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Feeding Giant Breed Puppies (ie - Irish Wolfhound) Anyone have experience?

March 27th, 2007, 06:30 PM
Long story.... sorry.... I should preface this by saying that I am not new to dogs. Indeed I have had dogs around my entire life, except the last five years. I've volunteered at no kill shelters, and have done a little training professionally although I am not certified, as well as doing basic obedience training and rehab of dogs for the shelter. I have not, however, worked with all breed types. I have handled some older mastiff crosses but that is all. I don't know of any special feeding the giant breeds require as puppies, only that it is necessary or they develop painful skeletal disorders.

I need advice for feeding one of the truly large breeds.

About a month ago we purchased a "terrier" puppy from our local humane society. She was about 20 lbs, then, and has big feet. I suggested that she was perhaps part shepherd or something large and the people there denied this and said she was just a terrier. She's a bit wire haired although it's very soft, and so I figured maybe a bit of airedale?

When I asked the foster parent, (who was present at the time), what brand of dogfood she used, she said to "just buy any dry food, it doesn't matter."

Unfortunately we bought Science Diet, because our vet had recommended this, (and I questioned this because of the corn, but my bf wanted to feed it anyway). Our new puppy did not tolerate it well at all and she had a lot of really horrible flatus. She seemed very uncomfortable, too. She slept all the time and didn't play very much. She could not or would not jump. I had to lift her onto the bed. (She was tall enough to just walk up onto the couch, so thankfully she did not need help for that). She seems to have some discomfort, although the vet said she is fine. We have made another appointment with a different vet for a more complete physical, although she was supposedly fine the last few visits, and has been spayed and is up to date on all of her shots.

After the first week, i started giving her a cooked egg or two a day, cooked meats and chicken, (including liver, heart, skin, cartilage and epiphysis for chrondroitin), some yogurt, and gradually adding various veggies, (carrots, peas, zucchini, etc), a few fruits like a few blueberries or bits of banana or applesauce, etc. She always has real bones to chew on. Last week we dumped the rest of the science diet in the trashcan and bought a natural no-corn/no meat byproducts puppy kibble. I also started adding a fish oil capsule and some "Green Mush" supplement daily, and an occasional squirt of the polyvisol that I have left from raising some baby opossums a few months ago.

She's gradually starting to wake up a bit more, and moves more easily, and has been getting really playful. She's still very affectionate, and placid although a mite timid, but she's getting some energy and now starting to chase a ball and behave more normally for short periods of time. Her favorite thing is to lie on the couch with my son. Of course now she takes up half of it. Apparently in a few months there will be no place left for my son to sit, at the rate she is growing.

She also never barks. I mean she is so opposite personality wise of any terrier I have seen. She hardly ever needs any kind of correction, which is not normal for a very young pup, and I think she is just too tired to get into trouble.

She's now 15 weeks of age and about 35 lbs. She's grown quite a lot, obviously.

A friend of mine who has had one and has a friend who breeds them, said she is obviously an Irish Wolfhound. I looked at photos and read about their behavior traits and it fits our puppy to a "T." I am not at all familiar with this breed.

Every site said that the breeders must give new puppy owners a food list. None of the sites are saying what is on that list.

My vet hasn't been that helpful so far... so until we get in to see the new one, does anyone have any suggestions? Should I add glucosamine/chrondroitin to her diet? Calcium citrate?

March 27th, 2007, 08:00 PM
Ohh the little pic looks like Riley, he's 1/2 wolfhound, well mabe 1/4 or possibly 2/3, we think the rest is GSD. Do you have a photo account that you have pictures, mines under user tx541202 and the folder of Riley.
We did a run through the kibbles untill I convinced myself I could handle SARF, we went Iams :sad: , Nutram :o , Canadie:D , to SARF :thumbs up . We add Omega 3's if we haven't done any fish for a while, and unless you have joint issues I don't see any real reason to add in Glucosamine (Missy gets it because of her hips). I need pictures, oops I mean we need pictures. I got Rilery at a year and have always been curious on what he could have looked like when he was growing up.

March 27th, 2007, 08:27 PM
Riley is a lovely dog! I can see the GSD in his face. He does look a lot like a wolfhound, also! How old is he? How old was he when you got him?

I am new to online dog forums so I don't know some of the abbreviations. What is SARF?

I think Zola does have some joint and skeletal developmental problems from being fed poor quality food in the pound. She was hardly moving at all when we got her. She's very pleasant but puppies should play and she could not jump or anything. The vet said she was ok but I think he was possibly not experienced with large dogs as he did not pick up on her breed, either. She's much much better now.

