Hi guys –
The topic of large and giant breed puppy nutrition seems to come up quite often on DFA, so I thought it should have its own topic. Being that I own bloodhounds (large dogs prone to growth issues), it’s a topic I’m very passionate about. Proper nutrition can potentially help your large breed puppy or giant breed puppy avoid growth issues such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia and pano. I thought this would be a good area for people to share information (personal experiences, articles, etc.) and ask questions.
These are a few of my favorite articles and studies on the topic:
1. “Nutritional Risks to Large and Giant Breed Dogs: From Weaning to the Geriatric Years” by Susan D. Lauten, PhD
2. “Growth and Skeletal Development of Great Dane Pups Fed Different Levels of Protein Intake” Nap, Hazewinkel, Voorhout, Van Den Brom, Goedegebuure and Van ‘T Klooster
3. “Dietary Mineral Levels Affect Bone Development in Great Dane Pups” by Henry J. Baker DVM
4. “Feeding Large Breed Puppies” by Jennifer Larsen DVM, PhD, DACVN
5. “Why Overgowing Your Large Breed Puppy is Dangerous” Dr. Karen Becker DVM
Many may have already seen this, but I’ll re-post here. This is a list I put together myself of foods that I feel are good choices for growing large and giant breed puppies. This list includes only grain-free 4 and 5 star foods with 3.5 g. calcium per 1,000 kcal. or less and approved for “growth” or “all life stages”. I based the calcium per energy density levels on overall research I’ve done and figures given in the Lauten article posted above. I contacted all the companies directly via email or phone to obtain the actual (not minimum) calcium levels of their foods.aimeeParticipant
Hound Dog Mom,
That is a great compilation of articles on large breed growth. The most important tenets of large breed nutrition are to keep the puppy lean during the growth period and to feed foods that have a calcium level near 1% (dry diets).
Calcium levels over 1.3 % in a dry food are likely approaching or above the safe upper limit for growth. Since there is no benefit to feeding these higher calcium products to a growing large breed and there may well be risk to the developing skeleton, IMHO they should not be fed during the growth period of a large/giant breed puppy.
Unfortunately, manufactures may state their foods are appropriate for large breed growth when they exceed the recommended level and may even say it is a dietary factor other than calcium that is responsible for the growth problems seen in large breeds. It really is a buyer beware situation as even foods labeled as “large breed puppy” sometimes exceed the recommended level of calcium.
On a energy basis the recommended amount of calcium is 3 grams/1000 kcals. The National Research Council sets the safe upper limit for calcium during growth at 4.5 grams/1000kcals. The European Pet Food Association sets the limit at 4 grams calcium /1000 kcals in puppies less than 6 months. AAFCO allows 7.14 grams/1000 kcals which is why large breed puppy owners have to be vigilant.
Additionally, as you pointed out, when evaluating calcium levels in foods you have the know the actual calcium level in the food. Manufactures often report min. calcium levels so that their foods appear to have a calcium level lower than what they actually have.Mike SagmanAdmin
Hound Dog Mom,
Thanks for posting your list of recommended foods for large breed puppies. The commercial products it contains appear to be both practical and well-researched. I found this footnote reassuring too…
“All calculations are based on actual or average calcium percentage. Companies that could not disclose actual or average calcium content were not included.”
Thanks again for sharing this valuable list. The information you provided along with many of Aimee’s previous postings on the blog could be the basis for a future article on this subject.
Nice job!Mike SagmanAdmin
Also, very good advice. I hope readers take the time to follow your suggestions, too. Advice like this could save a lot of great animals from the heartbreak of hip dysplasia and other canine skeletal diseases.
Thanks Dr. Mike!dowskyMember
that’s some good info. are you also watching the protein %. I have a friend that has a great dane pup. and has been told to watch the protein, to be under 25.
They have found that protein is not the issue with large breed dogs. The study that concluded that high protein played a role was actually faulty and has been disproven for quite some time now, but it’s a bandwagon that is easy for vets to jump on since they don’t have much education in nutrition and what they do have is from pet food companies that want business not what is best for your pet.Jagger2012Participant
Hound Dog Mom,
For some reason I am unable to view the document. Is it just unavailable for some reason? I am looking for dry kibble and a canned food topper for my 5 month old Lab. Any help would be great! Thank you!
