Next to your love and attention, proper nutrition is the most important thing you can give your puppy!
Most new puppy owners seem to know this by instinct. That is why they ask their vet questions like "What is the best food to feed my puppy? How often should my puppy be fed? Should I feed bones to my puppy? If so what sort? What about calcium? What about food scraps?" People with new puppies do not only ask vets of course. They seek and are given advice from breeders, pet shop owners, advertisements on television, and from books and magazines. With so many sources of information, it's not surprising that so many people are unsure about feeding dogs, particularly puppies.
Who Should You Believe?
The answer to this is very simple. To get the answers you need, you have to ask the pup itself! By understanding what puppies eat in the wild, you will learn valuable clues as to what you should be feeding your domestic pup. You will find out exactly what the digestive system of a puppy is programed to eat through centuries of evolution.
By looking at young wolves growing up we are actually observing our young pup's ancestors. If we couple that with modern scientific discoveries about diet, health, and aging, we are able to produce a realistic, health promoting evolutionary puppy diet. From studying the eating habits of wolf cubs which are seen to be perpetually hungry, subsisting on raw food consisting mostly of bones and being forced to scavenge a wide variety of foods, we get vital clues about successful puppy raising.
- The bulk of a puppy's diet should consist of raw meaty bones
- All or most of the rest of their food should also be raw
- Puppies should always be kept a little hungry
- They should never grow at their maximum growth rate
- They should be kept slim, lean and hard. Not roly poly, fat, young puppies
- Puppies should learn to eat everything
When we consider how wolves/dogs were raised in the 'pre-pet-food' era and compare that to our modern methods of husbandry, we can only conclude that the changes we have made to feeding and exercising have indeed been dramatic, and that their effects on puppy growth have been traumatic. The degree to which modern dogs experience ill health reflects the degree to which they are subjected to biologically inappropriate methods of feeding and exercising. Let's look at those biologically inappropriate forms of puppy management so rife today.
All the food a modern pup eats is cooked...
For the first time in its evolutionary history we are asking our dogs to eat nothing but cooked food. This is a very dramatic change and biologically unacceptable. It is most often processed food, usually either canned or dry food. The cooking process destroys many of the life enhancing factors found only in raw food. These include enzymes, many natural antioxidants, and other anti-degeneration factors.
All the food a modern pup eats is based on cooked grain ...
The vast majority of the food eaten by the modern dog is composed of cooked grain as the most fundamental component of the diet... Another dramatic and biologically unacceptable change. Dogs have never in their evolutionary history eaten cooked grain. The results on health are devastating.
Meat meal and rendered fat come next...
The cooked grain is teamed up with meat meal (with its damaged protein) and rendered fat. It is not uncommon to use rendered fat from domestic animals in pet food - and there are reports that this is happening - together with flea collars and other dangerous chemicals such as the euthanasia solution in some of these deceased and rendered pets.
Aside from the dangerous chemicals it contains, that rendered fat contrasts strongly with the healthy fat so full of essential fatty acids that our dog's ancestors ate. These heat destroyed components are biologically unacceptable. They do not support healthy growth. They do not support a healthy life or contribute to a healthy old age. The meat meal bears very little relationship to the healthy raw meat eaten by a wild dog.
Now add the chemicals...
Add loads of refined sugar, loads of salt, chemical colorings, and dyes, to make the product look like something it is not. Add artificial chemical flavorings to make it taste like something it is not. Add flavor enhancers to make sure the animal eats something it ought not to. Add chemical antioxidants (known carcinogens) to ensure the product does not become obviously rancid.
Now add the legally required nutrients...
These are the currently known to be essential vitamins and minerals. The legal constraints on commercial pet foods do not require them to include the vitally important biologically essential antioxidants and anti-degeneration factors present only in whole raw food. As a result, these products do not contain many of the essentials components of the diet like enzymes.
The modern puppy diet omits bones...
The omission of raw meaty bones from the diet of the modern dog is central to the formation of bone disease in pups. Because the modern pup does not eat bones, it misses out on all the essential nutrients bones supply, including its calcium (in perfect balance), and the other minerals required for healthy bone formation.
