Bringing home a new puppy is always a very exciting time for everybody. Whether you’re single and want a four-legged companion in your life, a couple adopting a pet together for the first time or a family looking for a forever best friend for your kids, getting a puppy can be a challenging yet hugely rewarding experience that’s bound to provide you with plenty of fun and unconditional love for years to come. You may have heard about some of the many benefits of raw feeding for dogs, but if your puppy has not been raised on raw food, it can be tricky to get him or her started with a change of diet. Thankfully, with the right guidelines, you can avoid any digestive upset and ensure that your new puppy makes a smooth transition to their new diet. Here are some key tips to keep in mind.
Make a Straight Switch:
Unlike switching between two different brands of kibble or tinned dog food, it’s not recommended to combine your puppy’s kibble with raw food. A cold-turkey approach tends to be safer and more effective because kibble requires a different pH in the gut to digest. As a result, this will make your puppy more susceptible to reactions to the bacteria in the raw meats since the kibble mixed in means that the meat will sit in the dog’s digestive tract for double the usual amount of time. Therefore, there is an increased risk of harmful bacteria building up and causing digestive problems.
Start With a Single Protein Source:
It can be easy to get carried away with feeding your puppy a varied and exciting raw diet, but regardless of whether you are preparing your own raw food or getting pre-prepared raw puppy food from Bella and Duke, it’s always best to start off with just one single source of protein, which should be fed for at least a week. Bella and Duke’s food is a great choice, particularly if you are new to raw feeding, as they provide pre-prepared, healthy raw food designed to be safe for puppies. Find out more at https://www.bellaandduke.com/guide/raw-puppy-food/. After feeding one protein source for around a week, you can move your puppy onto a second protein if there are no signs of digestive upset and continue with this gradual introduction to new foods.
Feed Little and Often:
Puppies are small, and so feeding them two larger meals a day in the same way that you would an older dog can quickly lead to stomach upset. Until around six months of age, your puppy should be fed three small meals per day. This is especially important if your puppy is a small breed, as there is a heightened risk of hypoglycaemia if their meals are spread out for too long.
Get the Weight Right:
Knowing how much to feed a puppy can seem quite complicated at first, but you’ll be glad to hear that it’s easier than you think to figure it out. The amount that you feed should be around 2-3% of the adult weight that your puppy will reach when they are grown. This is easier to work out if you have a purebred dog, so if you are not sure what your puppy is likely to weigh as an adult, the best thing to do is feed them around 10% of their current weight. Keep a close eye on your puppy for any weight gain or weight loss that’s out of the ordinary and adjust their food accordingly.
Introduce Organ Meat Slowly:
Organ meats should be an important component of a puppy’s diet because they are filled with nutrients that you can’t find in muscle meat. However, you should introduce organs to your puppy’s diet slowly. Gradually introduce them until they make up around 10-25% of your puppy’s diet. Bear in mind that organ meats such as liver can cause nasty, loose stools for puppies who are new to them, so it’s a good idea to wait for at least a couple of weeks of raw feeding before introducing organ meats into the diet.
Even if you are feeding your puppy organic, free-range meats, they will still benefit from getting some supplements in their diet. Some good ones to consider include nutritional herbs, probiotics, digestive enzymes, phytoplankton, and bovine colostrum. Also, make sure that your puppy’s diet is supplemented with all the important puppy stuff like plenty of fresh, clean water to drink, and an ample amount of fresh air and exercise. To get the best results from his diet, your puppy should be given plenty of opportunities for short bursts of play and fun training sessions.
Raw feeding is growing as one of the best diet options for dogs, providing them will all the nutrients that their body needs to thrive. Have you tried it with your pup yet?