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Thread: Question about puppy dogfood

  1. #1

    Default Question about puppy dogfood

    Hey folks,

    Quick question for you all, my Labrador pup is almost 4 months old now and I am worried about her being too skinny. She has her regular vet appointment tomorrow and this will be the first thing we talk about. Last visit a couple of weeks ago, the vet did not seem concerned about her weight but since then it seems she has only gained maybe 4 pounds. Her ribs are visible but I am most concerned about her being too skinny in the pelvis and hip area. Looking at other puppies in her obedience class she really seems skinny. At first I just thought it was her build but now I am wondering if I should change her formula.

    I am feeding her the same kibble her breeder fed her, Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Puppy Formula. I am feeding her the prescribed amount, around 3 cups. I give her two thirds of it in a bowl twice a day and the other third in interactive ways like stuffed in a kong, a tug-a-jug or out of hand for training. She really goes for the stuff in the kong or jug. She eats in or around her crate and will eat about half the bowl and then run around and intermittently eat more but often will leave about half a cup of kibble in the bowl. Reading the list ingredients it seems like it has a lot stuff I cannot pronounce and generally if I can’t pronounce it, I don’t eat it. I wonder if the same should go for the dog.

    She is very active, has lots of energy, gets plenty of exercise and training. She does not seem to be starving. Although it is like the kibble is going right through her. Currently, she will have four to five bowel movements a day. Is that too many? At about 12 weeks old she did have a short period of loose stools and the vet gave her some antibiotics that worked well.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on a quality kibble for Alaskan dogs?

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Default more to food than what is on the label

    First thing to remember, unless an animal food is registered as a fixed formula diet there is no way to know what is in the bag. Period. That is true for everything from Old Roy to Iams. It even includes the fancy name, fancy bag type of foods found in feed stores.
    Top end foods, registered as fixed formula, are made that way. Science Diet leads the way in consistency and research. PRO Plan might be registered, as maybe Eukanuba.
    There are a lot of foods out there that are made "per AAFCO" recommended guidelines, and have not gone through any food and nutrition studies. Careful! AAFCO guidelines are not all that great! In fact, in cases, they are bad!
    We are trained that labels are believable, but again, that is not true with animal feeds. At least take the time to find a vet trained in animal nutrition and ask those questions if you doubt it.
    As far as the pups weight, ribs showing are not a problem. Most of America is overweight, and we seem to find comfort in keeping our dogs that way too. If I saw "milk cow hips", or defined leg bones, and no muscle mass, I would be concerned.
    At 4 months, she might be gaining size, but not weight. That will change a bit as growth slows, weight should come on some more. So far you have not said anything that concerns me. She is active, eats pretty well, does not exhibit signs of bad health (diahrea, bloody stool, thin hair, etc) and seems to have normal bone growth, right?
    Sounds to me like you might want to be better educated about dog food, and just keep loving her.

  3. #3
    Member wldboar's Avatar
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    When I first got my boxer, I was thinking she was under weight. Nope, not at all. She was thin pelvis and hip area. That is just the makeup of a boxer. She is all muscle and shows in her legs. As she has gotten older she has filled out some, 5 yo now. I think an active puppy will be a little thin. Kinda like a child, burn away all the fat and calories from just being active. As long as the dog is eating, I wouldn't worry to much.
    The only thing worse than a Subaru is the as*hole who drives it.

  4. #4

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    Try upping her food a bit. I always tell new owners that they have to adjust the food to the needs of the dog. If she is active, she will need a bit more.
    Might want to be sure she has been thoroughly dewormed too.

    I recently sold an 11 month old male labrador who was eating 6-7 cups per day. He was not fat (ribs were visible) and it was the dead of winter, so he wasn't getting alot of exercise. I had never fed a pup that much food EVER.
    "It's the journey that's important, with experience and knowledge to be gained along the way, in the company of our faithful dogs and our good friends."
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

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    If you are worried about what you are feeding your pup you may want to look into starting to her on a raw food diet. I've been feeding my black lab pup raw food since he was about 3 or 4 months old, he is now close to a year old.

    If you are interested send me a PM and I can send you some websites about feeding raw diet, and answer any questions you might have if this is a route you are interested in taking.

