The palate is the structure that separates the nasal and oral cavities to allow simultaneous suckling and breathing during lactation. The palate develops from two angles in dogs, the secondary palate becomes fused between days 25 and 28 in the uterus. One issue we face is the tube feeding does not encourage the suckling reflex of the pup and the gradual delivery of milk to the stomach.
Suckling and chewing are essential for developing the proper facial muscles, which is required for normal jaw and dental growth. This is a number one reason we allow our pups to suck our fingers during and after a feed, if we are lucky they take to a dummy. The sucking not only comforts and fulfils the natural instinct to suck but also helps produce saliva a important part of mouth and stomach health.