Tips on Syringe Feeding a Dog


Syringe feeding a dog is necessary for numerous reasons. Appetite loss is often a symptom of disease and sickness in your dog. Before implementing a syringe feeding program, visit your veterinarian and have your dog tested and diagnosed. The veterinarian will suggest syringe feeding for dogs experiencing weight loss due to cancer, kidney disease and various other ailments. Syringe feeding provides a direct injection of nutrients to your dog with little effort. It is also used to provide water to a dehydrated dog who refuses to drink.

Prepping the Food

Puree your food in a processor until it reaches a liquid form. Use the food source recommended by your veterinarian for the best results. Numerous recipes are available with most including a combination of meat and vegetables. Load the food or water into a 60 milliliter catheter tip syringe. The large outlet is ideal for ejecting the food without excessive pressure.

Preparing Your Dog

After a few feeding sessions your dog may recognize the syringe. Load the syringe with the food or water outside of your dog's view to prevent anxiety. Before feeding, pet your dog and talk to her in a calming voice. This relaxes her as you prepare to begin feeding or watering through the syringe. Feed outdoors or over a towel or tile surface for easy cleanup. Your dog may not take all of the food or water and some will hit the ground.

Feeding Time

Hold the dog's head level with a gentle touch. Insert the syringe between the cheek and the teeth in the molar area. Slowly inject roughly one-quarter of the syringe and stop. Let the liquid work through the teeth and let your dog swallow naturally. Continue in short segments until the syringe is empty. Repeat the process as necessary until the meal is complete.


  • Do multiple feedings throughout the day to prevent stress. Feeding in multiple sessions also give your dog time to digest at an easy pace.

Monitor Swallowing

Your dog must swallow the liquid naturally. Do not tilt her head or force swallowing. Liquid could enter the windpipe and the lungs if you do, which could drown your dog. Inject the fluids slowly and watch to make sure she swallows the fluid.

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