Sorry Jagger2012, I just noticed this post. I’m not sure why you’re not seeing the document, it’s working for me. I’ll try posting a new link, let me know if this works: https://docs.google.com/open?id=0BwApI_dhlbnFY183Q0NVRXlidWcMike PParticipant
I like Merricks 96% grain free canned,Fromm,wellness 95%,Tripett,BB Wilderness.They are all nice toppers.We use canned 3 times a week.We also use fresh meat as toppers.Ground chicken/turkey,gizzards,beef,sardines,venison,eggs,yogurt . Brothers Complete is the kibble we use with a bag of fromms grain free once in awhile…
Hello! This is EXACTLY the thread that I was looking for. We have a 1.5 year old vizsla/lab mix who has hip dysplasia. While I feel as if I didn’t feed her the best food during her first year (Nature’s Recipe – Large Breed Puppy), I have been feeding her better food since. I’m definitely more educated. She’s currently transitioning to Fromm’s Four Star Grain-Free Game Bird recipe from Acana Ranchlands due to itchiness from Acana.
We are fostering a lab/mastiff mix whose parents were a 60lb lab (mom) and a 150lb purebred mastiff (dad). I have been trying to find the “best” food to feed him — and I am thrilled that I might be able to feed the same food to both of my dogs!
I do have a question, though. You state that Dr. Tim’s Kinesis (grain-free) has 1.3% calcium — where did you get this number? His site (http://drtims.com/grain-free/) states 1.51%, unless I’m reading it incorrectly.
I’m trying to choose between Fromm’s Four Star line (I love that you can swap flavors to give variety and I also love that you can feed less because they have a bit higher protein/fat content than the grain inclusive Four Star!) or transitioning both of my dogs to Dr. Tim’s Kinesis (GF).
I want to make sure that I am feeding my dogs one of the best foods! I know that either of these choices would be okay for Quinn, but I am really worried about hip dysplasia in a second dog. Any advice or feedback would be really appreciated. 🙂
Hi Saireah –
Thanks for pointing that out about the Dr. Tim’s – I’ll have to remove it from the list. I got the percentage from Dr. Tim’s customer service, I emailed them and asked them for the average calcium percentage of the grain-free Kinesis. Looking at their site, I think there was some confusion and they accidentally gave me the calcium level for the grain-inclusive Kinesis. I had the email saved and checked it and I did say grain free Kinesis, so it must have been a mix up.
Hmm! Their calcium for the grain inclusive formula is min. 0.97%. Maybe their site is wrong and your list is still okay? I can send them an e-mail separately and see what they say to me if you’d like?
Well I asked for the “average calcium level” of the grain-free Kinesis. The reason I email each company directly and ask for the average is because what’s stated on the website and product packaging is the guaranteed minimum, not what’s actually in the food. Generally the average calcium level is quite a bit higher than the stated minimum. Dr. Tim’s site states 0.97% min – so when I asked for the average I’m assuming he gave me the average for that formula. Then for the grain-free the min is 1.51%, so the average is likely somewhere around 1.8% or so. Hope that makes sense!
Definitely makes sense. Thanks!
You seem quite knowledgeable with large breeds, so I have a question if you wouldn’t mind? We’ve decided to keep our foster puppy (yay!) — but I’m not sure how much to feed him given his breed background. Again, his mother was a 60lb black lab and his father was a 150lb purebred English mastiff. I’m going to be feeding him the Fromm Four Star line. Quinn, our 50-ishlb lab/vizsla mix, gets just under 2 cups a day as we’re trying to keep her at a leaner weight due to her hip dysplasia. Ideally, she would be 45-50lbs per our discussion with Iowa State. However, for Mr. Unnamed, how many cups per day would you suggest on the Fromm Four Star line? He is 3 months old.
Thanks again for your spreadsheet — it solidified my decision to feed Fromm’s!