I used to raise those crossbred meat chickens? the ones that get metabolic problems because they grow so fast that, unless one is very careful about their diet, their bones are so thin that they will start breaking legs from just walking around if they are not butchered by 12 weeks or so.

I was reading about the giant dog breeds and apparently they can get somewhat similar skeletal and joint deformities easily because they grow so rapidly. Also her tummy gets upset very easily and she just had stomach problems the whole first three weeks because we were trying to feed Science Diet. She's fine now but she is mostly eating meat and vegetables with some vitamins, and some high quality puppy kibble on the side.

I will post a few photos here. I really need to take pictures more often! She's growing like a weed!

I have a photobucket but it is all mixed up just now and mostly graphics for LJ and other support forums, instead of actual photos of my pets. I should do something about sorting things a bit differently.

Zola the day we got her, 2-24-07, at 11 weeks.

On 3-1-07, 12 weeks

and now on 3-24-07,at 15 weeks
I need to get photos of her more often. She's at least 2 or three inches taller at the shoulders than when we got her and she's getting hard to lift.

March 27th, 2007, 08:49 PM
she sure is a cutie! :lovestruck: here is an irish wolfhound puppy growth chart and some photos:, she could be pure or a mix, i don't know... but definitely keep up the good food! SARF means Species Appropriate Raw Feeding :)

March 27th, 2007, 09:33 PM
I posted a link for you on your other thread in the general forum.

She's very cute.


March 27th, 2007, 09:46 PM
I really do appreciate the links! the growth chart looks really helpful... although not being sure if she is actually purebred, I have no idea what to expect. If that is where she should be, she's running behind a bit... but with her poor nutrition history, that is to be expected. She's sure not going to be a terrier lap dog, though! ROFL!

I did see your post in the breeds thread, Cindy. That was very helpful! Thank you!

ATM I am not sure that I can handle feeding her raw meat just yet, though I do think it is appropriate for some dogs. She's had some significant gut issues from the poor diet, and I would be worried about Leaky Gut Syndrome. At this time she seems to be stabilizing on cooked meats and lots of veggies and the natural kibble on the side and I am giving her calcium citrate, glucosamine, chrondroitin and some vitamins along with the Green Mush. I read recently that I should also be adding MSM.

Her coat is getting glossy, now. She's really acting a lot happier, too and her activity level is much more appropriate now. She's really an intelligent dog. I think she already knows several words. Unfortunately, she does not always choose to co-operate with what I am saying!

I've read some stuff on being careful to not feed too much with the giant breeds? That they grow too fast? So I really do appreciate the links very much. I need that information. This seems very different than what I am used to.

March 27th, 2007, 09:50 PM
At this time she seems to be stabilizing on cooked meats and lots of veggies

don't don't need veggies, please consider feeding her more meat and raw bones instead. puppies need all the nutrition they can get, and they need protein, lots of protein... not veggies except as a treat ;)

March 27th, 2007, 10:00 PM
I am under the impression that canines do need some vegetables. Most of the sites I have been do do advise giving them at least some, particularly the Giant dogs like Danes or Wolfhounds?

Wolves and wild or feral dogs do eat veggies in the wild, even when they have an adequate meat intake. Even wolves do, most often by eating the contents of the intestines of their kill... but other than that in the wild they do eat greens and berries on their own.

I've had dogs that picked their own berries or ate soft avocado windfalls and they do eat various grasses sometimes.

Oh and yes she needs the nutrition... that is why I have come here, to get advice. I am hearing from some sites that she needs between 22% and 28% protein intake, but that seems to vary.

Akitas certainly are big dogs! I love them!

March 27th, 2007, 10:35 PM
mamasue, you certainly are in the right place to learn lots about everything dog :p and the akitas send your girl fuzzy kissies :goodvibes:

what i meant about veggies was: try to feed them as treats and supplements, rather than as a staple of her diet which takes away place where more useful nutrients, such as meat, could be :o

i am just giving you food to chew on, LOL! and yes I do add cooked pureed vegggies to my dog's diet, but it's less than 5% of their overall diet... i call it the Antioxydant Green Mush :D whatever works for your girl is :thumbs up BUT you must post lots of photos of her growing up, please :)

