The Best Puppy Food Recipe: A Homemade Raw Diet
What Is the Best Choice?
If you were to choose the best food for your kids, would you pick:
- Potato chips and other “vitamin fortified” 100% complete dry snack foods, sold by your pediatrician, obstetrician, and endorsed by the government?
- Canned foods that smell bad, taste great, and which another government group has labeled as healthy and 100% complete?
- Fresh produce and other food with vitamins and minerals?
Not everyone would choose number 3. There are those families out there that let a company decide what is best for their family, and choose “vitamin fortified” empty foods instead of choosing what is right. But, if you did choose number 3, and want to feed your family correctly, why would you want to do any different when it is your new puppy?
Vitamin-Fortified and Sold by Your Vet: Purina Puppy Chow
Choice number one is a popular dry food that is supplemented and has been declared to be fortified and complete. Purina Puppy Chow is so popular in the US that some vets and small breeders will recommend you purchase it to maintain all your puppies. This dog food is no better than feeding your puppy on a diet of enriched corn chips.
The main ingredient in Puppy Chow is corn, and the second ingredient is corn gluten meal. Corn may provide some energy, and the gluten meal may provide some protein without meeting your puppy´s amino acid requirements, but much of it will pass through your puppy and end up in your yard. Anyone who has cleaned up after puppies fed this diet knows what I am talking about.
Puppy chow also has chicken by-product meal, the carcass after the prime cuts like breast and thighs are removed. It has animal fat, which can come from any sorts of animal (even dead, diseased, and dying animals of any species), soybean meal, brewers rice, barley, and many other supplemental vitamins and minerals so that the product will make the grade when the government certifies it.
Dry foods do not have probiotics, however, and much of the food is not even digested. Your puppy cannot even make use of all of those ingredients.
Even though they appear to have what your puppy needs and will keep him alive, are they what you need to feed to keep him healthy? Is this what you want for your new puppy?
Healthy and 100% Complete: Alpo Canned Puppy Food
Most puppies are so hungry that they will eat anything, even the “vitamin fortified” dry food that you pour into their bowl a few times a day. Some new puppy owners realize that canned corn chips is not enough, and many of them will buy the second choice, a can of puppy food to give as a treat or feed as a regular diet. Are canned diets really what your puppy needs? Not really.
One of the most popular, Alpo, lists water as the main ingredient. That is pretty normal with all canned foods, so they let you know right on the label that it is only adequate for processing.
The next major ingredients in Alpo are meat by-products, followed by liver and chicken. It is hard to tell the quality of these items, and although they are cooked and lose some of their vitamins, they are better than the ingredients in a sterile bag of dry food.
The scary part is what else is in the can you are feeding your puppy. Wheat gluten, a residue that helps raise the protein level, is the next ingredient. Soy flour and cornstarch help fill up the can. The food also has artificial coloring to make you think you are feeding more meat and minerals that are probably not bioavailable.
Like the puppy chow, this food will keep your puppy alive, but it will do nothing to keep him healthy.
Is that really all you want?
The Natural Option When Feeding Your Puppy
If you chose option number 3 for your family, you are intelligent and responsible enough to take care of your kids and make sure that they are getting what they need to grow and stay healthy.
Despite what AAFCO, the AVMA, and most vets want you to believe, feeding a puppy is even easier.
A natural diet will supply the vitamins, antioxidants, and probiotics that your dog needs to grow and be healthy. Every meal is not going to be 100% balanced. Neither are the foods that you give to your family. What matters is that you feed a balanced food over time. Feed an adequate ration and your puppy will be a lot healthier than those fed the commercial alternatives.
As your puppy grows and all of her adult teeth come in, you can add a lot more variety to her diet. Raw sardines, oxtails, offal, beef lips, and tracheas, and about anything else is all appreciated—you do not need to spend a lot of money buying only those cuts sold to humans.
Get started as soon as you bring your new puppy home. Does she deserve anything less?
Natural Feeding Recommendations for Puppies
For a new puppy that will grow up to be a 10 kilo dog, feed about 2% of that weight each week, or 200 grams per day. Each week you will need to give her:
- About 1 to 1.5 kilos of raw, meaty bones (chicken necks and chicken wings are ideal since the bones are soft and easy for the puppy to chew. If feeding wings, the wing tips should be cut off to prevent choking, and if feeding necks, the skin should be cut off to reduce the fat and make it easier for the puppy to chew.).
- About 100 grams of liver (do not overload on liver)
- About 100 grams of kidneys or other organ meat
- A raw egg a few times per week
- About 100 grams of finely blended raw veggies (carrots, squash, romaine lettuce, etc) a few times a week, along with a few tablespoons of raw yogurt to act as a natural probiotic. The veggies have to finely blended or your puppy will not be able to digest them. You can mix the veggies with the raw egg or liver to make them more appealing to your puppy.
If your puppy is interested and willing to try fresh fruit, let him eat a little banana, coconut, or berries high in Vitamin C and other antioxidants (like blueberries).
If you have a larger puppy, the amounts will vary, and of course, the amounts will vary as your puppy is growing. You should be able to feed him ribs, but they should not be sticking out. Monitor her closely as he grows and adjust his feeding as necessary: if he is too thin, feed him a little more. If he is getting fat, feed him a little less.
The best food for your new puppy is:
Some people in the past thought they could get by with enriched white bread. Do you think you can get by feeding your puppy one of the better brands of dry puppy foods instead of a fresh, natural diet?
It is not going to work that way. The other dry diets on the market may not be as popular as Purina Puppy Chow since they are more expensive, and even with different ingredients they are really no better. The foods are still cooked, destroying vitamins, enzymes and natural probiotics, and some of the vitamins and minerals may block others during digestion. This will result in low digestion of some minerals. You may not notice any problems now, but things may show up in years to come.
Do your best for your puppy now.
If you want more information, you can read other articles that detail some of the benefits of raw for adult dogs. You should also get hold of a copy of a book called Give Your Dog a Bone, by Australian veterinarian Dr. Ian Billinghurst. The book has a great section on the proper way to rear puppies, and gives plenty of details on how to make up raw diets for dogs of all ages.
More About Feeding Your Dog
- How To Buy Inexpensive Raw Dog Food
You do not need to spend a lot of money on raw dog food--you can feed a good diet for the same price as the cheapest dog food on the market. Find out what you need.
- Do Premium Foods Make My Dog Live Longer
Big dog food companies can afford to run trials and find out if their food makes dogs live longer. They don't know if their food improves life spans. Why?
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.