On Switching Your New Puppy to Raw

Below please find some past email inquiries regarding the topic of switching puppies to a raw diet and answers to common questions.  I hope this is helpful for all the happy households with New Year/Christmas puppies and will inform those expecting new puppies in the spring (which, btw, is the ideal time of year to whelp and rear puppies & kittens!)

Note: Some personal details were withheld out of consideration for the person submitting the question. These exchanges are dated from 2005-2010. I have reviewed the answers to ensure that the information given remains accurate as for recommendations on how to proceed and what to do, however some products referred to, prices/costs listed are not current.

2014-09-11 10.20.53
These two absolutely stunning girls have been raw fed their entire lives, since weaning — on SFRAW foods and following Kasie’s recommendations with great success. They are beautiful ambassadors for SFRAW and for raw feeding!

QUESTION:  “I look forward to you meeting my new puppy and wonder if you might have time this week. I also have an ulterior motive in that I got holy (your favorite swear word) from her breeder yesterday that I am neglecting her nutrition and not allowing her to grow properly.  This was followed by an email this am begging me to put her back on puppy kibble. I’d love it if I could get your opinion on if she’s too thin and if there is anything else I can be doing to support her growth. Thanks for all your help- (name withheld)”

ANSWER: Just want to get back to you real quick before we meet…

1)            Raw fed puppies stay healthiest when they are kept lean.  This is especially critical during the growth phase.  In fact, besides not feeding the correct ratio of Ca:P, exercising too much (over-exercise); feeding too much or letting the puppy get heavy (over-nutrition), are the only real things that can cause serious growth problems (there has also been a link associated with the distemper vaccine and HOD in puppies – but this is for another discussion).  Staying lean is most critical in giant breed dogs, but it’s important for all puppies.

2)            Raw fed puppies enjoy slower, more even growth compared to kibble fed puppies.  Kibble fed puppies will experience spurts in growth while raw fed puppies will normally have nice, even and slow growth.

3)            All puppies that are getting their basic nutrient requirements met will end up the size and conformation they are genetically programmed to end up having/being.  They have to be literally starved or fed a grossly imbalanced diet to have diet impact their growth or adult size.  Raw fed puppies will absolutely grow at a different rate than kibble fed dogs, but they will end up whatever size they were meant to be (genetically) in the end.

I hope this helps.  I have noticed that many conformation show dog people generally prefer for their dogs to be more full figured or heavier than pet or athletic/working type dogs can be for the show ring.  However, I would recommend keeping your Bulldog puppy at what you feel is a healthy weight, and keeping her lean and fit.  This is the best thing for her long term health and development.  I agree that we should meet soon so I can see how she’s developing, and also go over what it is she is eating precisely to make sure nothing is being missed and we’re on the right track.  She may be smaller than her siblings right now (specifically, they probably have rounder tummies – which kibble puppies are apt to have and raw fed puppies do not), but she will end up the correct size in the end.  Is there a raw feeding Bulldog breeder your breeder can consult with for reassurance that your puppy will dazzle in the show ring at a healthy weight and size in the end?

More observations here: http://shapingchaos.wordpress.com/2008/01/10/puppy-growth-patterns/

See you soon!



2014-08-26 11.00.04
Sofie has been an SFRAW member since she was a wee puppy (her person’s first contact with us can be found below). She is a vibrantly healthy, elegant and refined lady Great Dane who has become a dear and close part of the SFRAW family. Kasie is her “auntie” and is honored to be her trusted walker, when needed. Her dad, Nik, can be found helping out at SFRAW on a regular basis. She’s doing fabulously well, pictured here at over 6 years of age.

QUESTION: I might be getting a great dane puppy in a couple of months and am very interested in feeding raw. Would like more information (costs) and would like to chat with others about their experience.

ANSWER: Welcome to the group!  Excellent of you to be doing all this research *before* bringing home your new puppy – well done!

I’m the founder/owner of the group and I’ve had raw fed Great Danes since 1991.  I have two healthy, active (touch wood), 10 year old Great Danes that were put on raw when I adopted them from rescue (Minna at 12 weeks old, Ben at just over a year old), and have recently helped to plan the raw diet menu of a dear friend of mine’s Great Dane that she got from a breeder when he was 8-9 weeks old.  She started him on raw pretty much on day one and he is now a big, healthy, gorgeous 2 year old.

