Dog Food Advisor Forums Sharon Buchanan

Sharon Buchanan

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  • in reply to: raw food cause my dog high kidney BUN readings? #48549 Report Abuse


    The values for BUN are different in raw fed dogs. While your dog’s BUN does seem high, his Creatinine is low normal. Most conventional vets aren’t aware of the different values – I had to share the correct values with two of the vets at the clinic I go to. Here is a great article that explains three values that will be different: At their site, they also have a series of free raw feeding videos that should help you keep him on track and you can search their articles for natural ways to address his BUN value.

    Since he doesn’t have teeth, you can help supplement his calcium with whole raw eggs. Just crush the shell with the back of a spoon so that the shell is essentially little flat pieces, not totally pulverized. I would also try chicken backs and ribs. I would begin with cutting away the spine and just give him the soft smaller bones. Once his gums have toughened up a bit he might be able to gnaw the spine and neck in order to get his 10% bone.

    A proper raw diet consists of 80% protein (heart is considered a protein, not an organ), 10% bone, 5% liver and 5% other organs – pancreas, spleen, testicles, kidneys… Except that you might be trying to feed a raw diet based on AAFCO guidelines for commercial food, I don’t know why you’re adding greens and veggies at this point. Are there other issues besides the elevated BUN? Have you been feeding greens and veggies for the entire six months? I would definitely add a digestive enzyme supplement to his diet, probiotics won’t hurt as well. Mercola makes supplements that I and many others have had good success with.

    Dogs Naturally Magazine will be hosting their second weekend-long internet conference in the Fall. They have a Facebook page that, if you “Like”, will keep you up-to-date and let you know when you can sign up. I attended the first one at the end of January and will be signing up for this one as well. Additionally, you’ll then have access to a private group of like-minded owners, nutritionists and homeopaths who all respond to concerns just like yours with personal experience as well as professional opinion.

    in reply to: Mastiff Puppy Rawing to Go #37091 Report Abuse

    Thank you RDM for being more concise than I know how to be. LOL! Your advice is always sound.

    MastiffLove ~ I just noticed you posted the link to the non-GMO chart.

    in reply to: Mastiff Puppy Rawing to Go #37090 Report Abuse

    MastiffLove ~

    First, I hope more people will chime in here with helpful advice. Now, to get to your questions as best I can.

    It looks like your family is adding a lot of new members to the family. How great for all of them to be able to grow up and play together – and be fed raw. Looks like you’ll have your own little support group!

    1. From all my reading on forums and Facebook, finding green tripe can be tricky. Some places ban the sale of it directly to consumers while others seem to be able to get it locally. I’m currently getting mine from I’m hoping that when I find someone who will sell direct, that they’ll also be able to provide the tripe. You’ll just have to ask and if they can’t, perhaps they’ll know where to get it.

    2. Sure, you can grind necks. They aren’t terribly meaty, but they’ll grind easily enough. You should be able to start giving them whole when your pup gets a bit older. Chicken necks are tiny and I give them whole to my seven month old cat. I’ve been giving whole duck and turkey necks to Mystery since I started raw, he was 10 months at the time – he’s getting a turkey neck as part of his dinner tonight.

    Different nutritionists/homeopathic vets will have various opinions on what, when, how and why to feed certain ingredients. I tend to lean toward Kymythy’s advice at the moment. She raises Newfies and feeds them raw as early as four weeks. The proof is in the health of her pups and adults.

    3. I’m still not feeding veggies or “super” greens. Not a “purist” or anything but I wanted to first be sure I was feeding correctly the balance of meat/bone/organs and then get a blood panel or hair sample analysis – I’ll be scheduling that next week. Mystery’s only issues are a skin flaking problem – solved with coconut oil, and motion sickness – I’m still working on that and hoping he’ll grow out of it. So, until I get an analysis that says he needs more of this or that, I’m holding off on supplementing. I do give Mystery garlic for natural pest control and I also supplement with curcumen and vitamin C because Goldens have a high cancer mortality rate. I know a lot of people use “super” this and that as well as create their own veggie mashes. I would lean toward making my own purees since I believe nutrition from the source is best.

    4. Most fruits have a lot of sugar in them. I would avoid most or feed them judiciously. I’ll share a banana with Mystery from time to time as well as give him apple slices, but not as a regular part of his diet. Here’s a basic chart that lists not only veggies and fruits that are toxic to pets but also plants as well as symptoms to watch for: And of course, you’ll find other sites that list fewer or additional foods.

    5. Ah, SWEET potatoes. I haven’t read anything that shows a good reason to add most starches. That includes potatoes, peas, some beans. Many of these veggies convert starches to sugar when cooked. I used to give a tablespoon of pumpkin when our Sunset would have loose stools, but Mystery has had no problems there – and especially not since going raw.

    6. I must defer to Kymythy on adding anything at all to an eight week old puppy’s diet. If you’re balancing 80/10/10 your calcium/phosphorus ratio is in perfect sync. Adding anything may not only increase the amount of calcium but may throw off that balance. Mess with that ratio and excess calcium can be deposited on the outside of the bones causing a number of issues. We had no idea that there was an issue with LBPs and calcium when we got Sunset 11 years ago. Before she was two, she required double-hip surgery. We got her from a backyard breeder (another ignorant move on our part), didn’t know much about hip scores and fed her what surely is on the one- or two-star lists here at DFA. I’ve been ultra focused on calcium since before I got Mystery.

    An excerpt from Kymythy’s book, Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats:
    By the time the young are ready to go to their new homes, they should be eating whole necks and regular meals with all the extras, and you may discontinue the enzymes and probiotics (although they may help counteract the digestive stress a youngster endures when going to a new home). Youngsters may be fed three times per day from eight weeks until four to six months old, then twice daily from four to six months old until one year of age, and once daily after one year of age. Giant breeds of dogs may need to be fed twice daily occasionally during growth spurts from one to three years of age. Either feed two complete meals or one complete and one of meaty bones (bones with ample meat) only. Observe your pet and adjust amounts accordingly. Do not feed so much that the stomach becomes overly extended. Do not let your pet become obese. A very thin layer of fat over the ribs is healthy, but too much weight puts extra stress on growing bones, joints, and hearts. A healthy wild animal is a lean animal. If your pet needs to lose weight, reduce its food intake. If it needs to gain weight, increase its food. Keep in mind that growing youngsters will eat more per pound of body weight than adult animals.

    Schultze, Kymythy (1999-10-01). Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats (p. 67). Hay House. Kindle Edition.

    Note the information on probiotics and enzymes is directed toward breeders who feed and wean pups to raw. If your puppy has been weaned to kibble, you might want to add some kefir to his diet for a time.

    7. See #6, but I will take a look at the three products you mentioned for future use. I am not trying to discourage the use of any supplementation, just use caution and be sure you’re feeding only what is essential and beneficial.

    8. I’m assuming you’re referring to the products in question 6 and maybe 7, not 8. LOL! I couldn’t find a guaranteed analysis of the Urban Wolf Balancer so I would be very wary of adding it. They do provide a recipe that uses their products with an analysis and it looks good. If you feel a strong need to supplement… Questions regarding their recipe ingredients might include, where do they get their fish oil from; is it guaranteed not to contain any toxins; if you use “canned” fish, do the cans contain BPA; if natural ingredients are better, why so many dried/powdered ingredients in their mixes? This is the hard part for me – giving my money to companies that sell premixes and toppers when I can just hit the market for fresh ingredients.

    9. When you’re deciding on recipes, remember that your eight week old puppy is capable of handling chunks of raw meats, organs and bones. Even if he’s been weaned onto kibble before you get him, there should be no need to transition him as he hasn’t developed an addiction to the sugars and starches yet. I’d been feeding my kitten a kibble diet for about five months when I decided to transition the cats. Since he’d been stealing raw food from the dog, I went straight to raw with him and he jumped all over it, including chicken necks and other appropriately sized bones. I feed grinds only when the weather’s so bad that I can’t even put Mystery on the screened deck, usually when it’s too cold. The cats get fed in the tiled bathroom since they don’t feel the need to drag food all over the place – yet!

    Any time you freeze or cook food, you’re going to lose a bit of nutritional value. Most of us have large freezers because we buy in bulk so frozen it is. Be sure you thaw foods and try to bring them to room temp before feeding. As Alpha in my house, I pull food from the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter until I’ve finished my coffee – then they get to eat. I know some people feed frozen foods but I wouldn’t do that to a puppy. Ever get brain freeze from drinking a shake too fast? Imagine a puppy’s digestive system trying to warm up frozen meat. There may be other opinions out there on this, but I would definitely feed three times a day for the first six months and then move to twice a day until he’s at least a year old. You should be feeding him 10% of his current weight until that exceeds 2-3% of his target weight.

