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If you are considering transitioning your large dog to a raw food diet for dogs you likely have many questions.  

  • Is a raw food diet better for dogs?
  • What can dogs eat on a raw diet?
  • Can dogs eat raw food every day?
  • What is required for a raw food diet for dogs?  
  • What foods are not safe to feed on a raw diet?  and…
  • Can large breed puppies eat a raw food diet for dogs?

Feeding a raw food diet to your dog can have many potential health benefits such as improved digestion, healthier skin and coat, and greater vitality and longevity, but you must have a foundation of knowledge and a general game plan before you dive in. 

As a veteran raw feeder, I am here to help!

Here are the answers to these questions and many more in my easy 6-step method for seamlessly switching to a raw food diet for dogs.

Raw Food Diet For Dogs – Where To Begin?

My 6-step method for switching a large dog to a raw dog for diet can be split in two halves; the first half (steps 1-3) is the PLANNING stage and the second half (steps 4-6) is the EXECUTION stage.  

Unfortunately, far too many dog owners stall out in the first stage.  

They attempt to learn everything they can about raw feeding – they read books, join Facebook groups, and consult with experts – before putting any of their knowledge into action.  

Analysis paralysis claims one more victim!

Because of this, I will be spending the bulk of our time today in the second half, the EXECUTION stage, to get you and your large dog into action.  

We use the Pareto Principle here on Big Dog Mom…  80% knowledge is the target.  

The other 20% will come in time with experience.  I promise!

Step 1.  Veterinary Health Clearance – Green Light For Raw Diet Transition

The first thing you need to do is get a health clearance from your veterinarian.  

I know I know… many (ok, most) veterinarians are not big fans of raw food diets for dogs.  Here are a couple of different approaches you can take in light of this often frustrating obstacle:

  • Be honest – Tell him/her that you are going to transition your dog (or puppy) to a raw food diet and would like to know if your dog has any health issues that you should know about to do that safely.  If your dog has diabetes, liver or kidney issues, pancreatitis, cancer, or any other health issue, you will want to know this before you begin your transition.  This is not to say you shouldn’t still move forward – in many cases, your dog will be far better off when you do. 
  • Switch to a holistic veterinarian who supports raw feeding and get health clearance from them. 

In the spirit of full transparency, I have not used either of these approaches when transitioning my Mastiffs to a raw diet.  

Raw Food Diet For Dogs: Seamlessly Transition Your Dog in 6 Easy Steps

Sulley was 10 weeks old when I transitioned him.  I adored my vet at the time and he provided the green light (in my mind) at our 10-week visit for me to move forward. 

The topic of raw feeding was not brought up until Sulley was several months old.  My veterinarian’s perspective was a very welcome, “Don’t stop what’s obviously working for him.” 

When I brought Junior home, I had already been raw feeding Sulley for nearly two years.  Sadly, my veterinarian moved and he was replaced with a woman whom, how do I say this nicely, I did not respect.  

Diet was a topic that I chose not to bring up with her based on her clear lack of knowledge about canine nutrition.  

Yes, I realize that sounds harsh. Sorry, not sorry. 

My point is that you will have to decide how you want to approach this with your veterinarian. 

Your goal is to start raw feeding with a health clearance from a qualified expert in animal health. 

Not to take advice from a biased and uneducated source on canine nutrition. 

Step 2.  Create Your Budget and Determine Raw Meat Sources

Here are a few questions you will want answers to before you start loading up your freezer:

  • How much money do you currently spend on dog food for your dog(s)?
  • How much money do you have available in your family budget to feed your dog(s)?
  • How much do you spend on non-preventative veterinary care for diet-related health conditions (ex. allergies, ear infections, skin issues, GI conditions, etc.)?

Get a general idea of how much you can and want to spend on your dog’s raw food diet.

Once you have that number, do some research on raw dog food sourcing in your area.  

I created this page which has the most current listing of raw dog food co-ops by state in the US.  If you are outside of the US, I’m sorry but you will have to dig a little more to find budget-friendly buying groups in your area. 

Consider reaching out to several raw food co-ops and suppliers to get a current price list for the raw food they carry or have access to.  

You will be using these price lists in the next step.

In addition to sourcing your raw meat, organs, and bones, you will want to purchase the supplements you plan on adding to your dog’s raw food diet.  

