First off, wow! I am sooo glad I joined this forum! I cannot believe how many knowledgable Lab lovers are out there! I have learned so much, but of course still have my newbie questions. Diesel is the first pup I've ever raised & I feel you can never really ask a stupid question so here goes...
Diesel is 5 1/2 months right now & weighs 32.7lbs (!! weighed 33.0lbs just last Thurs?) stands 20" tall (shoulder)
Diet...He is on the Hills Prescription P/D Large Breed Puppy formula, yes of course at the recommendation of the vet! He gets 3 servings a day 1.5c morn/eve + 1c @ lunch (per instructions on the bag based on weight).
He had some bloodwork done this week, the results came back & he has low protein. The vet kept pre-empting the results with "I'm not concerned, but we will check again when we do pre-op bloodwork for his neuter". Well when she told me the healthy range is 50-70 & D is at 49 (!) I did become concerned.
A lot of Lab owners in my hood comment on how he doesn't look like he'll get much bigger, though I'd always thought he'd be a big boy cuz his paws are huge... now I know why he doesn't appear to be growing as much as he possibly could be.
The food bag says the protein is min 25.5%, I've googled around & there are different views on protein intake for large breed pups. Protein should be min 25% or higher... There is the concern that too much protein can aid in causing hip dysplasia issues but the flipside is that he needs protein to build healthy strong bones & muscles. There is also the concern that too much protein can negatively impact his kidneys.
So here is what I was thinking of doing... keeping him on his current diet but implementing some boiled chicken, cooked egg, cooked ground beef (heard you shouldn't give either raw?), cooked fish but only starting him out slowly like 1 meal a week then building it up to maybe 3 meals of this a week (1 of the 4 sources not all). I don't want to shock his system which is why I thought a slow intro would be best....
Any thoughts?? Advice??
I've heard that a male's appearance can feminize if neutered too early & some wait until 10-11 months. The only concern with allowing the testerone to run through his system longer is it may cause some behavioural issues namely stubbornness. I am not concerned of any dominant or aggression issues, #1 because he's a Lab! #2 because he has a very gentle disposition as it is. He already has such a handsome boyish look & I know it wouldn't affect him any if that were to change, but part of the appeal of a male Lab is the big head, broad chest, etc so it would bother me a little. I don't think it's overly selfish of me to want my boy to maintain his handsome look, after all we pick a particular breed not just for their temperment but also for their appearance.... Thoughts?
Oh btw, I did sign a contract with the breeder that I would neuter @ 7 months... I have no plans on breeding or showing him, just want to maintain the masculine look... how do you think this would go over for the breeder if I ask to wait? Contract says I'd be dinged $1k if I don't neuter @ 7m.
Okay, I'm confused. Who suggested he be put on a prescription food at that young age and why? At 5 months, he can be switched to an adult food. I switch my puppies at 3-4 months to ProPlan chicken and rice (NOT the Shreds or Large Breed) in the purple and orange bag. All Life Stages Chicken & Rice Formula - Products - Purina
I've done this for years and am satisfied with how they grow.
It's not so much the protein that can cause orthopedic problems as much as genes and a not proper balance of calcium and phosphorus. This is why I only feed ProPlan since it is formulated correctly.
Generally, and I am speaking my puppies, they should be 2 pounds per how many weeks they are old. So a 16 week old puppy should be approx. 32 pounds. A 25 week old puppy should be approx. 50 pounds. This generally holds true until the dog is about 10 months of age. IMO, an underweight puppy is just as much at risk for orthopedic problems as a fat puppy. The body pulls nutrients from the body as it grows. If the body doesn't have any spare weight, then the body suffers. I'm not talking fat.
You're going to get people who come on here and disagree with me, but I have been breeding Labs for almost 30 years and while I don't know everything, I know what works for my Lab puppies. Yours is not one of my puppies, which is why I'm speaking in general terms.