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    I disagree with LFL about upping the food. You indicate she leaves food in her bowl. She is one of 2 things:
    Not hungry or
    Used to the food being there.
    If you start a dog on having access to food all the time, they will tend to regulate themselves pretty well. Not always. You might still have to intervene.
    Now if I decided to leave food down all the time for my 11 year old male he would think he just died and went to heaven. He is a ravenous eater, and his whole life has been fed 2x/day. More than once he has gotten into a bag of food without my knowledge. Good grief, Garfield the cat never got so fat!
    I am betting she is fine. Let us know what the vet says. As far as the info I gave earlier, most vets are only trained on the basics of nutrition. Find one that specializes in that field. In Fairbanks one of the best is Dee Thornell. I don't know about ANC and other places.
    Might be nice to hear back about AAFCO, food labels, fixed formulas, and testing vs. making food to a standard.

  7. #7

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    Sorry, didn't see that she was leaving food. I would try a different one.
    "It's the journey that's important, with experience and knowledge to be gained along the way, in the company of our faithful dogs and our good friends."
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  8. #8

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    Hey folks,

    Thanks for everyone's input. Well the vet says she checks out fine. She did only gain 4 pounds in a month but he was not concerned. She has good muscle structure and will probably will only weigh 50 - 55 pounds which is perfect for me. I am going to switch to Hill's Science Diet Puppy Formula. It should reduce the number of times she has to do her "business". I appreciate all the input and "happy bumpers".

    Thanks

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    Default Science Diet

    good choice. I recommend doing some price comparisons. The lamb diets just got more expensive, well, they all just went up in price, but I think you'll find the better value in the chicken diet.
    A 50lb lab is a super cub dog. Just about perfect. Plenty big and strong to get through most muck, but you can keep the load light with her as contrasted with a 90lb behemoth.

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    I give my vote to the raw diet as well. Been feeding my chocolate a raw diet for 2 years. She is very healthy. If you go that route though make sure you know what you are doing before you start. It is easy to malnurish your dog if you dont know what you are doing.
    "A dog has no use for fancy cars or big homes or designer clothes. Status symbol means nothing to him. A waterlogged stick will do just fine." Marley and Me

  11. #11
    Moderator hunt_ak's Avatar
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    Check here for dog food reviews. The Kirkland brand dog food sold at Costco ranks higher than most name brand food out there. Read that it is the best bang for the buck after a bunch of research. Most name brand foods are 1 star....

  12. #12
    Member B-radford's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wldboar View Post
    When I first got my boxer, I was thinking she was under weight. Nope, not at all. She was thin pelvis and hip area. That is just the makeup of a boxer. She is all muscle and shows in her legs. As she has gotten older she has filled out some, 5 yo now. I think an active puppy will be a little thin. Kinda like a child, burn away all the fat and calories from just being active. As long as the dog is eating, I wouldn't worry to much.
    +1, i thought that my two boxers were to skinny and the vet ended up saying that they were over weight!

    When i got my first boxer, he would leave food in his bowl, so after 5 minutes i would take it away and feed him the same dry food(plus a little more) for dinner. it only took a couple of times till he figured out that if he didnt finish his food, there wouldnt be any for him to go munch on later when he felt like eating. I also noticed his attitude changed when we got a second boxer that would walk over and try to eat his food after he was done.

  13. #13

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    I have always had great luck with Diamond. Its about midrange in price, you can get it at most feed stores, and the primary protein ingredient is meat (chicken). It comes in puppy through adult.

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    Default Diamond info

    Was it formulated via controlled feed studies or manufactured to AAFCO standards? Look on the side of the bag. It will tell you by the ingredient label.
    I urge everybody to go look at their dog food. We hear all the time, "my dog does great on his food" or something similar.
    How do you know? Done any stool samples? Studies? Blood tests? Or does the dog just like to eat?
    Go take a look at AAFCO (American Association of Food Control Officials) guidelines. Essentially you can make dog food out of whatever you want. In fact, you can do about the same with any animal feed.
    Animal feed has very few controls to ensure that you, or your dog, get anything of substantive value. What is on the label, in most cases, may not be what is in the bag. There is at least one major brand that makes food based on futures. Yep, they make the food based on the cheapest products available, and none of it has to be on the food label.
    Ever wonder why it is that several fairly large brands are banned from some states with active animal feed boards?
    I did look at the link supplied by Hunt_AK. What I did not see were any studies on each food. All that I saw was a review of the product. And that is supposed to tell me which food to feed my dog? I am not thinking so. Maybe I missed the studies. Maybe I missed the science.
    We tend to buy in to hyperbole. What is fancy, cool, warm and fuzzy. Blueberries? Really. Glucosimine? Ok, which type, sulfate or HCL? How many of you know the significance in the relationship of calcium and phosphorous? Omega 6 and 3 have been studied extensively, yet AAFCO states they are not part of a required diet. Does that mean they are not important?
    Nutrition is a science. Most vets only scratch the surface in school, and in day to day practice are not "expert".
    If you want this thread to really mean something, I urge you all to go start reading, and ask questions. Maybe we can find somebody way smarter than me to answer those questions, and help you make informed (not it is a pretty bag) decisions for the long term health of your dogs.
    I will even suggest a starting point. First, read through the info on the bag of food you have now. Call your dog food manufacturer. Ask the following questions.
    Can you get a copy of the food studies?
    Where were they completed?
    Who ran the studies?
    What are that persons credentials, background, experience?
    How long did the study last? How many dogs were involved?
    Is testing ongoing?
    Then let us know what company you called, and the reception and support your received. I leave on vacation tomorrow night. I would hope to see a wealth of info, and a myriad of questions when I get back.

