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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
First off, Hunter's breeder suggested we give him Iam's adult medium breed small chunks. It's the one with the green bag. So we have been feeding him that, but we noticed he's been scratching his belly and chest quite a bit.

After asking the vet about this we were told to change his diet, this is something I had been planning to do anyways. So in comes the Eukenuba Salmon and Rice food. We bought a small bag to see how it goes. We've been giving him 1/2 cup of the Iams and 1/2 cup of salmon and rice 3 times per day. Hunter is 14 weeks old.

So far he's been on this diet for a few days, I'm wondering how long it should be before I see results (if it was the food, we also suspect his love for laying in the grass). Also, when should I start giving him all of the new food? He doesn't seem to mind the taste. Do we mix the foods for taste purposes, or for stomach/intestinal purposes?


Another thing, back about a week ago I told my wife I had changed the measuring cup that we keep near his food to measure his portions. I switched from the 1/2 cup to the full cup for time saving pruposes. Her response was a surprised shock. It turns out she had been using the 1 cup as if it were a half cup. A look at Hunter brought everything into focus. The poor guy, after about 4 days (my wife feeds 1-2 times per day depending on schedule), he had grown quite a little belly. He's still working it off, but this weekend was our first day of puppy training and the pup was quite the pudge compared to a sleek and slim 13 week old Mastiff that was of comparable size. I'll try to get a picture of the budha belly up sometime.

That leads me to a question I have about shots. Our vet gave us Parvo shots to administer each week between vet visits. The reasoning being that parvo is a big dog killer in our area (San Bernardino, CA); although I believe it's mostly from dogs coming into contact with stray animals or animals kept outside, and our neighborhood doesn't get a lot of that due to being on the outskirts near mountain area. Anyhow, my question is, now that Hunter has begun puppy training and getting to be around other dogs, should we quit the shots or are we supposed to keep giving them to him as usual? Not really sure what to do, and wanted to get your opinion before I call the vet. Thanks
 

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The usual protocol for switching foods for puppies is over a 9-12 day period. 3-4 days of feeding 3 parts old/familiar (0) to 1 part new. Then 3-4 days of feeding 2 parts old/familiar (0) to 2 part new (N). Then 3-4 days of feeding 1 part (0) to 3 parts (N). Then all new.

I don't know about the parvo shots -- ask your vet.


 

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Just curious why he's not on puppy food?
Yes, and why a medium breed puppy food? Labs should be fed a Large Breed Puppy food.

Some people think that because the Lab standards say that Labs are medium breed dogs, that means they should eat a food made for medium breed dogs.

BUT, canine nutritional scientists who research these matters have different standards for what adult size is a medium breed and which a large breed dog. And Labs are a Large Breed dog by their standards. (I think the dividing line for what constitutes a LB adult dog is over 25 kg (55 lbs), IIRC.)

 

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Thanks Bob. I missed that part. Yep, a Lg Brd Puppy food is best for him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
The breeder we hooked up with has been breeding labs for 25 years. We trust she knows what's best for the pup. Hunter's dad was the 2003 Labrador Retriever Club of So. Ca. Best of Breed Winner. The breeder's experience is why we chose to listen to her regarding the food. But since it's giving him issues I went with the brand I see a lot of people feeding their dogs on this message board.

She spoke with me about studies that show puppy food is not good for the dog but the bottom line is there are studies that prove the case for both sides (puppy food vs adult food for pups).

Also, regarding large breed vs medium breed, I guess a debate could be made for that. But a debate could also be made that a Bull Mastiff and a Lab do not have the same nutritional requirements. Wouldn't you say? As with the puppy vs adult food, it's always open for debate.

Here's a pic of Hunter's pop, the puppy pictures of this dog are nearly identical to Hunter.

 

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Congratulations! You obviously did your homework and picked an excellent breeder. However, being a good breeder who wins shows doesn't guarantee that person also will be uptodate on all scientific canine nutritional studies and will be completely unbelieving any old wives tales, superstitions, or false beliefs.

The references below summarize the findings of many previous nutritional studies for dog breeds typically 55 lbs. or more at adult weight.

http://www.newmanveterinary.com/large.html

http://www.sonic.net/~cdlcruz/GPCC/library/Optimal feeding of large breed puppies.pdf

http://www.greatdanelady.com/articles/large_and_giant_breed_nutritional_research.htm

The last one by greatdanelady summarizes a seminar on the similar nutritional requirements of large and giant beed dogs.

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
I think you missed my point. My point was to say that Hunter's breeder has gone through quite a bit of trial and error as far as bringing up lab pups. I'm assuming she's tried all different kinds of foods, as well as spoken to other breeder's who've done the same. She wants the best for her dogs, so why would she feed her dog food that will hurt him?

I skimmed through those three articles, all of which are mainly discussing great danes (none have a mention of a labrador retriever). Great danes are the size of small horses. If I read a study specifically tailored to labs or even one that mentioned labs I would be forced to give it some credence. But until then I'm not going to go against the breeder's recommendations for a study on great dane nutritional needs.
 

