• Fri, Feb 7 - 2:33 pm ET

Mommyish Death Match: Would You Breastfeed A Puppy To Keep It Alive?

81858707Well, now I’ve seen everything. I just watched a video of a woman breastfeeding a puppy.

I just did it. I never thought I would ever do that. It’s just something, it was taboo to me as well. It’s just something… I guess you could call it in a sense like a maternal instinct.

Okay. Maternal instincts are good – but what about your maternal instinct toward the other baby in the house who is relying on you for nutrition – you’re 15-month-old – who is feeding from the same breast? I can’t even wrap my head around this.

It was the runt of the litter, just days old. It wouldn’t eat from the bottle. It wouldn’t eat formula. Puppy Mom admits that she didn’t know what else to do. She was desperate. She  ”just couldn’t bear sitting there watching him die.” Now I am going to sound like a huge asshole for judging a woman for keeping a puppy alive. But, no. No.

The vet CNN interviewed admits to being less concerned with the taboo and more concerned that there are things that can be passed from puppies to babies – as in her baby could catch a disease because of her actions of breastfeeding a puppy. I wonder if this woman even considered that?

I am firmly in the US and THEM camp – which is not a very popular place to be among pet lovers. But I firmly believe that a baby’s life is more important than a puppy’s. Sorry to anyone who this offends – but I would never put a runt puppy’s needs over the safety of the child I’m breastfeeding. No way.

Let the death match begin; Breastfeeding a puppy? Yes or no? Clearly, I’m in the “no” camp.

Would you breastfeed a puppy to keep it alive?

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(photo: Getty Images)

You can reach this post's author, Maria Guido, on twitter.
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  • Robotic Arms Dealer

    Remember the article about women who orgasm while breastfeeding?

    If that happened here… what would you call that?

    • candyvines

      Breastiality.

    • Robotic Arms Dealer
    • http://mother--bored.tumblr.com/ Aimee Ogden

      you have made my Friday

    • candyvines

      Likewise. Who is that? He is cute.

    • http://mother--bored.tumblr.com/ Aimee Ogden

      That is Nikolaj Coster-Waldau from Game of Thrones and yes. Yes, I’d tap that.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      missing hand and all

    • Jules

      I loved him even maimed, but he gets a prosthetic next season so he should be back to 100% hotness :)

    • candyvines

      I’ll talk to you guys later. I have to go, uh, google.

    • Maria Guido

      And you win the Internet today.

  • Robotic Arms Dealer

    Maria, can we add this woman to the baby shit smell lover and dirty diaper teaching freak club?

  • http://www.ambiencechaser.com/ Elizabeth Licata

    Um, I kind of think yes. Or maybe. But it would not occur to me that the puppy could give my boob something that could be given to the baby. I dunno, puppy can have the left one, I guess. But I would damn well not tell anybody or put it on the Internet.

    • Myra A Cottrill

      Right. She took a picture and posted it online, but is shrouded for the TV interview. Someone please explain to her how the internet works.

  • Tinyfaeri

    One of my nieces wouldn’t take a bottle, and didn’t want to breastfeed, so they used to squirt food down her throat with the medical equivalent of an eye dropper. That might be a better option than breastfeeding a puppy (especially if you were also breastfeeding your child). If nothing else would really work, I could see pumping some and trying the dropper, but I don’t know that I could put my child at risk of infection from the puppy.

  • Bethany Ramos

    Nooooo. There are so many things in the world I don’t understand! Puppies are so cute, but no.

  • historychick79

    Umm, you can bottle feed a puppy, right? Yeah….pump and bottle feed if that’s really the best option available for the pup.

  • ShanLea

    No, No, No, No, No!!!!! Never mind the creep factor, the hygiene, etc ect….newborn puppies teeth are SHARP! My nipples hurt just thinking about it!

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      TEETH! I know! That’s what I was coming on here to say! NOOOOOO!

  • ShanLea

    Sort of unrelated, but I have a new category: sancti-dog-mommies. A few days ago, on our local FB classifieds page, a girl had a real nicely worded post about how as much as it pained her to do so, they were looking for a new home for their dog, because despite all efforts to train him the dog would not stop trying to bite their baby (!!) Well, good old sancti-dog-mommy ripped this poor girl a new a-hole because “how dare you just give away a part of your family. If your baby bites will you give her away too? People like you are the reason so many dogs die in shelters” and just on and on and on….seriously, fuck you dog lady. That is all.

