A new puppy brings a whole load of joy – and a whole load of prep. We only want the best for our fluffy bundles, so, in addition to picking the perfect bed and toys, most of us research the best dry or raw puppy food well in advance.
Week 1 is all about settling in – snuggles, play, toilet training, and sleep. But once your pup’s feeling at home, you can start thinking about introducing their new diet.
We know it’s nerve-wracking: your little friend is just beginning to calm down, so you don’t want to risk an upset or empty tum. Good thing we’re puppy experts here at Hug.
In this piece, we’ll give you step-by-step guidance on transitioning puppies to a different diet, whether you’re opting to feed raw puppy food, cooked meals, or a dry alternative.
Going from one dry puppy food to another…
If you’re switching from one dry puppy food to another, the changeover is straightforward.
Simply introduce their new food slowly into the bowl over ten days, gradually increasing the new to old food ratio until you’re only feeding the new food. Even if this is the same kind of food you were feeding previously, do check feed quantities as recipes differ in calorie and fat content.
Switching to raw puppy food
What about moving from kibble to raw puppy food? As a guide, we can look at what an 8-week old pup would have eaten in the wild pre-domestication.
At this stage, a puppy definitely wouldn’t be hunting. Instead, they’d be eating the food their mother chewed and regurgitated for the litter. They’d also be playing, snuffling around, and investigating the carcass remains as their teeth came in and the desire to chew fired up.
We can learn from and, to a certain degree, replicate this diet when feeding today’s puppies. Raw mince formulated with puppies in mind is a great starting point, as it will typically have finer bone content and will be easier on smaller breeds’ digestive systems. The best raw puppy food is also complete and balanced, designed to stimulate healthy growth and development.
There are 2 ways to move your pup onto a raw diet:
A straight swap
If you’re feeling brave, you can safely make the swap right away to raw puppy food in mince form, kicking off a new day with their new raw diet.
A gentle transition
Want to take things more slowly? Our raw puppy food is the ideal introduction to a raw diet. Unlike most puppy foods, it’s cookable, so you can gently acclimatise your pup to raw food by adding it cooked to their kibble.
Begin by feeding half of their morning meal as cooked Hug mince. If all is well the following morning, feed the whole morning meal as cooked mince.
After switching to a fresh, whole food diet, your puppy’s poop should become firmer, and there will be less of it. If your pup’s a little more sensitive to change and they pass softer stools, pause at just one cooked meal or half-cooked meal per day until they’re passing solid stools.
From here, wait a day or two, then gradually replace their second meal of the day with cooked mince until you are serving both meals cooked.
At this stage, if you’re happy cooking the food, continue doing so. Alternatively, you can reduce cooking time over a week until you’re serving the food entirely raw. Once your pooch is eating their meals 100% raw, you can switch to our traditional raw with bone or stay on our cookable raw puppy food.
DIY raw puppy food
Making your own raw puppy food requires specialist knowledge, especially for those with large or tiny breeds. Rather than going DIY, we recommend consulting a nutritionist or professional for a plan, as things can easily go wrong.
The focus needs to be on delivering a bone content of approximately 10%, in addition to ensuring meals are calorie-dense enough to meet energy and growth requirements.
How much should I feed my puppy?
Unsurprisingly, puppies expend a lot more energy than adult dogs as their bodies and minds continuously grow and develop. Due to this, they need a lot more food, up to around 6-8 months of age. Once they’ve reached adult size, they can drop down to a daily allowance of roughly 2-3% of their body weight.
You can see in the feeding chart below how we calculate portions during that vital first year:
Many commercial kibble brands manipulate the calorie density of puppy food. Not so with our raw and cold pressed puppy ranges, which only contain premium, bioavailable ingredients that deliver optimal nutrition as nature intended.
A balanced lifestyle
There are also plenty of ways to work healthy snacks into your pup’s day – just remember to factor them into the daily ration.
Freezing raw food in a kong can keep curious young’uns occupied and complements their natural urge to chew the day away.
You can also feed our cold pressed recipes in tandem with Hug raw puppy food. Our tasty cold pressed puppy food makes for excellent training treats and scent work – you can also feed it as one (or both) of your pup’s meals. Packed with top notch protein, veggies, and prebiotics, it’s rich in omega-3, critical for robust joint and brain development.
Whether or not you choose to feed Hug puppy food, we’re here to help ensure your pup’s nutritional needs are properly met. If you’re looking for reliable advice, get in touch with our friendly team of experts. We’ve got this.