Knowing what to feed your puppy can be difficult. Everyone wants the absolute best for their little one, but there is a lot of conflicting information out there about feeding raw to puppies, biologically appropriate raw food (BARF) and prey model raw (PMR) diets, it can be hard to know what and who to trust. For so long, feeding commercial puppy food from the supermarket was the norm. But now information is spreading, debates are forming and Netflix documentaries like ‘Pet Fooled’ have dog lovers questioning everything.
So, we’re here to answer a few of the questions you might have about feeding your puppy a raw diet.
Feeding your puppy a raw diet is one of the best things you can do for them.
Why feed your puppy a raw diet?
Feeding your puppy a raw diet will give them the best start in life. The prey model raw diet consists of at least 80% muscle meat, 10% bone, 5% liver and 5% other organs. This is because while dogs have evolved from wolves to their current domesticated state, their biological make-up hasn’t changed much.
Wolves are carnivores who consume whole (or mostly whole) prey in the wild
Their natural diet is virtually rid of carbohydrates and completely rid or anything cooked or processed. When did you last see a wolf cook a meal, or eat a dried biscuit?
41% of dogs in Australia are overweight
This is no coincidence considering the highly processed, carbohydrate-rich diet that so many of us well-intentioned dog-lovers feed our dogs.
A raw diet can prevent obesity, increase your puppy’s energy levels, decrease their risk of developing a chronic illness, and improve muscle tone, joints and coat condition.
Highly-processed, carbohydrate-rich foods, like kibble, can also have an adverse effect on your puppy’s behaviour (much like when human kids eat too much junk food).
On a raw diet, your puppy will grow and thrive. Just as they would if they were wild wolves, being cared for by their biological parents.
Prey model raw v. BARF diets
The BARF diet is otherwise known as biologically appropriate raw food, or raw food and bones. Though it is a raw feeding model, it differs slightly from the prey model raw diet. A BARF diet consists of 70% muscle meat, 10% edible bone, 5% liver, 5% other organs 7% vegetables, 2% seeds and 1% fruit.
This is based on dog’s evolution to live with humans as scavengers. Dogs have certainly evolved to live with, socialise with and rely on humans. However, their physiological make up remains aligned with that of a wolf.
How to transition your puppy to a raw diet
A raw diet is suitable for weaned puppies, aged 12 weeks and older. Generally, puppies should be fed 2 – 3 times daily, until they’re 6 months old, and twice daily after 6 months. After they are 1 year old, they can be fed once or twice daily depending on preference.
When transitioning your puppy to raw feeding, remember that a sudden diet change can be a shock to anyone’s system. Therefore, it is recommended that you introduce new food gradually using the transition schedule below as a minimum.
Making your own raw puppy food
Making your own raw food for puppies does involve a learning curve. You will need to incorporate appropriate ingredient ratios. Then your puppy’s weight, age and energy levels will determine suitable daily portion sizes. Finding a good feeding guide, choosing the right ingredients and getting help from the raw feeding community are all going to ease this process. However, if you’re thinking this is too much effort, too gross, or you’re concerned your puppy might be missing out on essential nutrients, you can always choose a premade option, like a PROUDI® Complete and Balanced Raw diet.
Warning about supermarket mince: While supermarket mince is human-grade, it does not suffice as a complete and balanced diet for dogs of any age. It’s OK every now and then, but as a sole source of nutrition, your puppy could miss out on essential nutrients.
Finding the right premade raw food for your puppy
You would probably be shocked and appalled at what companies are allowed to sell as ‘pet food.’ Even complying with pet food standards doesn’t necessarily mean much. So, knowing what to look for in raw food products for your puppy is important.
Keep an eye out for products with vague ingredient lists
Some brands mention several possible options as to what’s inside. They can even label as one protein, but list something entirely different in the ingredients.
Always choose human grade, complete and balanced diets
Not all raw food products are complete and balanced. Ensure you are feeding everything your puppy needs, and they don’t require additional supplementation with their premade diet.
A raw diet is more than just raw meat.
Not all brands or recipes are suitable for puppies. A popular human grade raw option is Proudi Raw Frozen Chicken Patties for Dogs. They have everything a puppy needs in a cute heart-shaped patty.
Proudi Frozen Raw Chicken Patties for Dogs, puppy feeding guide
Proudi Frozen Raw Chicken Patties for Dogs are great for puppies. However, the feeding guide provided on the packaging only applies to adult dogs. Please use the guide below when feeding your puppy.