That’s really a tough question to answer as each dog is very different. The best thing you can do is monitor his his weight and adjust the food intake accordingly. So many factors can affect the calorie requirements of a dog including size, activity level, age, breed, gender, whether the dog is spayed or neutered, temperature, level of stress, etc. etc. A good place to start would be the feeding recommendation on the bag. Looking at Fromm’s feeding recommendation for their 4 Star line it’s based on an adult dog, so I would find his weight on the chart and double the suggested cups per day (because he’s a puppy and puppies at that age generally require about twice as many calories per pound as an adult dog). When he’s around 6 months old you could probably cut back to about 1 1/2 times the recommended amount for an adult dog. If he gets chubby cut him back, if he looks like he’s losing weight increase his feedings. Starting with the feeding chart on the bag is the and adjusting from there is the best suggestion I can give you. From personal experience though, you’ll probably have to adjust it. Just as an example, by 68 lb. spayed female eats the same amount as my 110 lb. unaltered male – doesn’t make any sense, right? According to Dr. Mike’s dog food calculator she should get 1,639 calories per day – she eats 2,500 calories per day.Gumbo and Roux MamaParticipant
The information provided by Hound Dog Mom is extremely helpful, but I am having a hard time deciding if my 8 month old puppy would be considered a large breed. After doing reserch, there are many varing opinions on what designates a large breed dog. My girl is a rescue and we were told she was a Boxer/Lab mix but who knows! She is definitely Boxer, but not certain about the lab. At 8 months, she weighs 40 pounds but is really lean. I worry that she borders on being a bit too thin but do not want to overfeed her in an effort to prevent future problems. Being new to this site, I certainly welcome any and all advice!
Hi Gumbo and Roux Mama –
I consider any dog that will be 60 pounds or more at maturity to be a large breed. If your pup is 8 months old and only 40 lbs. she’ll likely be a medium-sized dog at maturity, but definitely on that medium/large borderline. Feeding a small or medium sized dog as a large breed won’t hurt, so if you’re unsure there’s no reason you can keep the dog lean, limit calcium and limit strenuous exercise, etc. As for her weight, just google body weight scores for dogs and you’ll be able to find pictures of what a good weight should look like. I personally keep my dogs on the lean side, probably leaner than most keep their dogs – I’d rather see my dogs borderlining underweight than borderlining overweight. I think with large dogs any excess weight is just excess stress on the joints. You should see a waistline when you view the dog from above, an abdominal tuck when viewed from the side, you should be able to feel the ribs but they shouldn’t be protruding. A good indication that the dog is underweight is if you can see the hip bones – if you can see these she’s too thin.Mrs4444Participant
Thanks for starting this thread. Our six-month-old lab has developed panosteitis, and I want to make sure I’m feeding him the right food. I’ve started feeding him From 4-star. Hopefully, that will help.
Hi Mrs4444 –
Sorry to hear about your dog. Below is a link to an article by Dr. Becker that discusses pano. Dr. Becker says she’s had success supplementing with proteolytic enzymes, calcarea carbonica, arnica and Standard Process’ Musculoskeletal Support. Another poster on this site has a golden pup with pano and I believe she’s supplementing with turmeric and omega 3’s and having luck with that. Also, make sure you don’t let your pup play too hard – heavy activity can aggravate the condition.Mrs4444Participant
Thanks for the share, HDM–I’m intrigued by the idea of feeding raw food. Hm…
Check out the raw food thread. All three of my bloodhounds – ages 7 yrs, 2 yrs, and 6 mos. – are on a homemade raw diet. I have several of my recipes posted in the forum and there are also some links to some informative websites and some reading suggestions from myself and others.disney1974Participant
Hello Hound Dog Mom your info on large brreds is awesome thanks so much I was told to look at your links etc from Betsy. I have a 11 week old Great Pyranees and a 7 and 1/2 year old Samoyed (Neutered) Looking to see which food to feed each of them or just one all life stages.. Have you checked Performatrin Ultra Grain Free food? I did not see the calcium level on that and I did call the company…wasnt sure if you reccomend this food..Also Earthborn Holistic ?(it is not grain free) This is all new to me with all of the grain free foods..not sure to feed them grain or grain free..Puppy is on Puppy chow purina and am switching over now…can tstand that stuff! And my older dog was on Harmony Farms Holistic Lean weight formula for years but doesnt love his food..(he is not over weight) Any suggestions would be great
Thanks SO Much
Hi Melissa –
These are the foods I would recommend:
Any of the foods on my list would be appropriate for all life stages. All life stages is the same as a formula that is labeled for puppies or growth. The Earthborn Holistic Coastal Catch and Meadow Feast are both grain-free appropriate for large breed puppies. I know I looked into Performatrin Ultra grain-free and either the calcium levels were too high or the company never responded to my inquiry about calcium levels (I can’t remember, I made the list quite awhile ago). I wouldn’t feed the grain-inclusive Earthborn because it’s too low in protein, I think the grain-free varieties are much better. All the foods on my list are grain-free, but whether you want to feed grain-inclusive or grain-free is really up to you. I personally think grains aren’t appropriate for dogs and feed all my dog grain-free. If you do go with a grain-inclusive food be sure to check the calcium level (under 3.5 g. calcium per 1,000 kcal.) and try to find a variety with at least 30% protein (anything below that is really too low, especially for a puppy – imo).sheeklouchParticipant
Dear Hound Dog Mom,
I have a 13 week old pure bread Bullmastiff and I was wondering what you would recommend feeding him. The breeder recommended that we feed him Orijen Large Puppy Breed and the reviews all seemed positive so we gave it a try. After a few weeks, he is having trouble digesting it and having very soft stools almost diarrhea like. The vet told us that sometimes the high amount of protein in Orijen is hard for young puppies to digest and we should try switching over to a different type of food with a protein level around 30%. What would you recommend we switch too? Thanks!