You will find several Great Dane people in the group here – welcome to the club! 🙂

How much you spend each month depends on two main things:

1)            How much food you need to feed.  How active your dog is and what their individual metabolism is will determine this.  Unfortunately, this is something you won’t be able to know for sure until you start feeding your individual dog and find out how much food they really need.

For example, my two actually need to a lot of food to maintain a healthy, lean weight – even as seniors.  My tiny girl eats just as much as my moderate sized male (even though there is a huge weight difference between the two of them – she has a hummingbird’s metabolism!) while my friend’s extra large sized young Great Dane is really “thrifty”, meaning he hardly needs to eat very much for his size in order to maintain a healthy weight – even while he was a growing puppy.  He eats much less than mine need to each day.

The feeding recommendations I give for puppies is feeding 3 times a day until a year old; and feeding 5-10% their actual body weight or 2% their expected adult weight to start. These percentages are just average starting points; you will probably need to modify the daily feeding amount based on how your dog looks.  Too thin – feed more; getting chunky – feed less.  You will want your puppy to stay lean during the growth phase for healthy structural development.

2)            Which foods and proteins you choose to feed.  Going with a prepared commercially available product or custom food service is the most costly way to feed raw. DYI feeding is less expensive.  Chicken, duck, and turkey are usually inexpensive choices; beef, lamb and pork are moderate in price; exotic meats such as bison, goat, rabbit, pheasant, venison are usually more expensive.  I think mixing up the different protein price ranges a bit rather than feeding a diet of mostly poultry is healthiest; but if you use poultry as a base and enhance the diet with the more expensive meats a few times a week, you can put together a healthy, affordable diet – especially using SFRAW as a resource.  Our prices are close to wholesale.

Kasie getting Sofie kisses xox
Kasie getting Sofie kisses xox

For example – my female Dane has a major poultry aversion/food intolerance, so I end up feeding mostly tripe, beef, lamb, pork, bison and goat – the more expensive meats (of course!)   I do not feed the cheaper poultry meats very often – occasionally I will feed some turkey, but it’s not the mainstay beef, pork and lamb are.  As I said, my dogs are very active and eat A LOT for their ages and sizes (through the age of 7.5-8, they ate 8 lbs. of food a day – now they eat closer to 5-6 lbs. a day – equally split between the two of them).  I like to supplement their diet with  dehydrated meat treats, pureed veggies a few times a week, Apple Cider Vinegar, EFAs, a variety of nutritional foods, my Healthy Powder + Seasonal Herbs, and our seasonal offerings of raw goat milk and truly pastured eggs.  My food bill through SFRAW, over the past 4 months has averaged $267/month for the two dogs and one cat (my three turtles and two birds also enjoy some of this food stuff, but they hardly count since they eat so little) – again, this monthly bill depends on what I’m buying.  When we have “one-off” overstock or discounted products available from suppliers – you can get food at very inexpensive prices and this will cut your bill back even more.  Looking at the other Great Dane people in the group’s invoices, and knowing who has one or more Great Danes in the household, the average I come up with is $110-150/month per dog.  I do not know if these people buy products outside of the group -?  I buy exclusively through SFRAW for all my food and treat needs.

I did not have my own freezer, at my own house, to use until 2005  – so it can be done.  However, it was a major, MAJOR hassle to not have one, and I spent an incredible amount of time just moving food from coolers to freezers at friend’s houses and such back-and-forth/up and down, once I started buying once a month through SFRAW.  Before that, I could just barely fit two week’s worth of food into the top of my regular sized freezer section – and nothing else at all could be in the freezer and part of the refrigerator, too.  I would strongly suggest that you buy a freezer if it is at all possible.  It will make your life SO much easier and you will be able to save money by purchasing cases of stuff when the Niman freezer sales happen.  You can find inexpensive, used freezers on Craig’s List.

