Feeding Your Puppy the Raw diet.
Taking on a new puppy can be a busy and exciting time and researching the right diet can feel like information overload! At Natures Menu we like to keep it simple and wholesome with a range of raw and natural dog foods that are perfect for puppies, and super gentle on little tums.
With the help of our team of vets we have put together the following guide on weaning puppies onto the raw diet, and don't forget to have a look at our feeding guide to find out how much your puppy will need to be fed each day.
If your puppy has come to you having been weaned on kibble or processed cans or pouches scroll down to read our puppy transition guide.
Getting Started with Raw Feeding
Raw feeding provides a completely natural, preservative free alternative to many of the dry and processed pet foods available, and what better time to start than puppyhood.
Your pet's body is designed and has evolved to digest raw foods and high quality proteins rather than processed cooked proteins and starchy or sugary grains like wheat or white rice, commonly found in dry or kibble based dog foods.
Natures Menu provide puppy foods which are high in real meat protein and natural essential oils to help the growth and development of your new puppy. Just like our adult ranges, our puppy foods are made using the finest ingredients and are completely balanced with all the nutrients your puppy will need in the important first few months of their lives.
It is safe to start feeding our puppy raw nuggets from 6 weeks of age. From 3 -6 weeks (alongside mother’s milk) you can gently cook some raw puppy food either on a tray in the oven or in a pan on the hob (do not microwave it) then blending it with a little water into a slurry.
Puppies will need to be fed up to six times daily. The volume they will need will depend on their size, but we recommend from 6-8 weeks they will need around 10% of their bodyweight in food per day, then 8% at 8 weeks, and 6% at 24 weeks. For our full Puppy Feeding Guide you can download this printable PDF .
If you wish to move your puppy onto our adult varieties, you can do so from 16-20 weeks of age, but our Puppy varieties are suitable to feed until your puppy is one year old.
Transition Guide for kibble fed puppies
If you are going to be transitioning your puppy from dry or non-raw food to raw we advise that you do this over seven days, dividing their daily food ration into 50% raw and 50% dry, fed separately in alternating meals. From day 8, you can make the switch to 100% raw.
If after a few days your puppy seems happy with the raw diet you may wish to make the switch earlier, but we recommend the 7 day transition period to allow the gut to adjust.
Are bones and chewing meats suitable for puppies?
Absolutely! Chewing provides a great energy release for a young dog and it also releases natural chemical endorphins into the brain which encourage a relaxed, happy dog. Chewing also allows them to use their teeth as nature intended: the small teeth right at the front are called incisors which are used for nibbling small pieces of meat from bone.
The canines which are the four large pointed teeth (two at the top and two at the bottom) are used for gripping and tearing meat and the large flat teeth along the back are used for crushing and grinding. Massaging of the gums is also accomplished by correct chewing and all together, these will help maintain a healthy mouth and develop strong, clean, adult teeth.
Puppies can be offered bones from as young as 10 weeks old and Natures Menu recommend monitoring your puppy at all times with bones, chews and soft toys. Start with a chicken wing and hold the tip, gently encouraging your pup to lick, chew and suck at the bone. This will help to teach them patience and how to approach bones into adulthood. Do this for the first few weeks of feeding bones and start to mix in some turkey necks, duck wings, duck necks and meaty beef chews to help provide a variety of textures and tastes for your young dog.
We would not recommend giving a puppy knuckle bones or marrow bones until their adult teeth are fully developed, as these can be too tough for puppy mouths.
Chewing is immensely satisfying, mentally stimulating and incredibly healthy for all dogs. Providing appropriate toys and chews will help your puppy grow into a healthy, stable dog. Please remember, it is NEVER appropriate to feed any type of cooked bone to a dog.