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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-14-2012, 03:59 PM Thread Starter
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Why "Overgrowing" Your Large Breed Puppy is Dangerous

The proper food for a growing doberman puppy is an often discussed topic, so I thought this article would be a good, informative read for a lot of people.

It also could be a great sticky.


Do You Know What to Feed Your Large or Giant Breed Puppy?

Quote:
By Dr. Becker

Today I want to discuss slow growth diets for growing puppies – especially large and giant breed pups.

Contrary to what many people continue to believe, a roly poly puppy is not a healthy puppy.

Optimal growth in a large or giant breed puppy is very different from maximum growth.

The goal of breeders and owners of big dogs should not be to help their puppies grow as big as possible, as fast as possible.

Somehow, we've gotten the idea a large, fast growing puppy is a positive thing for the health of the dog.

Actually, the opposite is true.

And until everyone understands that, sadly, we as dog owners will continue to contribute to the development of orthopedic diseases in large and giant breed dogs.

The definition of a large breed dog, by the way, is a dog that will be over 55 pounds when he's full grown, which usually occurs between 10 and 24 months of age, depending on the breed.

Serious Health Problems Often Develop in Puppies Who Grow Too Fast

There are several factors that contribute to the skeletal development of puppies, including genetics, exercise, trauma and nutrition. One of the most important factors is nutrition.

The good news is that nutrition is something you, as a pet owner, have complete control over.

A number of orthopedic diseases, which are problems with a dog's bones, joints, tendons, muscles and nerves, take root in poor feeding practices during the puppy's growth period. These diseases include osteochondrosis, some forms of hip dysplasia, hypertrophic osteodystrophy and Wobbler's syndrome.

Many large and giant breed dogs are genetically predisposed to grow too fast. Unfortunately, humans continue to help the process along by feeding inappropriate, high-growth pet food formulas to these puppies.

When a puppy's body gets too big, too fast and gains a lot of weight, it puts stress on the developing skeleton. Rapid bone growth can result in structural defects of the bones, which makes the skeleton even less able to bear the increasing body weight.

Sometimes developing cartilage can't keep up with rapid bone growth, and cartilage defects can occur. Also, big dogs have less bone density than smaller breeds, meaning their bones are more fragile and prone to injury.

Diet Influences How Fast a Puppy Grows – It Does Not Influence His Adult Size

Overfeeding an adult dog leads to obesity and serious health conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Overfeeding a puppy during the active, rapid growth period right after weaning leads to skeletal problems.

The goal for large and giant breed puppies should be controlled growth – not overgrowth.

The size a dog ultimately becomes is primarily dictated by genetics. But the time it takes a dog to reach full adult size can be controlled to a large degree by nutrition.

Protein is Not the Culprit -- Excess Calories and Minerals Are

Researchers have studied the diets of large breed dogs for over 30 years to understand the link between improper nutrition and skeletal problems.

Studies have repeatedly concluded dietary protein levels have no effect on the development of skeletal problems in large and giant breed dogs.

But still today, many breeders of large dogs, owners and even some veterinarians will tell you protein is the problem, even though there is no evidence to prove it.

Protein excess is not the problem. In fact, it's often a dietary protein deficiency that contributes to skeletal problems.

The elements of nutrition that have been scientifically proven to negatively impact skeletal development in puppies are excessive calories and high or unbalanced mineral content, specifically calcium and phosphorusi .

Why Excess Mineral Content is a Problem

The bodies of puppies aren't able to control or limit absorption of dietary calcium and certain other minerals.

Absorption, of course, occurs through the intestines. The higher the calcium and mineral content of the diet, the greater the level of absorption and assimilation into the developing bone structure of the puppy. This can disturb the natural process of bone growth and result in lesions in the skeleton and joints.

High mineral concentrations in the diet can quickly cause bone mineral changes that play into skeletal abnormalities in a growing puppy. These include hypertrophic osteodystrophy, also called HOD. This is a severely painful bone disease that affects multiple limbs and causes lameness. Also craniomandibular osteopathy, a disease that affects the bones of the skull, including the lower jaw.

A high mineral content diet has also been shown to cause conformation problems and abnormalities in both stature and weight gain.

Puppies who get too big, too fast and go on to develop orthopedic issues are typically fed a very tasty, high energy, high mineral content diet.

Many of these puppies are free-fed. Others are simply fed too much at each meal. The problematic high energy nutrient in all these diets tends to be too many carbohydrates.

The Right Type of Food for Your Large or Giant Breed Pup

The goal in feeding a large or giant breed puppy is to keep him lean, with controlled growth. A healthy, large or giant breed puppy will thrive on a portion-controlled, balanced, species-appropriate diet. You can feed a spot-on balanced homemade diet or an excellent quality commercially available food.

What about those large breed puppy foods? Traditional puppy foods often provide much higher calorie content than large breed puppies require, causing them to gain too much weight too quickly. This is why pet food manufacturers began producing formulas specifically for large breed puppies.

These are typically diets lower in calorie density (the number of calories per cup or gram of food) than a regular puppy diet. They're also usually lower in calcium on an energy basis.

These are two very important factors for reducing too-rapid growth in big puppies. Some adult foods may also be low calorically, but often they have high calcium content on an energy basis, which is not what you want for a growing large or giant breed pup.

If you're going to feed kibble to a large breed puppy, I recommend you look for special large breed puppy formulas or a formula that is "Approved for all life stages." This means the food is appropriate for growing puppies or adult dogs.

I do not recommend feeding a traditional (high growth) puppy food to large breed puppies.

How Much to Feed

Most vets and breeders agree puppies can be moved to adult foods between six and 10 months of age, depending on the breed, size, and current physical development.

