Your adult Labrador retriever will weigh 55 to 75 LB. From 3 months of age, he needs to be fed 2 % of his ideal adult weight daily. The total amount of raw meats and raw meaty bones in his daily ration is therefore 1.2 to 2.0 LB/day. He is growing very fast in the first year, so he needs about the same amount of food throughout the first year and thereafter in adulthood, when he is no longer growing. Use common sense about how much to feed – if he leaves food at a meal, reduce the amount at the next feeding. Individual dogs need different amounts of food, depending on their metabolism and activity levels.
How much you should feed your puppy depends on his WAISTLINE. If he is at the best weight, you should be able to feel his ribs when you pass you hand lightly along his sides. If you can see his ribs, he is too thin and he needs more food. If you cannot feel his ribs without pressing into his sides, he is overweight and need less food. Only you can make that decision – most Labs will eat anything vaguely edible they can get their teeth on.
The total amount of food (1.2 to 2.0 LB of meat plus a meaty bone) is divided into 3 meals/day for young puppies, into 2 servings/day for older puppies, and fed once a day to adults over 12 months. Adult dogs should be fed 2% of their weight daily (they are not growing), again with adjustment for individual differences and always with an eye on the waistline.
The cost of 1.2 to 2 LB of meat and meaty bones can vary widely, depending on what you feed. First, remember you are feeding a friendly wolf, who would eat all parts of a prey animal, not just prime steaks. Dog can thrive on cuts of meat people do not favor and are thus less expensive. Beef heart – great for chewing – costs about $2.00/LB. Beef kidneys less. Beef liver is similar in price to heart. Eggs are cheap (18 for $3.65 or about $0.20 each). Shop sales, meats about to expire, ask your friends who hunt, join the Kona Raw Co-op, if you live on the Big Island. Always remember, you are feeding a friendly wolf whose digestion and nutritional needs evolved to eat whole prey – a diet high in animal fats and proteins and low in sugary carbohydrates.
Whole chickens with giblets cost $1.29/LB at COSTCO. A fryer weighs 4- 5 LB, so that half a chicken with some giblets makes a good day’s ration for a Lab. Local supermarkets package fish trimmings for pets @ $1.25 or so/LB. Very meaty beef soup bones can be bought for $1.75/LB. Pork and beef ribs can be found for $2.99/LB.
Let’s say that the average day’s ration of 2 LB @1.50/lb costs about $3.00. The price of better grade, commercial kibble is $3 to $4/lb. Take a longer range view. Think about the vet bills you will avoid (and the pain and suffering you dog will avoid). You will not have to visit the vet for allergies, ear infections, and TEETH CLEANING @ $200/year. Your dog will not have chronic digestive problems, chronic itchiness, or a host of other chronic illnesses that afflict dogs that are fed commercial pet foods. Chronic illnesses cost a fortune to treat and a trivial amount in RMB to prevent. Financially, you will come out way ahead in the long run. More importantly, your dog will live a happier, healthier life.