    • AmazingE

      And I’m the special kind of asshole that would have responded with”yeah, maybe.” But only because my fuse has been super short lately and people like that really irritate me.

    • Sandy

      Yeah, I just saw an article that was a bunch of images of dogs on their first car rides – leaving the shelter. It was really sweet. So someone decided it was necessary to snark about the dogs not being in crates or buckled in. Not even kidding.

    • Redheaded4trouble

      This is a huge pet peeve of mine. I’ve been managing a boarding kennel and grooming for several years now. I posted a pic of myself brushing out a Cav. spaniel I’ve been grooming once a month for two years on my facebook. Cue the bitchy comments from a .”friend” like oh your sure are pulling her hair hard, cute though.
      Responded “First of all, this is a picture not a video so don’t know why you think I’m pulling on her to hard. Second if this dog was in pain do you think she’d be laying on my table ASLEEP!” Also caught heat for dying my poodle’s ears and tail pink with non toxic dye.
      I have seen serious animal abuse and it’s indescribably awful. Seeing someone jump to call something abuse when it’s clearly not both minimizes real suffering and makes people fighting for animal rights have to work even harder to be taken seriously. It’s deeply offensive.
      WOW that was off topic.

    • Janok Place

      I’m a professional trainer. With that, I would like to add, dog-crazies are at the upper most level of insanity. Legit, they’d rather you put the kid up for auction. “I like dogs better then people” is a mantra they take quite seriously.

      I also have a mean, crotchety little spaniel. If he bites the kids, he’s outta here. It’s on my good grace alone that he has made it this far in life. I love him to bits, you know what I love more? Seeing my daughter’s face all in one piece.

    • Tazlima

      I agree with Janok. I’ve worked with animals for years and there are a lot of behavioral problems that can be worked through, but biting, especially biting children, is a deal-breaker.

      The internet woman would rather they what? Use their baby as a training tool?

      I have three dogs. They’re all sweet and have never bitten a person, but one of them has an incredibly strong prey drive. Too bad for him that I live in the city; he’d make an excellent hunting dog.

      He wants to kill anything that’s small and makes high-pitched noises. Last spring he took out two adolescent possums who were foolish enough to try and walk through our yard (a week apart). It’s taken years of training to get him to ignore the cats we pass on our walks rather than lunge at them, rebound at the end of the leash, and repeat.

      I don’t trust him around babies and toddlers. If I ever have a baby, that particular dog will go to live with my mother. This is despite the fact that he’s never actually bitten a human. I know his character and all it would take is for him to get overexcited one time. A proven biter is far, far worse. They’ve shown that they’ll break the taboo, and even finding a new home for them is difficult. If you knowingly adopt a dog with a history of biting and it hurts someone, you’re legally liable.

      A responsible dog owner has to look out for the safety and well-being of
      every member of the household, including the dog. If the only way to maintain that safety
      is to permanently change the living situation, then that’s what you
      have to do.

      Come to think of it, parents might not abandon a bitey baby, but it will certainly get kicked out of preschool.

  • LadyClodia

    I would do everything in my power to save a dying puppy, except breastfeeding it, I think. I would definitely take it to the vet or a shelter and ask for help with it. I’m pretty sure that it never would have crossed my mind to try breastfeeding it myself.

  • blh

    EWWWW. No. Just no.

  • JLH1986

    I’m abnormally obsessed with my dogs and the thought of something happening to my dogs bring tears to my eyes, I would be devastated. I would not breastfeed a dog though. Ever. I would take it to a vet, I would take it to a foster/shelter I would do whatever I could to make its short life one of love and warmth and peace. But…no, just effing no on the breastfeeding.

  • SA

    6 people have voted YES?!

  • guest

    I highly doubt the baby could catch anything from breastfeeding from the same teat as a puppy. Dogs lick kids’ faces all the time and it might be a little gross, but nobody’s safety is really at risk here. Also, what’s with the weird hand-wringy tone of the article? Breastfeeding a puppy is a little on the weird side but it’s not taking nutrition away from a baby, especially a 15 month old who I would assume is no longer exclusively nursing for nutrition. Even if this woman did want to continue nursing the puppy (never thought I would type that sentence), her body’s going to be able to meet the increased demand to feed both child and puppy.

