Quick question and suggestions please!
My 14 week old yellow lab came home to us on Beaver Dam puppy food. I do feel this is a decent food, but wanted to switch him to something a little better. He was super excited to eat. He would spin around and couldn’t eat his food fast enough!
After much research and consideration, I switched him to Merrick Grain Free (chicken) puppy. (of course I did this very gradually over 1-2 weeks).
I noticed that gradually his excitement slowed down and over the past several days. he’ll walk over to his bowl, sniff it, and walk away. Now, he will eventually eat it, but he’s not eating all of his meals each day. I’d say he’s probably skipping a 1 meal a day.
Question: Do you think he doesn’t like this food? I’m considering switching him to something else, but I’m just not sure. My husband thinks we should go back to the Beaver Dam. I’m considering Taste of the Wild (Salmon). I’d like to switch to Natures Variety puppy, but the protein level is really high. I’ve heard that I really need to keep the protein level low since he is a puppy. (I originally looked into Orijen, but because of the protein level, decided against it for now).
Thanks for your help!
Protein levels don’t affect how puppies grow and there’s no real proof they affect kidneys in any negative way in a healthy dog. So there’s nothing wrong with nv puppy or Orijen puppy. As for the merrick have you tired adding water? Or toppers? Toppers can be anything from raw meats, plain cooked meats, or canned or pouched dog foods. It’s a good way to entice them. Also make sure your meals are scheduled the same times. I have a chocolate lab in the family. He eats canidae all life stages multi protein food and he eats at 6 am and 6pm everyday at the same time. If you’re lab is rejecting food it’s very possible he doesn’t like it. Most labs will inhale anything lol.
Haleycookie, thanks for your response. I have some canned food that I did just mix in (placed on top) at lunch time because I wanted him to eat. However, I’m worried that this will train him to not eat plain kibble and always expect something mixed in. Our lab that passed away in February used to be like that! He would not eat unless there was something in his food. I was trying not to repeat history. So you really think he doesn’t like the food, huh? Besides Orijen, what other kibble should I consider? Natures Variety?
So the protein levels have nothing to do with speeding up growth? There’s no downside to high protein levels? I think I was told it would increase energy? Is that it?
Thanks again for your help! I’m trying to figure this out today before I go and buy another food later today.
I would never feed just dry kibble, for one thing the dog could develop bladder stones if he is not a water drinker.
At least pour a spoonful of warm water or plain homemade chicken broth (boiled chicken water nothing added) on it.
Dry kibble alone is not good, no matter how much you pay for it.
PS: I agree with your husband, if the dog is doing well on the food, then why change it?
When you take the dog in for the next scheduled visit see what the vet recommends.haleycookieMember
There’s nothing wrong with addin. Something into the food. It helps increase the amount of non processed high water content food into their diet. No matter how great the kibble is it is still cooked to death and extruded at insanely high temps. Making it void of most nutrition and moisture. Which is why food companies have to include that long list of supplements at the end of the kibble. Can dog food is still cooked at high temps but not as bad. They tend to have less add artificial supplements and even better you can top with something you get at the grocery store which is the cheaper way to go. So basically you’re making hamburgers for dinner? Before you add seasonings and such cook up a bit that you aren’t using and use that as a topper. Same with other meats and veggies.
I like natures variety, wellness (their puppy core food is the best as it’s formulated the best for large breeds, nv regular puppy is not nor is regular Orijen puppy. Go with large breed Origen if you go with that), merrick, solid gold and Fromm large breed puppy.
- This reply was modified 4 years, 5 months ago by haleycookie.
Anon101, I had no idea about the bladder Stones!
So if I start adding stuff to it, then maybe I shouldn’t even switch off the Merrick?
To answer your PS., I switched from beaver dam (which our pup loved) because I wanted him on something better and grain free. My husband thinks we should go back to Beaver Dam or at least switch off of Merrick. Now, when I mixed in canned food at lunch today, he did eat his lunch.
Oh, and yes, I am feeding at the same time everyday. He gets 3 meals a day.
I would use up what you have for now. But, like I said, a little chicken broth added can make a big difference 🙂
Here are my favorite sites (regarding nutrition) hope this helps
“Grain free diets have become all the rage in the last few years. I suspect this has stemmed from greater recognition of gluten sensitivity in humans. Most pet food companies have jumped on the band wagon following the marketing success of grain free human diets. The truth of the matter is that there are no dog or cat studies showing a health benefit to grain free foods. A myth has been perpetuated that grains are unhealthy. In fact, whole grains contribute vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids and are highly digestible by dogs and cats. Allergies to grains are actually very rare, and only the Irish Setter breed has been demonstrated to have a gluten sensitivity. Many grain free diets substitute potatoes and tapioca, which have less protein, more sugar, and less fiber. And typically these come at a higher cost.”
Above is an excerpt from
click on link for full article
Science based veterinary medicine
Wow, that was very helpful, thank you!
