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Hi Patricia,

If there is no notation near the “2019” I’d suspect the 2019 date on your bag is not related to date of manufacturer, but certainly, call for clarification.

It has been a while since I read the all research on growth and calcium requirements, so I do not recall the exact grams of calcium on a caloric basis used in the various research studies. For the sake of discussion and to illustrate the underlying principle I’m ballparking the following numbers.

On a caloric basis, during growth, large breed puppies do require a higher calcium level than small breed puppies. So, for example, small breeds grew normally when consuming say 1 gram of Ca/1000 kcals but feeding 1 gram Ca/1000 kcals to a growing large breed leads to skeletal problems. Large breeds needed a min. of 2 grams Ca/1000 kcals to grow normally.

At the other end of the spectrum, small breeds also grew normally when consuming say 8 grams of Ca /1000 kcals while 8 grams Ca /1000 kcals resulted in growth abnormalities in large breeds. So overall, small breeds grew normally when calcium levels were between 1-8 grams Ca /1000 kcals, whereas large breed puppies required a narrower range, say between 2-4.5 grams Ca/1000 kcals to grow normally.

AAFCO set the min. Ca for their profile for growth and reproduction at 3 grams Ca/1000 kcals, a level found to result in normal skeletal growth in BOTH small and large breeds. Then they stipulated a maximum of 4.5 grams Ca/1000 kcals for large breed growth.

A diet label for growth, without an exception for large breeds, must contain between 3 and 4.5 grams of Ca/1000kcals to meet AAFCO’s growth/reproduction profile. If a diet has a min. of 3 grams Ca/1000kcals but the Ca level exceeds 4.5 grams Ca/1000 kcals the company must label the food as appropriate for growth EXCEPT for large breeds which is what is found on Stella and Chewy’s non puppy kibble diets

The statement “(calcium and DHA levels aren’t enough for large breed puppies in non-puppy formulas)” makes no sense in light of the AAFCO nutritional profile that the company claims the diets are formulated to meet.