Best Puppy Foods


Puppies Peering Over Banner

New dog owners ask, “What’s the best puppy food“?

But the answer to that question depends on what kind of puppy food you’re looking for.

Do you prefer a dry kibble? Or a canned dog food?

Thinking about going grain-free?

With thousands of commercial products available on the U.S. and Canadian markets, we set out to answer that same question for our readers:

What’s the Best Puppy Food?

After considering dozens of criteria, we determined that the best puppy foods should contain:

  • No controversial chemical preservatives
  • No anonymous meat ingredients
  • No artificial coloring agents
  • No generic animal fats
  • Substantial amounts of meat-based protein
  • Reasonable fat-to-protein ratios
  • Modest carbohydrate content

Best Puppy Foods

The following lists of Best Puppy Foods have received our highest ratings and are grouped according to their dry or wet formats.

Hip Dysplasia and Your Puppy’s Diet

Contrary to popular belief, hip dysplasia and skeletal diseases in dogs are not related to dietary protein1.

These crippling disorders are more likely the result of genetics2, excessive dietary calcium3 or overfeeding during growth4.

Studies have proved that the greatest risk of developing skeletal problems later in life is directly linked to overfeeding — and excessive calcium in the diet.

To learn more about the risks of overfeeding and calcium, be sure to visit our article, How to Choose the Best Puppy Foods to Lower Your Dog’s Risk of Developing Hip Dysplasia.

How to Be Sure a Puppy Food
Is Complete and Balanced

To ensure a puppy food is nutritionally complete and balanced, simply look for the AAFCO nutritional adequacy statement on every package of dog food.

This simple statement assures buyers a product contains all the nutrient requirements for puppies and reads like this:

This product is complete and balanced to to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO dog food nutrient profiles for…

  • Growth
  • All life stages

Is It OK to Feed an
Adult Dog Food to a Puppy?

Adult foods can be deficient — or excessive — in certain nutrients needed by puppies for controlled growth.

So, never feed your puppy a food designed for adult maintenance.

Best Puppy Foods

More Good Puppy Foods
to Consider


  1. M Straus, Commercial dog foods,
  2. A Hedhammar, Canine hip dysplasia as influenced by genetic and environmental factors, EJCAP, Oct 2007, 17:2 (pp 141-143)
  3. Richardson, Skeletal diseases of the growing dog: Nutritional influences and the role of diet, Canine Hip Dysplasia: A Symposium Held at Western Veterinary Conference, 1995
  4. RD Kealy et al, Effects of limited food consumption on the incidence of hip dysplasia in growing dogs, JAVMA, Sep 1992, 201:6 (pp 857-863)
  • Kvance_wy

    Ok so I went to almost every place that sold dog food, except a few vets b/c they were closed, and the only ones I found that were a possibilty were Whole Earth Farms, which didn’t state the calcium %, and Nature’s Variety but they were really high 1.6 to 1.8% for calcium for puppy and large breed too. I also saw Infinia, which I’ve never heard of, so I went online and the % numbers seem right for a large breed puppy but not sure about the product. The bag at the store looked different then whats online too. Anyone know about this brand?

  • Hound Dog Mom

    That was my favorite movie when I was a kid! I made my mom rent it from the video rental place every weekend for probably a year straight!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I wish I could feed my cats raw or at least canned! Unfortunately I have three and they are indoor/outdoor. They won’t eat at set mealtimes and I never known when they’re going to be around, sometimes my males will take off overnight hunting. Also it’s hard to tell who has eaten and who has not when them being in and out. I can’t leave raw or canned sitting out, so a high quality dry food is my only option. :/

  • melissa

     LOl. I thought so, but didn’t want to say it in case I was way off base!

  • Glad to hear that. 

  • Deanna

     Oh wow, that will be awesome! Thanks for the info, and I look forward to it! I’m sure it will be every bit as spectacular as this site!

  • Marie

    Your pic totally brought back some childhood memories, very awesome! 🙂

  • Marie

    Dibs on “Cat Food Ninja” handle. Sorry, DFN. 😀

  • It’s Falcor from The Neverending Story.

  • melissa


    what/who is you icon pic?

  • Like I told HoundDogMom, I’m fairly new to “the game”, so I was unaware of some of Diamond’s past issues. Thanks for the information, and I’ll be doing some more research into things.

  • I’ll admit I’m fairly new to the game, so I didn’t know about some of their previous issues. Thanks for the reply, and I’ll have to do a bit more research/reading.

  • Bob K

     Bryan Van Dusen – You are correct, all recalls are not the same.  But wait – Diamond had several recalls in a 2 month period that kept spreading and another recall several years ago that killed animals.  Diamond was also slow to respond to inquiries and questions about the recall.  What that tells me is that they have several issues including poor record on their inventory and products, poor mfg. processes, people who are poorly trained and the list can go on and on.  Perhaps if Diamond charged a little more for their products they could provide better ingredients and better sourcing procedures along with better quality processes.  What’s even more annoying with Diamond is that they brag on their own website about the 151 quality checks that go into their products. Now how can all these problems and recalls happen with the 151 quality checks they bag about?   Do they need 152 or perhaps 300?  No other dog food mfgs. tells consumers how many quality checks they provide to give the consumer a false sense of product safety.

     I sent Diamond a question about the recall on their recall specific website and it took several weeks for Diamond to respond.    Why the wait?  They are understaffed or do not have an answer.  The question was pretty simple.  Is the recall  for Illinois?  None of the specific recalls listed Illinois as a state effected by the recall yet Diamond listed IL on their website.   So was or wasn’t IL. effected?  Taking several weeks for a reply from Diamond is not acceptable.

  • Toxed2loss

    Hi Kvance,
    I prefer Brother’s Compete Fish formula. I feed balanced raw & kibble rotation. Out of all the labels I’ve read, Bother’s has what I want, and not what I don’t. I’ve found it to be manufactured/stored under higher standards than anything else I’ve tried. I’ve found Richard to be proactive and responsive to consumer issues and suggestions. Yes, it’s expensive, however the complete and balanced nutrition keeps Rosie & Sonya, healthy and not seeing the vet. It saves me money in other areas. Sonya is a 14 yr old Pom, that had birth defects due to oxygen depletion, thru birth trauma. When I switched her over to brothers (+ raw) she got a whole new lease on life. Since I’m chemically sensitive, due to my txic injuries, I’m very aware of what I put into my dogs, and what effect it has on their bodies. my 2¢.

  • Hi Deanna,

    Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to locate a reliable cat food review website.

    So, I’m just now beginning the content creation plans for Cat Food Advisor. You should start to see articles and reviews posting on that website sometime later this year or early 2013. It’s a huge project to create the hundreds of articles and reviews needed to make the site valuable to readers.

    Thanks for your question – and your patience.

  • Kvance_wy

    First the problem is I live in a small town. I can only get dog and cat food at walmart, albertsons, vets, which only carry science diet or blue, one local feed store, which mainly carry diamond products. I wont use that stuff again since we almost lost our boxer to it. A small pet depot just opened a month ago but I think they only had blue, natural balance, royal canine and sd. I will check again today to make sure. Otherwise I will just have to order online or make a trip to the next city, which is 2 hours away.
    Puppy (Rex) I think the kids have decided on is on Iams right now and would really like to change asap. He poops ALOT and its on the softer side and he has a little dandruff. Money is sort of an issue since we already have 2 big dogs but I would like to try and get as good as I can. My husband on the other hand says dogs have done just fine for many years on the regular stuff. But we lost our Rott about 4 years ago (almost 13 yrs old) and he’s been looking for the right puppy for a couple yrs now and he found one so I would like to make sure we try the best we can.
    Thank you for the info and suggestions.

  • Deanna

     Is there a web site like this for cat food?

  • melissa

     That is very disappointing to hear. When you hear of one pet owner having an issue, you think perhaps it was in the way it was stored by the store, but when there are numerous reports, it becomes disturbing.

    Its one of the reasons I pour the food into the bin-to “see” whats in the bottom half of the bag. I remember pouring a bag of Iams into the bin years and years ago, and small beige months flying out of it. I couldn’t slam the lid on quick enough and pull it out the back door of the house.

  • Cats generally don’t drink as much as dogs, so it helps to get more water from their food… hence wet food being ideal for them. One thing you can do too, to help get the cat more water, is get a fountain water dish. You’ll notice that cats love drinking water from running faucets. I don’t know, but I’m guessing they simply can’t lap up water like a dog can.

  • Marie

    I find that most cats that puke on dry food (no matter how good!) do very well on a wet food. I feed Soulistic (Petco’s house brand made by Weruva) usually the good Karma Chicken Dinner one (green can) and they adore it, and it’s pretty mild, no stomach upset. (And it’s cheap too!) Cats do better on wet food for the most part but if the Nature’s Logic is working out then that’s great! Thanks for the heads up on the Blue mold thing, my guys love Blue Wilderness but I’ll be sure to check the contents more closely from now on.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    yeah, i’ve had her on nature’s logic for a few weeks and so far so good! i tried orijen, acana, fromm, and earthborn before that and she either didn’t like it or it made her puke. so i’ve got my fingers crossed nature’s logic is going to work out long term for her..

  • SanDnMila

    aww poor kitty, have you found anything else that she will be able to eat?

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Yeah. 🙁

    I’ve fed it to my cats for quite a few years now and they did very well on it. However, this last batch forced me to look for some new foods. It’s disappointing because my female cat has a sensitive stomach and it’s the first food I was able to find for her that she didn’t puke up half the time.

  • Denise

     I had been feeding my 14 year old Lab Orijen Sr. It is a great food.  Then she was diagnosed with a tumor in her spleen and I didn’t want to be caught with a 30 lb bag of Sr food.  So, I switched her to Acana Wild Prairie.  I’m so thankful I did that.  I had to have her put to sleep 4 weeks ago and I now have a new puppy.  I’m switching her slowly from Science Diet (what they gave me when I got her at the shelter) to the Acana Wild Prairie.  She loves it the best and it is so much better than Science Diet!

    I had a 50% off coupon at Petsmart and I was thinking about getting her some Blue Wilderness, but the more I read about Blue, the more I think I’ll just stay with Acana.  I’m very interested in seeing how she does being on this food from 10 weeks on.

  • SanDnMila

    Covered in mold, that’s terrible!?

  • Bob K

    Kvance_wy – Visit a few pet shops and see what brands they carry.  Petco, Petsmart, Menards, Local independent pet shop, Farm & Fleet, Farm Supply store.  Spend a little time and shop around to compare prices and brands.  

  • Bob K

     Kvance_wy – My suggestion for picking a Puppy food.  1.) Write down or print out all the 4 and 5 star puppy foods listed here.  Three quarters will not be easily available near you.  Now you are down to a handfull.   Is price an issue for you?  Are you on a budget?   What is your puppy eating today?  How are they doing on it?  Lets say its a chicken and rice based food, and your dog is doing well with firm poopies, great skin, coat, eyes, eats etc… then stick with chicken and rice formulas but buy one that has a higher star rating. Remember to transition slowly to a new food.  Also read the labels and expiration dates on the bags as you should for any food product you purchase. Its really not that hard with this website as a guide to find a decent dog or puppy food at an affordable price.  You can always add an egg or some meat to your dogs diet.  Do not overfeed – # 1 problem is people overfeed.  Go to  good Puppy class, a good puppy class is much much more than sit, stay and come and money spent for a new dog owner. 

  • Addie

    Some others to check out would include Canine Caviar’s Wilderness and Open Sky formulas. They are appropriate for large breed pups with them both having 1% cal. Also, Earthborn Puppy Vantage and Meadow Feast are 1.2% calcium. 

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Check out,, and naturalk9 These sites offer free shipping with no weight restrictions. and require orders of $49 and up and requires orders over $99. 🙂

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Bryan Van Dusen,

    I agree, not all recalls are created equal. However I would be hesitant to recommend to someone any of the brands involved in the recent recall (Taste of the Wild, Canidae, Natural Balance, etc.). I am well aware of the details of the recent recall. I know that some of these foods didn’t even test positive for Salmonella and that the recalls were done out of precaution, but the fact remains that these companies outsourced their production to Diamond. Diamond’s quality issues are well known and they have a long history of recalls so the outsourcing of the production of these foods to Diamond says to me that these companies were not putting the quality of the food and the safety of the animals that consume their products first – they were more concerned about profits. There are other brands that have had recalls and been open about them and I would not hesitate to recommend their products – but any of the products involved with Diamond…no way. These companies had it coming in my opinion.

  • Kvance_wy

    I will look into those other ones you suggested and see if any of our stores here sell them. Thank you for taking your time in helping me out! Its all very helpful info.

  • Kvance_wy

    Ok I will do that because I think Im stressing way too much about it all and have been reading online reviews for way too many hours now and it just gets more frustrating and confusing. Thanx again for your time.

  •  I understand worrying about recalls, but not all recalls are created equal. Look into why a food was recalled, and what was done about it, and go from there. Don’t just write off a company because of one. Toyota recalled a bunch of their cars due to the braking issue, but it turns out nothing was actually wrong with them. So should you not buy Toyota because it was recalled? I don’t think so (although there may be other reasons not to buy Toyota… lol, just saying).

