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Dog feeding kitten - need some advice please!

(11 Posts)
seaglass Sun 08-Nov-09 18:15:18

I'm getting so many mixed views on this, and I haven't a clue what to do

Long story, so here goes (deep breath)

I have a 2 yr old labrador who comes into season very often, then has a phantom pregnancy and produces milk. (she is going to be spayed, but every time we have it planned, she comes into season again)

3 weeks ago, I found 2 abandoned kittens, brought them home (as you do) and everything went fine......

......until we discovered one of the kittens having a feed from the dog. This has happened (to my knowledge) about three times, and we've taken the kitten away from her.

I rang our vets, who said not to let the kitten suckle because :-

it is about 9 weeks old and should be weaned

dog milk is different to cat milk

the cat may grow up thinking it's a dog (but TBH, I don't really see a huge problem with that)

leaving the kitten on may cause the dogs bosoms to become engorged with milk and cause mastitis (which she had a few months ago, and made her extrememly ill)

The dog was started on a course of galastop, which we have now had to stop, as it's making her ill - the vets have no other suggestions of what to do.

Other dog owners have suggested feeding cooked pasta, which has had some success.

The poor dog is very depressed - if I take her out for a walk, she's fine, but at home, she spends all her time in her bed, which isn't normal for her.

I've had a few people suggest letting her look after the kitten, as this may cure the depression, which I can understand, but the mastitis worries me.

We've been trying to keep them separate, which is very difficult as we live in a tiny house, and the kittens are too young to go outside yet. Rehoming them isn't an option, as they are part of the family.

Does anyone have any experience of this happening?

Or does anyone have some good, down to earth advice about what to do?

seaglass Sun 08-Nov-09 18:15:56

Oooh! Blimey, that is long blush - sorry!
I hope some of you will have the patience to read it!

noddyholder Sun 08-Nov-09 18:16:53

That us so sad but so sweet.I would probably let her look after the kitten!

LuckySalem Sun 08-Nov-09 18:19:43

Listen to you vet. I have no idea if the kitten feedind WOULD harm but your vet does so listen to him/her.

To make the dog feel better try a cuddly toy for her to "look after" phantom pregnancies are very common now for some reason. My taid's dog who is spayed has had one recently. [strange]

Keep kitten away - if need be send it to someone's house for a couple of weeks to allow the dogs milk to dry out.

Good luck

SweetCecily Sun 08-Nov-09 18:37:59

We had a lovely Doberman that used to foster all the orphans around where we lived - it was abroad.
Kittens piled in with her own puppies - all had happy endings and she was a fabulous mother and she also reared some lambs but didn’t actually feed them though they did suckle from her so must have been getting something - they were bottle fed, she did the rest as in cleaning their rear ends and basically being mum.

It doesn’t seem to be the done thing in the uk but it is more common for one species to foster or adopt another than you may think. Friend also had a cat that reared a nest full of little squirrels that were blown over in a storm. They were adorable and went their own way once fully grown but would pop back occasionally to visit "mum".

seaglass Sun 08-Nov-09 18:45:49

sweetcecily - did the kittens ever have any problems drinking the dogs milk?

I'm not exactly wanting to ignore the vets advice, but in recent months I have found that they have been giving money-spinning advice, which means more and more treatment, to be told later by experienced dog owners that there was a much simpler (and cheaper) remedy. I suppose this is why I'm so confused over this - slightly losing trust with the vets.

noddyholder Sun 08-Nov-09 18:58:37

well we drink cows milk and although not ideal it isn't a danger.

BloodRedTulips Sun 08-Nov-09 19:05:40

I wanted to comment on the vets points;

'it is about 9 weeks old and should be weaned', like humans kittens will continue to nurse after taking solid food... some 'experts' seem to see the taking of solid food as the immediate nullification of any need for milk and this simply isn't the case, i've had kittens who's mother fed them happily until 14+ weeks and who weaned naturally at that age, they had been taking solids since 5/6 weeks.

'dog milk is different to cat milk', cow's milk is differant to human milk...

'the cat may grow up thinking it's a dog', if you're keeping the cat i don't see what differance that makes, lots of cats think their people and seem to get along fine.

as for the mastitis issues whilst i'm no expert i doubt very much that's true... if it works like human nursing, which it must as nursing is what unifies mammals, then she'll only make as much as is being demanded by the infant she's nursing, and as long as nursing isn't terminated suddenly but allowed to trail off naturally she should be at no risk of mastitis.

i guess what i'm saying is i'd let it continue personally, and possibly change vets as they don't sound great tbh.

BloodRedTulips Sun 08-Nov-09 19:07:16

sorry for grammer and spelling issues... 3 kids shouting at me simultaneously while i type!

seaglass Sun 08-Nov-09 19:21:21

Thankyou bloodredtulips - you've put into words almost exactly what I was thinking.
(and NoddyHolder for the cow milk suggestion)
I suppose as well cos they were abandoned, they may not have been fully weaned.

We do go to another vets for our farm animals, I think tomorrow, I'll see if I can take the dog there for a second opinion - they do seem to give good honest advice, where the other one (who have been fantastic for our mental jack russell) seem to be very interested in keeping treatment going on for as long as possible.

elvislives Sun 08-Nov-09 19:31:11

Our dog was 2 years old and had never had pups. Once our cat had weaned her kitten the kitten started feeding from the dog. We found it bizarre but the dog didn't mind, the kitten purred like a tractor while it was feeding so we let them get on with it grin

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