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Discussion Starter #1
My puppy was on Iams large breed puppy when we got her from the breeder at age 6 weeks. We have kept her on this until now, but after doing some research we would like to switch to a higher quality food. We have the book "Labs for dummies" it says that they recommend adult food for lab puppies instead of puppy food. She is 5 months old and weighs 44 pounds. Should we go ahead and make the switch to adult food? We are thinking we will try the Kirkland brand, seems to be well reviewed. She seems to be doing fine on Iams, but we would like to have higher quality food. Thoughts?

Thanks for help!
 

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I don't see why not. We switched Caleb over to adult food at 6 months, and in the process switched him from the Eukanuba his breeder fed to Pro Plan. Just make sure not to switch all at once. Start by mixing the old and new food 50/50 and gradually increase the amount of new food as you decrease the old. ;)
 

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you're going to get a bunch of different answers on this, but yes, most people switch around 5 to 6 months to adult. I do.
 

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I don't know that there is a consensus out there, but I do think that at 5 months you could switch provided it is an adult food that is formulated for all life stages (there is an AAFCO label on the bag that indicates this). I think Kirkland fits this descriptions, but I'm not 100% sure.

Not all adult foods are the same, and some are formulated for maintenance. An adult food that is formulated for maintenance would not be something I'd feed to a 5-month old pup.

As Dani mentioned, you'll get recommendations from different people that say switch after one 40 lb bag of puppy food, wait until 6 months, wait until 12 months, or wait until 18 months. I would consult with the breeder and your vet and make the most informed decision you can.
 

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Nick said
I don't know that there is a consensus out there, but I do think that at 5 months you could switch provided it is an adult food that is formulated for all life stages (there is an AAFCO label on the bag that indicates this). I think Kirkland fits this descriptions, but I'm not 100% sure.
I feed Kirkland Chicken, Rice & Veggies and it does carry the AAFCO statement that it's been tested and suitable for all life stages. (Kirkland is the signature brand of Costco -- as Kenmore is for Sears -- and is available only from Costco stores. Diamond Naturals is somewhat similar and is more widely available.)

 

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I like to hold of switching as long as possible. I want the growth plates to be dang near done closing before I change. From everything I have learned in reading and seminars that is, in this breed, around 12 months. I normally start a switch here around 10-11 months.
In my last three dogs I have seen a significant growth of an inch AFTER 12 months of age. In two if these cases is was a rapid one inch growth.
So I stay a Large Breed Puppy food as long as possible.
Whether it is coincidence or not my only dog who was fed an adult dog food after her first bag of puppy ran out (breeders recommendation) is the only dog I have here who has had growth, joint issues. She had 2 cases of pano as a pup growing up, she has bad patellas is sickle hocked (which i am certain they along with other factors contributed to her cruciate tear) has had severe arthritis for a few years now in both the surgery knee and the good knee. Are these all food related. Likely not. But I believe it is all connected but of course genetics play a roll.
 

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As has been previously mentioned (& demonstrated in this thread) there's a W-I-D-E variation among Lab owners and breeders as to when to switch from a LB puppy food to adult.

But there's almost NO variation in the position taken by canine nutritional researchers in scientific articles published over the last 20 years. They almost unanimously favor a LB formula with specified low levels of calcium and phosphorus and feeding that for at least 12 months for exactly the reason cinderbaylabs stated.

 

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I switched Homer to Misha´s Eukanuba Lab adult when he was around 7 months, previously he was on large breed puppy eukanuba. I don´t know if it had something to do (probably not) but Homer is a very short male lab, even for a british blooded dog, he´s barely larger than Misha and she´s not a big girl either...

With Great Danes many people feed adult food even as puppies because they say puppy food makes them grow faster, which can cause bone problems. Of course there´s no evidence but many Dane breeders recommend feeding adult food.

Homer never got an upset stomach or anything, and for me, I just wanted to stop buying two separate bags
 

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BTW, some people say that Labs aren't large breed and point to the words in the Lab standard that Labs are "medium" sized dogs. However, the canine nutritional scientists define "large breed" as over 25 kg (55 lbs.) at adulthood.

Below is a copy of a post I've often made. Not all of the links still work but many do.
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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 (and those with high susceptibility to joint problems) should be fed a formula especially formulated for LB puppies up to 12 months or when adult height is gained.

Labs are among the 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 puppy a food that is not specially formulated to control the amount of calcium delivered and the calcium: potassium ratio.

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.

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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:

http://consumer.vetmedcenter.com/consumer/display.asp?id=9808&dt=p

http://www.mediarelations.ksu.edu/WEB/News/NewsReleases/listpuppies62403.html

http://www.petevents.com.au/news_articles/28.shtml

http://www.diamondpetfood.com/Jul03.html

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

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This (just below) is a technical article (but readable) that summarizes many of the canine nutritional and growth studies:

http://www.ilovemypet.com/jackart.html

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See also:

http://p075.ezboard.com/fjustlabradors41940frm0.showMessage?topicID=3973.topic

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.


 

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I've never fed a large breed puppy food and don't plan to. In the past, I've fed a regular puppy food until 4 or 5 months and then switched to a regular adult food. Now I'm not feeding a puppy food at all...my current litter is being weaned onto a food that's appropriate for all ages and my 3 month old pup was switched to this same food a couple of weeks ago.

Labradors are not a large breed.
 

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However, the canine nutritional scientists define "large breed" as over 25 kg (55 lbs.) at adulthood.
And I think that is an important distinction and not just semantics. They may not fall into the category most people would consider large breed, but they share the same problems as the "true" large breeds which is why you run into problems feeding foods with too much calcium to Labs just as you would with Great Danes.
 

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Which simply means you better know what you're feeding regardless of what size dog the bag recommends it's for. There are some Large Breed Puppy foods (Eagle Pack is one example) whose calcium levels actually aren't appropriate for puppies where you'd like to watch the calcium intake. Many regular puppy foods (I fed Pro Plan at 1%) are fine. The all age food/adult food I'm currently is also fine.
 

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I have never fed a large breed puppy food. I have always switched my puppies as they start to grow awkward at about 5 months old.

Usually the switch levels out their toplines if wonky.

Just what works for me.

To the OP, what does your breeder say?
 

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JacksAndLabs said:
Which simply means you better know what you're feeding regardless of what size dog the bag recommends it's for. There are some Large Breed Puppy foods (Eagle Pack is one example) whose calcium levels actually aren't appropriate for puppies where you'd like to watch the calcium intake. Many regular puppy foods (I fed Pro Plan at 1%) are fine. The all age food/adult food I'm currently is also fine.
I agree, that's why I don't agree that adult foods are okay (not that you said this, just an example) without a little bit of a qualifier. Since Labs are like large breeds in the nutrition department (in a lot of respects) you have to look at more than just what the bag says. Although, I haven't seen a LB food that has too much calcium. I have seen some that I wouldn't feed because I think they're too low.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
After reading this and talking with our breeder we decided to stay with a LB puppy food. We decided to try the Blue Buffalo LB puppy. She really seems to like it so far. Thanks for the input!

 
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