Large and Giant Breed Puppy Nutrition

Dog Food Advisor Forums Diet and Health Large and Giant Breed Puppy Nutrition

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  • #28157 Report Abuse

    I’ve requested that part of the guarantee be altered – we’ll see what they say. They ask you to keep receipts for the first year for the food and vitamins they require. The agreement is pretty much worthless – it’s like every time one of their customers had a bad vet experience over the last 15 years, the breeder just added a line to their agreement saying, “it doesn’t cover this.”

    We’re a bit off topic of food selection now – sorry.

    #28159 Report Abuse

    RescueDaneMom – Thank you! I did actually hear back from Nutrisca and the calcium/phosphorus levels are too high!
    Was thinking about Natures Variety Instinct Limited Ingredient Turkey but my only concern is that one of the ingredients is Rosemary Extract and I’ve read that has been known to cause seizures. Can anyone confirm? Other than that I love Nature’s Variety but the seizure probability worries me. I’ve had my puppy for a week now and switched him to Annamaet Salcha which is great, on the list, no grains, good protein levels but I’ve noticed puppy has started scratching more than when I first got him which worries me. I’m wondering if maybe it’s the peas or potatoes. It can’t be the chicken because the food the breeder had him on was chicken based. I’m so confused and worried. I did so much research and thought I found a great food but all the scratching all of a sudden doesn’t seem normal.

    #28162 Report Abuse

    Hi jewels!

    I think most would agree that high protein is good for large breed puppies. Yes, Patty was saying that some people use 30% as the minimum protein level that they will feed. I am one of those people. I believe HDM once said that there is no such thing as too much protein for a healthy dog. For a large breed puppy (LGP) you really have to be careful with the the amount of calcium in the food because they are prone to developing bone issues if their bones grow too fast.

    The calcium and phosphorous on the bags and websites are usually reported as a minimum percentage (ie 1.0% min). HDM contacted the companies and asked for the actual percentages (not minimums) of calcium and phosphorous in their foods, then calculated how many grams of each were in 1000kcal of the food. This factors in the calorie counts in the foods. Some foods can be deceiving because they look like they have low calcium but because of the calorie count you have to feed more of it so you end up feeding more calcium than is safe for a growing large breed puppy.

    So yes, as far as calcium goes, you are missing a piece- the formula that HDM uses to convert the calcium % to grams of calcium per 1000kcal. That would only give you a minimum number though because that’s what is reported on the bag. You would need to contact the company to get the actual amount of calcium in the food. That’s why it’s easiest for all of us to use the list that HDM made.

    NV Prairie LGP is on the list so you are fine with what you have been feeding. If you want to use a higher protein food for the next in his rotation, you could try Annamaet Aqualuk or Salcha (30%), Black Gold Ultimate Grain Free 32/18 Salmon (32%), Earthborn Holistic Coastal Catch (32%), Wellness Core Puppy (36%).

    I hope this is helpful and clears some things up for you.

    #28164 Report Abuse

    Hi karink!

    Unfortunately, you never know what is going to bother a dog until you try it. Does the sudden scratching coincide with the change of food or could it be something else? If you suspect it’s the food, then I would switch to something else to see if it stops. My dog did very well on Annamaet Salcha but he doesn’t have any food intolerances. What was he eating before? Did it have peas or potatoes? Grain-free foods tend to have peas and potatoes in them. It can be hard to find one without both.

    Sorry I can’t help with the rosemary extract. I haven’t heard that before. It’s interesting because The Honest Kitchen is removing rosemary from all of their formulas because of customer feedback.

    #28165 Report Abuse

    Damn Marie or another one of you ladies that have the list can you reupload it as i believe something happened to the original document that HDM posted. I cant open the google docs anymore

    #28166 Report Abuse
    #28167 Report Abuse

    wow im so dumb i had to log in to view the document. But interesting thing though on wellness core’s site it says the calcium on their puppy food is 1.5 but HDM has it listed as 1.23. I wonder if they updated their formula and now it has more calcium

    #28170 Report Abuse

    Duke The Boxer-

    LOL! The calcium on Wellness Core Puppy is reported as “not more than 1.5%” meaning it’s a maximum. 1.23 is the actual percentage of calcium when they tested it.

    #28171 Report Abuse

    ok. well i am now feeding duke dr tims kinesis and duke is doing very well. He did not do so well on the NV Rabbit as his stools were very loose. I will try another NV Instinct because his coat and the amount of times he went to the bathroom were greatly improved. I also have tried the wellness core puppy food and it probably was my second favorite dog food behind dr tims. I recommend these dog foods to anyone with a large breed puppy

    #28187 Report Abuse

    Duke the Boxer,

    How much Dr. Tim’s Kinesis are you giving your puppy? My English Setter puppy is currently 16 weeks old and 20 lbs. According to Dr. Tim’s feeding recommendation the max I should give her at this age and weight is 1.75 cups.

