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Large Breed Dog Food

March 17th, 2006, 09:23 PM
Is large breed dog food necessary???:confused: I keep hearing different views. Some say only until the pup is full grown. Others say you need to feed adult large breed as well. Others say "all stages is the best way to feed". Is the "large breed food" just for our (humans way of thinking) benefit?

March 18th, 2006, 12:07 AM
To me, the only thing that makes a large breed food useful is by reducing the quantity necessary to feed a bigger doggy. But not all large breed foods are created equally. Ideally, the kcal/cup should be higher in a large breed version of a food so that if your dog is eating 6 cups of the regular, he'll go down to 4 cups instead. It's the same idea with small dog foods, but you really have to check to be sure you're getting your money's worth.

It depends on the food quality too... On regular euk, Boo was eating upwards of 5 cups a day. On large breed, he dropped to 4 or 4.5 and on Solid Gold, he's down to 2.5-3 cups a day.

Wolf King is a large breed food, but there's no regular to compare it too... And talking with Solid Gold, they say the nutrient quantities are not significantly skewed toward huge dogs, so the food can be fed to smaller dogs without any trouble.

To me, it's really a question of density.

March 18th, 2006, 11:37 AM
I emailed Innova (Natura Pet Products) asking about the difference between their adult formula and large breed formula. I also asked about the diferent feeding amounts as their website says for a 80lb dog to feed 2 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups of the Adult Formula and 4 to 6 1/3 of the Large Breed formula. I received two replies from two different people:

1. "The difference between the Adult and Large Breed formulas is the protein and fat levels are a little higher in the Large Breed formula yet the calorie count is lower. This is because we make the Large Breed formula `lighter`. We do this intentionally as sort of an insurance policy against overfeeding large dogs".

2. "Thank you for your interest in Innova blah blah blah.....The reason you feed more Innova Large Breed formula than you do Innova Adult formula is because in the Large Breed formula the kibble size is bigger".

March 18th, 2006, 11:50 AM
My understanding is that large breed food is to slow down growth. When (some) large breed puppies grow too fast, they run risks of dysplasia,weak joints/ligaments/tendons that can't support their muscles, etc. So I would guess that large breed foods have less protein in them.

March 18th, 2006, 01:00 PM
Innova Large Breed Adult Formula:
25% protein
14% fat
5% fibre
350 KCal/cup

Innova Adult Formula:
24% protein
3% fibre
557 KCal/cup

So there`s more calories per cup in their regular adult formula and the protein percentage is lower than the large breed formula.:confused:

March 18th, 2006, 02:01 PM
hmm... so not the protein. Something is in there to control and slow growth ... is the %analysis by weight or by kcal? Way less calories in the large breed... .again maybe to control the weight on the bones/joints until they grow.
Other than kibble size, I can't think of a reason to have a lge breed adult food though. (Glucosamine/Chondroitin isn't in a high enough amount to help with joint issues).
I'm interested in the answer to this one!!

March 18th, 2006, 07:41 PM
Phoenix, you're right, but that's for puppy food. Rainbow is talking about adult. For puppies that are giant breed, they need less than 1% calcium in their food so that the bones grow slowly. If they're fed regular food there is a chance that the bones will grow too fast for the joints and cause premature arthritis.

As for innova, that's just wacked. That's like saying "We see too many fat large breeds, so we are diguising a light food as a large breed food." :confused: Nutro's website is sort of the same: NATURAL CHOICE LARGE BREED ADULT provides optimum protein and fat levels to help limit excess weight gain while providing plenty of protein for muscles, skin and coat.

Kind of messed up. Why make dogs who already eat a ton of food eat more empty kibble? That's not right.

(BTW Wolf King has nearly the same kcal/cup as their other foods...)

March 18th, 2006, 07:59 PM
For puppies that are giant breed, they need less than 1% calcium in their food so that the bones grow slowly. If they're fed regular food there is a chance that the bones will grow too fast for the joints and cause premature arthritis.

i also read the opposite somewhere, to add to the confusion - that large-breed dogs fed a diet too rich in calories & protein will have a weak skeletal system, due to muscles growing too fast and the bones not growing fast enough (in density and strength) to keep up with the increasing weight, hence all the joint and articulation problems, not to mention porous bone mass.

i think this makes more sense than the other way around.

"With young large-breed dogs, however, you have to be careful," warns Dr. Paul. "High energy intake directly affects growth. Large-breed puppies that grow too fast can develop a mismatch between their body growth and their bone growth. The bones just can't keep up with the growth rate and the result is orthopedic disease (bone malformations)." For these puppies, consult your veterinarian about how much to feed, and never feed free-choice food."

If too many calories are supplied and consumed on a daily basis, too rapid growth results and the excess mass that must be supported on an immature skeleton can result in microscopic damage to skeletal tissue, with subsequent malformation and/or malarticulation of joints, degenerative changes and potentially chronic pain.