Hi sheeklouch –
Orijen is a wonderful food (it’s actually the best dry food out there – imo), however (unfortunately) none of their formulas are appropriate for large breed puppies – they are all much too high in calcium. For this reason, I’ve never fed Orijen to any of my pups but I have fed it to my adult with great success.
Gertie my now two year old female ate The Honest Kitchen (Zeal, Love, Thrive) and Tripett until she was 8 months old. Mabel, my newest addition, who just turned 7 months old has been on a controlled calcium homemade raw diet since she came to me at 8 weeks (my other two dogs eat raw now as well).
I think that most dogs do well on high protein foods (Gertie and Mabel both ate >40% protein on average) – if your dog is having loose stools with high protein foods I’d suggest trying a spoonful of plain canned pumpkin, a multi-strain probiotic and digestive enzymes at each meal.
Assuming you want to stick with a dry food, here is a list of recommended foods. Sometimes it’s trial and error and you may need to try a few foods before you find on that works for your dog. Some dogs are just more sensitive than others.mlp576Participant
I have been using a whole food supplement and my dogs have been doing amazing. There moods are calmer yet they seem to have more energy. The coat looks amazing and my oldest is getting up the stairs easier. http://www.friendsfurlife.rockyandbella.com I totally recommend it. I use Pedigree maintenance however surviving and thriving are 2 different things all together. My Aunts dog is diabetic and told me that she has been able to cut down on the amount of meds for him so that is a testimony in itself.
Most up to date list of recommended foods (finally got around to removing the grain-free Dr. Tim’s):Swissy MixParticipant
I have a 9-wk old Bernese/Greater Swiss mix. I initially gave our pup TOTW puppy version. He did fine for a few days and his stool looked good, but he started throwing up. After a few days on a chicken & rice diet recommended by the vet, I thougth our pup might be intolerant of TOTW. I decided to try BB Wilderness puppy version. Although his stool was a smelled more, he was fine for a few days. Then he started to throw up again. The vet has put the pup on Hill’s Prescription Diet i/d for a few days to see if it’s the puppy food or something else that’s causing the vomiting. I talked to our puppy’s breeder, and he was feeding his pups Victor dog food without any problems. If my pup doesn’t vomit any more, I’m thinking of feeding him Victor since that’s what the breeder was using. However, I don’t see it on the recommended food list. What do you think of this brand for a large/extra large breed dog? My pup is already 20 lbs.
Hi Swissy Mix –
I know I checked into the grain free Victor when I was making the list – because they’re not on the list it means either the calcium levels were too high for a large breed puppy or customer service never responded to me. The calcium levels in BB Wilderness and TOTW were too high as well. Not sure about the calcium levels in the grain inclusive Victor – if it’s 3.5 g . per 1,000 kcal. or less it should be fine.Tuckers MomParticipant
Hi, need some advice please. I have a 11 month old 60 lb. mix. I’ve been told Lab/Shepherd or Lab/Rotty. He seems to be showing some signs of hip dysplasia, I have a vet appointment at the end of the month. I’ve been feeding him Taste of the Wild for several months now. When I went to the pet store they told me they were out of TOTW Puppy and said there was no problem using the adult since there wasn’t much difference. Did my not using Puppy make a difference? After reading Hound Dog’s list for large breed it looks like I’ll be making a food change anyway. I was thinking about starting him on a joint supplement. Aren’t ones for humans more reasonably priced than for dog. Thanks for any advice.
