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We are adding a fifth dog to our family, a six month old puppy that we'll be transitioning to raw cold turkey and this blog post shares our plans.

Wow! This is unexpected but I'm excited by this opportunity to not only help a family member but to also introduce another dog to a diet of fresh food.

We're Getting a Puppy!!!

A family member needed to rehome his puppy and contacted us. I barely contained my glee as I said “HELL YES!!!!”

This isn't something that we were prepared for or planned. Although I would love a life with lots of dogs, the reality is that four dogs are a lot. My hope is that having a fifth dog won't be much different. #FingersCrossed

Funny text message with my BF as I explained that the new dog will be transitioned cold-turkey from kibble to raw dog food.

Why it's Important to Start a Puppy on a Raw Diet?

I believe that it's important to transition puppies to raw because the longer our dogs eat a raw diet (among other healthy choices), the healthier their outlook will be as they grow and age.  I transitioned my dogs to raw due to Rodrigo's health issues:

  • environmental allergies
  • food allergies
  • digestive issues (chronic diarrhea, loose stool, gas, anal gland issues)
  • joint issues and inflammation
  • chronic ear infections
  • skin rashes
  • itchy skin and paws
  • behavioral issues (due to chronic inflammation)

And I've been feeding raw ever since. Rodrigo and Sydney were transitioned at 3 years old. Scout and Zoey were transitioned at 6 weeks old.

Transitioning a Puppy to a Raw Food Diet

Natural Rearing Breeder

If you're puppy comes from a natural rearing breeder, your breeder will be able to provide resources and guidance on maintaining this diet for your new dog.

Taking a Puppy from Kibble to Raw – Premade Raw

If you're taking a puppy from a diet of kibble to a diet of raw, I believe that the easiest way to do this is to start with a premade raw diet.  By feeding commercial raw, you'll have time to find sourcing, work out a budget, procure an extra freezer (if necessary), and gain a better understanding of feeding a “balanced” diet.

Also, feeding a premade raw diet meant that my puppies were getting everything they needed nutritionally. Yes, it's more expensive, but worth the investment while I learned DIY.

Taking a Puppy from Kibble to Raw – DIY Raw

Premade raw can be expensive, so here is a way to transition your puppy to raw with the least amount of a headache.

Transitioning a Puppy to DIY Raw

I used to a set of steps to transition a puppy to raw and if you look around online, you'll find similar lists. But over the years, this has changed because I found a much easier way to transition to DIY raw.

If you want to feed DIY raw, I have one piece of advice – work with a meal formulator. The reason I suggest this instead of some random steps is because a meal formulator…

  1. can formulate a meal based on YOUR dog's individual needs
  2. can formulate a meal that meats your dog's nutritional requirements
  3. will take into account your puppy's growth
  4. will take into account your puppy's needs based on breed
  5. can formulate a meal that fits in your budget and is easily sourced

Transitioning Our Older Puppy to DIY Raw (Apollo is 7 months old)

The puppy that will be joining our family is currently on a kibble diet and that will end the moment he arrives in our home. We will be transitioning cold-turkey to a fresh food diet. And because our other dogs are eating a DIY raw diet, Apollo will join them.

I made a big batch of raw dog food with Dr. Harvey's Paradigm yesterday.

We feed our dogs a raw food diet. This week, I made a pork meal for the dogs that will last at least two weeks for 5 dogs.  Human grade pork doesn't have a risk of parasites.
human grade pork doesn't have a risk of parasites

Watch my Facebook Live showing the making of this food.

Feeding Raw to Puppies

When it comes to mix-breed dogs, it's hard to determine what they'll be as adults. I don't know which breed characteristics to expect and I don't know how big he'll big. I'm trying to educate myself about all things about the breed mix so that I'm prepared for everything. I'll be making the following adjustments to Apollo's raw diet:

  • I will be feeding Apollo 3-4% of his current body weight. We have a dog scale, so I can keep track of his weight and adjust how much we're feeding him to avoid inappropriate weight gain or loss.
  • I will be adding more calcium to his diet for the next few months to support his growing bones along with additional Vitamin B via pork hearts or a supplement. My Internet research tells me that this breed mix (Goberian – who comes up with these names?) can grow up to 80 lbs. Wow!
  • I will NOT be fasting the puppy. He'll need a full diet and appropriate nutrients as he grows. However, when he arrives, he may not have an appetite, so I have raw goat's milk and bone broth ready for him.

Have a younger puppy? Here are the feeding guidelines by age:

Age in Months% of Body Weight# of Daily Meals
2-4 months8-10%3-4 meals daily
4-6 months*6-8%3 meals daily
6-8 months4-6%2 meals daily
8-12 months3-4%2 meals daily

*I started feeding our dogs twice daily at four months of age.

Supplements for Puppies

The only supplements that Apollo will receive initially will be a digestive supplement and salmon oil (when I'm not feeding sardines, white fish, or salmon). I'm most comfortable with the following products:

I don't worry about adding additional supplements until my dog shows a need for something more.

*I also grind up the eggshells from farm raised chicken eggs, however, this is a last option for our puppy because eggshells only provide calcium and not phosphorus. I don't grind grocery store eggshells because I don't know what they were rinsed with to clean.

Feeding Raw Bones to Puppies

I don't feel comfortable feeding recreational bones to puppies until their adult teeth come in, which should happen around 6-7 months old (sometimes sooner for some dogs). Their puppy teeth are too soft for recreational bones and I don't want to risk a dental mishap or any pain that may turn the dog off of bones.

Raw meaty bones, however, are great and I'll be feeding the puppy duck feet (more cartilage than bone), duck necks and duck frames (more cartilage than bone) when he arrives. He'll eat raw bones under supervision without the other dogs around until he learns how to eat them and I know that he won't try to inhale them. Once I feel that he has a handle on eating raw meaty bones, he can join the pack on bone days (always under supervision).

Puppy Vaccinations

I do not vaccinate my dogs beyond their first-year boosters. Apollo is caught up on his puppy vaccinations and we'll have a health certificate for his new veterinarian. He will get the annual boosters and then he'll be finished. The reason I go this far is that I am raising rescues and I don't always know their vaccination history.

Going forward, I will have my dogs' titer tested to check their antibody levels.

We will be taking Apollo in for a check-up once he's settled into our home and I'll be adding him to our pet insurance.

Preparing for the Puppy

Diet isn't the only thing that we're concerned about with our new family member.

  • We hired a dog trainer to help with introductions and training.
  • We hired a dog walker/pet sitter to walk Apollo when we're at work.
  • We're considering enrolling Apollo into a reputable doggy daycare so that he can play with other puppies.

He has everything that he needs (eg. toys, crate, blanket, dog dish, leash, harness) and I'll be updating our first aid kit with the following products:

  • Slippery elm – for diarrhea and intestinal parasites; we live in a rural area with small critters.
  • Benedryl – for bee stings (available at the drug store).

My Concerns About the New Dog

My only concerns about adding a new dog to our family are how will our dogs react and how long before they accept that the puppy isn't leaving soon. I'm praying that this will work out. #FingersCrossed

We are adding a fifth dog to our family, a six month old puppy that we'll be transitioning to raw cold turkey and this blog post shares our plans.

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