Is Raw Dog Food Safe For Puppies?
There’s not a more careful person on Earth than someone weaning a puppy onto solid food. Puppy owners take special care to ensure the little ones stay healthy and happy. So, it’s no big surprise they have plenty of questions about whether raw food is safe for puppies.
The good news is that, yes, if handled correctly raw dog food is perfectly safe for puppies. In fact, many dog experts report that raw dog food helps puppies out-perform puppies who eat canned dog food or kibble. That holds true even if both are fed raw dog food as adults.
“Raw-weaned puppies nearly exhaust their breeders’ vocabularies, for these are the healthiest, strongest, liveliest, calmest, smartest and most wonderful pups that ever lived,” according to Whole Dog Journal.
Transitioning Dogs to Raw Food
At RAWF, we’ve created a list of what might happen with your adult dog as you transition them to raw dog food. When it comes to raw dog food and puppies, many of these apply if you fed them kibble for any period of time. They include:
- Your dog’s poop may change, and they may have to poop less frequently
- They may experience some diarrhea and in rare cases some vomiting because of the detoxification effect of raw food
- Provide plenty of water to help your dog flush out toxins
With puppies, you are likely transitioning them from the milk they were fed in their first month of life. In that case, there are other issues to consider.
Puppies and Raw Dog Food
Whole Dog Journal surveyed dog breeders to ask them about how they transition their puppies to a raw dog food diet. The good news is that they report no one-size fits all plan for puppies and raw food. Experts reported that puppies raised on raw food “thrive on all kinds of first foods and weaning schedules.”
Natural dog breeder Juliette de Bairacli Levy provided many people a place to start in this area. Levy wrote books on raising dogs naturally and left behind a wealth of information.
She warned against weaning puppies off milk using grain-based kibble because of concerns it would lead to a distended stomach and infectious bacteria.
Levy’s plan involved slowly weaning puppies by introducing goat and cow’s milk and her own recipe for gruel. She would begin introducing puppies to small portions of raw meat and vegetables around week five.
Modern Breeders Use Raw Food With Puppies
Today, many experts follow this same general pattern of using milk and gruel and slowly introducing raw meat and vegetables around the fifth week. Oregon-based basset hound trainer Marina Zacharias told Whole Dog Journal that “as the pups get a little older, they receive fundamentally the same components I feed to my adults.” The meat servings move from mushy meat to small chunks and then normal-sized chunks.
In another example, Wendy Volhard and veterinarian Kerry Brown detailed their experiments with feeding puppies and found nothing worked as well as raw food. They write about how they transitioned puppies to raw meat in the book, “Holistic Guide for a Healthy Dog.”
A breeder in British Columbia told Whole Dog Journal about a group of sibling puppies. One group ate kibble and the other raw meat. Those who were not fed raw food were, by 10 ½ weeks, half the size of the raw food dogs. They also had dull coats, little pot bellies, runny eyes and loose stool. Those fed raw dog food had healthy coats, lots of energy and solid (and infrequent) stool.
All the above simply shows that raw dog food works well with puppies. It’s best to come up with a plan that you think will work with your puppies and consult a veterinarian. When you’re ready, RAWF dog food, made from 100% grass-fed beef, can handle your puppy’s raw dog food needs.