March 27th, 2007, 11:01 PM
She sure is pretty :lovestruck: , I bet she thinks she's a lapdog aswell.
Riley is now around 18-20 months and we got him when he was around a year. He's still all legs and has filled out nicely. He also is ment to be wore haired, but now it's more soft bristles, he made great advances on the Canadie but nothing compaired to RAW. Although it took me a LONG time to be comfortable with going down that road.
Even wolves do, most often by eating the contents of the intestines of their kill...
Not quite, it's the last thing they may eat, after the feaces :yuck:
If you want a little more info, some good easy reading is found at
It's not a type of feeding unless your comitted, I kind of fell into it while trying to find the golden kibble.
Looks like what ever your feeding is working so I would stick with it, glucosamine wouldn't harm.
The only thing I would sugest is more pictures :p :D
OK I just showed my wife your pictures and she's also in love with her. She thinks she looks like Riley when we first got him, but we didn't have a camera back then :sad:

March 28th, 2007, 12:49 AM
Thanks so much for the suggestions and all the great links - and for the wonderful compliments on our gorgeous girl! I definitely need to remember to use my camera more! She's so photogenic!:lovestruck:

Daddy just weighed her. I erred on the conservative side. She's 40.6 lbs, so she's almost doubled her weight in the last month! :eek: She's not at all fat, though, as you can see.

I'll read up more on the raw diet. I had been considering BARF but just could not go through with it just yet.

My concern with feeding raw foods right now primarily is because of her past diet and her gut status, and her recent immunizations. She obviously needs to still heal up from her corn intolerance from the Science Diet. I don't want to risk systemic infections because of Leaky Gut Syndrome, because I think her colon and small intestine are still a bit irritated. It takes time to heal from intolerances and infections. It's like Celiac disorder, almost.

I also can't afford organic range fed chicken, etc. I checked prices and they are almost $30 each, locally. I used to raise chickens and I know that no dog would have come to harm eating one of those, but the ones going through the meat factories now are raised quite differently, and the practices of slaughter are not as clean. Has anyone else seen what it's like inside of a Tyson slaughterhouse? That's why I raised my own chickens for meat. Ugh! Ditto with beef. I used to buy our meat on the hoof, grass fed yearling calves. I've relocated and am in the suburbs 2000 miles away, and there is no way that we can find that quality of clean meat here at a price that I can afford on my fixed retirement income, and still keep a roof over our heads.

I can't in good conscience feed her better than my own children, either - although it's coming close! ;)

As far as raw is concerned, many giant dog breeders are still advising use of supplements like Chrondroitin, Glucosamine, MSM, probiotics, etc... and it sounds like I need a shopping cart full of bottles and pills, as well as some good quality meat. I am wondering if anyone else is using those supplements who has raised a Dane or other Giant puppy.

This really is a terrific forum! I was sent here by my friend who is involved with National Service Dogs in Canada, and she is very picky about what she does with her son's Service Dog and the puppy she raised. Thank you all again so much! - Sue

March 28th, 2007, 01:29 AM
If it's any help this may be an answer to finding local suppliers
Although I would continue to do what ever your doing, the joy of that is you can tailor it to her, if she's getting plump you can cut back and if she is doing more you can add in extras, thats how we feed with RAW, we sit back and see what works and go from there.
I think it's safe to assume most ALS (All Life Stages) like the popular Canadie, and other premium kibbles (Fromm, Innova, yadda yadda) would suit your puppy and all would be better than the grocery store products in terms of Quality, however it's what ever is going to work for Zola, all to often people get caught up in the best kibble for them, rather than there pets. With the variety she is getting you can't be missing anything out. Riley won't touch kibble now, so were comitted to push on with what were doing, and once again, it works for him.
I would do some research on the additives, many say they work wonders, however the research makes you wonder if indeed it reaches the gut. Scott has a great big Woofer :dog: and I'm sure he will chime in soon. Have a trip over to the Raw section and have a looksie at what other people are doing, even if you decide RAW is not for you, it may help you decide what suppliments to include.
Most of the RAW feeders have moved away from BARF and it's measuring tables and gone to Prey type models (SARF).
40 lbs :laughing: lets hope that was a growth spurt/recovery from poor diet, and not a sign of the monthly weigh in's. I think you just supersized your dog :crazy: You brought a terrier and ended up with a pony, now thats value for money :laughing:

March 28th, 2007, 01:35 AM
OOps, hadn't realized that site was only for Canada. :sorry: But there may be something like that for where you are.

March 28th, 2007, 03:36 AM
:laughing: Oh I think there seem to be a lot of us American's here! I'm in California, not Canada, although oddly enough I manage a support group for parents of children with Autism based in Ontario, and half of my friends online are Canadian. ROFL...

