Puppy Starter Guide
This guide is for puppies that have been weaned to kibble or any food other than raw. It is not recommended to start puppies off with complete balanced 80/10/10 meals, doing so can cause a world of stomach issues. Even puppies that are weaned to raw will have a transition period from the mother. The whole idea of a pup having balanced meals from the start comes from the mother weaning the pups off milk. The mother will regurgitate her "Fully balanced meal" to start the pups association with eating solid foods. As the pup gets used to this the pup begins to eat the same as the mother. The mother does this gradually as do breeders to begin help with weaning, taking it slowly as too much too soon can cause more issues than is needed.
Only difference is that's pups tend to adjust a lot quicker so transition is done in about half the time. Also, as they tend to adjust quicker, this will mean that they've adjusted to kibble feeding from weaning and changing the diet will still be considered a dietary change and we will still need to look out for reactions to proteins (if any).
It's the groups method to feed in a way suitable to all. If you are wanting to learn how to wean to raw straight from the mother please see our From Pregnancy to Weaning Guide
Keep in mind puppies do tend to transition faster and not all puppies are the same but taking a step by step approach will help avoid stomach issues and make the transition much smoother and easier to gage.
Please note: It takes 7-10 days for a kibble fed pup's stomach ph to reach its full capacity of 1-2 in acidity. This highly acidic level ensures that not only pathogens will be killed off but also that your puppy can digest bone safely. For this very reason we suggest boneless for the first few days at the start.
Let’s get started!! The first step is to figure out how much your puppy needs a day. We recommend going by current weight and adjusting as they grow. The younger the puppy, the more meals they'll need per day.
No mixing with kibble and no veggies! You can read more about why not to mix in our Mixing Raw and Kibble file here and also learn why it's important to stay clear of veggies, fruits by having a read of Why No Fruits and Veggies here.
(Ex. If your puppy is 10weeks and weighs 15lbs/6.8kg feeding at 8% of that weight. 15lbs * 8%=1lb 3.2oz per day/ 6.8kg * 8%= 544g of food per day. Split into 4 meals.)
For the first 3-5 days of week 1, start with a skinless, boneless protein like chicken, turkey, or even green tripe if you can source it. After 3-5 days begin introducing soft bone such as chicken wings, necks, chicken ribs etc at the full 10%. You can introduce bone by smashing it with a meat hammer or holding it for your pup if you need to. You can even use a bone-in mince.
Learn how to calculate your bone percentage in our Feeding RMB's Guide.
After week 1 you can now begin to introduce the more dense bone (depending on the size of your puppy) like legs, thighs etc. Also, it's time to begin to introduce new proteins in 3-4 day increments. By the end your new protein introduction it should take over the current one. Introduce one protein at a time. You’ll want at least 4 proteins in total. The more red meat the better! Only move on to a new protein IF poops are well and formed. Some puppies may take a little longer and that’s ok. Don’t rush!
*Please note: You do NOT have to introduce a new bone when introducing any new proteins. Bones such as beef are way too dense to digest, causing a build-up of bone and can also crack teeth when fed whole.*
Once you’ve introduced at least 4 proteins you may now begin to introduce liver. This step should be taken very slowly as liver is power packed with nutrients and too much at once can definitely cause runny bum. Start with just the tiniest amount, the size of a pinky nail or pencil eraser and build up from there to the 5% daily allowance. This could take an entire week or more depending on how well your puppy takes to it.
After a successful introduction to liver, now it’s time to introduce your second secreting organ. See what organs classify as meat and which classify as secreting in our Feeding Organs Infographic at the bottom of the page. Introduce this in the same fashion as you introduced liver.
If all is going well, your puppy is eating at least 4 proteins, bone, liver & another secreting organ it’s time to introduce fish! We only feed them for their omega 3’s so the more oily the fish the better. See what fish are classed as oily and how much fish you need to feed in our Fish Feeding Guide.
The final step in the transition is the introduction to eggs. Eggs should be fed 2-3 times per week. Introduce these just as carefully as everything else. Too many eggs or too fast of an introduction can cause loose stools.
Never rush anything new. Slow and steady wins the race!
Please note: This concludes the basic transition. From this point on do continue with introducing more secreting AND muscular organs as well as more proteins when you can source them!
Here's an example of transition:
Let's name this little guy Thor. Thor is 12 weeks old and weighs 20lbs/9kg.
We're going to start him off at 8% of his body weight and feed him 4 times a day.
20lbs * 8%=1lb 9.6oz/ 9kg * 8%=720g a day.
His 80/10/10 break down is as follows:
80% Muscle Meat=1lb 4.48oz/576g
10% Bone= 2.56oz/72g
5% Liver= 1.28oz/36g
5% Other Organ= 1.28oz/36g
For Thor's first few days his meals will be just chicken breast. The entire calculated amount split into 4 feedings a day.
Once he has adjusted and his poops are good it's time for him to be introduced to his 10% bone allowance. This is usually around day 3.
10% of 1lb 9.6oz is 2.56oz of bone or 72g.
Let's give this little buddy some chicken wings. Wings on average weigh about 3oz/89g and are about 46% bone. 3oz*46%=1.38oz/41g of bone and the rest will be meat. Now, since he requires 2.56oz/72g of bone he'll need about two wings a day. When measuring his meals we'll just weigh his wings first then fill the remainder up with his chicken and split the total into 4 meals for the day. We'll finish his first week of just his chicken breast and wings.
On to his intro of new proteins! For 3-4 days we're going to introduce this little guy to beef. Meat only as we don't have to switch his bone if we don't want to. Plus, beef bones are pretty dense and not recommended anyway.
So, we've weighed his wings first 3oz/89g X 2 (since he needs about 2 wings a day). On our scale we've got 6oz/178g.
Now, we need to fill the remainder up with meat. Only this time it will be half chicken breast and half beef. We'll feed half and half for 2 days then all beef plus his wings for another day or so and move on to another protein using the same fashion as we did with beef 3-4 days each per new protein until he's reached at least 4 new meats.
Now, Thor has successfully been introduced to 4 proteins. It's time for him to start liver introduction. His 5% daily requirement is 1.28oz/36g. What we don't want to do is give him this full amount off the bat. So, we're just going to give him a tiny sliver of it, poop watch, and increase slightly until he's reached his full amount.
Now he's eating roughly 22oz/623g of meat, 2.56oz/72g bone, & 1.28oz/36g of liver. He's ready for his 5% second secreting organ. We're going to introduce this the same way we did liver.
Success! Now Mr. Thor is eating roughly 20oz/576g of meat, 2.56oz/72g bone, 1.28oz/36g liver & 1.28oz/36g other organ. He's now ready for fish.
We're going to feed him fish about 3 times a week. We'll start slow but work our way to his full amount which is based on his weight. This will be roughly 2.4oz of fish per week according to the Fish Feeding Guide.
After he's been successfully introduced to fish we'll start to give him eggs. Only 2-3 a week so we'll just rotate feeding them opposite of fish days.
Now Thor is fully transitioned and is thriving!
Note: This is only an example. You will have to adjust your amounts as your puppy grows. Hopefully this break down helps :)
Not into all this math? Check here.
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Puppy being picky? Try some of these Troubleshooting suggestions.