As for the kibble.  I look at it this way – feeding kibble during the critical growth phase is a lot like weaning a human baby onto a diet of 100% fast food a la McDonald’s instead of the ideal of fresh, home-grown or home-prepared or organic whole foods.  I don’t see ANY reason whatsoever, if you are interested in feeding a fresh foods diet to your puppy, to start them off on the wrong foot like that.  I know there are certain veterinarians that will recommend kibble for the first year – but IMO it is their (lack of nutrition and kibble pet food company influenced) education and fears talking.  You are doing your research, and from what I can tell, you are not going to “just wing it”.  Your puppy’s diet will be based on one of the many well researched published diet plans and/or the recommendations from veteran raw feeders.  So long as you carefully follow recommendations made by any of the well-known published authorities on the subject, you will be fine.  By feeding fresh foods to your puppy from the very start, you are laying a strong foundation for their best chance at enjoying a vibrantly healthy future into adult-doghood.

I know there are a lot of firsts you are facing and you are jumping in with two feet – but I think it is also a testament to your good decision making abilities to have already come to these conclusions:

1) feed a fresh food diet

2) join a group such as SFRAW for guidance and support

3) choosing a Great Dane as your first dog (sorry, I AM a wee bit biased! Haha)

Now you just need a great trainer and to brush up on what you need to know about canine behavior (check out the books we have for sale or dogwise.com); figuring out where you guys are going to go for puppy classes and daily socialization; and a smart and supportive veterinarian.  You may/may not also need a good dog walker.  Actually, we can help with these things, too.  Where do you live?

I hope I have answered your questions.  I bet others will jump in with different perspectives and insights that will be of even more help!



PS – You must bring new puppy with you to the pick-up so I can meet him/her.  Pick-up day is a good chance for puppy socialization, BTW.


11 Week Old Kono Tired After Chewing on his Raw Meaty Bone
11 Week Old Kono Tired After Chewing on his Raw Meaty Bone

QUESTION: <SNIP> (long-time member, on getting a new giant breed puppy after having her older raw fed dog pass away) It is very exciting. It will be a lot with an infant, but we wanted a good training foundation before our daughter starts walking. How do I determine how much to feed?  Are lamb necks and chicken necks too high fat?  I am reading books on diet and the volhard and rawpup mailing lists.  My biggest problem with feeding my last dog was weight gain (as in too much).  Thanks for all of your help.

ANSWER: Great news on the new puppy!  How exciting!

You can feed puppies nearly the very same diet you feed an adult dog – just be sure to not overfeed (particularly important for giant breed dogs).   Keep the puppy *lean* and you will be just fine.  Overfeeding will cause growth problems.

I have attached an example of what I put together for my friend’s Great Dane puppy, Xander.  He’s from German lines and is a big boy with very good structure. He’s grown slow and evenly; he has had zero health issues so far – really perfect growth.  We don’t know how much he weighs (since he never goes to the vet), but I would not doubt that he’s around 150-170 lbs.  He’s VERY VERY thrifty – meaning, he keeps a nice, normal weight without needing much food at all – which she has been very lucky with.  My guys would be emaciated on this little food; even though they are now 10 years old and not as large.

Anyway, I have attached his menu, which was prepared for ease & economy during his first year.  He is now two years old, but “we” (I am his  “auntie” and was originally in charge of his diet) started him on raw at around 8-9 weeks old.  She has chosen to use the Xkaliber and chicken backs as his mainstay and the variety comes in with the meat veggie meals (found on the SFRAW.com site here, here and here) and other bone choices (he likes duck necks, feet, and pork necks).  When he was a very young pup, we did about the same diet but we did not do a bone-only day – he was not started on this until after a year old.  I wouldn’t fast (or even bone-fast) a giant breed puppy until after a year old.  BTW – I do think that the Xkaliber is an excellent choice for puppies.

I started Minna on a home-prepared Wendy Volhard diet at 12 weeks old with meaty bones like chicken necks/backs and pork necks given 3-4 times a week.  This was in 1998.  By the time she was almost a year we had moved into the diet I feed them now, minus the tripe products, which I didn’t have access to until a little later.  I got Ben at 16 months old and put him on pretty much the same diet they eat now (again, minus the tripe, which I didn’t start to feed until probably 2001–??).  I used Grandad’s and Feed This! for those nights when I was too busy to make my own, or for my partner to use, and got deliveries from them sporadically/occasionally through 2001/2002.  Gabe (my first Dane) was adopted at 10 months old in 1991, and was fed the Pitcairn diets (first edition book c.1985).  He ate a lot of grains, butter and eggs…  I think if I got a puppy now I’d feed primarily a prey-model diet of 80% meat; 10% bone and 10% offal enhanced with traditional nutritional foods like raw goat milk, pastured eggs, tallow/good fats, bone broth, and my Vitality Blend.