Several factors will play into the amount of food you feed your puppy. They include the dog's age, current weight, anticipated adult weight, her breed, the environment she's in (including the climate), and her activity level.

Puppies eat much more for their weight than adult dogs, and young puppies actually eat quite a bit more than older puppies.

Very young puppies should be fed three to four times a day, in fact, whereas older puppies often do well with twice-daily feedings.

Following feeding guidelines on the back of a dog food bag can give you some guidelines on portions to feed, but remember those are only general guidelines. There's no one-size-fits-all amount that every puppy should be fed, and it certainly depends on what type of food you choose.

Raw-fed puppies need a larger volume of food than kibble-fed puppies, because raw food contains less fat and calories per ounce.

Another common feeding guideline is to allow your pup to eat at her own pace for about 10 minutes three times a day. However, again, there's no one-size-fits-all plan for every puppy, so you need to discuss your own puppy's caloric needs with your vet.

Most importantly, I recommend you feed your puppy the amount of food required to keep him lean, which is about a 2 out of 5 or a 4 out of 9 body condition score.



Remember, you'll need to continually monitor your puppy's condition and activity level. Since puppy appetites go up and down depending on what growth phase they're in, you'll need to adjust the volume of food you feed your puppy and keep him at the appropriate weight throughout his growth period.

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How to select a good dog kibble
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Last edited by greenkouki; 05-16-2012 at 09:16 PM.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-12-2013, 06:28 AM
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I have had a side business selling only higher end pet food, for 12 years now.
11 years ago, I stoped stocking puppy food and switched my puppy customers over to all life stages (ALS).
- in the wild, a fox or wolf feeds its litter part of the daily kill, no special baby food formula
- puppy food is also higher priced per pound, good marketing "BS"

Our Vet is respected in the race horse group (w/35 years experience) and he also told me a slow & controlled growth (in both horses and dogs) avoids many health problems later...and the animal does eventually end up its god given size & weight...just over a few extra months.

Great info. sticky LindaH...thks. for sharing.

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Last edited by Beaumont67; 02-12-2013 at 06:36 AM.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-14-2013, 11:05 AM
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We also changed to all life stages OR puppy to 2 year old food.
but about 3 months ago we changed to feeding the pray all raw diet.
cheaper for us and the dogs all seem a lot happier.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-14-2013, 12:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guardian View Post
We also changed to all life stages OR puppy to 2 year old food.
but about 3 months ago we changed to feeding the pray all raw diet.
cheaper for us and the dogs all seem a lot happier.
I don't personally agree with everything in the article, but it has some good points,

However, no matter what you are feeding, it isn't enough. Lean is one thing, but that red in your avitar is way underweight.

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-14-2013, 02:16 PM
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This is a great post, thank you Linda!
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-21-2013, 05:59 PM
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Puppy food

Thanks much for the article. I was wondering what the right food is for a new puppy and thought it was all tied to protein but excess minerals and calcium also makes sense.

Thanks for posting!
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-21-2013, 06:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guardian View Post
We also changed to all life stages OR puppy to 2 year old food.
but about 3 months ago we changed to feeding the pray all raw diet.
cheaper for us and the dogs all seem a lot happier.
Holy bones batman!-If you don't do raw correctly they can lose a lot of weight. I'd be doing something else w/the one in your avatar. That dog needs a sammich or two, or three.....something.

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-01-2013, 11:19 PM
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Our breeder recommended switching to adult food as soon as we brought him home at 8wks is this ok to do?
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-02-2013, 01:53 AM Thread Starter
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Our breeder recommended switching to adult food as soon as we brought him home at 8wks is this ok to do?
As long a the adult food is an "all life stages" food that's fine. It will say on the bag somewhere, usually on the back, that the food is designed for all life stages.

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The key is the quote "Protein is Not the Culprit -- Excess Calories and Minerals Are"

Many people make the mistake of looking into protein & fat % of the food when they should be looking into the calories per/kg and the source of these calories in the food..

Most cheap brand of dry food manufacturers do not include this important information because they are too embarrassed to reveal the cheap protein sources in their product..

Calories necessary for dog should also be calculated taking into account the age and activity level of the dog as well as the change in seasonal climatic conditions.

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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-21-2014, 04:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iceman View Post
The key is the quote "Protein is Not the Culprit -- Excess Calories and Minerals Are"

Many people make the mistake of looking into protein & fat % of the food when they should be looking into the calories per/kg and the source of these calories in the food..

Most cheap brand of dry food manufacturers do not include this important information because they are too embarrassed to reveal the cheap protein sources in their product..

Calories necessary for dog should also be calculated taking into account the age and activity level of the dog as well as the change in seasonal climatic conditions.
Is there a table of target nutritional values for dobermans anywhere? I always here, too much or too little, but I never see anything saying this is how much is right and why.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-30-2014, 12:29 PM
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Help my Hercules has been to the vet but they dont know what it is but did say he had fluids in his tummy .
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Help my Hercules has been to the vet but they dont know what it is but did say he had fluids in his tummy .
Start a new thread - it is buried in a thread about people making puppies too fat and growing too fast - that is NOT your problem.

A vet is where you can get help, not online - only people who have had something similar can even relate.

He looks terrible - I am so sorry.

Ask for a gastro enteric specialist - fast!


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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-06-2014, 02:18 AM
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Good read with lots of good info.
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post #16 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-07-2014, 01:54 PM
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Fish oils in food is what you want tripe is good red meats too
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post #17 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-25-2014, 02:55 AM
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Great info.

Keep in mind the calcium/phosphorous ratio is important.
I'm glad the author mentioned minerals. Protein is not a culprit.
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post #18 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-27-2016, 12:52 AM
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Thank's for sharing this thread
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