First time poster here. I have 2 Rhodesian Ridgebacks, 1 8 weeks old and 1 10 mos old and I am searching for an all life stages brand as I want to feed them as a group. I’m currently feeding them Precise Naturals Large & Giant breed puppy formula.
I do have a number of things I’m hoping to avoid:
1. Trace contaminates from the manufacturing process. I try to vet the dog foods here: https://www.*********************/product_category/dog-food/
2. Can be grain or grain free (Rice generally has arsenic but grain free blends tend to have more contaminates just as brands with fish tend to as well) Ref: https://www.*********************/pet-food/ and https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2012/11/arsenic-in-your-food/index.htm
3. Would like to avoid high levels of pea/pea protein/legumes as they could potentially have long term health effects on dogs: Ref: https://truthaboutpetfood.com/grain-free-equals-peas-peas-and-more-peas/
4. No canola oil. It seems to have more health risks than benefits: https://draxe.com/canola-oil-gm/
With my current feed, I cannot vet it for trace contaminates as there has not been a review. Another similar one that has been reviewed is Eagle Pack Large & Giant breed (Ref: http://www.eaglepack.com/product-dog.aspx#.WubEFtKG99A ) but it is puppy and adult formulas instead of all life stages. The Great Life brand appears to have an all life stages ones but peas are in both grain and grain free formulas: http://www.greatlifedog.com/# and am waiting on a response as to their current calcium/nutritional profile. Also, the original google linked list appears to still have valid formulas except many of them have been tested to have contaminates at various stages of either manufacturing or pre-manufacturing individual product growth.
Also, reading some of the original links and posts it appears that the recommended protein for some studies is 29 to 34% yet other studies shows that 23% protein had no statistical difference on growth. So, is there a recommended range that is statistically proven?
Go to the Farmina site and read the studies that they’ve done. I have two great danes that have done excellent on the low grain. It’s difficult to find a food that’s only 32% carbs for one thing. I agree with no peas etc, seems to possibly be an issue with kibble that has legumes. (To tell you the truth I don’t have a lot of faith in the *********** project.) I have read and read for months and finally settled on Farmina and I finally am confident that I’m feeding them the best.Mike SagmanAdmin
Welcome to our forums.
Until *** becomes more transparent with its test data and its controversial claims have been verified by an independent third party or by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, we ask readers to refrain from posting any further references to this organization or its opinions anywhere on this website.
Can you point me to another place then where I can find contaminate levels in dog food? This is a big concern of mine. I would assume that as part of the manufacturing process these things are tested as part of quality assurance.
Or, would I have to pay a lab myself to get my chosen dog food tested?
Testing is VERY expensive. So expensive that smaller and medium size companies are FAR less likely to test their foods for ANYTHING (although some actually DO).
Heck, even the FDA doesn’t test most dog foods (unless they receive a formal complaint).
So, if you’d like to test the foods yourself, be prepared to spend some serious money.
In general, the larger the company, the more a dog food is likely to be tested for the BIG 4:
- Nutrient content
- Pathogens (disease-causing bacteria)
- Mold toxins
- Chemical contaminants
So far, my opinion of the company and website you mentioned in your comment is that there is much they conclude to be skeptical about.
For example, here’s what Forbes Magazine had to say about the same company that needlessly frightened young mothers in 2017 with a similar misleading report about baby food.
Here’s another revealing article about the questionable nature of these same dubious findings.
Here’s my take…
Keep in mind, the Internet is awash with rumors, marketing hype, lawsuits and unproven “studies”… much of it masquerading as helpful advice.
Disinformation that’s then picked up and sensationalized by other websites known for benefiting from creating fear, uncertainty and doubt among innocent pet lovers.
So, it’s difficult for any well-meaning dog owner to know what to believe.
And what to ignore.
My advice… stick to pet and human food companies and brands you know and trust.
Hope this helps.
I do truly hate to dissapoint you, but what you are focusing on in terms of finding a proper food is neither here nor there and does not impact the growth of the puppy. Also your concerns with that particular websites findings should not be at the forefront when choosing a proper large breed puppy food. This website has not been willing to release data to the public on any of their testing or the vadility of it, so until they do, I encourage you to focus on the aspect of nutrition you can control which is finding a food with appropriate calcium/phos ratios and keeping your Ridgebacks lean.
