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Old 08-09-2012, 04:42 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How much to feed starting puppy RAW diet

Hey guys,
My wife and I recently got our first GSD puppy (Bella) and she is now almost 4 months old (in 3 days). She is relatively small at 23.5lbs (when weighed three days ago) compared to other GSD puppies I have seen at the local branch of the Chicago GSD club and read about on this forum. I have no problem with her being smaller, but she is rather skinny. She did not like the first two kibble foods we tried and became extremely skinny - ribs poking out and everything. While nutrient depleted/skinny she caught/developed coccidia which made things worse. Thankfully Bella liked the vet food they gave us (for free!!) and she has slowly, but consistently been putting weight back on. Unfortunately this vet food is not of good quality IMO from an ingredient POV so I would like to get her off it (and it is very expensive if we did keep with it). Today she is still skinny, but seems to be more just her body shape.

Since cost was the main factor that kept us from initially starting a raw food diet (no room for another freezer in our apartment to buy in bulk) we have decided to move forward with feeding raw since we have already paid multiple months worth of raw feeding in the vet visits associated with the coccidia. Basically we have decided to make this work financially to help Bella gain weight and remain healthy so she can have the most number of healthy years possible with us (wording sounds funny, so hopefully you can understand that).

Now for my question (sorry for being long-winded)...as we start feeding Bella how much should we be feeding to start? She is very active going on usually two walks per day and lots of ball throwing in the fenced yard (we live in the basement of a house) throughout the day since I work from home right now. As mentioned she is just below 25lbs, but still growing slowly, but steadily. I know the usual recommended amounts are between 2-4% of the expected adult weight, but I'm not sure where to aim.

Her father weighed 67lbs while the mom was 82 lbs. They were roughly the same size, just the dad was very high energy and had trouble keeping weight on. During Bella's short life so far and the few weeks I have spent with her it seems her father's "weight problem" was passed to her. Even still I am guessing her target weight will be about 75lbs??. Obviously we will change the amount fed as necessary as she grows and develops, I just don't know where to start with how much to feed. The 2-4% gives us a range from 1.5-3lbs which is pretty large considering she is only ~25lbs now. My wallet wants to feed less, but obviously she will get what she needs. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Our plan right now is to feed boneless chicken breasts for the first 2-3 days exclusively to transition her to raw and then introduce other things like chicken wings/legs/heart - basically hoping to avoid any GI problems with switching food after dealing with the effects of coccidia. We plan to stick with just chicken MM/RMB for at least a week, maybe two and then add other meat sources and very small amounts of OM, slowly increasing other things as we go along. Does this sound good?

Thanks for reading, now I am off to bed at 3:42am after way too much reading/research. I tend to go overboard spending every "free" moment I have until I feel comfortable...so while I don't feel comfortable yet I am gaining some confidence. Hopefully this made sense and you guys can help us out.
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Old 08-09-2012, 09:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I start my puppies at about 7 % of their CURRENT weight and keep them there (with some adjusting) until they hit about 8 months.

Puppies are trickier than adults because they go through growth spurts and stops. One week you will be feeding them their usual amount and you'll notice they look like they are LOSING weight. Growth spurt!

I would get bone in her right away. Chickien is the easiest to start with. She should be able to handle chicken necks or backs with no problems.

I would start her at 25 * 7% = 28 ounces per day in this breakdown:

13 ounces of RMBs
14 ounces of Muscle Meat
1 ounce of Organ Meat

Check her every week to see how she's doing. Put your hands on her and FEEL her body condition. You should be able to run your hands over her side and feel her ribs when you LIGHTLY press down.

If you have to press hard to feel ribs - she's too heavy and you need to cut back on her food.

If you can SEE every rib when she is just standing there then she is too thin and she needs more food.

Again - pups requirements can change weekly so keep an eye on her and adjust accordingly.
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Old 08-09-2012, 11:45 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the reply and your website, it's a great resource.

I actually ended up going out today in search of a few sources of different meat products - especially since I can't really buy in bulk. I found two oriental grocers that carry a huge variety of frozen and raw fish and a hispanic grocery store that has a wide variety of RMB, MM, and OM, just not much fish. I will also be on the lookout for sales at the more common grocery stores.

Today I hit the jackpot huge...I found chicken quarters for $.79/lb at my local grocer so I bought a large amount of that. Then when I visited the hispanic store they had sales on turkey necks, turkey wings, chicken and beef liver, beef heart, chicken and turkey gizzards, and beef tongue. So I spent about 1.5 hours cutting and bagging up meals for about the next month (so I guess I can sort of buy in bulk).

Also I lucked out...you recommended that I should start by aiming for about 28oz per day - that is what I actually ended up doing as I bagged it (not sure why when I originally intended to do about 2lbs, but it worked out). Will definitely need to pay attention though as she continues growing - need to go get more MM to have on hand for supplementing.

