Starting your puppy on a raw diet requires two changes to the typical raw feeding requirements for adult dogs. They require more food and more meals throughout the day to sustain a healthy growth period – that’s it! Monitoring a growing puppy’s body condition is crucial. This is the best way to determine if your puppy is eating too much, or not enough.
Puppies can eat raw food just like an adult can, no matter the age or breed. Providing proper nutrition when feeding a growing puppy is very important to ensure your puppy grows as healthy as possible. Slow growth is best for a puppy, contrary to popular belief. On average, people tend to want their puppies to grow fast into the biggest and healthiest puppy around, but this is the opposite of what you should do. Bone disorders begin in puppyhood and providing a balanced raw diet allows the puppy to grow slowly which ultimately avoids bone and joint issues.
Although a puppy’s maintenance percentages and feeding frequencies are higher than an adult dog’s requirements, the recommended percentages for muscle meat, raw meaty bones, organs, and fruit/veggies remain the same for the diet option you choose for your puppy.
If your puppy doesn’t eat all the food, that’s ok – weigh what is remaining and save to feed at the next feeding. If meals are continuously not being finished, you’ll need to decrease the percentage you’re feeding. It is important to keep a close eye on the puppy’s body condition during this period. Percentages and feeding schedules may need to be adjusted depending on the puppy’s requirements, these are starting guidelines.
All puppies, especially young puppies, should begin eating total balanced meals (muscle meat, bone, liver, and organs). Puppies cannot regulate vitamins and nutrients like an adult dog can. Additionally, puppies have a higher amino acid requirement during their crucial growth period. The most important note to remember is to provide muscle meat and bone daily to ensure healthy growth.
With puppies a transition is not needed. Often times puppies take to raw easily and eagerly. However there are instances where a puppy cannot tolerate organs and red meat initially, resulting in GI upset. In these cases, start introducing red meat and organs slowly. However if diarrhea persists using the traditional transition routine is ideal not to cause excessive stress on a growing puppy.
Young puppies are known to contract parasites after birth. If your puppy is showing constant signs of GI upset, it is advisable to rule out possible parasites and protozoa which is a common cause of frequent diarrhea in puppies.
The same rules for feeding raw bones to adult dogs apply to puppies. Giving raw bones to puppies is totally safe when providing the appropriate size cuts for the size and age of the dog. Smaller bones are recommended to start with and work up to larger bones as your puppy grows. If you have a puppy you are weaning from the mother, raw grinds with bone mixed in is recommended in the beginning until the puppy can begin chewing whole foods.
Large and giant breed puppies are no different than any other puppy. Like all puppy breeds, large and giant puppies need to grow very slow. This is to avoid developing joint and bone issues. Remember, each dog (and puppy) is different – the guidelines provided are just starting points. You must monitor your puppy’s body condition and growth very closely in their young lives. Adjust percentages and feeding schedules as needed.