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Fresh/Whole Food Feeding Puppies

New pet parents want to do the best they can for their new dogs and in doing so they can get scared of feeding a fresh/whole food diet because the kibble industry has successfully conditioned them that the only thing they should feed is their product aka kibble.

Boy with Pug Puppy

Whilst kibble (dry food) is an extremely convenient product it might not meet your visions of feeding a healthy species-appropriate diet to your dog.  Being a highly processed diet that is balanced with synthetic nutrients it isn't often the goal of many informed pet parents.

The great news is that there are professionally and scientifically formulated complete and balanced fresh/whole food diets for dogs of all life stages & puppies specifically and you can pick them up from your local pet food store or online. In addition to this, there are other options such as base mixes and balancing supplements in addition to DIY that we will touch on.

In this piece, I am going to outline which Australian mainstream products are suitable for puppies, you can head to their websites to see where you can purchase them from.  We will not be including all the brands available in Australia as that would be in the hundreds!  

When feeding a commercial diet, we recommend that you rotate through brands and flavours to avoid restricting your dog's nutrition + offering them nutritional enrichment.

If your puppy has come from a home where it was fed kibble, click here to learn about transitioning with care to avoid upset tummies.

First, we look at frozen complete & balanced raw diets, these are a perfect option for pet parents who are excited about fresh/whole food feeding but don't want to have to think about the details, they just want to buy the product and put it in the bowl.  Many Vets will be ok with these products....they kind of have to be as they are complete and balanced but you will come against the odd anti-natural diet vets and there won't be any changing their minds - so you may need to nod and smile and pick your battles.

Next up, we look at dry options that include air dried & freeze-dried, these are minimally processed fresh food diets without all the yuckies we don't like in kibble.  These diets are ideal for puppies whose digestive systems don't do well on raw at this point, they are also shelf stable, convenient, and great for traveling. 

These diets are generally quite pricey but they do tend to be nutrient dense meaning you don't have to feed much of it.  These can be quite rich so start with a small amount otherwise, you may get stinky farts! 

We recommend adding some lukewarm water to all air/freeze-dried because moisture is important to our dog's nutrition, let it soak in for about 20 mins if the instructions on the bag do not indicate how to prepare.



We're going to look at base mixes now, these are a mix of ingredients in a dried formula that you add meat to to create a balanced diet.  They can look like horse feed which can freak some people out. These are ideal for people who want to have a bit more control over their dog's diet but still want to keep it simple. These formulas typically require you to give your dogs editable bones at least 4 times per week to balance the calcium requirement - any questions about how to effectively feed these products need to be discussed with the companies themselves.

Vets All Natural and Phuds are quite heavy in oats and these can be excellent for dogs with anal gland issues.  Fussy dogs will probably prefer Inner Winner in my experience.


Balancing Supplements are awesome for pet parents who want to have a go at making their own dog food but are still a bit worried about nutrient gaps - these supplements will help fill those gaps.  The main con is that these formulas can be outside the average pet parents' budget.

There are cheaper options but they are made with synthetic nutrients which may not be included in your vision of feeding a fresh/whole foods diet:

Are you feeling brave and want to DIY 100%? We have a number of resources for you to help you formulate your balanced recipe including a web app that can help you identify potential nutrient gaps.  Check out our resources here.

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