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Best Homemade Puppy Milk Replacer Made With Fresh Coconut Water

Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

Besides serving as an enjoyable treat, when you make up coconut water milk replacer, there are always coconuts around as extra bowls.

Besides serving as an enjoyable treat, when you make up coconut water milk replacer, there are always coconuts around as extra bowls.

The Perfect Homemade Puppy Milk Replacer

Is there a perfect milk replacer for your puppies? I heard of a Dalmatian that gave birth to 20 puppies a few years back. The breeder left 10 with the mother and was able to foster the other 10 on another dog. Now that other dog was the perfect milk replacer.

The rest of us are rarely so lucky, and we have to do the best we can. I have tried a lot of replacers over the years; some good, some okay, and some barely adequate. The replacer I am using now is one of the best, but this is only based on practical results, not on testing a few litters of Beagle puppies locked up in a cage somewhere.

Coconuts for milk replacer should be harvested green, when the liquid is still neutral.

Coconuts for milk replacer should be harvested green, when the liquid is still neutral.

What Makes a Good Milk Replacer?

A great puppy milk replacer needs to match the levels of nutrients present in the mother's milk. One of the most serious problems when making up a milk replacer with milk from other animals is the sugar levels. Cow's milk has way too much lactose (milk sugar) and will cause the puppies to develop serious, and sometimes fatal, diarrhea. Goat's milk is a lot better but can still be hard on a tiny puppy's body.

Besides keeping the puppies well hydrated, this coconut milk replacer contains adequate calcium and all of the extra vitamins and minerals available in coconut water. Physicians here in the tropics prescribe coconut water as an electrolyte supplement in cases of severe diarrhea or vomiting. Sometimes it is the only thing that stands between life and death, and this milk replacer will make sure that your puppies never suffer from milk-induced diarrhea.

If you need a milk replacer, this is the best formula available.

Using Fresh Green Coconut as a Milk Replacer

This milk replacer will not always prevent a puppy from developing a loose stool, but it will diminish the consequences. It is not available to everyone, however, and unless you live in the tropics and have a source of fresh green coconuts, it is probably easier to buy one of the canned milk replacers from a pet store.

Can I use store-bought coconut in a can? If you want to try this replacer, always use fresh green coconuts. The coconut water available at stores and online is usually pasteurized, and since some of the vitamins are destroyed, it's no better than other cooked products. If you want fresh coconut water but do not live in an area where it is harvested, you may be able to find it at a local ethnic market.


  • One whole, fresh, green coconut.
  • One to two egg yolks.
  • Two tablespoons of powdered whole milk per 200 ml of coconut water. (You can use a product like Esbilac or whole organic goat milk instead.)
  • One to three tablespoons of plain unflavored yogurt. (You can add more if you want the milk to be very thick, less if you want the milk more liquid.)


Mix these ingredients together to make up about half a liter.

Keep the replacer refrigerated and only warm up a small portion at each feeding. (Warm it on the stove, never in a microwave.) If you have heated it too much, do not use it again. I usually give extra replacer to my chickens, who really love it!

Some Advantages of Coconut Water Puppy Milk Replacer:

• Keep puppies hydrated, even in case of diarrhea

• Provide extra calcium, potassium, and other minerals like iron, manganese, and zinc

• Supplies puppies with necessary B-complex vitamins like niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, and folates.

• Provides puppies with a source of Vitamin C, an antioxidant that is lacking in many commercial supplements.

• Supplies some bioactive enzymes (like catalase and phosphatase) that may make digestion easier for the puppy.

About the Other Ingredients:

  • Eggs: When puppies are small, use just the egg yolk in your milk replacer. Egg whites contain an enzyme inhibitor, but once a puppy is over about a month old, you can add whole eggs to your milk replacer and provide another excellent protein source. Some websites will also declare that raw eggs are toxic since they contain a substance that can bind biotin, a B vitamin. This is a real concern if your puppy is eating a milk replacer made up of 100% egg whites. If he is eating things like milk, however, this is not a concern.
  • Milk: The replacement formula here does not give any specific recommendations for powdered milk. I use a whole cow's milk because that is the only thing I have available here where I live. If you have access to powdered goat milk, it has fewer milk sugars and would be even better. Some companies (like Nestlé) make fortified milk powders, and if the powder does not have added sugar it is a good option.
  • Plain yogurt: The yogurt provides a healthy source of intestinal friendly bacteria that acts as a probiotic and will make it even easier for your puppy to digest his milk replacer.
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This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.


Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on November 13, 2018:

Hi Mary congrats on the new Dobies! I would feed all of them since you still want them hungry at the same time so that they will fight for those precious 10.

If you notice one or two of them getting smaller in the next week or so, it may need extra feedings. Do not plan on sleeping much the next week.

This happens with my Pitbulls all of the time. I love it when there are 10 or 12 puppies though. That much more fun when they start running around and playing with each other.

Mary Wickison from USA on November 13, 2018:

Hi Dr. Mark,

My doberman has just had 12 puppies, it's her first litter. She only has 10 teats. Should I just randomly choose the smaller looking puppy to top it up? Is a normal baby bottle okay.

This is my first time having newborn puppies around and I don't want to do the wrong thing.

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on February 28, 2017:

You should use raw eggs; they should not be boiled.

Joseph pau on February 28, 2017:

About the eggs York, do I need to boiled eggs or just fresh eggs without boiled ?

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on November 12, 2016:

Vicki, there is a lot of controversy on that subject since some vaccines are live, others dead with adjuvants. If your dog has never been vaccinated before, her puppies will have no protection so you must vaccinate her. If she is current on vaccines, and just needs a booster, I would pay for titer testing at your vet. You may not need to vaccinate her at all.

vicki on November 12, 2016:

if my dog just is coming in heat is it safe to go on and give her a parvo vaccine or should I wait since I am planning to bred her

Judy Specht from California on January 02, 2014:

This replacer looks tasty. The video is a fantastic addition.

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on January 02, 2014:

Esbilac is a lot better than the kid milk replacers, which have too much sugar.

Yes, the green coconuts are still "babies", and the ones in the photograph still have their husks on. The husks are removed before shipping to save on weight; by the time they reach your supermarkets the water is not something I would want to give a puppy, or drink myself!

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you got to see the ball drop for new years!

Bob Bamberg on January 02, 2014:

Very interesting. Are green coconuts the un-ripened versions of the brown, fibrous-shelled coconuts we have in our supermarkets? Around here, there's Esbilac for puppies and KMR for kittens, both manufactured by PegAg. Plus, feed and grain stores also carry milk replacers for calves and kids, and I guess the kid milk replacer would be OK for puppies. We can grow apples, but we have a difficult time growing coconuts. Voted up, useful and interesting

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on January 01, 2014:

I never would have considered this. Good Hub.