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Kvance_wy,

    In my opinion Orijen and Acana are hands-down the best dry foods on the market. However, most of their formulas aren’t appropriate for large breed puppies (even their large breed formulas are too high in calcium!) and it’s very unfortunate. However, there are a few Acana formulas that should be okay: Acana’s grain-free Wild Prarie is suitable for all lifestages and has 1.3% calcium; Acana grain inclusive Duck & Bartlett Pear has 1.3% calcium; Acana grain inclusive Chicken & Burbank Potato has 1.3% calcium. I think if you wanted to feed one of these formulas it should be okay, but I would recommend topping with a meat-based canned food without added calcium to dilute the calcium a little bit (Tripett is a good option) as the calcium percentages stated are minimum and could actually be slightly higher than the stated 1.3%. Some other foods you may want to check out are The Honest Kitchen’s Love formula, it’s a 5-star, grain-free, dehydrated food – I actually raised one of my bloodhound puppies on this with great results – it has 1.1% calcium and is suitable for all lifestages. Petcurean also has a grain-free puppy formula called NOW, it’s rated 4-stars and has 1.2% calcium (go with the regular puppy over the large breed as the large breed has 1.3% calcium). You’re going to find that unfortunately most 5-star formulas and grain-free formulas have too much calcium because they generally use meat meals which are very high in calcium to boost the protein content. It would actually be better to go with a 4 star food with lower protein and a lower calcium content for the first year than risking orthopedic problems. You can always switch to Orijen when the pup is full grown. 🙂

    As far as the bad results with Natural Balance and Blue Buffalo…they have other quality issues going on other than cranberries. Natural Balance was recently recalled and I’ve heard of many people having issues with Blue, I used to feed it to my cats until I bought a bag covered in mold last month.

  • Kvance_wy

    Thank you I will try a food mainly with fish. The problem right now is I live in a small town and Acana and ORijen isn’t sold here and the other ones I think were just recalled or a kind from those brands and now Im kinda freaked out about whether to buy that brand or not. Would it be more expensive to order online because they are already expensive? I want to try and feed my dogs the best but now with the new Rott puppy we have 3 big dog breeds. Thank you for your ideas its a big help. 

  • Kvance_wy

    Thank you so much for replying. Well I looked for a while last night to find the sites I read about the cranberries and could not find them. The peoples comments were more towards Blue Buffalo and Natural Balance saying when they feed their dog these they got really sick and almost died so they were blaming the cranberries but as I read more info on those brands I wonder if it wasn’t just the food because they were recalled.
    So the more I try to find the right puppy food there is always a con. Acana and Orijen seem to be the best but they both have really high calcium content min. 1.6 and 1.7%. That scares me about hip problems and other large breed problems. And everything else I find that seems decent was just recalled. Innova seems just right for calcium and protein and hasn’t been recalled but haven’t read good things about it because I guess its a P&G product now. So now I really don’t know what to do but want to decide quick so I can get our puppy off of the Iams the breeder had him on. Your help is much appreciated.

  • SanDnMila

    They re-sent the item with no issues this time, yay 🙂

  • Perhaps a food whose main protein is fish? I haven’t read anything saying cranberries are bad for dogs, although I have run into a few things as well. 

    As for a brand I’m not so sure. To be on the safe side, maybe a grain-free, fish-based protein, food such as Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream, California Natural Salmon and Peas, Canidae PureSea, Acana Pacifica, or Orijen 6 Fish. 

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Kvance_wy,

    Where did you read cranberries are causing problems with dogs? Cranberries are very healthy. They can help prevent urinary tract infections because they contain PACs (proanthocyanidins) that help prevent the adhesion escherichia coli (the bacteria mainly responsible for urinary tract infections). It is believed that PACs may also promote dental health by prohibiting the growth of plaque and tartar. Cranberries also have anti-carcinogenic, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and antioxidant properties. They’re a superfood and healthy for humans and animals alike – so I wouldn’t avoid them.

    As far as which food to feed your dogs, for your golden I’d go with any 4 or 5 star food. You said that you suspect she has allergies but it’s really impossible for me to tell to what and sometimes just switching to a higher quality food without corn, wheat, soy, dyes, and by-products can help. If that doesn’t clear things up you may want to try a grain-free food with a novel protein or get an allergy test performed by your vet.

    For your rotti, look for a 4 or 5 star food suitable for all lifestages or growth and development that has a calcium content of 1.3% or less and feed this until he’s at least a year old (calcium levels greater than this can lead to the development of hip dysplasia and other orthopedic problems in large and giant breed puppies).

  • Kvance_wy

    We have a 2 1/2 year old Golden Retreiver whose had really bad dandruff since we brought him home at 6weeks. We’ve tried a few things but as I read peoples posts Im thinking maybe he has allergies but a lot of high quality foods have cranberries, which Ive read are causing problems for dogs. Ive spent hours researching online and become more frustrated the more I read. Does anyone have suggestions of what brand would be good for him?  Also we just got a 9 week old Rottie pup yesterday and the people have him on Iams puppy and would like to change it but same problem of which food is best. We live in a smaller town so we don’t have too many choices but if you have a couple prefrences that would be wonderful!

  • Toxed2loss

    Absolutely start right will help pup detox from vacs. it won’t interfere. 🙂 sure mix it into the food right before serving. No problem on the questions. 😉

  • SanDnMila

    Just got the probiotics in the mail today, wow that was fast I just ordered on friday!!! Should I start using them right away? Will it interfere with the puppy’s vaccinations, she just got a series done on sunday? Do I mix it with her food? Sorry for all the questions. 🙂

  • SanDnMila

    I got it within a day or two but that’s because it’s only about 20 miles away from my home. I went on a saturday before closing so I couldn’t go back that day so I emailed them immediately. They were nice enough to ship it to me but was a little disappointed that not only did I pay for an item I didn’t want, when I did receive it I couldn’t even use it because of it being past the expiration date. I have no doubt that they’re a good company, the other items I got were inexpensive and are great. I’m just glad I realized the mistake before my puppy got sick. 🙂

  • Kaliberknl

     A friend consistently uses and loves them.  I ordered last month and had no problems…bags in great shape, great expiration, great price but took a few days.

  • SanDnMila

    It was the first time I went there, not off to a good start. I hope your mom never has trouble with them.

  • SanDnMila


  • Toxed2loss

    Good Morning SanDnMila,
    Yes, I use the probiotics from Mercola. They have the most strains, 14. They do not appear to bother the dogs. They slurp them down. They are not a “medicine.” They are natural, healthy bacteria from fermented foods.

  • hounddogmom12

    Good to know SanDnMila. I believe my mom orders Whole Earth Farms for her dog from that site, I’ll have to tell her to make sure she checks the expiration dates.

  • SanDnMila

    Buyer Beware!!! I’ve been having such a bad experience with I went to their warehouse last weekend and found the item I was looking for, but they also added items to my purchase that were on the counter before I put my items down. I noticed one right away and got the refund but didn’t notice the other until I got home. I had them just ship the biscuits to me and they shipped very quickly but now I notice the item was expired past the best buy date!? Fortunately Mila hasn’t got sick from them, so frustrating!!!

  • SanDnMila

    Do you use them? Just wondering if it would have a bitter taste like some meds do?

  • SanDnMila

    so handsome, love the party hat!! 🙂

  • Toxed2loss

    Those probiotics will help her whole immune system, so they should help the eye, too! 🙂

  • SanDnMila

    Thanks for the help, no apology necessary. I’ve learned a lot from your posts. I ordered her the Mercola probiotics today!!! I already get so many complements about her, I just want her to be healthy from the inside out. 🙂

  • Toxed2loss

    Hi SanDnMila
    Did you take it to a vet? If its still having trouble, then that’s what I would do. 🙂 There’s no way I can answer your question. There just isn’t enough information available. Sorry I can’t be of more help.

  • SanDnMila

    I was hoping you could help me. The puppy had gotten slobbered on by another puppy (a big 5-month old golden retreiver) mostly over her left eye and it caused some sort of allergic reaction, the eye gets red and the eyebrow area has some marking on it. I had thought it might have been seasonal allergies because the eye seems to get red whenever she’s been outside but remembered about the dog slobber. It’s gotten a lot better since it happened 2 weeks ago, I flush it out everyday and put drops in it. I was just wondering what is in the saliva that would cause that reaction? Thanks! 🙂

  • Toxed2loss

    LOL, When I’ve tried that, Rosie just throws the kibble out on the floor for later! I have to put it all back in the bowl so we don’t step on it. She’s a grazer. 🙂

  • Shawna

    For my three that get kibble, I actually put the “topper” in the bowls first (tablespoon of raw and tablespoon of canned) then put the kibble over the top :).. 

  • A “topper” can be anything you put on top of your basic dog food like condiments on a hot dog.  Sometimes I might put some canned food on top of the kibble, or some sardines or a lightly scrambled egg.  BUT I do mix it in and don’t just leave it on top.

  • Deanna

    What exactly is a topper? What are you topping? If you just put it on top, won’t the dog eat it and not the food underneath?

  • SanDnMila

    Thanks! I’m glad you and your dogs love it!!

  • hounddogmom12

    Hi SanDnMila,

    I have the Earth Bath Tea Tree Shampoo for my dogs, I love it! It smells soo good. I also have the Oatmeal Conditioner, a Tea Tree Spritz, and their Unscented Bath Wipes. I love their products. 🙂

  • SanDnMila

    Earthbath makes a shampoo I was looking into it’s Tea Tree and Aloe Vera, I remember you saying that you don’t use the oatmeal kind and also I watched a video of Dr. Becker’s that suggested the same thing as you did, that the oatmeal (carbohydrate) might actually make the itch worse and that tea tree would be better. Is aloe vera ok, they also make a tea tree without the aloe vera, just wondering what you or anyone else thought? thanks 🙂

  • monkey

    Cool, i was looking for it. Thanks Sandy! A little expensive but ill try it out eventually.

  • Toxed2loss

    LOL, I didn’t see your pst Sandy! I posted the same thing. :-0

  • Monkey,

    Dr Becker has shampoo again.  Weren’t you looking for it?

  • monkey

    Oh my, this again.

    Yes, 1.8:1 Ca:P is probably a bit excessive and lower might be better. I dont know. As of right now, if you don’t like the numbers let Richard know and maybe he will look into sourcing a Beef Meal with Ca:P that most people are more comfortable with.

    Theres nothing wrong with customers voicing their opinions and issues on foods. I have emailed 5+ companies telling them what i think about their kibbles. I don’t hide behind numerous names and voice my concerns in annoying and repetitive questions though. Some people on here do that..

  • Kaliberknl

    AAFCO  is the fox watching the hen house…self regulation rarely works…

  • Calcium

     I think they (AAFCO and also manufactures) SHOULD think also orthopedic problems. There is no sence to recommend foods that are probably causing problems for growing dogs, or is it?

    If food has 1,2% phosphorus, there is no need for calcium over 2%. 1,5% would be fine, Ca:P ratio would be 1,25:1.  

    I’ll take Brothers Complete Red Meat Formula as an example. It has 2,26% calcium, 1,25% phosphorus, energy 3450 kcal/kg, it’s said “all life stages” and recommended for puppies. Ca:P is 1,8:1. Ca 6,55 g / 1000 kcal.

    RICHARD, would you please tell me, why that formula has so high calcium content? Is it because bone in meals, or added calcium? Do you think it’s safe to feed for growing puppies, including large breed puppies? Yes, there are many other foods, too, which are as high in calcium. But I took this as an example in hope Richard would anwer my questions.

  • hounddogmom12


    I think the AAFCO says up to 2.5% calcium is okay for growth because they aren’t considering possible orthopedic problems when making their suggested amounts, they just consider deficiencies and overdoses of vitamins and minerals. It is disappointing that most grain-free foods have too much calcium – this is because 1) they generally use meat meals to boost the protein level and meat meals are high in calcium and 2) being that grain-free formulas are higher in meat (which is high in phosphorus and low in calcium) calcium, consequently, has to be added in a higher amount because the calcium to phosphorus ratio must fall between 1:1 and 2:1. I would be nice if all foods could just have appropriate calcium levels for all dogs.

  • Calcium

     Aimee wrote this (in Orijen puppy):

    The NRC committee after evaluating all the studies published at the time of their review in 2006 set the safe upper limit for Ca at 4.5  grams Ca/1000kcals.

    This was based on finding that various studies found that Ca levels between 4.9-8.9 grams Ca/1000 caused problems but 2.1-3.9 grams Ca/1000 did not.

    I’ve read recommendations by veterinary nutritionists not to exceed 3.5 grams Ca/1000 kcals. Which I’m guessing is based off of the study by Slater 1992 which reported an increased risk of OCD in dogs fed Ca levels >3.5 grams/1000.


    I just have to wonder, why AAFCO still says “1-2,5% calcium is ok for growth”. I really hope they would do something with that! I also hope, they would demand manufactures to publish calcium, phosphorus and ash content of their foods (min & max). There are so many puppy and “all life stages” foods (listed also here), which have way too much calcium for large breed puppies. Especially many grain free and/or high protein foods. Even some large breed puppy foods. It’s so sad, many people doesn’t know they are feeding their puppies inappropriate dry food… 🙁

  • I have up to 8 fosters at a time which makes 12 total dogs at home.  I once had 14 but was dog sitting for friends too.  I think the plant products also contain soy from my reading on the Nzymes site.  But some people prefer to use those over the animal based one. I also chose Mercola probiotics because of its multiple species.  I used to keep fosters till they were adopted.  Could be one week, could be 6 or 8 months.  Now I keep heartworm dogs so after their month-long crate rest, they can go to another foster home or boarding facility to make room for more heartworm dogs at my house.