He doesn’t have allergies, but I did think grain free had health benefits. I guess I can save money three!
Some dogs do better on grain free, I have one with allergies (environmental) that does best on Zignature whitefish as a base.
I have one that doesn’t do well with kibble that contains potato, Zignature has no potato. They are all different.
I have also noticed that dogs with anal gland issues tend to do better on grain free/no potato.
I use kibble as a base (about 1/2 to 2/3 of the diet), my friend just adds a teeny tiny bit of boiled chicken meat and a spoonful of broth or water to her dog’s kibble with good results.
Since most Labs will reach over 50lbs at mature weight they are considered a large breed puppy. This means that for optimal growth they need to be on a food specially for a large breed puppy. Merrick puppy food is not designed for the growth of large breed puppies, so I would say it is a blessing in disguise that he will not eat it.
Developmental orthopedic disorders do not develop due to high levels of protein in the food. This is a myth that was laid to rest some 20 years ago. What we do know now is that excessive dietary calcium and over nutrition (fat puppy) along with genetics are the leasing causes of common bone growth issues.
The challenge with finding a large breed puppy food is that not all of the companies “large breed puppy” foods meet the criteria for what a food for a growing LBP should be. Many are in excess of calcium. This means you must call or email the company and ask for a nutrient analysis of the food and double check it against the calcium calculator on this site.
Thanks pitlove! You know what? I’ve always thought about that… The fact that beaver dam is just puppy/all life stages. And like you said, Merrick is just puppy. The lady at Concord Pet made me believe that much of this terminology is marketing, so I was really focused on ingredients, etc.
That being said, do you have any suggestions on a great large breed puppy food I should consider?
Unfortunetly, being a breeder doesn’t mean you understand how to feed the pups you are producing correctly, no matter how many years you’ve been doing it. And not many pet store workers are truly knowledgable about nutrition. They mainly learn about what the trends are in pet foods and learn the marketing claims and roll with that to sell a product.
The ingredient list as it reads out on the back of the bag, tells you next to nothing about the quality of the food. It tells you what should be in the food, but not the quality of the raw materials used to make the food. Focus on the company is far more important.
When I choose a pet food for a large breed puppy, several things are important to me. I want a company that conducts their own research, I want a company that staffs vet nutritionists, I want a company with strict manufacturing protocols, and I want a company that does feeding trials. Those companies are going to be the companies most people think are “terrible”. My number one choice for a large breed puppy food will always be Purina Pro Plan. Purina dedicates millions of dollars every year researching large and giant breed puppy growth and nutrition.
After that would be Hill’s or Royal Canin, but if someone were to be truly against one of those companies, I would say Fromm, NutriSource or Precise.
Thanks again pitlove!
Unfortunately, I didn’t see your post until after I settled on a food; I went with Natures Variety, Rawboost Large Breed puppy. I did as you suggested and contacted the company about the calcium and phosphorus levels. They told me that calcium was 1.6 and phosphorus was 1.0. And 4317 kcal/kg.
I calculated this:
Calcium = 3.7 g per 1000 kcal
Ca to P ratio = 1.6 to 1
If I read this correctly, it seems to be in a good range. We started the change over last night and our pup, Max, loved it! I’m just hoping it starts this way.
The only thing I’m unsure of is the ingredient Sodium Selenite. I understand that it is a controversial ingredient. I reached out to NV and asked why they don’t use Selenium yeast and the rep didn’t know. She just gave me all of the positive reasons it is used…
Sodium selenite is just one of the many names for salt. It’s probably listed as in ingredient in the last loaf of bread that you bought.
Really? So why is it so controversial?! I’ve heard it’s linked to cancer, etc. And other companies make such a big deal to point out that they use selinium yeast instead.
Who said it was controversial? I never heard that, they use these things in minute amounts anyway.
I guess it depends on which article (Dr google/research) you choose to believe.
I originally saw it posted on a dog food I was researching (can’t recall now), but it referenced how they don’t use sodium Selenite and that they use the yeast version. So I started looking into it… Many dog foods use it and just a few use the yeast version. But, it’s even referenced on this site (dogfoodadvisor).
NutriSource references it as well… Saying that they use the healthier version.
“Sodium selenite can be toxic in large amounts.”
Guess what? Water can be toxic in large amounts!
Really, just ask your vet at the next visit.
You can worry yourself sick over these things
Kibble is a processed food. All processed foods contain some chemicals, otherwise they would rot/spoil in less than 24 hours and could cause food poisoning!
I’m no chemist, but that’s what I believe.
Yup, you are absolutely right. You asked who says it was controversial, so I explained further.
Thanks for your help!
Nature’s Variety is not a bad choice. They staff a world renowed veterinary nutritionist Dr. Susan Wynn. She formulates their products and is apart of their nutrition counsel. They are not a big enough company to conduct research and do many feeding trials, but her contribution is important. Hope your pup does well on it!
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