    I love Mercola. There is a chart floating around that shows who is fighting GMO labeling and who is supporting it in WA. I use it when I go shopping and yes, some of the products I’ve purchased in the past come from companies fighting WA. Let me know if you can’t find it. I get that having to label a product 50 different ways could put a hardship on business so I would support a federal label that is nothing less than FULL disclosure. That said, I don’t trust the FDA or any other governmental agency to have my best interest at heart. I’m a big fan of personal responsibility. The government assumes I’m ignorant…, I believe it’s a choice. (Whoops, gone political.)

    I’m glad you were able to find a farm so quickly to meet your raw needs. Don’t forget to pick up chicken feet, green tripe, testicles, heart, kidneys… Go for goat and rabbit as well as chicken, turkey and beef. Something that I would have gotten wrong is differentiating between what are considered organs and what is not.

    Organs: Liver (5% of the diet), kidneys, spleen, brain, thymus gland, panaceas and testicles (the other 5%)

    Not organs: Heart, Gizzard, Tongue, lung, trachea, green tripe (all considered as part of the 80%).

    Another site for learning more about feeding raw is here: It’s a culling of articles from a variety of sources.

    I better turn my attention to the vacuum and washer now or I’m going to be overrun by tumblefurs. I look forward to seeing you on Facebook soon.

    in reply to: Large and Giant Breed Puppy Nutrition #37068 Report Abuse

    MastiffLove ~

    Sorry to take so long getting back to you, my laptop needed an overhaul and I’m just getting back to the forum.

    I’ve moved your last two questions and will post my responses to them, here:

    in reply to: Large and Giant Breed Puppy Nutrition #36636 Report Abuse

    MastiffLove ~

    YAAY for you, more so for your dog!!! In addition to Dr. Becker’s book, get Kymythy’s book too. Amazon has it on Kindle so you can start using it right away.

    If you’re going to go raw, I’d just go for it. Pups aren’t addicted to kibble the way adult dogs who’ve been raised on it are. There will be no need for a transition period. When I decided to transition Mystery to raw, I thought I’d feed raw in the morning and kibble at dinner. A couple days later it occurred to me, if he’s eating the raw in the morning, why not just feed raw for dinner too? I pitched the kibble. So far, I haven’t had any problem feeding Mystery any kind of meat. Unless there’s something inherently wrong with your pup (what’s his name?), everything should be considered fair game (NPI), just keep an eye on him as you introduce new food. Supplementation should be done on an as needed basis.

    Since he’s a pup, keep it as simple as possible. I fretted over all sorts of stuff – for no good reason. Mystery’s first few meals consisted of an organic whole chicken that I brought home and cut up myself. It was about five pounds and lasted two days. The liver, neck and gizzards were included so he got those as well. You’ll hear a lot about “balancing over time”. This simply means that you’re to feed 80% muscle, 10% bone, 5% liver and 5% other organs (the balance) over a period of a few days or so. You don’t have to make sure every meal is balanced, just perhaps the week’s meals are.

    Mystery’s first couple of weeks weren’t entirely balanced at all while I was trying to locate sources of raw food. When I finally made the decision to go raw, I knew I didn’t want a bunch of frozen patties and chubs. I wanted to feed whole slabs of meat. I’m still working out local sources for purchasing a half a cow here, 20 chicken there, some rabbit… A number of folks here suggested a company that ships whole foods so I started there but the shipping is expensive which is why everyone needs local sources. Do some Google searches for raw food co-ops in your area.

    The cost for raw food is definitely more expensive than cheap kibble, however, the tradeoff is that you won’t have as many vet bills to pay because your dog will have an awesome immune system. You will learn though, to shop for deals, look for co-ops, find a friend to share a cow – yeah, you might want to start looking for a freezer so you can spend less by purchasing in bulk.

    I could go on, but I’m going to suggest a few more places you will find helpful. One is the LBP raw thread (just two pages), where you’ll find some newbie questions answered: I would also point you to Facebook, something I had no use for until our eighth grandchild was born – okay, the kids kept beating me up about joining, but I now use my page mostly for raw nutrition exchanges with others who are likeminded. There are a number of raw feeding groups – search “raw feeding”. Some are better than others. Search for me – I’m currently using the same image of Mystery for Facebook that I use here, and I’ll share my opinion on which I like and which I don’t. I’ll also check with some Canadian “friends” to see if they’re near you and can help you resource food.

    What I’m sharing with you is nothing more than what I have gleaned from forum members here, a weekend-long webinar on raw feeding featuring holistic vets and nutritionists, and folks who attended the conference that have been feeding anywhere from a few months to over 30 years. Just wanted to be clear that I’m still new at this too. And if folks who’ve been feeding raw for 30 years still feel like they can learn something new, I’m happy to be in their company. The raw community is amazing!

    in reply to: Large and Giant Breed Puppy Nutrition #36566 Report Abuse

    MastiffLove ~

    I was reading over my notes from a recent raw feeding conference and it isn’t just meat that will throw off the calcium/phosphorus in your dog’s diet. Having spent the better part of a few months researching bone health before getting my Mystery, I had asked the question about how to ensure he wouldn’t get too much calcium on a raw diet – even though eight months later, he was now able to process excess calcium (he won’t be our last puppy).

    “Calcium can go out of solution when feeding too many vegetables. Keeping normal acidity (low alkaline) in the digestion by avoiding veggies in puppies keeps calcium in solution and won’t deposit excess on the bones.”

    That was the answer from Kymythy Schultze a certified clinical nutritionist who raises champion Newfoundlands. She has a wonderful book called Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats.

    in reply to: Large and Giant Breed Puppy Nutrition #36562 Report Abuse

    MastiffLove ~
    Fromm’s Frittata Beef has very little meat protein in it since the first ingredient is Beef, not Beef Meal. There’s probably more pork than beef in this recipe even though it’s listed as the number six ingredient. It’s nice that they’ve added Whole Egg but the other top three ingredients are starches. So, no grains but… If you can get it, I like their LBP Gold better. First and second ingredients are Chicken and Chicken Meal and the calcium/phosphorus is a bit lower but so is protein at 26%. Looking back at my notes, I’m showing protein should be between 29 and 30%. $90 for a 26#bag is outrageous. There just is no really good option for LBP kibble.

    Be careful about feeding kibble and feeling like you need to supplement with additional protein. Kibble stays in the digestive tract longer than raw or home cooked food, creating a situation where that “real” food will become rancid. If you must, never feed them both in the same meal.

    One of the neater benefits of feeding raw is that their bodies efficiently process that food and therefore, you have less waste. I was so surprised and absolutely delighted when Mystery’s poop went from stinky gigantic soft logs to what looks like it belongs to a miniature pup and the smell is only noticeable when I bend over to pick it up. Now that the cats are eating raw and home cooked, the litter box isn’t noxious anymore (and when I say noxious – I mean hope-you-can-hold-your-breath long enough to empty the litter box noxious). The cats had been on Orijen as well and my kitten was forever having issues with soft stools. All of that is a thing of the past.

    It took me nearly a year to make the decision to go raw so yeah, I’m now a die-hard convert. Sorry about that if it isn’t a consideration for you – yet! 🙂

    in reply to: Large and Giant Breed Puppy Nutrition #36510 Report Abuse

    MastiffLove ~
    Don’t try adding too much to the kibble you feed. All those toppers add to nutrients already in whatever kibble you decide to feed, including perhaps calcium/phosphorus – which should be your primary concern until your Mastiff is at least six to twelve months old. Not saying you shouldn’t add anything, just be mindful of what they’re adding to the diet.

    When feeding kibble, it’s unlikely that you’re going to find the perfect food for a large breed puppy. When I brought Mystery home, I’d already done several months of research on food. Although I would have preferred grain-free, I couldn’t find it with an acceptable calcium percentage. I put him on Innova LBP (which has since changed their formula and I’m not sure I’d recommend it now but it’s still better than Pro Plan, Science Diet, Iams and others). I moved Mystery to Orijen LBP when he was about nine months old and able to process excess calcium properly. Orijen will tell you that they shoot for their minimum percentage but as long as they think their maximum is acceptable (and they do hide behind the AAFCO guidelines), I wouldn’t have been comfortable with it in those early months.

    Mystery is now a year old and has been on a raw diet for about two months. We’ve transitioned two more Goldens in Korea with my husband and I’m working on four cats (the kitten didn’t need transitioning). If I were to get another puppy today, she’d go straight to raw where calcium/phosphorus is perfectly balanced among protein and organs in a whole-prey diet. And still I don’t add a lot to his diet. He gets coconut oil because of a skin condition, vitamin C and curcumen because of the high cancer mortality in Goldens (though the raw diet and minimalist vaccine schedule will help that as well), and garlic for pest control. I haven’t started adding any fruits & vegetables as I’m still researching their benefits (or lack thereof).

