Puppies are born to eat raw food and switching them is easy. They have the enzymes to digest raw meat and bone. There is no “puppy formula” for raw food and when you get your pup, she should be eight weeks of age or older, so she is weaned and already eating solid food. If she’s been eating a kibble up until now, just offer a raw meal and it should go down with gusto.
Here are some pointers on puppies and raw feeding:
- You can start with ground products if you like, but whole meaty bones are also good for pup, especially during teething between four and six months of age. Whole meaty bones should be large enough to chew on and not small enough to swallow whole.
- Puppies are voracious eaters and will swallow large pieces whole. Your pup is used to competing with her littermates for food and it will take a while to calm down and eat with some civility. So stick with large meaty bones or ground food.
- Feed three to four meals a day. The rule of thumb is to switch to two meals a day after the adult teeth are in, around six months.
- Feed 5-10% of your pup’s current weight PER DAY. You will need to adjust the portions often as she grows. Keep her thinner rather a roly-poly puppy. She may look at you with eyes of hunger, but she’s fine. Go for a walk. Food should be nutrition for you dog, not a source of entertainment or an emotional filler.
- Get her used to a variety of meats. If you follow the guideline of 60% raw meaty bones, 30%tripe, fish, and eggs, and 10% organ, she’ll be fine. There is no need to concern about calcium balance in large breeds. Do up a menu and follow it.
- Supplement sparingly if at all. You’re already feeding a great diet so there is seldom anything you can add to make it better. Salmon oil is a good daily supplement that is recommended for all ages, though. Just follow the guidelines on the bottle.
- All dogs regurgitate and puppies do it often. This is different from vomiting. Regurgitation happens when too much food has gone down too quickly, or the pup wants to eat in private. She may eat quickly and regurgitate in a quiet corner to re-eat her meal at a more leisurely pace. Let her. She will grow out of this habit.
- Puppies sometimes take to eating poop. This is a curiosity thing and they typically grow out of it. If your pup is raw fed, she will have a bomb proof system and won’t get sick. The only concern is if the poop is from an unknown donor that may be on pharmaceutical drugs. I’m not advocating to let your pup eat poop, I’m just letting you know that it’s not unusual.
- Have your pup work for her meals. Now is the time to instill some respect for you and your amazing power to supply food. Just having her sit and wait nicely will do, but you can have her doing the can-can if you want to amp it up and make meal time fun.
- Treats are great for training and you can go through a lot in the first year. Make sure to use a good quality treat like dehydrated meats and remember to remove the amount from her meals. Too many liver treats can cause runny poop, so variety is great. Try lung, heart, fish… and nothing from China.
Prepared by Debbie Wood, Logical Dog Animal Naturopathics