This may possibly mean when your 10 month old reachs 18 months and he is moved to an adult food that your pups are on 2 different foods. Until then, select a food labeled for growth according to the AAFCO statement and one that is labeled for Large Breed Puppies from a company of your choosing.
So, who can you trust? Which products provide enough transparency on their manufacturing process? Apparently origen and acana did: https://www.championpetfoods.com/wp-content/themes/champion-petfoods/res/research/Champion-Petfoods-White-Paper-Heavy-Metals.pdf . Is anyone feeding their large or giant breeds that?
Also, I’ve spoken to a couple vets about dog foods and they tend to say keep the puppy on puppy food til about 4 months then go to an all life stages food as the puppy food tends to be too rich.
Maybe these articles will help, both are written by veterinarians and one specializes in nutrition.
Nutrition in Large Breed Puppies
Posted on January 10, 2010 by skeptvet
Thanks for the links! I just signed up for Editor’s Choice here. They have a nice listing of foods.
The vets you have talked to are dead wrong and using our dated information. Large breed puppies MUST stay on a large breed puppy appropriate food until 18 months of age.
Interesting as one of those vets was a DACVS orthopedic surgeon. Hmmm,.. whom can you trust?
An orthopedic surgeon is not a veterinary nutritionist. Their speciality is in surgery, not in nutrition. If you would like to hear it from the horses mouth, you can go to petdiets.com and under their “Ask the Nutritionist” section pose the question. Dr. Rebecca Remillard who is a boarded veterinary nutritionist has repeatedly on that site said that it is NO longer recommended to switch large breed puppies to adult foods at a young age. There is simply no reason to now that so many companies have created foods that meet the growth requirements for large breed pups. Back 30-40 years ago, this was not the case, so adult foods were used.
In fact someone just asked this same question to her not too long ago. Heres the question and her answer:
“I have been told large breed puppy food can be bad for my dane puppy. People tell me to switch to adult food saying the puppy food is too high in protein.
Should I stick with diamond large breed puppy, or switch to the adult brand.
15 week’s. Male greatdane/stbernard mix.
1. Protein intake is not the problem with Developmental Bone Diseases in large breed dogs …. so these “people” are about 20 yrs out of date.
2. Yes stick with a large breed puppy food because the problem is really Calcium intake and AAFCO has set the maximum at 1.8% Ca on a dry matter basis to help protect these growing dogs.
3. Adult brands actually contain too much calcium when you do the math correctly based on calorie intake, so that is not advisable until 12-15 months of age.
Thanks for the info!
I am going to be trying the horizon pulsar line: http://horizonpetfood.com/index.php/pulsar/
My worries about legumes were alleviated by their answer:
“To answer your first question, phytic acid and lectins are thermolabile along with trypsin inhibitors, tannins, hemagglutinins and other anti-nutritional factors. The extrusion process gets to a high enough temperature and pressure that these are either severely or completely inactivated.”
That and the minerals are chelated which help with absorption as well.InkedMarieMember
LOL I saw orthopedic surgeon & had to wipe my eyes to see what I was reading (I get email otifications)….I’m having my other hip replaced then one knee so orthopedic surgery has been my obsession as of late.
So update on the Groot (my Presa)…. He has stayed exactly the same weight for nearly the last six months (between 105-108) and body condition is definitely 4-5 so he’s all good there.
I spoke with my vet last time about making the transition to adult dog food (given his leveling off of weight). He’s about 17 months old now so I just wanted to double check that I’m good to transition him to adult food. He definitely has not been overly interested in food recently, with his intake down from around 7-8 cups per day down to about 5 cups.
Pitlove – for your adult dogs, do you still stick with ProPlan? We’ve been pretty happy with it thus far, just a bit concerned about his lack of appetite (although the more I read, the more normal it sounds given his lack of growth). If so, do you notice any real difference between the lines of proplan (focus, savor etc.).
Thanks as always!!
Thanks for the update. Sounds like your boy is doing well.
Yes he should be ready to begin transitioning to an adult food now. I do use proplan for my adults too yes. I’ve used the savor, focus and sport lines. The sport line is my favorite, specifically the 26/16 formula. However if you want to you can go to the large breed adult and they even make a giant breed adult too.
