Care of Baby Prairie Dogs
Often, baby Prairie dogs are captured before they are actually weaned so they are not eating solid foods enough to keep their layer of baby fat. These babies often lose this layer of fat from the time of capture until they get into your home. They get cold easily and can die quickly.
Baby Prairie dogs (8 weeks-6 months) require a diet higher in protein than adult counterparts; we feed all our baby Prairie dogs EXOTIC NUTRITION PRAIRIE DOG PUP DIET along with Timothy Pellets until they are 6 months of age, then we switch them to the standard PRAIRIE DOG DIET, along with Timothy Pellets. Prairie dog pups (under 8 weeks old) may need a milk supplement until they are weaned. We offer a powdered Specialty Milk Replacer, a recommended formula for baby Prairie dogs (available on our web site). Check the Prairie Dog Nursing Department for the milk replacement and feeding bottles.
Keep them warm, in an aquarium with a heating pad (see nursing section) under a small portion of the aquarium. Keep the heating pad on 'low' and check it often. It must only be under PART of the aquarium, on the outside, so that the Prairie dog can escape to a cooler part of the container if the heating pad setting is too high or malfunctions. Supplement babies with a plastic syringe. Small (5cc) syringes or bird feeding syringes can be purchased in our nursing department or from the vet.
Mix 1/2 Gatorade or Pedialyte with 1/2 Specialty Milk Replacer ... feed the pup SLOWLY dripping it into the mouth. Be careful that it does not gasp and aspirate which will mean DEATH if the milk gets into the lungs. Take it slow and be patient. Do this every few hours. Be sure the milk is warm. Putting the baby under your shirt, next to your skin will also warm it but do give it time to be 'outside' and breathe normally. Feed a 6 oz. baby every 2-4 hours depending on its condition.
A dehydrated baby will not last long, so keep it full of fluids. You must stimulate the genital area after each feeding in order to help the 'pup' eliminate his/her waste matter. One thing to watch out for in feeding baby Prairie dogs is that after each feeding you must stimulate them to defecate and urinate, otherwise their bladder and bowel will swell up and can even burst. Do this, simply stroke along their tummy towards the anus, which simulates a mother licking and grooming her babies. You can also do this with a warm damp tissue or cloth. The idea isn't to squeeze anything out, just to stimulate the baby to do its business.
Once your baby is ready to take solid foods, offer Exotic Nutrition Prairie Dog 'PUP' diet. This food should be fed for the first 4-6 months of age along with Timothy Pellets, then switch to Exotic Nutrition Prairie Dog Diet (formulated for adults) combined with Timothy Pellets.
Back to Prairie Dog Information.