    Good to see your note about not feeding RC!

    in reply to: Large and Giant Breed Puppy Nutrition #36508 Report Abuse

    GoldenMom ~ I don’t know what you finally decided on for feeding your new Golden but hold off on antlers. One – you don’t want to add more calcium to his diet and two – you don’t want to damage his teeth. Mystery just turned one and I’ve only recently gotten him his first antler. I feed him raw so he’s got the whole bone crushing thing down, though I watch him like a hawk when he’s gnawing on the antler.

    in reply to: Large and Giant Breed Puppy Nutrition #36507 Report Abuse

    MastiffLove ~
    No, no, no – do not feed Royal Canin Giant Puppy just because it has a low calcium. I agree that the calcium should be lower than 1% to start but the food needs to be at least of decent quality. Royal Canin Giant Puppy has virtually no protein whatsoever and only junk fillers in the first five ingredients:
    Brewers rice, chicken by-product meal, wheat gluten, corn, corn gluten meal

    You need to look over the list of foods that HDM put together at the beginning of this thread. If you’re going to continue feeding kibble, after six months of age you can move your pup to Orijen. In the meantime, find the lowest calcium, grain-free (or limited) giant/large breed puppy food you can. If a company doesn’t list their maximum calcium percentage, call them and ask.

    Better yet, go raw!

    in reply to: Suggested Raw Dog Food Menus? #34222 Report Abuse

    Thanks, Sue. Do you have a link to the online database that you’re using? I’ll look for Steve Brown’s book, just received Dr. Becker’s.

    Have you been over to the Facebook page for conference attendees? I was surprised, but encouraged by the some of the folks who’ve signed up for the conference that have been feeding raw for 20 years or more. We definitely made the right decision!

    Everyone’s already talking about their dogs, networking for sources – I even got a tip that has led me to a number of local farms that sell to “regular” folks, and sharing their experience.

    Completely agree with your last paragraph. I just don’t know what to do with everything I know yet. I have a few “a ha” moments, work on that and then something else comes up and I’m off researching that more. I’ve got a list of questions going for the conference.

    in reply to: Suggested Raw Dog Food Menus? #34129 Report Abuse

    In the numerous raw topics and posts here on DFA and in particular, this topic on recipes, great attention is paid to supplementing raw meats/poultry with veggies, vitamins and others. In reading articles elsewhere on feeding whole prey, we’re told that dogs don’t eat veggies (of course, I’ve never seen a dog take down a cow either), so making sure they get the whole chicken over time or the whole rabbit over time, among others, should provide them with a balanced diet. These two diet/recipe concepts seem contradictory.

    Now, I do supplement with coconut oil, curcumen, a c-complex and garlic for reasons I’ve stated elsewhere, in addition to the obvious ones. I’ve taken the advice of Patty and finally found a grocery that carries kafir (which may be hard to continue because the smell gives me indigestion and Mystery reeks of it all day), and I give Mystery a whole egg occasionally – cracked over a coarse grind with the shell.

    If I may, I’d like to list the raw meats I have on hand and get some suggestions on the best way to combine them, add to them, improve something or another. I’m hoping to get half a cow in a few weeks from a local farm, but until then I’ve been ordering from MPC. So here’s what I have right now:

    Ground Beef Tripe Supermix
    Ground Whole Young Beef
    Coarse Ground Whole Rabbit
    Coarse Ground Whole Chicken
    Whole Turkey Necks – they’re huge
    Duck Necks
    Chicken Feet
    RMBs – emphasis on RM
    Marrow bones from my local grocery

    Mystery’s adult healthy weight averages 85 lbs. (UK Kennel standards (not AKC) for English Creme Golden Retrievers). I had to take my kitten to the vet yesterday and took Mystery with me to get his weight 56.4 lbs – exactly what he weighed at the beginning of January. He’s grown longer as his breed would but his ribs, while not visible, are easily felt. He’s 11 months old. Talked it over with the vet and she wondered if he was a runt – we wondered together. I’ve been feeding him just under 3 lbs. a day over two meals.

    So, I guess what I need to know is how to balance the foods listed, whats missing from my raw “pantry”, as well as any ideas on how to bulk him – not a lot, but more than he is. I expect him to reach full growth at about 18 months.

    Thanks in advance! Seems the more I know, the less I know.

    in reply to: Supplements, what do you use? #34125 Report Abuse

    I just posted this on another thread as part of a larger response. Thought I’d add it to the discussion here.

    I’ve been giving Mystery garlic (pest control), and a vitamin C complex (gum health, immune support, antioxidant), from Springtime from the day I brought him home, that hasn’t changed now that he’s on raw. He’s also getting two 825mg capsules of curcumen (variety of cancers, inflammation, among many others), sprinkled on his food and about a tablespoon of coconut oil which I started him on for a skin condition that cleared up in a matter of weeks and continue to give him for a myriad of benefits. I may be adding krill oil to his list of supplements as well.

    Patty ~ what’s a supergreen? 3? Is it important to find a bee pollen that is local the way one could get relief from seasonal allergies by eating local honey, or is any bee pollen good for the immune system? Since Mystery is on a full raw diet now, would whole herring, anchovies and sardines be better than the oils (note, I am considering krill oil but only if I can’t find a good source of raw fish)?

    in reply to: Issues with Raw Food? #34123 Report Abuse

    Interesting, Marie. I live in the Blue Ridge Mountains in NC and our local mom and pop pet store sells BRB. It was the first time I’d seen it so I asked the owner of the shop if he knew anything about where their meat comes from, grass fed, non-GMO… He got defensive. It was bizarre and I couldn’t figure out why. I didn’t buy any, as a matter of fact, I didn’t buy anything and probably won’t ever. A little research on BRB let me to the same articles addressed in your FB post. Now, I wonder what connection or relationship the owner of that shop has with BRB.

    in reply to: Large and Giant Breed Puppy Nutrition #34121 Report Abuse

    Lablubber ~
    Just a bit of additional info on some of the ingredients I mentioned that I look out for.

    1. Rosemary Extract – Our oldest Golden started having seizures when she was about 3 years old. As Sunset got older her seizures increased so our vet put her on Phenobarbital, a dosage I eventually decreased as she seemed dazed most of the time. When I started researching food for our newest Golden, I discovered an article on the relationship between rosemary extract and increased seizures in humans that have them. If rosemary extract can exacerbate seizures in humans, it goes that it would do the same in a dog with seizures. I immediately got ahold of my husband in Korea and told him to stop feeding Blue Wilderness. Unfortunately, he’s at the mercy of the commissary and they just don’t have any quality foods. As it turned out, she died from cancer at the end of January, she was almost 11. Some dog foods list rosemary, others list rosemary extract. I avoided all extract recipes when I was trying to find a better food for Sunset. There was no indication that rosemary extract causes seizures so it isn’t a concern with Mystery nor the Golden my husband recently adopted. If either started seizing, then rosemary would be a concern again.

    2. Canola Oil – We love our Goldens. In the United States, about 69% of all Golden Retrievers over the age of two will die from cancer. Our Sunset joined that 69%. Mystery is an English Creme Golden Retriever. Both of his parents are from Russia. European Goldens have a cancer mortality rate of about 36%. Mystery is enrolled in the Morris Foundation Lifetime Golden Retriever Study on cancer. They have told me there are a few other English Cremes in the study and they’re hoping to find out why there is such a disparity between the two types (having lived in three different European countries, I suspect environment and food are most likely). I feel it is my responsibility to ensure my pup dies from old age, not cancer so it is important to me to avoid even a breath of a link between an ingredient and cancer. Canola is one of those ingredients. This article: will tell you more about the relationship between GMOs, rapeseed, canola oil and cancer. It’s not the only one, but it’s clear.

    3. Garlic – One I didn’t mention, but there are enough conflicting views on it that I took time to look it up last year. Just like onions and chocolate, I don’t give my babies fresh garlic. I do however, add it to his diet as a garlic supplement because I believe that in the correct form and amount, it has benefits.

    As to your most recent post regarding sources for raw food – I moved my answer over to the LBP topic at the raw forum since it’s more appropriate there. You can find it here: It’s only one of seven pages of topics on feeding raw that you’ll find helpful.

    in reply to: Feeding Raw (non-commercial) to Large Breed Puppies #34120 Report Abuse

    Lablubber ~
    In answer to your question from the Large and Giant Breed Nutrition forum about raw sourcing:

    I decided a few weeks ago that the best diet for Mystery would be raw. Having made that decision, I didn’t think I should wait just because I didn’t have a local source for meat so I started pounding around the raw food thread and large breed raw thread. I asked questions about how to start, what to feed… I knew I wasn’t interested in freeze-dried or frozen patties – my boy is going to eat “manly” meat, where I could find a reliable, trustworthy online place to get meat and poultry and any other essential real food to get me through a search period. Based on recommendations here, I chose My Pet Carnivore (MPC).

