My dog has had puppies, can I wean them on raw?
Simple answer, yes.
If your new Mum is already raw fed, then you probably have some grasp on how the raw diet works, and feeding your puppies on raw shouldn’t be too difficult.
Start out with a finely minced, boneless meat, mashed well with milk. You can use raw organic goats milk for this, or you may prefer a puppy replacement milk.
For the first couple of days, the pups will probably wade around in it, wear it, swim in it, pretty much everything but eat it! Don’t worry about this at all, what you are doing at this point is giving them the opportunity to learn how to eat.
You want them to be hungry when you offer them this mixture, so do keep Mum away for a good hour or 2 prior to offering them food.
You should also try to offer the food at room temperature, if it’s cold, that can put them off. It might seem obvious, but do not leave them alone with the food.
You will find that the puppies are usually ready for their first attempt at solids at around 3.5 weeks.
A good indicator is noise!
If they suddenly switch from content, quiet little puddings, to a flock of squawking seagulls, then they are experiencing hunger and are ready to try real food!
So, for the first few days, offer them the boneless mince/milk mixture a couple of times a day.
Remember, you are not feeding them as such, you are giving them a chance to try it out so don’t worry if they don’t seem keen, some litters pile straight in, some are more reluctant.
Smaller litters, in particular, can take a little longer to really go for solids.
Once you notice that the pups are getting keener, and are actively eating the food; this will probably be when their teeth are in, you can start to introduce mince with bone.
Stick to a nice fine mince, and add it into the mix you are already using. You can slowly reduce and remove the milk after about a week, still keeping to well minced, wet food that doesn’t have large pieces of bone in.
By around 6 weeks, they can be eating 3 or 4 different proteins, for example, Chicken & Tripe, Turkey, Beef and Duck are all fine.
They should now be eating 4 meals a day, aim to feed them around 10% of their bodyweight per day.
Between 6 and 7 weeks, start to introduce offal.
You can do this by adding small amounts of complete mince, to the mince they are already eating.
Don’t swap straight to complete as you may find this can cause diarrhoea in some litters.
Aim for the pups to be fully eating complete at around 8 weeks, this means you can send them off to their new homes with a week or so worth of food that their new parents can just defrost and feed!
The simpler it is for new owners to feed raw, the more likelihood that your pups will remain on a natural, healthy, raw diet!
If your new Mum is not raw fed, then we do not recommend switching her to raw during pregnancy, or whelping, however, you can still wean her puppies on raw, then switch Mum over when the pups are fully weaned.