When you first get a puppy, you aren’t just getting a dog, but a new member of your family. You’ll want to give them the best of everything, from toys to exercise and beyond. Included in the best is the diet you feed them. We believe that raw food for your puppy is an excellent choice of diet to help them grow big, strong, and healthy. Let’s get into all the benefits and details of establishing a puppy raw food diet below!
Your Guide to Raw Dog Food for Puppies: Establishing a Puppy Raw Food Diet
Thinking of feeding your puppy raw food? Use our raw food for puppies guide to help you establish a raw food puppy diet for your new furry friend.
The benefits of a raw diet for your puppy
Before we get into how you should give your puppy raw food, let’s get into the why! There are a plethora of benefits of raw dog food like cleaner teeth, healthier skin, shinier coats, and a healthier digestive tract, meaning smaller, less smelly stools.
If you’ve got a fussy puppy on your hands, they won’t be able to resist the delicious tastes found in a raw diet. This is because most pets readily take to a diet that is rich in flavour with a high content of meats and omegas.
If you’re thinking of feeding your pet raw food, we recommend our Bold by Nature raw diets, as they are low glycemic with limited ingredients and contain no unnecessary additives or sugars. These are especially great for puppies, dogs, and other pets with food allergies or sensitivities.
The moisture content in our raw diets is also a huge health factor. Some puppies don’t visit their water bowl as often as they should, and as a result, don’t get the hydration they need. The higher moisture content also aids your puppies in healthy urinary tract support and nutrient absorption by providing increased digestibility.
It is important to note that raw dog food costs more than you’re standard kibble. Just like when we shop for groceries, the better the quality of food, the more it is going to cost. That’s not to say there aren’t some very expensive/high quality dry pet foods out there, but the high level of protein and natural ingredients in a raw diet will never be matched.
Can puppies eat raw food?
The short answer is yes! Just like humans, young animals need strong immune systems to grow healthy. As a newborn, puppies are already going through a very stressful stage in life, leaving these systems more vulnerable. They’re growing rapidly, weaning from mom, discovering new sights and sounds, receiving vaccinations, and experiencing the stress of moving to a new home. Really it’s a lot for a little baby to take in!
Alternately, in the wild, infant wolves, foxes, and coyotes are weaned onto whatever food their mother was able to find and regurgitate for them. They also had access to whatever was leftover from the pack, so they can get used to chewing on the bones. It is believed that this slow weaning process is necessary because the digestive tract of infant carnivores cannot properly break down solid foods until about four weeks old.
Puppies continue to nurse after meals until they are fully weaned onto their raw diet. Many breeders start by introducing raw goat’s milk. From there, many add raw ground meat on top of the milk they receive from their mom. We suggest feeding the raw meat to them first so they don’t completely fill up on milk from their mother, but don’t overdo it – organs can cause loose stools.
With that said, providing your puppy with a species-appropriate diet is the natural support they need to grow healthy and strong. The first eight weeks of a puppy’s life sets the tone for its lifetime health.
How early can you feed your puppy raw food?
There’s no need to wait. If you haven’t gotten your puppy started on any other diet, you can begin them on a raw food diet as soon as you bring them into your home.
Make the switch cold turkey
If you’ve already started your puppy on a kibble or dry food diet, there’s no need to worry, as switching over to a raw dog food diet is effortless. We recommend switching your puppy to a raw diet literally cold turkey. As an easy protein to digest, our Bold by Nature Select Turkey or Mega Turkey are two great ways to start your pup on its raw food journey. We suggest feeding puppies 3-4 meals a day so that instead of getting one large meal at once, their food is spaced out, giving them more time to digest.
Determining how much raw food to feed a puppy
Three meals daily
Again, for puppies that are six months and younger, it is recommended to feed three small meals a day. After that, you could reduce feedings to once or twice daily. It is crucial to spread your puppy’s meals out because their small stomachs and digestive tracts don’t allow them to eat the amount they need in one sitting, and waiting too long between meals could cause an upset stomach.
This is especially important in small breeds because they can become hypoglycemic (blood sugar levels lower than the standard) if meals are too far spread out!
Feed 2-3% of expected adult body weight
When you’re determining how much raw food to feed a dog, it is good to base it around their expected adult body weight. This is to ensure puppies are getting all the nutrients they need to reach their full growth potential. If your puppy is purebred, this process will be a little easier, as you’ll probably have accurate information on the parents/relatives. If you’re unsure of the expected adult weight, try feeding 6-10% of its current weight and adjust accordingly based on its body condition if necessary.
If you do not know your puppy’s adult weight – follow the below guidelines:
- Three months or younger– 8% of their current weight.
- Four to six months–6% of their current weight.
- Six to nine months–4% of their current weight.
- Nine or more months– 2.5% of their current weight.
Start with one protein
Once you’ve figured out the percentage of raw food to give your puppy, it is time to decide which protein to get. For the first week or two, you should start with just one protein source and when stools become normal and firm, with no signs of digestive upset, you can introduce a second source and so on. We usually recommend starting with our turkey formula if possible, as it’s the lowest in fat and easily digestible.
Calcium and phosphorus in the diet
Did you know that tripe has a nearly perfect calcium-to-phosphorus ratio? This is ideal for the growth, development, and long-term maintenance of your puppy. Although this upkeep can feel intimidating, our Bold by Nature products make it easier than giving a paw. You can purchase our tripe on its own as 3oz patties that come in a 3lb box. You can also find tripe in our Mega Beef and Mega Blend recipe and all our Select recipes.
Another great source of calcium and phosphorus is meaty bones. Some examples of good meaty bones include turkey necks, knucklebones, and chicken necks.
Where can I get Bold by Nature products?
Ready to make the switch to raw? If you’ve found your answer after considering raw dog food vs kibble, You can purchase Bold by Nature products, like raw chicken for dogs, online or at your local retailer. If you’re unsure of which stores carry Bold by Nature products, you can use our location finder to explore retailers near you.