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In 2014, I decided to start sharing my journey as a raw feeder.  I had been feeding my dogs a raw food diet for a year and wrote about what I had learned as part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge.  Looking back, I cringe at how little I knew about raw feeding and decided to update each of those blog posts in 2018-19.

Enjoy.

Our Puppies have a Voracious Appetite

Losing Blue was a shock and the loss nearly broke us. Johan discovered an accidental litter in Idaho, began communicating with the family, and this is how Scout and Zoey came into our lives. Johan feel in love with a picture of Scout and when he went to meet the family, he saw that Scout and Zoey seemed to be bonded, so we agreed to keep them together.

At this time, I had been feeding our dogs a raw food diet for nearly 9 months and Scout and Zoey enjoyed their first raw meal the evening we got them home. They were six weeks old and hungry!

Slow Feeders for Raw Fed Dogs

At first, the madness our puppies went at their food was chalked up as “wow, they really like raw!” But then I began to wonder if this was safe – they were finished in seconds and begging for more. I remembered a few reviews for slow feeding dog dishes and picked up a stainless steel slow feeder for our puppies.

I was a bit skeptical because it didn't seem like this new dish (which wasn't cheap) would make a difference, but the slow feeder worked immediately. We also put some distance between the puppies to erase the feel of competition that they may have felt when they were still with their littermates.

Feeding Raw to Puppies

So, we slowed the puppies down – Yes! – but they still seemed hungry. Johan wanted me to add more food, but I wasn't convinced that this was the solution. Puppies shouldn't resemble little, barking Dough Boys. I decided to follow the below feeding guidelines:

Do You Know Your Puppy's Breed?

  • If you know the puppy's adult weight, then feed them 3% of their expected adult weight.

But we didn't know the adult weight. We interacted with Scout and Zoey's parents – who were 35-40 lbs each. We thought we'd have small dogs, but we weren't sure. Rodrigo and Sydney's mom was about 35-40 lbs. Rodrigo is currently 57-58 lbs and Sydney is about 73 lbs.

And, by the way, it's a good thing that we didn't try and guess because Scout and Zoey weigh 75 lbs and 65 lbs respectively.

When You Don't Know Your Puppy's Breed…

Recent DNA tests proved that Scout and Zoey's breed makeup was more than Australian Shepherd and Catahoula Leopard Dog; in fact, there is no Catahoula in our pups.

When you don't know your puppy's breed, it's best to follow these guidelines, keeping in mind that every dog is different and we need to adjust how much we're feeding if we notice our puppy gaining too much weight (getting fat) or losing too much weight:

  • 2-4 months – feed 10% of the puppy's current body weight
  • 4-6 months – feed 8% of the puppy's current body weight
  • 6-8 months – feed 6% of the puppy's current body weight
  • 8-12 months – feed 3-4% of the puppy's current body weight

I was able to tell if I was feeding enough (or too much) through a simple rib/spine test (image below). But I was careful about how much I adjusted their meals by because puppies go through growth spurts. If my dogs were going through a growth spurt, then I may add a little more food to fuel those replicating cells, but not too much. And I decreased their food as I noticed their growth spurt slowing.

Purina’s Body Condition Chart
Credit: Courtesy of Nestle Purina PetCare Co.

It's also important to have a veterinarian who can help because if a puppy is always hungry despite being fed the appropriate amount and not looking emaciated, I'd want to confirm that there isn't an underlying health issue that is driving this behavior.

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