    On her current food, Nutrisource Large Breed Puppy, Annie eats 3 cups a day and I am sure would gobble up more if I let her. So I was wondering how your puppy reacts to the smaller quantity recommendation, because Dr. Tim’s is high on my list to try next.

    Thank you.

    #28188 Report Abuse

    Parr and Jewels
    As far as a food that is appropriate for large breed growth and in regards to protein levels, meat has a lot of phosphorus in it naturally and the calcium/phosphorus ratio has to be in a certain range, so to keep the calcium low enough, they have to use meats that are low in phosphorus and/or limit the amount of meat. That’s why the really high protein foods aren’t on the list.

    When I say some people have a personal limit of 30% protein, I mean they won’t feed a food that has less than that. I am however referring to dry matter, not guaranteed analysis. If you want to keep the calcium/phosphorus balanced but add more protein to a meal, tripe is the way to go. Not the bleached tripe that the butcher or grocery store sells though, green or canned tripe.

    #28190 Report Abuse

    Rosemary does not cause seizures, but some believe that it can bring on a seizure in a dog that has epilepsy. Rosemary did not affect my epilepsy dog at all.

    #28191 Report Abuse

    Patty- thank you for clarifying. I was struggling with it.

    #28192 Report Abuse

    Does anyone know why the fromm nutritionals grain inclusive whitefish flavor and the salmon flavors are not included on the list? I’ve checked the calcium levels and they seem to be okay. Am I missing something?

    #28194 Report Abuse

    You have to remember it isn’t just the calcium%, it’s the grams calcium per 1000kcal of food. It matters how much of the food the dog would have to eat.

    #28195 Report Abuse

    Forgive my blank mind at the moment how would I calculate this?

    #28197 Report Abuse

    when I tell you, you will know that you had a great reason for that blank mind, but here goes.

    1)Multiply calcium% by 1000g. That gives you the grams of calcium/kg
    2)Divide the grams of calcium/kg by the kcal/kg for the food. That gives you the grams of calcium/kcal.
    3)Multiply the grams of calcium/kcal by 1000/1000. That gives you grams of calcium/1000kcal.

    I hope I didn’t mess that up. Also remember, don’t go by the calcium minimum on the bag. You have to contact the company and get the actual figures.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by theBCnut.
    #28199 Report Abuse

    Oh wow that’s overwhelming! So I’m assuming the Fromm isn’t going to be a good choice. I can’t remember what pea free foods you recommended to me already but are there any that come to your mind at the moment? Also would you consider a doberman a large breed? I’ve read some people classify them as a medium breed. Thanks so much for all your help it very helpful 🙂

    #28204 Report Abuse

    I’m not the one that recommended pea free foods to you, that’s what overwhelms me, ingredient lists.

    Different family lines of Dobies are vastly different sizes. We had one that was definitely from a medium sized line. But the vet I worked for had a Warlock Dobie that was close to being Great Dane sized. If you don’t know what size yours should be, play it safe and assume it will be large.

    #28206 Report Abuse

    I couldn’t remember who it was. The ingredient lists overwhelm me also. There are so many different brands and types of foods plus a lot of the online websites don’t give you the option to search for foods without peas. I will keep searching and use that formula also. I had been looking at just the minimum percentages rather than the maximum. I’m so glad that you pointed that out to me. Thanks so much for thehelpful info 🙂

    #28208 Report Abuse


    Thank you so much for letting me know the protein was based on the dry matter rather than the guaranteed analysis. I went back to the websites but not all of them show the dry matter information. I hate to ask, but can you tell me the formula to determine that result? You did such a good job on the calcium calculation! : ) Seriously, I love the detail you share! You are extremely helpful to everyone! Especially since I am new to this site this last week, I’ve had several questions. You have been very patient and helped me sort through all this information. Thank you so much! It is so much to take in, But I am trying.


    I think you may be talking about the list of “pea-free” food that was on another thread, “Dog Food Ingredients”, under the question, “Anyone’s dog allergic to Peas?”. I happened to be reading that one too so I’ve copied it here for you. I hope this is what you were looking for.

    pugmomsandy wrote:

    Grandma Lucy’s and The Honest Kitchen have some pea free foods. Also Great Life grain free/Pioneer Naturals. Here’s some pea free foods I had written down last year. I’m not sure if they’re still pea free:
    TOTW Pacific Stream (canola)
    EVO red meats
    EVO turkey & chicken
    Pinnacle Peak (quinoa)
    Grandma Lucy’s Pureformance
    Natures Logic – millet, no potato
    Great Life
    Canine Caviar
    I and Love and You by

    #28239 Report Abuse

    Thanks Parr! That is exactly the list mfulton is looking for.

