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Like any responsible dog parent, you only want the best for your pet in all aspects of their life, including their nutritional needs. You might have scoured the internet, asking what diet you should give your puppy, and you might have had your question answered: wet, dry, or raw food. But is raw feeding puppies okay?

Considering how gnarly and unappetizing it looks, a raw diet for your puppy may not sound appealing. But the answer says otherwise. If so, what nutrients can a puppy get from raw feeding, and how safe is it? 

Let’s explore the nutritional and health benefits of raw feeding puppies and discover how to create a safe and nutrition-rich diet for them.

Is it safe to feed a puppy a raw diet?The primary issue that most puppy parents have with raw feeding is safety. We won’t leave you hanging: yes, puppies are safe to eat raw food. In fact, raw food diets are more nutritional than simple dry dog food diets.Does that statement seem unlikely?Let’s try debunking common myths surrounding raw food diets to shed some light on the matter.

Debunking the Misconceptions on Raw Feeding

To prove that raw food diets can bring more benefits to your pet rather than doing the opposite, here are some prevalent beliefs most dog parents have about raw feeding and why they aren’t necessarily true. 

Myth 1: Puppies can get bacterial infections from having a raw food diet.

One of the most common myths surrounding raw feeding is the belief that a dog will contract bacterial infections from eating raw meat. While it’s true that raw meat naturally contains several types of bacteria, this doesn’t necessarily mean your puppy will develop diseases after consuming them.

Dogs are equipped with inherent mechanisms safeguarding their well-being and minimizing the risk of unfortunate circumstances. Their line of defense against bacteria starts from the very beginning of the digestive tract, the mouth

Dog saliva contains many enzymes that can kill bacteria and microbes that attempt to enter and infect the body, preventing harmful microorganisms from thriving. And even if these microorganisms can pass through the first protective measure, they won’t stand a chance when they drop down to the animal’s stomach.

Similar to the human digestive system, the dog’s stomach contains a highly acidic fluid called hydrochloric acid that will immediately eliminate these remaining microbes. The dog’s small and large intestinal walls are also lined with antibacterial enzymes for further protection.

So while raw food diets contain plenty of harmful bacteria, your puppy can withstand the effects of these microorganisms with the help of their digestive system.

Raw feeding can strengthen your pup’s immune system because the meals are packed with essential nutrients and are abundant in several antioxidants, helping their bodies fight microbes better.

shot of a dog sniffing or chewing on a raw meaty bone

Myth 2: Puppies can choke and die from raw bones.

As you read on, you will learn about types of food that can give your furry friend the necessary nutrients they need. Two of these are calcium and phosphorus. Your little pup can gain such minerals when you add a crucial raw food diet component: raw bones.

Due to their tough exterior and bulky appearance, one might think feeding raw meaty bones to small puppies will only lead to disastrous results, including choking, damaging their digestive tract, or worse, dying from said injuries.

No sane pet parent would want their precious puppy to suffer such a horrible fate. Unsurprisingly, many owners would avoid incorporating raw meaty bone into their dog’s diet or feeding their pets raw food altogether. Some owners even cook the bones, thinking this option would be better. However, that is a HUGE no-no.

Contrary to what many believe, cooked bones are NOT safer than raw bones.

Cooked bones tend to become more brittle, causing them to break and splinter easier when chewed on. These broken cooked bones can wound or pierce your dog’s digestive tract more than raw bones ever could.

Raw meaty bones are soft and edible, providing your pet with the necessary nutrients while preventing them from choking or getting injured. 

💡 However, while raw meaty bones are generally safe enough to nibble on, puppy parents are still highly advised to place appropriate-sized raw bones in their pet’s meals to avoid unwanted mishaps.

Myth 3: Raw feeding can negatively affect my pet’s behavior.

Dogs descended from a species known to be carnivorous and wild (wolves). This makes people develop the common misconception that raw feeding may revert these precious lovable animals to their old, bloodthirsty, and untamed selves, ready to feast on flesh.

It may seem over the top, but some people believe it. They think getting a taste of raw meat may unconsciously awaken a dog’s hidden bloodlust or activate a sleeper cell that turns dogs back into aggressive hunters. 

These narratives and beliefs are completely false. There haven’t been any reliable studies that prove the causation or even correlation between raw feeding and a dog’s aggressive or violent behavior.

Raw food may look unconventional, unappetizing, and a bit scary. But these meals are rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients allowing your puppy to grow into a good, healthy, and strong adult dog.

Raw Feeding: What Can It Do for My Pets?

Our meticulous myth-busting shows that raw feeding does more good than bad for your precious puppy. To mention a few:

  • Incorporating fresh, whole ingredients into their diet gives your pet a natural boost of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support their immune function.
  • Raw food diets affect your puppy’s digestive system. Studies have shown that raw-feeding dogs can increase their good bacteria and natural enzyme count, allowing better nutrient absorption and digestion and reducing digestive issues like bloating.
  • Instead of turning them back into aggressive bloodthirsty animals, raw food diets can improve your dog’s overall mental well-being by boosting their energy levels. It reduces mood swings and behavioral issues and lowers their anxiety levels.
  • Raw food can improve your pet’s coat, making it shiny and healthy. With the nutrients raw feeding and raw food diets offer, your puppy can avoid coat problems like excessive shedding and handle allergies better.
shot of raw meat on a metal dog bowl with vegetables and a liver in the background

A Short Guide on How to Plan Raw Food Meals

We hope you feel more confident in the potential of raw puppy food diets for your precious pups after we’ve busted common misconceptions and laid down the benefits. If we’ve successfully convinced you to include raw food in your pet’s diet, you may wonder how to prepare those meals for your pup.

What should be in it?

Before creating any meals, it is crucial to learn which vitamins and minerals are essential to a puppy’s well-being. By knowing these essential nutrients, puppy parents can make a balanced diet for their pets. 

Below is a table presenting the various types of food and their corresponding nutrients that should be included in your puppy’s raw food diet.

Essential NutrientWhere to Find It
Protein + essential amino acidsMuscle meat from fish, beef, pork, lamb or poultry, organic eggs
CarbohydratesOats, root vegetables, corn, rice, wheat
PotassiumRaw meat, avocados, bananas, apples, spinach, broccoli, and carrots
CalciumRaw meaty bones, egg shells*
IodineSeaweed or kelp, shellfish like mussels and shrimp
B Vitamins Raw turkey and duck meat (B6 and B12), organ meats like liver (B1, B2, B3), salmon (B3)
Vitamin DFish like salmon, sardines, or tuna, organic eggs
Vitamin ESeeds, nuts, raw brain

*Consult with a veterinarian before incorporating the diet

In terms of portions, experts recommend preparing your pet’s meal according to the pie chart below.

*Source: Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (BARF) For Puppies

We advise reading more about pet nutrition to better understand and plan your pet’s meal portions. 

How often should I feed my puppy?

Planning your pup’s raw food diet, you may wonder about the frequency of feeding them these meals. It’s essential to note that you can’t expect your pet to be immediately fond of or be familiar with eating such meals, mainly if they’ve been accustomed to a completely different diet.

You must gradually introduce raw feeding. Start by giving ¼ raw food diet and ¾ previous diet during the first days, slowly increasing the raw food intake after a couple of days until they become more accustomed to it.

Once familiar with raw food, you can feed your puppy small meals thrice a day.

Final Thoughts

Giving your pet raw dog food may seem unsafe and scary at first. With the number of myths surrounding raw feeding, it’s no surprise that puppy parents like you feel skeptical of it. However, with the right knowledge and proper meal planning, raw feeding is a beneficial choice for your puppy in the long run.

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