Yes, ones for humans are better priced. HDM recently found a company named Swansons that has a nice variety and great prices. Choose something that has a few ingredients and then switch it up later. That way you save the big guns for when he is older.
Hi BakersMom –
Unfortunately, if he has hip dysplasia there’s no reversing it. At 11 months old he’s already been through his critical growth phase and reducing calcium levels won’t help. Not feeding a puppy formula wouldn’t have caused this – but all of Taste of the Wild’s formulas are technically “puppy” formulas anyways (they’ve all met the AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages). A variety of factors are involved in the development of hip dysplasia – genetics (probably the biggest factor), over feeding, calcium intake during the critical growth phase (about the first 6 months), activity level (high impact activity during growth can cause hip dysplasia) and probably numerous other factors we aren’t yet aware of. If you do find out your pup has hip dysplasia it’s not the end of the world, there are several actions you can take to help him live a long and comfortable life. If the dysplasia is severe, your vet may recommend surgery – most orthopedic surgeries have a high success rate. Surgery is expensive, but if the dysplasia is severe it will be cheaper to get surgery rather than pay for expensive supplements and medications for the rest of his life. If the dysplasia is more mild, often the deterioration of the joint can be slowed by supplementing with GAGs and pain and inflammation can be controlled with natural supplements such as boswellia, turmeric, omega 3’s, white willow, yucca, tart cherry, etc. It will also be important to keep him active so the muscles around his hip stay strong, making the hip less likely to luxate. Low impact activities like walking and swimming are great for dogs with joint problems. Human supplements are generally cheaper than pet-specific supplements – I would recommend going for something with glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM and also supplementing with an anti-inflammatory such as turmeric or boswellia. Adjust the human dose depending on his weight – for example give a 25 lb. dog 1/4 the recommended human dose, a 50 lb. dog 1/2 the recommended human dose, etc. Give twice the recommended dose for the first two weeks and if you see improvement reduce the dose to half and discontinue the supplement for two consecutive days each week to help keep him from building a tolerance to the ingredients.augustParticipant
I just want to say a huge thank you to Hound Dog Mom for all the work she’s put into this research. While our family has had dogs growing up (and we still have two lovely cuddlers) I am going to be getting a puppy of my own in 2 weeks. He will be a 9 week old black lab/great dane mix and I’m really excited.
From what I’ve seen on the forums here I’m planning on rotating between 2 different dry foods with some canned for breakfast and dinner. Using HDM’s list I’ve decided the first food will be Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain: Salmon because I know I can get it at our local Costco for $35 and it got 4 stars. I’ll choose another food to rotate from the list once I find out what we have in town.
My question is this: Should I factor in the calcium and protein levels of the canned food on top of the dry food? It seems pretty self-explanatory, I know, but I’m a new dog mom and I really want to get this right!
Second question: Does anyone have any recommendations for the amount I should be feeding? I’ll go through this topic again after I post to make sure I didn’t miss anything. This is the first time I’ve had responsibility for another being and I desperately want to make sure I don’t overfeed. Right now I’m planning three feedings a day with breakfast and dinner having canned food on the dry and the noon feeding being used mostly for training purposes.
Any advice welcome!
Hi August –
I like Tripett for a canned topper for large breed puppies – it’s pure canned green tripe (so it’s only for a topper, not a balanced meal). Green tripe naturally has a balanced calcium to phosphorus ratio but it has a very low concentration of both minerals. However, if you’re only using a small amount of canned food as a topper I wouldn’t worry about the calcium levels.
It’s really tough to recommend an amount to feed as energy requirements can vary drastically from dog to dog. The feeding guide on the bag would be a good place to start but keep in mind it’s only a starting point. Some dogs will need much more than what’s recommended on the feeding guide and others will need much less. You’ll need to assess your pup’s weight regularly and adjust his portions accordingly to ensure he maintains optimum body condition. He’ll be growing quickly and for the first 8 months or so you’ll find that you’ll need to adjust portions frequently.augustParticipant
Thanks so much for your quick response! I’ll definitely look into Trippett. Maybe once things settle down a bit I’ll be able to get him a variety of canned foods for toppers.