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I think you missed my point. My point was to say that Hunter's breeder has gone through quite a bit of trial and error as far as bringing up lab pups. I'm assuming she's tried all different kinds of foods, as well as spoken to other breeder's who've done the same. She wants the best for her dogs, so why would she feed her dog food that will hurt him?

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I don't think he missed your point. No one is saying your breeder wouldn't do what they think is best for the dogs, but just because a breeder is amazing and has wonderful and beautiful dogs doesn't mean they know everything as far as nutrition is concerned. Keep this in mind -- not all dogs, even of the same breed, do well on the same food, so what might be good for the dogs your breeder has raised might not be the best for your individual dog.

A lot of vets are not well informed on the nutrition end of things either, so the best way to find out which food is best is to talk to people who are saavy to the topic at hand, and to read literature as to which foods are best and then find one that works best for (again) your dog.

Don't dismiss what Bob has to say, he's been at this for a long time as well and as far as I can tell (without having met him in person), he knows his stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
I'm not discounting what he has to say, I read a lot of his advice and personal stories on this board and have come away with a general sense that he knows what he's talking about and he cares about helping the people on this board. With that said, I am discounting the articles because the studies were geared toward great danes. I even said that I'm open to hearing what is best for labs if there is a study out there on labs (or similar dogs).


p.s. Looks like Dozer and Hunter were born on almost the same day. I hope you don't mind if I use that sig avatar.
 

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Regarding the food choices - each dog is different and will react differently to anyfood put in front of him. If he's having reactions to the food you're feeding him, definitely try something else. I would however recommend a food a little higher quality than IAMS or Eukanuba. There are several good brands out there that have less grains. (For many dogs, grains can cause allergies - not all, but a lot. Usually in the form of wheat, corn, soy, etc)

Ones to try: Orijen, Solid Gold, Innova, Canidae, Wellness, EaglePack, even Costcos Kirklands brand isn't half bad. I personally feed Orijen Large Breed Puppy (Or regular Puppy when my special orders get messed up ...) I'm a big fan of Orijen - I use that and supplement with raw foods (Chicken quarters, breasts, etc) a few times a week. It's a high quality, grainless kibble. No itching or hotspots, sleek coat, and no crazy growth spurts (So far! Paws still crossed)

As to how long before a new kibble starts 'working'? From what I've read 4-6 weeks seems to be a safe bet for the old kibble to be completely out of the system. But at least a couple weeks of solely being on the new food, you should see some changes if it is working. Less chewing, scratching, etc. You're mostly mixing the foods for intestinal purposes. What Bob said about the ratios is perfect :) If you're having loose stools, stay at a stage a little longer.

As for the Parvo shot question - I have no idea. Sorry!
 

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That leads me to a question I have about shots. Our vet gave us Parvo shots to administer each week between vet visits. The reasoning being that parvo is a big dog killer in our area (San Bernardino, CA); although I believe it's mostly from dogs coming into contact with stray animals or animals kept outside, and our neighborhood doesn't get a lot of that due to being on the outskirts near mountain area. Anyhow, my question is, now that Hunter has begun puppy training and getting to be around other dogs, should we quit the shots or are we supposed to keep giving them to him as usual? Not really sure what to do, and wanted to get your opinion before I call the vet. Thanks
I'll comment on this part. I'd be finding a different vet!!! :mad: I have no idea WHAT they are thinking to give you parvo vaccines, unless I'm not getting the straight scoop here. Are you really doing them WEEKLY??? :eek: What brand, and form? I know of NO parvo vaccine that would be given weekly and the label on most these days are to give a very minimum of 2 wks apart (mine are given 3-4 wks apart). I just had a very good tech chat w/ 2 vaccine company vets to review my own protocol since lepto is now a concern in my area. They both prefaced their comments with "the label states....". You need to follow label. Reactions/sensitivities escalate when you give too many vaccines too closely together.

Personally, I'm a Eukanuba Lg Breed puppy food fan.... have been for as long as they've made it. It works. The only guess I have as to why the breeder is using the medium breed food is to add bulk to the puppy. Some feel if they keep the pup "lean" they don't end up w/ as much bone... that is bunk according to everything I've read, but that said, I don't have "show" dogs. I do have dogs that have grown more slowly, and passed hip and elbow certs consistently for the past many years, enabling them to compete in any venue I want. There is nothing better than watching a dog grow old gracefully, without ortho issues... I can testify for that after having just put my old girl to sleep (due to a splenic mass) last Friday at over 14 yrs. She could still move even after living quite an active life.