    Since I would have to wait for my first shipment, I headed to the grocery store, picked up a non-GMO, organic whole chicken as well as some meat with bones in them. I pulled out my German meat cleaver and a cutting board with grooves and discovered an expensive knife and cutting board does not make one a butcher. Next time I’m just going to give it to the meat department and tell them to hack it up for me.

    Last week I found a farm that grass feeds, no GMOs, but they do feed grains in the three weeks prior to slaughter (I’m still checking to see if that is standard practice and if not, why it’s done and whether it effects the quality of the meat (other than the tripe) – more questions for my conference list). I may be able to get half of a cow in a few weeks at $2/lb. So, I have a 20 cu.ft. freezer arriving on Saturday and I continue to look at local resources including a dairy farm where they usually put down male calves, as well as chicken, goat and other natural farmed animals. Until then, I’m happy using MPC for all of my meat. I received my second shipment from them today, thank goodness – twice what I ordered the first time and I feel better about the balance of foods. MPC sells a number of balanced grinds – chicken, tripe/organs/etc. They also sell fine ground meats (I assume for small dogs), as well as coarse grind.

    So, the answer to your question is – yes, you can buy from a reputable market. It’s cheaper in the long run since you don’t have to pay high shipping fees to ensure frozen mean doesn’t thaw before it arrives. (If you live near MPC they have pickup points.) The first local meat market I called not only couldn’t tell me whether the meat they sell is GMO free but they seemed irritated that I asked. Not going there! I’m also looking for a co-op of folks who are feeding raw but that is turning out to be more difficult to find than I expected.

    As for supplements, I’ve been giving Mystery garlic (pest control), and a vitamin C complex (gum health, immune support, antioxidant), from Springtime from the day I brought him home, that hasn’t changed now that he’s on raw. He’s also getting two 825mg capsules of curcumen (variety of cancers, inflammation, among many others), sprinkled on his food and about a tablespoon of coconut oil which I started him on for a skin condition that cleared up in a matter of weeks and continue to give him for a myriad of benefits. I may be adding krill oil to his list of supplements as well.

    In addition to all the help you’ll get here, if you go to, whether you intend to buy or not, they have some links to some great articles on feeding raw – right side, about half way down the homepage. If you sign up for Dogs Naturally Magazine, they email you a link to download their Raw Food Primer.

    There are folks here who are much smarter about all of this than I am (which is why I’m here), and they have been really helpful during my transition to raw. Keep asking those questions!

    in reply to: Am I on the right track? #34050 Report Abuse

    Jeff ~
    Pretty soon I’m going to get accused of being on their payroll (I’m not), the way I keep going on about it, but I’ve signed up for Raw Roundup, an online conference at the end of this month with speakers who are experts on raw feeding. It’s hosted by I just started my 11 month old Golden on raw and everyone here has been so very helpful. I’m hoping the conference will give me an additional arsenal of information to ensure I’m feeding my pup the absolute best I can.

    in reply to: Large and Giant Breed Puppy Nutrition #34048 Report Abuse

    Lablubber, I hope you don’t think I was inferring that you were lazy. Certainly if you were, you wouldn’t have found this forum. I know that at this point in my life, I just happen to have a little more time to spend on reading and researching that I didn’t have before (though I have been ignoring the tumblefurs rolling all over my house lately).

    My point is, that how ever busy you may be, that last decision – which food you’ll choose to feed your pup, must be your own. While I’m happy to tell you what works for me and what I know, I would not want to make that decision for you.

    Devoting a little extra time, even if just an hour, to compare the brands that have been suggested by folks here will pay off in puppy years. And, as Duke said, all the foods on HDM’s list are appropriate for LBPs, we each just have differences as to which is appropriate for OUR puppy. You’ll find the right fit for yours.

    Let us know what finally works for you.

    in reply to: Large and Giant Breed Puppy Nutrition #33989 Report Abuse

    Lablubber ~
    No one can tell you definitively what to feed your puppy. We all have opinions based on our limited or extensive research and experience. When we brought our first Golden home, we fed puppy food – I don’t remember exactly what but it was easily available in the commissary so probably just junk. She required double-hip surgery before she was two.

    When we decided to add another Golden – Mystery, I spent two months researching large breed nutrition, even before we decided on him. I read every article that HDM has conveniently posted on page one here (though I found them independent of this site), created my own table of foods, listing proteins, fats, calcium/phosphorus ratios/percentages, grains/no grains and so on. Based on that initial research I chose a food. I continued my research, signed up for newsletters, magazines, etc., and eventually chose a different food. As my research continued, I switched my cats to better foods as well. And I continue researching ways to feed my babies the best ways possible.

    I appreciate so much all the advice I get from everyone in the DogFoodAdvisor forums, but the decision to purchase food A or food B is ultimately mine. Any suggestions from anyone are not taken blindly – I still go to the manufacturer’s website, look at their ingredients, lookup an ingredient I’m not familiar with, check to make sure there are no known controversies or issues with those ingredients (for example: the link between rosemary extract and seizures in humans, canola oil and cancer, synthetic vs. natural supplement sources), where they come from, how they’re processed, what temp they’re cooked at. All of this is taken into account before I purchase anything.

    Now, I understand if you don’t have that kind of time. But you’re here for a reason – you want to feed your dog the best that you possibly can (which is why you’re considering raw!). So, find a just bit of time to look at some of the kibble recommendations that folks have made. I haven’t seen anyone say that Purina or Iams or Science Diet or Royal Canin or Blue are acceptable foods so the recommendations you do find here are all going to be good to excellent choices. I’ve stated my preference a number of times – Orijen, but that doesn’t make Earthborn or Wellness or Canine Caviar bad foods. Open up a few separate browser windows and do a side-by-side comparison to see what you think is best, check prices and you’ll make the right decision for you and your pup.

    Now, if you’re wanting to find out more about raw, there’s plenty of information here – I’m already smarter about feeding Mystery raw for the time I’ve spent asking questions and reading responses. But I’ve also signed up for a weekend-long web conference being hosted by at the end of this month called Raw Roundup. Experts in the field will be presenting any number of topics on feeding raw and I have started a list of questions to ask in case they are not addressed during the sessions.

    You can do this!

    in reply to: Large and Giant Breed Puppy Nutrition #33987 Report Abuse

    Sorry for what seems like conflicting/confusing information – it shouldn’t be as I was addressing the percentage of calcium in the Wellness formulas, Duke is addressing the grams of calcium that percentage represents in the food.

    If you haven’t opened the bag, PetCo will take it back – actually, they’ll take it back even if you have opened it. If you have a couple days worth of NV left, I can agree with Imnordrum regarding ordering from Chewy. They have excellent customer service and I’ve always received everything within two days as well.

    PetCo should carry Innova LBP if you’re considering that, which has one of the lowest calcium/phosphorus ratios – closest to what Dr. Henry Baker recommends (see article #3 on HDM’s list on the first page). Their food is not the best, but certainly better than Purina or Iams, Science Diet…

    My primary concern when I first brought Mystery home was calcium, since we already had a Golden that required double-hip surgery, so I put him on the Innova LBP. When he was about seven months old, I switched him to Orijen LBP which has a higher calcium, but only as an interim food while I researched raw, which he is now on. If I had not gone raw, he’d still be on Orijen LBP formula until he was two and then over to Orijen’s adult formulas. Orijen is grain-free, preservative-free and synthetic-free. You won’t find Orijen at PetCo. Only one of my five cats likes raw so they’re all on Orijen Cat and Kitten. (No, I don’t work for Orijen – it’s just the best I can find at a price I can afford.) I’ve had no dietary issues with either the cats or Mystery from any of the foods I’ve fed.

    As for the pumpkin, if there are no medical reasons for your pup to have loose stools (I don’t know what they would be except for my experience with Sunset having eaten rabbit poop), a tablespoon of plain pumpkin will help. I never had to give more than two tablespoons, even when Sunset did clean up after the rabbits.

    in reply to: Large and Giant Breed Puppy Nutrition #33979 Report Abuse

    Duke ~
    I read HDM’s calculations, but she also stated that she contacted each company to obtain actual calcium levels. She further states in another post that companies were excluded if they would not/could not provide actual calcium. Wellness on her list shows an actual 1.23% which falls within the min/max that they provide on their website. Both figures/calculations should then be considered reliable for choosing the Wellness Core Grain Free Puppy formula over their grain inclusive LBP formula.

