Large and Giant Breed Puppy Nutrition

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

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  • #21624 Report Abuse
    sharfie
    Member

    Thank you for all your hard work and all the information you have gotten for all of us.

    #21625 Report Abuse
    Hound Dog Mom
    Participant

    Hi Swissy Mix –

    This is the email I received from Zignature with their calcium levels:

    Hi Lydia,

    Thank you for your email, please kindly refer to below:

    Zignature Turkey Formula – Calcium 1.2%

    Zignature – Lamb Formula – Calcium 1.5%

    Zignature – Trout & Salmon Formula – Calcium 1.0%

    Best Regards,

    Customer Services
    Pets Global, Inc

    #21627 Report Abuse
    sharfie
    Member

    HDM-
    i was just looking at the new list and noticed Grandma Lucy’s Pureformance is no longer on the list. Have they raised their calcium levels?

    #21629 Report Abuse
    Hound Dog Mom
    Participant

    When I made the first list and emailed them they told me the actual calcium levels were close to the stated minimum. When I emailed them this time they told me they didn’t have any data on their actual calcium levels.

    #21639 Report Abuse
    londoncalling1996
    Participant

    Yes, I would like to add my heartfelt THANKS to Hound Dog Mom! Thank you for all your time and trouble to gather all that information and sharing it with all of us! Cheers! Jules

    #21650 Report Abuse
    Sully’sMom
    Member

    It’s amazing that you do this! Will there be a link to the list on DFA?

    THANK YOU, and WOOF

    #21661 Report Abuse
    wallyworld
    Member

    Hound Dog Mom,
    Thanks for the time and effort spent on your research and list. We all appreciate it very much. Please know that your advice and expertise helps so many of us everyday. You mentioned you are going to vet school?? You will be an excellent vet one day. Keep working towards your dreams. 🙂

    #21683 Report Abuse
    Sully’sMom
    Member

    hi, I’ve been off this for a bit, but now I’ve got a follow up question, addressed to InkedMarie if she’s still around:

    You mentioned to me about a month ago that when feeding grain free you feed less…why is that?

    #21684 Report Abuse
    theBCnut
    Member

    I’m not Marie, but usually grain free foods have less filler ingredients so they are higher calorie so you need to feed less. Grain free has started to become a fad, so some companies are starting to make grain free foods that are just as bad as some of the mediocre grain inclusive foods, so don’t be fooled.

    #21685 Report Abuse
    InkedMarie
    Member

    Patty, you may not be me but dang, you answered like me, only better!

    You’re right about grainfree…..someone on a fb group bought Rachel Rays Simply Nourish grainfree and thinks it’s the end all that beats all. I disagreed but since she won’t shop anywhere other than Pet Smart, she’s not going to buy anything else. Its got to be good if a human chef makes it, right?

    #21686 Report Abuse
    Sully’sMom
    Member

    Thank you Pattyvaughn and InkedMarie!

    #21687 Report Abuse
    Sully’sMom
    Member

    Ok, here goes, Hound Dog Mom, InkedMarie, Pattyvaughn and anyone else 🙂

    Sully is now 13 mos; he has been fed FrommGoldLargeBreedPuppy. I’ve been reading this wonderful forum, learning alot, and planning on transitioning him out of puppy and to……

    I’ve taken what I’ve learned here, done some of my own research and decided on feeding a rotational diet of grain-free, and I’ve narrowed the brands down to:

    1. ) Fromm Four Star – the most expensive of what I’ve narrowed down to, but I have a free bag of Surf & Turf waiting to be opened, so this will be our first transition. They do offer a frequent bag reward program on this brand at Chewy, so we’ll see if we continue.
    2.) Earthborn – most likely the Primitive Natural
    3.) Merrick – something other than the chicken, since the Earthborn Primitive Natural is turkey and chicken
    4.) Dr Tim’s – I like everything I read about the company, including the price, but their grain free is only in one formula and is chicken based. Was hoping for another different protein base to round out the above.
    5.) Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost – we went through some trial bags, and I like the premise but I think it will end up being cost prohibitive.