  15. #15
    Moderator hunt_ak's Avatar
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    Rat, you obviously are more schooled on the subject than probably all of us combined. The link I posted basically tells what the ingredients are (if you dont know the industry terminology)...from what I read. If you dont know what to look for, maybe its a good basic starting point...

    From the site:
    "...Rather, the intent of this site is to give an assessment of the various commercial foods available, based on the ingredient information given by the manufacturer. No food can magically be better than the ingredients used to make it, and the information on this site constitutes our opinion of those ingredients and the overall species-appropriate quality of the food..."

    From what I read on the FAQ of the site, it seemed like they are giving it an honest effort to 'rate' the quality of dog foods based on accurate reading of ingredients. As what appears to be an expert (and I'm not being fecicious), do you not agree with some of their content?

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ak River Rat View Post
    Was it formulated via controlled feed studies or manufactured to AAFCO standards? Look on the side of the bag. It will tell you by the ingredient label.
    I urge everybody to go look at their dog food. We hear all the time, "my dog does great on his food" or something similar.
    How do you know? Done any stool samples? Studies? Blood tests? Or does the dog just like to eat?
    Go take a look at AAFCO (American Association of Food Control Officials) guidelines. Essentially you can make dog food out of whatever you want. In fact, you can do about the same with any animal feed.
    Animal feed has very few controls to ensure that you, or your dog, get anything of substantive value. What is on the label, in most cases, may not be what is in the bag. There is at least one major brand that makes food based on futures. Yep, they make the food based on the cheapest products available, and none of it has to be on the food label.
    Ever wonder why it is that several fairly large brands are banned from some states with active animal feed boards?
    I did look at the link supplied by Hunt_AK. What I did not see were any studies on each food. All that I saw was a review of the product. And that is supposed to tell me which food to feed my dog? I am not thinking so. Maybe I missed the studies. Maybe I missed the science.
    We tend to buy in to hyperbole. What is fancy, cool, warm and fuzzy. Blueberries? Really. Glucosimine? Ok, which type, sulfate or HCL? How many of you know the significance in the relationship of calcium and phosphorous? Omega 6 and 3 have been studied extensively, yet AAFCO states they are not part of a required diet. Does that mean they are not important?
    Nutrition is a science. Most vets only scratch the surface in school, and in day to day practice are not "expert".
    If you want this thread to really mean something, I urge you all to go start reading, and ask questions. Maybe we can find somebody way smarter than me to answer those questions, and help you make informed (not it is a pretty bag) decisions for the long term health of your dogs.
    I will even suggest a starting point. First, read through the info on the bag of food you have now. Call your dog food manufacturer. Ask the following questions.
    Can you get a copy of the food studies?
    Where were they completed?
    Who ran the studies?
    What are that persons credentials, background, experience?
    How long did the study last? How many dogs were involved?
    Is testing ongoing?
    Then let us know what company you called, and the reception and support your received. I leave on vacation tomorrow night. I would hope to see a wealth of info, and a myriad of questions when I get back.

    Really? I'm not going through all that for dog food.

    What I can tell you is that over the years I have trained many dogs for myself and for clients. I have fed this food to all of them.

    I have never had complaints, I pick up after the dogs so I know they are healthy. Vet checkups all seem to go well. They perform well and have lots of energy and look healthy.