    I was addressing the percentage of calcium in the food (which, agreeing with Dr. Baker, should be closest to .8%), you are addressing grams. These figures are naturally going to be different.

    in reply to: Large and Giant Breed Puppy Nutrition #33973 Report Abuse

    jewels ~
    The reason Wellness’s LBP formula is not on the list is because the list only includes grain-free formulas.

    If you’re going to feed Wellness, their grain inclusive LBP food claims a min/max calcium of 1.1/1.5% with no less that 26% protein. Their Core, grain free recipe for puppies (non-specific of target size), claims no more than 1.5% calcium and no less than 36% protein. Since the max calcium is the same, it’s probably safe to assume the Core Puppy formula will be alright to feed a LBP.

    At seven months old, you could move your poodle to the Core Large Breed Adult formula which has a max calcium of 2% and minimum 34% protein. And since the ingredients are essentially the same for the Core Puppy and Core LBA, either recipe would be fine at this point though, if my only choice was Wellness, I would keep a seven month old on the puppy formula at least a few more months.

    If your puppy continues to have loose stools and there is no medical reason for it, you might try adding a tablespoon of plain pumpkin to his food – don’t use pie filling, until his stools normalize. Make sure he’s not outside eating wild mushrooms, bunny poop or turkey poop or any other critter poop if you live in a rural area.

    in reply to: Coconut Oil #33956 Report Abuse

    Our Apple Valley is in western NC. Blue Ridge Mountains area. It isn’t the formal name of a specific place, just what it’s called because of all the apple farms. Of course, we have a lot of businesses called Apple Valley this and that, which includes Apple Valley Animal Hospital – where we take our furry ones.

    There’s about a one to two week window when the apple trees blossom along a stretch of road down the mountain that takes me to town. I try to get out as often as possible during that time just to see the blossoms.

    Patty, have you been here? I have a furry home you’d be welcome to visit the next time you’re in the area.

    Shasta, good for you for getting your own bees! My husband says if it’s sharp I’ll cut myself and if it’s hot I’ll burn myself – so I design and build stained glass. Ha! I’d love to have a beehive or two but I’d have to have a suit made from mithril (think Lord of the Rings chainmaille) or I’d probably get stung to death. I’ve actually been stung three times in my life – my left shoulder when a bee ricocheted off my mirror and in through the open window while driving, my thumb at an outdoor restaurant in northern Germany and my head while working in my garden. Head was the worst. I apparently disturbed an underground hive of European wasps cohabiting with yellow jackets. I was swarmed and did probably the worst thing I could have done, I stripped my shirt off (in the front yard), and when I did, they got their retribution. Burned like you-know-what for seven hours. Hope you have a good suit of armor! LOL!!!

    in reply to: Issues with Raw Food? #33922 Report Abuse

    Congrats all around to you, your husband and Bruno! Sounds like everyone’s going to be very happy.

    in reply to: Coconut Oil #33921 Report Abuse

    Saw the coconut oil issue and came to see what others were saying. Discovered a few great suggestions in the process!

    As always, I learn something new every time I read one of your posts. I’ve been damp dusting with water (I don’t care for oily sprays that seem to attract fur, not repel it), for years but never thought to add anything to my wet cloth. Do you think just adding a touch of lemon juice to the cloth would work as well as lemon oil?

    Typhoon ~
    Just to confirm what Sully’sMom said, Dogs Naturally Magazine also recommends starting with 1/4 teaspoon per 10 lbs to begin with.

    My Mystery had a severe skin flaking problem when I first brought him home. Literally, a dense layer of skin in and outside his crate every morning. We tried omegas for a month with no difference noted, then it was a special shampoo (that turned out to have a carcinogenic ingredient in it), and the breeder suggested canola oil (more cancer, no thanks).

    I came across this article: I started giving Mystery about a teaspoon in the mornings only to be sure he didn’t have loose stool problems in the night. Within a few weeks his skin flaking had completely stopped. He’s about 60 lbs now and I’m giving him about a tablespoon (I eyeball the measurement), and because it seems to be enough, I still only give it in the mornings – he never did have any stool issues, thank goodness.

    Coconut oil seems to have a variety of benefits and while I’m taking supplements (I can’t stand the texture of solid coconut oil), in the hopes it will help with my eczema, I wouldn’t give a supplement to Mystery. Shasta220’s recommendation to just get a jar of it is best, organic, extra virgin, cold pressed, and I would add non-GMO. You can see my review of the brand I use here:

    I’d like to emphasize Shasta220’s suggestion about giving LOCAL honey to help with allergies. We live in an area called Apple Valley, for obvious reasons – lots of apple farms, local apple festival every year…, so there are fruit stands everywhere. These are the best places to find local honey.

    in reply to: Feeding Raw (non-commercial) to Large Breed Puppies #33920 Report Abuse

    The good new is that I received my package from MPC two days late due to all the snow up here but my UPS driver confirmed that it had been on his truck, outside in 20 degree weather. Everything was still frozen – yaay!

    I let it all thaw just enough to be able to separate it into single serving portions and then repackaged it using my Food Saver. I’m not convinced this first shipment was the best I could do but I placed another order last night and feel much better about the balance of meats, organs and bone. We’ll get there.

    The great new is that I have have a lead on half of a cow – from my UPS driver who’s been getting his half from a friend that has a family farm, raised on grass, not GM, local, $2/lb. A local meat packing company will cut it up for me. My husband has made me promise to not feed Mystery the filet mignon.

    For the poop experts out there – I’ve been reading what everyone’s written about poop. So far Mystery’s runs everywhere from a dark umber to a light brown. He even had one yesterday that was mostly light but had a single dark stool in it. They’re definitely not the nearly black, noxious piles he used to leave and they’re much smaller. Does all this sound normal?

    in reply to: Large and Giant Breed Puppy Nutrition #33918 Report Abuse

    loobija and vaarde ~
    You need to read the articles that HDM has posted on page one of this thread. If you’re going to feed dry to your large breed puppies, you need to be feeding a low calcium/phosphorus kibble. Those articles, will tell you why. If you don’t want to read all of them, at least read Dr. Susan Lauter’s paper (#1), Dr. Henry Baker’s paper (#3 on the list), as well as Dr. Karen Becker’s article and watch her video (#5).

    HDM also posted a list of Large Breed Puppy food here:, to make it easy for you to research the best LBP food for your dog (and wallet). You can also Google Large Breed Puppy Food to find more. Your puppy is worth a little bit of homework.

    Look for a food that has a minimum calcium content of .8% with a maximum around 1.2% (and don’t get hung up on AAFCO standards for calcium – they’re still behind the power curve when it comes to LBP nutrition). HDM’s list only provides minimum calcium content, you’ll need to go to the manufacture’s website to see if they list the maximum – some don’t, call them if you’re considering their food.

    vaarde – Dr. Clauder’s adult food for LB “junior” dogs contains maize (corn), corn meal, rice, beet pulp, powdered egg, mussel powder. Filler grains, sugars and in the case of those two powders, nothing but dust. They also use sodium selenite as a source of selenium when they could be using a natural source – selenium yeast. Compare those ingredients with NRG Maxim for large breeds, or Canine Caviar, or…

    loobija – you have a puppy, not an adult dog. Do not feed your LBP adult dog food and be very careful about feeding your puppy any “all life stages” food as well. Please read those articles. There is a reason why you need to select a formula designed specifically for large breed puppies. I do not like Authority’s LBP formula for some of the same reasons I don’t like Dr. Clauder’s and their minimum calcium is 1.3% when that is higher than what I would consider as a maximum amount.

    Personally, having read all the articles that HDM posted links to – and I found them independent of this fantastic forum, (be sure to thank her for making your research easier), I believe the closer you can stay to .8% calcium the better. LBP kibble formulas will have the correct calcium/phosphorus ratio (1.2:1).

    Look for foods that have named meat “meals” (chicken meal, salmon meal, etc.) in many of the first five ingredients as possible. Avoid unnamed anything (meat meal, fish meal, poultry-by-product), grains and fillers (wheat, corn, glutens), and sugars and starches (beets, potatoes). Try to find foods with natural supplements and no preservatives. If you don’t don’t what an ingredient is, look it up. For example: menadione sodium bisulfite complex (synthetic vs. natural Vit K), sodium selenite (vs. selenium yeast).

    Kibble is a mine field. Make sure you subscribe to DogFoodAdvisor’s recall alerts: You can also find a wealth of information regarding pet food manufacturing practices (what they’re doing right, mostly wrong, how the FDA and the AAFCO really aren’t concerned about what goes into your pet food, recalls, etc.), at

    Finally, I would recommend you read just the few pages that have been started in the forums here on feeding raw to large breed puppies:

    in reply to: Feeding Raw (non-commercial) to Large Breed Puppies #33642 Report Abuse

    Sue ~
    That 8 lb. chicken was supposed to be just the start until my MPC order came in. I figured I could work out the calcium/bone/organ stuff as I was packing portions from my order. I’m not a veg head but it’s rare when I eat meat and then only certain cuts, so the only thing I found in the freezer was some seasoned lamb, a flank steak and some chicken thighs I had portioned to boil in broth for use as training incentives – I put a tasty chunk in my mouth and Mystery is fixed on me (and when he’s not, I eat it).

