Puppy Raw Diet Guide
8 Weeks – 6 Months
First, welcome to our Last Samurai Kennel furry four-legged family! And congratulations on your new family member addition from our kennel!
You’re at the start of a wonderful adventure and I wish you many years of love and health together. You are reading this blog because you are a well-informed pet-parent who wishes to offer the best nutrition possible to your puppy, and I would like to support you in your journey of raw feeding for the life and health of your dog.
Feeding raw to your dog has many advantages. The very first thing you’ll notice is during the potty training stage that raw fed puppies produce a lot less poop than kibble fed puppies. Not only is there less, but the texture is much more firm making clean up much easier, especially in the case of an accident in the house. Because raw has no added salt, most raw fed puppies drink less water making it easier to train them to pee outside. Pointing to other health benefits later in life, there are also more and more studies supporting the early life raw diet for the health of skin and joints, cancer prevention and overall gut health.
During the first few days with your new puppy you may notice a reduced appetite and loose stools. These effects are not necessarily a result of the diet, but more likely a result of stress because of the huge life changes. Be patient, things will return to a healthy normal soon. You can offer our Yogurt or Kefir (plain with no additives, sweeteners, sugar and guar gum thickeners) and Pure Pumpkin Pure to support any digestive upset and to increase interest in food. Feeding the same proteins as we do at the kennel can also help with environmental adaptation. Your puppy comes well adjusted to chicken, beef and salmon/trout. As well seasonally been introduced to venison, pork organs and lamb.
HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU BE FEEDING? Until your puppy is 4-5 months old, the amount of food to offer will seem huge compared to you puppy’s current weight. The reason for this is that there is no such thing as puppy food when feeding raw: it is simply whole food put together with no filler!
Puppies should be fed at will, or 7% of actual weight, which should correspond roughly to 2% of their expected adult body weight. This means that your puppy, usually around 12-16 weeks old is eating their full adult portion of food daily. I recommend feeding 3 meals daily until about 4 months of age because they are growing rapidly and need a more constant supply of calories than a full-grown dog. If your puppy seems to be excessively hungry at mealtime and a little on the lean side, the best thing to do is to feed a little more (to a maximum of 10% of current body weight). If you are noticing an increase in body condition score, or an excessively “pudgy” puppy, reduce a little (to a minimum of 5% of current body weight). Obesity in a puppy is just as harmful as malnutrition.
WHAT SHOULD YOU BE FEEDING?
In raw feeding, variety is key! I recommend a rotation diet of 3-4 protein types per months, a combination of red meats, poultry and fish. The more variety you offer at a young age, the less likely your dog will become a picky eater or suffer from neophobia – the fear of new food. Offering a protein rotation diet also helps eliminate the risk of developing food intolerances or allergies.
FEEDING RAW BONES Did you know that you can already be offering raw meaty bones to your puppy? Our Last Samurai puppies have already been offered some meaty bones at 7-8 weeks old because I know that the younger your dog learns how to chew on raw bones correctly and safely, the easier it will be to feed them bones once they’re an adult! For now, you might feel like your puppy is a fluffy version of a piranha, so gnawing and chewing on raw bones can be helpful. It can relieve some teething pain as well as be an outlet for that seemingly never-ending puppy energy. Bones for puppies should be soft and thawed and served only 2-3 times a week. You don’t want to unbalance the diet and you want to be gentle on those puppy teeth. Some great options are chicken, duck, turkey necks and feet and flat rib bones. For now, marrow bones aren’t a great choice because the bone is very dense and hard and the marrow is high in fat which can cause loose stools. Feeding raw bones is an essential element of feeding raw for dental health, and it’s best to teach your puppy early on how to eat bones safely.