    So, I’m thinking that after we use the Fromm Surf and Turf bag that we have, I thought my rotation will be either Fromm, Earthborn, Merrick OR Earthborn, Merrick, Dr. Tim’s. Either way, here’s where I’m stuck:

    Among these four brands/varieties, the Protein Percentages range from a low of 28 (Fromm) to a high of 38% (The Earthborn Primitive and all of the Merrick). The Kcals vary from a low of 408 (Fromm) to a high of 460 (three of the Merrick varieties). Am I supposed to try to keep the protein % AND Kcals consistent among the rotation?

    I feel like I’m at the finish line but can’t cross, lol! Help?

    #21689 Report Abuse
    theBCnut
    Member

    Hi Sully’s Mom

    I like Nature’s Variety Instinct, but I would skip the Raw Boost. There aren’t enough of the raw pieces to matter, it’s just marketing.

    I wouldn’t feed as low a protein as your Fromm’s, but for rotational purposes, no, you don’t have to match protein%, fat%, or calories. I try to keep in the same range just so I don’t have to adjust how much I feed by very much. And some dogs are sensitive to changes in fat level, but not usually rotational feeders, unless they have pancreas problems.

    You don’t need to limit yourself to 3 choices. I love finding a new food that I can add to my rotation. Keep notes on how they do on what or pretty soon you will be confused about whether it was X or Y that your dog did this or that while eating it.

    • This reply was modified 7 years ago by theBCnut.
    #21690 Report Abuse
    theBCnut
    Member

    Hi Marie

    Your comment made me think of a chef I know who literally picks up roadkill and cooks it up. I always ask where it came from when I’m invited for a meal. He just laughs at me.

    #21693 Report Abuse
    InkedMarie
    Member

    Patty: the important thing I need to know is, do you eat the meal? LOL!

    I have no problem with people lending their names to do food but come on, consumers, just because they’re famous (Ellen, Rachel, Dick van Patten, Paul Newman) doesn’t mean they know what they’re doing with dog food.

    SullysMom: I don’t even know about the protein thing, I try to get above 30% but sometimes I have a food that isn’t. As far as caloric needs, find out how many calories in a cup of each food you’re going to feed, go to the DFA dog food calculator page (hopefully it won’t take you as long to figure it out as it did me) and figure out how much food you need for each different one. Make up a list, tape it inside your cupboard near to where you get your dogs meals together.

    #21694 Report Abuse
    Sully’sMom
    Member

    I didn’t even know there was a dog food calculator! Thanks 🙂

    #21695 Report Abuse
    theBCnut
    Member

    Marie

    Only if I approved of where it came from.

    #21698 Report Abuse
    Sully’sMom
    Member

    Any thoughts on Zignature Trout and Salmon? Sully’s 13 mos now, so not concentrating on the calcium levels.

    #21701 Report Abuse
    bigthree
    Participant

    To all,
    Need a little advise. I recently got dog number 3 a female chocolate lab who’s name is Athena and just about 5 months old. I have her on Nutro Ultra Holistic food for large breed puppies which I have no problem with. I was wondering if there was something better out there or something similar since I have a real hard time getting this brand. My other two are a Yellow lab and Saint Bernard/Great Perenees mix and have them both on a homade food diet, yes I like my dogs big and lovable. The vet said with the first year I should have Athena on something that is well balanced and will be kind to her digestive system. She told me Science Diet was the best balance meal for her but when I read what was in it (By-Product) and did some research I was sickened. So my question is is Nutra Ultra Holistic Large Breed Puppy Food the best out there or is there something better?

    Sincerely
    bigthree

    #21702 Report Abuse
    Sully’sMom
    Member

    Hi Bigthree,

    I’m only going to address the part where you said you have a real hard time getting your brand. If you’ve never tried getting your dog food on line, it’s great! Specifically, I love to recommend http://www.chewy.com; they give you an initial discount of 15% off if you set up an automatic shipment plan (which you can always adjust – they give you advance notice of shipping), shipping is free, and for many brands they do a frequent bag buyer plan! And excellent customer service. Good prices too.