These can be things such as omega-3 fatty acids (if you don’t have access to whole fatty fish like sardines), probiotics (I recommend Daily Dog), and a micro-nutrient supplement like Organic Sea Kelp.  I also like to give Cornucopia by Nature’s Farmacy to ensure I’m not missing anything since I don’t feed a BARF diet. 

Read Balance, Bones, & Barf, OH MY! Raw Diet For Dogs Made Simple [10 Tips] for more on the differences between a Prey Model Raw Diet and a BARF Diet. 

Lastly, I recommend you purchase a small counter scale to ensure your raw ingredients are weighed accurately as you prep raw meals for your dog.  

Counter Scale for Raw Feeding

ULTRAShip Counter Scale

This is the scale I have used since I started raw feeding in 2015 and I love it.

Step 3. Raw Food Diet For Dogs Menu Plan – What Can Dogs Eat On a Raw Diet?

I highly recommend you read this blog post and watch this video where I walk you through step by step how I meal prep two weeks of raw dog food meals for my two Mastiffs. 

How to Meal Prep 2 Weeks of Raw Dog Food | Raw Feeding Large Dogs For Beginners | RAW DIET MADE EASY

Read more

That content will answer any specific questions you have regarding raw dog food meal preparation. 

For our purposes here I want to focus more broadly on what dogs can and shouldn’t eat on a raw diet and some general ways to make sure your raw meals optimally meet the nutritional needs of your large dog. 

This will answer the question: What is required for a raw food diet for dogs? 

Protein & Fats

The foundation of your dog’s raw diet is proteins and fat.  They are essential nutrients that your dog needs for survival. 

Protein is comprised of the building blocks, amino acids which are critical for building muscle and regulating immune function.  Fats are a rich source of energy, protect cells, and are used to make hormones and fat-soluble vitamins.

Together protein and fat should make up 80% of your dog’s raw diet, 10-20% of which needs to be fat.  If you feed less than 10% your dog may get dry, itchy skin – one of the early signs of fat deficiency. 

Most raw meats you feed will have a percentage of fat already in them, however, you will likely need to add to this to make up the rest of the 10-20% fat.  

Examples of fats I add are omega-3 fish oils, salmon oil, coconut oil, and/or sardines.  

Calcium & Other Minerals

Balancing calcium and phosphorus is one of the most important aspects of raw feeding, especially for large and giant breed dogs. Calcium and phosphorus are required in a steady supply because they work synergistically in your dog’s body to move muscles and control body functions.

This comes down to feeding enough bone (calcium) to balance out the phosphorus in the raw meal. Bone naturally has a 2:1 calcium: phosphorus ratio, but large breed puppies need a ratio of 1.2:1. 

When your dog or puppy is fed a raw diet deficient in calcium, in other words, an all-meat diet, calcium is pulled from his bones to meet the needs of his muscles and other body processes.  

Consequently, the net effect of a diet too low in calcium is bone and joint disease, especially in growing large and giant breed puppies. 

As such, 10% to 15% of your dog’s total raw food diet needs to be bone, with puppies requiring a little more – 12% – 15%.

I recommend feeding appropriately-sized raw meaty bones using a calculator to determine how much meat and organs you need to add based on the percentage of meat: bone in that raw meaty bone.  

Some raw feeders will grind their dog’s raw meaty bones to prevent possible choking, however, this step isn’t necessary for most large breed dogs. If grinding makes you more comfortable, here are two great options for meat grinders that have worked for other raw feeders.

Meat Grinder 1 for Raw Feeding

STX Turboforce II Platinum Electric Meat Grinder

Meat Grinder 2 For Raw Feeding

Sunmile SM-G50 ETL Electric Meat Grinder

Raw bone meal powder is another great option many raw feeders use to feed the proper amount of calcium.  

I like Better Bones from Four Leaf Rover.

Better Bones Bone Meal Powder for Raw Fed Dogs

Better Bones by Four Leaf Rover

This is one of the best raw bone meal powders I’ve come across. Better Bones is made from BSE-free, grass-fed, free-range New Zealand cattle. It has the perfect 2:1 ratio of calcium to phosphorus, along with essential bone nutrients like magnesium, zinc, vitamin D, bone growth factors, collagen, and amino acids. Made in the USA!

Lastly, you can also feed eggshells as a source of calcium, however, because eggshells don’t contain phosphorus or other minerals, they aren’t an ideal source to meet your dog’s dietary needs. 

Secreting Organ & Liver

Two of the foundations of a balanced raw diet are secreting organs and liver, each of which should make up 5 -10% of your dog’s raw diet.  