  • SandyDuarte

    No need to be sorry, I was waiting patiently. 🙂 Thanks for the reply. So you would prefer the animal based, I’ve just seen so much of the plant-based locally and was wondering what difference it would make. I will definitely look into it. How many fosters do you have, how long do you keep them for?

  • Sorry for the delay…been working the last 2 nights.  I’ve only used the Mercola products (probs and enzymes).  I gave my Nzymes brand bottle away to someone before being able to use it much.  I’ve heard some folks use Dogzymes brand as well and some folks will rotate through different brands like rotating different brands of food.

    I’ve used the probiotics on my new fosters this week and none of them had pudding poop (or worse)!  

  • Kaliberknl

     Enjoy your new baby…where is he coming from?

  • SandyDuarte

    I have set up a vet appt. for friday. I know it will ease my mind knowing exactly what’s wrong with her, so she can feel better. I have continued with the coconut oil, been adding a little yougurt to her food the past few days, gave her a little doggie Benadryl yesterday because it seemed to really bothering her, and am looking into getting the Dr. Mercola Digestive Enzymes or Complete Probiotics. In your opinion or anyone elses on here, do you like the animal-based enzymes more than the plant-based. I’ve seen locally in pet stores and organic food stores only the plant-based. Just wondering which would be best, the Mercola site page that you suggested I read said that the plant-based wouldn’t be strong enough. Just asking from your own experience.

  • Eileenoc-b

    Thank you Hounddogmom12 and HealthyDogs too. That makes sense and I will buy accordingly.

  • hounddogmom12

    Hi Eileenoc-b,

    Your breeder is right, some puppy food can lead to the development of hip dysplasia in large breed puppies. This is due to the fact that regular puppy food generally contains high levels of calcium to encourage growth. It would seem that this would be a good thing, however large breeds need slow controlled growth. Many breeders recommend feeding adult food because it generally contains lower levels of calcium. The thing is you can, and should, feed puppy food…there are many foods out there developed specifically for large breed puppies, some for all life stages (both puppies and adults), and even some regular puppy food that are perfectly fine for large breed pups. Look for a food that states that it meets AAFCO requirements for Growth & Development or meets AAFCO requirements for All Life Stages with a calcium level of 1.3% or lower. Some good choices are: The Honest Kitchen’s Love (1.1% Ca.), Innova Large Breed Puppy (0.8% Ca.), Petcurean NOW Grain-Free Puppy Recipe (1.2% Ca.), Acana Wild Prarie (1.3% Ca.), Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy (1.1% Ca.), and Earthborn Puppy Vantage (1.2% Ca.). There are many others too, just make sure it’s suitable for growth or all lifestages and has 1.3% calcium or less. 🙂

  • HealthyDogs

    If the paperwork is a contract, which most reputable breeders have, follow the contract.  He/She knows her lines and what does well for them.  We worry about all of those things in big/giant breed puppies.  A good “All Life Stage” (puppy, adult, senior) of good quality is totally appropriate.  Mostly the skeletal diseases you mentioned come from over nutrition, though there may be other influences such as genetics and environment.   A lean, yes, ribby, puppy is a healthy puppy.

  • Eileenoc-b

    We have a 4 mos. old English Setter arriving today (6/6/12) and the paperwork the Breeder sent us says not to feed “any puppy food” because it will make the puppy grow too fast and get problems like Hip Dysphasia, Osteochondritis Dissecans or Panosteitis.  We have never heard such a thing and this site certainly does not seem to agree.  Obviously we are quite concerned since he will be here so soon. Any advice would be appreciated.

  • I actually take the pugs to the vet first since they have big bug eyes and flat faces and will run into things with their face and eyes and easily get scratches.  I’ve had to modify the back yard and remove plants that have thorns, and the poisonous plants and I don’t let them walk into flower beds in the front yard with plants with sharp pointy leaves. I would just call your vet in the morning.  I would say that 75% of the pugs I get come with eye drops (and ear drops) but occasionally oral allergy pills.

  • SandyDuarte

    There’s so many trees and plants in our yard it is hard to avoid it. This really makes me worried. I’ve flushed her eye out a few times, and tried the Hy-Optic drops I got from Petco. Should I try children’s Benedryl?

  • Keep on building the immune system up.  It doesn’t happen overnight and sometimes seasonal allergies just can’t be avoided! I will say though, that some of the pugs 20-30 pounds get 25 mg of Benedryl (OTC) or hydroxyzine (Rx) at times, but you can always check with your vet. I haven’t had any puppies!  Thank goodness!! They are so cute, but so much work!! So much so that I adopted a 5 yr old and an 8 yr old!  They’re perfect (well, except for being overweight and deaf, but they were like that before I got them.)  Also, a trip to the vet might be in order as you want to be sure there is no eye injury or scratch as those can become very serious, and also some dogs have eyelashes that roll under and touch the eye ball and cause irritation.  There’s a term for that, can’t think of it right now.

  • Toxed2loss

    You might try rinsing your pup when ever she comes in. One lady I met on line lived in Florida where the pollen count was so high, that she found rinsing her dog, was the only way she could relieve his symptoms. Just a thought.

  • Addie

    Pitbulls tend to have really sensitive skin, and most I’ve met have allergies of some sort. I’d stick with the coconut oil for another week or two to see if it helps. Raw honey or bee pollen are also something you can try for allergies. Make sure you get raw honey though if you do try using it.

  • SandyDuarte

    I think Mila might have some seasonal allergies, her eyes have been getting red the last 3 days and of course the itching whenever outside or coming in from outside. I got some eye drops for the irritation. Does anyone else have a pet that suffers from seasonal allergies? Should I try an antihistamine, would she be too young (3 months)? She’s new to trying the coconut oil this week and I heard it helps with allergies but doesn’t seem to be helping with it yet.

  • Toxed2loss

    Hi TJ,
    Shawna fosters Boston’s. She just recently posted what she feeds her crew the other day. Look back through some of her recent posts. That will be helpful to you, until she gets a chance to check in. 🙂

  • TJ

    I have a 13 week old Boston. He is currently on beniful and I really want to get him on a healthier food. There is so much info and is quite a lot to take in. So, who has a boston terrier and what are you feeding. Especially as a puppy. Thanks!

  • hounddogmom12


    Acana Wild Prarie is suitable for all life stages (meaning  it meets the nutritional requirements of both puppies and adult dogs). The calcium percentage of the Acana Wild Prarie is 1.3% which is low enough for large breed puppies so you could actually keep your new pup on this. I would not recommend Blue Buffalo Wilderness due to the fact that there is no large-breed puppy formula and their regular puppy formula is too high in calcium for large breeds. If you do decide to stick with Acana however please note that their Wild Prairie formula and their Chicken & Burbank Potato formulas are the only formulas appropriate for large breed puppies. Pacifica, Grasslands, Ranchlands, their regular puppy formula, and even their large breed puppy formula are much too high in calcium. Too much calcium in large breed puppies contributes to the development of orthopedic problems such as hip dysplasia.

  • Denise

    I’m getting an 8 week old yellow labrador mix puppy this week from the shelter.  I still have Acana Wild Prairie dog food from my dog that I had to put to sleep last week.  Can I mix the Acana (until it runs out) with a large breed puppy formula? 

    Also, what large breed brands does anyone recommend?  I was thinking about the Blue Wilderness large breed puppy forumula.

    Thanks in advance.  I want her to be healthy!  I had Duchess for 14 years but she was only on holistic food for the last 3 years.

  • aimee


    The six fish with a dry matter Ca at 1.4-1.6 and a fat level at 18% has 3.5-4 grams Ca/1000 on a dry matter basis.

    I remembered the name of the diet… Avoderm Large breed Ca min is 1.2% BUT the actual Ca is 1.7%! I read an article on LB growth and it said it is common for companies to only report the min when the actual is too high.

     I rejected Blue because the company refused to give out a nutrient analysis so with only a minimum Ca who knows what it really is!  

  • hounddogmom12

    Good point, I didn’t even consider looking at calcium levels that way (I usually just calculate them on a dm basis). So in reality the 6 Fish would probably be the best choice as it’s highest in calories in lowest in calcium.

  • aimee

    Hi Hounddogmom,
    Yes the actual calcium level as a percentage of diet is the same between orijen reg. puppy and large breed. The difference between the two diets is that Orijen lowered the fat level in the large breed diet. So to get the same amount of calories pup has to eat more food and then takes in more calcium : ).
    This is why when looking at Calcium levels or really anything else for that matter I look at foods on an energy basis : ) 
    Innova Prime Grain free salmon and Herring  is an ALS food with  Ca of 1.49 % but the fat level is also high at 20.2 %. The calcium on an energy basis is 3.6 grams/1000 so close to what we want and would probably work just fine you’d just have to be careful to not overfeed.

    Wow Petcureans large breed has higher calium and lower fat than the reg. puppy which magnifies the higher Ca even more! A real head scratcher!

    The other thing I’ve noted is companies reporting only Ca on a min basis. I’ve found that on a min basis the Ca can look ok BUT when looking at an actual nutrient analysis the Ca is way too high. I can’t off the top of my head recall the diet name but on min the Ca was 1.2 … actual though was 1.7!!

    This a question I had with Blue. I called for tha actual Ca level in the diet and they would’t tell me would only give a min.

    I also have some concern over the dehydrated diets as the Ca may well settle out if as a supplement in the diet. There is a report of a sheltie raised on a dehydrated diet that had poor skeletal growth from hypocalcemia!

  • hounddogmom12

    I agree. Except for one little thing, Orijen Large Breed Puppy and Orijen Puppy actually both have the same amount of calcium (1.5% min. – 1.7% max.). Orijen Adult Dog, Orijen 6 Fish, and Orijen are slightly lower with 1.4% min – 1.6% max and the Regional Red has the highest calcium level of all with up to 1.8%. Personally I think all their formulas are too high in calcium for a large breed puppy. And I agree with you about the large breed puppy/puppy having the same level of calcium, what is up with that? I noticed Petcurean’s Large Breed Puppy formula actually has more calcium than their regular puppy, makes no sense. You’d think they would know better.

  • hounddogmom12


    Here is a link to info about THK’s Love:
    [Link to malware infected website removed by Moderator]

    THK’s Love has 1.1% calcium (ideal for a large breed Puppy) and Orijen can have up to 1.7%, it may appear minute but when talking about mineral levels that is a big difference. There is a very strong correlation between the development of hip dysplasia and high calcium levels in large breed puppies so seeing as your getting a golden (a breed already pre-diaposed to dyspasia in the first place) I would advice feeding a food with appropriate calcium levels. I’m not saying Orijen is not a good food, it’s wonderful, but it’s just not appropriate for a large breed puppy. Ultimately it’s up to you, but I know I would never take a chance like that with any of my dogs.

  • aimee


     Hounddogmom is giving you good advice. Ca levels over 3.5 grams /1000 kcals are linked to developmental orthopedic disease. You only get one chance to grow a study skeleton : )

    Innova large breed is 2.5 Grams Ca/1000 kcal

    Orijen puppy is 3.6- 4.1 grams/1000 kcal

    Orijen Large breed is 4.4- 5 grams/1000 kcal

    If you feed Orijen you should feed the regular puppy as the large breed puppy has more Ca in it instead a less when compared to their reg. puppy! A major company flaw which makes me question their overall nutritional knowlwdge. But that is me…  

  • sue

    What is THK’s Love formula.  This web site is great but many a dog grew up just fine on the Purina dog chow which is awful. I want to feed a great food but the difference in calcium in these foods is probably minute.  I fed my dogue de bordeaux Innova large breed puppy and he was fine, but Orijen is a better food.  When I think of what I fed my Goldens twenty years ago I cringe but they lived until the ages of 12 and 13,,,healthy and happy.

  • Toxed2loss

    Thank you, Erich!

  • Erich

    The constant debate about the dangers of raw food are illogical.

    I am sure people like aimee only unintentinally group all raw diets into one group. It is as ignorant and as unhelpful as referring to commercial dog food on the basis of foods like Beneful and Ol’ Roy.

    I buy whole organ meat from a local slaughterhouse and wash my hands.

    As to therapy groups, there are two national dog therapy groups. The one not funded by Purina does not ban volunteers who feeda  raw diet.

  • hounddogmom12

    I understand where you’re coming from. THK is a little on the pricey side. And as far as not disclosing where they are manufactured…I know I read the reasoning somewhere (probably their site) I believe it’s because they share a facility with a company that manufactures cereal and snack foods and that company doesn’t want it disclosed that they also manufacture dog food (it may turn some non-dog lovers off knowing their favorite breakfast cereal is made alongside dog food). Glad to hear your dog did wonderful on Orijen (it is in my opinion the best kibble available) however it really just has too much calcium for a large breed puppy and I know that I wouldn’t be willing to risk the potential implications of feeding a food that high in calcium to a large breed puppy.

