9 month Labrador on RAW food diet.

Discussion in 'Raw Feeding' started by somapop, Jun 12, 2017.

  1. somapop

    somapop Registered Users

    Jun 12, 2017
    Hi all.

    I decided to place our 6 month old Labrador (Shimmer) on a RAW food diet after listening to a few people (including a relative who runs a pet food store, albeit a 150 miles away from us!!).
    I read the post from Pippa on this site and felt happy I'd made the correct decision.

    A brief history...I'm not particularly known as 'animal friendly' and resisted for years in getting a dog as I'm a bit of neat freak with a touch of OCD! I'm also highly allergic to them.
    However, our daughter has been suffering from pretty bad anxiety issues (she's been off school since last year - not long after the transition from primary to high school).
    Not quite sure how it happened, but I mentioned if I ever were to own a dog it would be a lab (as a kid, we had family friends who had a retriever and lab and I remember my fondness for them)...then I kind of woke up one morning and there was this 2 month old puppy (at least it felt that way - we did in fact go and see the a breeder etc etc).
    I was indeed allergic to the puppy (pretty bad actually - ended up in the docs with asthma - doctor advised to get rid of the dog, as they do). I ended up on steroid inhalers, a variety of sprays and, the best thing, an air purifier. This has all but eliminated the allergies now (I think over time, the body gets used to the dander protein...and I'm also led to believe work is being carried out on a form of anti-histamine for the cat and dog proteins eventually).
    Anyway - I'm good now...and have very few issues with asthma (she's showered a lot after walks which helps keep that dander at bay).
    And...I've really, really warmed to her - definitely a best mate :)

    Back to the RAW queries. I'd based the designated food weight at round 500g a day (Shimmer is a show lab, but both her parents weren't particularly big and tall, which surprised me knowing little about Labradors). Unfortunately over the past few weeks we've noticed (and so did the vet!) she's put a bit of weight on (she was 27 kilo last week, but I think she's taken a bit off since then). At one stage the vet suggested she needed to lose 5-6 kilo, but when I pointed out she clearly had a noticeable (slim-ish) waist she revised that to 2-3kilo.

    At the moment, this is what we're currently giving her (changing bits here and there:(

    Chicken carcasses
    Chicken wings
    Chicken/Duck necks
    Raw liver, heart and kidney
    Raw fish (sometimes from a tin, sometimes fresh and whole such as mackerel)
    Raw Eggs
    Natures Menu supplements (tend to give her 4 cubes per day - think I might be a bit off the allowed amount here?)
    Natures menu tripe (I cut into small cubes and give her one per day)
    Bone marrow (these keep her occupied for an hour if we need her not to be in the house)
    Pigs trotters
    Small handful of nuts
    Then when I prepare food for us in the evening, I often pass her a few small amounts of avocado, cheese, tomatoes (usually one small cherry tomato and small piece of avocado) and a small bit of cheese.

    That's pretty much it, but obviously not all that on one day which, typically, is as follows:

    Breakfast 1:

    100g of chicken carcass

    Breakfast 2:

    2 chicken wings or necks

    Lunch (we've now skipped this, but sometimes I'll give her an egg or a bit of fish)

    Evening 1:

    2x chicken wings
    4 x natures menu supplements (fish/vegetables or meat/vegetables)

    Evening 2:

    Whole fish
    small cube of tripe

    Supplemented with avocado/tomato (I tend to do this every evening).

    This is pretty much what we've 'landed on' these days and is pretty constant (mixed up as per above).

    As an 'occupying treat/diversion' we give her a marrow bone (there's not a great deal of meat on these) and also a dried pigs ear.
    Also...and I think this is where we 'messed up' a little, we'd give her a pigs trotter (I completely underestimated just how much fat/calories these have). If we give her them now, it would be once a week. She tends to have one bone marrow every day by the way (it's hard to calculate how much the meat weighs, but it appears that the amount of 'marrow' isn't huge here?

    Since dropping her lunch and those pigs trotters, she's definitely getting a better shape.
    We also purchased a kong a few months back and we perhaps over did that (that's stopped for the time being).
    BTW - 9 times out of 10 we give her all this frozen.

    If anyone has a spare moment to see if anything looks awry here, I'd be most grateful.
    We get all out meat from a local farm (they have a frozen meat section) and the woman (a Lab owner as it happens) gave us some good advice.
    We've also found a local speciality raw food store nearby, but haven't visited yet - apparently they're very helpful.

