VCA Animal Hospitals

Tube Feeding – Gastrostomy Tubes in Dogs

What is a gastrostomy tube?

gastrostomy_tube_feedingA gastrostomy tube is a rubber feeding tube that passes directly into the stomach through a small opening in the skin and body wall of the dog's abdomen. It allows you to give food and water to your pet while it is recovering from a condition that prevents it from eating and drinking normally.

What food is used with a gastrostomy tube, and do I feed my dog through the tube?

You will syringe a special liquid diet or a homemade mixture (listed below) through the tube two to five times per day. This food is formulated to meet the dog's nutritional needs and should not cause vomiting or diarrhea. To feed your dog, follow these steps:

1. Place one can (14 oz or 396 gm) of premium quality puppy or development and growth food + 10 oz (300 cc) of water in a blender and run it at the fastest (liquefy) speed until the food is uniformly mixed. After mixing, pour the food through a kitchen strainer to remove any lumps.

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gastrostomy_tube_feeding_22. Have your dog lie on its side with the feeding tube facing up. Gently clean around the feeding tube and administration port (opening where you will connect the syringe to the feeding tube). Remove the protective cap from the feeding tube. You may need to release or open an additional safety valve prior to administering the liquefied diet.

3. Using the feeding syringe provided, inject ________ cc of the food into your dog's feeding tube ________ times per day FOR A TOTAL OF _______ CC PER 24 HOURS. Inject the food slowly, about 1 cc per second.

"After you have given the appropriate amount of food, flush 10 cc of plain water through the tube to remove any remaining food."

4. After you have given the appropriate amount of food, flush 10 cc of plain water through the tube to remove any remaining food. If the feeding tube clogs, you may try injecting 5 to 10 cc of a carbonated beverage (soda pop) to attempt to loosen the obstruction. If you are unable to clear any obstruction, contact your veterinarian for further instructions. Replace the cap on the tube.

5. Store any remaining food in the refrigerator. Before the next feeding, you should warm it to body temperature under hot tap water or in a microwave oven. If you heat the food in a microwave oven, be sure to mix the contents thoroughly prior to feeding because of the potential for uneven heating. Always check the temperature prior to feeding to be sure that it is not too hot by placing a small amount on the back of your hand. It should feel slightly warm.

Note:  Some measuring devices are marked in milliliters (ml) and others in cubic centimeters (cc). Although technically these are slightly different, for our purposes, a cc is the same as a ml.

When and how will the feeding tube be removed?

This decision to remove the feeding tube is based on the condition being treated. The objective is to correct the underlying condition and when your dog is able to resume eating on its own, the tube can be removed. Your veterinarian will advise you when to bring your dog in for tube removal. This procedure is simple and does not require anesthesia. However, under no circumstances  should you attempt to remove it yourself.

Related Tags

esophagostomy, gastrostomy

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