Among the most common secreting organs you can purchase from most raw dog food co-ops are kidney, pancreas, sweetbread, and spleen.

What about the heart, you ask?

Heart is a major source of taurine so should be included in your dog’s raw diet.

Heart is an organ, but it is counted as a meat when calculating your dog’s raw diet.  You should shoot to feed about 5% of your dog’s raw diet as heart. 

Summary

LIVER: 5 – 10%
ORGAN: 5 – 10%
HEART: 5%

Vegetables & Fruit

To feed or not to feed veggies and fruit… that is the question so many of you want to know.

Fruits and vegetables can provide a great source of cancer-fighting and anti-inflammatory polyphenols so they are beneficial to add to your dog’s raw diet. 

Many raw feeders will formulate their dog’s BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) diet to include 10% fruits and vegetables.  

Prey Model Raw Diet feeders generally don’t incorporate fruits and vegetables (carbohydrates) into their calculations, even if they do feed them.

Best Vegetables For Dogs

  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Broccoli Sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Pumpkin
  • Mushrooms
  • Zucchini
  • Sweet Potato
  • Beets

Best Fruit For Dogs

  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon
  • Apple
  • Banana
  • Mango
  • Blackberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Honeydew
  • Cranberries


Additionally, many raw diets are deficient in two key nutrients: Vitamin D and Manganese. 

To boost the vitamin D content, feed whole raw fish, egg yolks, vitamin D-rich mushrooms, or green-lipped mussels

Green-lipped mussels will also increase manganese levels, as will oysters and shellfish.

Green Lipped Mussels

Green Lipped Mussels

This is an easy supplement to add to fill in any gaps in a balanced raw diet.

Raw Dog Food Calculator

Now that you know what ingredients generally go into a raw food diet for dogs, you need to figure out how much to feed your dog, and subsequently, how much food you need to order.

Raw Feeding Apps for Dogs Review

Honest Review Of 6 Raw Feeding Mobile Apps For Dogs [HITS And MISSES]

Terrific review of the most popular raw feeding calculators on the web!

If you prefer to watch, click here…

The general guideline for how much raw dog food to feed your dog per day is:

Adult Dog: 2-3% of body weight [feed one or two meals per day]

Puppy: 2-3% of adult body weight (expected) OR 10% of current body weight [Feed 3x per day until 6 months]

To avoid overfeeding as your puppy grows, it is recommended to use the following tapering schedule until you reach the 2-3% amount for adult dogs:

RAW FED PUPPIES

  • Puppies 2 to 3 months: 8% to 10% of body weight daily
  • Puppies 4 to 5 months: 6% to 8% of body weight daily
  • Puppies 6 to 8 months: 4% to 6% of body weight daily
  • Puppies 9 to 12 months: 3% to 4% of body weight daily

I use this calculator which I find the easiest and most comprehensive for my needs.

In HONEST Review Of 6 Raw Feeding Mobile Apps For Dogs | Raw Dog Food Calculators [HITS and MISSES] I provide a short walkthrough of how this calculator works and why I like it, especially for planning out my bulk raw food orders.  

Now that you know how much of each category to feed you can begin to put your raw food orders together and place them with your respective co-op or supplier.  

I put my order together in this order:

  1. Meat
  2. Secreting Organ
  3. Raw Meaty Bone
  4. Liver 

I try to select ingredients from different protein sources so that each meal has some variety.  For example, if I order ground beef and beef heart for my primary meat source, I will choose lamb kidney, turkey necks, and beef liver to round out the order. 

Each month when I place my raw dog food co-op order I mix up what I order to ensure any gaps in nutrition are filled by the balance over time approach.  

Read more…

For more on the topic of balancing a raw food diet – what that means and how to do it, read Balance, Bones, & Barf, OH MY! Raw Diet For Dogs Made Simple [10 Tips] and Homemade Dog Food: Is Balance Possible or a PIpe Dream?

For example, if I order ground beef and beef heart the first month, I would order pork loin or ground pork the next month. 

In the third month, I would purchase ground turkey and chicken heart, and so on. 

Rotating your protein sources will not only help balance the fats and nutrients, but it can help prevent protein sensitivities and allergies.