    Also, I checked out your link with the pictures of your dog. He is very handsome! Growing up my only “sibling” was a german shepherd. Makes me a little nostalgic. They’re wonderful dogs, although I can’t say I miss all the hair…

  • Jess

    hounddogmom12, not really I sent them an e-mail asking where and who makes their dog food. Their reply was that they could not give out that information. Say what, they can’t give out that information. That is such an important part of using any brand of dog food is knowing who makes it. So their is no way I would feed it. Also check out where they recommend adding other ingredients. All dehydrated dog food  say that, darn dog food is spendy enough. So now that want you to add more to your dogs diet, it’s just not for me.

  • Jess

    I have a real hard time with a dog food manufacture who refuse’s to give out where they manufacture their food, as most of these hydrated dog food companies do. After e-mailing honest kitchen I would never fed that brand. 

  • Jess

    Sue, I have a beautiful GSD. I fed him a mixture of Orijen, Innova and California Puppy food mixed with Innova canned L.B Puppy when he grew up. He is very healthy and very active and active is really the key. Wanna see OK , GO HERE

  • hounddogmom12


    Orijen is a great food, however I would STRONGLY advise that you wait until your pup is full grown before feeding it. It is too high in calcium (even the large breed puppy formula) and high levels of calcium are linked to growth problems such as hip dysplasia in large breed puppies. Look for a 4 or 5 star food with 1.3% calcium or less. If you’re looking for a high quality food I would suggest look into THK’s Love formula, I’ve used that for one of my puppies before. It’s human-grade, dehydrated, grain-free, rated 5 stars and only 1.1% calcium.

  • sue

    I’m getting a new golden pup in two weeks. He will be eight weeks when I bring him home.  I’ve decided on Orijen large breed puppy,,,,,now how much do I feed him? I’ve have four pups over the years but this one is getting top quality food. I know three times a day but how much is enough and not too much.

  • melissa


    How many times a day do you feed her? While tiny ones should be able to regulate their glucose at that age, I often wonder. I would be trying to feed her multiple meals a day.

    My  just under 9lb shihtzu came back slightly elevated on her last bloodwork-all else normal. The vet suggested it was due to slight dehydration prior to the blood draw-which would make sense since she does not drink a lot of water throughout the day, preferring to race around and play. She eats Acana and does very well on it.

  • Addie

    Thanks aimee, always wondered what someone who relies so heavily on science would feel comfortable feeding. 

  • aimee

    Ok I thought you were saying my sources were biased : ) As I recall the context of that comment was if Hills and Purina are “trash” as the poster said than why do husbandry manuals on endangered canines recommend using Hills and Purina products? But I can see how that would look biased  so I’ll try harder to be clearer.  Thanks!

    The cognitive studies I’m aware of  are Milgram’s work with antioxidants and Pan’s work on utilizing MCT’s as an alternative fuel source for an aging brain. (Apparently, the aged brain is less efficient at using glucose and when MCT’s were incorporated into diet the dogs performed better when tested.)

    As to which diets I choose… I look at the company as a whole. I look at the marketing materials/website and if a company has science/nutritional errors or present ideas that there is no published support for as fact  ..I’ll pass. 
    Just recently I looked at a company website and they were quoting from NRC BUT  I found the quote using google book. The company inserted their own words into the quote, completely changing the meaning to support their position and then referenced it!…  I passed!

    If the company can’t “talk the talk” or are unwilling to  provide a nutrient analysis… I’ll pass.

    All companies have recalls but if they handle the recall poorly.. I pass.

    I have a preference for companies that employ veterinary nutritionists, and I prefer diets that underwent feeding trials when feeding puppies.

    Hope that helps you to understand how I choose foods.

  • Addie

    Off the top of my head, I can only remember the example you used saying maned wolves actually didn’t do well with meat based diets in zoos to defend raw not being the better dietary choice. With all the research you did, it should have been pretty clear that they have completely different dietary requirements than the gray wolf, which is the dog’s common ancestor. It just seemed to me that you chose to overlook that fact to support your viewpoint. There have been other times where you seem to conveniently leave out information to support your position, but we’re all biased here, so I don’t hold it against you. I’m not trying to attack you, Shawna technically does the same thing as a raw advocate, but I’m on her side 😉 You’ve helped plenty of people with science-y questions, and we both share a frustration toward high calcium levels in Large Breed Puppy food. 

    Okay, so you mainly just add fresh fruit and veggies, interesting. The cognitive studies just apply to that, not fresh meat (cooked or raw)? I’m sure we’ve all wondered the details of what you feed. You’ve been on here so long, yet you’re one of the few posters I don’t know too much info about diet wise. Do you mainly stick to RC, Iams or Science Diet for the other dogs because the feeding trials? 

  • Shawna

    Is it possible to get a second veterinary opinion?

    Some vets, like Dr. Karen Becker, think that dry foods (because they are dehydrating) are harder on the liver and kidneys then canned food.

    In fact, Dr. Becker has a best to worst food chart (here on DFA) and canned food is listed as a better food then kibble.  Kibble is problematic for other reasons too—-especially in dogs with kidney issues. 

    This paper from the Veterinary Department at the College of Georgia gives other reasons for elevated BUN as well as other information to look at if kidneys is believed to be the problem (like urine specific gravity).

    Also, there is NO benefit to decreasing (and can in fact be harmful) phosphorus if the kidneys are not diseased.. 

    I really would get a second opinion before I would go and so drastically lower the protein and phos of the diet…  My dog HAS kidney disease and has for the last six years as mentioned and I am not feeding low protein and low phosphorus.  ALL the signs of kd are present not just BUN..

    You could also contact Lew Olson or Mary Straus regarding the bloodwork findings and diet..  Mary’s contact info is on  Lew’s info is at  Another good one would be Monica Segal — I think her name is her website.

  • Janicek

    Sophie has been on Wellness Puppy canned since I got her at 3 months.  I had her on canned because of teething problems.  I am now mixing the canned with the dry.  My other small dogs get Acana Wild Prairie and I have been giving Sophie a little of that each day also since it is for all life stages.  I was told since she is a small dog and close to 8 months that she is probably close to full grown.  Do you think Acana is a good choice for her?  The vet has no idea why her BUN would be high.  The last time it was checked, her blood sugar was also a little low.  They will be rechecking it in a couple of months and in the meantime I would like to be feeding her the right kind of food.  Raw is not an option for me.
    Thank for you help!

  • Shawna

    You don’t need to lower protein and phosphorus when the creatinine is normal..  You actually don’t need to lower protein when the dog has kidney disease for that matter..  In fact, they now know that lowering protein (in kidney disease) causes more harm then good.

    It is best to find out why the BUN is high rather then restricting the diet.  Example — one of my foster dogs had an elevated BUN because she had a retained placenta after having a litter of puppies.  The placenta was poisoning her and the kidneys could not keep up — causing the high BUN..  Dehydration is another cause of higher BUN.  Meds can cause it too.

    You can move to a lower protein diet til you can find the cause and stop the symptoms but it is not a long term solution.

    By the way :), the dog pictured in my avatar was born with kidney disease and had symptoms before weaning.  She was officially diagnosed with kidney disease when she was one year old (when I took her in to be spayed).  She has been on a HIGH protein raw diet since weaned.  She is extremely healthy despite her impaired kidneys and will be six years old the end of next month. 

    IF there is excessive protein in the urine then it is wise to lower protein but only until the cause can be determined and fixed. 

  • hounddogmom12

    Sojos makes a beef formula and a turkey formula both with 0.8% phosphorus and 22% protein. Petcurean’s GO! Sensitivity & Shine Duck recipe has 0.65% phosphorus and their salmon recipe has 0.7% phosphorus, both have 22% protein. Addiction has several dehydrated formulas falling between 18% and 22% protein with less than 1% phosphorus. Karma is 20% protein and only 0.56% phosphorus. There are probably more out there, but these are some high quality foods I know of with lower protein and phosphorus. Also, you’re likely going to have to go with an adult formula – puppy foods tend to be higher in phosphorus and protein (but seeing as you have a small breed dog that is already 8 months old, it should be fine to feed him an adult food).

  • aimee


    Can you please give me some examples of using biased sources? I seriously do really want to know as I try to be objective and always reference back to peer reviewed journal articles. If the other side is left out it could be because I didn’t find a peer reviewed article to support it.

    In regards to fresh foods, there is the one recent study with cats that reported higher protein digestibility rates. Primarily I add fruits/veggies of many colors to their bowls. There is the Scottie study in which the dogs that got a variety of veggies had a lower bladder cancer rate. And the cognitive research is very interesting as well.

    They get extra meat and occasionally cheese when training as I like to use a moist high value treat. Couldn’t tell you how it changes the overall % protein as it is a variable thing.

    Yup Jack is on RC potato and venison. Because of his pancreas I don’t add anything fatty to his diet. So far the only meat I add to his diet is chicken as I’m cautious as to how his GI tract will respond. : ).

    I occasionally cook for them as well.  I’ve always said it is arrogant to think we can know everything there is to know about nutrition. And I’ve always said that fresh is better than processed. Probably more so with fruit and veggies than meat. I don’t use raw meats as it is an aesthetic thing with me.

  • Janicek

    My 8 month old, 3 lb Shih Tzu has a BUN level of 60 which is quite high.  I am looking for a good puppy food for her that is lower in protein and phosphorus, any suggestions?  BTW, her CREA is normal.

  • Addie

    Hahahahah Shawna! With aimee, it really is pointless, we know where she stands. I do find it funny that she will call out Dr Becker on making biased statements when a myriad of her info comes from very biased sources, or she only states the info that proves her points while leaving out the rest of the info that disproves her position. 

    -No offense aimee, we all have different opinions, that’s fine. Everyone is entitled to their opinion of course. I do agree with Shawna that I never would have guessed you incorporate fresh food in your dog’s diets. Since you rely so heavily on studies and science, just curious what articles back up you adding fresh meat to your dog’s kibble? Just kind of curious what your sources for it would be. Also, after you add the fresh food, what does it bring your overall protein content up to? I remember you saying one dog is on Royal Canin Potato and Venison (maybe?) which I know is lower protein, so I wasn’t sure if you add the fresh food to up the protein, or just because you feel there is a benefit to adding unprocessed food?

  • Shawna

    Aimee ~~ we could go on and on 🙂 but I’m going to drop it here…  I’ve stated my opinion and am comfortable with the info I shared.

    I will say though, people who are new to the site, or don’t know you, would likely be surprised to learn that you incorporate raw into your feeding routine…

    Addie ~~ are you proud of me?  I’m dropping it before days and days of continued bickering :)…

  • aimee

    P.S. The glaring errors of reasoning by both Lew Olson and Dr. Becker didn’t go unnoticed: ) There were several. For example Dr Becker wrote :
    “Interestingly, the folks at Delta Society don’t seemed (sic)concerned about either Clostridium difficile bacteria or MRSA, since there was more incidence of both in the dry food fed dogs than the raw fed dogs. ….shouldn’t all pets eating dry food diets be banned for their higher C. diff and E. coli counts?” ( I’m assuming she meant to say MRSA here)

    * Not sure how she came to the conclusion that the other group of dogs was on a dry diet as the two groups in the study were raw and non-raw meaning the second group could have been fed canned, semi moist, dry, fresh, homemade cooked. 
    The error she made is that she is basing her statement on raw data which can be misleading. While it appears that the rates were higher in non raw fed dogs the statistics confirmed that there was not a significant difference between the groups. The only significant differences were for E. coli and Salmonella with the rates in raw fed dogs being significantly higher than in non raw fed dogs.

    I’m not sure if either she herself doesn’t understand statistics or if she does but is counting on the reader to not understand it so she can garner support for her agenda.

    Other obvious errors as well which I’ll gladly explain if asked to!

  • aimee

    People do like a good conspiracy don’t they : )
    In reality though Delta certainly wasn’t the first to ban raw protein from assistance dogs. They just got a lot of press since they are a big group. Did Purina get to every therapy group that bans raw protein or is Iams in on it too? ; )

    Hmmm…and maybe it was Hill’s that paid off  AAHA when they authored their Infection Control Guidelines for Dogs and Cats.

    So that leaves Royal Canin to have paid off all the task force members who wrote” Guidelines for Animal- Assisted Interventions in Health Care Facilities” for the Journal for Infectious Disease Control.

    And I’ll bet Weese is collecting from them all!! 
    If this is all starting to sound silly it is because it is !!!

    No conspiracy just good science.

    BUT what I do note is confirmatory bias by supporters of raw fed AA. I noted if the original source reported between 1%-36 % of dogs tested positive for Salmonella… it only gets reported as 36% of dogs test positive!  Or when quoting Wikipedia, it is reported infection takes massive ingestion of highly contaminated food and then somehow the following sentence about how it takes very few bacteria to cause illness in the young is left out. : )

    In reality Salmonella is a transient GI resident.  So if you stop putting Salmonella into the dog on the front end it stops coming out the back! So if you sample from a population that has a high exposure rate you get a high percentage of dogs testing positive but if you test from a group with very limited exposure than the positive rates are much lower. 

  • Shawna

    Us raw feeders gotta stick together :)….

  • Shawna

    Aimee wrote “This is also why the Delta society bans raw fed dogs from serving as therapy dogs.”

    Not so fast!!  There are two sides to every story 🙂

    Susan Thixton writes
    “Did Purina Executive Influence Delta Society’s Ban of Raw Feeding?

