In terms of raw dog food for puppies – how much do they need to eat, and what do they eat?
That’s what one of my readers, Lisa, recently asked me because she wants to transition her 3 month old Cane Corso puppy Amber to raw dog food.
It’s a legitimate question because raw feeding puppies is a little different than raw feeding adult dogs.
Puppies need more raw dog food because they’re still growing. Their daily food intake also needs to be balanced for that same reason. I say that because it’s OK to balance adult raw dog food over the course of 7-10 days.
For example, it’s fine to feed adults more bone one day and none the next. For puppies, that approach doesn’t work.
Either way, I gave Lisa a customized answer with amounts of food that pertain to her puppy Amber’s weight, but this is the gist of it!
Disclaimer: This blog post contains some affiliate links.
Feed 10-2% Of Current Body Weight From 8 Weeks – 12 Months
There are a few different approaches of calculating puppy feeding amounts, but I personally think this one is the easiest to follow.
8-10 weeks old: Feed 10% of your puppy’s current body weight.
10-12 weeks old: Feed 9.5%.
3 months old: Feed 9%.
4 months old: Feed 8%.
5 months old: Feed 7%.
6 months old: Feed 6%.
7 months old: Feed 5%.
8 months old: Feed 4%.
9 months old: Feed 3.5%.
10 months old: Feed 3%.
11 months old: Feed 2.5%.
12 months old: 2%.
After that, your pup can be fed like an adult dog. That said, his daily food intake will be somewhere between 2-4% of his adult target body weight.
Why does the percentage vary between 2-4%? Because the exact amount depends on your dog’s size and lifestyle. A couch potato needs a lot less food than a dog who walks daily, an athlete working dog or pregnant pup.
Raw Dog Food For Puppies: What Does It Consist of?
OK, so the next step is to understand what those daily percentages consist of.
Raw dog food for puppies consists of 73% muscle meat (of that, 10% should be oily fish for the healthy fats), 15% raw meaty bones (RMBs), 12% secreting organs.
If you want to add some plant matter like veggies, fruit, seeds, and nuts, decrease the muscle meat by 5% and add 5% of plant matter instead.
Just FYI, the raw feeding formula for adult dogs is 80% muscle meat (10% of that is oily fish), 10% raw meaty bones (RMBs), and 10% secreting organs. If you want to add plant matter, decrease the muscle meat amount to 70% and feed 10% plant matter.
Tip: Dogs don’t have the enzyme necessary to break down plant cell walls, so in order to properly digest plant matter, you need to feed it puréed (fruit) and lightly steamed (veggies like broccoli, kale, cauliflower).
Muscle meat are cuts of meat like hearts, lungs, gizzards, tongue, green tripe, and trims.
Raw Meaty Bone
Raw meaty bones are cuts like heads, wings, feet, necks, frames, and backs. For example, chicken feet, duck necks, and rabbit heads are raw meaty bones.
They consist of a certain amount of bone and muscle meat.
Heads: 75% bone, 25% muscle meat
Chicken and duck necks w/o skin: 50% bone, 50% muscle meat
Chicken neck with skin: 36% bone, 64% muscle meat
Turkey necks: 42% bone, 58% muscle meat
Feet (duck and chicken): 60% bone, 40% muscle meat
Pork feet: 30% bone, 70% muscle meat
Rabbit front legs: 15% bone, 85% muscle meat
Duck leg: 34% bone, 66% muscle meat
Chicken wings: 46% bone, 54% muscle meat
Duck wings: 39% bone, 61% muscle meat
Turkey wings: 33% bone, 67% muscle meat
Duck frame: 75% bone, 25% muscle meat
Chicken back: 44% bone, 56% muscle meat
These are organs that secrete a substance, like liver, pancreas, thymus, kidneys, uterus, and brains.
Half has to be liver, and the other half needs to be a different secreting organ.
