I am picking an 8 week old puppy up soon and my breeder is feeding a mix of puppy and adult food. The food is very high quality. The breeder feels that this is a good balance for healthy growth.
I have no problem feeding a mix but was wondering what the general feel of this forum is for this type of diet? Does the adult food slow down the growth? Does the puppy food accelerate it? Another question I have is what does large breed puppy food do compared with regular puppy food of the same brand?
This is a topic in which there is not universal agreement. Some members of this forum recommend not feeding a Large Breed Puppy food while there are considerably more who insist on it.
Most all scientific studies on puppy nutrition recommend a Larger Breed formula for Large and Medium breed dogs like Labs. I'm not aware of any scientific studies done on sufficient numbers of dogs which found in favor of adult foods for Lab pups.
Below is a copy of a post I've often made.
While there is not 100% agreement among Lab breeders or all vets, as far as I know there IS 100% agreement among canine nutritional scientists that large breed dogs (such as Labs) should be fed a formula especially formulated for LB puppies up to 12 months or when adult height is gained.
Labs are among the "larger breeds" that have a lot of joint problems -- about one of every 3 dogs among Labs.
Joint problems are caused primarily by 3 mutually interacting factors:
-- stress, injury, such as caused by jumping, leaping especially before adulthood
-- genetics such as caused by breeders not having their breeding dogs certified for hips & joints AND not checking for that in the pedigree line -- in short, puppy mills, backyard breeders, scam breeders
-- diet such as caused by feeding a large breed puppy a food that is not specially formulated for large breed puppies; a LBP food controls the amount of calcium delivered
Once you have your Lab, you CAN fairly much control the activities that could cause stress or injury AND you can absolutely control the diet your Lab gets. Doing both of those lessens the probability that your Lab will develop joint problems.
Below are a few references on the importance of feeding a Large Breed Puppy food for the first year. (There are NO scientific articles claiming the opposite.) The references are from a post I've made so often that I just recopy it.
My very strong preference -- for all Lab puppies under a year old -- is to feed a Large Breed (formulation) Puppy Food, such as made by Diamond, Eukanuba, Nutro Natural Choice, ProPlan, or Science Diet, etc., for the reasons given in the articles below:
This (just below) is a technical article (but readable) that summarizes many of the canine nutritional and growth studies:
Within it, it contains this statement and references:
"The scientific literature is very clear on nutritional changes to "help manage" the potential orthopedic problems in growing large and giant breed dogs. Here are a few citations for you. As you can see from the dates on these citations, it is “old” news to vets but pet owners and breeders are still making dangerous recommendations."
1. Nap, et al. Growth and skeletal development in Great Dane pups fed different levels of protein intake. J Nutr 1991; 121:S107-S113.
2. Hedhammer, et al. Over nutrition and skeletal disease: an experimental study in growing Great Dane dogs. Cornell Vet 1974; 64:1-159.
3. Lavelle. The effect of overfeeding of a balanced complete commercial diet to a group of growing Great Danes. In: Nutrition of the dog and cat. Burger and Rivers (eds). Cambridge Univ Press, 1989:303-316.
4. Hazewinkel, et al. Influences of chronic calcium excess on the skeletal development of growing Great Danes, J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 1985; 21:377-391.
5. Goedegebuure, Hazewinkel. Morphological findings in young dogs chronically fed a diet containing excess calcium. Vet Pathol 1986; 23:594-605.
6. Hazewinkel, et al. Calcium metabolism in Great Dane dogs fed diets with various calcium and phosphorus levels. J Nutr 1991; 121:S99-S106.
Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]
Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
Your breeder is the one guaranteeing the puppy, I'd go with their suggestion
Baloo has been on "all life stages"  food since he was a puppy. He's had nice even growth (no "spurts") and has always had a great body condition.
Appropriate puppy food has everything to do with the correct nutritional levels, and nothing to do with whether or not it is marketed towards puppies. Some adult foods have a better formulation of nutrients for puppies than some puppy foods.
You want a low calcium/phosphorus ratio. Calcium lower than 1.2% is ideal.
Interesting experiment: read the ingredients on puppy food vs. adult food and the nutritional analysis. Sometimes they are eerily similar. Sometimes "large breed puppy food" has stuff like glucosamine and chondriotin in it, but it's usually a pretty small amount.
Personally I think that it is mostly a marketing ploy, and it is much more important to take note of ingredients and nutritional analyses than which life stage the food is marketed towards.
Having said that, your breeder may know whats best for her lines, so I'd stick with it for awhile at least.
Baloo - 5 year old black lab
Peanut - 7 year old minpin
Monster - 3-ish year old frenchie/jack, rescue