Neither goat's milk nor evaporated milk is really ideal for newborn puppies. However, if you find a puppy that needs to be fed immediately and no pet stores or veterinary clinics are open for you to pick up some puppy milk replacer, you may not have any choice apart from using what's in your pantry or making a run to a 24-hour grocery store. If you should happen to find yourself in this situation, here is some information that you might find helpful
If you have to deal with what's on hand in a pinch, then yes, evaporated cow's milk or goat's milk can do the trick temporarily. However, get your puppy commercial canine milk replacer pronto. Though calves benefit from cows' milk (an orphaned calf could survive on evaporated cow's milk from your pantry) puppies aren't ruminants, so cow's milk -- nor goat's for that matter -- will not fulfill a puppy's overall needs. If a nursing puppy's mother is not available, you must find a preparation that is specially formulated to meet the nutritional needs of a puppy.
A puppy receiving nourishment from his mother drinks a milk containing 35.5 percent protein, 43 percent fat and 15.4 percent lactose. By comparison, cow's milk contains 26.6 percent protein, 30.6 percent fat and 37.9 percent lactose. Goat's milk consists of 25.4 percent protein, 34.6 fat and 30.8 percent lactose. Both cow's and goat's milk contains considerably less protein and fat than dogs' milk. As you'll notice, goat's milk contains twice as much lactose as that from a dog; and cow's milk contains even more. Because of the high lactose content, either milk is liable to cause diarrhea in puppies.
A University of Minnesota emergency puppy formula recipes calls for 3 parts evaporated milk (not skim) and 1 part water. Other recipes include whole milk along with very fresh egg yolks, vegetable oil and liquid vitamins, mixed in a blender. (Visit the site for the complete recipes.) If you have some of those ingredients on hand when putting together an emergency recipe, add them. If all you have is evaporated milk and getting to the store isn't possible, go with that. Puppies must eat and stay hydrated.
Your Best Bet
If you're caring for an orphan puppy, ask your vet or local dog breeders if they have a nursing bitch who can take on an additional mouth to feed. If that's not a possibility, use commercial puppy milk replacement formula recommended by your vet. Though commercial preparations can't quite replace mother's milk, they're formulated for a puppy's needs. Prepare the formula according to the directions on the label. Throw out any unused mixed formula after 24 hours or the amount of time listed in the directions.
By Jane Meggitt
Veterinary Partner: Orphan Puppy and Kitten Care
Vet Secure: Caring for Orphaned Puppies
VCA Animal Hospitals: Puppy - Orphaned
Animal Emergency Room: Pet Care
American Kennel Club: Baby Food - Proper Feeding of Orphans
University of Minnesota: Feeding Orphan, Weanling and Adolescent Puppies and Kittens
About the Author
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.