Example: Daily feeding amounts for a 4 month old Cane Corso puppy who weighs 35 lb
The 4 month old puppy who weighs 35 lb will eat 8% of her body weight in raw dog food per day.
That’s 2.8 lbs or 44.8 oz in total raw dog food per day. You can feed 3 daily meals until the puppy’s 6 months old. At 6 months of age, I recommend feeding two meals per day.
Of that, 1.93 lbs or 30.91 oz are muscle meat.
Raw meaty bone are 0.48 lbs or 7.7 oz.
Liver (first secreting organ) is 0.2 lbs or 3.14 oz.
The second secreting organ (e.g. pancreas) is also 0.2 lbs or 3.14 oz.
Example raw dog food recipe for a 4 month old puppy who weighs 35 lbs
This is an example of what you can feed the puppy in one day:
- 1 12 oz turkey neck (raw meaty bone)
- 2.5 duck feet (weight is 1 oz per foot, so 2.5 oz total – raw meaty bones)
- 1 duck wing (weight is 3 oz – raw meaty hone)
- 6 oz beef heart (muscle meat)
- 3 oz sardines (fish – muscle meat)
- 6 oz chicken gizzards (muscle meat)
- 6 oz beef green tripe (muscle meat)
- 3.14 oz beef liver (1st secreting organ)
- 3.14 oz rabbit kidneys (2nd secreting organ)
You can also find turkey necks, beef heart, chicken gizzards, and beef liver at Raw Paws Pet Food. Use my affiliate discount code K9Savings for 15% off anything you order from them.
Now, let me explain how I got to the raw meaty bone amount of 7.7 oz.
1 12 oz turkey neck consists of 5 oz bone and 7 oz muscle meat.
2.5 duck feet consist of 1.5 oz bone and 1 oz muscle meat.
1 duck wing consists of 1.2 oz bone and 1.8 oz muscle meat.
That’s 5 + 1.5 + 1.2 oz bone = 7.7 oz total bone.
Out of the turkey neck, 2 duck feet, and 1 duck wing, 9.8 oz are muscle meat.
Raw Dog Food For Puppies: Pre-Made or Homemade?
In a nutshell, this comes down to personal preference and/or budget.
Homemade Raw Dog Food
If you’re a seasoned raw feeder, you’ll likely make your own raw dog food.
Especially when feeding multiple pups because the price of raw adds up quickly when feeding more than one, especially large, pup.
Pre-Made Raw Dog Food
For people just getting started with raw, it’s probably easier to buy pre-made raw at first. That way you don’t have to worry about the right nutritional balance.
That’s how I personally got started too when I switched my then Boxer mix pups Missy and Buzz to raw back in 2015. I first fed Darwin’s and Raw Paws Pet Food.
Darwin’s Natural Pet & Raw Paws Pet Food
Darwin’s Natural Pet
Darwin’s has a wonderful introductory offer where you get your first 10 lbs for only $14.95. I took advantage of that when I first started ordering from them, and I recommend you do the same.
That’s a FABULOUS deal, and you don’t even have to pay for shipping.
All of their pre-made raw dog food comes in 2 lb pouches that consist of individual 8 oz packets. That’s very convenient for portioning out meals.
Raw Paws Pet Food
They have a very convenient monthly supply pack for puppies up to 6 months of age, and break it down in weight, as they should.
These supply packs consist of complete, ground beef and chicken. Complete means that it’s ready to feed as is. All that’s left to do is thaw and serve. Super easy and convenient.
These complete packs only consist of meat and don’t feature any plant matter. If you want to add some, you can either purée and steam your own, or you can add some of Dr. Harvey’s grain-free Paradigm.
It’s a dehydrated veggie, herb, nut, and seed base mix. All you have to do is add water and serve. Another alternative is Green JuJu. That one you don’t even have to rehydrate. Just thaw, scoop, and serve.
Please leave any comments or questions in the comment section below this blog post!