    All in all, she seems absolutely fine on it (I used to hate the way she smelled on the dried food, and not keen on her polishing off that food in seconds!)
    Perhaps a bit calmer too.

    The vet mentioned (seemed to know little about RAW diets) if she was having much in the way of carbs...and I guess only the natures menu supplements would be classed as carbs here??

    Unfortunately she's had a bit of a limp for some time and since taking her to the Vets, the x rays confirmed hip dysplasia (perhaps that's for another thread). I'm mentioning it here as that's one more reason to get her weight down (and we're having to walk her less too).
    We're still waiting on feedback from the vets as to the next steps.

    She's great though and has the shear amount of new friends we've made purely from walking a dog is crazy (people right on our doorstep).
    Safe to say I 'get' dogs now :)

    I'll try and pop a couple of pics up.

    Many thanks.
    drjs@5 likes this.
  2. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

    Aug 27, 2014
    Andorra and Spain
    Hello and welcome to the forum.

    I am by no means an expert on raw diets, but the same applies to any sort of food; if your dog is maintaining a constant weight, you are feeding them enough calories to keep the weight the same. If the dog is losing weight, you are feeding a calorie deficit. If the dog is gaining weight, you are feeding a surplus.
    That's all there is to it, really. The amounts a dog eats will vary from dog to do, based on a huge range of factors, so there is no "one size fits all" approach, and no-one can tell you if what you're feeding, quantity-wise, is right. You'll know that by weighing your dog and/or seeing the changes in her body shape.

    We normally advise people whose dogs need to lose weight to cut their rations by a quarter to a third to start off with.As the dog slims, you'll have to keep making adjustments, which you'll do by assessing her body shape. A slimmer dog generally needs less food than an overweight dog, so as your dog loses weight, you may have to reduce her intake even more, to prevent her plateauing.

    Have you been advised to supplement with avocado and tomato? I would skip that and use "proper" supplements, personally, so you can control the dosage better.

    Other than the above, I would suggest her diet looks a bit bone-heavy, with the necks/wings and carcasses. The advised percentage of bone is around 10% of the diet, I believe.

    As for your belief that show Labs should be tall, it's not the case. I was at a show this weekend and most of the show-quality Labs are far smaller than your average pet-bred Labrador.
  3. MF

    MF Registered Users

    May 5, 2014
    Cape Town, South Africa
    For raw feeding, the guide is to feed 1.5 - 2% of the ideal weight. So if you want your girl to weigh 27 kg, then you'll need to feed 405 gm - 540 gm. Seems like you've taken the midpoint (500 gm), but if she needs to lose weight, then you'll need to cut down the quantity of food. As @snowbunny said above, each dog's calorie requirements is dependent on the dog: muscle mass, amount of exercise, etc. So the percentage guidelines are just guidelines. My boy is 34 kg and I feed him 700 gm/day. However, that excludes all that he scavenges!! And all the titbits I give him throughout the day.

    I wouldn't worry about "messing up". I used to worry in the beginning that I was feeding everything in the perfect proportions. But then I figured if I could feed myself, I can feed a dog. Granted, there are some specific differences (and I'm vegetarian!), but no-one eats a perfectly balanced meal at every single meal.

    The general guideline for proportions is:
    80% muscle meat
    10% organs
    10% digestible bone
    I'm not so sure where fat comes into the proportions -- I am sure there is a website that tells you! I don't worry too much; whatever fat is on the meat, my dog gets. Though he eats mostly venison, which is low fat.

    I aim for a prey model, which means I try to feed the whole animal. Easier said than done when feeding venison! If I were feeding chicken, then he'd get the entire chicken, giblets and all. You'd have to cut the chicken up to feed the right quantity per meal for your dog, but over the course of a couple of days, your dog would get a balanced meal having consumed the entire chicken. It gives you a good idea of the ratio of bone to meat to organs. In your case, to increase the meat part, you could feed more hearts (considered muscle meat) -- hearts are probably cheaper than thighs or breasts, although it is apparently important to feed as many different body parts as possible to get balanced nutrients; don't stick to just one body part.

