Should You Feed Your Puppy a Raw Diet?

You’ve found your ideal puppy; you’ve been looking for dog names, bedding and chew toys, and now you face the huge task of figuring out what food to feed him. We feel your pain. 

John Woods · October 29, 2019

Should You Feed Your Puppy a Raw Diet? 

You’ve found your ideal puppy; you’ve been looking for dog names, bedding and chew toys, and now you face the huge task of figuring out what food to feed him. We feel your pain. 

If you walk into any pet store, you’re faced with aisle after aisle of dry kibble with some wet canned food slotted in between. You’ve done some research and maybe you’re even considering a raw diet for your pup. 

But then again, commercial dog foods have specific life stage formulas (puppy, adult, senior) and your local vet is reserved about a raw diet. Maybe it’s not ideal for a growing pup?

You will not be the first person to wonder about raw feeding and you certainly won’t be the last. But we’re hoping we can help answer some of your questions. 

Raw Food Has All of The Nutritional Requirements for Puppies

Puppies have nutritional requirements just like adult dogs. 

The most important thing is to ensure their protein and fat needs are met. Protein is the building block of every cell in every body and fat is crucial for energy. 

Whilst they can be utilized in their cooked form, dogs or puppies do not have a minimum requirement for carbohydrates. Puppies need protein and fat and that is exactly what they get from a The BARF® World diet! 

Raw Feeding Works for Large Breeds Too!

The concern with large breeds is balancing the calcium and phosphorus ratio for optimum skeletal development. 

The issue with some commercial dog foods is that calcium and/or phosphorus is provided in supplement form (powder) which can affect absorption. This is why large breed foods generally contain less calcium. 

Meat is generally high in phosphorus and low in calcium. Bone is high in calcium and high in phosphorus. Feeding your pup no more than 10% bone will ensure the proper balance of calcium and phosphorus ratio. BARF® World has done the math and calculating for you, taking all the work out of it. However, if you are considering a homemade raw diet, you can introduce ground bone, or simply feed soft meaty uncooked bones like chicken, duck or turkey wings. 

Raw Feeding Improves Dental Hygiene

Not only are raw bones a great source of minerals, they aid jaw muscle development and keep those pearly whites nice and clean! 

The act of chewing is thought to release endorphins (which is why a stressed dog will chew the leg of the table), so offering a meaty bone is a great way to help your pup chill out at the end of the day.

Not only that, but we know that teething puppies try to chew on everything to help soothe their painful gums. Soft bones can be a saving grace for those young pups!

As they are gnawing away, they are strengthening their jaws. The abrasion against the bone will also remove any build up found on the teeth. The elimination of food getting stuck in the gums also helps reduce tarter and improve your dog’s breath.

Raw Feeding Should Be Done Right!

Some owners opt to just pick up some meat from the grocery store during their weekly shopping.  There is a little more to raw feeding than just a raw meat source. Simply buying some ground turkey from the grocery store will be missing key nutrients found in the bones and organs. Missing out on these nutrients can result in deficiencies, which will make your dog sick. The risk of these deficiencies is why some vets will try to advise you against a raw diet. 

The model for raw feeding is 80-10-10 or 80-10-5-5. 80% of their meal should be meat, 10% should be bone and 10% offal (5% liver and 5% organ). 

This is based on the idea that if you were feeding a species appropriate diet, the ancient wolf would eat the whole animal (meat, bones and organs included). This includes the stomach contents, which would likely include vegetation. This is why the BARF® World recipes includes some fruits and veggies in the mix.

Remember never serve your pet cooked bones! 


A raw diet when done right, is perfectly capable of meeting the nutritional requirements of your growing pup. 

Variety is key to providing all the nutrients his growing body needs. You may opt to start with one protein at a time. If there is no digestive discomfort, you can introduce another protein. 

Some pet owners opt for a 50/50 split. Some raw is always better than no raw. However, we don’t suggest mixing kibble with raw in the same serving as it can cause digestive discomfort.  If you opt for a split feed, we suggest kibble in the morning and raw at night.

 If you have any questions about feeding a raw diet, speak to an experienced canine nutritionist or Veterinarians who support the diet.  You may also call one of our Raw Food Specialists at 866-282-2273 or submit questions by email to - we look forward to hearing from you! 

Raw Food Tip:

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.

- Robert Mueller, Sr.


John Woods

John Woods

Article by John Woods, dog-parent and founder of All Things Dogs; a digital dog magazine looking to teach over 50,000,000 dog-parents how to train and care for their dog.


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What is BARF?

"BARF®" is our acronym that means Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. It is a complete and carefully balanced blend of raw meat, fruits, vegetables and bone. Our formula mimics what nature has designed our pet's to thrive on in the wild. The result is a pet free of allergies, digestive problems, and full of life!