    So, to determine dry matter(DM) protein(so much easier):
    1) Subtract the moisture % from 100%. That gives you the % of total dry matter in the diet.
    2) Divide the protein% by the total DM% and multiply by 100. That will give you the DM protein%
    3) You can do the same again, but with the fat% to get the DM fat%

    #28243 Report Abuse

    That is exactly what I was talking about Parr! Thank you so much. All of the researching I’ve been doing on this site lately has me forgetting where I read what. I’m so glad that you found and posted that list for me. I really appreciate it!

    #28286 Report Abuse

    Mfulton7, and Pattyvaughn,

    Oh I am so glad I was able to help someone else for a change! : )

    Thank you Patty, once again! This does seem easier to calculate than the calcium you explained earlier. : ) I’ll give it a try. I have been adding some meat of the same protein, and cooked green beans, to Abbey’s meals and she LOVE’S it!

    #28323 Report Abuse

    Hi everyone. I have a 4.5 month old GSD. I was feeding him Fromm Large Breed since 8 weeks up until 1 week ago. His stool would always be soft. Not runny, but not easy to pick up stools. I thought maybe the Fromm was too rich for him since it contains about three different types meat. I added pumpkin to his food and have been using OptaGest. His stools firmed up with that, but he’s always had gas. I decided to switch to Nature’s Variety LID Turkey thinking maybe something bland will help. Well his stools are back to soft, even though I’m transitioning slowly. And he doesn’t really seem to like the NV. Maybe it’s too bland? I was thinking of returning it and going with Earthborn instead. I just don’t know if to go for the Coastal Catch or Meadow Feast. Don’t know which would be easier on his tummy. I know I went to grain inclusive to grain free, that’s why I’m still weaning him to Nature’s Variety. But should I stick to grain inclusive then? If not the Earthborn formulas, I was thinking NutriSource Large Breed. It is grain inclusive, but only has chicken as a meat source.

    Any feedback will be greatly appreciated.

    #28330 Report Abuse

    Are those foods on HoundDogMoms list of appropriate foods?

    #28331 Report Abuse

    Yes, I printed her list out before I brought my puppy home.

    #28332 Report Abuse

    I’ve read many times on the forums that Nutrisource is easy on the tummy and easy to switch to. I’ve fed Earthborn and my Dane liked it, but not every dog tolerates the peas well. Two grain-inclusive nature’s variety foods are on the list too- Nature’s Variety Prairie Puppy & NVP Large Breed Puppy.

    #28335 Report Abuse


    You’re right. I completely forgot about the NV Large Breed. I didn’t know that about NutriSource. I know I’d have to try different foods to see which one he does best with, but in your opinion should I go with something grain inclusive then? He seems like the type with a sensitive stomach. Although with treats he does very well, no matter what type they are.

    If I go stick with grain inclusive, should I try the NutriSource or NV Large Breed?

    #28337 Report Abuse

    I know duke was having problems on the NV Rabbit and when I started to mix in nutri source large breed his stools were completely firm. Almost too firm for my liking.

    #28338 Report Abuse

    I was reading the comments underneath the DFA review for NutriSource and there are comments about it being good on the tummy. I’ll try that first and see how it goes. The only thing that makes it a teenie bit iffy for me is that it says it contains corn gluten meal, but I remember someone on here saying it doesn’t contain corn anymore?

    #28339 Report Abuse

    Are others able to print the list? I always get a 404 error when trying to print. Apparently this is a known bug with google docs which has to do with the document permissions.

    I’ve read some in this thread have the same problem and others state they are able to print it out. I’ve tried 3 different browsers and from both Windows and Ubuntu. Sorry if this has already been addressed. I miss the ability to search a specific thread.

    I’m very appreciative to have all this research shared for all and would love to be able to print out the list and take it to the pet food store. I am bringing home a Ridgeback puppy next week and want to feed him well.



    #28340 Report Abuse

    If you stick with grain-inclusive, I would choose NVP Large Breed over NutriSource. That is based on my personal opinion and what I would feed my dog. I don’t like that NutriSource uses corn gluten meal. The NV uses brown rice, barley, oatmeal, and millet for carbs where NutriSource used brown rice, white rice, barley, and corn gluten meal. Other than that they are very similar.

