Because mammals produce milk to feed their young, one of the fundamental questions asked by people who find a small, solitary baby squirrel and set out to rescue it is whether it can drink milk as food.
A baby squirrel, if not fed directly by its mother, can drink veterinary formula milk, puppy dog milk has also been shown to be a breeding food that can be fed to a baby squirrel. To supply the puppy milk mix in a ratio of 2:1 (2 parts water and 1 part powder).
Special care should be taken, since milk residues are very acidic, milk mixtures should always be freshly prepared, otherwise, there is a risk of fatal diarrhea.
In the case of finding a drinking squirrel alone, before giving any liquid, check if the squirrel is not dehydrated.
If the skin remains wrinkled for more than a second, it means that the squirrel is dehydrated and you need to give it either milk or some kind of electrolyte solution.
What kind of milk does a baby squirrel drink?
A baby squirrel can be fed milk that does not contain lactose because if you feed it any type of milk with high lactose content it will suffer from gastrointestinal problems because its stomach is not yet adapted.
Remember that squirrels are herbivorous animals. Natural milk contains a lot of animal protein, which is difficult to absorb and digest.
A baby squirrel can be fed with powdered lactose-free milk powder, as I mentioned at the beginning it can also be powdered puppy milk.
Avoid feeding it with soy milk or yogurt bought in the grocery store, even if they are lactose-free products, yogurt, for example, contains sugars and other ingredients that could cause gastrointestinal problems in the little squirrel.
Can squirrels drink the same milk as humans?
Squirrels’ digestive systems do not process the milk we humans consume properly, because the milk we consume does not contain the digestive enzymes needed by the squirrel’s intestines and stomach, which are especially prone to cause diarrhea.
If the squirrel does not digest the milk properly, it will not absorb it naturally, it is like drinking it in vain.
How to give milk to a baby squirrel?
For very young squirrels, it is best to dispense milk in a needleless insulin syringe. It holds 1 ml and the rubber plunger slides more easily than conventional syringes.
Although they should be cleaned thoroughly after each feeding, it is recommended to change them every day or every other day. Poor hygiene can easily have negative effects. It is better to use injection syringes (2 ml, 5 ml) for larger young squirrels.
feeding time of the squirrel can be spaced at 3 hours, after two weeks you can start feeding small portions of fruits and vegetables.
The amount of milk consumed per feeding should be 1-2 ml for animals that are still naked. Animals 6 weeks old receive 6-8 ml each.
Young squirrels are fed in an upright position (half supine) so that a drop of milk that is too large cannot close their nose and mouth at the same time.
It is also essential to take breaks during feeding, during which the young animal has the opportunity to swallow the milk or the mashed food.
Otherwise, there is a risk that the food will get into the lungs and cause so-called swallowing pneumonia (pneumonia), which is fatal.
Key precautions when feeding milk to a squirrel
If the milk-fed squirrel shows prolonged diarrhea, this is evidence that the milk is not adequate, and it is therefore required to be changed, otherwise, it will cause the death of the young squirrel.
If lactose-containing milk is fed to the baby squirrel, flatulence, constipation and severe stomach upset may occur in the squirrel.
When feeding the squirrel with milk, do it slowly (the injection must be controlled by yourself), do not hold it in your hand, put it on a horizontal surface.
Hold the syringe in one hand, and hold the squirrel’s head and paws with the other hand, and do it patiently and calmly.
The baby squirrel sleeps most of the time (the body trembles when it sleeps, which is normal), even if it is feeding time, it may be asleep. Therefore, you should wake it up at feeding time.
Milk that the squirrel cannot finish drinking should be put in the refrigerator or thrown away. Do not leave it at room temperature and then give it again later, this could be fatal to the squirrel.