If you get the AKC Gazette, there is actually a VERY good article in the recent issue on feeding/growing large breed dogs. The author did a good job debunking the old myths, I thought. It talks about the importance of scaled down calcium/phosphorus, etc, in a growing pup. It's not all about "large" breed btw. My pups start out close to 1#. By 7 mos, my female pups are ~50# already, and males ~55-60. Think about it. That's a heck of a lot of mass in a short period of time. If bones and muscles are not growing in sync, you have TROUBLE brewing. I think I can recognize the difference between the temporary puppy ganglies, but most pet homes cannot. The nice thing about true Lg Breed puppy formulas (Ca = 0.8%, P = 0.67 or so) is that you may see a day or 2 tops of the "ganglies" every now and then. Growth is just so much more uniform, and takes some of the worry out of the equation. Anne
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
This is all good info, thanks. Regarding the vet, the breeder actually had the same response. Find a new one. But she called to speak with him and he convinced her that the pup could use the shot at least once every other week. That is what she told me to do. So we're trying to get the best possible mixture of advice here. The point is for the pup not to get parvo or have autoimmunity issues. The reasoning the vet gives (who is a prominent vet in our area) is that the rate of dogs who come in with parvo in our area is very high. The chance of the dog contracting parvo is much higher than the chance of the dog having autoimmune issues from taking the shots. Because of that we took the vet's advice.

Regarding the food, this statement caught my eye:

The only guess I have as to why the breeder is using the medium breed food is to add bulk to the puppy. Some feel if they keep the pup "lean" they don't end up w/ as much bone...
Why does the medium breed dog food add bulk to the puppy? One thing I noticed about this breeder's labs is their bone mass is amazing. Check out the pic of his dad to see what I'm talking about. Is this due to the medium breed food, and you touched on joint and bone issues, would the food I'm using cause that? Also what are the ganglies?
 

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Finalyst - how many times a day are you feeding this puppy? It is not really clear in your post. He should consistently eat 3 times a day at least - morning, lunch and evening meals. You should split his total amongst those three feedings.

Puppies typically have buddha bellies - but will also usually eat just about everything that you put in front of them.

Also - reading over your posts - if you are relying on your breeder for the final word on all things - why ask here?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I'm feed my pup 1 cup 3 times per day. 6am - 12 noon - 6 pm. We don't vary much from these feeding times.

As for relying on my breeder's word as the final say, I'm not. I asked the question to get some advice and to discuss the issue because the final decision is ultimately up to me. As in my last post, I'm starting to get suspicious of the reasons for the medium breed food, but I want to discuss it and become more informed.
 

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Why does the medium breed dog food add bulk to the puppy? One thing I noticed about this breeder's labs is their bone mass is amazing. Check out the pic of his dad to see what I'm talking about. Is this due to the medium breed food, and you touched on joint and bone issues, would the food I'm using cause that? Also what are the ganglies?
Higher calories per cup. Here is the link to calories for the adult mini chunks (I believe this is what you are feeding?) http://www.iams.com/iams/premium-pet-food/dog-kibble.jsp#nutritionInformation

so 426 kcal/cup vs Eukanuba LBP at 362 kcal/cup.

Btw, the Iam's website doesn't list the Ca/P for that formula. My guess is it's higher than the optimal levels (0.8% Ca and 0.67% P) for large breed puppies, defined as those breeds over 50# at maturity.

Here is that article I referred to from the AKC Gazette btw!:
http://viewer.zmags.com/showmag.php?mid=wgqpqw&spid=-3#/page24/
 

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As a breeder myself, I would recommend either large breed puppy food or adult food that has no corn in it. I have raised litters on Innova large breed puppy food (Purple bag) and my last litter has been raised on Canidae ALS. I saw fine results with both foods. I also agree not all puppies and dogs do well on the same food. I will say tha tmost breeders know more abouut nutrition than a vet does.

I would say you are correct in trusting your breeder... you will be having a relationship for many years to come and trust is a good thing.

When I change foods I generally do 25% new, 75% old for a few days, then 50%/50% for a few days and then 75% new/ 25% old for a few days and if no isses as far as runny stools show up I then will go 100%. I would bet the belly itch problem is from the grass. Puppy's have no hair on their little belly and their skin is quite sensitive when they are that young.

Again good luck!
 

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This is all good info, thanks. Regarding the vet, the breeder actually had the same response. Find a new one. But she called to speak with him and he convinced her that the pup could use the shot at least once every other week. That is what she told me to do. So we're trying to get the best possible mixture of advice here. The point is for the pup not to get parvo or have autoimmunity issues. The reasoning the vet gives (who is a prominent vet in our area) is that the rate of dogs who come in with parvo in our area is very high. The chance of the dog contracting parvo is much higher than the chance of the dog having autoimmune issues from taking the shots. Because of that we took the vet's advice.

http://www.akcchf.org/pdfs/whitepapers/upasymp.pdf
See p. 15-16. Vaccines given more frequently than every week to 10 days will fail due to interference.

Again, what brand of parvo vaccine is this? Or is it a nosode (homeopathic prep)? I too live in a parvo hotbed, but do not vaccinate that frequently. I use high titer, low passage products however, that are more likely to override maternal antibodies so they can work. I use Neopar at 5 wks, and begin Progard 5 at 7.5 wks (and repeat that at 3-4 wk intervals for 3x). So, my pups get 4 parvo vaccines in the end. Anne
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I'm not sure what brand the parvo shot is. I will have to check when I get home. I was not aware there were different kinds of parvo shots.
 
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