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    Linsey H

    Hi there, I started reading these forums back when I was first researching a puppy, and so far it has served me well, though I finally have a question. I know that there is a separate thread for large breed puppies, but I felt like my question might have been a bit too long and complicated for it.

    I have a 21w, 45lb female Shiloh Shepherd and she has recently started teething. I have been restricting her calcium pretty thoroughly, though I have heard from several reliable people that I should be giving her more during her teething phase. My internet searches so far have been unhelpful and I have not found much scientific data on large breeds and teething. I am also a little concerned with her current diet ratios, so if I am doing something terrible, I am hoping that someone can call me out on it. So far my puppy has been putting on steady 2 pounds a week, with the exception of a few ~3lb/week growth spurts. She does appear to get occasional growing pains still though.

    Her current diet:
    She receives two meals a day which consist of kibble and toppers, and since she is a puppy she still receives a significant amount of training treats. I have been using http://www.animalmedicalcenterofchicago.com/pdf/CalorieRequirementsForDogs.pdf as a rough guideline for calories- my puppy gets roughly 1.1-1.3k C from kibble and then 200-500C from toppers, chews and training treats. I have read that large breeds have slightly different requirements after 4mo, plus my puppy is decently active- she walks a lot, plays plenty of fetch, and then gets at least 1 hour of dog play through various outlets daily. I generally adjust how much she gets of what based on what she did that day, and she has been staying very lean and well muscled.

    For kibble, her breeder had her on Earthborn Holistic: Meadow Feast, and since that was on Hound Dog Mom’s list and had the right amount of calcium I have kept her on it. The breeder also suggested using Flexicose and Missing Link Puppy as supplements- I am not sure if Missing Link is the best, but the breeder said that the calcium amounts checked out (only the min is on the package).

    For toppers, she almost always gets a tablespoon of pumpkin and then either raw green tripe, a raw ground mix from our butcher, or canned PetKind. The raw mix consists of 10% green tripe, 10% organs, and 80% beef – it is bone free and has been the main thing reducing calcium in her diet. As of last month, I have started giving my puppy either a raw (irradiated) egg or a chicken wing every 2-3 days (whenever she finishes .75-1lb pound of the supplement). I had read somewhere that a chicken wing contains ~1.86g of calcium and 89g total with ~38% being bone, though my math is still somewhat guestimate-y. I also have backs and necks, but I was under the impression that they had more calcium.

    For treats, she either gets soft Buddy Biscuits (grain free), dried/dehydrated meat, lamb lung, Orijen treats, or cooked chicken- she definitely prefers softer treats and no is no longer interested in kibble rewards (she spits it out in training). When I had her on only meat-based rewards, she started to get a little snobbish so I reintroduced the Buddy Biscuits, but I am not sure that they are the healthiest option. I try to limit the amount on normal days to 100C, and then for days she has class (or if I work with her on a lot of new behaviors) she gets 200-300C.

    For chews, she either gets Beams (fish skin), bison trachea (dehydrated, I have not been able to find raw/frozen), or tendon- though she is not as interested in the last two since she has been teething. Pumpkin filled kongs have been another option, though she is not a big kong fan. Lamb lung, jerky, or sweet potato, are rare accompaniments to the pumpkin. She is a gentle chewer and only finishes the beams in a single session. She is no longer interested in fruit/veggie chews. For teething, I have tried frozen towels/ropes soaked in a broth solution, but she has yet to go for them. Her favorite “chew” is definitely the raw bones, but I don’t want to give her too many due to calcium levels.

    Anyways, my core question is this:
    Does her current diet seem too far out of balance?

    With the follow-ups being these:
    1) Am I giving her too many calories in unbalanced toppers and treats?
    2) Is my puppy getting too much or not enough calcium?
    3) Are there other raw chewing options with less calcium (unless she needs more)?
    4) Are there any specific books I should read in addition to Dr. Becker and Steve Brown’s books?
    5) What are some of the better online resources for buying raw? My local butcher shop is pretty great, but unfortunately they don’t carry everything.

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