    While checking to investigate your claims of raw protein causing a significant shed of pathogens in the dog’s stool, I found the largest amount of information on an internet search shows that dry dog food is the biggest offender of carrying salmonella contamination:”

    Lew Olson PhD Natural Nutrition, Rottie breeder and raw feeder was the author of the above data.

    Dr. Karen Becker DVM’s article on the Delta Society’s ban of raw feeders.
    “Is a Major Player in the Pet Food Industry Behind the Ban?

    The Delta Society’s own presentation material clearly indicates two things:

    The dogs fed dry food have higher counts of three of the five bacteria in the study Healthy dogs, regardless of diet, have levels of salmonella and E. coli in their systems
    Let’s take a look at how the vast majority of humans come in contact with the two pathogens which appear to be of primary concern to the Delta Society and their advisors. Hint: Therapy pets, no matter what they’re fed, are nowhere on the list of common sources of contamination.”

    Again, don’t fear raw..  Probably the least likely place you will come into contact with salmonella (and not wash hands after the contact)….

  • Shawna

    I wanna know how a dog would contaminate the food in the first place 🙂  A raw fed dog may carry salmonella more then kibble fed dogs but it is likely humans that contaminated the food.

    From the CDC
    “Salmonella live in the intestinal tracts of humans and other animals, including birds. Salmonella are usually transmitted to humans by eating foods contaminated with animal feces. Contaminated foods usually look and smell normal. Contaminated foods are often of animal origin, such as beef, poultry, milk, or eggs, but any food, including vegetables, may become contaminated. Thorough cooking kills Salmonella. Food may also become contaminated by the hands of an infected food handler who did not wash hands with soap after using the bathroom.”

  • Shawna

    Thing is — raw food is not automatically contaminated..  Contamination comes from feces — so even in the human food chain it is likely due to unsanitary workers (not washing hands).  Also, dogs aren’t the only animal that can spread salmonella — humans can too.. 

    “Salmonella bacteria are found in the gastrointestinal tracts of many species of animals, birds, reptiles, and humans, and also in the environment which may be
    contaminated by the feces of animals and people.”

    “Food particles from plates left to soak or rinsed from dishes on their way to the dishwasher can serve as a breeding ground for illness-causing bacteria, including E. coli and salmonella. They can get on your hands or spread to foods.”

    “The organism enters through the digestive tract and must be ingested in large numbers to cause disease in healthy adults. Gastric acidity is responsible for the destruction of the majority of ingested bacteria.

    The infection usually occurs as a result of massive ingestion of foods in which the bacteria are highly concentrated similarly to a culture medium.”

    Most of us are likely exposed to salmonella on a regular, if not daily, basis..  Don’t fear raw!! 🙂  A raw diet will provide your pup with the nutrition that will actually make the immune system strong enough to better fight bacteria and viruses..

  • hounddogmom12


    YES. Feeding your dog something raw can pose a risk to immune-compromised people if appropriate sanitation protocols are not taken. For example, you may feed your dogs kibble and then not wash your hands, when feeding raw treat it as you would treat raw being prepared for your self, wash your hands after coming into contact with raw foods, wash the counter after preparation, wash bowls, etc. You just need to be sanitary about it. As far as dogs transmitting it to people, if your dog eats raw chicken and 10 seconds later you let him lick you on the mouth or if you somehow step in his feces (which as stated earlier the salmonella can pass out of the body through the stool) and then manage to get it on your hands and touch your mouth, then yes you could get salmonella from your dog. But basically, as long as you follow common sense sanitation protocols there is very minimal risk for humans getting ill (of course if you have an immune compromised person living in your house it would be safest to avoid raw foods). Also, to clarify – a dog passing salmonella out of its body through its stool is VERY different than a dog exhibiting clinical symptoms of salmonella. Only dogs that already have a compromised immune system are at risk of becoming ill from salmonella. A healthy dog will pass the virus out of the body through its stool. Mother nature would not have designed dogs to eat raw foods if those foods could potentially make the dog sick.

  • aimee

    Shawna I’m not sure what you are disagreeing with. I said in most cases Salmonella does no harm. It simply colonizes the GI tract and is shed in the environment.  

    What goes in comes out : ) Recovery rates in stool samples will vary tremondously with diet and husbandry practices.  Raw meat isn’t the only source … heck this is what the recall is all about right : ) Wray (2000) from various studies reported a low of 0% from households to a high of 43% for a greyhound kennel.
    If it doesn’t go in than it isn’t coming out : ) And lets face it … it gets everywhere! Heck it has even been cultured from vacuum cleaner bags!

    Like it or not  “dogs that consumed raw meat were
    significantly more likely to test positive for Salmonella at least once during
    the year than dogs that did not eat raw
    meat” (lefebvre 2000) 
    But in some cases it Salmonella does cause clinical signs and in some cases it causes death. Is that the statement with which you do not agree? I agree that simply finding it in the stool of a dog with diarrhea does not prove that the Salmonella is causing the diarrhea, but when you culture it from eyes, blood, internal organs, aborted fetuses… well ya gotta agree…  we have a problem! 

    In general I think the situation with people isn’t that different than it is in dogs: the young, old and immunocompromised are at greatest risk.

    I’m not anti raw when it comes to feeding dogs. Heck owners of raw fed dogs are not rushing in droves to the hospital : ) But I’m also respectful of the possibility of zoonotic transmission of Salmonella no matter what the source was.  


  • aimee

    Deanna the answer is YES!!!

    This is why the FDA suveys pet foods for the presence of Salmonella and it is what is driving the current Diamond recall.

    People who are immnocompromised in some way, the elderly and the young are most at risk.

    “… dog owners may
    either not be aware or refuse to acknowledge the risks associated with raw
    meat-feeding” “Although dogs frequently display no clinical signs of illness when colonized
    with bacterial organisms that cause human disease, excretion of these agents in
    their feces may pose a zoonotic health threat. In the US, 3% of all
    salmonellosis cases and as many as 15% of Campylobacter spp. infections
    may be attributable to contact with companion animals. 
    ” (Lenz 2009)

    This is also why the Delta society bans raw fed dogs from serving as therapy dogs.

  • Deanna

     All great, BUT, can anyone answer my question, which was: does feeding your dog a raw product that contains salmonella or any harmful pathogen pose a risk to the humans around it, in transmission in some way from the animal?

  • hounddogmom12

    Thank you for this post Shawna, you saved me a really long winded reply (also I love that video by Dr.Becker!) 🙂

  •  I’ll ask her the next time I’m in with the dogs.   The other two go back for shots in a month or two.   When I was in there earlier this spring our vet wasn’t in when Ella got her shots or I would have asked.  But I can ask the tech and have Judy give me a call back if she’s out on a run.

    We love our vet here and I know she prefers grain free foods rather than the lower quality ones.  Her and her staff is trying to teach others just how bad the low quality foods are.  When I had called to make Ella an appointment for shots I asked to donate food to a charity she runs and her staff was surprised I had heard of TOTW and that we fed it to Ella.  That was their preferred food to be donated.   I was sooooo happy to hear that she didn’t support science diet like so many others!!!!! 

  • Shawna

    I respectfully disagree Aimee :)…  You knew I would though didn’t you…  🙂

    Dr. Becker put out a video article with inforamtion regarding salmonella and dogs and cats.  It has more to do with the health of the animal (or human) then with the pathogen (which is the case with all pathogens).

    “I want to quote from an article titled Campylobacter and Salmonella-Associated Diarrhea in Dogs and Cats: When Do I Treat? It was written by Stanley L. Marks, BVSc, PhD, DACVIM (Internal Medicine, Oncology), DACVN, Davis, CA, for the Veterinary Information Network (VIN):

    “The clinical significance of bacteria such as clostridium and salmonella causing diarrhea or illness in dogs and cats is clouded by the existence of many of these organisms as normal constituents of the indigenous intestinal flora. The primary enteropathogenic bacteria most commonly incriminating in canine and feline diarrhea is Clostridium perfringens, Clostridium difficile, Campylobacter, and Salmonella. 

    Veterinarians are faced with a quandary when attempting to diagnose small animals with suspected bacterial-associated diarrhea because the isolation rates of these pathogenic bacteria are similar in diarrheic and non-diarrheic animals, and because the incidence of bacterial-associated diarrhea is extremely variable. Salmonella species are commonly isolated from both healthy and hospitalized dogs and cats.

    Factors that increase the likelihood of clinical disease from Salmonella include the age of the animal, poor nutrition, the presence of cancer or neoplasia, and other concurrent diseases and stress, as well as the administration of antibiotics, chemotherapy or glucocorticoids [which are steroids].”

    What this is saying, in a nutshell, is dogs and cats naturally have some Salmonella in their GI tracts much of the time – it’s not some unknown foreign invader but rather one their bodies are familiar with.”

  • melissa


    for a female golden, she is extremely large-bigger than most males in our area. Ask the vet for an honest opinion on her weight. Goldens do tend to gain weight easily and many in our area are overweight to some degree.. Your gal may just be exceptionally large bones-

  •  That’s good to know that goldens are just often a bigger breed.  From what I read on the net, I thought she was just overly big.

    I also add equal amounts water to the kibble that she gets because it adds much needed moisture.  I read where that’s important.  But she also really likes the canned mixed with the kibble. 

    With the higher cal Earthborn foods I’m going to cut back the kibble to 1/2 cup from the 1 cup she’s getting now.  With the difference in canned for the number of calories needed.   So she’s getting more wet with her meals.

  • aimee


    Some “adult” foods are actually all life stage  (ALS)foods. For example Beneful original dry is an ALS food and has an appropriate Ca level for large breed growth.

     Adult dog foods that are not ALS are not appropriate for growth and may well exceed recommended levels for Ca.

    Finally, it is most unfortunate but some companies market foods for large breed growth and the diet exceeds recommended Ca levels as do many ALS foods which are on the market.
    Once a dog is an adult the best way to help him/her is to keep your dog at an appropriate weight.   

  • LabsRawesome

     Hi Kris, you have her on good foods now, so she should do fine. It’s great that you add canned to her dry. As you know, it adds moisture and canned is way less processed than dry. She is a big girl! Most of the Goldens I see are bigger/taller than my Lab.  🙂

  •  Currently, TOTW High Prairie and Wetlands with some BB Chicken (not the grain free version).   When we switched from beneful we used TOTW but also used some 4Health in the rotation but that’s gone now.   But she also gets canned mixed in and I use TOTW and BB brands.  

    Because of the recall I’m going to use the grain free BB Wilderness chicken along with some of the Earthborn holistic flavors in rotation for a variety of proteins.  She doesn’t have problems switching even cold turkey.  

    But she seems really big not sure if that’s just the breed.   She’s a pure breed (papered without having the papers because the breeder couldn’t get what they wanted papered so they sold her for less without the papers) but is very large, she doesn’t look overweight a whole lot, but she’s got a lot of hair as well.  She doesn’t feel overly fat, but there is some extra fluff along the ribs that you can feel.   But she tops the scale at over a hundred pounds.  I’ve read where the females should be 70-80 i think trying to remember off the top of my head.

  •  Thanks hounds, I realize how bad beneful is now since we continued to use it after we got her.   Better late than never at least.   I’m glad that we have her switched to grain free food with the exception of the bit of the blue buffalo homestyle canned that she gets with the TOTW canned.   But we are switching her off the TOTW kibble once my stash is gone.  I’ll continue to do reading because I know her breed is prone to joint issues as they age.   

  • LabsRawesome

     Hi Kris, I agree with what hounddogmom12 said. If it would have caused any skeletal abnormalities, you would have noticed by now. What are you currently feeding her? 

  • hounddogmom12


    The fact that she was fed adult food rather than puppy food is probably a good thing. Adult food generally is lower in calcium (although i’m not positive what Beneful’s calcium content is) and large breed puppies need low levels of calcium for proper growth. The fact that she was fed Beneful is what I would be more concerned about. Beneful is, in my opinion, the lowest quality food on the market.

  •  Off topic, but this topic of calcium and specific breeds has caught my attention.   We have a golden retriever which we inherited from my parents.  I’m pretty sure my parents didn’t feed her puppy food when they got her.   She will be 4 this fall, and have had her for about a year and a half.  

    Did her having regular adult food (i’m pretty sure it was beneful maybe pedigree) as a puppy do any damage to her system while she was growing?    She’s huge for an adult golden, topping the scales at over a 100 lbs when I had her to the vet for shots just after the new year.   If it did is there anything I can do to counteract it to protect her as she grows older?  

  • aimee

    Deanna, I strongly and respectfully disagree with hounddog mom and the linked article.  While most Salmonella cases in dogs and cats may be subclinical dogs and cats can acquire and do die from Salmonella.

    There are numerous peer revieved publications that verify this fact.

    Shane L. Stiver, DVM, Kendall S. Frazier, DVM, Michael J. Mauel, PhD, and Eloise L. Styer, PhD, from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine conducted a case study of two cats that developed salmonellosis (Salmonella infection) as a result of a raw meat-based diet. The salmonellosis caused gastrointestinal upset, weight loss and anorexia that resulted in the death of both cats.

    Of course as we have seen with this recent recall this problem isn’t limited to raw foods. But dogs and cats consuming raw diets have been found to have higher carrier rates of transmisable pathogens than do those on kibble.

