Colostrum is the first milk produced after birth, and is high in protein. Much of the protein is immunoglobulin, also called maternal antibodies. These give immunity against pathogenic microorganisms. Because animals are born without immunity, they therefore initially get their immunity from colostrum. Newborns are at increased risk of infection, especially if they didn’t receive Colostrum soon after birth. The mother produces Colostrum only for a short time, before she switches to normal milk. To illustrate, 48hrs after birth the mother produces milk, although this is species dependent. At this time, the newborn lose its ability to absorb maternal antibodies.
Different species of mammals produce milks of varying composition, in order to nourish their young. Dog milk has high concentrations of solids, in addition to elevated fat (44%) and protein (33%) levels. However, dog milk is relatively low in lactose. Subsequently, some puppies develop lactose-intolerance, when they are fed formulas that have high lactose levels. Because dog milk has such high fat and protein content, means that it is almost twice as energy dense to cow’s milk. Fat and protein support the rapid growth rate of puppies.
Because infant animals have immature and often weakened immune systems, utilise high levels of hygiene when preparing formula. Use clean and sterilised equipment to prepare formulas, and always wash your hands. Use pre-boiled water in formulas, and store some cool pre-boiled water in the fridge also. If you are caught out, and need to prepare formula quickly, use the cooled water for lowering the temperature of fresh boiled water.