As for the how much question – it’s tough because it just really depends on what their metabolism is like.  Minna eats a huge amount of food for her weight and stays very thin, while Xander eats practically nothing for his size and tends to gain weight easily.  Xander’s “mom” is very good at looking at him really objectively and she has always kept her previous Great Danes on the thin/lean side.  His nickname was “Fatpuppy” for a brief moment in time because I told her he looked a little too heavy at one point and to back off on the food a bit.  She completely agreed and adjusted his food intake accordingly to keep him lean and healthy.

But generally, with puppies you start with 5-10% their body weight or 2% their expected adult weight.  We did 2% for Xander, but we did not expect for him to be any larger than 130 lbs. or so – he ended up being larger, but needing less than 2% his adult weight. The Volhard diet has amounts listed in her book for the different puppy weights.

Be sure to start on the low side as for food amounts in the beginning, because too much food can cause pretty explosive diarrhea!  Start slow and feed three meals a day until a year old, then you can drop off to one or two meals a day.

Raw, locally pastured goat milk is another awesome food for puppies – so I’d pick some of this up if you can.  Add a little honey or molasses, a tiny bit of baby oatmeal, and an egg yolk and you have a great puppy milk replacer type formula that is a great addition between meals or topper for the transition period.  You can add slippery elm bark powder to it if there is any digestive upset or just add this in place of the oatmeal.

No, the lamb necks and chicken necks are not too high in fat. I wouldn’t worry about fat with most of the things sold through sfraw (the pork tails, higher fat lamb and pork trim aside) unless your dog has problems digesting it.  Chicken backs are a great starting bone for puppies.

The pick-up is on the 17th – see you then!

12-week old rescued puppy Kono eating a chicken leg at SFRAW.
14-week old rescued puppy Kono eating a piece of fish at SFRAW.

QUESTION: “Hello, I recently have adopted a 13 week old, Bernese/Aussie Mix. He was being fed kibble and wet canned food. I want to switch him over to a raw diet. Is this possible to do at his age and I believe gradually doing it is the way to go. He is about 22lbs now. Thank you, L”

ANSWER: Congratulations on adopting your new puppy! What a lucky pup to have found his way to your loving home where he will get the best care possible.

Very good that you have decided to feed him a whole food diet. Without question, the sooner you get your pup on raw, the better. Getting youngsters onto whole foods, provided in a raw/unadultered/unprocessed state and completely eliminating all commercial treats & foods makes the world of difference for increasing their chances for a lifetime of health/wellness. The best possible scenario is with puppies/kittens out of a line with generations of raw fed/Naturally Reared parents on both sides, but most people have no other choice but to just start as soon as we can with rescues or purchasing from a breeder that has not fed raw.

Understand that there is no need to switch slowly – especially with puppies! The sooner you get him off kibble/canned, and on to wholesome, nutritious foods, the better his health will be. Puppies immune systems and bodies are developing by the day when young, and providing them with the tools they need (feeding wholesome raw food, eliminating immune damaging substances/foods) during this time will have a profound and lasting influence for their lifetime. I recommend simply donating the commercial foods back to the rescue, so it doesn’t go to waste.

Hope this helps!  Have a wonderful time with your new bundle of joy! I bet he’s so cute & fluffy. Please bring him by the warehouse so we can meet him; we’ll happily support you with your puppy socialization program by giving lots of treats & praise. 🙂


2014-06-27 19.40.29-2
Kono and Loki (Irish Wolfhound puppy weaned to raw/100% raw fed) chill out after a big, fun play session at SFRAW!


