Raw feeding pups is very similar to raw feeding adult dogs. Only two things need to change – the amount you feed and the frequency you feed. Pups need to be fed more food, more often. Until six months of age pups should be fed three times per day. From six months of age you can move to two feeds per day.
The ideal growth rate for a puppy is slow. There is no competition to reach an adult size; the slower your pup grows the more likely they are to develop a sound, healthy bone structure and have less growth-related health issues in the future.
Transitioning puppies to a raw diet can be easier than transitioning adult dogs due to their natural curiosity and reduced chance of them having formed a strong association to kibble. It is recommended that you do not attempt to feed both kibble and raw to a puppy as the difference in digestive enzymes and pH can be difficult for a pup’s system to manage. You are less likely to have any adverse effects (vomiting, diarrhea etc) if you do a cold turkey switch.
Some raw feeder’s advocate using a method of feeding that calculates the expected adult weight of the puppy and suggests feeding 2% of this expected weight each day in food. This method fails to take into consideration the huge range of variables that contribute to a dog’s final size. The adult size of mixed breed pups and rescue dogs of unknown lineage can be difficult to predict. Even pups from the same litter often grow to different sizes!
The other option is to calculate the pup’s current weight and use this as a guide to the amount of food to give.
Pups aged between 8-16 weeks of age – feed between 8-10% of their current weight per day divided into three feeds per day.
Pups aged between 16-24 weeks of age – feed between 6-8% of their current weight per day divided into three feeds per day.
Pups aged between 24-32 weeks of age – feed between 4-6% of their current weight per day divided into two-three feeds per day.
Pups aged between 32-52 weeks of age – feed between 3-6% of their current weight per day divided into two feeds per day.
Constantly monitoring the body condition of a growing pup is crucial. This is the best way to determine if your puppy is eating enough or too much. Follow the same guidelines as introducing raw food to an adult dog. Go slowly and only introduce one new food item at a time.
- Start by choosing a protein source that is readily available in your area. If feeding a premade product choose one with only one protein type in the ingredients.
- Feed a portion of muscle meat and edible bone suitable for your sized pup, for the first meal or two. If your pup does not eat within 20 minutes remove the food and refeed it for the next meal.
- Check your pup’s poop. You are looking for poop that is not too loose and not too firm. If poop is too firm decrease the amount of bone being fed.
- Repeat this process for at least a couple of days. When your pup is managing well you can slowly introduce other cuts of muscle meat and edible bone from the same protein source.
- When stools are consistent you can introduce another protein source. Follow the same method of slowly introducing the muscle meat and edible bone. Some pups may reject one protein source and love another.
- Once your pup is consuming at least three different protein sources you can introduce organ meats. Liver is vital to a balanced raw diet, so start by introducing a small amount of liver (from any animal source). Liver is rich and can cause diarrhea if too much is introduced too quickly. Continue to increase the amount until 5-7% of total meal is reached.
- Repeat the process for other organs.
- Continue to monitor dog poop. If too loose, increase bone content. If too hard, decrease bone content and include more organs.