So here is what I ended up doing...almost every day has a chicken quarter as the RMB (a few have the turkey necks and wings once the chicken ran out). The first five days are chicken quarters (with some OM attached - just left it) with chicken gizzard. Then after that turkey gizzard is introduced. A few days later I add in some chicken liver, and then the turkey RMB, and finally the beef near the end of the 25ish days prepared. I did not end up using any of the beef liver yet, and still have some chicken liver leftover.

And again I lucked out before reading your suggestion. For breakfast and lunch Bella got chicken breasts, but since I was able to get chicken quarters she got a whole one for dinner. It was about 18-19oz and she made pretty quick work of it. Hearing her chomp and crunch on the bone was very satisfying/relieving because she wasn't just trying to swallow huge chunks.
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Old 11-15-2012, 11:50 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Writing an update, as well as asking a question. Thought I would add it to my previous post since it is related.

Basically, we could not be any happier since starting Bella on her raw diet. She is extraordinarily healthy, and everywhere we go people tell us that she is beautiful. We have even had multiple people actually approach and ask if we would be interested in breeding with their stud male (which we are not for a number of reasons). She is now almost 7 months old (on Thanksgiving!!) and as of today weighs just under 60lbs.

So my question is mostly for Laurie, but others please feel free to chime in and give your thoughts/advice. My question is again about how much to feed? I understand that the suggested amount is 7% of current body weight until about 8 months, but that means 4.2lbs of food per day for Bella - which is a lot. She is definitely a skinny girl, emphasized as she is in her skinny stage. She is high energy, and we regularly play fetch in the back yard, or go to a nice large field and use the "Chuckit." She also gets at least one long walk per day, but we try for two.

The last time we made up a big batch of her food we did about 3.5lbs per day, and she eats that right up, seemingly still hungry. We could increase the amount, but was curious at what point we should start leveling off, or even decreasing? Is 4.2lbs really what she should be getting per day? I am not even sure she would eat all of her meals if we fed that much.

Anyway, thanks in advance for your input.
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Old 11-16-2012, 12:01 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I feed my 90# adults about 2 to 2.5# per day....and they've been eating that amount since they were pups. Give or take according to activity levels.
At this time, one of my females seems to be getting thick, so I've reduced her portions. Never have I fed 4#s in one day, and when they do get too much, pudding poo results!
Even with treats or tracking bait my male is fed under 3#.
What exactly are you feeding and is there digestive enzyme/probiotic/vitamin supplements added?
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Old 11-16-2012, 01:25 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Well, we have been feeding about 3.5lbs per day based on Bella being about 50lbs the last time we made up her food. A little while ago my wife felt that Bella wasn't getting enough to eat and did start increasing her food a bit, which led to pudding poo. After 2 days I cut it back to the 3.5lbs and she is now back to her normal stools for the last 10-12 days.

When preparing her food we make up about a months worth at a time, measuring out into gallon freezer bags - one bag per day. We use the rough percentages of 45% RMB, 50% MM, and 5% OM. We try to vary up her meat sources, but chicken is the main staple of her diet due to cost and availability. The other main staple is beef tripe due to it just being awesome.

Her normal meat sources are chicken quarters, turkey necks, chicken/turkey gizzard, beef tripe, duck necks, fish, pork butt roast, bison/chicken/beef liver, eggs, and rabbit (when available). We use my pet carnivore to gain some variety (basically whatever is on sale), and for her green tripe.

The only thing we supplement with is "Wholistic Canine Complete" (an all-in-one canine supplement). We are using this simply because this our first time feeding a dog a raw diet and we wanted to ensure Bella was getting all of her necessary nutrients (especially as a puppy). We have been happy with it, but I'm not sure if we will continue using it once we finish the can (probably still have at least another month or so left). I will add that I was planning on doing some more research on supplements, enzymes, etc. as we started to get closer to finishing the can for whatever would be best as Bella approaches and enters adulthood.

So, are you saying that we should cut back on Bella's daily food? I was planning on gradually cutting back eventually, but per Lauri's suggestion was going to wait until more around 8 months.

Thanks for the input, we really appreciate it.
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:16 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Any others have input?
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Old 04-02-2013, 01:29 PM   #8 (permalink)
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what is rmb, mmb om?
thanks
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Old 04-02-2013, 01:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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RMB = Raw Meaty Bone
MM = Muscle Meat
OM = Organ Meat
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Old 04-03-2013, 10:03 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I am so glad someone posted this a year ago. I just recently got a shepherd pup and haven't fed raw in about 7 years. My other dog won't touch it..go figure. I was worried I wasn't feeding enough although he would eat it all and then look at me like.."that's it?" so i'd cave and give him a chicky neck..and tell him "that's all!" Looks like although I think it is a lot..its not enough. I'm only feeding 5% of his body weight. He looks good though so I wasn't too worried but felt like he was a little too hungry for his age. This has surely been an adventure. Its been a really long time since I've had a pup. Forgot how much they love to chew..good thing I have lots of RMB's! I also forgot how quickly they grow!
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