    I hope this satisfies your very lengthy post and answers your "wealth of info."

    tata
    Last edited by wtrdog1; 03-04-2009 at 11:48. Reason: sp

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    Hunt_ak in response, at face value it appears that their appraisals may have some merit. Without going to each bag, and each manufacturer, it would be impossible to tell what the real story is. That is the problem I have with AAFCO, and manufacturers that abuse or use, depending on where you stand, the regulations that were set in place to provide a standard for animal feed.
    It is pretty easy to meet AAFCO guidelines without testing the food. Cheaper too by the way. And once a manufacturer meets that primary test, they may only get checked by AAFCO 1x/year. Not much incentive to play the game on the side of the consumer, is it?
    Without going into name bashing on a specific product, Procter and Gamble bought a major manufacturer of dog food. Their food was not available in stores, only feed outlets. The next thing we see is that the bags are on the shelves of grocery stores, and the problems start. Loose stools, diarhea, bloody stools, hair loss, and the list goes on. I was one of thousands of people across the country who were affected. Mushers got hit worse. They went through more food, and every time they got a new batch, it was different. Unforturnately this is not an unusual event.
    I do not doubt that there is good food out there that meets the nutritional needs of your dog. Wtrdog1 seems happy. good. Not a problem for me. And I hope it is not a problem for his dogs. The arguments used are similar to ones I hear about feeding dogs bones that can be chipped, broken, and swallowed. "Gee, I never saw the dog have a problem, he looks healthy, and his coat is shiny". Shards of bone exit the bowel pretty much the same way they enter the stomach. Perforations caused by bones are not uncommon. And I have never heard a dog complain about eating a bone. Guess that makes it ok?
    My goal is not to pick on Wtrdog at all. So the question I'll ask (one that he essentiall raised) is for all of you. You spend lots of time, effort, and money to find the perfect breeding. You buy all the best gear to train. Your bill for training birds is horrendous, but worth it. You enter competitions at how much a whack? You train hour after hour after hour to improve performance. You love your dog so much it scares you to death if he runs off, he is part of the family, and it tears you apart to put him down. But, when it comes to food, arguably the single most important thing in a dogs life, people do very little research or expend very little energy to know what is going on. Why?
    I guess there is something to be said for the power of advertising, or, ignorance is bliss. Folks, I do not say that to start a war here. I say it only because I have heard this all before. I would be surprised if any of you come up with an argument I have not heard before.
    I wish you all the best, and hope, sincerely, that you take a bit of time to look into the food you put through any animal you own. You might find you are right on the mark, or not. good luck and see you all in 10 days. I do look forward to some positive replies on what you found out.

  18. #18
    Member 2jumpersplease's Avatar
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    Default Puppy food

    It seems to me the there are many opinions on food and few answers. It is also hard to assess the quality of information. Nevertheless, this thread started talking about puppy food and the health of a "skinny" 4 month old pup I wanted to throw out there a few ideas related to that.

    From my perspective the important thing with puppy specific food is to somewhat control the growth rate of your dog. The reason for this is that your dog may be genetically predispositioned to hip and other joint problems. There is some evidence that both being overweight and excessive exercise as a puppy will increase the chances of joint problems. Large and Giant Breed puppy formulas have less protein in them then adult formulas and include additives that are supposed to lead to healthy joints.

    I'll also throw out this guideline that comes from my wife's experience She is not a vet but does have a degree in animal science. She says to make a fist and compare three parts of your fist to the dog's rib cage. If your dog's ribs feel like you are running your hand over your knuckles (where your fingers connect to the hand) the dog is skinny. If the ribs feel like you are running your hand over your fingers between the first two joints (just above the knuckle) the dog is just right. And if the the ribs feel like the back of your hand the dog is overweight.

    Thanks for the interesting thread.

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    Default Food in general

    I've had labs for over 30 years, both show and field lines and a thin pup is much more desiralble than a fat pup. Many studies are showing that animals and people are much healthier in a thin condition. Like others said they are growing fast. One week they will look taller, next week they'll look longer, thinner and then heavier, and most of mine had a roving limp, changing legs every few days. The vet could never figure out what it was or told me it was a growing pain. If the dog checks out for the vet you're probably OK. One of my vets now is hot on worming monthly but I have not been convinced of the benifit and I'm concerned about dosing when its not necessary.

    I've fed all different kinds of food and in general, any well rounded dog food will do fine for a growing pup. I live around a lot of mushers so I've started to add real cooked meat to kibble but I have all adults now. One who seems sensitive to the wheat and corn now top ingredients in Iams. I'd hesitate to monkey around altering food for pups since the balance is so important to growth. I also fed good treats in training not using hotdogs or anything I know is not good even for me.

    www.alaskadognews.com

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    A long time lab owner and dog trainer here, and the very best dog food I have ever found
    is Canine Caviar. Available in puppy, adult, etc in a variety of combinations. I use the
    pearl and millet adult and would never think about changing to any other brand. Cold Spot
    Feed carries it in Fairbanks and they get it out of Anchorage, so it should be readily available.

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