    I pulled out the flank steak and a couple of thighs. If I didn’t season the flank steak before sealing it up, we ought to get at least another day and a half out of it – no bones though. I do still worry about calcium since Mystery’s only 10 months old. I know they can absorb excess calcium better after six months and he is getting more, but I’m not ready to go all out yet. I just had a great thought – I can always raid my neighbor’s freezer – they’re out of town, assuming I can get the quarter mile up their steep driveway.

    Mystery keeps barking at the snow and Falkon keeps attacking the windows as the snow flurries by. We are kinda rural – about 3200′ up in the mountains of NC. Still, when I can get down the mountain, I’m only 20 minutes from the grocery store, Walmart, Sam’s… There’s only five homes up here and only three are occupied year-round. Nice and quiet. With all this snow though, I wish I could let Mystery run wild in it, but he still doesn’t have perfect recall at 10 months old so the best I can do is hook him up to a post on the house and let him roll around in the snow. If it’s decent out tomorrow, maybe I’ll run the 50′ rope around a tree in the yard so I can get some pics of him hopping around.

    in reply to: Feeding Raw (non-commercial) to Large Breed Puppies #33637 Report Abuse

    Sue ~
    I purchased the book by Dr. Becker that Patty mentioned, but we’re going to have a setback here in one day – and a rather expensive one at that. We finally got our winter snow which means delayed freezer delivery, delayed food delivery from MPC – it’s been sent but UPS won’t be able to make it up the mountain until it stops snowing and someone decides to clear the road. Mystery has just two servings of chicken that will get us through Friday morning. I wonder if I should just thaw a flank steak and cut it up for him. Hmmm…

    Other than the coming food shortage, everything seems to be going well. When I cut the chicken up, I weighed it out and put it baggies. When I finally get going with larger amounts of meat, I’ll use the vacuum sealer to create a variety of single portions. I’ve found that if I pull out portions two days ahead of time, they’re completely thawed when I’m ready for them.

    As for clean up… that’s getting a little easier. At first, Mystery was a bit put off by the one paw out to be cleaned at a time. I use an old soapy rag to wipe his paws as he comes out and then use the same rag – washed and soaped up a second time, to clean inside the crate. He’s getting used to the routine.

    The one with the biggest problem is Falkon, my little Maine Coon carnivore. I had been giving him some of the raw chicken but then read that feeding raw and kibble can create digestive problems so I stopped. He now spends dinner time slipping his big polydactyl paws between the crate bars and into Mystery’s bowl. Because he’s poly – he has the usual four “fingers” and an additional two “thumbs”, it doesn’t matter that his claws are clipped, he uses those opposable thumbs to snatch some food and even grabbed a bone that Mystery dropped yesterday. Mr. Mischievous!

    I appreciate the list of meat to bone percentages you posted from the FB group. When I cut the whole chicken up for Mystery, I didn’t worry too much about the ratio, I just figured, if he found the chicken himself he’d eventually get around to eating the whole thing, skin and all. Using the calculation given, Mystery’s chicken was a little over 8 lbs., multiplied by 31% means there was 2.48 lbs. of bone. So now what do we do? I guess we are supposed to strip the meat from the excess bone. Next time. I can’t wait for the raw conference.

    I took a look at the photos and videos you posted on phanfare. A.D.O.R.A.B.L.E!!!

    Edit: I just took Mystery outside and the steps from the porch to the sidewalk are missing. Our footprints from when we went out two hours ago – gone. My boots sank upward of my ankles. Pulling out whatever red meat I have in the freezer.

    in reply to: Large and Giant Breed Puppy Nutrition #33537 Report Abuse

    Patty ~
    I ordered my first 25 lbs from MPC. Shipping hurt the bottom line but it gives me a little time to find some local resources. I’m afraid I didn’t get too creative in ordering though, and will have to put a little more effort into balancing, but it’s a start.

    Ground Chicken Supermix
    Ground Whole Young Beef
    Green Beef Tripe Strips
    Young Beef Chunks

    in reply to: Large and Giant Breed Puppy Nutrition #33536 Report Abuse

    Jazz ~
    I wouldn’t get too worried about feeding the adult food over LBP since your pup is now nine months old. The difference in calcium is fairly negligible – 1.2/1.5 vs 1.3/1.6, if you got the regular adult recipe and not the Regional Red which I consider to be too high, as is the fish recipe.

    Depending upon where you bought it, you can take it back even if you opened it. My local PetCo would take it back. If you bought it online and haven’t opened it, call and see if they’ll switch for you. Otherwise, just feed it and next time get the LBP.

    Freed1 ~
    You can see the entire 5-star list of foods here:

    My opinion is that Orijen is the best dry food, whether you are feeding puppy, large breed puppy or adult. It is however, more expensive that the average brand you find at Petsmart.

    in reply to: Large and Giant Breed Puppy Nutrition #33531 Report Abuse

    Jazz ~
    Sorry I didn’t get back to you yesterday. It’s been a madhouse around here with my oldest daughter moving out yesterday, me trying to finish some reading on raw diets so I can order some food before tomorrow and trying to find the right adoptable Golden for my husband.

    I appreciate that RescueDaneMom jumped in to give you some very good advice. Pattyvaughn is another great resource as are any number of people more qualified than I.

    Although some of the papers from the Great Dane study indicate that a 6 month old LBP could effectively absorb calcium, I have to agree with GDM that waiting at least until 10 months to switch to a higher calcium diet is better. I would however, still feed LBP kibble until full grown, up to 2 years old – you’ll know when your pup has reached that point.

    I did switch Mystery to Orijen, Large Breed Puppy a month or so ago and if I hadn’t gone raw I’d have fed it until he was at least 16 months old. I wouldn’t have moved to Acana LBP because their MINIMUM calcium is 1.6%, Orijen is 1.2/1.5 min/max. Some of the Acana Regionals recipes have a similar low minimum calcium of 1.2% but they don’t say what their max is. Additionally, the protein content is lower than Orijen LBP. For comparison’s sake – Orijen LBP and both adult formulas contain 14 proteins and then starches follow. Acana Wild Prairie 2 proteins then a starch while their Grasslands is a bit better at 4. 80% of Orijen’s ingredients are protein, Acana is 60%. Of the other foods that RDM listed, I have opinions on all of them, but you can do further comparisons.

    IF I were going to continue into adult kibble, I would absolutely have stayed with any variety of adult Orijen and would have felt very good about my decision. All five cats are eating Orijen with the youngest, a five month old Maine Coon stealing a few ounces of Mystery’s raw. I spent a lot of time researching pedigrees and genetics and food so that we could avoid, to every extent possible, a repeat of the $10,000 it cost us to have double-hip surgery on Sunset before she was two and three months of 24/7 in-clinic therapy to teach her how to walk again. I’m by no means an expert, but I can read and the more I do, the better I feel about my food choices, and why I switched to Orijen at 9 months and then raw so soon after at 10 months.

    I wholly agree with RDM on turmeric. Mystery is enrolled in the Morris Foundation’s lifetime study on the relationship between cancer and Golden Retrievers and since we just lost Sunset to cancer, I feel a duty to do everything I can keep Mystery from getting cancer. I do purchase some supplements from Swanson and I’ve had Mystery on Springtime’s Longevity but I’m not certain I will continue that. I do agree with your decision to limit supplements since most kibble already contain a variety of supplements – I recently read an article on supplement overkill. If I can dig that article up I’ll let you know.

    I also give Mystery raw eggs on occasion. It’s my understanding that the shell of the egg has a perfect balance of calcium to phosphorus. So if you’re still feeding a low calcium kibble and you want to add a bit more without switching to a higher calcium food, break an egg! I usually break it over a bowl, break up the shell a bit with my hands and pour it over his food. He gets the same eggs I eat – Born Free, Vegetarian without the added omegas or any other organic, free-range brown egg when Born Free is unavailable.

    One more note – Susan Thixton had her site hacked a couple years ago and so opened another site adding a “2” to the end. The problem finally resolved, she’s moved everything back over to but is in the process of cleaning things up – hopefully that will be finished soon. Keep checking back, sign up for her newsletter or “Like” her on Facebook. She’s worth following.