    Sully’s Mom

    #21704 Report Abuse
    InkedMarie
    Member

    Big three: I use pet flow, doggie food, wag, Chewys and pet food direct, all at dot com.

    #21705 Report Abuse
    Hound Dog Mom
    Participant

    Hi sullysmom –

    You sure have some great foods you’re considering for your rotation! 🙂

    There’s really no reason to have everything so planned though – just buy whatever 4 or 5 star food looks interesting. You can get a new food after each bag if you want (that’s what I used to do). I also wouldn’t worry too much about differences in protein and fat levels – if your dog has a strong gut and is accustomed to variety it shouldn’t cause any issues.

    #21745 Report Abuse
    Sully’sMom
    Member

    Thank you!

    #21750 Report Abuse
    Sully’sMom
    Member

    And now, thanks to you HDM, I’m adding Victor to my rotation! Is 42% protein (the Ultra Pro) too high? What are protein guidelines as far as maximum?

    #21755 Report Abuse
    Hound Dog Mom
    Participant

    Hi Sully’s Mom –

    42% protein is definitely not too high – my girls’ meals are generally in the 45% – 55% protein range. There’s really no risk of feeding “too much protein” to a healthy dog and this issue definitely would not occur with a kibble – most kibbles are much lower in protein than a natural raw diets due to the nature of kibble (a starch source is required for processing). When excess protein is consumed beyond what the dog’s body utilizes, the excess amino acids are catabolized into waste nitrogen, converted to urea in the liver and kidneys and excreted in the urine. This is a passive process that does not cause any harm or additional stress to the dog. I personally prefer kibbles with at least 30% protein. Victor Ultra Pro looks like an excellent food and I’ve heard great things about it.

    #21760 Report Abuse
    Sully’sMom
    Member

    Looking back a few responses ago, I think what I’m still left wondering about, when I was mentioning the varying protein levels and kcals is: every time you rotate to a new food, do you need to adjust the quantity you feed? This should be my last remaining confusion! (I had my previous dog 16 years and we never rotated)

    #21762 Report Abuse
    Hound Dog Mom
    Participant

    If there’s a significant difference in kcal. per cup then yes, you should adjust the portion sizes accordingly. The easiest way to do this would be to figure out how many kcal. your dog is currently eating and when you switch to a new food divide the number of kcal. your dog eats to maintain optimum body condition by the kcal. per cup in the new food to determine how many cups of the new food you need to feed. I’d only do this if the differences are big. So if you’re feeding a food that has, say, 410 kcal. per cup and switch to a food with 425 kcal. per cup the difference is so small that you shouldn’t need to adjust the portions. On the other hand, if you’re feeding a food with 380 kcal. per cup and switch to a food with 480 kcal. per cup, some adjustments will need to be made.

    #21763 Report Abuse
    Sully’sMom
    Member

    As always, thank you 🙂

    #21764 Report Abuse
    DogFoodie
    Member

    Hey Sully’s Mom,

    I’ve been here for over a year and I refuse to commit to acknowleding my “last confusion” about anything! LOL!

    #21765 Report Abuse
    Sully’sMom
    Member

    🙂 to Betsy Greer!

    #21794 Report Abuse
    Hershy
    Participant

    I also love this thread!
    But I’m glad I’m not the only person here who remains a little (or a lot) confused. LOL!
    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, AND THANK YOU, AGAIN, HOUND DOG MOM, FOR THE GREAT LIST!!!

    What a lot of time you spent for us all compiling this vital information…I spent a lot of time reading the back of bags in Southern Ag and others, trying to figure out my choice for Crystal, my 13 week old (precious) labrador pup, and still don’t have a choice. But now with the list, at least I can decide from those. I really do appreciate it!
    I like Chewy.com as well, if they carry the food…or Petflow, depending on which carries the food I decide on…pretty certain it won’t be local. Victor Pro All Life Stages for my big dogs is local.
    Did I say, “I love this thread!”…I have learned so much. And to think of the foods I fed before I thought I knew what I was doing… I’m so glad I know better now. I love my sweet Charlotte, Jake, Bella, Jazz, and little Crystal!! They are all such good kids!
    Thanks, again, HDM, and all !!
    Londa

    #21796 Report Abuse
    Swissy Mix
    Participant

    Thank You, HDM, for your response about the calcium levels on Zignature. I noticed you mention Victor’s Ultra Pro. I didn’t see that one listed on your updated listed for grain-free. I was wondering about the average calcium levels for the four grain-free Victor products. The prices for Victor are really good for such large bags!