March 18th, 2006, 08:10 PM
So low kcal and low calcium are what is needed? (slow everything down)

March 18th, 2006, 08:13 PM
yes i think that is the general consensus... has some good points & advice:

There is considerable controversy regarding the role of nutrition during the developmental and growth periods of puppyhood, and its possible effects on the musculoskeletal system in later life, especially in our larger (greater than 60 lb) breeds. Certain problems are believed to be at least modulated by over supplementation of various nutrients, in the mistaken belief that rapid growth is desirable. Included in the list of medical problems that are believed, in part, attributable to over supplementation are: Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy, Osteochondrosis, Hip Dysplasia2.

I. Fundamental Considerations

The most significant problems appear to be related to the following, in order of decreasing importance: 1. Calcium, 2. Energy, and 3. Protein .

1. Calcium: The ideal calcium content, on a dry weight basis is 0.7%-1.2%-. AAFCO recommendation is 1%-2.5% which is generally acceptable though not ideal; however, for giant breeds, such as the Great Dane, the lower end of this range is especially recommended. It is believed that calcium in excess of 3% on a dry weight basis can predispose to significant skeletal abnormalities, such as those mentioned above. Keep in mind, also, that adding of vitamins, particularly Vitamin D, will also increase absorption of dietary calcium (to possibly excessive levels).

2. Energy: If too many calories are supplied and consumed on a daily basis, too rapid growth results and the excess mass that must be supported on an immature skeleton can result in microscopic damage to skeletal tissue, with subsequent malformation and/or malarticulation of joints, degenerative changes and potentially chronic pain. For most practical purposes, energy levels in food can be extrapolated principally from dietary fat, which should be no less than 9% (AAFCO recommendation) to maximum of 12% on a dry weight basis. Total kcal/kg of food should remain in the 3.2 to 3.8 range

3. Protein: As a percent of diet on a dry weight basis should range between 15%- 27% (AAFCO recommends minumum of 22%). The ideal protein concentration is difficult to specify, since it is, in part dependent upon biological value of the protein source; (i.e. if of high biological value, then less is needed {more is assimilated} and the lower end of the range is desired). Protein markedly above the upper limit described here will be converted to energy, rather then incorporated into protein tissue. This will, therefore, add to the energy burden, and potentiate the problems associated with excess energy consumption, as described above.

of course this only applies when feeding a commercial kibble diet :)

March 19th, 2006, 11:31 AM
Dr. Newman also goes on to say:

Feeding Method:
Even though you have painstakingly found the diet that meents the recommended calcim, energy and protein levels for your puppy, it is equally important to control the amount of this diet which is consumed, otherwise the puppy may overeat and still the nutritional excesses we wish to avoid. The following general rules of thumb have been quite helpful in preventing overconsumption and promoting an ideal growth rate:

If your puppy is under 6 months old feed thre times daily and allow him to ingest as much as he wants for a limited time (e.g. only 10 min.)

If your puppy is between 6 months and maturity feed only two times daily and allow him to ingest as much as he wants, but again only for a limited time.

If your puppy continues to gain weight but appears to be ill-thrifty then he is probably growing at the desired rate. When he reaches physical maturity you can modify the diet to obtain appropriate weight gain and to improve the skin and body condition.

Now, I think that guy is "whacked". If I fed my lab (by the way, he`s still a puppy 9 mo. - my husky is 16 mo.) the way he recommends, he`d have the whole bag gone in under 10 minutes.

Here`s another website to check out with a different point of view:

By the way, Prin, what is the calcium and phosphorous levels in Wolf King? I bought a bag of Timber Wolf Organics and their`s is 1.3% calcium and 1.1%

March 19th, 2006, 12:41 PM
that is a great site I have referred to it numerous times also this is a great site as well
The only thing I will add to this is giant breeds should not be fed puppy food. Almost everyone that I know that has done this has ended up with bone and joint problems. Also giant breeds are not suppose to be aloud to play really rough (lots of jumping and so forth) doing this also cuts down on torn ACL's and torn knees and such.

March 19th, 2006, 12:50 PM
i have the perfect solution... feed raw from womb to tomb... there you go, mother nature's perfect nutritional balance and no headaches! LOL

:D :D

March 19th, 2006, 05:07 PM
I have been told that by giving dog raw bones will entice his wild instincts and encourage aggressive behavior. It is my first dog: a 6 month old female golden retriever.

March 19th, 2006, 05:30 PM
Not true. Also the myth about having the taste of blood causing them to become vicious and start hunting is not true either. What is true is that feeding them cooked bones can cause ripping of the esophagus and GI tract because they splinter on the way down. And feeding rawhides can cause blockages that require surgery if the dog swallows pieces that are even slightly too big.