Meat

My Favorite Meats

  • Beef Muscle Meat (cheek, other)
  • Ground (Beef, Turkey, Pork)
  • Pork Loin
  • Heart (Beef, Chicken)
  • Turkey Breast
  • Tongue (Beef)
chicken necks

My Favorite Raw Meaty Bones

  • Turkey Neck & Tail
  • Beef Neck
  • Chicken Back & Neck
  • Duck Frame
  • Chicken Feet
  • Ribs (Beef, Pork)
  • Beef Oxtail
Sardines

My Favorite Miscellaneous

  • Green Tripe (calculated as Meat)
  • Whole Sardines
  • Whole Raw Eggs
  • Bone Broth
  • Homemade Probiotic
  • Coconut Oil
do not feed
  • Leg Bones (beef, pork, turkey) – too hard and can crack your dog’s teeth
  • Bones that are too small (smaller than your dog’s mouth) – risk of choking or blockage

Step 4. Transition Approach – Can Dogs Eat Raw Food Everyday?

Now that you have your healthcare clearance, dog food budget, and meal plan prepared, you can move the the Execution Stage of my 6-step process for transitioning to a raw food diet for dogs. 

To do this you first need to decide how exactly you want to approach this transition.

There are three basic methods you can choose from depending on your comfort level and your dog.  

I encourage you to consider my thoughts on these approaches based on my many years of raw feeding experience as well as seek guidance from other experienced raw feeders in your breed as well.  

Take what you learn, make a decision, and move forward.

Complete Switch on Day 1

Whether you have an adult dog or a puppy, you can utilize the complete switch method to transition to a raw dog food diet, however, the rules are a little different depending on the age of your dog. 

Adult Dog: With a healthy adult dog you may consider fasting your dog for about 24 hours before feeding your first raw meal.  The meal itself should be a balanced meal prepped per the directions above and in this post. 

Large Breed Puppy:  With a large or giant breed puppy, I do not recommend doing a fast before starting on a raw diet.  I would just make the first meal on Day 1 as your first raw meal. 

Raw Food Diet For Dogs: Seamlessly Transition Your Dog in 6 Easy Steps

Keep in mind with a puppy that you MUST carefully balance your Ca: Ph ratio with meat and bone and feed both secreting organ AND liver to ensure proper nutrition for slow growth.  

Half & Half

While many raw feeding gurus don’t recommend mixing raw dog food and commercial kibble, I have not personally found any issue with doing this temporarily while switching an adult dog to a 100% raw food diet. 

That said, while both puppies and adult dogs are capable of handling the bacteria in raw meat because kibble requires a different pH in the gut to digest, it may make your puppy more susceptible to the bacteria in the raw meats. The kibble is metabolized slower so the the meat will sit in the digestive tract longer, increasing the chance of harmful bacteria building up in the gut. 

Because of this, I only recommend this approach if a cold turkey complete switch is not possible and only with adult dogs. 

With this method, you will start with half of your normal ration of kibble combined with half of your calculated raw meal.  

Because the kibble takes longer to digest than the raw food, your dog’s gut will have something to process nearly all the time.  

This is a good thing and a bad thing. 

Optimally, dogs should be fed and then fasted to give the gut time to rest.  However, when starting on a raw dog food diet, most dogs will suffer from “hunger pukes.”  

Hunger pukes are similar to when you or I get so hungry we start to feel sick to our stomach.  Raw dog food digests very quickly so before the next meal time your dog may get an upset stomach.  

Read below for more detailed information about hunger pukes – what they are and what you need to do about them.

An alternative to mixing the kibble and raw in the same meal is to feed full kibble and full raw meals in an alternating fashion slowing increasing the number of raw meals and decreasing the amount of kibble ones. 

Slow & Methodical

This is the method I typically recommend to dog owners who are fearful about raw feeding.  Those for whom the concept of raw feeding is alluring but scary.  

They have heard horror stories about pathogenic bacteria and they can’t believe a dog can not only eat raw, uncooked meat, but that it is also good for them!  

For these individuals, I recommend starting slow.  Baby steps.

Start with three-quarters of your normal amount of kibble and add a raw egg (without the shell at first, although those are edible as well).  If your dog survives that, which he will, slowly try other raw elements to increase your confidence that raw feeding is not only safe but wonderful for your dog’s health.  

Consider trying raw ground meat (beef, pork, turkey), fresh raw green tripe, a frozen raw sardine, frozen liver, kidney chunks, beef heart, and when you are comfortable, try an appropriately sized raw meaty bone from the list above.

NOTE:  I do not recommend this method for growing large breed puppies.