QUESTION: “Hello, I have 2 great dane puppies that require 4 lbs of meat a day and a male that requires the same. The other female dane and lab require about 2 lbs each per day. Due to no deep freeze and cost I have been crock pot cooking, kibble and less meaty bones than I want. Ideally at least 2 of them need yo be off kibble due to skin and GI problems. We have hit up most local grocers and they can’t disperse scrap or outdates. We have asked all hunter friends and a few ranchers. I have debated if I raise my chicken and rabbit if I could ever kill them. (Had to do chickens as a kid and rarely will even eat it now.) Just use our eggs. Help. I love my dogs but feeding kids matters too : )! M”

ANSWER: When I started SFRAW, I was feeding 10-lbs. of food/day to my Great Danes, foster mutt & cats so I can relate! It can be a struggle sometimes. SFRAW was originally created so that I could better afford to feed high quality raw foods from exceptional producers/sources (organic, pastured, local, humane) while helping others to do the same.

I did not have a freezer for the first 15 years of feeding raw but much of this time I was able to afford to buy food weekly from good local butcher shops or natural foods stores. Once I started SFRAW and was buying in bulk, for several years, I used a chest freezer located at a friend’s house (up three flights of stairs…) along with using coolers. When I had a lot of food come in at once, I frequently rotated food between the small freezer I had above my fridge, the refrigerator and my coolers. It was a hassle but it worked. The big marine coolers with the special insulation that keeps food cold for up to 5 days are almost like having a freezer; the trick is to keep them full by adding frozen food or ice. I suggest getting a few of these if you can – you probably won’t find them used because people that have them usually never part with them. Be sure to get the ones with the sticker that declares they keep things “cold for up to 5 days in 90 degree heat” – these are the best ones.

You can find affordable used freezers on Craig’s List. Over the years I’ve bought a few different ones (for $50 and $75; they were both large, upright ones that were in good, clean condition). They are worth the investment.

We have a lot of different products that may work for you – I’m not sure what your budget is. Some of the more affordable products we sell are (member prices listed):

 Humboldt Raw Beef Pet Food Blend, BULK 50# cases (2/25# bags) for $57.50 A chunky grind of the following: 50% beef liver, 40% beef heart/other offal mix, 10% ground calf bone. The fat content varies, but is not to exceed 20% fat. Not a “complete & balanced” diet. Intended for supplemental/occasional feeding only; to be used as part of an overall balanced diet. SFRAW recommends feeding this organ blend 1-2 meals a week or mixing this blend with an equal portion of plain muscle meat. You may need to provide additional calcium to balance the phosphorous in this food in the form on a calcium supplement, pre-mix pet food product or consumable raw meaty bones. (sadly, this product is no longer available)

Commodity Products from Petaluma Poultry: Rocky and Rosie products are sold as commodity, so availability has to do with excess supply on these products. When sales for Rocky and Rosie go up, they do not have much in the way of spare parts to sell as commodity and customers that order commodity will be shorted. If you can afford to gamble a little on shorts, then commodity is your best bet. Prices on commodity products do change with the market. Therefore, prices listed here are close estimates – you may owe money or be owed money if prices are different on the day of delivery.


Loki has been 100% raw fed his entire life - he's a strapping, handsome, healthy Irish Wolfhound  & frequent visitor at SFRAW!
Loki has been 100% raw fed his entire life – he’s a strapping, handsome, healthy Irish Wolfhound & frequent visitor at SFRAW!

(*) COMMODITY CHKN LIVER CVP 40 lb. (approx. wt.) $37.80

(*) COMMODITY CHKN GIZZARDS CVP 40 lb. (approx. wt.) $37.80

(*) COMMODITY CHKN HEART CVP 20 lb. (approx. wt.) $18.90

(*) COMMODITY CHKN BACKS CVP 40 lb. (approx. wt.) $13.50

(*) COMMODITY CHKN CARCASS CVP 40 lb. (approx. wt.) $13.50

(*) COMMODITY Chicken Feet – 40 lb. (approx. wt.) case, $32.40

Liberty Duck Carcass Bones (2 carcasses per bag), 5-7 lb. bag for $3.40

GreenTripe.com’s 100% Green Tripe, ground in 5 lb. chubs, 40 pound case for $93.95

 Marin Sun Farms Beef Pet Food: 75% Muscle Meat (15% fat) Ground w/ 10% Liver/Kidney – 10 lb. bags, $26.90

Ingredients: Single/course grind of 10% liver/kidney, 15% fat, 75% muscle. Not a “complete & balanced” diet. Intended for supplemental/occasional feeding only; to be used as part of an overall balanced diet. You *absolutely must* add/provide adequate calcium to balance the phosphorous in this food in the form of a calcium supplement, pre-mix pet food product or consumable raw meaty bones. (sadly, this product is no longer available)

So, those are a few of the less expensive options we have and my own suggestions on things you can do besides growing your own food (which may not actually be the least expensive option when you consider all of the costs associated with raising and processing your own meats).