Thanks for the suggestions with diet. I am not saying I will never go RAW, but just that I don't think I should do that this month with her... I might later. Thanks also for the kibble brand suggestions. :thumbs up

March 28th, 2007, 04:32 AM
I just wanted to say she's a cutie.and you have come to the right place for food advice.coming here got me feeding raw.and better kibble when i was feeding it.

March 28th, 2007, 05:37 AM
Welcome. Cute looking pup. :thumbs up

Kibble, I like Canidae as stated above. I too have a giant breed pup, (he turns 1 on friday :eek: ) and started him out on this.

I now feed a raw diet. I don't like Barf. too many veggies, too much bone, too many suppliments, not enough meat. I feed whole prey model raw. That doesnt mean you need to serve a whole bufflo to you dog. It just means feed large, whole parts. I will feed whole rabbit, when i get them, or cut ducks, chickem, turkey into 2-3lb lots and feed those. Variety over time. No one meal needs to be completly balanced. Some days I feed whole hearts. Or a beef tongue. Other days, a side of lamb. Very simple. And yeah the veggies, wolves do not eat the stomach contents. They shake them out. Feeding them as treats or in small amounts wont hurt them, but know your feeding them for your peace of mind, not the dogs :p

Just wanted to add, raw meat is by far the easiest food for dogs to digest. Much easier then kibble. If you did want to switch, two ways to do it. Most people start cold turkey. Just toss the pooch a chicken 1/4 or something similar. Stick to that for a week until the stool is good. Then add another protien souce. The other way is add a bit of raw meat to the kibble. Slowly increasing the amount until its all chicken for example.

March 28th, 2007, 11:07 AM
I appreciate the information Scott!

x.l.r.8! I did see some American references in there. I will look for some suppliers locally. Thank you!

Angeldogs, this seems like a very sensible forum and I am really appreciating the knowlegable suggestions and help. There is so much information that is new to me! I feel like she's my first dog, almost. It's very odd... Thanks!

I do want to add that someone that I know and trust emailed me, when I commented on my blog that I was considering starting to feed raw meat in the future. She said that she was feeding her young adult dogs raw meat for most of a year, and that they both died rather suddenly within a couple of weeks of each other. :sad: Her vet told her that it was from feeding the raw diet. Both had massive electrolyte imbalances and one had terrible infections and basically no immune system function left. I am going to be even more cautious, now, I think.

So yes... IW's seem to be rather fragile in some ways, anyhow - particularly this pup. I am a bit more concerned now than I was about feeding raw. I'll read the articles and sites and consider what information is out there, and if the new vet is dependable and sensible I will see what she has to say. It sure won't be Science Diet though!

I am going to start adding MSM supplements, as I have been looking that up for feeding giant breeds on some of the IW sites. I took MSM for a really severe case of GERD for rather a long time, and it is something that is also very helpful for joint pain and arthritis. I hope it helps her.

March 28th, 2007, 11:26 AM
She said that she was feeding her young adult dogs raw meat for most of a year, and that they both died rather suddenly within a couple of weeks of each other

well yes, feeding an all-meat diet is a disaster. you need to include bones and organ meats as well, and a variety of different protein sources, etc. I am sceptical that the diet was the reason of the deaths though, "massive infections" could be from any disease totally unrelated to food. and where did the food come from? were the dogs sick before being fed raw? were they from a puppy-mill, were they weak and genetically flawed?

really, i don't know of anybody feeding a *proper* raw diet who has less than sterling-healthy dogs, many of which who actually recovered from illnesses that were being fueled by kibble. :shrug:

March 28th, 2007, 11:42 AM
Well said Techno. On the raw feeding yahoo list there are over 7000 members that feed raw to their animals. If pets were dropping dead becaues of health issues, I have no doubt others would be talking. Raw feeders feed raw because we feel its feeding food in its most natural state. Its how these animals are designed to eat. Kibble has only been around for 60 odd years. What did they eat before that? :p And I'm not knocking kibble or anything. We all know why kibble was invented. Now a days we have some much better quality kibbles being made. However we still feel raw is a much more natural & healthy diet

March 28th, 2007, 09:17 PM
I only know her online but she's a very honest person and dedicated to her animals. I know she is lives in the country and she has several different types of animals, as well. I know she fed what she and her family eat - not just bones and chicken but their own beef, as well as a few veggies occasionally. They were smaller breeds of dogs, as well. One was a minpin, the other a pom, and I think the pom had a perforation from a bone, as well, according to the vet. I wonder if their being smaller breeds was part of the problem?

