whom you know and trust.  

It is very fortunate if you manage to find them a good and loving forever home. If not, please be prepared to adopt them yourself.

Cow, Bunny and Pole, rescued as newborns (eyes still closed) in 2006. Fostered and hand-raised by Dr Chan (not a vet) and her (then) teenage daughter, and looked after by their dog, Bobby. All three of them had no prior experience at all. It was their very first rescue. So if it is your first rescue, you can do it too!

 

Another real-life rescue and fostering: Mimi’s story

Tips on fostering a baby bird

Buy chicken feed from the wet market, mix it with water into small blobs and feed the baby bird with it, using a chopstick. You could also use oats and do the same, as a temporary measure. 

Baby birds must be kept warm at all times. Use soft tissue paper to make a nest. 

Seek help from UPM’s Vet Department. 

For more information, please see this: Tips for bird rescue

REHOMING OF YOUR RESCUES
The best portals for e-rehoming are reliable adoption portals and shout-outs on your social media platform. Please vet the potential adopters very, very carefully before giving your rescues to them. 

All the best!

The contents of this website are based on the opinions of Dr Chan Kah Yein, unless otherwise noted. Dr Chan is not a veterinarian and therefore the information on this website is not intended as medical or veterinary advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge based on the experience of Dr Chan and her community and is done so with the best of intentions. For your animals’ medical or veterinary needs, kindly consult your veterinarian or relevant authoritative sources.