But for a healthy adult dog, mixing in various raw ingredients to a base of kibble to gain experience with raw feeding is completely safe.  

Keep in mind, that this method is temporary.  

Over a couple of weeks, you should be comfortable enough to progress to method 1, Complete Switch.

These are baby steps… but even babies reach their destination!  

Commercial Raw Diet

I know, I know… I said there were three methods and now I’m including a fourth. 

While switching your dog from a commercial kibble to a commercial raw diet (NOT raw-infused kibble… that’s not raw!) is probably the easiest method, it isn’t the most cost-effective for large and giant breed dog owners.  

That said, if you are looking for a done-for-you method that requires little to no effort on your part, there are several fantastic brands I recommend you consider.

Commercial Raw Pet Foods I Recommend

Step 5. Monitor Your Dog’s Health: Poop & Puke 101

No matter which of the three transition methods you decide on you will want to be aware of the key indicators of proper digestion and what to expect with your dog’s new raw diet.  

Common advice is to look for any changes in your dog’s energy level, coat condition, stool consistency, and weight. If you notice any issues, consult with your veterinarian. 

The interesting thing about this advice is that nearly all dogs who switch to a raw food diet have an improvement in energy, a more vibrant healthy coat with fewer allergy issues, and they poop less.  Much less!

The advice, I believe, is meant to scare people away from raw feeding – as soon as they notice some changes in their dog, they freak out and abandon ship.  

To avoid this, I want to share with you the gory details about what you will likely see as you make this transition.

I’ve listed these in the order of which were most concerning to me when I transitioned Sulley and Junior to raw food…

Diarrhea:

Diarrhea or loose gooey stool is guaranteed to happen during your migration to a raw diet.  

In my experience, the range looked like this: 

watery diarrhea ➡️ dark loose stool ➡️ a small, firm stool ➡️ small, white, chalky stool

One of the many benefits of raw feeding dogs is that you become a poop expert.  You will notice small tweaks in diet immediately being reflected in your dog’s stool.  

The more bone you feed, the harder and chalkier the stool.  Conversely, when you aren’t feeding enough bone stools can range from loose to more runny depending on the percentage of organ.  

Figuring out the right balance will come in time with experience.  Simply start with the balanced menu plan as described above and tweak as you go.  

Hunger Pukes:

As stated above, hunger pukes are the doggie equivalent of hunger pains in a human.  Raw dog food digests very quickly in a dog’s gut so before the next meal time your dog may get an upset stomach.

Raw Food Diet For Dogs: Seamlessly Transition Your Dog in 6 Easy Steps

The vomit itself will be more watery and clear, like when you get dry heaves.  Your stomach is empty but your brain is still sending the signal to clear it.  Occasionally, your dog may have little bits of undigested food in there as well.  This is normal.  

Hunger pukes can occur anytime before the next meal in my experience.  

If vomiting occurs right after eating, this is not likely to be caused by hunger, but rather possibly eating too much too quickly or some other cause.  

The best way I have found to prevent hunger pukes in raw-fed dogs is to vary the timing of meals so the dog’s gut isn’t anticipating the food.  If you normally feed at 6 am and 5 pm, can you switch to 6 am and 3 pm one day then 8 am and 4 pm the next day, etc.  

Another option is to initially split the meals into smaller meals more frequently – so instead of just feeding twice a day, switch to three times a day during the transition.  Keep in mind, that you aren’t feeding MORE food, you are feeding the same amount in smaller amounts throughout the day. 

If neither of these solutions works, mix a little bit of sweet potato, brown rice, or even a little bit of kibble with the raw meal.  All of these will be metabolized slower than the raw meat, thus making your dog feel fuller longer.  

I would love to tell you hunger pukes go away once your dog has transitioned, but unfortunately, they don’t go away entirely.  

On occasion, Sulley and Junior will both throw up like this for seemingly no reason.  

As long as your dog is otherwise healthy, eating and drinking, peeing and pooping ok, they will be fine. 

Reduced Water Consumption:

Dogs fed a commercial kibble diet live in a constant state of dehydration which causes them to drink a lot. 

Conversely, dogs fed a raw diet get so much water through the meat in their diet, you will find your dog heading to his water bowl less frequently.  

Increased Urination:

As a by-product of more water in the diet, you may notice your dog urinating more often as well.  