  • LabsRawesome

     Hi gman, that is fine for a small breed puppy. It’s the large/giant breeds that need less calcium.

  • gman

    What is an appropriate Calcium level for a small breed puppy?
    I chose Acana Prairie grain free, min 1.3%, max 1.5% calcium, and they just updated their webpage info to read 2% now, is that still ok?

  • Deanna

    I should clarify: is there any risk to humans, in feeding your dog raw food that has the potential to transmit harmful pathogens, ie: licks my face, excreted in his stool, etc.

    Good article, thanks.

  • hounddogmom12

    There is no salmonella risk in eggs or raw meat. Dogs are designed to eat raw foods. My dogs get a raw organic egg every morning.

  • Deanna

     But what about the salmonella risk in raw eggs?

  • hounddogmom12

    Cottage cheese is very well tolerated by dogs (another dairy product to try would be raw goat’s milk, well tolerated also). Hard boiled eggs are okay too. However I would recommend feeding the whole egg raw (shell and all). By not cooking the egg the enzymes remain intact. Also by feeding the shell the egg has a balanced calcium to phosphorus ratio (shell is high in calcium, egg is high in phosphorus) and the shell membrane is good for dogs joints – it contains hydraulic acid.

  • Deanna

    Can I feed my 11 week old puppy cottage cheese and hard boiled eggs?

  • concerned fur mom

    Is it an easy to chew food?

  • Suzy

    I would try Lotus small bites…it’s baked so it easily crushes between your fingers.

  • MCK

    Wellness brand small breed, my 2 pound puppy loves it.
    Bil-Jac has BHA a preservativea suspected cancer-causing agent.

  • concerned fur mom

    Hi, have 2 chihuahuas ages 1 and 2. They both have a very hard time chewing dry dog food, so found  a dry that breaks very easy, so they have no problem chewing it, however its rated 2 on here(biljac for small breed puppies) want to switch to a better quality preferrably a 5 but have not been able to find a good one that crunches easily for them to eat. want to switch from the “puppy formula” also but they eat so very little I want to get the biggest bang in the smallest serving size, and kibbles not so hard that they can eat it.  Any suggestions?

  • Our pit bull (4mth) puppy was so itchy all the time even when she was trying to sleep.She was scratching, biting and jumping around…we didn’t know what it could be from..thought it was from the fleas she had before we got her and she was just used to being itchy…we switched foods to Natural Balance Sweet Potato and Venison within a week we noticed she was itching less and now 2 mths later she loves her food and her coat is so soft and shiny she is not itchy at all!! Thanks for making our puppy feel better and making us able to feed her food that’s good for her.

  • Pettastic

    Hi Renee, I have a Vizsla he is 4 years old now. Ask your breeder is the best idea. I put him on adult at 3months of age. I own my own grooming shop and sell dog food. Dealing with a recall again is too much I have friends that feed Taste of the wild. Even my breeder does and I had gotten some of tha recall bags. My best luck I have seen is Innova so far. Have fun with your puppy. Chris

  • Nitra Renee

    We are picking up our new Vizsla puppy at the end of the month.  I have read many postings on food and am at a loss.  What would you recommend?

  • rschauby

    Diamond Pet Foods has just issued another recall on food manufactured in their SC Plant. This includes the popular Taste of the Wild Puppy Food. I just ordered this last week from Amazon and the bag they shipped me was included in the recall. Go to for more details.

  • SandyDuarte

    If no one had answered you, i added my comment to a few other pages and i finally had someone reply.

  • Jenn&toby

    I just got a Cane Corso puppy 10 weeks old. i wanted to know the best 4 -5 star puppy food to feed her considering all the health problems they tend to have.

  • MitzyLover

    I am new on here. I feed my eleven year old tyrolean hound Earthborn. I am getting a new pug puppy in a few weeks. The breeder (my bf’s mom) is feeding them TOTW. Should i switch my 11 year old over to TOTW, or my puppy over to earthborn? It is too expensive to feed them both different foods, and i know that Earthborn is a great food and i know that TOTW is an ALS food and so is some of the earthborn line. Any help is appreciated.

  • SandyDuarte

    I think this website is so helpful and amazing. I will be getting a puppy (blue/fawn pit) soon in the next week or two, I’m so excited!! I went to the pet store and asked about Evo (because that is what the mother eats) and it was suggested to me Canidae Single-Grain Protein Plus. I saw that on the 5 star list for dry food so I’m very pleased. I was told I wouldn’t need a wet food, but my question is what would you suggest for a canned food just to give the dog variety once in awhile so she’s not always eating the same thing and getting bored with it. Should I stick with Canidae for a alternative or try one of the other brands you have listed above. What should I look for? Merrick looks very good but I wasn’t sure if I should go with a stew-type or just like an Evo 95% Beef?? She’s been eating Iams puppy dry and i will be slowly transitioning her to the Canidae, would wet food help that process? I appreciate any help, thank you.

  • Hauzer

    I am not interested in consumer’s comments of their choice of dog foods.I am looking for the ‘expert lab analysis’.

  • Toxed2loss

    Hi Andrea,
    I loved the picture of Wellstone & Webster. They are beautiful! I would like to offer my 2¢… First off I use “All life Stages” but used to use “puppy.” The theory behind puppy is that it provides more nutrition/energy for the puppies greater demand, during growing cycles. What I’ve noticed, having poms to GSD & German Shorthairs, is that the time to full growth is shorter for smaller dogs. Poms, its a year. My GSD, German Shorthair, English pointer, springer spaniels attained full physical development after 2 years. The research that I’m doing on my (current) Standard poodle says they don’t reach maturity until 2 years. (the info was in breeding journals, and bitches should not be bred until at least 2 years, so that they obtain full growth.) 

    I’ve noticed that they are not emotionally an adult until 3 years. So that 2nd to 3rd year they would be a teenager… Human teenagers have higher nutritional and caloric needs for complete mental, emotional and cognitive development. I don’t see why its any different for dogs. 

    I realize I’m probably way outside the norm, on this thinking. But I continue to provide optimal nutrition during all stages of the dogs life, and don’t use a puppy specific formula, just a really optimal “all life stages formula”. For your really big dogs, if you’re using a puppy formula, I’d look at switching out, to an optimal all life stage formula somewhere between 1.5 -2 years… I’m guessing that they don’t mature physically until 3 years. A lot would depend on the individual dog, and how his condition is. I have lots of livestock, and each one is assessed individually. If somebody needs more, or less, that’s what we do. Hope that helps.

  • Big Bark (Andrea

    We (Big Bark) are wondering when is the best age to switch (if you were ever using puppy food) your large breed dogs to adult food? Check us out at and

  • GSDGal ;)


    Congrats on your puppy! Like Alexandra I recommend Great Life or Brothers. I’m feeding my two Siberian Husky puppies Great Life right now occasionally adding a bit of Brothers for protien diversity. They’re doing great so far. They’re both show puppies and the oldest just started doing some winning. They’re both happy and very energetic and appear very healthy. So far I’m very pleased with how they’re doing. My German Shepherds are on Brothers and a bit of Great Life. These two foods are the only ones I’ve found that don’t give them the most horrible runs.
    My breeder cautioned me against using a puppy food because in some breeds it can cause them to grow too fast which in turn causes problems. Just some thoughts. Good Luck deciding on a food and with your puppy!

  • LabsRawesome

     Hi Annadoleary, what are you feeding her?

  • Annadoleary

    oh yea its a small bread  (weiner, dauson, terrior mix) sold to me as terrior shitzu mix but not so

  • Annadoleary

    hi, i have a pup almost 5months it eats dog poop and is shedding her hair lots could it be her diet causing this

  • Alexandra

    Hi Cathi,

    Congratulations on the new arrival.

    If you have thoughts of allergies in the back of your mind from your previous dog, not only should you look at grain free which you are BUT also look for a white potato free as well. Potatoes are high on the glycemic index and can feed yeast infections in dogs. My German Shepherd went that way for almost a year before I got wise on potato.

    The food I feed is Brothers Complete, they don’t have a puppy food per se, BUT their kibble is all life stages. Others you can look at are Canine Caviar and Great Life, they are grain and potato free as well.

    Good luck.

  • Cathi

    Hi, my family and I are taking home our new girl on 4/14 she is a Lab.  We had a beautiful yellow lab that lived until she was 15 and had a ton of allergies and after reading some of these posts I think now that it was all due to her food.  I need help in choosing a puppy food and have done the research but am skeptical.  We were all set to use Innova but with the buy out I have questions.  Then Blue Buffalo.  It was suggested by our vet to use Royal Canin.  If you could help with this I would really appreciate it.  I/we just want to make some good choices and have a happy and health puppy.

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  • karen

    What is the best dry puppy food for a 3 month old maltipoo and how much per day?

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  • Equiuga

    I contacted Fromms today and requested ca/p information on their Gold LB puppy formula. I was very impressed with the young lady I spoke to as she was very nice and enthusiastically answered all my questions. I actually got an in depth spreadsheet on this food. Here were the levels of Ca and P.
                       Ca%        P%
    As is:           1.13%     0.97
    DM basis:      1.21       1.04
    g/100 kcal:    0.29       0.25
    I have been researching foods that would be good for a lab puppy that I am getting next month and it has been a real pain finding foods that have appropriate levels of nutrients for what large breed pups need! I had looked at Innova LBP which looked very good, but the buy out has made me wary of using that food. Fromms looks like it will fit the bill and I have heard rave reviews. I am also considering Solid Gold’s wolfcub and am awaiting a return email to see if their food may also fit the bill. The breeder is feeding Native 3p puppy food. I checked into it and it has a Ca level of 1.79 and P of 1.08.  The Native, which is a good food, levels are way to high in my opinion for a LBP. Does anyone have advice, one way or the other?

  • Casey H

    Thanks Bob K. 🙂

    Yeah I did not think he was a large breed originally, but some of the other pups from his litter were put on large breed by their owners/vet. So I researched and there seems to be quite a bit of controversy/differnce of opinion over what constitutes a large breed. I agree that a 50 pound dog does not seem like a large breed, to me anyway.

    Thanks for the extra advice. Eli has had all his puppy shots now and is on interceptor monthly for heartworm prevention. We have done some basic puppy training/socializing and he goes to doggy daycare two to three weekday mornings. Which he LOVES (as do I, it makes him a tired puppy!) 🙂 I am currently saving up to have him (and me ;-)) meet with a personal trainer for some one on one pointers.

  • Bob K

    Casey – A 50lb dog is not considered a large breed.  It sounds like you are doing everything great.  Don’t forget all puppy shots, puppy school and lots of exercise.  You can rarely overtrain and socialize your dog and a tired dog from lots of exercise is a happy owner. 

  • Casey H

    Hello everyone. I posted this under one of the dog foods I like, but thought it would be noticed better here. 🙂

    Since I brought my new puppy home in October I have been researching foods and probably visit this site at least once a day and often more! Thank you Mike. 🙂

    My Eli is almost 5 months old now, he is a Goldendoodle. I have tried a handful of 4 & 5 star foods and have found a couple he really seems to like. I am very interested in the rotation feeding idea and will be doing that with him. I plan to try many more of the 4 and 5 star foods as well.

    My main concern now is wether I should maybe be feeding him a large breed puppy food? He weighs 26 pounds now at almost 5 months old and was just neutered. His mother is a 50 pound rather tall standard poodle and his father is a 35 pound smaller built Goldendoodle. My vet said since he should probably be around 50 lbs as an adult I did not need to but could if I wanted. I am curious what everyone else’s opinion here is on this?

    I am not a very experienced dog owner. Especially when it comes to nutrition, but I am learning more everyday. I do have a soon to be 11 year old boxer/border collie/pit mix and have had her since she was a baby. I did not know her food was so bad for her until I started researching for the new puppy. I was even buying her a premium and expensive food and was assured by the petstore staff it was a great food. I will be doing my own research from now on.

  • Jan_Mom2Cavs

    Claudia, imho there are many great 5 star LB puppy foods.  I think you just have to review this site and select a few to try.  To me the “best” dog food, puppy or adult, is what works for your dog.  By that I mean, do they eat it readily, have a nice, shiny, soft coat with no itching or dry skin issues or hotspots, do they have good stool and not too many, do they have no tear stains and decent breath, are they behaving normally (active and healthy), do they drink an adequate amount on the food (not too little or too much), does their urine output seem normal….these are some of the things I look at.  It may also take around 3 months or more to tell if a food is working for your dog, at least in my experience.  Sometimes, though, you can tell if a food is not gonna work right away, but most of the time, at first, it’s a detoxing from whatever they ate previously.  Hope this helped and I didn’t ramble too much :)!

  • Claudia

    What is the best 5 star LARGE BREED Puppy food…

  • melissa


    You do not necessarily need to switch them. I use all life stage for pups to seniors and that is throughout their lifetime. If you want to move them to an adult maintenance product only, I typically use the very arbitrary number of 12 mths : ) It all depends on your dog and what you are comfortable with-check your intended bag of food, and you may be surprised to see it has an all life stage rating, including “for growth and reproduction”-ie puppy food : )

  • HI Alice… You may wish to check my FAQ page and look for the topic, “How to Feed a Dog”. Hope this helps.

