|Barked: Sun Jan 20, '13 3:52pm PST |
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Sounds like you're on the right track. As you said, the main thing you want to watch with a growing LBP is sticking closely to the 10% bone. Generally if you feed just enough bone to keep stools firm, you should be good. Slow, steady growth is much healthier than fast and bursty, and a correctly proportioned raw diet will give you that nice slow growth.
The fish oil is the main supplement to make sure you're giving when feeding commercially raised meat. Other than that, as long as you work up to feeding 80% meat (with as much of it being red as possible), 10% bone, 5% liver, and 5% other secreting organ, he should get all the nutrients he needs. I also started a glucosamine/MSM/chondroitin supplement right away with mine as a preventative, but that's not a requirement.
At four months old, a Golden Retriever should be fine with twice a day feedings. If he seems to do better with three or you're more comfortable with feeding more frequently, that's fine too. But if he's not having problems, I'd stick to two.
Since you're primarily only feeding bone-in chicken, he is currently getting more bone than he needs, but short term imbalance isn't something to worry much about. I would start introducing new proteins like beef and pork before organs, so you can cut down on his bone content. Organs are very rich and quite likely to cause some loose stool, so introduce those very slowly, like slivers at a time, and do feed bone with them to help firm up stools.
Puppies generally adjust to raw more quickly than adults, as they haven't been on kibble as long, so when stools look good, feel free to add in a bit of something new. Remember that balance over time is the goal, so every meal doesn't need to be completely balanced to the 80/10/5/5 ratio. Most people aim to achieve those amounts over the course of a week or 10 days.
You can feed fish whole, but not every dog is willing to eat it that way. Also be careful with fish like salmon from the Pacific Northwest, as it can contain a parasite that causes salmon poisoning, which is fatal if left untreated. Most people choose not to feed Pacific Northwest salmon raw for that reason. Most fish, however, is perfectly safe to feed raw, bones and all, if your dog will eat it. Fish like sardines are a good source of omega-3s, and are most commonly found canned (look for ones canned in water with no added salt). Only other concern with fish is watching mercury levels if you'll be feeding it with any regularity, as some varieties are much higher in mercury than others.
I'd highly recommend reading through Chance's Beginner's Guide to Prey Model Raw PDF. Tons of great information about switching and just raw in general.
Edited by author Sun Jan 20, '13 4:05pm PST
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