    Giving a puppy human milk isn’t the worst idea I’ve heard. But if it were me and I was faced with this urge, I’d probably pump and feed via a dropper.

    • Alexandra

      Oh yea I hadn’t noticed that – 15 month old????? Yea, probably getting some other form of nutrition.
      Unless they live in the UAE where it (is?) now law to breastfeed your child for 2 fucking years. Assholes.

    • SmrtGrl86

      Puppies often carry intestinal worms and can transmit them to people, I guess it’s a valid enough concern…I have dairy goats for crap like this, or the zombie apocalypse, which ever comes first lol

    • Redheaded4trouble

      The kid is not going to get intestinal worms from the mom breastfeeding a puppy. Very few parasites are transferable between humans and dogs. Also there’s that whole intestinal worms being in it’s intestines thing. Unless she’s been feeding the wrong end. Seriously I clean up after dogs for a living. Sure this is weird and most likely not really necessary, but dangerous to the baby, no.

    • SmrtGrl86

      http://www.petsadviser.com/pet-health/can-humans-get-worms-from-dogs/ Dogs lick their own butts, that’s how they transfer worms with their mouths. It is rare but they can transfer round worms and hook worms to people if they are shedding them in their feces, lick their butts, then lick you and it gets to your mouth. Gross but possible. So if she nursed a puppy then nursed her kid and didn’t clean herself off properly between, yes it could be possible.

  • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

    No. No explanation either. Just nope.

  • meteor_echo

    Well, since the life and well-being of my pets is more important for me than somebody else’s baby (I’m not having my own, so there), I probably would give it milk. Not from the breast, but yes, I’d do my darndest to keep my pet alive.
    And before anyone throws a shitfit because I value my pets more than other people’s children – nobody else would give a fuck about my pets, but even random strangers would expect me to care about some kid I don’t know. I’m not doing that because my pets are my family, and they come first, along with other family members.

    • AugustW

      I’m right there with you. If I didn’t have a kid who needed the boob (and realistically a 15 month old doesn’t need it any longer) AND I had a supply to offer, I would try.
      But ooh, puppy teeth!

    • meteor_echo

      Yeah, this is why I’d rather pump and feed the critter from the bottle. Or I’d give it formula (seeing as how I wouldn’t breastfeed if I had a child).

      Also: two people pissed about my initial comment? I’ll take that as a compliment.

  • Rachel Sea

    I guess, if he was going to die…except that would never happen, because you can feed them with an irrigation syringe, by force if needed, and syringes are easy to get, for free, from any vet or pharmacy.

    So, like, if we were shipwrecked on a desert island, and it was just me and the puppy and there were literally no other resources, then yes, I would, but otherwise, it’s not necessary.

    • Janok Place

      Only if you named him Wilson. I mean, come on, shipwrecked? Save the pup… you’ll need SOME company out there!

  • LiteBrite

    “It was the runt of the litter, just days old. It wouldn’t eat from the
    bottle. It wouldn’t eat formula. Puppy Mom admits that she didn’t know
    what else to do. She was desperate”

    I have a couple of questions. First, why didn’t she call a vet or another expert to get ideas before just whipping out the breast? Was that really the ONLY option?

    Two, why was this filmed and then put on the Internet for all to see?

    • Sandy

      Bingo!

  • http://ultimatemamacat.tumblr.com/ Hana Graham

    No. But I would totally breastfeed a kitten. Is that weird?

    • AnastasiaMcNally

      About two weeks ago my aunt told me she had dreamt of needing to breastfeed several kittens to keep them alive and it was a big moral dilemma for her (in her dream) but eventually she came to the decision she could absolutely breastfeed kittens to save them from dying, and after about a minute every lady in my family said they would breastfeed kittens if needed! So not weird!

  • MommaJen

    True story….met a woman who was breastfeeding her two baby goats. Walked out on her front porch with one on each boob :/

  • Sundaydrive00

    She is hidden in shadows because she is afraid of the backlash? Yeah… or you could have just not filmed it and not gone on national tv with your story.

    And was any one else a little weirded out by the way the dogs name was announced in the video? Tugs?