  • Alice

    When would you move small to medium sized mixed breed dogs to adult food? I see recommendations for when various pure-breeds reach maturity and can transition to adult food, but what about the mutts? We adopted two puppies from the pound who are now about 8-9 and 10-11 months old. The smaller 9 month old is about 12-14 lbs and 14in at the shoulder, the older is about 27lbs and 17 in. Both have a lot of terrier in their mix.

  • Brianna and Jennifer, you basically are asking the same question, so here’s my answer:

    My breeder started feeding raw to all her standard poodle puppies from the time they started on “solid” food. By the time I got my girl, at 8 weeks, she’d been eating raw wings and necks for ome time. Now just tossing raw out there isn’t enough. You have to balance their nutrition. Dr. Becker and Beth Taylor wrote a book, “Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats”. you can get on or amazon. It’s makes it pretty straight forward. Hope that helps. 🙂

  • Jennifer

    Is it okay to feed a 5 month old Retriever raw diet?

  • Brianna

    Is feeding a puppy a raw diet not a good idea?

  • Testing post

  • Hi Stephanie… AAFCO recommends only minimums for protein for growing dogs. But the amount of meat-based protein for dogs of any age can always be controversial. It is my personal belief that restricting protein and replacing it with carbohydrates is completely unnatural for a dog. So, I’m shamelessly in favor of dog foods made with meat-rich recipes.

    One caveat for puppies is mineral content, especially calcium and phosphorus. And of course, overfeeding. These issues can cause skeletal abnormalities in large breeds.

    To learn more about this subject, please visit our FAQ page and look for the topic, “Dog Food Protein”. Be sure to follow the links you’ll find there. And also check out my article at the beginning of “Best Puppy Foods, too. Hope this helps.

  • Stefanie Norton

    How much protein does a puppy need? Does it depend on their breed/activity level or is there a standard range for a growing puppy?

  • Stefanie Norton

    Angel, what kind of food are your pups on now? Is that Solid Gold? Is it a puppy formula? I also have a Shih Tzu puppy (4 1/2 months) so I am interested in which food is working for you? Thanks!

  • Ashley

    We have a 8 week old Shiba Inu puppy who we are bringing home next Friday. I’m hoping to create an optimum food plan for his health. I was planning on feeding him Nature Variety’s Instinct Raw frozen food, slowly transitioning him from the dry food he is currently eating. Does this sound like a good plan, to feed him solely raw food? Or would it be optimal to add kibble as well to this diet? Or maybe even instead give him kibble mixed with can? It seems the raw food diet is preferred to kibble mixed with can according to Dr.Beckers ‘Best and Worst Foods” video? Also, should I switch up the flavor of raw food I buy (beef, chicken etc.) each time I buy it, to add variety to his diet? And I read that Natures Variety does HHP to their raw food? What is this and does it make it less preferred to other raw foods?
    Thank you

  • Angel

    Hi Guys,

    Thanks for all your helpful insights!

    Bob – I took him to the vet and she told me he’s probably “sensitive” to chicken and suggested I switch him to lamb and rice. I’m giving him Hundchen Flocken and he seems to be thriving on this. The red muzzle is gone and the flaking ears stopped.

    Mike – I’m obviously a great fan of “grain-free” so I’m considering switching all of them to Instinct..Thanks!

    Melissa – They are shih tzu pups. I’m not really a breeder and I intend to keep all of them. They will be spayed and neutered in time. It’s also my first time to have pups so I’m really keen on giving them the best quality dog food that I can afford..:)

    Again, thank you all!!

  • melissa


    I have fed pups “puppy food” and all life stages with great results. Only once did I have pups not thrive and believe it or not, it was on “puppy formula” Since not all foods and brands are equal, it depends more so(Imo) on the brand rather than ALS or puppy. You did not say what kind of pups, so if large breed, do some research on calcium/phosphorus levels etc.

  • Hi Angel… Technically speaking, there is no real nutritional difference between dog foods recommended by their manufacturers for “all life stages” or “puppies”. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) only recognizes two nutritional profiles:

    1. Growth and reproduction (for puppies and pregnant or lactating females)

    2. Adult maintenance

    Dog foods meeting the AAFCO requirements for growth and reproduction also meet the nutritional minimums for adults, too. So, they can sometimes be labeled “for all life stages”.

    For more information, please visit our FAQ page and look for the topic, “AAFCO Nutrient Profiles”. Hope this helps.

  • Bob K

    Angel – Since cost seems to be no issue, why not try it and see how it works out, remember to transition slowly. How was this allergy diagnosed? Most people guess and do not really properly diagnose pet allergies, they guess and try all sorts of foods, remedies, supplements, shampoos etc…….

  • Angel

    Which is better? Puppy food or All life stages dog food for puppies? I have three 6-week old pups. I’m giving them Orijen Puppy and unfortunately, one of them had allergies (probably from the chicken) so I switched that one to Solid Gold Hundchen Flocken. I’m giving their Mom NV Instinct and Before Grain (Wet) with no problems so I’m thinking of switching all of the puppies to Instinct Grain-Free or LID formula (kibble) but this is “all life stages”.

  • Hi Stephanie… RMB stands for “raw meaty bones”.

  • Stefanie Norton

    This may be a dumb question….but what are RMB’s?

  • Gordon

    Of course, also forgot to mention, that as its been suggested above, exercise your pup every day. Even if it is daily walks which dogs just can’t get enough of, and is a highlight of their day, that rivals eating, so that they can burn the energy they intake from their food. Choose foods highest in meat proteins and lowest in carbs (as natural for dogs as possible), and if your hesitant to start feeding RMB’s then at least choose a 5 star all life stages food. Have a look at any of the 5 star kibble ot canned foods here if not raw (Raw is the best), and check this site’s dash board for the protein to carb levels to make sure you choose the ones with higher protein levels, as so intended for dogs and cats for that matter, by Mother Nature, herself.

    However, whatever you choose, do not overfeed your pup to an extreme level (better to overfeed than underfeed is why I stress ‘extreme’) as you could cause later hip and elbow dysplasia or any type of skeletal overgrowth problems in your pup when it grows of age.

    As its been suggested, do follow the directions of the food you buy on how much to feed pups, and monitor things like stool, coat, energy, vibrancy, state of mind….happiness, body shape etc.

  • Gordon

    Ashley – Why are you feeding your pup 5 times a day? Your pup will keep eating as much as you put a bowl of food out for it. At least in most pups this would be the case. Growing pups are meant to eat a little more than adults, but for the love of your pup, stop feeding it poison (Beneful).

    Start feeding it some RMB’s every evening as its last snack of the day. This is extremely important to promote healthy teeth from an early age, not to mention the all important protein and calcium to phosphorus natural ratio intake. Chicken cartilage in feeding chicken frames is one of the best RMB’s to feed dogs of any age after maternal weening and which is also rich in glucosamine – great for joint health and never too early to feed.

    Alternate RMB’s with chicken necks, wings, backs, frames, turkey same, marrow bones, soup bones, lamb briskets, beef briskets, whole raw fish with head intact, etc etc. I can’t stress enough just how RMB’s are important to feed on a rotation basis.

  • melissa


    Most people feed 10 wk old medium-large size puppies three times a day-(toy breeds are often fed more often and smaller amounts to prevent hypoglycemia) 5 times a day seems excessive, unless you are feeding such tiny amounts? I personally would revisit the choice to feed Beneful-

  • Bob K

    Shirley – Life Abundance is a 4 star food. Remember to transition to a new food slowly, perhaps over 2 – 3 weeks. There are many 4 and 5 star foods listed on this website.

    Start exercise for both you and your dog, walks, balls, etc……

  • shirley

    what is the best food for my 3 year old shitzu she has been on percription dog food for 2 years and now found out after tests taken she can go on regular food she weighs 21 pounds but her percription dog food was awful it had almost all corn for 2 years thatw why i think she is a little over weight please tell me if you think the life abundance would be a wise choice please help me thank you shirley

  • Bob K

    Ashley – Why are you feeding him so much? I suspect you are over feeding him. Please read the dog food bag for feeding instructions. Have you read the review obout Beneful on this website? Please scroll up and look at the 4 and 5 star puppy foods above as a starting point.

    Do you have a budget for dog food? When does he start Puppy class? What brands are available in your area? Do you have a Petco? Petssmart? Menards? Farm & Fleet? Costco? Tractor Supply (TSC), or local pet food shop?

    Remember to transition your dog slowly to a new food. There are many excellents puppy foods rated on this website.

  • Ashley

    Hey i have a 10 week old austrilian hepard mixed ith lab . What is the best food to give him ? I have him on beneful but hes getting sick on it . He eats at least 5 times a day . Why is he eating that much .

  • Hi Stefanie… AAFCO only recognizes two nutritional profiles: growth and reproduction and adult maintenance. Technically speaking, there’s really no such thing as “all life stages”. Foods rated for all life stages are actually the same as foods meeting requirements for growth. So, they are appropriate (as the name suggests) for puppies.

    For more information, please visit our FAQ page and look for the topic, “AAFCO Nutrient Profiles”. Hope this helps.

  • Stefanie

    When a food says “all life stages” is it sufficient for puppy needs?
    Should I get a puppy food made specifically for puppies instead?

  • Stefanie

    I have a 4 month old Shih Tzu. I was wondering if any of you with Shih Tzus could tell me which food works best for your dog? I tried Simply Nourish Puppy (chicken and brown rice). He acts like he doesn’t like it and it is causing diahrrea. I’m trying to decide which type of food to try next. Thanks!

  • Hi David Phillips… Switching prematurely to an adult (commercial) food could be nutritionally inappropriate for an animal still considered a puppy. For more details, you wish to visit my FAQ page and look for the topic, “How to Feed a Dog”. Hope this helps.

  • David Phillips

    Hi, I have two labs one is 8 mos. the other is 4 mos. We are feeding them the 4health puppy kibbles. They seem to like it and it has good reviews – the problem is lately the older one poops 5 or 6 times a day. That doesn’t seem normal to me. We are feeding them two times a day and giving them the serving size listed on the bag. The 4mo. old still does well -I don’t notice any problems with him. Would switching the older one to adult formula solve this problem? Thanks

  • Gordon

    Yeah, looks like Earthborn distribute to many corners of the globe. Bit like Artemis, Canidae, Orijen & Acana (Except Australia for the last 2).

    That’s a win win for Earthborn and the dogs who get to eat it, if they have to eat kibble in the first place.

  • Michelle

    ana rivera, Yes. Definitely Earthborn!

  • Gordon

    Oh in that case, out of those, definitely Earthborn, ana rivera!

  • ana rivera

    I have a Maltesse-Poodle dog. He is 9 months old. He is very picky with dry food… i’ve tried many brands, but he’s not happy with any of those. I live in El Salvador, Central America, so, i don’t have many options of premium dry foods. Which one do you suggest between: Earthborn Holistic Puppy Vantage, Eukanuba Small Breed Puppy, Science Diet, Royal Canin or Nutra Gold for Puppy?
    I need and advice… i’m lost with all comments.
    Thanks in advance

  • Sandy

    That’s a really good rule of thumb that it’s better to feed your dog as a puppy too long than it is to feed him as an adult too early. Thanks, Mike… it did help!

  • Hi Sandy… Acording to the Waltham Center for Pet Nutrition, small to medium breeds may be considered adults after about six months of age. But large and giant breeds shouldn’t be fed as adults until they reach about one to two years (depending upon the breed).

    By the way, it’s better to feed your dog as a puppy too long than it is to feed him as an adult too early. Hope this helps.

  • Sandy

    I’ve been feeding my Welsh Terrier puppy Orijen Puppy. He loves it and I am very pleased with this food ~ he is thriving. He is almost 8 months old and pretty much fully grown (15.5″ tall and weighing in at 18.5 lbs.). My question is: when do I switch him over to adult food? I’ve decided on the Orijen 6 Fish, but don’t know when to initiate the transition…

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  • Sarah

    Generally speaking, protein is good for dogs. Refer to: it is an article that talks about a stufy done at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, one of the nations top vet schools, and it dispels the rumors that a diet rich in protein is bad for dogs.
    I have never heard of the brand you purchased, but looking at the ingredient list I did notice that 3 of the first 5 ingredients are carbohydrates, that seems like a lot. I also noticed that it contains rosemary which may cause seizures in some dogs. I hope some of this helps.

    As for those of you with “poop eaters” lol, try putting some fresh pineapple in their food. It tastes good the first time but will deter them from eating it from the stool. It’s an easy inexpensive and natural way to stop coprophagia. My boston did the same thing and this helped. Good Luck!!

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  • Yuki

    Hello,i have a bernese mountain dog puppy now he is 10 week old,i got him 2 week ago.When i just got him we feed him iams puppy dry food,then now i want to feed him Natural dry dog food.

    We went to store today want to buy the Acana dry puppy food but have a sales told me Acana dry food have too much protein ,and tell me to get a less protein dog food for him so i got the Canadian Naturals (Turkey & salmon )dog food .

    But i don’t see any about this brand Dog food on here,but i very want to know about how is this Dog food.

