Your Littlebay puppy has been raised on a diet of meat, bones and organs, a natural diet for a dog. I will give you a guideline of how to continue the puppy on the proper diet for the rest of its life.
Diet is not an exact science. You don’t count all your vitamins and minerals and such each day, you don’t count it for your kids. Yet you manage to stay healthy, right? It’s balance over time. Don’t worry if you pup gets more chicken one week than the next or if he eats more one day and less the next day. As long as it balances out in the end, it will be okay.
A general guide is that the diet should consist of about 70% meat, 20% bone, and 10% organ. A chicken quarter, the kind with leg, thigh and back piece is a pretty good example of that. You don’t need to feed this ratio every day, some days might be bonier, some meatier, some with organs, some without. If your pup has loose stools, you might need to increase the bone. If your pup has hard stools or a hard time passing them, you might need more meat. You do need some fat in the diet for energy and omega oils, but large gobs of fat can cause gas and really excessive amounts can cause pancreatitis.
Many pet food stores sell commercial frozen raw diets. These can be very convenient (many brands are sold in easy to thaw small pucks or bricks), and make it easy to find a great variety of meats (at my local pet food store, I can buy raw elk, pheasant, rabbit, ostrich etc). The price can run a bit higher feeding commercial raw diets, but for many people the convenience weighs out over the price.
Finding inexpensive food sources can greatly reduce your feeding cost. Raw can be done for less than kibble, if you are resourceful. Check for restaurant suppliers in your area, as well as raw feeding co-ops. There are many yahoogroup listings for co-ops in various areas. In addition, some grocery stores that cut their own meats will save you the leftovers and give them away free or very cheap. You may need to buy in bulk to get things from these places. If space limits you from buying much variety, remember its balance over time. If that means your dog eats the same thing for a couple weeks because you can only fit one box at a time, that’s okay. If you join a co-op, you may be able to split cases with other members. If you are in the Southern Alberta area, ask me about the companies in the area who sell at great prices.
Puppies should be allowed to eat as much as they want (two to three meals a day until 12 weeks old, then down to two meals a day, if they were on three) for about 30 minutes. Growing pups will usually regulate their intake quite well, only eating what they need. As they grow, they will have some days that they are hungry and some that they are not. Don’t fret if your pup opts out of a meal once in a while. Unless it goes on for more than a couple days or the pup seems sick, it’s probably normal. If the pup is still eating at the end of 30 minutes, I would let him finish rather than end the session. Pups may take longer to get things done due to teething and such. If he’s still eating he’s still hungry, so let him finish. On the other hand, if the pup stops early, I wouldn’t take the food up either. The pup may be taking a break, or may get distracted. Give him his full time to eat.
After six months old, you can reduce it to one feeding a day if you wish, or you can continue with twice daily meals. Adult dogs should get roughly 2-4% of their body weight each day to eat. Some adults will continue to be good judges of how much to eat, some wont, so you may have to start paying a little more attention to their food intake at some point.
You may notice that your raw fed puppy isn’t as roly-poly as the pups you are used to seeing. That’s because raw fed pups aren’t fat, they are muscular. Since there is little muscling around the ribcage, your pup may look “skinny” to some people. Don’t worry, and don’t try to fill your pup out. It will all even out in due time. You may also notice that your puppy doesn’t go through the ugly stages nearly as bad as his kibble fed peers. Raw fed pups usually grow at a slow, even rate.
Since your pup has been eating raw since birth, they should have the idea of chewing down pat. However, if your pup seems to want to gulp his food, give bigger items. Many people want to cut things or feed ground, but that just makes the problem worse, By giving larger items, items bigger than the dog’s head if need be, you force him to chew. Do this for a while and that should get him in the habit.
I am not one to feed tons of supplements, but one that I consider essential is oils for omega fatty acids. I recommend using both virgin coconut oil, and a fish oil (salmon oil, pollock oil, herring oil, sardine oil etc but NOT cod liver oil), The fish oil and coconut oil compliment each other well, each providing different types of nutrients/omegas. I give coconut oil 3 days a week, alternated with fish oil another 3 days a week. The 7th day, instead I give a natural-source Vit E capsule, they need extra Vit E in their system to help use the fish oils.
Please always read the labels to see where any treat or food originates, and do NOT buy anything that originates in China - food items originating from there are notorious for contamination with toxic substances, and many pets have died from eating treats or foods that were made in China.
Your pup does not need veggies, fruits, grains or dairy products. Grains top the list as problem causers, so avoid those at all costs. The other stuff probably won’t hurt unless your puppy develops sensitivity, but they don’t really contribute much, other than to help fill them up. I do feed some veggies, but only because they like them as treats. Carrots, yams, and green beans are a huge favourite around here.
If you choose to feed kibble, please choose high-end, grain free. I highly suggest Orijen or Acana. Please be aware that a switch from raw to kibble should take place over a few weeks as it will upset the digestive system. This can be discussed during the application process
Information courtesy of Tollwest Tollers.