    Whew! 😉

    in reply to: Large and Giant Breed Puppy Nutrition #33388 Report Abuse

    BernerdAd ~
    Just wanted to ditto Patty’s recommendation on pumpkin. It isn’t something I care to eat, but I keep a single can in my pantry just in case. When I have to open it up, another can goes on the grocery list.

    Lablubber ~
    I can’t remember if I read anywhere the age of your Lab. There’s a number of articles that HDM posted at the very beginning of this topic that address the correct percentage of calcium for large breed puppies. The figures vary somewhat, I chose to take the advice of Dr. Baker and keep Mystery’s calcium nearer to .80 percent. (My Mystery is an English Creme Golden Retriever – healthy adult weight will be about 85 pounds.)

    I hadn’t found this forum when I was researching food so I ended up creating my own chart. I looked at calcium percentage as well as ingredients. I wasn’t going to feed junk (by-products, un-named meat meals, synthetic supplements, controversial ingredients – canola oil for one), no matter what the calcium percentage was. But I also wasn’t going to feed what I thought was the best kibble (no preservatives, no grains), if the calcium was higher than I believed it should be. I would have like to have been feeding Mystery Orijen or Acana but their calcium max for LBP is 1.5%. Though they say they try to keep it to the minimum 1%, they’d be okay feeding my dog nearly twice what he should’ve gotten. In the end, I chose Innova LBP kibble.

    A simple explanation of the problem with too much calcium is, that a LBP less than six months old does not have the ability to process excess calcium properly. Too much calcium gets deposited on the outside of the bones which then causes bone disease. Again, this is the simple explanation – try reading all the articles HDM posted, some of them are a little more technical, but you’ll learn a lot from them. And don’t expect your vet to be familiar with the LBP study or any of the reports from that study. My vet said he wasn’t sure if he’d read any of them when I first mentioned diet concerns – and tried to make me feel like I couldn’t possibly know what I was talking about.

    Back to the age of your Lab. Once a puppy has reached six months of age, he is able to process calcium better but even afterward, calcium still needs to be lower than what a small or medium size puppy can handle. I moved Mystery to Orijen LBP kibble just last month when he was 9 months old. To address your concern regarding transitioning foods, when Mystery’s Innova got down to the last pound, I added a pound of Orjen to it. When that was gone a few days later, it was all Orijen.

    As far as expense goes, I considered Innova to be an average priced kibble – compared to Purina, Iams, Science Diet, or any other junk food. Orijen, on the other hand is going to cost more but is worth it – as far as kibble goes. Innova did have a recall last year at the time that I was feeding it to Mystery. I was forced to switch him over to Wellness – the next lowest calcium percentage, but I cringed at every meal because chicken meal is their third ingredient rather than first, and they use Sodium Selenite instead of Selenium Yeast. It looks like Innova has changed their LBP recipe – I don’t know what I’d do now if my only option to feed was kibble to a LBP.

    BTW, when Innova had their recall, I had no choice but to switch Mystery to Wellness – without any transition. And my cats have never needed transitioning as I’ve upgraded their food. Obviously, common sense must rule if you see a problem cropping up because of the change.

    I have to agree with Patty on Blue. In addition to their minimum calcium percentage being too high, they have three grains in their top five ingredients, they add chicken FLAVOR (why do they need flavoring?), sodium selenite and caramel which is used to make you, the purchaser feel good about the color of their garbage, as if your dog thinks caramel colored food tastes better than beige food. I also don’t like seeing oil of rosemary so high on their ingredient list since we had a Golden that had seizures (if your dog doesn’t have seizures rosemary oil/extract might not be a problem).

    In retrospect, I should have started feeding Mystery raw when we first brought him home at 10 weeks instead of waiting until now when he is 10 months old. You will absolutely learn much here at dogfoodadvisor and especially in the forums. I would also suggest, if you have to continue feeding kibble, go to and sign up for her free newsletter. She’s also on Facebook if you prefer. I will say though, that I credit Susan Thixton (truthaboutpetfood), with my decision to pursue a raw diet. Of course, it was here at the forums that I received the most encouragement to switch.

    in reply to: Feeding Raw (non-commercial) to Large Breed Puppies #33384 Report Abuse

    Sue ~
    It appears whomever created the spreadsheets, both agree on the percentages because the only difference between the two is that liver and organs are split on the one you provided. I copied column B and pasted so that I could see side by side, the monthly requirement for Mystery at his current weight and what it would be at full grown weight – just so I would order the right size freezer.

    Patty ~
    I ordered the fridge tonight. Took Mystery with me and for the very first time – he didn’t throw up. It’s about a 25 minute trip to Home Depot though we stopped at the vet first to get his actual weight, 58 lbs, and walked around outside for a few minutes before getting back in the car. We spent about an hour in HD and then I popped over to the grocery store for some milk and a whole chicken and a container of chicken livers. They had a turkey back so I also got that so I wouldn’t have to cut the chicken up or give him kibble again tonight.

    When we got home I put the turkey on the counter and he must’ve smelled it because he kept trying to nose up to it. I removed the meat from the bone – I just didn’t want to bother with any unnecessary mess, put it in a large stainless bowl and set it down for him in his crate. He went at it like it was the best thing he’s ever tasted – and it probably was. My little five month old Maine Coon, Falkon, got wind of it and jumped in the crate to steal a piece. Unless I close the crate door, I imagine Mystery is going to have to share all of his meals with Falkon from now on. (Falkon steals all kinds of food – peas from my colander, bread from the table, crab chowder from a pot on the cooktop (I have all induction so there’s never the possibility of him getting burned), the kitten is brazen.)

    All in all, I’m really pleased. Taking that first step wasn’t as hard as I anticipated. I snapped a shot of Mystery and Falkon in the crate. I also took a shot of Mystery laying on the floor. Obviously, his butt looks a little large because of the way he’s laying but you can still see how he looks a little on the thin side. Even so, I’d rather he be a little thin than too fat at his age.

    (Bizarre how these photos look stretched.)

    Marie ~
    Sorry about that – “he” would be the person (I suppose it could be a “she”), from Hare-Today that posted the two week feeding schedule.

    Patty ~
    I went over to MPC and not only do they have links to a plethora of information on raw feeding but, though I didn’t do a line-by-line comparison, it looks like their prices are better than Hare-Today. I didn’t take into account shipping costs so I’ll have to take a look at that. I had some problem with the shopping cart at Hare-Today – if I didn’t keep adding stuff it would completely empty the cart after just a few minutes of inactivity. Aack! I don’t shop well when I’m being rushed.

    I did read about the percentages in the Raw Feeding 101 article from MPC. Thankfully, Mystery is already well beyond needing 10% of his body weight at nearly 60lbs – full grown will be 85lbs. I also appreciated the Raw Feeding Calculator link. What a great resource that is. I’m going to start Mystery at 4% of his body weight – he’s been on a growth spurt for a couple weeks where is body has gotten longer, typical of an English Creme, but his waist isn’t keeping up. I can’t see his ribs but I can feel them more than I would like.

    I’m going to order a fridge for the garage this afternoon. I thought about just getting a freezer but with our house full of kids and grandchildren this past Christmas (and hopefully our great grandson and his mom next year), I figure I can use the extra fridge space too.

    I’m also headed to Sam’s to pick up some whole chicken, just to start Mystery on an ingredient he’s already been getting for training treats. I’ll feed him his kibble in the morning until it’s gone and chicken in the evenings. The fridge/freezer should be here by Wednesday and that will give me time to order some essentials as well as try to find a co-op of folks in my area who might be buying in bulk.

    OMG! We’re actually doing this!!! Yaay for Mystery!

    Well, I’m now frozen to my sofa. I went over to Hare-Today and decided I’d just price out what he says he feeds his dog over a two week period. First off, he says a puppy should eat 10% of their weight, I’d read 4% elsewhere – is there a difference between raw and rendered? I decided to start with 4% – about 2.5 lbs per day. So, into the cart went everything he’s feeding in 5 lbs quantities so I’d have an idea what it would cost to feed Mystery for four weeks. YIKES!

    Those fur balls are starting to bother me.

    in reply to: Feeding Raw (non-commercial) to Large Breed Puppies #33256 Report Abuse

    Sue ~

    I appreciate the update and the sources for food. I’ve actually had a MyPetCarnivore tab open for the last few days as I’ve done research on different foods. Patty also mentioned the HareToday site, which I have been to as well. One of the things I have been looking at in addition to quality is location. I’m in NC so obviously, I’m looking for companies closest to me to be sure I not only get a better shipping rate but more important, that the food has less time to thaw in transit.

    I’m determined to order some raw today – and let the fur balls roll like tumbleweeds around the house another day. I’m headed to Costco tomorrow so I’ll pick up some whole chicken.

    I’m so glad you signed up for the conference. I think one of the best things lacking in a web conference though, is the ability to network and discuss topics/concerns/issues between sessions. We’ll have to compare notes afterward!