Your puppy should be fed approximately 70% protein (muscle tissue aka meat), 20% offal (the organ part) and bone (in the form of small bones like duck/chicken wings or necks) and 10% vegetable (green and yellow — always pureed or juiced for it to be digested). It is possible to purchase ready-made meals of these proportions and there is a number to choose from. So do check out the pet store ail, fridge or freezer section and don't forget to read the label and nutritional info! I strongly recommend Big Country Raw. They are conveniently packed, premixed and balanced ready-to-serve meals. But if you don't feel like paying for a nicely marketed package go with Radowg Raw Food. It's a small family-owned and operated company that works directly with local farmers.
THE OTHER GOOD STUFF of a raw diet can and should include:
Purred veggies, berries and fruits. Anything green like kelp (also known as seaweed), spinach, kale, broccoli, zucchini, green peas, or even sweet green pepper is good; yellow and orange veggies like sweet potato, carrots, pumpkin, squash or sweet yellow pepper; as per berries and fruits blueberry, green banana (not ripe one), apples (de-pipped and de-seeded — pips and seeds contain environmental arsenic), pears, watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries — pick a tasty variety pure it and give one teaspoon per meal.
Natural yogurt (goat one is the best as it has less lactose) — one table spoon per meal.
Kefir (goat one is the best as it has less lactose)— one tablespoon per meal (alternate between yogurt and kefir).
These two are excellent for their probiotic content, more so kefir than yogurt. But either are great.
Organic, free-range eggs (whole including the shell) Raw eggs offer a very rich array of protein, vitamins and minerals and amino acids not readily found elsewhere. Eggs also offer a solid source of tryptophan, found in egg whites. Tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin, an important chemical neurotransmitter responsible for mood control, helping guard against depression. From studies it appears that serotonin is often depleted in dogs on a highly processed diet. — one every 3–4 days.
You can also add raw carrots (whole)— one each day as a snack or an apple - half each day.
Organic extra virgin coconut oil — heaped teaspoon added to meals, also great for treats (frozen, with blueberry inside)
Organic natural Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) supports a healthy immune system, acting as a strong anti–inflammatory. Dogs generally detest the taste, so hide in yogurt or broth. Regular use is great for ‘yeasty’ ears (ear infections) and skin disorders — a half of teaspoon per day.
Beef or chicken bone broth. You can ocasionally add it to meals istead of yogurt or kefir. Or use as treat if cooked and frozen in ice cubes.
Lastly, I’d suggest a few additives to help ensure the completeness of individual meals. Get your hand on some dog multivitamins that will add an extra boost and will help to balance the average nutritional intake. Give one a few times weekly (or follow directions on the package of a chosen brand).
6 Months +
6 months to 1 year is better known as the teenage phase! During this phase, you might notice some undesired behaviours are making a comeback, but don’t worry, it will pass and before long you’ll have your dog back. Just keep going, reinforcing the training you’ve done so far.
As far as the diet is concerned, there are a couple changes that can be made during this teenage phase. By now, your puppy’s growth has slowed down and if you haven’t already, you can drop down to two meals per day – one in the morning and one in the evening. Some puppies will naturally drop the middle of the day feed by showing no interest in food, making it easy to start the twice daily feeding regimen.
Most dogs, especially large breeds, continue to grow until 2 years old, but the growth from 6 months onward is much slower and often not really noticeable. At this age, the joints aren’t yet fully developed and there is still room for a lot of muscle mass, commonly called “filling out”. During the 6 months to 2 years timeframe, your puppy could eat up to 4-5% of its actual body weight, which should still be 2-3% of their expected adult weight. For example, if your dog is expected to be 50lbs full grown, but is only currently 30lbs, you would still feed roughly 1lb per day.
During this phase, it’s still important to keep a close eye on body condition. If your teenager is on the chunky side, reducing food portions slightly, even for a little while, will help keep those joints healthy. And if you can see and feel ribs, it might be best to increase food portions a little – often as little as an extra 10% in the food bowl is all it takes. I suggest adding raw eggs a couple of times a week. An egg for your dog as a meal topper to increase calories.
If you need any information on raw feeding please don't hesitate to get in touch with me.
Ann and Last Samurai Kennel.