Lastly, although we do not support all of the suggestions made on this list, there is a list created specifically for people looking for creative ways to feed a raw diet as cheaply as possible/next to nothing called “The Lis List”. You can find it through the RawFeeding group. Here’s a link to the FB page version.

Food safety, food quality, and supporting fair or humane farming/ranching methods are not top priorities/considerations for most of the options listed on “The Lis List” – this is why we would not condone some of the options described, but there are some interesting ideas on sourcing free or extremely inexpensive meats to be found here.

Hope this Helps & Best Wishes,


2014-06-14 14.29.41
Xander is now a senior Great Dane and doing really fantastic thanks to his excellent care, a lifetime of raw feeding/eating SFRAW foods. We absolutely adore this beautiful, energetic boy – so full of life and vitality! <3

QUESTION: “I am brand-spanking new to raw, and my adults aren’t on it yet. My question is about starting puppies. They are 26 days old (3 1/2 weeks). Their first meals have been raw organic hamburger and goat’s milk. While most are tolerating it well, a couple of them are having chunky stools with watery output. Any advice is welcome. L”

ANSWER: Welcome to SFRAW!  I applaud your efforts in starting these puppies “off right” with a superior diet of fresh, nutritious foods. Puppies that are born of raw-fed adults and started on raw foods when weaned are remarkably healthy overall! When you are used to seeing what kibble-fed puppies/kitten look like, it is truly astounding how completely different these babies can look and behave compared to those that are kibble fed.

Kittens and puppies born from raw-fed parents generally have stronger immune systems; stronger/better developed muscles; are much better proportioned overall (they look more like small adults than the typical, swollen bellied, stumpy legged babies from kibble-fed parents); enjoy a slower, steadier/healthier growth rate and superior bone/muscle development overall with healthier conformation/structure, IMO. Not to mention the smaller, less smelly poops; stronger resistance to parasitic infections; shiny coats; bright and healthy eyes/noses, etc. found in raw fed adults, too.

One of the very cool things about weaned-to-raw puppies/kittens is they usually learn at a very young age how to safely consume meaty bones. Some adults that are switched to raw later in life can take a really long time before they will carefully and safely eat bones (and some never learn!)

When done right – you will be amazed at how healthy and better off raw-fed youngsters are. It’s like the difference between human children raised on a diet of just McDonald’s fast food (sodas, shakes, fries, burgers) vs. a kid that eats fresh fruits, vegetables, and such from their own garden/farmer’s market, with meals prepared at home without processed junk added and drinking pure water instead of sodas. I always find it a little sad when someone tells me they are waiting until their puppy/kitten is done growing first (or worse, wait until they are sick on kibble) to start feeding a fresh foods diet – why, when given the opportunity, would you give a youngster you care about junk food instead of providing them with the best possible fresh/nutritious foods to grow up strong and healthy on?

That being said: it is, however, quite bold to start off with raw feeding for the very first time ever under such circumstances. Until the age of 4 weeks, puppies really should eat nothing but their mother’s milk; 3.5 weeks is a bit too soon to start them on any other foods, no matter how natural or healthy the foods are. Do you have a raw feeding breeder mentor you can work closely with or a pro-raw veterinarian that can guide you through each and every step of this? I would encourage you to connect with one or the other or both – you really must have someone that has done this more than just a few times (preferably 3-4 litters or more) to guide you through it every step of the way. If you need some names of people, I can try to help connect you to people I know that have experience with raising raw-fed litters.

It is not normal for them to experience digestive upset when switching to raw and getting the right balance of nutrients is absolutely crucial at this age. You DO NOT want to “just wing it” or you can cause/experience some serious developmental or even life-threatening consequences.