Thank you for your advice. I’ll do my best to judge what he needs and if I’m wrong I’ll try and catch it early. 🙂Jfa0930Participant
Ok, guys. I’m back. I had switched my Doberman puppy from Blue Buffalo Large Breed Puppy to Earthborn Holistics MeadowFeast because the Blue Buffalo was giving her diarrhea and now the Earthborn is doing the same thing. I want to feed her a 5 star food within the same price range that does not give her the poops! Any suggestions? I need to make a decision soon because I’m getting low on the bag I have and I’ll need enough to transition properly. Someone mentioned to me that they could have too much protein for her?Tuckers MomParticipant
Hi HDM: Thanks for your response and all the research you’ve done. I’ve ordered Swanson Mobility one of the supplements on your list and it has boswellia in it. I’m also switching to Earthborn Holistic since its time for some rotation anyway. I can’t get into the Vet until the end of the month. We walk every nite but most of his discomfort seems to come after a trip to the doggie park but he enjoys it so much I hate to take it away from him.
Thanks for all of the great info on this forum. I have a 12 week old Goldendoodle. He is estimated to be around 65 to 70 lbs. I have driven myself crazy trying to find the best puppy food to feed him. I finally chose Fromm Gold large breed puppy as I was comfortable with the ingredients and the levels of calcium/phosphorus were low. He has been sick the past week, vet has him on a bland diet. I fear the issue might be his food and am preparing to switch if needed. I know HDM has a great list for food, but wanted everyone’s opinion on 2 things. 1. Is it ok to feed large breed puppy a non puppy food?
2. Is it ok to feed puppy a grain free diet?
I have been getting mixed answers from my research and don’t know what to do. Help!!
I feed all my dogs, including an 11 yr old, All Life Stages foods which are puppy and every other age foods. I feel they are better quality than Adult foods.
I have a puppy that can’t handle grains in his diet, so I know first hand that feeding grain free is just fine for puppies. I’ve heard all kinds of mixed answers too, but the things people say against feeding high protein are based on old research that was proved both faulty and false. Unfortunately, old wives tales are difficult to kill.newsaintownerParticipant
Hi there –
I am a new member, but I have been eavesdropping for weeks! I can’t tell you how invaluable all the great information here has been to me, especially your posts, HDM… Thank you so much!! We have a seventeen week Saint Bernard puppy who is very particular about what he will eat. He seems to really like a food, and then he will gradually become less and less enthusiastic until he flat-out quits eating.
To get to the point, my question is regarding Wellness Core puppy food. I bought a small bag and our puppy seems to like it ( at least for now!). I know this is on your list of acceptable grain free foods, HDM, but I just wanted to confirm that it is indeed safe to feed, despite the fact that it is not labeled “large breed”. I am assuming that I can compensate for the higher fat and calories by feeding less food and just watching our pup’s overall condition.
I am a bit embarrassed to even ask, but I just had to double check with you, HDM, because of all the dire warnings about feeding a large breed puppy regular puppy food. I am assuming these warnings all are directed at the calcium levels. Thank you for you time and for all the great information!
Hi newsaintowner –
Never be embarrassed to ask questions! 🙂
Yes, according to the calcium levels provided to me by Wellness, the Wellness CORE puppy formula is acceptable for large breed puppies. Feed the amount that keeps your pup in optimal body condition – with a Saint you’ll likely need to be adjusting portions pretty frequently for the first year as they grow quickly. Also, despite their size Saints don’t typically have high energy (calorie) requirements. I have two friends with Saints – both of their Saints (~180 lbs.) eat less then my hounds (70 lbs. – 110 lbs.). A lot of the giant bulky breeds like Saints tend to have slow metabolisms so you’re going to have to watch the weight carefully. I understand the concern over foods being labeled “large breed” and foods only being labeled “puppy.” From my experience contacting companies to determine the appropriateness of their formulas for growing large breed puppies, I found that a “large breed” puppy formula is no more likely to be appropriate for large breed growth than a regular “puppy formula” or “all life stages” formula. In fact, you’ll notice not one “large breed puppy” formula made my list. This is because every 4 or 5 star grain-free large breed puppy formula I found had excessive levels of calcium. What I was seeing is that companies were merely reducing the fat, calorie and protein levels in their large breed formula and the calcium levels were often the same or more than in their regular puppy or all life stages formulas! Based on current research it is known that fat and protein have no effect on the incidence of developmental orthopedic disease in large/giant breed puppies and that calcium does. Calories only have an effect on developmental orthopedic disease if they are consumed in excess (i.e. the puppy is allowed to be overweight) – this doesn’t mean that large/giant breed puppies need reduced calorie foods, it merely means their portions need to be controlled. So in short, in order to limited your pup’s chances of developing an orthopedic condition, feed appropriate levels of calcium, keep your pup in optimal body condition and avoid strenuous and high impact activities until your pup is fully grown (24 months of age for a Saint). Good luck with the new pup and don’t be afraid to come back if you have any more questions!newsaintownerParticipant
HDM – Thank you so much for your response! I just needed to check and make sure that a regular puppy food was indeed okay…. I have always wondered why not feed a higher fat/calorie food to a large breed puppy and then just feed less of it. In so doing, wouldn’t you reduce the overall calcium intake?