    I can just see it now. Lady and Tugs are out at the dog park.

    Innocent dog park patron: Oh what a cute dog, whats his name!?
    Tugs Owner: This is my Tugs!

    Innocent dog park patron: awww.. Tugs, a little leash puller was he?

    Tugs Owner: Oh no! It was my teet he tugged at when I breast fed him as a lil pup!

    And from that day forward none of the other dogs where ever allowed to play with poor Tugs.

  • Lee

    True story- over on XOJane there is a IHTM: I kept a puppy alive with breastmilk (or something like that)

  • Kashmir1988

    Giving the puppy my milk, yes. Actually letting the pup suck from me, no. Posting it to the internet, HELL NO.

  • Sandy

    If it were seriously the only option to keep a puppy alive, if it wouldn’t adversely affect anyone else in my care, and if it didn’t yet have those razor-sharp puppy teeth (well maybe then, too…), yes, I would. I wouldn’t get judgey about others who wouldn’t but I would feel terrible if I let a puppy die because I wouldn’t. Of course I would exhaust other options first (hello syringe!) but ultimately…

    Now, would I film it and put it on the internet? Hell, no.

  • Alexandra

    If I did I would keep it to myself for sure!!

  • pineapplegrasss

    Nopers. Seriously, kinda too creepy and beastly for me. I’d force feed the little guy. If I did it to a Rednose pit puppy with Parvo and kept her alive, I could do it to that runt puppy. Totally unrelated but I had a kitten once that was obsessed with trying to lick my armpits.

  • SarahJesness

    In Papua New Guinea, sometimes women who raise pigs will breastfeed piglets if they aren’t getting enough from the mother, like runts of the litter. I was watching some National Geographic special that speculated that early women may have breastfed puppies.

    • Gangle

      Thank you! I was going to post the same comment. A pal of mine was raised in PNG, and breastfeeding piglets was not uncommon. But then, breasts were not sexualised or objectified or compartmentalised like in the west.

  • Momma425

    Um…isn’t that what droppers/syringe thingies are for?
    I don’t see how shoving your breast into a puppy’s mouth isn’t some kind of animal abuse.

  • gothicgaelicgirl

    Wouldn’t bother me. Not the first time I’ve heard of something like this. In Bali after a flood, two women breastfed their sow’s piglets to keep them alive.

    There’s also a rather beautiful yet taboo old Dutch story my mother told me about a woman who breastfed her father to help him live.

  • http://www.benwhoski.com/ Benwhoski

    Though I have trouble imagining a circumstance where doing so would be the only possible option (especially given I consider it unlikely I’d be producing milk anyway), I think yes. I’d do it.

    That said, it would really, truly have to be a last resort. Because, ouch, puppy teeth. I really don’t think I could let a puppy die if I were able to prevent it.

  • Tazlima

    I once assisted with an emergency c-section on a dog, a toy breed. She ended up with a breech puppy stuck in her birth canal because its skull was too big to pass through her pelvis.

    The stuck puppy was dead by the time the surgery began, but the doctor delivered a second pup. It was limp and lifeless. We didn’t know if it was dead or simply knocked out from the anesthesia it received via its mother. We tried to listen to its heartbeat, but the stethoscope was wider then the dog and we couldn’t really hear anything. The doctor didn’t have time to fool with it. He still had to remove the stuck puppy and close the incision.

    That’s how my coworker and I ended up taking turns doing mouth to nose (although it was so tiny it was more like mouth to whole face) on a newborn puppy for nearly forty minutes. It would give a tiny little gasp, not breath for two or three full minutes, then another tiny gasp, just enough to show it was alive and keep us going. It was a strange experience, but surprisingly un-gross. We were too busy trying to keep a newborn alive to worry about the fact that it was a newborn dog rather than a newborn human.

    So I suppose that, although I would certainly prefer the canned puppy milk/syringe feeding method, if these options weren’t available for some reason (like if I was snowed in by a blizzard or something), I might resort to breastfeeding a puppy to save its life.

    Anyway, drool and poop and barf and snot don’t stop being nasty just because they came out of a human. If humans couldn’t overcome their disgust to deal with disgusting bodily fluids, we’d be extinct within a generation. If a bit of our caretaking instinct spills over to another species, it may be a bit weird, but it seems harmless enough. I’ve seen pictures of cats nursing baby squirrels and it’s adorable. I guess this isn’t really so different.

