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- A raw food diet for puppies is one that will give them many health benefits, provided it is done properly.
- Keeping the raw meal simple by using only one protein will avoid possible stomach upsets.
- Feed your puppy raw meals that are 2 to 3 percent of their expected body weight when they grow into adulthood—this will depend on their breed size.
Plenty of pet owners are getting onboard the raw feeding movement nowadays, with the market for raw dog food expected to grow to $ 195 billion by 2029. Experts agree that raising healthy dogs begin with feeding puppies the right meals—and a raw food diet for puppies is one of the best options. With trusted providers such as We Feed Raw, I believe a raw diet can elevate your pup’s health and growth, making them into a much more well-built adult dog.
But some dog owners choose to make their own dog food, and while it could be difficult to dodge the health risks of raw food in this way, it can be done as long as you can find the right ingredient supplier. However, there’s also the matter of educating yourself on the principles of raw feeding. It’s important to be keenly aware of the correct way to compose your homemade raw diets. For me, I like to eliminate pathogen worries by cooking homemade dog food or subscribing to deliveries. If in doubt, I highly recommend dog food delivery service platforms as a convenient option.
Keep it Simple
When just starting out, it’s important to keep things simple. Use only one protein source to see if your puppy adjusts well to raw feeding. This way, if any upset happens with your dog’s digestive system, it’ll be easier to determine if they have a problem with raw meat in general, or if they just have a problem with the specific type of raw meat you’ve been feeding them.
You should also refrain from mixing raw food with anything else. If you’re feeding raw food to your pup and you mix it with kibble, for example, it could cause a pH imbalance in their stomachs. This will weaken their ability to kill bacteria in their stomachs, potentially compromising their immune systems. See our raw dog food vs kibble comparison to see their differences.
Fortunately, it’s easier for puppies to get used to raw dog food diets, as they haven’t really had time to get used to anything else. So you don’t really have to mix dry or fresh food into their raw diets to “ease them into it”.
Know How Much Raw Food to Feed
The reason puppies consume more food than adult dogs is because they get hungry a lot quicker and therefore eat more frequently. Given that, it can be difficult not to overfeed them if you just go by feel. You will need to go by a more established baseline when determining how to portion your puppy’s meals.
This will mainly depend on your puppy’s breed. Large breed puppies will need more food than small breed puppies in order to grow to their expected size, even if a large breed puppy can be close to the same size as a small breed one.
The usual rule of thumb is to feed your dog 2 to 3 percent of their expected body weight when they grow into adulthood. So if your puppy’s breed averages at around 50 lbs at adult size, you should feed your puppy 1 lb to 1.5 lbs of food per day. Start with this baseline and adjust if you feel that you’re underfeeding or overfeeding your dog. It often helps to dole out food over more than 3 meals per day in order to pace their consumption.
Pay Attention to the Nutrient Balance
Since you’re starting out with simpler recipes, this shouldn’t be too difficult. But as your puppy grows, the nutrient profiles of their meals should also become more sophisticated, especially if you plan on putting them on a BARF diet.
BARF diets, which stand for “biologically appropriate raw food”, tend to require ingredients that are unfamiliar to modern consumers. They require a good amount of research so as to not be misused.
Two major essential nutrients that you need to be careful to give in the correct amounts are fat and protein. Puppies tend to need more protein than adults, hence they’ll be better served by lean muscle meat. However, puppies also need a lot of fat in order to get their needed supply of fatty acids—about 20 to 25 percent of their meals by weight. So try to strike the balance between the high protein of leaner meat and the fat provided by fatty meat. If your recipes are lacking in protein, consider alternative protein sources such as adding extra vegetables.
Organ meat is another thing you need to be particularly mindful of. There’s such a thing as having too much organ meat, especially for puppies. In general, make sure that no single type of organ comprises more than 10 percent of the meal, but to stay on the safe side with puppies, keep each kind of organ under 5 percent of their meals by weight.
And finally, pay attention to how much phosphorus and calcium your puppy takes in . Too little calcium compared to phosphorus will lead to weaker bones, while the inverse will lead to too rigid bones that can eventually lead to osteoporosis and other defects. Calcium is present in raw food in the form of bones, as well as bone meal and eggshells. Phosphorus on the other hand can be found in fresh meat, particularly organ meats such as the liver.
The trick to this, pro-raw vets advise, is by feeding raw meaty bones, rather than having your dog’s meals be mostly meat. Keep the bone to meat ratio 1:1, they say, and you’ll have just the right amount of calcium vs phosphorus, thus fostering good bone health. Parts such as turkey and chicken necks and tails, as well as ribs and necks from beef or venison, are good examples of raw meaty bone.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is raw food diet good for puppies?
Raw food diets can be good for the majority of dogs so long as they contain plenty of greens and are completely rid of harmful bacteria. In rare cases, some dogs cannot eat raw. Consult your vet to determine whether raw puppy food diet is right for your dog.
When can I start my puppy on a raw diet?
At about 8 to 12 weeks, when your pup is starting to develop their permanent teeth. Raw dog food diet is a great way to break in their brand-new pearly whites, as they tend to make dogs’ teeth healthier due to the fact that it doesn’t stick to teeth, doesn’t cause tooth decay like processed foods do, and help them hone their teeth for chewing.
What raw foods can Puppies eat?
For puppies, it’s better to give them foods that are easy to eat but not too easy to chew, so as to help their teeth and jaws grow strong. Raw patties or shredded meat with bone meal would be the ideal recipe for them, using a mix of lean and fatty protein.
How much raw food should a puppy eat a day?
Puppies tend to need more food than an adult dog, and it’s no different if you’re feeding your puppy raw. Exactly how much food they need depends on their activity level and breed, but in general their meals tend to be twice or even thrice the size of adult dogs’ meals.