    #21806 Report Abuse
    gsdmommy89
    Member

    Hi HDM,

    I’m somewhat curious as to why you recommend Victor Select Chicken Meal/Lamb Meal and Brown Rice. I saw in one of your responses that you wouldn’t recommend a kibble with only 24% protein/12% fat. But I’ve been researching all the kibble on your new updated list, and both these Victor formulas have 24% protein and 12% fat. Is it because the calcium content is low, and that’s what makes it a good fit for large breed puppies?

    Also, I’ve researched the Earthborn Holistic formulas and the Meadow Feast states a calcium content no less than 1.2%. The Puppy Vantage formula also states the same, although it is grain inclusive formula. Do you prefer the Meadow Feast over the Puppy Vantage?

    #21814 Report Abuse
    Hound Dog Mom
    Participant

    Hi gsdmommy89 –

    Good question. If you read the criteria at the beginning of the list you’ll notice that I’ve included all appropriate foods that are rated at least 4 stars. The two Victor formulas you mentioned are rated 4 stars. I personally wouldn’t feed them to my dogs due to the low protein content. I’d also prefer to see someone feed a higher protein food to their pup. However, if I were to have only included 5 star foods on the list (the only foods that would have protein levels high enough for my preferences) there wouldn’t have been enough options and it could also be prohibitive for those on a budget. The 4 star foods listed with lower protein levels are by no means bad foods, I would just prefer more protein.

    I prefer the grain-free Earthborn formulas over the grain-inclusive. The puppy Vantage is not appropriate for large breed puppies. I was told the actual calcium level for the Puppy Vantage formula is around 1.56%. I did email the company last year about the grain-free formulas and was told the actual levels are generally close to the minimum – I have re-emailed the company to verify the information I received last year but have not yet received a response.

    #21819 Report Abuse
    Hound Dog Mom
    Participant

    Hi Swissy Mix –

    None of the Victor Grain-Free formulas are appropriate for large breed puppies. The only Victor formulas appropriate for large breed puppies are the grain-inclusive Chicken Meal & Brown Rice and Lamb Meal & Brown Rice formulas.

    #21861 Report Abuse
    Sully’sMom
    Member

    Can I assume when you say that Victor GF formulas aren’t appropriate for LrgBreed puppies, that you mean puppies under 12 mos? Mine is a Lrg Breed puppy, now 13 mos, and I was planning on a Victor GF formula…..

    #21876 Report Abuse
    Hound Dog Mom
    Participant

    Yes, they’d be fine for a 13 month old dog. Calcium levels are crucial between 8 weeks and 8-10 months. Around the age of 8 to 10 months puppies begin to gain the ability to regulate calcium absorption and they’re through their rapid growth phase.

    #21882 Report Abuse
    Hershy
    Participant

    I also love this thread!
    But I’m glad I’m not the only person here who remains a little (or a lot) confused. LOL!
    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, AND THANK YOU, AGAIN, HOUND DOG MOM, FOR THE GREAT LIST!!!

    What a lot of time you spent for us all compiling this vital information…I spent a lot of time reading the back of bags in Southern Ag and others, trying to figure out my choice for Crystal, my 13 week old (precious) labrador pup, and still don’t have a choice. But now with the list, at least I can decide from those. I really do appreciate it!
    I like Chewy.com as well, if they carry the food…or Petflow, depending on which carries the food I decide on…pretty certain it won’t be local. Victor Pro All Life Stages for my big dogs is local.
    Did I say, “I love this thread!”…I have learned so much. And to think of the foods I fed before I thought I knew what I was doing… I’m so glad I know better now. I love my sweet Charlotte, Jake, Bella, Jazz, and little Crystal!! They are all such good kids!
    I wish they would teach nutrition in Veterinary school. Seems all the vets think Science Diet is a healthy food. I just wonder why something so basic is missing??
    Thanks, again, HDM, and all !!
    Londa

    #21886 Report Abuse
    Swissy Mix
    Participant

    Thanks for explaining about the victor products, HDM. I’ll wait to try victor’s gf products later when our pup is at least year old. Thanks, again!