    That said, I wouldn’t post it on the internet. At that point it goes from “saving a life” to “seeking attention.”

    Oh yeah… the puppy survived.

    • NYCNanny

      That’s a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing!
      And yeah…may be icky, but who cares! All moms and caretakers have done way grosser with their kids (hello that snot suction tube thing!!!)

  • tk88

    Wow, I love dogs but that’s just TOO much. He could have been force-fed with a bottle. Or she could have spoken to the vet and asked what else to do…

  • NYCNanny

    Can’t believe all the negative comments about this woman! It may not be your cup of tea, but c’mon!!! The woman saved a life. Of an adorable newborn baby puppy. What’s more beautiful than that?!

    • blh

      BC the freak job could’ve asked a vet or something for advice or fed it with a bottle or stopper whatever normal people to do feed baby animals. And there was no reason to put it on the internet.

  • Jessica Johnson

    The disease bit has me pretty curious, as every vet I’ve ever talked to says there are very few diseases that are zoonotic. Is it particularly sanitary? Probably not, but as I grew up often sharing food with a dog I’m rather unconcerned about dog spit. I’d also think that as long as you washed your nipple after the puppy fed, maybe used an alcohol wipe, your baby would be fine. I’m betting the puppy rejecting the bottle had more to do with it being formula in it than with it being a bottle, so before I held a tiny puppy to my boob I’d have tried expressing milk for it. I sucked (ha! unintentional pun) at breastfeeding my own kids as I only produced about 4 ounces every 8 or 9 hours, but I’m betting for a puppy that’d be enough. If it wouldn’t take a puppy bottle, I’d try dipping the corner of a cloth in the milk, try to get it to suckle, at least to get it interested. That failing, try a syringe. Odds are good that a puppy would have better luck with those than my nipple anyway. Puppy mouths are tiny, and my nipples not so much. (You’re welcome, random internet strangers, for that bit of TMI.) I’d probably wean the pup earlier than momma dog would. And lord knows I wouldn’t go around telling people that I was feeding the pup my milk. And if her kid is a year and three months old, it’s likely not going to miss puppy amounts of milk, as by that age kids are usually eating other stuff. Mine were almost completely off formula by then, so I’m guessing that most people are just supplementing their kid’s diet with the milk at that stage.
    Over all, I don’t see anything wrong with that lady actually
    using her breasts to feed the puppy. Her boobs, her body, her puppy, her choice.

  • apparentlyanawfulperson

    I voted ‘yes’ even though I’m not sure if I’d actually breastfeed a puppy (a kitten, maybe) even though I’d do everything else to keep it alive. The reason I voted that was that I don’t agree with the tone of this article. I care more about animals than babies, and if I had to choose between saving a baby or an animal, well…

  • Peyton

    I wouldn’t do it personally, mainly because I would be worried about the teeth, but it is admirable that she saved a life. Breastmilk is not necessary for the survival of a 15 month old. She is doing that for enjoyment. Babies can be weaned at 6 months and be fine. They can get no breastmilk and just formula and still be fine!

  • Abbe

    I would bring the dog to the vet, let them do their job.
    I love animals as much as the next person, and I’ve bottle-fed kittens, lambs, and goats, but I draw the line with breastfeeding animals. Nope.

  • Elisa Probert

    I’m in the “I don’t know” camp. I don’t even know if I would breastfeed a human baby

    It’s unsettling at the very least. As I was reading I had my little 12 week old Chiwhatsit jumping on my lap trying to nip my arms with her tiny needle teeth. NOOOO thank you on anything more sensitive.

  • Garavriel

    Or you bring it to the vet and maybe they could tube feed it or something.

  • Kelly

    I’ve been in her position. I used an eye dropper.

    She’s just a nut.

  • Holo The Wise Wolf

    The best thing to do in this situation is find a dairy goat farm and feed the pup raw goat milk (believe me I’ve seen it save a fair few lives, from squirrels to puppies), if they won’t drink from a bottle use a dropper.

    But can you really blame her for not wanting to watch the puppy to starve to death? And it’s not nursing anymore, granted she shouldn’t be still giving it breastmilk (like I said raw goat milk), but to me it just says she has a big heart.