I have written many articles on the raw diet for dogs, but it was not until I got a toy dog, that I realized some modifications might be necessary! My breed, a Brussels Griffon, is not only small, but also has an undershot bite. As a result, I had to take a new perspective on the ease of feeding the smaller dog!
My general information is to feed puppies four times a day and adult dogs twice a day. These meals are divided into one half raw meaty bones and the other half muscle meat with some organ meat, dairy (yogurt or cottage) and egg, if desired. When my puppy came to me at 9 weeks, he weighed 3 lbs. I realized it was not just about modifying the size of the raw meaty bones, but also figuring out meals in ounces, rather than pounds! Adult dogs generally eat 2% to 3% of their body weight in food daily and puppies 5% to 10% daily.
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Toy breeds tend to have higher metabolisms than larger breeds, so they may need a bit more. AND they need more than two meals a day even when they are adults because of their higher metabolism. Therefore, a raw diet menu for a toy breed puppy might look like this:
One ounce ground meat (beef, pork, chicken, turkey, lamb or tripe)
One chicken neck, cut up into about 10 pieces
1/2 to 1 ounce mixture of yogurt and goats milk or ground muscle meat
1 chicken neck, cut up into about 10 pieces OR one sardine (canned, water packed)
It is important to add as much variety to the diet as you can. I try to vary the diet over a week with at least four different protein types. These may include beef, pork, lamb, turkey, chicken or fish. I try to limit canned fish to twice a week. As with all puppies, they may eat all of this on some days and not so much on others. Growth spurts cause more vigorous eating!
Supplements for Puppies:
I add 1/2 fish oil capsule daily for the hair coat and to support the immune system and 1/8th of a teaspoon of the Bertes Daily Blend twice daily for added vitamins. The Bertes Daily Blend includes vitamins D, A, C, E and B complex. If you are switching to a raw diet, I also suggest using the Bertes Ultra Probiotic Powder through the transition period as probiotics help keep the beneficial bacteria in healthy amounts in the digestive tract and helps keep stools firm. Probiotics should be given at a 1/8th teaspoon with each meal.
Another good product, especially for show puppies or puppies under stress is Immediacare GI. This product supports gastrointestinal balance caused by micro flora imbalances caused by stress and traveling. It comes in a paste, which is easy to administer to small puppies and easy to carry when traveling. The suggested dosages for this supplement are .5cc twice daily for dogs up to 10 pounds and three times daily for dogs 11 to 20 pounds.
When the puppy reaches about four months of age, I reduce the meals to three times a day. Again, I make sure the meals are divided equally with half being raw meaty bones (cut up chicken necks, wings, backs, canned sardines, mackerel or salmon) and the other half being ground or cut up muscle meat with a small amount of organ meat (kidney or liver). You can purchase raw meaty bones pre-ground, but I have found that my puppy prefers the cut up raw meaty bones. As he grows, I cut them into larger pieces.
Depending on the breed, some preference may be made to keep the fur clean depending on if the breed is coated or not. However, most dogs eat their meals so quickly there is little mess! Small dogs can wear a 'snood' to keep the hair back, if needed.
Traveling is a snap too, as food can easily be taken in a cooler for road trips or dog shows. I am used to taking large amounts of food for several Rottweilers. Now that I have Nikko, my little Brussels Griffon, I have found that the food needed for him is so little it hardly takes up any room in the car or the hotel room!
What are the benefits of a raw diet?
- Clean teeth (never need cleaning)
- Smaller, hard stools that generally turn white and blow away
- Sweet breath
- No more 'doggy' odor!
For dogs with light colored coats, raw is a great benefit, as no more tear staining or red staining of the feet will occur. This reddish colored stain is caused by yeast, which needs sugar to grow. Once you remove the bulk of the carbohydrates out of the diet, the staining slowly decreases. Adding Bertes Ultra Probiotic Powder to the diet also helps fight staining as the good bacteria in the probiotic powder helps fight and destroy yeast.
My Brussels Griffon, Nikko, is now six months old and thriving on the raw diet! We have traveled to some shows and there is such a difference packing for him versus a Rottweiler! A small cooler does the trick for several days and if I run out of food, I can always find more at any grocery store! His stools stay firm and it is rare he misses a meal. For more questions on feeding toy-sized dogs, please feel free to email me!
For more on raw diets, home cooked diets and supplement information, please check out my book, "Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs", available at amazon.com, b-naturals.com or any Barnes and Noble bookstore!
All of us at B-Naturals hope you have weathered the many major storms that spanned the nation this winter season. Hang in there. Spring is almost here!