    I did make a connection with a gal that delivers food in our area but the list of foods she sent me was ginormous and I didn’t have time to pick through all the food types and brands. Now that I’m [somewhat] armed with better food brand I’ll do a search on her list for the ones I have a little more confidence in.

    I’m sorry to hear about Loki. I don’t know anything about pulmonary stenosis in dogs. Is this inherent in his breed? When we got Sunset, we didn’t know much about genetics, she ended up having double-hip surgery before she was two. It cost us over $10K. Before deciding on Mystery, I spent months boning up on things like COIs and US and international codes for hip, eyes and shoulder coding. And now I’m doing everything I can to make sure Mystery has every opportunity to live as long as possible.

    in reply to: Feeding Raw (non-commercial) to Large Breed Puppies #33253 Report Abuse

    Inked Marie ~

    Mystery currently gets his kibble inside the crate. I don’t close the door but the food and water stay inside while he stands half in and half out. I did try to give him a RMB inside the crate but he wasn’t interested in it until I opened the door and he climbed out with it. I left him in the crate for about 20 minutes but he just laid down and fell asleep. The crate is 42″, anything larger and I’ll have to add a new room to the house. 🙂

    I will definitely continue to feed him inside his crate when we make the jump to raw. It’s just those RMB are going to have to be outdoor treats only until I can get him to stay in one place inside the house. We’ll get there.

    Thanks for the advice.

    in reply to: Coconut Water #33204 Report Abuse

    Mystery gets about a tablespoon of organic, extra-virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil once a day. He had extremely flakey skin – I’d find it in and around his crate every morning, like snow! After no results from trying omegas and a “special” shampoo, I started him on the coconut oil, which I get from Sam’s, a few months ago. His skin no longer flakes and his coat is wonderfully soft.

    in reply to: Large and Giant Breed Puppy Nutrition #33200 Report Abuse

    Sully’s Mom ~

    I forgot to mention that on my second visit to the vet, they recommended a Virbac brand shampoo. Shortly after the second bathing I got an alert from PetMD regarding a carcinogenic ingredient in the shampoo. CA has banned the shampoos and when I looked at the bottle, sure enough, it said it wasn’t to be sold in CA (we’re in NC). I took what was remaining back to my vet for a $37 refund.

    The offending ingredient is DEA, Diethanolamine, and you can read the article here: Apparently, it is widely used in other shampoos as well.

    We’ve lost a cat and very recently a Golden to cancer. Mystery has been enrolled in the Morris Foundation’s Lifetime Golden Retriever Study – on CANCER! That’s just what I need, a shampoo with a carcinogen in it. And it wasn’t just Mystery I was putting at risk, I had that shampoo on my hands too.

    My vet hadn’t heard of the DEA link to cancer but when I dropped in a few days ago I noticed there were no Virbac shampoos on his shelves anymore.

    Thought you might want to know in case your vet suggests a prescription shampoo to help with the itching. I hope the coconut oil works though, since it’s all natural.

    Sue ~

    I wish there was a holistic vet near me but the closest one is in Charlotte – 2 hours away, so I would definitely be interested in what yours says about the raw diet.

    I think a lot of my hesitation comes from not knowing exactly where to get fresh raw food. I initially thought that if I went to the grocery store I would be feeding Mystery human grade food. But then you have to find organic, grass fed, etc., etc. Of course, there are no chicken backs in the meat department, though I did find turkey necks. My local store said they could order some tripe but when that came in it was white, processed tripe – no good.

    I’m going to try to find a local butcher, but how I’ll ever know if I’m getting quality meats. Oh, genius that I am – I just realized I could get a whole chicken and cut it up myself. Cows, maybe not.

    I like your idea of a washable rug and towel for RMB eating but right now I can’t keep Mystery on an 8’x6′ piece of linoleum. I’m going to try some “place” training on his crate tray to see if I can get him to stay in an area that he’s familiar with – except without the bars. I can add a towel to that but like our other Golden did, Mystery thinks a towel is for rolling around on.

    I look forward to hearing about your visit with Dr. Frick.

    Patty ~

    You know, way back when, I remember giving our Sunset the DinOvite but stopped when we moved to Prague. I’d completely forgotten about that.

    I did call Primal to talk with them about their food and was thaaaat close to placing an order until I looked at the Primal thread on dogfoodadvisor. What a catastrophe, wading through all that. In the end, I decided not to order any – a setback in my confidence.

    I was looking at some the photos folks have posted here of their dogs eating RMB and I think it was HDM that had a pic of one of her dogs eating a whole quail. What? I want that! Minus the feathers of course. I did give Mystery a bone last week when it was warmer outside He went at it for over an hour while I enjoyed some quiet time over the waterfall and pond. Since I let him chomp away at apple tree branches, I wasn’t worried about the dirt too much.

    I did try to give him a bone in his crate one day when temps were below freezing but he wouldn’t touch it. I opened the door of the crate and he brought the bone out with him. I tried to get him to stay on the 8’x6′ linoleum scrap but couldn’t keep him there. OCD kicked in, the bone came up and I set about steam mopping the crate, linoleum and wood floor followed by soap and water. I think I’ll try taking the tray out of the crate and start training Mystery to stay on it while eating.

    I so appreciate that you shared the list of foods you’re feeding. With that, you’ve given me a better idea of what a diet should look like than anything I’ve come across so far. Thanks! I’d also read somewhere that balance doesn’t have to happen with every meal – it could happen over the course of days. That’s a little freeing. I’ll let you know when we get to our first raw day.

    Sue’s Zoo ~

    I am a nanobyte of information away from going raw. I spent two months researching the best kibble to buy for my Golden puppy and now I’ve spent another eight months researching the best way to feed my growing boy and have come to the conclusion that raw is the way to go. Unfortunately, I am also concerned about balancing not only calcium and phosphorus but everything else, protein, veggies, supplements.

    Being at a similar point in the raw decision as you (everyone makes it out to be no big deal but it is intimidating nevertheless), the best I can offer is to share a few things I’ve learned along the way and hope it’s helpful.

    Having had a Golden that required double-hip surgery before she was two, proper bone growth was a huge concern for me. If you’ve been to the LBP nutrition forum (, you’ve probably already read some of the suggestions that Hound Dog Mom posted at the beginning of the thread. If you haven’t, do – It would’ve saved me a lot of research time if I’d found the forum ten months ago. Although I waded through the technical jargon in many of the articles, I found the article by Baker most useful and objective. Now that Mystery is 10 months old, I’m allowing more calcium in his diet than Baker’s recommended .8%. I’ve changed his kibble to one with a higher calcium content (from Innova to Orijen), and have started giving him an occasional RMB and raw egg (yeah, puppy steps).

    I can’t speak to whether a puppy should eat raw bones until their adult teeth are in except to say that when I asked my breeder about food choices, I was told he starts giving his puppies chicken backs at six months.

    As far as balanced nutrition goes, I’ve considered “balanced” frozen raw brands but they really are expensive and there’s much debate as to whether they’re safe. I’ve read so much conflicting, contradictory and even argumentative information that I have to take a few days off research just to clear my head. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever get my Mystery off kibble.

    That said, I did find an Internet conference (what will they think of next), on feeding raw that is hosted by Dogs Naturally Magazine. You can find more information here: It isn’t until the end of the month but I’ve already registered and am hopeful to glean that last nanobyte of information so that Mystery will be eating only raw in March.

    in reply to: Large and Giant Breed Puppy Nutrition #33156 Report Abuse

    Sully’sMom ~

    My Mystery started life with a dandruff problem. At 10 weeks, when we got him, he was flaking all over the place. A trip to the vet to find out if he had bug problems turned up negative but the vet gave me an Omega supplement. A month later the condition was worse. I emailed the breeder and asked if any litter mates were having problems. They weren’t, and he suggested adding Canola oil to Mystery’s food. Nope – we don’t add anything that has been linked to cancer.

    Finally, I came across an article in Dogs Naturally Magazine that said coconut oil was good for any number of issues, including skin problems. Further research indicated I should start with 1/4 teaspoon per 10 pounds to Mystery’s food. It was mentioned that adding coconut oil might cause a bit of diarrhea initially so I only added it to his morning food.

    A month later and I stopped finding dead skin in and around his crate every morning and the only difference in his stools was that they were consistently normal – neither hard nor too soft. He’s been getting about a tablespoon (since the oil is solid I just eyeball it using a regular spoon), every morning for three months now. He’s still clear and his coat is sooooo soft.

    I can’t speak to allergies but from everything I’ve read, it can’t hurt to add coconut oil to Sully’s diet.

    The best oil is going to be organic, extra-virgin, cold-pressed. I found mine at Sam’s. Hope it helps!

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