- This reply was modified 2 years ago by pitlove.
Thanks! What is the main benefit of the different nutritional profiles (at least in your experience)? Trying to decipher how much of it is simply marketing vs. what the science actually backs up.
Thankfully with Purina its all science. Thats part of the reason I love the company so much. I like the Sport 26/16 formula because my AmStaff has skin and stomach issues and that is the current formula that he does best on.
For a healthy dog with no issues, the sky is the limit. Since you are saying hes been picky as of late, you could try the Savor line. My dogs always go nuts for the shredded pieces of chicken in that line.
And now that he is an adult too if you really wanted to switch him to another brand you could. He is past the critical growth period of his life where you would want to feed a food like Purina to make sure hes getting proper nutrition. As long as the food says it is “complete and balanced” you can venture out to another brand.Chris FMember
Ah, this is great topic of conversation and quite a good bit of debate surrounding the issue.
The various studies that have been done imply that nutrition is an important aspect to a growing large breed puppy and can have signifcant impact the quality of his health later on.
The evidence (http://ivcjournal.com/feeding-large-breed-puppies/) suggests that we should not restrict protein from their diet since this play a huge role in lowering the risk of developing joint and arthritis including hip dysplasia later on in their life.
The second suggestion (http://ipupster.com/best-puppy-food-reviews/) as also purported by DFA is that excess calcium can now be linked to skeletal disease.
So the key-takeaway is to find commercial dog foods that are low in calories, are low in fats and have limited calcium.
With that mind, I think the best way to control these is to choose a raw food diet for our large breed puppies.
Dr. Becker at Mercola Pets has a great and detailed video (https://youtu.be/u9gbxLiKaJU) I also found helpful. A tad long but well worth the watch!
A raw diet is actually one of the most innappropriate diets for a growing large breed puppy. Calcium and phosphorus ratios are difficult to balance in a homemade raw diet which can most certainly lead to developmental orthopedic disorders. If you intend on feeding a raw diet to a large breed puppy it would be best to wait until he/she is fully grown or if you have a breeder that feeds raw and can prove that they have successfully transitioned their pups onto a raw food diet and had them grow optimally with no developmental issues, get that exact recipe from them and follow it to a T. Otherwise, it’s best to use a commercial dry food from a larger company that staffs nutritionists who formulate foods specifically for large breed puppies.surplusMember
So I’ve been lurking in the shadows for a really long time but I thought I’d bring something back into the mix. For the past 6+ months I’ve been doing an updated version of Hound Dog Mom’s original large breed puppy chart. Hopefully the guidelines help to understand this better.
Regardless, I’m more than welcome to constructive critiques or suggestions for brands.
I hope this helps someone 🙂
Thank you for putting a lot of effort into this list and expanding off of HDM’s list.
For some of the values that you weren’t able to get Dr. Mike has a Best Large Breed Puppy food list as well, that has some of those listed as appropriate foods. https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/best-dog-foods/best-large-breed-puppy-food/#best_lbp_food_list
Also it might be beneficial for you to contact Dr. Mike directly to work with him on your list, since it seems that you have some foods listed on your list as not appropriate, but he has listed as appropriate. For example, Origen Puppy Large and Eagle Pack Large and Giant Breed Puppy. Not saying your list is wrong and his is right, but if people decide to use your list and end up comparing it to Dr. Mike’s list the discrepancies will be confusing.
Also, I’ve contacted Purina many times for nutrient analysis values as I used to feed Pro Plan and never had a problem getting them to respond to me. In fact, I’ve had a woman spend an hour on the phone with me from Purina Pro Plan. I would recommend calling them directly again to update the information.
*Edit: I would also like to give you a brand suggestion to review as well; Victor.
Pitlove, Just curious why you switched away from Pro Plan? I also noticed it’s not on Dr. Mike’s list for large breed puppies. Not a huge deal since I’ve transitioned our dog to adult food (he’s now 18 months), but just curious if there was a reason why.
It was actually cheaper to use Victor so we switched to that. I’m trying to save money right now. It’s not on Dr. Mike’s list because of the rating it gets.Margaret GMember
I am just curious why Victors does not get a better rating. I think it is an excellent food and they are very upfront with their ingredient list and nutritional analyses. I am currently feeding the NutroPro and 1 year old Irish Wolfhound/GSD is thriving. Thanks.
