When can you start a puppy on raw food? A Comprehensive Guide

Don’t Overdo It With The Organs

You don’t want to skip the organ meats. They are important because they are full of nutrients not found in muscle meat. But you want to introduce them slowly. Work up to organ meats as at least 10% of the total diet (25% is better).

Liver and other organ meats can cause some pretty nasty loose stools in puppies who have never had them before. If your puppy is new to raw feeding, wait until you see a good two or more weeks of solid stools before you introduce organ meats. Then add them in gradually instead of feeding one giant meal of liver. And remember to mix them up – don’t just feed liver.

RELATED: What’s the biggest mistake people make when it comes to feeding organs? Find out here.

Even if you’re feeding free-range, organic meats, the earth is not what it used to be. Your puppy will benefit from some supplementation.

Supplements to consider include:

  • Phytoplankton – whole food nutrition that contains nearly every nutrient your dog needs
  • Nutritional herbs – alfalfa, dandelion leaf, nettle and more
  • Probiotics – friendly bacteria that protects the body from bacteria, viruses and fungi
  • Digestive enzymes – break down and absorb nutrients from food
  • Bovine colostrum – helps to build a strong immune system
  • Balance The Calcium And Phosphorus

    This is fairly easy to do. If you view a turkey neck as a nice meaty bone, then your puppy’s diet should be half to two-thirds meaty bones (and half to one-third meats and organ meats). There’s no magic formula and every puppy is a bit different.

    Despite what the kibble manufacturers say, it’s pretty easy to balance calcium and phosphorus. Plus, there’s a wider margin of error when feeding raw. Calcium that comes in a synthetic powder is nearly impossible for a puppy to excrete. This means an excess of calcium is more of a concern with synthetic products than with the naturally occurring calcium found in bones.

    My favorite meaty bones (50% to 65% of the diet)

  • Turkey tails and necks
  • Chicken backs and necks
  • Veal ribs and tails
  • Venison bones of any kind
  • Chicken feet and beef windpipes (good source of naturally occurring glucosamine and chondroitin)
  • Beef neck bones (a great chew that won’t break teeth)
  • Balanced foods (feed these often)

  • Eggs with shell
  • Green tripe
  • Whole animals (rabbit, quail, etc.)
  • Understand That Raw Food Is Safe For Puppies

    Yes!Raw food is safe for puppies and is the healthiest way to feed your dog since it is biologically appropriate.

    Many people are afraid of feeding their puppies raw because of the bacteria that are found on raw meat. But, dogs have a higher pH level and shorter digestive tract than people, so the bacteria on raw meat that might give stomach problems to a human, would not do the same for a dog.

    How To Start Your Puppy On A Raw Diet – The Ultimate Guide

    This guide is for puppies that have been weaned to kibble or any food other than raw. It is not recommended to start puppies off with complete balanced 80/10/10 meals, doing so can cause a world of stomach issues. Even puppies that are weaned to raw will have a transition period from the mother. The whole idea of a pup having balanced meals from the start comes from the mother weaning the pups off milk. The mother will regurgitate her “Fully balanced meal” to start the pups association with eating solid foods. As the pup gets used to this the pup begins to eat the same as the mother. The mother does this gradually as do breeders to begin help with weaning, taking it slowly as too much too soon can cause more issues than is needed.

    Only difference is thats pups tend to adjust a lot quicker so transition is done in about half the time. Also, as they tend to adjust quicker, this will mean that theyve adjusted to kibble feeding from weaning and changing the diet will still be considered a dietary change and we will still need to look out for reactions to proteins (if any).

    Its the groups method to feed in a way suitable to all. We cant advise based on luck on whether your dog will be ok or not. If you are wanting to learn how to wean to raw straight from the mother please see our From Pregnancy to Weaning Guide

    Keep in mind puppies do tend to transition faster and not all puppies are the same but taking a step by step approach will help avoid stomach issues and make the transition much smoother and easier to gage.

    Please note: It takes 7-10 days for a kibble fed pups stomach ph to reach its full capacity of 1-2 in acidity. This highly acidic level ensures that not only pathogens will be killed off but also that your puppy can digest bone safely. For this very reason we suggest boneless for the first few days at the start.

    Let’s get started!! The first step is to figure out how much your puppy needs a day. We recommend going by current weight and adjusting as they grow. The younger the puppy, the more meals theyll need per day.

    No mixing with kibble and no veggies! You can read more about why not to mix in our Mixing Raw and Kibble file here and also learn why its important to stay clear of veggies, fruits by having a read of Why No Fruits and Veggies here.