    How is he doing on the NV LID? Better, worse, or the same as when you were feeding Fromm?

    I googled OptaGest because I’ve never heard of it. I applaud you for using digestive enzymes. However, if he is super sensitive and having loose stools, you may also want to add probiotics. A lot of people recommend the Mercola pets digestive enzymes and probiotics (though they are pricey). I use Dr. Langers 15 strain probiotic from Swanson’s: It helps our rottie with cancer and our pitt digest their food so much better.

    It could be his digestive system needs more help to digest the kibble.

    #28341 Report Abuse


    Since adding the NV Turkey, his stools turned soft again. Also, it smells much stronger. Maybe grain free isn’t for him, although I don’t want to give up yet. I’m gonna try the NutriSource because of your earlier comment, that it seems to settle well with tummies. And I’m also going to try the supplement you recommend. He really likes the pumpkin, alone and with kibble, so I’ll keep giving it to him. I agree with you on the corn gluten, but I’m going to try the NutriSource first. After that I’ll try the NV Prairie. Thank you so much for your help. If there’s anything else you’d like to tell me, please do so

    #28346 Report Abuse

    I am the one that said Nutrisource Large Breed Puppy no longer has corn gluten IF the bag you buy has an expiration or use by date of November 2014 or later. This is coming from talking directly to the company that makes it. Even if it still lists corn gluten on the bag, the company legally has 6 months after changing the ingredients to update the bag.

    My 16 week old English Setter puppy is on Nutrisource after having very soft stools with Wellness Core Puppy. She has done well on it but I plan to do a rotational diet and I think my next food will be Dr. Tim’s.

    #28347 Report Abuse

    I highly recommend dr Tim’s kinesis grain inclusive

    #28349 Report Abuse


    Im not very savvy with this stuff, but it seems like if you do a screenshot(s) of the document first, then you should be able to print it up?

    I think windows 7 and above has a snipping tool to make it a little easier to do the screenshots.

    #28352 Report Abuse

    Hi – I’m new here. I was using DFA to problem-solve and evaluate diets for my 5 mo male Weim (Augie) and ended up on this thread. WOW – what a great source of info! I’ve learned a lot and want to thank HDM and all the others who contributed. Here’s my story and my problem. Any advice would really be appreciated… especially would like input from HDM..…

    We brought Augie home at 9 wks and he had soft/runny stool. Vet found roundworms and treated them. After the “all clear”, I thought his stool would get better – but it didn’t. Vet checked his stool again and found very high levels of “Clostridium” and a few other bacteria commonly found in dirt (Augie is a compulsive dirt/mud/rock eater – we’re working on it). Vet put him on Metronidozol and Pro-Pectalin for 20 days (2 rounds) – it did not resolve. Then he put him on SMZ (another antibiotic) and a bland diet for 16 days. During that time, his stool got bright yellow and was still runny all the time. He also stopped gaining weight and lost several lbs (was supposed to be 38-42 lbs, but dropped to 27 lbs). I asked about using a Probiotic and canned pumpkin, but vet didn’t want to introduce anything new to his GI tract. We tested his stool again – and finally all the bacteria levels were normal and no worms. BUT his stool was still soft/runny. He also had developed colitis from the constant diarrhea/soft stool. I started giving him 1 heaping tsp canned pumpkin with each meal and slowly (over 12 days) I transitioned him from Eukanuba Puppy Growth (the breeders kibble) to Orijen Large Breed Puppy. He has now been on 100% Orijen for 11 days and I’m still giving him the pumpkin. His stool has gotten a little better – it’s formed about 75% of the time and soft about 25%. But the last couple days it has had a slick greasy coating on the outside. What does that mean?

    Based on what I learned here, I have a new plan (I think). Much of this is new to me (have never used probiotics or enzymes and have never rotated foods). Also, I’m very interested in going raw (commercially made), but I don’t feel confident enough to pull the trigger yet – especially since his bowels have been so messed up for the last 3 months. What do you think of this plan:

    1) Get him off Orijen – calcium is too high – did not know that till I saw HDM’s list.
    2) Choose 3-4 high protein kibbles from HDM list and plan to rotate at the end of each bag.
    3) Make the next food in the rotation a non-chicken, since the Euk and Orijen were both chicken based.
    4) Choose a variety of toppers to be used as 20% of each meal. Use a different topper at each meal.
    5) Start giving a probiotic and digestive enzymes with every meal
    6) Continue 1 heaping tsp canned pumpkin with each meal
    7) Learn more about going raw – would like to start with commercially made and go from there. Maybe start by using a commercial raw (THK, Primal, Darwin’s) as the topper? or is that too hard for a dog to digest (mixing raw with non-raw)?