    #22000 Report Abuse
    mommyvar
    Participant

    Hello HDM. I have an 11 week old St. Bernard. I have been researching food since I brought him home at 8 weeks. He is still on the food that the breeder had him on, Royal Canin. I want to change foods, and I was told Orijen LBP was one of the best out there, but it is not on your list. What was the problem with this food? If I should not feed Orijen LBP, what would the best choice be? Would Nature’s Variety Instinct be okay? I was hoping for a food made in Canada. My puppy is also taking two supplements NuVet Plus, and Arthri-Soothe Gold. Your help is very much appreciated. Thanks.

    #22019 Report Abuse
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I have just had similar experiences as that on page 2 of the thread where Swissy Mix talks about her Bernese/Greater Swiss mix throwing up on Taste of the Wild puppy food. I have an almost 8 month old Bernese male who is right around 80 lbs. We got him at 8 weeks old and started him on Blue Buffalo and then as I researched how to feed larger breed dogs, I decided to switch him to TOTW. They have puppy formulas now that are 1.4% calcium / 1.0% phosphorus, which I thought was in line with what he needed. I’ve been alternating between the 2 varieties now for around 4 or 5 months without any issues.

    As of the last 3 days though, Walter has also thrown up his food 3 separate times right after eating. I tend to think it is because the kibble is too small for him and he’s not chewing like he needs to. The end result of his vomiting makes it clear that he doesn’t need to bother chewing his food. I tried feeding him in a larger, more shallow bowl so he can’t inhale and we have stopped feeding him right after he comes in the house and is all hot. I thought the problem might be a combination of being too hot, eating too fast, not chewing enough. However, this morning right after he woke up he did it, so I guess it is either just the not chewing issue or the food itself. I don’t think it is a puppy issue, because he seems perfectly fine otherwise.

    So my questions are as follows:

    1. Does anyone know of a good food that has larger bites and still stays in the recommended ranges of cal/phosphorus? I guess it may have to be an all life stage or adult formula. I hate to be a stickler on price, but I feel like I’m already spending a lot on what he is on to make sure his food is higher quality, so I’d like to stay in line with TOTW, which is about $50 / 30 lb. bag.

    2. How do you tell proper weight of a dog as hairy as a BMD? His weight is right in line with what he’s always averaged (about 10 lbs. / month), but he has such long, wavy hair, it struggle to tell if I’m feeding him enough or too much. I’ve been staying within the guidelines recommended on the bag, but it’s kind of hard to tell for sure. Any tips?

    3. Any suggestions for getting him to slow down on his eating? He doesn’t have to compete with any other dogs, so there’s really no need for him to eat like he does.

    #22023 Report Abuse
    sharfie
    Member

    cengleman-

    I just put a ball or a bone in the bowl to slow my puppy down when he eats. There are bowls you can buy made to help slow him down.

    As far as weight, I will pop into my vet’s office and put him on a scale to check ( I have a 6 month old Golden right now). I usually do that about once a month until they are a year old. They never charge me for that. You can also just feel along his rib cage. You should just be able to feel the outline of his ribs. I had a Berner so I no how much fur they have.

    Larger kibbles, I really don’t know. The brands that I have been rotating are all about the same size.

    #22025 Report Abuse

    Hey there hdm. First off thank you for all the information about the dog foods I currently have an american bulldog boxer puppy who is 3.5 months and he is 20 pounds. I was thinking of switching to the earthborn holistic coastal catch but am concerned with how kittle proten it has. I was looking also at the Blackwood Sensitive Diet Salmon Meal & Rice Recipe 7030 Dry Puppy & Dog Food cuz my boy has been having somewhat loose stools. Can you recomend anither brand with low calvium percentage and around the price of earthborn. The natures variety is a little out of my price range. Thank you so much to snyone who helps me. Oh btw duke is currently eating nutro natural selection lamb for large breed puppies.