As to the neuter, I get upset when my puppy people neuter before 18 months. There are not generally (that term again) any temperament issues with waiting. There are not any health issues with waiting. You got a male because you want the dog to look like a male. Neutering before they are fully mature is going to give you a male that looks feminine, and possible health issues later on. This article is one of the best I've found in explaining why it's a good idea to wait. When To Spay When To Neuter
Now, you did sign a contract with your breeder and legally, you should follow their wishes. I would contact them and ask their reasoning why they prefer 7 months. Send them that article. Maybe they'll be convinced by the evidence suggesting it's best to wait.
♣ Laura ♣
Agree with Laura. And - putting a well puppy on prescription food is, frankly, nuts. You are paying through the nose for what is likely inferior nutrition.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
Laura that was a wonderful post! Charlie is 7 months, and I was going to wait until he was one to get him neutered, but after reading that article I think I might try to wait even a bit longer. It's also good to know that he's right on track for weight according to the 2 pounds per week of age rule. I had never heard that before, but it's right on target. I also want to check into that food you mentioned. Charlie is still on large breed puppy formula, and for some reason I thought he needed to be older to switch, but maybe not. It's wonderful to have such knowledg"lab"le people on here!
As long as the food is formulated correctly in regards to the calcium and phosphorus levels, a regular puppy food or adult all life stages food is fine, IMO. I might not have the book learning/degrees that some of our other members have, but I've been in Labs for years and years and have practical, hands-on knowledge. Plus, I have the Lab community network out there, talking and discussing with other breeders finding what they are doing and what is working for their dogs as well.
♣ Laura ♣
Wow, Laura! Thank you for taking the time to provide such an informative response!! I will definitely look into the food you suggested, but curious why you aren't using one formulated for large breed? Not so much ingredient wise but more so kibble size. Diesel hoovers his food in general but I was looking forward to when I put him on the adult food vs puppy but still a large breed formula that the kibble would be a little bigger so that he would possibly actually chew his food! Or is it a case of dogs will be dogs & they all hoover?!
Laura & Sharon, I agree, thanks for opening my eyes... why the heck did I listen to the vet about an overexpensive (only avail in their office!) prescription food?! I'd like to think they weren't just out to make more money but perhaps I did emphasize a little too much that money is no object when it comes to my Diesel.
I've got half a bag left of the prescription formula, should I start mixing in a new food now to gently wein him off?
And just curious Laura, have you ever feed your dogs real foods like boiled chicken etc? Whether as a treat or a necessity... just wondering how you felt about this.
Dogs for the most part, do not chew their food. Dogs, by design, are rippers and gulpers. Watch any nature program and you will see that. If you are concerned by how quickly Diesel eats, you can place a very large stone, one too big to swallow, in the middle of the dish so he has to eat around it. That tends to slow them down a bit.
As I stated in my post to Lisa, there are going to be some who come in and claim I'm full of it based on studies that they can quote. I'm basing my answers to your questions on practical knowledge, not studies. It's up to you to decide what you want to do with YOUR dog.
Yes, I would start weaning Diesel onto whatever food you decide you're going to feed him. My own dogs only get dog food. They get what they need from it and I don't believe in upsetting the balance of the food by supplementing with anything else like boiled chicken or whatever. But again, that's just me.
♣ Laura ♣
Just curious - was there some reason for the bloodwork? Besides heartworm testing, mine don't routinely get any bloodwork done.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
Then I'm curious if you can tell the difference in these littermates. QUESTION: Which one(s) are male(s) and female(s) based on being intact or spayed and/or neutered at 6 months of age. Which one(s) are fed Canadea All Life Stages...Iams...Chicken Soup. Does neutering early and food make a big difference? I'm not so sure.
- Never trust a dog to guard your food -
Beck's Frequent Flyer (Miles) 1/26/10
Beck's Keepin' It Simple, JH (Simon) 4/25/07
Noel's Duncan Delight, CDX (Duncan) 1/28/97 - 10/30/08 (Miss you big guy)
♣ Laura ♣