    Do I give a Probiotic and Dig Enzymes at each meal indefinitely – or just during transitions from 1 food to the next?
    Do I continue the pumpkin indefinitely?
    Should I add fish oil and how much?
    He’s up to 32.5 lbs, but still can see hips and ribs a little. What can I do to safely get some weight on him?

    I really appreciate what I have learned here and look forward to advice. Thanks!

    #28354 Report Abuse

    Duke the Boxer,

    Not sure if you saw my previous question to you, but was wondering how much you serve a day of Dr. Tim’s Kinesis?


    #28355 Report Abuse

    Well dr Tim’s actually says to feed a whole cup less than what was recommended on the nv. I’m feeding him now like 2 1/4 cups a day divided into 2 meals. Supposedly for his weight which is 42 pounds he should be getting like 2 cups a day. On NV when he was 30 pounds he was already getting 3 cups a day. I know this is because dr Tim’s is higher per kibble than the nv so it’s convinient that you can feed him less but still be more. Duke has really been doing well on the dr Tim’s. Also recommend nutri source large breed puppy for anyone who has a puppy with soft stools. Nutri source really helped me firm his stools up after he was having intolerances to rabbit. If you have any other questions let me know! Even more so if you have very specific questions about where dr Tim’s sources his proteins and such then I would suggest emailing dr Tim directly. He is extremely friendly and helpful and answered my like 6 emails pretty quickly hahaha

    #28356 Report Abuse

    Also for kms I want to recommend you a very good probiotic that I have been giving duke for a little and it really has helped with his stools, skin, and he barely has has anymore and if he does it doesn’t smell bad at all. The probiotic I’m giving him is the Biostareq Terra Biota K9. Pretty cheap and I researched and talked to their formulator directly and really after all the information I wouldn’t even consider another probiotic. The digestive enzyme I’m giving him is the Swanson Plant based digestive enzymes. I give him the probiotic once a day ever other day. The enzyme is every meal or if you wanted I give him the digestive enzyme on the meal where I feed him more than in the morning. Sorry for the double wall of text. I’m just pretty passionate about dr Tim’s and the Biostareq probiotic.

    #28357 Report Abuse

    I just googled the Terra Biota K9 product. It looks good- 13 strains of probiotics. Mercola pets digestive enzymes and probiotics are good too. I was using Dr. Stephen Langer’s 15 strain probiotic from Swanson’s. They’re buy one get one free right now. They worked really well for my dogs. Like with anything else, it’s good to switch it up and not use the same product all the time.

    #28358 Report Abuse

    Hi kms
    Your plan sounds pretty good. Start by giving probiotics and digestive enzymes every meal, in fact, if you use a dog probiotic(Mercola’s is my favorite, but it is expensive) you can double the dose for the first few days. After you get the stools in order, you can cut back to a couple times a week. Up the pumpkin amount to 1 teaspoon for every 10 lbs. You only need to use it as needed. Some dogs need it with every transition, some never need it again except if they get into something that causes diarrhea.

    Using commercial raw as a topper is fine, but if you are talking about keeping it to 20%, you can just add some human grade meat and here and there throw in a raw meaty bone like a rib or a turkey neck. You only need to worry about balance when you start to replace more of the meal than 20%.

    #28360 Report Abuse

    Unfortunately rescue Dane mom I also tried the dr langers probiotic but it didn’t do anything for duke. Within a day or two of giving him the terra biota his stools firmed up more. Also he stopped having room clearing gas. But with dogs it’s just like humans some medicine and supplements work better than others.

    #28361 Report Abuse

    Definitely agree, Duke. Dogs are just as unique as people. All are individuals. I tried Liquid Health’s K9 Level 5000 joint supplement because people said it worked great for their dogs. It didn’t do a darn thing for mine. Just got to keep searching until you find what works.

    #28365 Report Abuse

    Kms has been paying attention!

    #28368 Report Abuse

    Exactly RDM that is one of the best lessons ive learned from having this puppy. You have to have to do your own trial and error with most everything. But having some good direction from others more knowledgeable is great 😀

    #28369 Report Abuse

    I’ve been reading all the posts and was curious about the brand of pumpkin you all are using? Excuse me if this sounds ignorant but is this something you buy at the grocery store in a can?

    #28370 Report Abuse

    Mfulton: yep! Just make sure it’s the plain pumpkin, not the one with spices.

    #28371 Report Abuse

    Thank you!

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