Many pet parents are choosing a raw diet for their puppies over the traditionally processed kibble. If you are looking to get your puppy on a raw food diet, but are uncertain where to start, we’ve got you covered. Read on for some helpful tips to get you started with the right types of meat to feed your puppy, and how to make sure they get a well-balanced nutritious diet. We’ll also cover some of our top picks for the best raw puppy food brands.
What is a Raw Diet for Puppies?
There are two main types of raw food diets for dogs: the Raw Meaty Bones (RMB) diet and the Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (BARF) diet. Giving you dog a BARF diet means feeding them about 60 percent raw, meaty bones and 40 percent other nutritious raw foods. The 40 percent portion can consist of a combination of veggies, grains, legumes, and more.
Why Feed Your Puppy Raw Food?
Dogs naturally have a digestive system prepared to digest meat and bones. This characteristic is why the concept of a raw diet is becoming more popular. It gives your dog the same diet of a natural, carnivorous animal as they would have in the wild. A dog’s digestive system consists of strong jaws and teeth, even stronger stomach acid to break up meat and bones of smaller animals in the wild.
How to Feed Your Puppy Raw Food
More pet parents are switching to raw diets for their pups. With this new trend, you may be wondering if raw diets are safe. And if so, how to go about feeding your dog a raw food diet in the right way. You want to make sure your pup is getting all the essential nutrients for a healthy life.
Even though raw diets are natural for canines, there is still some risk involved. Before you start feeding your puppy a raw food diet, you should know these risks so you can minimize them.
One of the best ways to make sure you are feeding your puppy a raw diet in a safe way is to purchase raw dog food from a reputable brand. Many dog food companies offer raw diets to match your puppy’s needs. Many of these foods are already specially formulated, so you will know you are feeding your dog the right ingredients and portion sizes.
If you prefer to make your own food for your puppy at home, you’ll need to follow some general guidelines to feed your puppy the best way possible. This is a good rule of thumb for dogs of any age but is especially important for puppies.
It is essential to begin any new diet slowly. Start with small portions of just one type of ingredient at first. Gradually increase both the amount of food and the variety of ingredients as your pup gets used to them.
How to Prepare Your Puppy’s Food
Don’t cut your pup’s food too small. You don’t want your puppy swallowing lumps of bone without breaking it down first. Make sure to feed your dog raw meat with bone and connective tissue. Don’t rely on ground meat for your puppy’s nutrition because it does not provide all the nutrients they need.
1. Feed Your Puppy Fresh Meat
It is vital to feed fresh meat to your puppy. If you are not going to feed your puppy the meat right away, make sure to put it into the freezer immediately to avoid any spoilage of the food. You can also put it in the refrigerator (below 4 degrees Celsius) if you intend to use it within a few days. Older dogs are not as sensitive to the pathogens that develop in meat over time, but puppies’ tummies are much more vulnerable. For this reason, it is essential only to feed your puppy meat that is as fresh as what you would feed to your human family.
2. Keep Your Safety in Mind
It is vital to make sure you keep yourself safe while raw-feeding your puppy too. Any time you handle raw meat, it is risky. This is especially true when handling raw chicken due to salmonella and other bacterial contaminants. To reduce risk to yourself, follow some simple tips.
In the refrigerator or freezer, make sure to keep raw meat in sealed containers. Keep raw meat away from your other food, especially foods you don’t cook like salads. It is a smart idea to choose a specific cutting board and knife to use for raw meat only. Don’t use the same cutting board for your puppy’s raw meat and your own vegetables, for instance. You may want to wear disposable gloves when you handle raw meat. Throw them away and wash your hands when you are done.
3. Feed Your Puppy the Right Size Bones
There are pros and cons of raw feeding when it comes to your puppy’s teeth. The main benefit is that it helps keep your puppy’s teeth clean. This is due to the abrasive actions that occur when your puppy is chomping on the bones. With this comes the primary risk of damage to your puppy’s teeth. To mitigate the risk of tooth damage, follow these tips.
Don’t feed your puppy weight-bearing bones of large animals like cows or sheep. Weight-bearing bones mean the bones these animals stand on like leg bones that bear all the weight. You can feed your puppy leg bones of small animals, though.
A good rule of thumb is to consider how large an animal your puppy would be able to catch on their own if they were in the wild. If your puppy is medium to large, this may mean a rabbit. If your puppy is tiny, you’ll need to feed them smaller bones like chicken wings. You can feed beef bones to your puppy. Just make sure to choose smaller bones that don’t support the cow’s body weight, such as the ribs.
4. Feed Your Puppy a Variety of Raw Meat
Feed your puppy a variety of meats to keep them healthy and provide support for their optimal growth. Below is a list of nutritious options to feed your puppy. For growing pups, it is a good idea to make sure they get these raw ingredients a couple of times per week.
- Backs, necks, wings, or feet of chickens
- Pigs trotters
- Oily fish
- Kidney, lungs, and heart from beef or lamb
- Liver in minimal amounts
- Green tripe
- Ribs and rib meat of beef or lamb
How Much Raw Food Should You Feed Your Puppy?
Every puppy is different. If you are not sure how much raw food your puppy needs, you may want to consult your vet. However, generally, puppies need to eat the equivalent of two to three percent of their estimated adult weight each day. For example, if you have a golden retriever puppy that is expected to weigh around 60 pounds when fully grown, you’ll feed them just over one pound of raw food each day.
How Much Bone Should You Feed Your Puppy?
It is essential to provide your puppy with a healthy diet that includes at least 10 percent bone. Some dog foods contain minced bones, which will work for your puppy’s nutrition. However, to get the dental benefits, your pup will need to have a bone they can chew on. You can mince your tiny puppy’s food up in the beginning. As soon as your puppy is big enough to tear chunks of meat and bone off themselves, it’s time to skip the mincing.
How Often Should You Feed Your Puppy?
It is a good idea to give your dog four daily meals when under three months of age. Switch to three meals for puppies ages three to six months. Then, down to two meals for puppies over six months. Spread the meals out throughout the day. Don’t forget these are just guidelines. If your puppy is three months old and is doing great with only two meals a day, that works too!
How to Choose the Best Raw Puppy Food
If you are looking for the best raw dog food for your puppy, you may be wondering how to find the right brand. Many dog food companies are starting to offer raw dog foods. Two great options are Raw Paws pet foods and Cali Raw.
Raw Paws is a dog food company based in Indiana. Their website has all kinds of information on their vast selection of natural dog food, including bones, organs, treats, chews, and even supplements. The USDA inspects all Raw Paws meat from the moment it is sourced through the entire production and delivery process.
Raw Paws wants to make learning how to feed your dog a healthy raw diet as easy as possible. There are lots of tools to help you during the process. Read the feeding guides, use the calculator, and even get a free consultation over the phone with a Raw Paws specialist.
Cali Raw believes in feeding pups a species-appropriate diet. This means raw meat, organ, and bone from chicken, turkey, beef, and lamb. Cali Raw formulas include vegetables, salmon oil, and other vitamins and minerals for optimal health. Meals are designed to give your dog a complete, balanced diet that meets AAFCO Guidelines for nutrition. All Cali Raw dog food is made in micro-batches inside a USDA inspected facility and consists of 100 percent certified humane meats.
Feeding your puppy a raw diet can be an excellent decision for their health. Just make sure to follow general safety guidelines and instructions carefully on any food you purchase for the best results.