Raw Diet For Puppies

Weaning and Raising Puppies On a Raw Diet

By

Lew Olson,

PhD Natural Health, LMSW-ACP

Weaning and Raising Puppies on a Raw Diet

The best food in the world to feed puppies less than four weeks of age is their own mother’s milk. It is “complete and balanced” and is the most nutritious food for puppies. The milk from a nursing female canine is higher in fat and protein than both cow and goat’s milk. It contains all the nutrients puppies need and in the proper balance. A young puppy’s digestive tract is designed to digest this whole food perfectly. Until a puppy is four weeks of age, their digestive system is not properly equipped to digest any other whole food. Occasionally it becomes necessary to feed puppies food other than mother’s milk before they are four weeks of age. This can happen because of a lack of milk production, a large litter, or an illness in or the death of the mother. Although it is impossible to reproduce mother’s milk exactly, in these instances where it isn’t possible to feed mother’s milk, the food substituted should be as close to it as possible.

Mother’s Milk Replacement Formula for Puppies up to Four Weeks

  • One pint of goat’s milk, either fresh, in cartons from the store, or evaporated. (If evaporated, be sure to dilute as directed with water)
  • Two egg yolks
  • Two EPA Fish Oil capsules
  • 1/2 teaspoon Berte’s Ultra Probiotic Powder
  • Four to six tablespoons whole milk plain yogurt

The egg yolks offer the extra needed protein. The EPA Fish Oil offers the extra fat and Omega-3 fatty acids, and the Ultra Probiotic Powder and yogurt provide the beneficial bacteria needed for proper digestion. Be sure to mix the mixture well and serve it to the puppies at room temperature.

Weaning Diet After Four Weeks

Once the puppies reach four weeks of age, other foods can be introduced and added to their diet. Start with the above mixture and begin adding a bit of meat such as ground beef, cottage cheese or yogurt. As the week progresses, you can add in tiny bits of beef kidney, beef heart, canned mackerel, a small bit of liver, and egg (both yolk and egg white). Chicken necks can be introduced at this time. I remove the skin, and cut the necks into smaller pieces. The size of the pieces depends on the size of the puppies. For toy breeds, necks can be ground. You can leave some of the necks whole for recreational chewing. Pork neck bones are also good for chewing and entertainment. Later in the week, I introduce chicken wings. For larger puppies I cut these in two pieces. Medium sized breeds may need these cut into four pieces, while smaller dogs can be cut into smaller pieces.

Once you have begun to add in other foods, if the mother is still willing to nurse, please allow her to continue. Her milk is still the perfect food and is a wonderful addition to the weaning diet.

Trimming the puppies nails helps to encourage the mother to continue nursing the puppies. However, the mother may refuse to clean stools after other foods have been added to the puppy’s diet. This is normal. I generally offer the puppies four or five meals per day. I give one meal of raw meaty bones, consisting of chicken necks, wings or backs, pork bones, and pork, beef and lamb ribs.

The other main meal is red meat (beef, pork or lamb). You may substitute mackerel, salmon or sardines once or twice a week. I also add organ meat to make up about 10% of the meat meal. I use mostly kidney (beef, pork or lamb), with some slivers of liver. While not necessary, you may add ground or pureed vegetables if you prefer. Good choices include dark leafy greens, zucchini, broccoli and cabbage. Make sure these are less than 1/6th of the total diet.

The other meals are “snack” meals of goat’s milk, yogurt, eggs and cottage cheese.

Supplements

In addition to the foods, I also add in to the puppy’s diet the following supplements:

Berte’s Daily Blend for the B complex vitamins, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Vitamin D which helps metabolize calcium. Berte’s Daily Blend is very palatable and comes in a convenient powder form for easy measuring and mixing with food. Small and medium breed puppies get 1/4 teaspoon twice a day and large breed puppies get 1/2 teaspoon twice a day.

Berte’s Green Blend for the additional minerals and phytonutrients that are needed. Small and medium breed puppies get 1/8 teaspoon twice a day and large breed puppies get 1/4 teaspoon twice a day.

Berte’s Ultra Probiotic Powder to maintain a good supply of beneficial bacteria in the digestive system which aids in proper digestion. Give 1/4 teaspoon twice a day for small to medium breed puppies and 1/2 teaspoon twice a day for large breed puppies.

EPA Fish Oil is given at one capsule per ten to twenty pounds of body weight daily.

Changing a Puppy Raised on Commercial Feed to Home Made

Many of us don’t get a chance to whelp and rear our own puppies, so here are some tips for when you bring your new puppy home.

Start your new puppy on small, frequent meals to ease the diet change. Most puppies do fine with a complete switch to a home made diet, but you can mix the kibble with the meat meal. It is important to work with what you are most comfortable doing and what seems to work best for the puppy. Make mealtimes as stress free as possible and try to keep the feeding times consistent. Some puppies may not know what to do with fresh food, so you can mix the meat, yogurt and eggs with their kibble to start. However, do not feed raw meaty bones with their kibble meal. They should be fed as a separate meal. Some dogs will react to texture and temperature, so try to keep their food close to room temperature. Some puppies may be delighted to get raw meaty bones, while others may need to start on ground or cut up pieces. The use of a good meat scissors will help with this, as well as meat cleavers or even pounding the raw meaty bone with a hammer to help break it up in the beginning.

Always remember that puppies need to eliminate after eating, and often like to take a nap after their meal and potty break.