A giant breed puppy seems to need quite a bit of food to maintain even a very lean frame ( at least our boy does!) and it seems self -defeating to choose a food with low calcium but also low fat/calorie and then have to feed a larger quantity daily.
Thank you again for your time… it is so helpful to be able to ask questions to someone is is so knowledgeable. Hopefully our puppy will be content with eating the Wellness Core Puppy for a long time and I won’t have to struggle with this difficult decision again for quite a while!
Just wanted to know if all think the following would be too much for a large breed puppy?
Quality kibble from HDM’s list
Mix with Trippett or mix with Grandma Lucy’s pureformance
Add wholistic pets digest all plus – pre/probiotic and enzymes
Would I need the probiotics if I am already adding Trippett?
Thanks in advance for your time and feedback.
That sounds like a great menu for a large breed puppy! My dogs love Tripett and Grandma Lucy’s. Raw green tripe is naturally rich in probiotics and enzymes however they are destroyed in the canning process, so if you want your pup to have the benefits of probiotics and enzymes it will be necessary to supplement separately.
I started looking at price. The wholistic doesn’t really have enough strains in it. The Mercola is expensive. Swanson’s looks good but lists 72 trace minerals that are added in (doesn’t list individually). Do you think I need to be wary of the calcium levels if I am going to use Swansons? It’s much much cheaper.
I posted earlier in this thread regarding our new foster puppy (then failed foster puppy) Riggs… he’s now six months old and doing great. I have been feeding him Fromm’s Large Breed Puppy Gold. He’s been flourishing on it and it’s a great price in my area ($49 for a 33lb bag). It took me a bit to swallow that it’s only a 4 star food because it is grain inclusive, but my 2 year old lab/vizsla mix has been doing so much better since I took her off of grain-free food. I have her on the Adult Gold and chose the Large Breed Puppy Gold so I could do Fromm’s buy-12-get-13th-free This is strange, I know, and I’m in no way advocating switching to grain-inclusive – it just seemed as if grain-free was too rich for her.
I wanted to throw the option of Fromm’s Large Breed Puppy Gold out there to everyone as an alternative if you’re a bit concerned about budget. What was interesting to me is that it has less calcium than Fromm’s GF Game Bird Recipe. It does have a bit less protein, but I think it looks pretty good when I did my original research on it. Feel free to correct me, though. 🙂
And their Large Breed Puppy Gold bags currently have incorrect feeding guidelines on them due to some regulatory issues, but if you e-mail Fromm’s customer service, they will send you a document with the proper guidelines.
I should note that, once Riggs turns a year old, I am going to try and transition them both to a grain-free Fromm’s 4 Star line and see how Quinn does again. But, for the year in which he is literally inhaling his food, I had to be a bit budget-minded. 🙂Swissy MixParticipant
How much should I be feeding my Bernese/GSMD mix puppy? My husband thinks we need to feed him more; I say he’s fine. He’s about 50 lbs and 5 months. He’s not overweight, and his vet and dog trainer say he looks good. He’s on Victor’s Lamb & Rice, and he gets 2 cups twice a day. (He’s on Victor because that’s what the breeder fed him. We’re thinking of switching him, but we haven’t decided which one yet.) Is there a certain calorie count for extra large breed puppies I need to calculate to make sure he’s getting enough? Like he should have XX of calories a day, or something like that?
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