I do know that many reliable breeders are also feeding raw. I know some people who have lovely dogs who feed raw. I am not saying it is bad. I just am not comfortable with it yet and I am trying to sort through what is what.

March 28th, 2007, 10:01 PM
And not being comfortable with it is the exact reason you should continue to do what your already doing, it's working. most of us spent a lot of ime reading and researching before we made the switch. I'm hoping lots of people don't suddenly start feeding SARF hoping to get away from infected kibble and ending up with a huge failure stories, all because they thought it was a good thing without understanding what they were feeding.
(By the way, under the contract you agreed to when you signed up, we are due at least 2 more pictures:D :D :D 3 if there small:laughing: )

March 29th, 2007, 01:14 PM
What a wonderful idea! hehehe... :laughing:

You know, we joined around the same time, I think, looking back.

I posted some other pictures, actually, in the introduction section a month ago.... let me see if I can find that link.

I am going to have to take a lot more photos, as well. I read they can grow an inch a week and she is changing fast!

I really do need to read the rules! My apologies to the moderators for all of my violations!:sorry:

I also need to upgrade my icon. She's not looking so much like that anymore!

March 29th, 2007, 01:31 PM
With very large breeds, the caloric intake every day can't be too high, and the calcium can't be too high either. High protein is ok, but not high calcium.:o Ideally, you should be feeding a food with less than 1% calcium, but not too many of those exist, so you end up having to move up to adult food.

IMO, the best way to go is to feed a food like DVP Natural balance and supplement with extra meat.:shrug:

Good DVP formulas... (

Just what I think...:o

March 29th, 2007, 01:35 PM
Oh and for supplements, if she's digesting properly, probiotics aren't necessary. They help, of course, but they're not a must. If you hear of a bug in your neighborhood though, it's best to start them before it hits.

For Glucosamine and chondroitin, I was advised to give them when I had my newf foster with bad hips and it did make it easier for her to get up after a long sleep. Just takes any joint pain away, and they can develop the muscles around their joints. :shrug:

But it's important for the very large breeds to not exercise too intensely while they are developing. A lot of dane breeders don't want their danes in homes with stairs or slippery flooring when they're young, too.

March 29th, 2007, 02:30 PM
Low calcium? When they are making bones at the rate of an inch a week? How odd... that is the opposite of what I would have imagined and what I know about metabolic syndrome. I will hold off on the calcium until I do more research.

Her digestion seems a bit better, but she had some problems with the corn and I fear that her tummy is a mite delicate. I haven't fed the probiotics yet but I have some of the enzymes already and was thinking about adding them.

I know the glucosamine and chrondroitin and MSM are all safe, as I have given them to several animals - dogs, and some wildlife rescues, as well. One can also safely give them to children who have some problems with joint tissue, and I heard that the MSM is also good for children with reflux. I have used it for GERD myself and it is beneficial.

Indeed, glucosamine and chrondroitin combinations have been proven to help regenerate some of the joint tissue damage in osteoarthritis in some individuals, over a long period of consistant use - although many conventional physicians will deny this. I have seen Xrays of a friend of mine's knee. She was refusing replacement, and started the supplements. A year later you could really see the difference and her orthopedic surgeon said if she kept it up that she would no longer need the surgery. He was pretty amazed, too, because he had been a huge skeptic. After all, she was 76 at the time, and you don't expect that much recovery. Last I saw her she was 85 and getting around better than ever.

March 29th, 2007, 02:40 PM
Wow... thanks for the head's up on that, Prin!

I found this article that explains some of it...

I need to not leave food out, I guess. I should also take some of the fat out of her food, apparently. She should be on the lean side instead of starting to round out, apparently.

We do have that vet appointment tomorrow and she should be more appropriate for Zola's needs than the one we saw previously, so I can learn more then.

And apparently I should not be feeding only meat, either, from what I read... only 22% protein for babies? I think the dry feed we have is 27%. Geepers...

March 30th, 2007, 07:56 PM
So then the DVP Natural Balance food would be perfect. :)

We used to have a Dogue de Bordeaux owner on here, and she knew everything about large breed puppy feeding... She knew all the percentages and stuff... I hope she comes back.:o

March 30th, 2007, 09:01 PM
If you're worried about leaky gut syndrome you might want to consider feeding slippery elm bark powder.

March 31st, 2007, 06:49 PM
That's a good idea, ghgirl!
I hadn't heard of feeding that to dogs, although I have taken it myself and given it to my children. I wasn't sure if it was ok for dogs to take. Some things are and some things aren't.
I will look into it. I still think she's got a touchy gut...