But ya, feeding raw anything doesn't stimulate any behaviors other than drooling. Be sure not to feed raw with kibble, as kibble slows down the raw and can cause the dog to absorb the bacteria (normally, when it's empty, the GI tract is short enough that the bacteria don't affect the dog).

Rainbow, I emailed them about the calcium a while back and I believe they said 1.2-1.5% but I'm not sure. I'll email them again. I didn't ask about the phosphorus though.

March 19th, 2006, 07:13 PM
Thanks Prin. If that`s the case then Timberwolf falls into the same category. By the way, do you feed your dogs raw bones?

March 19th, 2006, 07:14 PM
Prin: Just had to post and say "Thanks" for your acurate and unbiased post.

As a raw feeder (a decisions I did not arrive at without tremendous amounts of research) I appreciate others who dispel such myths and present info in the form of facts so that other can make informed decisions.

Many thanks :thumbs up

March 19th, 2006, 09:29 PM
Thanks Prin. If that`s the case then Timberwolf falls into the same category. By the way, do you feed your dogs raw bones?
No I don't... I can't stand bacteria all over my house... My dogs are very slow bone chewers so if they got a raw bone, they'd get it all over their fur and everything... They get pig ears once in a while (the rotten bacon of the dog world) but they have to eat them outside.

Bernerlver, even if I don't feed raw, it doesn't mean I'll bash it. I won't bash it with myths anyway- that's just ignorant.;)

March 19th, 2006, 09:53 PM
Prin, your dogs are slow chewers and they`re labs!....Boy are you lucky!!! I don`t feed mine raw bones not only because of the bacteria but also I`m afraid of chipped/broken teeth. Sure wish I could find something for them that lasts awhile though. The only thing so far is nylabones and they only last a week or so.:sad: Do you know anything about the "dino bones"? I`ve seen them in the supermarkets....they`re about a foot long and wrapped in netting.

March 19th, 2006, 10:06 PM
I get them the sterilized thigh bones, but again, they're slow chewers so they won't break their teeth on them. (BTW, we don't think Boo is a lab at all... He lies down to eat and takes a long time, chewing every kibble a few times before swallowing... :eek: Jemma inhales like a normal lab.:D )

March 19th, 2006, 10:20 PM
So what is Boo? And you said "they`re" slow chewers....even Jemma?

Do you feed them their meals side by side? My lab and husky finish almost at the same time but the labe gets twice as much food and I put a kong in his dish to slow him down.:D

March 19th, 2006, 10:30 PM
Slow bone chewers... Food is a different story for Jemma...:D We think Boo is newf/pointer. He's tall like a newf and has pointer ears and stubborness and his fur is very short but very fluffy. In person people see the newf but in pics, he looks like a lab/dane (if you consider his size). See how small Jemma is in this pic? She's the same size as most labs, just a little less stalky (she's mixed with husky). Jemma can walk under Boo...

March 19th, 2006, 10:31 PM
Here's big Boo climbing my man for a cookie.:o (it's blurry because he moves too fast for my reaction...)

March 19th, 2006, 10:42 PM
most mixed dogs where lineage is unknown are rarely the product of two purebreds who had a chance encounter. they are most likely the result of mixed-breed mating with mixed-breed, so that the resulting puppies (and adult dogs) can look like anything really. size, color, ear shape, coat etc *can* be good indicators in some cases, and in other cases can create misconceptions. so unless both parents have been clearly identified as purebreds, it is almost impossible to say a mixed dog is the result of breed A x breed B. in one same litter of such a mating (two different pure breeds) the puppies often do not resemble each other or the parents at all.

i guess it can be part of the allure of a mixed dog... the never-ending guessing game, LOL! ;)

March 19th, 2006, 10:44 PM
It's sad too, because if you like the characteristics a lot, you can't find them all in the same package again.:( I'll never have another Boo.

March 19th, 2006, 10:46 PM
They`re both gorgeous and such nice shiny coats!!! must be the Solid Gold. I`d love to post pics of mine but don`t have a digital camera.:sad:

And boy do I wish they were slow chewers.:pawprint:

March 19th, 2006, 10:47 PM
no you will never have another boo, nor another jemma, and there will never be another Prin either! this is part of celebrating life and its uniqueness, never let a moment go by unappreciated and love those furkids with every fiber of your being! :grouphug:

March 19th, 2006, 10:54 PM
Rainbow, just take pics with a regular camera and then get the cd made when you develop... That's what I used to do up until I got this one a couple of months ago. It definitely is the solid gold. They have the most amazingly shiny, soft coats. I thought they were soft before, but now, it's just craziness.

Technodoll, I know. But if you like a newf coat, for example, you can get another dog with a newf coat. But you'd have to search forever to find a Boo coat or a Jemma coat. They're both unique from the mixes... One day, I'll make you feel them, and you'll see what I mean..;)

March 20th, 2006, 11:33 AM
Thanks Prin...I`ll check that out.