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How Do I Choose the Best Feeding Syringe?

By Cindy Quarters
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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A feeding syringe is used for many different kinds of situations involving a variety of animals such as puppies, reptiles and fish. When choosing the best syringes, consider the features that are likely to be important in your specific situation. Look at how much the syringe can hold, the physical dimensions of the syringe and the type of tip it has. You may also want to consider any unique aspects of the syringe, such as special tips and durability.

One of the more common uses for a feeding syringe is to hand feed animals that are ill or weak. In a technique called tube feeding, the syringe is attached to a long, flexible tube which is then inserted directly into the animal’s stomach. A measured amount of food is dispensed from the syringe, providing nutrition for an animal that is unable to feed itself. This technique is used on newborn animals that are unable to nurse and animals of all ages that are ill and have become too weak to eat. To minimize chances of overfeeding, you should choose a feeding syringe that is close in size to the amount you expect to give the animal.

When tube feeding is not used, a feeding syringe may also be used to hold a liquefied diet for an animal that needs help eating. Animals that are small enough to be held are often fed this way in order to ensure an adequate supply of nutrients. A syringe with a soft, flexible tip can be helpful when feeding an animal that may resist the help, since the soft tip is unlikely to cause a mouth injury. Syringes with removable tips are easier to clean, but a tip that is molded onto the syringe makes it impossible for the tip to come loose and choke the animal. The safest choice for animals that may resist the feeding process is typically a one-piece feeding syringe.

Aquarium owners frequently use a feeding syringe as a way to accurately measure the amount of food dispensed into the aquarium. This is typically done with salt water aquariums containing species such as coral and seahorses, but is also a common technique for breeders who want to provide a special diet to newly hatched fry in fresh or in salt water. Foods such as liquefied egg yolk, brine shrimp and commercial liquid diets are all measured by drawing them up into a syringe, then squirting the contents into the aquarium. You should choose a syringe large enough to hold the amount of food you need in a single dose, if possible. This is more convenient than having to repeatedly draw up food to dispense.

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