How Do I Feed My Puppy a Balanced Raw Diet
If you’re reading this blog, it’s likely you have or are about to adopt a puppy. Congrats! With a world pandemic going on, there has been an uptick in animal adoptions. Dogs have a wonderful way of helping us through hard times and this is no exception. But taking on a puppy is a huge responsibility and there is an overwhelming amount of information out the about how to care for them.
Can I Feed my puppy a raw diet? - yes!
At RDBK, we believe that feeding fresh food from an early age is imperative for health and longevity. But don’t just take it from us, there is a growing body of scientific evidence showing that this is no longer just an opinion. Raising pups on a well-balanced fresh food diet is the best way to ensure healthy immune function, brain development and prevent cancer. (1) (2) (3)
As some of you may know I breed Beaucerons and our puppies never see a day of kibble or processed food of any type. Our mamma dogs are fed an entirely raw diet before, during and after whelping and have large, healthy litters with no troubles nursing the pups. They are weaned directly onto raw food at 5-6 weeks of age and, many of them go off to working homes where they are active and healthy. One of our pups has even gone on to be ranked the #1 Beauceron in Canada!
WHAt You May Have Been Told...
We’ve been hearing from a lot of new puppy parents that have been told not to feed fresh food to their pup because it will cause nutritional deficiencies. This is certainly a valid concern, and I have seen first-hand the heartbreaking resultsof not providing a pup with a balanced diet. However, that should not be a deterrent from feeding fresh food, given the significant benefits. Here are some simple rules that I have used over the past 20 years with my pups to help them thrive on a fresh, raw diet.
9 Rules to Balancing Your Puppy's Raw Diet
The number one source of calcium in the raw diet is raw bone. The proteins that most commonly contain ground bone are poultry and rabbit. Hooved animals such as beef, venison and lamb often don’t contain any bone and are low in calcium Feed poultry with ground bone at least 4 days per week. It is easy to keep the calcium levels in your pup’s diet this way. Unlike people, dogs have to ability to digest bone and utilize the minerals from it. So, if you’re providing enough ground bone, you’ll be doing great.
2. Mineral Supplement for Pets with Poultry Sensitivity
If your puppy has GI (Gastrointestinal) issues or suspected allergies and cannot eat poultry, you will need to use a mineral supplement. The best option is steamed food grade bone meal powder. Do not use calcium supplements or eggshell powder since they do not provide the right mineral balance to ensure healthy growth for puppies.
Dosage for bone meal: 1.5% of the total meat portion of you pup’s meal.
3. Whole Bones
Along with bones meal supplementation, if your pup has sensitivities, you can offer whole bones from proteins that your pup can have. We have a wide range of bones and we can help you choose the best bones.
4. Protein Rotation
To ensure your pup gets enough other minerals like potassium, iron, magnesium, zinc, etc, be sure to use a variety of other proteins, organs and veggies. Eg. beef, lamb, venison, fish, wild boar, etc.
5. Ensuring Sufficient Fat Content
Your pups needs energy from fat so, whichever raw diet(s) you choose, the nutrition analysis should be, on average, between 10-12% fat.
6. Omega 3 Supplements
7. Vegetable Rotation
Ensure you pup gets access to a variety of vegetables and fruits for healthy fibre and phytonutrients. Don’t just feed the same old veggies every day.
9. Fermented Foods
Fermented foods are a fantastic addition: fermented vegetables such as kimchi and sauerkraut, along with raw cow or goat kefir.
Observing Stool Quality
Yes, that’s right, poop can be a great indicator of health! It’s also a useful way to tell whether or not your feeding too much or too little bone. Stool that is light in colour, dry or crumbly or hard to pass indicates you are feeding too much bone, especially if this is happening every day. Stools that are dark in colour and soft on a regular basis indicates that you may not be feeding enough bone. But poops should vary in colour, depending on what you are feeding that day. Don’t be surprised to see differences in stool colour and formation as they eat different foods. That is totally normal! Just be sure that stools are moist, firm but not hard and easy to pass.
Let Us Do All The Work!
If you’d like a more comprehensive guide to feeding your pup a balanced raw diet, you can fill out our free feeding guide form to get the details. And, if you still need help, contact us with questions. We love helping new puppy parents set their pups up for life so please reach out to us any time.
We hope that you’re staying safe, and enjoying as much time as possible with your new furry companion!
- The Effect of Atopic Dermatitis and Diet on the Skin Transcriptome in Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 2020
- Apparent total-tract macronutrient digestibility, serum chemistry, urinalysis, and fecal characteristics, metabolites and microbiota of adult dogs fed extruded, mildly cooked and raw diets, Journal of Animal Science, 2018
- Raw meat based diet influences faecal microbiome and end products of fermentation in healthy dogs, BMC Veterinary Research, 2016