    (Ex. If your puppy is 10weeks and weighs 15lbs/6.8kg feeding at 8% of that weight. 15lbs * 8%=1lb 3.2oz per day/ 6.8kg * 8%= 544g of food per day. Split into 4 meals.)

    For the first 3-5 days of week 1, start with a skinless, boneless protein like chicken, turkey, or even green tripe if you can source it. After 3-5 days begin introducing soft bone such as chicken wings, necks, chicken ribs etc at the full 10%. You can introduce bone by smashing it with a meat hammer or holding it for your pup if you need to. You can even use a bone-in mince.

    After week 1 you can now begin to introduce the more dense bone (depending on the size of your puppy) like legs, thighs etc. Also, its time to begin to introduce new proteins in 3-4 day increments. By the end your new protein introduction it should take over the current one. Introduce one protein at a time. You’ll want at least 4 proteins in total. The more red meat the better! Only move on to a new protein IF poops are well and formed. Some puppies may take a little longer and that’s ok. Don’t rush!

    *Please note: You do NOT have to introduce a new bone when introducing any new proteins. Bones such as beef are way too dense to digest, causing a build-up of bone and can also crack teeth when fed whole.*

    Once you’ve introduced at least 4 proteins you may now begin to introduce liver. This step should be taken very slowly as liver is power packed with nutrients and too much at once can definitely cause runny bum. Start with just the tiniest amount, the size of a pinky nail or pencil eraser and build up from there to the 5% daily allowance. This could take an entire week or more depending on how well your puppy takes to it.

    After a successful introduction to liver, now it’s time to introduce your second secreting organ. See what organs classify as meat and which classify as secreting in our Feeding Organs Infographic at the bottom of the page. Introduce this in the same fashion as you introduced liver.

    If all is going well, your puppy is eating at least 4 proteins, bone, liver & another secreting organ it’s time to introduce fish! We only feed them for their omega 3’s so the more oily the fish the better. See what fish are classed as oily and how much fish you need to feed in our Fish Feeding Guide.

    The final step in the transition is the introduction to eggs. Eggs should be fed 2-3 times per week. Introduce these just as carefully as everything else. Too many eggs or too fast of an introduction can cause loose stools.

    Please note: This concludes the basic transition. From this point on do continue with introducing more secreting AND muscular organs as well as more proteins when you can source them!

    Were going to start him off at 8% of his body weight and feed him 4 times a day.

    For Thors first few days his meals will be just chicken breast. The entire calculated amount split into 4 feedings a day.

    Once he has adjusted and his poops are good its time for him to be introduced to his 10% bone allowance. This is usually around day 3.

    Lets give this little buddy some chicken wings. Wings on average weigh about 3oz/89g and are about 46% bone. 3oz*46%=1.38oz/41g of bone and the rest will be meat. Now, since he requires 2.56oz/72g of bone hell need about two wings a day. When measuring his meals well just weigh his wings first then fill the remainder up with his chicken and split the total into 4 meals for the day. Well finish his first week of just his chicken breast and wings.

    On to his intro of new proteins! For 3-4 days were going to introduce this little guy to beef. Meat only as we dont have to switch his bone if we dont want to. Plus, beef bones are pretty dense and not recommended anyway.

    So, weve weighed his wings first 3oz/89g X 2 (since he needs about 2 wings a day). On our scale weve got 6oz/178g.

    Now, we need to fill the remainder up with meat. Only this time it will be half chicken breast and half beef. Well feed half and half for 2 days then all beef plus his wings for another day or so and move on to another protein using the same fashion as we did with beef 3-4 days each per new protein until hes reached at least 4 new meats.

    Now, Thor has successfully been introduced to 4 proteins. Its time for him to start liver introduction. His 5% daily requirement is 1.28oz/36g. What we dont want to do is give him this full amount off the bat. So, were just going to give him a tiny sliver of it, poop watch, and increase slightly until hes reached his full amount.

    Now hes eating roughly 22oz/623g of meat, 2.56oz/72g bone, & 1.28oz/36g of liver. Hes ready for his 5% second secreting organ. Were going to introduce this the same way we did liver.

    Success! Now Mr. Thor is eating roughly 20oz/576g of meat, 2.56oz/72g bone, 1.28oz/36g liver & 1.28oz/36g other organ. Hes now ready for fish.

    Were going to feed him fish about 3 times a week. Well start slow but work our way to his full amount which is based on his weight. This will be roughly 2.4oz of fish per week according to the Fish Feeding Guide.

    After hes been successfully introduced to fish well start to give him eggs. Only 2-3 a week so well just rotate feeding them opposite of fish days.

    Note: This is only an example. You will have to adjust your amounts as your puppy grows. Hopefully this break down helps 🙂