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A Guide to Raw Feeding Puppies

Congratulations on your new furry friend! As your puppy rapidly grows, it's essential they have a wholesome, nutrient-rich diet to support their development. This guide will help you understand what, when, and how much to feed your puppy for optimal health.

Dogs, being facultative carnivores, thrive on a diet primarily composed of meat, with a side of plant-based food. A raw diet, comprising muscle meat, organs, and bone, mimics what dogs would eat in the wild and ensures they get all the necessary nutrients for robust growth. This results in strong bones, healthy joints, and a well-developed brain.

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When selecting puppy food, consider these factors:

  • Calorie-rich: Puppies, given their rapid growth and constant activity, need more calories than adult dogs.

  • Protein-packed: Protein supplies essential amino acids for developing hair, skin, nails, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage.

  • Fresh: Fresh food is more digestible, allowing puppies to absorb more nutrients.

  • Calcium-enriched: An optimal amount of calcium is crucial for bone and teeth development.

  • Digestible: Choose easy-to-digest food to prevent digestive issues as your puppy's digestive system is still developing.

 

Feeding your puppy a raw diet can result in:

  • Glossy coat

  • Smaller, less odorous feces

  • Reduced flatulence

  • Enhanced digestion, trainability, immune support, and energy balance

 

The amount of food your puppy needs daily ranges from 4%-10% of their body weight, with younger ones requiring more. Factors like age, weight, size, breed, health conditions, and activity level also influence their daily food intake.

 

How do you know you're feeding your puppy the right amount? Observe for:

  • A shiny, soft coat and healthy skin

  • No begging after meals

  • Ideal weight for their age, size, and breed

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How much raw to feed by breed

Charts are helpful to understand how much to feed your puppy based on weight and age. You can also look at their breed classification to understand their feeding needs:

Toy breeds (e.g. Chihuahua, Pomeranian)

  • Reach maturity around 9 months

  • Peak growth happens around 4 months. At this age they need 3-4 meals a day

  • Around 6-7 months they may go off their food. This is a sign that their appetite has naturally decreased, and they need fewer meals

  • Be careful not to overfeed

 

Small breeds (e.g. Pug, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel)

  • They take longer to reach maturity than toy breeds

  • Need 3-4 meals a day until around 6 months

  • After 6 months their calorie needs dip but only slightly

  • Most only need 2 meals by 12 months

 

Small/medium breeds (e.g. Beagle)

  • Reach maturity between 12-15 months

  • Need more calories than smaller breeds through their entire life

  • Calorie needs are consistent for first 12 months as they have more growing to do

  • Once mature, they need calories to build muscle and to fill out

 

Medium/large breeds (e.g. Springer Spaniel, Dalmatian)

  • Reach maturity between 12-18 months

  • Growth rate in first 12 months is fast

  • Need a nutrient dense and calorie rich, complete and balanced diet to support their growth

 

Large breeds (e.g. Labrador, Doberman)

  • Reach maturity around 18 months

  • Require puppy food that is high in protein to support their growth

  • Around 12 months, muscles are forming so they need a nutrient dense, balanced and complete diet

 

Giant breeds (e.g. Great Dane, Irish Wolfhound)

  • Reach maturity around 18 months +

  • Need a nutrient dense, balanced and complete diet to support their growth

  • Require a calcium rich diet to support the growth of bones and teeth

  • Need carbohydrates to provide energy for playing/training

 

Determining the right weight for your puppy is individual and varies by factors like season, stress, activity, and health conditions. However, a better indicator of health is their body composition.

 

Feeding Frequency:

8 to 16 weeks - 4 meals daily

16 weeks to 12 months - 3 meals daily

12 to 18 months - 2 meals daily

Introducing Raw Food to a Puppy:

  • Ensure a calm environment during feeding times.

  • Avoid processed foods and carbohydrates to prevent excessive growth and inflammation.

  • Regularly monitor your puppy's growth as their feeding needs will change quickly.

 

Most puppies will transition smoothly to a raw diet overnight. However, for those with sensitive stomachs, it's advisable to transition gradually over 4 days.

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