    #22026 Report Abuse
    Sully’sMom
    Member

    I had some inquiries into Victor and they just got back to me. They said that their Vitamin E is sourced from China as there is “no source in the US for E…”

    Does that mean the same is likely true for all the others I’m planning on rotating: Earthborn, Merrick, Dr. Tim’s……?

    Anyone have any experience with or knowledge about this?

    *As an aside, the Victor person emailing me was probably the least friendly I’ve communicated with yet. Keep answering my questions so briefly that I had to keep going back to him for him to elaborate. Some of them were one word answers.

    #22032 Report Abuse
    Swissy Mix
    Participant

    Cengleman –

    I did what Sharfie suggested, too; I put a ball in our puppy’s bowl. (The ball is a red, solid, non-treat filling Kong and a little bit bigger than a tennis ball.) Our Bernese/Greater Swiss mix, Duncan, used to wolf down his food in less than a minute when we first got him. Once we put that ball into his bowl, he got so used to it that he has actually slowed down on his own that we don’t need the ball any more.

    Our Duncan, who looks more like his Bernese mom with a longer coat, just turned 8 months. We haven’t weighed him yet, but when he was 7 months, he was 70 lbs, too. I noticed that every month he gained about 10 lbs, too. So, I think your puppy is fine.

    It’s been a while since I looked at TOTW kibble sizes, but Duncan is doing really well on Zignature. All the other brands we tried with him, he vomited, had inconsistent stools or ate his poop. So far, we’ve tried one bag each of Zignature’s salmon and turkey with no ill effects. Where I live, the price isn’t too bad at $45-$50 for a 27 lb. bag.

    #22036 Report Abuse
    Sue’s Zoo
    Member

    This is such a great post. Thanks so much for all the great info. Since it’s a long one I may have missed something so I apologize if this has already been asked/answered.

    I don’t see any wet foods on the recommended foods list. Is there a reason those are excluded?

    Also I don’t see anything on the list that specifies that it’s for puppies. I assumed it is since it’s in this post but I’d like to verify if it’s for large breed puppies or also adult large breed dogs.

    Getting our Shiloh Shepherd puppy in less than 3 weeks! So excited! It’s been almost 15 years since we had a puppy in the house as most were rescues that were 3-4 years old. We lost 2 this past spring, one in February, the next in March. Time for some puppy love 🙂

    #22037 Report Abuse
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Thanks for the help everyone. I just got back from buying Walter a special bowl for the scarfing issue and I’m going to switch him to an adult formula that is still in proper range of nutrients. I asked my wife to put a bone or a ball in his bowl today and she just got through telling me that it slowed him down, but eventually he just picked the bone up and threw it on the floor next to his bowl. I have to keep reminding myself that as crazy and at times dumb a puppy as he “seems” to be, he is actually pretty smart.

    #22038 Report Abuse
    Sully’sMom
    Member

    Ha, ha love it!
    We do a couple of things to slow our guy down. First of all, we put 1/4 cup of the meal portion in ‘reserve.’ The balance we divide into two bowls. Add some warm water to each. We also allow it to sit at this point for 10 minutes ( I heard that allowing the kibble to absorb the water before ingesting helps prevent against bloat, which is the main concern about fast eating). So for starters, he’s getting the meal in two portions instead of one. The addition of the water helps slow things down as well. The reserved 1/4 cup we serve in a treat (Planet Dog Strawberry) over several helpings. He pushes the strawberry around and it dispenses kibble. Fun for him and it stretches the meal out. Also makes him “work” for it a bit. Lots of fun!

    #22040 Report Abuse
    Hershy
    Participant

    HDM, Is there a hi protein topper that could be added to the Victor 24% protein that would make it a better choice? Thanks for all!

    #22055 Report Abuse

    Hdm i ended up going with wellness core puppy. The protein is pretty high and the fat is low. Can you give me tips on switching to a more ancestrial diet with higher protein and low carbs to then a more raw meat diet eventually as he uis only 3.5 months. Any tips helps. Thanks!

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