Reduced Stool: 

And lastly, on a commercial kibble diet, you have likely become accustomed to your dog passing a bowel movement at least once a day, if not twice, and each of them being voluminous and stinky!

On a raw diet, your dog’s stool will be the exact opposite – low volume with little to no smell. 

You heard me… no smell.  

This is one of the greatest selling features of a raw diet for large and giant breed dogs!  

No more mountains of poop to pick up before trash day!

Now, if you notice anything that doesn’t fit what I just described or your dog is acting unwell, please seek veterinary attention.  

Step 6.  Adjust, Perfect, and Enjoy!

One of the best parts of feeding a raw diet for dogs is the flexibility and variety.

Every day is a new day, a new discovery, a new opportunity, and a new beginning.  

Nothing you do is forever, nor should it be. You learn as you go and adjust your plan when necessary.  

Remember our Pareto Principle – 80% knowledge got you started, the next 20% will be perfected through hands bowls-on experience

Raw feeding is an adventure… enjoy the ride!

Raw Food Diet For Dogs: Seamlessly Transition in 6 Easy Steps If you are considering transitioning your large dog to a raw food diet for dogs you likely have many questions.  

FAQs About Raw Food Diets For Dogs

There are several reasons your dog may refuse to eat his raw food.  

The first and most obvious reason is that he is not hungry.  A healthy adult dog will eat when he gets hungry enough and most dogs prefer raw food once they begin the transition.  After a short fast of 12-24 hours, make any food more enticing by adding raw green tripe to it.  Just a couple of spoonfuls in the bowl is all you need.  

Another reason your dog may not eat his raw food is the texture, which for some dogs can be a turn-off initially when starting a raw food diet. 

If this is the case for your dog, and you are finding him eating some things, but picking out others, try freezing it and feeding it partially or completely frozen.  This method works particularly well for liver, which many dogs don’t love the consistency of.  

If your dog is still refusing to eat, I recommend calling your veterinarian to rule out a more serious reason for the lack of appetite. 

For more on the topic of appetite, read Dog Not Eating? 10 Surefire Ways To Get a Picky Dog To Eat and Picky Dog? The Labrador Retriever May Have the Answer.

While there are no foods that are guaranteed to make your dog live longer, feeding a fresh, natural diet has, for me, been linked to better health outcomes overall for my dogs. 

Unfortunately, no conclusive studies are declaring the superiority of raw diets over commercial kibble, however, I did find this opinion article published in the Canadian Veterinary Journal with one veterinarian’s perspective. 

“Some of the best informed and conscientious clients are feeding their dogs and cats RMBDs. While raw pet foods are not suitable for most owners or all pets, some dogs and cats are healthier on these diets. Raw diets are effective in the management of some medical problems, especially gastrointestinal dysfunction. They can also resolve inappetence, obesity, and poor hair coat.”

At the end of the day, it is up to you, the owner, to decide what diet is right for you and your dog.  

If you would like to learn more about my journey to raw feeding my two Mastiffs, click here.

There are many terrific protein sources for dogs fed a raw diet. 

Among the best and most readily available are beef, turkey, pork, lamb, chicken, and fish. 

Raw feeders should feed several different protein sources using a balance-over-time approach as the nutrients vary depending on the source of raw meat.  

For example, beef and lamb are higher fat sources for zinc, phosphorus, calcium, potassium, folate (iron), and vitamin B12, whereas turkey is a lower fat source for protein, selenium, phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin B3. 

Raw food diets are terrific for puppies as long as the raw meals are properly balanced according to the unique nutritional needs of a growing puppy. 

Special care should be taken when feeding large and giant breed puppies to ensure they are getting the proper ratio of calcium: phosphorus and the right number of calories to promote growth that is slow and steady.

For more on feeding giant breed puppies, read Feeding Giant Breed Puppies For Dummies – The Protein Myth & More.

Age and breed will affect how much an individual puppy should eat. 

The following are the general guidelines for how much raw food to feed a puppy:

2-3% of adult body weight (expected) OR 10% of current body weight [Feed 3x per day until 6 months]

To avoid overfeeding as your puppy grows, it is recommended to use the following tapering schedule until you reach the 2-3% amount for adult dogs:

  • Puppies 2 to 3 months: 8% to 10% of body weight daily
  • Puppies 4 to 5 months: 6% to 8% of body weight daily
  • Puppies 6 to 8 months: 4% to 6% of body weight daily
  • Puppies 9 to 12 months: 3% to 4% of body weight daily

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