Raw Diet for Puppies: Why, When, and How to Make the Conversion (plus Benefits)
By Robert Mueller
It has been proven that the more raw, unadulterated foods we consume, the better our health will become as a result. This is the same dietary change that is also being suggested to promote optimum health for pets. With the recent expansion of dietary concepts for pets that center around an evolutionary feeding regimen, pet owners now have a way to give their companion animals the best chance of stopping the decline of their pet’s general health.
Why Feed A Raw Meat Diet To Your Puppy
To address this topic I think it first requires some education on the advancement of pet food diets. Since the early 1930ʼs, the health of domestic dogs in the Western world has gradually declined; I am specifically referring to the skeletal health of puppies and the reproductive health of the parents. This decline can be attributed to a combination of factors; predominantly the societal switch to commercial dog food containing an inferior level of nutritious ingredients, the manufacturing processing, and the inappropriate restriction of proper exercise. However, the main culprit for the decline in canine and feline health is the ingestion of an inappropriate diet, caused by the inclusion of grain-based ingredients in pet food. This has led to the development of unwanted degenerative diseases, obesity, and developmental skeletal issues.
Skeletal issues normally result from rapid muscle and bone growth. Feeding a puppy a natural raw food diet that is biologically appropriate is the key to encouraging gradual skeletal growth and to promote healthier reproductive capacities of the adult dog. Providing a well-balanced raw diet for puppies will help reverse existing conditions as well as prevent future disease and skeletal problems.
Transitioning A Puppy From Mother’s Milk To Raw
Now that you understand how important it is to feed your growing puppy a raw dog food diet, making the conversion to raw becomes a matter of learning the proper combination of ingredients to give your pet for maximum nutrition. Having a basic understanding of how heat processing (cooking) is detrimental to the final product is also important. You must feed Mother Nature’s blend of naturally obtained ingredients, in the right proportions, in order for your pet to truly experience the benefits of being fed a bones and raw food (BARF) diet. When developing our BARF Diet® blends, we strive to duplicate the natural evolutionary diet that dogs would find in the wild in order to achieve the healthy development of the species.
The best time to convert your puppy to a raw, species-appropriate diet is at the 4-5 week stage. This is a critical time in the development of the skeletal frame thus the importance of allowing the development to be gradual is the critical factor. To achieve your puppy’s desired rate of growth, you must only feed enough food to support a moderate growth rate of about 75%. Introduce the raw meat dog food blend and eliminate any grain-based, or heat processed diets from the animal’s dietary plan; if the mother has been given the proper raw food nutrition as well, there will be an adequate supply of nutrients from the milk.
How To Make The Switch For Puppies
We offer two suggestions for the introduction; the fast switch, or the slow approach. Most puppies (which have not yet been influenced at this point with dry dog foods that have been flavor enhanced) can be converted to a raw dog food diet with a fast switch approach without incident. The young puppy often takes to the new diet like a duck to water. However, we do offer suggestions for a slow conversion for any puppy that has developed gastrointestinal issues in the past, mainly from ingesting inappropriate dry dog food.
It is also important to note that feeding a raw meat diet, which is nutrient dense, eliminates the need to have separate “puppy”, “adult”, and “senior” formulas; instead portion control is used throughout the different stages of the animals life. This is totally different than the commercial pet food industry’s attempt to adjust the inferior nature of their dry pet food ingredients to accommodate the various nutritional requirements for each life stage of the animal, thus creating the need to offer multiple life stage formulas.
The Many Benefits Of A Raw Diet For Puppies
When choosing a healthy diet for your puppy, you must eliminate the nutritional errors that commonly cause health problems in dogs. These errors include too much food causing an unnaturally rapid rate of growth; extra protein, extra fat, and extra artificial calcium - these are all bone wreckers. Good bone health and proper skeletal development are some of the key benefits derived from feeding your puppy a natural raw food diet. This method of feeding is especially important for large and giant breed dogs because of the heightened growth curve that occurs in these larger breeds.
Here is an additional list of potential benefits your puppy will experience from being fed a raw food diet:
- Dental health beyond compare
- A reduction in stool volume and odor
- Elimination of doggie breath
- Controlled bone and muscle development
- Improved skin and coat
- Increased energy
- Improved immune system function
A word of caution: It is critical to eliminate long periods of walking/running or strenuous exercise, beginning from the 5-week puppy stage until the growth stage has ended and the bones have hardened. Following this advice will additionally help to eliminate any future skeletal issues in your growing puppy. Remember that bone health is even more important in large and giant breeds. It is recommended that you wait until at least 15 to 18 months of age before stressing the joints, however, smaller breeds can be exercised sooner (at the 10 to 12 month stage).
Robert Mueller, BSc, Pharm. is a registered pharmacist, author of "Living Enzymes: The World's Best Kept Pet Food Secret", and co-developer of BARF World's BARF diets patties, nuggets and supplements - the first company to make the Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods (BARF) diet conveniently available to animals everywhere. He and his wife love to travel around the world with their dog, Moxie - a Yorkshire Terrier/Maltese mix. Click here to sign up for "The Intelligent Pet" monthly e-zine absolutely FREE!
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