Victor is definitely a good food, I agree with you. All of Victors products get between 3.5-5 stars according to Dr. Mike’s rating system. NutraPro gets a 4.5 star rating which is not at all bad.
For me personally, I don’t use the rating system on here to choose a dog food anymore as I’ve found other criteria that Dr. Mike does not consider in his rating system to evaluate foods. There are some great articles on this site and I enjoy the conversations with people, but the rating system is no longer useful to me.
When I was refering to a food that was not on Dr. Mike’s list of large breed puppy foods earlier to Matt O. I was speaking about Purina Pro Plan.
Which Victor do you recommend for non-puppy large/giant breeds? Do you still use the NutraPro?
Also, in the last few months of using puppy food (ProPlan) our Presa got a little finicky, deciding he didn’t want to eat the food he typically scarfed down. He worked through it, but it kept us thinking about trying to rotate one or two different brands/types of food to keep him interested (and flexible should pricing change).
Any thoughts on introducing and using a secondary food? How would we think of transitioning (same typical 1-2 weeks of mixing)?
Just did quick math (at least for our dog) and it appears that Victors is more expensive for us here than ProPlan (about $1.80/day for victors vs. $1.60/day for ProPlan, using recommendations for a 110lb dog). Again just my finance mind working here….
We started using the Victor Select Chicken Meal because it doesnt have ingredients Bentley can’t have. Is your Presa going to be neutered or is he already neutered? If not do you plan to keep him intact? Also, do you plan to work him? Or at least keep him active?
As far as rotating. I’m not a big fan of it. When I first got Bentley, I read all of the posts on here saying how important it was to feed a rotational diet and how their GI systems will be stronger and better if you feed multiple brands of food, so I did that. Did not work out. Bentleys allergies were out of control and I couldnt figure out what was causing the problem because he was eating a new food so frequently. Also now as a 4 year old dog, he has to be transitioned to a new food for 10 days or he gets sick, which is something that I was promised wouldn’t happen if he got used to eating different foods all the time.
If you still choose to do it, I would transition slowly to each new food and don’t change his food more than every 6 months or so.
We get Victor from a local feed store that is cheaper than online pricing for both Pro Plan and Victor. On a $/lb basis which is what I was going off it’s cheaper for me to feed Victor currently.Tyla MMember
I have been wanting to feed Victor but it is hard to find one without chicken and with low calcium/phos %s. I also want at leaat the first 2 ingredients to be a meat. I know they have a higher % of animal protein that makes up the protein % vs plant protein. The price is great… but I am currently feeding Farmina, and although expensive, I havent really found a food comparable in terms of animal ingredients used, without the load of peas and lentils. 60% of the formula I feed is from animal ingredients. Victor Nutra Pro os 38% of the bag as animal ingredients. It is hard for me to convince myself to switch, other than price point. I loved Fromms but they refuse to even disclose what % of their protein is from animal vs plant. SmhNadine HMember
I’ve been feeding Farmina low grain to my two danes now for almost a year. I get three bags a month from the co. My two are doing great on this food. There isn’t one single thing that I don’t like about this food. Perfect weight, shiny coat and tons of energy. My daughter has just started her two on this food also.
We had started with Victor when they were younger but started having problems, runny poop, different color. Several dane people had the same issues. I know many feed this brand and like it so I don’t know what the problem was.
I just think it would be very difficult to find a food any better then Farmina.Haki TMember
My name is Ionut Danifeld and I’m the Co-Founder of HakiTo (https://www.haki.to/).
We have a simple mission to create an app for dog lovers, which completely revolutionizes how you manage your dog’s health and wellness — all in a fun and engaging way to help ensure that with your busy schedule, all responsibilities to your pooch are taken care of.
Would love to be together with us in our journey and looking forward to your feedback!Paul GMember
My boy is bernese great pyrenees. I just adopt him. I did some search for his nutrition.