Berte’s Zyme is a blend of digestive enzymes which can be helpful transitioning a puppy that has been raised on kibble to a home made diet. These help break down and assimilate the food. Give small and medium breed puppies 1/4 tablet with the two main meals, large breed puppies give 1/2 tablet for these two meals.

How Much To Feed

I recommend starting with four meals a day. Begin with introducing chicken backs or necks skinned and cut into pieces (or pound them with a hammer) for one meal. Another meal can be meat (beef, pork, lamb for example) and this can be ground or in small chunks or pieces. The other two meals can be the snack meals of goat’s milk, yogurt and egg.

Puppies need to be fed about 10% of their body weight, until the fast growth stages have passed. This is a longer period for large to giant breeds (up to 12 to 18 months) and as short as six months for toy breeds. After that, they will require 2% to 3% of their body weight daily in food. While most dogs do fine on two meals a day, toy breeds have a higher metabolism and do better on three to four meals a day.

For example, a ten pound puppy would be eating about a pound of food a day. The two main meals would be about six ounces each, with the two snack meals being two ounces each. (16 oz per pound, with one cup being approximately 8 oz)

Below is a sample diet, both for puppies raised on raw, and also puppies just starting on raw:

Meal One

  • Goat’s milk (fresh or canned)
  • One whole egg (yolk and white, no shell)
  • Two tablespoons of whole milk yogurt

Mix well and serve at room temperature

Meal Two

  • Two or three ounces of either hamburger, liver, sliced beef heart, kidney or gizzards
  • One tablespoon of whole milk yogurt

Optional: One to two tablespoons of pulped vegetables, which should be mostly dark leafy greens such as collards, spinach, turnip greens or mustard greens. You can also use some carrots, cabbage or broccoli, squash, cauliflower or canned pumpkin in a pinch. Mix the meat and vegetables well.

Add in the following supplements:

Berte’s Daily Blend (1/4 teaspoon for small to medium breeds, 1/2 teaspoon for large breed puppies)

Berte’s Green Blend (1/8 teaspoon for small to medium breeds, 1/4 teaspoon for large breed puppies)

Berte’s Ultra Probiotic Powder (1/4 teaspoon for small to medium breeds, 1/2 teaspoon for large breed puppies)

EPA Fish Oil (one capsule per 10-20 lbs of body weight daily)

Berte’s Zyme for puppies switching to a home made diet (1/4 tablet for small or medium breed puppies, 1/2 tablet for large breed puppies)

Meal Three

  • Goat’s milk (fresh or canned)
  • One whole egg (yolk and white, no shell)
  • Two tablespoons of whole milk yogurt

Mix well and serve at room temperature

Meal Four

  • Three to five chicken necks or two to three chicken wings

Add in the following supplements

Berte’s Daily Blend (1/4 teaspoon for small to medium breeds, 1/2 teaspoon for large breed puppies)

Berte’s Green Blend (1/8 teaspoon for small to medium breeds, 1/4 teaspoon for large breed puppies)

Berte’s Ultra Probiotic Powder (1/4 teaspoon for small to medium breeds, 1/2 teaspoon for large breed puppies)

EPA Fish Oil (one capsule per 10-20 lbs of body weight daily)

Berte’s Zyme for puppies switching to a home made diet (1/4 tablet for small or medium breed puppies, 1/2 tablet for large breed puppies)

Meal Five (Bedtime or Play)

  • Pork neck bones. These bones are soft a good choice for recreational chewing. Other good choices are pork, beef or lamb ribs. Eventually you will begin to phase out the milk and egg meals. The puppies will usually phase down to three meals per day by about 3 to 4 months of age. When you phase the first milk meal out, add the egg into the meat and vegetable meal. The second milk meal can be phased out around the time the puppy reaches five to six months of age.

I have found it important and necessary to be flexible with the puppy’s meals and the different food ingredients because each puppy is different. The amount of food they eat may vary depending on the growth stage they are in, teething time, etc. Their personal preferences will also vary. Some puppies may like vegetables while others will turn their noses up at them. Watch the puppies closely. They will let you know what they need.

Percentage of Raw Meaty Bones for Calcium and Variety

The two most important balancing factors in the diet is raw meaty bones, which provide the proper calcium to phosphorus balance, and a variety of food items, which include a variety of meats (red meat, poultry, fish and organ meat), eggs, vegetables, and dairy. Organ meat should be about 10% of the meals, using more kidney and just a few slivers of liver.

Finally, a primary concern with changing a puppy’s or a dog’s diet is gastric upset. Should this occur, fast the puppy for a few hours and then introduce the meals in smaller portions. Be sure to reduce the fat for a day or so. The two most common reasons for upset tummies is overfeeding, or too much fat in the diet. Should this continue, always check with your veterinarian on the puppy’s health and have a fecal check done to rule out parasites.

If your puppy experiences gastric upset, here are two simple home remedies to help with tummy problems:

Diarrhea

The primary cause for diarrhea is over eating. Use plain canned pumpkin to help firm stools. Give dogs weighing up to 30 pound 1/2 teaspoon, dogs 30 – 60 pounds one teaspoon and dogs over this weight about two teaspoons to a tablespoon.

Vomiting

Boil cabbage for about 15 – 20 minutes and let cool. It can quickly help to settle the stomach. Give at two 2 cc’s (one teaspoon equals 5 cc’s) per 10 pounds of body weight as needed.

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