    If she's still hungry and you want to cut calories, a big raw carrot is a nice chew -- and from what I've seen in my dog's poo, a lot is not digested, so it could be considered low calorie even though carrot juice itself is quite sugary. You can also give her a raw cucumber to chew on -- zero calories! Our boy loves the hard centres of cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage -- we save these for him when we're cooking for when he uses his "please feed me" stare.
  4. somapop

    somapop Registered Users

    Jun 12, 2017
    Thanks very much for the replies. Very helpful already! I should have registered here some time ago (I did
    For some reason I was under the impression that the bone had to make up a far greater ratio than suggested here. For wings (her usual go to meal) I'm not even sure how much meat are on those, but clearly far less than a leg (have you known of any links that determine bone/meat ratios on chickens etc?).
    The tripe I use is the natures menu brand (it comes in a square, frozen block - I square this up and add to the occasional meal) and also their meat/vegetable cubed supplements. From what I've read above, I probably need to diversify a little more. The same farm I mentioned above sell these rolls of meat (like giant frozen sausage meats) made from chicken, turkey and beef. I didn't purchase these as I though she needed more 'meat on the bone' meals, rather than just the raw meat. I think I'll try these now however.
    I do pick up the hearts and kidneys, so there's that element to her diet (again, I tend to cube it up as these frozen pieces alone weigh quite a bit).
    Like the idea of the raw carrot as a treat - the lack of digestion, I guess, meant I didn't bother with that...but I will now (same with the cucumber...and actually, my daughter feeds her guinea pigs those and yup...she sometimes steals some of their food (they're out in the garden during the summer).

    @snowbunny - Sorry - I understand show labs tend not to be tall, but the small stature of her parents took me back somewhat (when we went to visit, I had no idea there were different types of lab).
    The avocado/tomatoes thing is just me being soft...she's my kitchen buddy (and BBQ buddy) and sits there with those eyes...I didn't really mean to say supplement in a dietary sense, more as an offerring to the gods! Literally one cherry tomato and a 10p sized piece of avocado (although they carry some fat content!!). Nuts (on occasion) just a tiny amount.
    I honestly think we caused a lot of trouble by giving her a pigs trotter a day (and sometimes alongside a bone marrow -this was on top of her meals).
    They've been cut out now and so has her lunch (I guess the 1/3 cut down is about right). Still give a bone marrow, but the amount of marrow in these tends to be quite small (they're essentially a large bone to chew on). I'll swap for a large carrot on alternate days I think.

    She was around 27 kilo as of a couple of weeks ago, but I can clearly see she's losing weight (it's tough as I'm having to guess what an adult sized lab of her type would be).
    Looks wise, she's perhaps a 6-7 on that image`guide that's out there, but I think she looks quite 'muscular' and she has relatively long, wavy hair for a lab (she's pure bred).
    I'll post a pic and perhaps that might help - I've no experience at all with dogs.
    And of course, lessening her walks/work outs due to the hip issue means she won't lose as much as she could with her longer walks.

    Thanks very much again - very helpful (and appreciated) replies.
    MF likes this.
  5. Yvonne

    Yvonne Supporting Member Forum Supporter

    Mar 9, 2014
    Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA
    Have a question.....when you treat your pup/dog (mine is 3 yo) with sausage....is this raw or cooked....I know this thread was for raw feeding, and I am doing "some" raw and some dry.
    But want to treat with protein (and fat if its sausage) and not carbs. Thanks anyone!!
  6. MF

    MF Registered Users

    May 5, 2014
    Cape Town, South Africa
    I don't think it matters if it's cooked or raw if you're using it as a treat. Just depends if you prefer your dog to only eat raw. I'm guessing a raw sausage must be quite messy, no fun having that in your pocket! My dog loves dried sausage, which I buy in long sticks and cut up into small training pieces.
  7. Oberon

    Oberon Moderator Forum Supporter

    Mar 6, 2013
    Canberra, Australia
    I use cooked sausage. It's easy to cut up into pieces.

    I use raw mince as a reward at Flyball competitions (ie when I want a high value reward) as they do really love things in their raw state. Equally, I'm sure raw sausage would be a big hit. Just messy.

    I don't adhere strictly to a 'must be raw' rule. I feed a mix of raw and cooked, and some kibble. Some nutrients are more available when food is cooked and cooking also gets rid of the bacterial load.
    Karen likes this.

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