I normally foster/adopt rescue animals and am not a breeder myself, but I would be happy to refer you to others that may be willing to help mentor you through this.

Have you already read Dr. Billinghurst’s book, Grow Your Pup With Bones and/or Juliette de Bairacli Levy’s book, The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat? If not, it is a good idea to get a copy to refer to regularly. Read, make notes, and re-read to be sure you are not missing anything at all!

Here are some online resources with weaning puppies to raw information, but please do not just rely on the internet for all information – please make some real people contacts you can email/meet/call and speak to directly for advice and aid:






Hope this helps!


2014-10-04 07.26.24
Young and beautiful Chow-mix, Scout, has been eating SFRAW raw foods since she was just a weeks old pup. She’s in absolutely perfect health with the most incredible bright, clean eyes, clean trouble-free ears, perfect muscle development, incredible balanced and outgoing temperament, outrageously lush/shiny/soft coat with the richest colors. Scout is another perfect example of what a “weaned to raw” puppy/young dog can look like and the level of health made possible through raw feeding and a Natural Rearing lifestyle.


QUESTION: “Hello, over the past month, i have been switching my puppy (Ridgeback, 6 mos.) over to raw foods. the initial period was pretty bumpy (surprise, surprise), but she has been slowly adapting. We have been alternating RMBs, with Offal, Muscle, and Veggie-Mix. I am using the ‘Switching to Raw” book.  i do have a couple of questions:

  1. She intermittently still gets the runs (especially, when i feed her offal meet–hearts/gizzards.) when do dogs generally stop having tummy troubles? 2. I have started to give her vitamins (E, fish oil) could this also lead to tummy troubles?
  2. Some of her chicken wings this morning were a little on the frozen side (or not totally thawed) could this be problematic.

Thanks for all your help! – V”


ANSWER: Welcome to the group and to feeding a healthy fresh foods diet to your puppy!

  1. She intermittently still gets the runs (especially, when i feed her offal meet–hearts/gizzards.) when do dogs generally stop having tummy troubles?

Puppies (and kittens) in particular shouldn’t have many issues

switching over to raw foods. It is unusual for digestive issues to go

on for more than a few days-to a week, in my experience, when young

animals are switched “cold turkey” to a raw diet (those fed kibble

mixed with raw/doing a slow switch can have a harder time and take

longer to readjust to the new foods IMO). However, feeding a meal of

pure offal will produce soft stools in most dogs – this is considered

a normal consequence and not anything to be considered about. Some

people feed small amounts of offal in every meal or moderate amounts

along with other foods (such as meaty bones or muscle meat) several

times a week to minimize this result. Or just deal with the soft

stool from the offal meals and not worry about it. Are you able to

feed some liver, too? You shouldn’t leave liver completely out of

the diet. You don’t need to feed a lot, but it’s important.



  1. I have started to give her vitamins (E, fish oil) could this also lead to tummy troubles?

Not usually, but if she is sensitive to something you are adding, it

could. Be careful not to overdo with the vitamin E or the fish oil

(I assume you are referring to fish body oil, not cod liver oil) for

several reasons, but I bet you are doing just fine if you are

following the recommendations given in the `Switching to Raw’ book.


  1. Some of her chicken wings this morning were a little on the frozen side (or not totally thawed) could this be problematic.


Yes, if she is sensitive to the temperature of her food. I have a 10-

year old female Great Dane with Irritable Bowel Disease (a form of

vaccinosis) which was pretty awful the first year of her life before

she was treated homeopathically (it has been in remission for many,

many years). Anyway, although her IBD is in remission, she cannot

tolerate frosty foods – feeding fosty/frozen foods will result in

diarrhea every time. She prefers her food to be cool, room

temperature or even warm. Incidentally, she also does best on a diet

of tripe, pork, lamb, goat and beef – she won’t eat chicken or duck.

She’s not the only dog (or cat) I know that requires food to be

served at moderate temperatures. My other Great Dane has no problems

eating frozen or frosty foods and he’s just a few months younger, so

he’s an older guy, too. So, it really just depends on the individual

animal. A truly healthy dog can and will eat just about any food

item without a problem, but if your dog has food

intolerances/allergies or chronic disease which is affected by diet,

you may have to adjust the diet to suit their specific needs or



Hope this helps!