I learned that large/giant breed puppies are known for their quick and longer growth unlike smaller dogs. The giant dog’s metabolism can change quickly in a short time during these years so its diet also needs to change as appropriate. This kind of growth and change makes the breed sensitive to different amounts of nutrient or calcium. Thus special attention is required when choosing the best large breed puppy food(https://mypuppykin.com/2018/05/26/giant-breed-puppy-food/) as any excess or less of nutrient or calcium intake may affect your puppy’s health.
I am looking for your advices and experiences.crazy4catsMember
Hi Paul G-
Congratulations on your new bundle of joy!! How old is he?
Here is an article that may be helpful to you:
If I were to get a new large breed puppy now, I would only feed it a food made by either Mars (such as Royal Canin, Iams, or Eukanuba), Hills, or Purina. They have been around for a long time and have proven to be successful.
Good luck!Paul GMember
He is 6 months old. Thank you for your recomendations. Now, I am feeding him with Hill’s Science Diet. It is good for now.Peggy GMember
Hi everyone, my Irish Wolfhound/GSD mix did really well on Victor NutraPro until she had a tail injury which required 3 weeks of antibiotics. Since that time, despite additive plain no fat yogurt to her diet, her stools are quite soft. It is not really diarrhea and she only goes about 2 times a day but she often strains at the end, squats 2 or 3 times when she goes and the stool gets softer each time. Should I switch foods or do I add a different probiotic? The purina probiotic gives her tummy troubles. She is now 16 months and 96 pounds and has been stable for a few months but she is thin, BC just a 4. Can’t see her ribs but she is furry! She has energy and seems comfortable except when she is pooing! Thanks.
No I would not change her food. If she was doing fine up until the antibiotics, then food is not the issue. I would also not be adding yogurt to her diet. There are other/better probiotics the vet can prescribe for her.
Also a BCS of 4 is not thin. It is ideal. Wolfhound/GSD are both lean and active breeds. Do not allow her to gain more weight, try to put muscle on her now and maintain a BCS of 4.SaintsDontCarryBrandyMember
Completely agree with pitlove- 4 is not thin by any sane Wolfhoud/GSD standard. Since this only started post-antibiotics, then the cause/effect relationship seems straightforward. Keep in mind: Antibiotics are exactly that– anti-BIOTICS. They aren’t snipers; more like land (or gut) mines. They indiscriminately kill everything biotic (living). When they show up in the dog’s digestive system, they kill off all bacteria. It will take your dog’s body a minimum of 4-6 weeks to regrow and replace the good bacteria in her gut.
I also agree that a change in food would likely only exacerbate the problem. However, while adding probiotics to help her rebuild her insides is good, using human-food yogurt is not the way to go. Cow-based dairy products are very hard on dog stomachs. (If we were talking goat yogurt from your own goats, it might be easier, but that’s a whole different discussion.) Talk to your vet about an alternative probiotic for dogs. There are plenty out there, and you can usually get them from Chewy for far less than the average vet or pet store.
You may also consider a tablespoon of canned pumpkin in her food once a day for a few days, as this may solidify her stool and help restore and regulate her digestive function. (No fussing about “canned pumpkin isn’t real pumpkin”, now…this isn’t the Pick-On-Libby Dog Food forum, after all)
Finally: Using antibiotics can also trigger reactions in parasitic organisms hiding in your pup. When one part of the system is weakened, such parasites as worms and flukes can take advantage of that weakening and increase their attacks on the body. This often occurs with newly re-homed puppies, which is why a new pup obtained at 8-12 weeks should be taken to the vet for a checkup after arrival and some upset tummy should be expected. (Stress, in this case, is similar to the use of antibiotics in that it weakens one of the body’s defenses, causing previously unseen parasites to sometimes rear their ugly heads!) They might also die off and require flushing out of the system, which may prolong the diarrhea episodes. You might want to get her checked for internal parasites.
Personally, I use Victor Grain-Free food on all my Saints, and have had great success with it. Whatever you’re using, if it worked pre-antibiotics, it’s likely the antibiotic reaction (not the food) causing her current gastrointestinal distress.Kyle DMember
My Alaskan malamute is 6 months old and my vet wants him off chicken. Now I was looking at this list and some of the products they state except for large breed puppy. An example annamet aqualuk. Is this a concern I should be worried about for my large breed puppy?Arlene LMember
Thanks for posting your list of recommended foods for large breed puppies.
