Raw diet feeding, also known as a BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) or Bones and Raw Food diet, is becoming popular for adult dogs and puppies.
It is a diet that comprises raw meat, bones, vegetables, and fruits.
In this article, you will learn more about the raw diet, whether you can feed a Great Dane puppy a raw diet, rules, and safety around a raw diet, the benefits and risks, the best raw puppy food as well as how to introduce this diet to your puppy.
Yes, you can feed a Great Dane puppy a raw diet. A Great Dane puppy can start a raw diet after they have weaned and when their puppy teeth come up which is usually a month after birth.
There are differing opinions on whether to feed dogs a raw diet.
The raw diet feeding debate has supporters for it as having health benefits to a dog, the reasoning being that natural foods are healthy and that dogs are capable of eating a raw diet.
Veterinarians are against the diet, however, more dog owners are making the decision to feed their puppies a raw diet.
Benefits and risks of raw dog food diet
As a Great Dane owner, you need to be aware of the benefits and potential risks of a raw diet to make an informed decision whether or not to feed your puppy the diet.
The benefits of raw dog food diet include:
- Healthier skin
- Smaller stools
- Shinier coats
- Cleaner teeth
- Increased energy levels
It is believed that a raw diet does not cause a lot of gas formation in the stomach which reduces occurrence.
This is beneficial to Great Danes which are more prone to develop bloat which is life-threatening to them.
The potential risks of a raw diet include:
- A higher risk of contamination with bacteria threatens the health of a puppy which can lead to infection.
- There is the risk of swallowing sharp bones that can be a choking hazard, cause fractured teeth, or constipation due to impacted bone in the stomach. Impacted bone in the stomach can also block the intestines which is a medical emergency.
- A raw diet provides an unbalanced diet and does not provide all the nutritional requirements for a dog which can damage their health and development.
Rules and safety in raw feeding
There are safety measures to follow even when feeding a dog that is naturally capable of having a carnivorous diet to minimize the risks involved.
The following are safety measures in raw feeding of your Great Dane puppy:
Care in handling and storage of raw meat: The main risk of raw feeding is the contamination of raw meat with bacteria such as Salmonella in chicken. This risk can be reduced by having good storage which can be achieved by storing meat in covered containers and in cold storage in the refrigerator. Also, wash your hands before handling the food and use latex gloves when handling the meat. Select a chopping board and knives that are only used for cutting your dog’s meat and also clean them well with soap and water after use.
Use fresh meat: Feed your puppy only fresh meat to avoid bacteria that naturally increase on them if the meat is not fresh. Refrigerate the meat.
Include a variety of meat proteins: Do not just provide your puppy a protein that is easily available or at hand. Try to get a variety of meat protein sources for your puppy’s nutritional benefit.
- Avoid hard bones to protect your puppy’s teeth: Hard bones pose the risk of fracturing a puppy’s teeth. Avoid hard bones, especially weight-bearing bones of large animals such as cows or sheep. Choose bones with meat that are easily edible such as ribs and legs of small animals such as rabbits and chickens.
What do you feed a Great Dane puppy on a raw diet? Best raw puppy food
Raw food diet food for a Great Dane puppy consists of:
- Organ meat such as kidneys and liver from cows, sheep, or pigs
- Chicken wings, backs, feet, and necks
- Raw eggs
- Oily fish
- Vegetables (spinach or broccoli)
- Lamb or beef ribs with meat, rabbit
- Herbivore stomach (unwashed green tripe)
- Pig trotters
- Unsweetened yogurt
It is important to include a blend of the right ingredients to ensure that your Great Dane puppy does not have a nutrient deficiency.
Ensure that the meal contains 48% protein source with edible bone and 52% of other ingredients consisting of 10% organ meat, 10 to 12% fat, and 15% vegetables and fruits.
Provide your puppy this diet at least once or twice each week to obtain the nutrients they need.
In addition to these raw foods, several brands now provide commercially processed raw dog food which is in the market as freeze-dried or frozen.
Raw dog food recipes are also now available in books and online to provide dog owners with different food options to prepare.
How much should a Great Dane puppy on a raw diet eat?
Every Great Dane puppy is different and the answer to this question depends on several factors such as their age, weight, and individual puppy’s requirements.
As a general guide, many Great Dane puppies will need to eat an equivalent of 2 to 3% of the expected adult weight every day.
So if a male Great Dane puppy is expected to be 200 pounds as an adult, this would amount to 4 lb of food each day. This quantity is split up over 2 to 3 meals within a day with a 3 to 4-hour interval.
For puppies below 3 months old, divide the daily ratio into 4 portions, for a 3 to 6-month-old puppy divide into 3 portions, and puppies 6 months to 1 year of age, divide into two portions.
Remember this is an average therefore make adjustments to the food quantity guided by your puppy’s appearance or leanness.
You should be able to feel their ribs but not see all of them and also they should have a waist when full. Puppies will also stop eating when they’re full.
Recommended Reading: Why is my Great Dane puppy so skinny?
How do I introduce raw food to my Great Dane puppy?
If you are currently feeding your Great Dane puppy kibble food and are interested in starting them on a raw diet, it is important to transition to this diet slowly.
A change in diet will always trigger a stomach upset so gradually introduce the food for their stomach to adjust.
Also always consult your vet before changing your puppy’s diet whether it’s kibble food or raw diet. Introduce raw food to your Great Dane puppy using the following steps:
- First, begin with introducing one food type. Start in a small amount with a protein source that has edible bones which will be easy for your puppy to grind with their teeth. For example, chicken is a good meat protein to start with.
- Check your puppy’s feces to see if it is loose or firm. If the stool is loose it’s okay and if it is firm, decrease the bone amount in the meals. When the protein meal is also well-tolerated add slightly the amount served at each mealtime.
- After a few days when their stool is consistent, introduce another protein source. For example, introduce fish, eggs, or tripe. Some puppies might like one protein source over another which is okay and also some may resist organ meat because of the smell. If they resist because of smell, sear the meat before giving it to them.
- If they do not eat the food within 20 minutes remove it and try again on the next meal.
- Continue with increasing the amount until you reach their required daily intake.
- Repeat the process with fruits and vegetables while still monitoring their stool.
There is no ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ decision in introducing a raw diet to your Great Dane puppy. The decision is dependent on consideration of all factors and whether it is best for your dog.
Consider all the risks, benefits, and food safety precautions to ensure that you’re giving your puppy nutritious raw food to meet the nutritional requirements.
Great Dane puppies grow rapidly and require a high-quality diet that supports their development.
I hope this article helped you know whether you can feed a Great Dane puppy on a raw diet, as well as understanding the benefits and risks of a raw diet with the safety precautions to take to ensure food safety.