    And here is ingredient lists :
    Fresh turkey,turkey meal,potato,oatmeal,brown rice,
    dehulled barley,chicken fat (stabilized with mixed tocopheros,a natural source of vitamin E ),
    salmon meal,tomato pomace,natural flavour,flaxseed,whole dried egg,brewer’s yeast,sweet potato,canola oil,alfalfa,spinach,broccoli,apple,blueberries,pears,bananas,
    dicalcium phosphate,lecithin,potassium chloride,calcium carbonate,salt,choline chloride,vitamins (vitamin A,D3,E,niacin,vitamins C,inositol,d-calcium pantothenate,thiamine mononitrate,riboflavin,beta carotene,pyridoxine hydrochloride,folic acid,vitamin K,biotin,vitamin B12 supplement),minerals(zinc proteinate,ferrous sulfate,iron proteinate,zinc oxide,copper proteinate,copper sulfate,manganese proteinate,manganous oxide ,calcium iodate,sodium selenite),probiotics(lactobacillus acidophilus,lactobacillus casei,enterococcus faecium,bifidobacterium thermophilum),glucosamine hydro-chloride,DL-methionine,L-lysine,L-carnitine,yucca schidigera extract,rosemary,garlic,cinnamon,paprika,capsicum,chamomile,turmeric,dandelion.

    is alot.. 🙂

    so ,can anyone help me ,it is food good for my puppy please.
    Thank a lots.

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  • Gordon

    Yeah could be the reason, though just speculative, and possibly feasible.

  • Shawna

    I meant to add to my last post…

    THANKS Mike 🙂

  • Shawna

    I have a thought, Gordon, on why your dog does that… It COULD be but may not that she is digesting her food (as is your other dog) properly and there is nothing tasty left when it comes out… If the dog, who left to the poo your dog ate, is not digesting well then there could have been a significant amount of protein left in the poo that your dog decided would be a fabulous dessert…. Just one thought!!!!

  • Gordon

    I should have said….”agreeing to, and then some with great suggestions”. 🙂

  • Gordon

    Shawna – The irony since the post of mine you were agreeing to, I discovered that my JRT will actually play with other dogs’ stools away from home. For example, I recently caught her scouring on the edge of a park meeting a fence line. When I walked up to see what she was up to, I caught her with another dog’s poop in her mouth. I decided to see what she was going to do with it, and she actually played with it a bit before starting to eat it, where I stopped her. And yet, she won’t eat her own or my TT’s (Tenterfield Terrier) stool.

    Mysteries of the dog psych we may never unlock.

  • Oops. Sorry, Harold. Don’t know how I missed Nature’s Domain in your comment. In any case, I see Shawna has posted an excellent response to your question. Thanks, Shawna.

  • Shawna


    I agree with Gordon that poop eating is not always a nutrient deficiency BUT often it can be. NOT because your food is not providing the right nutrients in many cases though… My thought is — the puppy was started out on a low quality food — this can do some damage to the digestive tract in a very short amount of time… IF the digestive tract is not absorbing the nutrients from the food fed then it doesn’t matter what food you feed — pup can be malnourished.

    Switching to the better quality foods is a GREAT first step. 2nd step is to get supplemental digestive enzymes. These help break down the foods so the nutrients can be digested. Adding a little (diluted with water 50/50) apple cider vinegar (Braggs brand is a good one) will also help as it allows the stomach to reach the appropriate acidic level for the stomach to release a protein digesting enzyme. Apple cider vinegar is really inexpensive and goes a long way. 3rd step is to add a high end probiotic which also will help in digestion (plus other major benefits). 4th adding a product called slippery elm will help “coat” the digestive tract and help decrease inflammation. You don’t have to do all four steps but the digestive enzymes are very important — they are actually the active ingredient in the poop eating pills.

    I’ve had this work with every dog (I foster) but two. For those two I had to douse all the poo in the yard with tobasco sauce for several weeks straight and/or keep the yard free of poo. I almost always have 7-9 dogs in the house so this can be WAY easier said then done.

    Good luck!!!!!!!

  • Shawna


    Nature’s Domain is the food you are wanting to feed your puppy — is that correct? If the answer is yes — then yes, you can feed this food to your adult Boxer as well as your mixed breed puppy. Is it going to be as nourishing for either dog (especially the puppy) — no. But it is adequate. On the Nature’s Domain website they give feeding instructions for a 3-5 pound 6 to 12 week old puppy and up so, without seeing elsewhere on the site, I would assume this food is intended for all life stages.

    The reason I say it is not as good as nourishing as Taste of the Wild — it has only 24% protein and admittedly (in the ingredient list) some of the 24% is from “potato protein” NOT meat.. An inexpesive and less nourishing way to boost the overall protein. TotW has 32% protein. TotW also has more fat which supplies energy to exuberant adult Boxers and growing puppies. What Nature’s Domain is lacking in protein and fat is added in carbs – which is not biologically appropriate for any life stage.

    I HATE the ingredients in Science Diet puppy food but it, even, has more protein and fat then Nature’s Domain @ 29% protein and 21.5% (which in my opinion is a little too high) fat.

    Since protein is the “building block” for ALL cells of the body, the higher the protein content in the food you feed, the more nourished you dogs will be on a cellular level —- leaner muscle, stronger organs etc.

  • Hi Harold… I’m not sure what food you’re talking about in your comment. In general, it’s probably OK to feed a puppy food to an adult. But due to lower nutrient content, it’s usually not always appropriate to feed an adult dog food to a growing puppy. Hope this helps.

  • justin


    I have a poop eater too. It is a very bad habit and it is hard to break. I treid those pills etc… you might make them stop for a while.. but they are right back at it again after the pills are gone. Keep the yard picked up, its all you can really do.

  • harold

    I have a mixed breed puppy and a 6 year old boxer. My boxer has been on Nature’s Domain for a year now and loves it. His coat looks very nice. Is this something I can feed my 3 month old puppy too? I see it is on the 4 star list of puppy foods. I had also considered taste of the wild, but it is a bit more costly and I don’t see a reason to change if my dog is thriving on it. I know you can’t suggest a food, but I want to know if a puppy formula is more appropriate. Thanks for a great site!

  • J.J.

    Thanks Gordon

  • Gordon

    There’s 2 products that come up on Google search. One’s called Deter and another, Forbid. Apparently they’re no guarantee to work. Here’s a link to a website with good tips. I’ve just read through the tips and I recommend them!

    The link is Good luck!

  • Gordon

    J.J. – Not necessarily true regarding lack of nutrition as a cause. The problem is called ‘coprophagia’ and regardless of what you might read, no one really has the answer to why some dogs do this.

    I’ve never had this problem with my dogs, and all dogs love foul odours and will sniff poo of their own and of other animals including cats’, but that’s where most will stop short of grabbing poo with their mouth, let alone to eat it.

    Can it be stopped? Yes, but not easy and you’ve got some work to do. Unless someone else knows some easy tactic that I don’t, there’s no easy solution. However, because she’s still only a pup, you should be able to train her to stop a little easier. To do this, you’re best off training her to defecate on your command, then command her to move away from the stool. Consult a Vet to get some sort of powder (can’t recall the name of some specific products) or from the pet store, that you sprinkle or mix in her food, so that when she eats the food, then defecates, she’ll be deterred from eating the stool when she tries. I’ve never needed to get such product but read about similar. Just do a Google search.

  • J.J.

    Seems our new puppy is a bit of a poop eater. She’s 14 weeks old & we’ve had her for 10 days. She’s completely off the 2 star crap the breeder had her on and she’s getting a combo of wellness super 5 puppy & acana grain free with 5 star toppers. I’ve always heard that when dogs eat poop it’s because of some dietary deficiency. But she’s on high quality foods with lots of nutrients. Mike or any of you knowledgeable regulars, any thoughts or suggestions? I’m at a loss.

  • Hi Vince… If your dog is doing well on this Nutro product, why switch? It’s still a “recommended” product. In any case, due to the biological uniqueness of each pet, I cannot provide customized reviews and product comparisons for each reader. If you’d like to try a higher rated food, please check out my reviews and visit our FAQ page. Look for the topic, “Help Me Choose a Dog Food”. Or check back for a possible response from one of our other readers. Hope this helps.

  • Vince

    also one more thing i forget to say was after he eats nutro ultra his breath smells really bad..everytime lol

  • Vince

    Hi Mike,
    Im really new here on this site but I had a question I wanted to direct to you. I have a one and a half year old maltese and he is being fed nutro ultra small breed dog food (dry) and I really want to get him off that and on to something better but I have been having a hard time deciding on what to feed him. In particular im just looking for what the best of the best food you would pick for him to have. Any input you have would be highly appreciated and thanks in advance!

  • Hi Ryan,
    When my Great Dane was a puppy I was feeding him a puppy formula and he grew so fast that he ended up getting HOD and I had him in the emergency room 2 times on IV’s and major pain meds and thought I was going to lose him. Once I got him off of the puppy food and switched him to adult he leveled out and is now a beautiful big boy standing about 39 inches to the shoulder. I had him on Eukanuba large breed adult formula and did great on it! I now have 2 great dane/akita puppies and they are eating the Blue Buffalo large breed puppy food, and doing well. They are growing fast, but no where near as fast as their father was, so I think I will keep them on this food for a few more months before switching them to adult.
    I would definitely switch your GD puppy over to adult food though. I did a lot of research and most of the breeders tell you after 3-4 months they put their Dane puppies onto adult formula. I just wish I had paid attention before mine had so many problems. I would have just been in misery if I had lost him because I was feeding him a puppy food that gave him rapid growth when he needed slow. Remember large breed dogs do not reach their maturity in growth until they are close to 2 years old, so the process needs to be slow.

    Hope that helps!

  • Hi Ryan… Rapid growth and overfeeding during the puppy stage are considered the leading causes of skeletal disease in large breeds. However, since I’m not a veterinarian, it would be inappropriate for me to provide specific health advice or product recommendations. Please see our FAQ page and our reviews for more information. Or check back for a possible response from one of our other readers.

  • Ryan

    Hi Mike,

    I have a 6 month old Great Dane who as you could expect is growing at a rapid rate. I feed my dog Blue Buffalo Puppy food, at a recent visit to the vet we were told that we should switch him over to a adult food; contrary to what I’ve read on you web site we were told that his joints were growing fast because he’s on puppy food and not adult, please help me better understand what I should do, thanks

  • HI David… It’s not necessary to feed a large breed puppy food. Here’s a link to our article on puppy foods that should help.

  • David

    I’ve just purchased an American Bully. Should I feed her a large breed puppy food, or is puppy food fine?
    What kind would your recommend for this breed????
    Their all so confusing…………

  • Hi Chris… It’s OK to feed an adult dog a puppy food. But it’s probably not such a good idea to give a puppy an adult food. For more information, please visit our FAQ page and look for the topic, “AAFCO Nutrient Profiles”. Hope this helps.

  • Chris

    I have a 3 year old Italian greyhound jack russell mix and a 8 week old Boglen terrier. If I choose a really good puppy food like Backwood, is it OK to feed the adult the puppy food? She is very active and could stand to gain some weight.

  • Hi Gina… Unfortunately, I cannot provide customized reviews and product recommendations for each reader. Please check out my reviews and visit our FAQ page and look for the topic, “Help Me Choose a Dog Food”. Or check back for a possible response from one of our other readers.

    If you still need help finding the right dog food for your puppy, visit our Library and look for our articles on Puppy Foods and our FAQ on “Help Me Choose a Dog Food.

  • Gina

    Hi Mike!

    I have a 7 1/2 month old Olde English Bulldog puppy, and have recently gotten some mixed recommendations from different vets as to how much / how often I should be feeding her. She currently weighs about 31 pounds and is being fed Orajen puppy food… any help or recommendations would be much appreciated!

    Thanks so much,

  • Hi Sharon… I can understand your concern about protein and grain free diets. However, although some may disagree, I’m unable to find any recent scientific studies condemning high (meat) protein diets for most dogs. For more information, please visit our FAQ page. Look for the topic, “Dog Food Protein”. Hope this helps.

  • Sharon Deuschle

    Hi Mike. My Chihuahua, Smidgen, just passed a month ago. I had been ignoranty feeding her Pedigree for all of her nearly 14 years of life. I now have a 13week old Chihuahua, Coco. I found your site and was shocked at the literal garbage I had been feeding Smidgen. Coco is currently eating Pedigree (choice of the family that had her) and I want to get her off right away.

    I want to stay away from the corn and by-products. Since Coco is so small, (1 lb. 15 oz) I am worried about any effects of a high protien food, such at Orijen or Acana. I am looking towards Wellness, but worry about grains for reasons of digestibility and tainting. I understand you cannot directly reccommend a particular brand. Do you think starting her out on Wellness Just for Puppy and switching to a grain-free as an adult would be wise, or can a little one (about 2 lbs) handle the higher protien? When they are this small, anything adverse can affect them so fast, so I am a little concerned. I also want to make sure stools stay manageable.

  • Sara

    thanks for your help mike, I think I am going to with the mix of can and dry of Wellness for puppies. I only feed her twice a day because of my work hours do you think that could effect anything.

  • Hi Mike… I left my response to your similar question on my Taste of the Wild review. Hope this helps.

  • Mike

    I have a question about over feeding. Is this the same as being overweight? My 5 1/2 month pup is always hungry, even brings his dish out a couple times a day to prompt us for more. He is getting that merrick brand whole earth puppy food now. I want to give him what I give the other adult dogs, TOTW. So what is overfeeding? He has a slim profile at over 50 lbs.