Congratulations on becoming a puppy parent! Puppies are so cute, adorable and lovable. No wonder they called it puppy love. On the other hand, raising them can be quite exhilarating and one should be ready to take on the role head-on.
Like any other young ones, the first few weeks of puppies are very crucial. It is at this time when their immune system is developing. Therefore, it is wise to make decisions on critical issues that include vaccination, socialization, and nutrition. The quantity and quality of food given during this stage plays an important role in the healthy development of your puppy and also impacts plenty of their adult lives.
For this and other reasons, it is ideal to wean your puppies on a balanced raw diet. This kind of a diet gives your puppies a stronger immune system, thus, they become more resistant to diseases and infections.
What kind of raw diet food should I wean them on?
At the age of three to four weeks, this is the time when puppies begin to teeth. During this period, their milk teeth are razor sharp and so you can comfortably introduce them to raw bone-in grinds mixed with softer parts such as liver or soft meat-loaded bones. Although they will definitely not be able to extract meat from the bones at this age, they will learn to do it with time. After all, at this time, you are basically introducing the meal to them.
By the age of five weeks, the puppies will be able to pull off some meat from the bones. Actually, some puppies are able to do this even slightly before the age of five weeks. The puppies are also able to consume some cut bones like chicken necks, wings and backs.
When your puppies attain the aged of eight weeks and above, they are ready to feed on bone-in chicken parts. You can mince the meat or cut it into tiny pieces to make it easier for your puppies to munch.
Be keen not to chop the meat into sizes that can chock the little ones. Instead, chop it into thin strips that the puppies can comfortably swallow in whole. Remember they are still learning how to chew.
Feeding puppies aged over 12 weeks old
When your puppies are aged 12 weeks and above, you should follow a basic feeding formula:
- 50-80 percent of their diet should be muscle meat
- 10-40 percent should comprise of raw, meaty bones,
- 5 percent – liver
- 5 percent – other offal
- 10 percent – yogurt, seafood or fish and raw goat milk, pastured eggs and
- 30 percent –green tripe in raw form
How often should my puppies feed?
This is a very common question you might be asking yourself. Feeding your puppies mostly depends on their age and breed. Also, ensure that they are fed at set times so that they can adapt to a schedule.
6-12 weeks old
Feeding small puppies three to four meals spread throughout the day sufficient enough. Spreading their meals for too long may render them hypoglycemic.
12 weeks -6 months old
You can generally feed them thrice a day. That is breakfast, lunch and dinner.
6- 12 months old
This is the time your puppy is entering adolescence. Feed your “teenage” dog two meals a day and eventually once a day when they become adults.
- Start by introducing a single protein. For example, you can feed your puppies on chicken and tripe on the first week, switch to turkey on week two, rabbit week three and goat and beef on week four. Though it may be exciting to watch as your puppies enjoy a cuisine with many proteins at the same time, introducing them each at a time would be ideal and successful.
- To ensure that your puppies get ample calcium and phosphorus, mix the meat or meaty bones with organ meats. However, you should introduce the organs in small bits and increase as the puppies grow.
- Feed your puppies just enough meals as too much can cause obesity and orthopedic problems, while too little can cause hypoglycemia in certain tiny breeds like the Chihuahua.
- Keep a close watch over your puppies during feeding time especially when you have fed them on bones, or meat that requires chewing.
Do Not Feed Your Puppies on food that is too cold or too hot.
You do not want to expose your puppies to cold-related diseases by feeding them on food that is too cold. Likewise, the puppies can burn their mouths if the food is too hot. Feed them on warm food, at a range temperature of between 75-100 degrees, until they are 12 weeks old. Preferably, warm the food using the water bath method. Do not warm your puppies’ food using a microwave as the food may over warm, or may not warm evenly.
Foods to avoid
Some of the food humans consume may be toxic to your puppies. Some of these foods are; chocolates, avocados, large amounts of dairy products, alcohol, macadamia nuts among others.
The way you feed your puppies when they are young is a key determinant of their health in the future. Therefore, make wise and informed decisions while weaning them.
Besides, the raw meat, you may also include appropriate supplements to complement the nutrients that the puppies will derive from the food.