I have included 6 Healthiest Human Foods for Dogs here, could you please check this? is it any wrong or incorrect?
- This reply was modified 1 year, 5 months ago by Arlene L.
I have a 1 year old husky who is a picky eater with a sensitive stomach. He barely eats his pro plan focus puppy (yesterday he ate maybe a few bites of dog food and today maybe a cup). i can feel his ribs and hip bones pretty easily. i tried changing it to eukanuba LB puppy and it upset his stomach (and he didn’t seem to like it much). fromm also cause vomiting in about 12 hours. i’ve tried mixing in my other dog’s adult food (crave, victor) and he just picks at it. i add vegetable oil and broth to his food but that doesn’t help either. what’s odd is for the first 1-2 months i had him, he ate his food super quick.
is there a large breed puppy wet food i could try mixing in? any recommendations on other brands of food to try?
- This reply was modified 1 year, 5 months ago by sara h.
I like this topic for discussion.Eric CMember
We just brought home a male lab puppy and he is a bundle of joy. The breeder had him on Pro Plan Focus chicken. It seems by the nutritional profile that it is 1.1% calcium. However, when the posters here are recommending a Pro Plan, is there a Purina Pro Plan that is even more suited for large breeds? My little guy’s dad was 80 pounds (not fat at all) and I want to be careful with his growth. Would Wellness be a better choice? I heard someone say that is the best. Thanks in advance.
PS: Check out Fromm https://www.gofromm.com/fromm-family-large-breed-puppy-gold-food-for-dogscrazy4catsMember
You are correct! Your new pup should be on a large breed puppy formula to ensure the correct calcium and phosphorus to protect those growing joints. Purina Does have excellent lrg brd puppy formulas. They have a team of experts that have done feeding trials from birth til death on large breeds.
Fromm does not and has not employed a board certified veterinarian for years. Nor do they do feeding trials.
Royal Canin, Eukanuba and Iams are also excellent choices for large breed puppy formulas. I have two golden labs and feed them Purina ProPlan Weight Management.
Check out Chewy.com for all their formulas. Even if you do not order from them, they have a good search feature.
Have fun with that new bundle of joy! He is going to keep you busy!
Speak to your vet. Lot’s of erroneous information on the internet.haleycookieMember
I would do the wellness. Highest meat content for a large breed food I’ve found. Has correct calcium ratio as well. Dogs are carnivores. Add as much less processed things into the diet as u can (less than 15% unless it’s formulated for large breeds) Bone brother, canned food, freeze dried toppers. Etc.
if you’re interested in a vet nutritionalists being on staff, natures variety and candiae both employ one and make quality products.
I would also keep from over feeding, should be able to feel ribs under the skin, nice abdominal tuck. And don’t spay or neuter until two years so the growth plates and bones can mature correctly.
I’m also assuming the breeder is a quality one and has had genetic testing etc. otherwise poor genes may cause problems regardless of what u do.Owen JMember
It is not enough to have at home the necessary food for the dog, you still need to give it to your pet in the correct proportion and correctly balance the nutrients in it. How to do it? The best solution is to use ready-made dog food.
Indeed, recently veterinary specialists and professional dog handlers have chosen to feed their four-legged pets with specialized rations, which are made according to strict technologies, perfectly balanced in terms of nutrients and energy, and do not contain harmful ingredients. A big plus is that by choosing ready meals, you get a diet designed for a certain age, physiological condition and size of a dog.Erin MParticipant
I’ve been reading this thread for 4 years and it has been fascinating and full of so much great input. I’m wondering what y’all are doing after pea/lentil report came out last year. I’m struggling to find a good puppy food for my Labs that complies. My breeding friends and I all had been using TOTW successfully for years, but the report has puppy buyers scared for sure, so we’ve all shifted to Fromm Gold Large Breed Puppy. It’s been good, but expensive and only a few distributors so not easy for new owners to purchase. Another breeder friend is using Victor Hi Pro Plus or Nutra Pro- both look like good food for adults but seems like the calcium is too high. PitLuv, is that your understanding since you use this brand? Also, another breeder is using Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy. I haven’t been able to get good info on the calcium because they state a minimum level, not max or ratios on their site. Really looking for input on what you’re doing now to be pea/legume free, if anything. Thanks!
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