Raw mince or pre ground raw is a great method to start raw feeding puppies.
Getting Started Raw Feeding Puppies
Armed with a mouthful of puppy teeth, puppies are quite capable of handling minced raw meals and should not experience many digestive issues as long as you follow a few simple guidelines.
After a month or so on raw "mush", and as permanent teeth begin to cut in, we'll put down a large meaty bone like a turkey neck or chicken leg to get them used to gnawing.
Take caution that the raw meaty bone is not a weight baring bone! These bones can break teeth and do not digest well.
Caveat: Be sure that the piece of chicken, turkey or whatever raw meaty bone you put down is about the size of your puppy's head to avoid any chance of your puppy swallowing it whole.
As your little pup unleashes its inner carnivore, gnawing will lead to chewing and chewing to crunching of pliable raw bone, cartilage and connective tissue which your pup will soon learn to swallow. When you two reach that milestone, typically about 3 or 4 months of age on average, you're well on your way with a raw fed dog. And, a healthy dog to boot!
When homing a new puppy that wasn't started off on raw, you'll need to acclimate her to the raw method of feeding and it may take some time before your pup understands that raw is actually food. There's always the chance of stomach upset in this situation, loose stool is common and there may be some degree of detox depending on how long your pup was fed a commercial dog food diet.
Detox typically shows up as off colored or mucus covered stool, this is not abnormal.
Large & Giant Breed Puppy Concerns
Those with large & giant breed puppies may be aware that balanced levels of calcium and phosphorus are critical to promote proper bone, joint and skeletal development. Many commercial kibble manufacturers specifically formulate blends for this reason and market them to large and giant breed puppy parents.
Problem is that processed forms of calcium and phosphorus added to commercial pet food is difficult for a dog to excrete if in excess. With a raw diet, either mineral if in excess, will be eliminated and passed through a dog's body during digestion making raw feeding puppies in my opinion a safer bet.
TIP: Keep a few cans of canned pumpkin on hand if you run into episodes of loose or runny stool. This can happen occasionally, often when introducing a new meat or organ meat too much at once. A few meals of canned pumpkin is a homeopathic natural remedy to get things solid again.
Balancing Calcium & Phosphorus
Yes, raw feeding puppies can provide appropriate levels of calcium and phosphorus just like that engineered dry kibble, but naturally. With meat providing protein plus phosphorus, and bone the calcium, we achieve an appropriate balance by feeding raw meaty bones that contain about 10 to 20% bone mass.
Sounds difficult to some I'm sure, but let's look at a few pieces of chicken as an example. Take a raw meaty bone, a chicken thigh for example, it contains about 15% bone, perfect. A drumstick at an average of 30% bone is a little high, just add a little boneless chicken to compensate. Not that difficult, would you agree?
For additional bone content in various species of raw meaty bones, and to learn what part these minerals play in the development of our pups, see our Nutrition of Raw dog food article.
A stool that is white or ashy after a day, or dry and crumbly, is often a good indicator that you are feeding too much bone and it is being passed through your dog undigested.
Tips for Raw Feeding Puppies
- Puppies should start with a single meat protein source for the first few weeks, seems everyone uses chicken.
- Very young puppies can be fed a minced raw diet of ground up chicken & bone or whatever meat protein you choose.
- Pre mixed frozen raw like Oma's Pride works great for very young pups.
- Once things progress you can add a second protein in small amounts.
- If you go raw stick with it, don't skip a day and feed kibble, you'll throw off the PH balance as the gut will sway more acidic with raw fed dogs.
- Feed young puppies two or three small meals per day totalling about 2 to 3% of their projected adult weight or 10% of their current body weight.
- Weights fed are just a starting point, adjust up or down if your dog becomes overweight or skinny.
- As your puppy grows and strong adult teeth come in, begin feeding whole parts, raw meaty bones like chicken drumsticks, thighs, turkey necks, beef, pork, goat, rabbit and game, etc.
- Add organ meet, small quantities at first, to provide essential enzymes, vitamins and nutrients.
- Things like chicken and beef liver, lung, kidney. (Note heart is muscle meat)
- Add good salmon oil for omega 3 & 6 fatty acids. I like the gel caps and often squeeze a few caplets out over a raw meal a few times a week.
- Feed some green tripe, a little with one meal a few times a week or as a full meal once or twice a week.
Green tripe is awesome and **nutrients in green tripe** include good intestinal bacteria, protein, fat and a 1/1 ratio of calcium & phosphorus to name a few.
Raw Feeding Puppies Wrap Up
We basically just brought your dog from a suckling pup to a full blown raw feeding carnivore in a few short paragraphs! Of course it's never that simple, but in no way is feeding raw to puppies difficult.
I trust you have additional questions and concerns and there is more to learn about raw that's not specifically related to puppies. Good news is you can find countless additional articles about raw feeding on out feeding dogs raw Main Page and in the "Raw Feeding Library" on that page.
All the best with your new puppy! I'm a little jealous admittedly and you're doing the absolute best for your new little dog by considering raw. Kudos to you!