The result is that the modern pup obtains it minerals in a totally inappropriate form. The modern pup also misses out on its jaw exercise. This eating exercise is a vital component of the exercise regime designed to grow healthy disease free bones and joints.
The modern pup does not eat vegetables or fruit...
Instead it eats dry or tinned processed grains... Another complete disaster. The lack of crushed vegetables makes a monumental contribution to the production of degenerative disease in dogs, including problems such as hip and elbow dysplasia. The modern pup no longer eats the gut contents of herbivore or anything like it. As a result it fails to receive a mass of essential nutrients so essential for its bowel and over-all health.
In today's world, special foods, 'designed for growth', have become part of the processed pet food industry. They say that the foods designed for growing animals must have more nutrients that support growth compared to diets designed to maintain a grown animal in good health. This contrasts with the BARF Diet® where top quality whole food ingredients are used in all the diets. Common sense tells us that our dog's ancestors have grown and reproduced using the BARF Diet® without the benefit of special foods for several hundred thousand years. In other words, our dogs' ancestors have grown properly, survived and reproduced on the same basic foods, no matter what stage of life they were at. Think carefully. Which environment of diet do you want your dog in? The modern environment of biologically inappropriate dog food, excessive protein, excessive calories, fast growth rates, calcium supplements, excessive exercise and bone disease, or the time honored way which produces healthy longevity, abundant reproduction, and brilliant health.
Puppy Love-Guidelines for Puppy Nutrition
As we enter the month of October we not only start to think about our pet’s Halloween costumes and begin planning for the holidays- but we celebrate Adopt A Dog Month. If you are looking to adopt a new puppy this month I wanted to stress the importance of the first 6 to 12 months of a puppy’s life. These first few months’ of the puppy’s life are the most critical because it is during this life stage that the pattern for the dog’s future health is set. The development of the skeletal frame is especially vital for the large and giant breed dog.
We often receive a variety of inquiries from new pet owners related to puppy health issues – the most notable are usually related to issues of digestion, musculoskeletal development, and coat/skin condition. It is interesting to note that the majority of the health problems that our puppies encounter are mainly nutrition related which is commonly caused by the continuous ingestion of heat-processed, commercial pet food diets.
After seeing the development of puppy growth patterns over the last 40 years, I have observed that ingestion of high levels of soluble carbohydrates found in most commercial pet foods cause these irregular growth spurts to happen at different intervals.
What basically happens because of these sporadic growth spurts, is the muscle and bone development is completely out of sync. This can generate major stress on the skeletal structure of the animal. If the muscles, tendons, cartilage and bone all develop at different rates the result is structural damage in the form of hip dysplasia, arthritis, and other musculoskeletal conditions.
By feeding puppies a raw food diet, like the BARF Diet®, you tend to slow down these growth spurts and instead allow the muscle and bone development to happen at a slower, more defined pace. This minimizes the risk of developmental issues in the dog.
We get questioned regularly whether or not we sell a puppy formula, a maintenance diet, or a senior formula like many other pet food companies will commonly offer the consumer. The great thing about the BARF Diet® is that your dog is getting the proper balance of nutrients from the SAME diet whether your pet is a puppy, adult or senior.
Based on your pet’s nutritional needs during his or her various life stages, only the feeding amounts need to be adjusted, not the actual formula.
Puppies require more food than adults as they need the extra energy for proper body development. As your dog gets older and his or her activity level decreases the feeding amount will also decrease. At about the 12-month stage, we advise that you adjust the serving portions to avoid long-term weight issues.
This is similar to the way that Mother Nature balances the internal nutritional requirements of your pet – it is simply a matter of portion control.
At BARF® World, we have formulated the diet in a way that mimics the evolutionary blend found in nature. We offer convenient, complete and balanced raw food diet blends for modern day pet guardians who want to provide their pet a natural, biologically appropriate diet.
I often suggest a twice daily feeding approach by offering the BARF Diet® as a morning meal and again in the evening.
Feeding your pet the BARF Diet® from puppy to adult to senior, you ensure that your pet has the best chance of a healthy and happy life. Plus, there’s the added bonus of lifelong canine/human loyalty as you continuously show your animal companion just how much you really care.