It is common for people to get a puppy and ask, “when can I switch her to raw?” The answer is “now”.
Puppies are designed to eat raw meat, bones and organs right after weaning. Start them on ground products and be sure you have a good variety of foods from the get-go.
Puppies should be fed three to four times a day. They are considered adult eaters when their adult teeth are in, around six months of age. They can start eating twice a day at this time.
Teething happens between four and six months and this is a perfect time to get whole meaty bones started. Chewing on a cold chicken or turkey neck is soothing to the sore gums and is beneficial in getting the adult teeth installed quickly.
The amount to feed a puppy is 8-10% of their body weight a day. This can be daunting if your pup is growing quickly. Some people recommend feeding 3-4% of the expected adult weight per day, but if you picked up a mutt, this could be hard to gauge. Try to stick to the 8-10% guide and it’s better to have a thin puppy than a rolly-polly puppy. As they enter their teen years, six to eighteen months, they will likely be quite thin. We want to feel their ribs and may even see them depending on the breed. Every breed should have a definite waist when viewed from above.
I recommend fasting one meal a week for adult dogs and that routine can begin when the adult teeth have grown in.
There is a fear among giant breed rearers that the calcium/phosphorous levels need to be scientifically measured. This comes from some large dogs having weak joints or bone plates or hip/elbow dysplasia in early adulthood. If you’re feeding a variety of food in the correct proportions, this won’t be a problem for your large breed dog. Buddie’s has menu guides to help you stay on track. Poor bone growth has also been associated with spaying/neutering too early.
You can start using supplements sparingly. I recommend a good fish oil daily, but anything else is on a dog-by-dog basis. Your dog should be getting her nutrition from fresh food first.
Most of all, enjoy your puppy. You both have a lot to learn and you’ll do a fine job feeding her.