My black lab pup is almost 6 months. The breeder we got him from told us, at 8 weeks old, to feed 3/4 cup of Puppy Chow twice a day. To increase food only if puppy was too skinny and to stay on Puppy Chow for 1 year to avoid hip displaysia.
Since my breeder lives over 2 hours away she refered me to her mentor who lives one town away for advice from time to time. When I spoke to this breeder, puppy was about 4 months old at this time, she said puppy was too skinny and to increase food gradually to 2 cups a day.
Now we are in training. The trainer told us that she thinks puppy is overweight. Also that puppy should be on Puppy Chow no longer than 6 months and that we should switch to a premium dog food.
I would listen to your vet, he/she will be able to tell you for sure if you're dog is overweight or underweight and how much to feed. Switching to a premium dog food is always a good choice. I don't think the regular stuff is all that good.
I'd switch to a better food that is fit for all life stages. Innova, Natural Balance, Natures Variety, Timberwolf Organics, Wellness, Solid Gold, etc. all make all-life stages foods. Puppy formulas arent necessary IMHO.
I have read much conflicting information on when to switch to adult food that I ended up going with Natural Balance "All stages" food. I figured this way I have it covered in either case. You could also start splitting puppy and adult food in each meal. Just be sure to use the same brand and add the new food slowly to avoid stomach upset.
Many RB's never feed puppy food at all for the large & giant breeds. The theory is that the body grows faster than the skeletal system from the extra calories in the puppy food which lends itself to HD & other bone problems.
We've always fed a premium dog food, Royal Canin and our vet and my research say's that the pup should be fed a puppy food until atleast one year of age, if not longer for large breed dog's as they mature slower than small breed. But I'm NO expert.
Our girl's also went into growth spurts at different time's and would be eating the same amount and seem to get pudgy or be thin. It depends on their growth and activity at the time really. I'd take a vet's advice over here say any day!
Please post pictures! =]
***Edited By: sweetgmichelle on 12/27/2006 11:26:50 PM*** Reason: ADD
Well, I do not know much about those large breeds...but I believe, if there is a food for large breeds there must be a reason for it, and probably many scientists, vets and breeders helped to develop it... Now, regarding wolves.. they are not the same as pure breed dogs, and dogs at all. there is a natural selection in the wild, and not every pup from the wild litter survives... obviously we do not want to see this selection in pure breeds, or dogs at all.
How much food are you feeding? I have a lab, and at 4-6 months he was eating about 4 cups a day, right now he's 2 years old and now eats about 3 1/2 cups a day.
I personally don't think that puppy food is a gimmick, because the nutritional needs of a growing animal are different than those of an adult. Growing animals tend to need mroe proteins for building muscle and bone, so while the ingredients may seem the same, the amount of protein, carbohydrates/fat percentages in adult food will vary from puppy chow. An adult animal will just convert the extra protein into energy (inefficiently) or fat, not muscle mass/bone the way a growing dog will.
Comparing the diet of wild animals makes no sense, it's not like wild canids can supplement their own diets. We could also say that lactating animals eat the same thing in the wild as the rest of the pack, so there's no need to give them extra food, or high maintenance/puppy food.
Regarding large breed puppy foods, some premium dog food makers do have it, it has slightly less protein in it than the normal puppychow, the reasoning being with proteins and large breed dogs, theres such a thing as too much of a good thing. Its speculated that too much protein in large breed dogs has the potential to have detrimental effects on some breeds, because they gain muscle so fast and weight so fast, the bones aren't given enough time to compensate for the rapid growth, causing skeletal malformation. This is more of a worry in giant breeds, and not so much in labs, however.
***Edited By: Minniyar on 12/28/2006 12:16:27 AM*** Reason: add
I admit that I believed that Puppy Chow was of low quality and in fact was quite suprised that this is what my breeder recommended. I know three breeders, 2 breed labs 1 breeds beagles, all breed champion show dogs and they all recommend Puppy Chow.
The trainer I am using is also a Lab breeder. Her contention, that should address the difference in the lables of adult vs. puppy formulas that Riley posted, is that the third ingredient on the puppy formula is corn which is bad for dogs. She said a food high in brewers rice of even wheat is better than corn. She recommended Eagle Pack, Canidae, or Wellness (I think). She also explained, re hip displaysia, that the pups are going through a growth spurt at this time and that skeleton is bone/cartilage ergo excess weight on soft skeletal structue can lead to HD.
As far as Vet is concerned he thought the puppy looked fine back when he was on 3/4 cup. But that was a few months ago and we haven't been in the office to discuss it since. The trainer also felt that vets do not study nutrition and in most cases sell commercial dog foods which biases what they might recommend.
My vet's office carries Science Diet and when we first started going I thought she'd pressure a food change to the Science Diet stuff for the girl's but she didn't. She said royal canin puppy for small breed. She's never even hinted at Science diet and now her office is switching to all Royal Canin brand foods for cat's and dog's because she likes the line more.
My vet like's animal's more than people and has an interesting "bed side" manner. I well and full believe that she has our girl's best interest at heart rather than her pocket book. If I had a hint of otherwise she wouldn't be our vet.
Labguy- your trainer will be spending more time with your dog than your vet.... and directly controlling how much exercise he/she get's, I'd be open to the dog food advice. But advice is advice, and it's ultimately your decision what you feed and how much.
***Edited By: sweetgmichelle on 12/28/2006 12:30:16 AM*** Reason: ADD AND EDIT
I have the same opinion of our vet. He is fantastic.
My confusion is with what the trainer/breeder is telling me and not with the quality or motivation of your vet.
I do find it interesting that your vet did not recommend Science Diet. The trainer told the class that Science Diet was commercial garbage based on its ingredients and was very unhappy that it is sold and prescribed at many vets offices.
***Edited By: labguy on 12/28/2006 12:34:02 AM*** Reason: ***
Labguy- That's essentially what our vet said...without saying. She's implied that the brand name and logo can confuse people into thinking that it is something special, when really it's not. I trust her judgement...she feeds her animal's the stuff we feed our's. I feel like if it's good enough for her's it's good enough for mine.
I'm sure between you and your trainer you'll figure out just the right balance.
My vets office has 5 doctors on staff, and my dogs see only one of them, he is their regular doc, one of the vets used to work for a dog food company, so when I have/had questions I felt I was getting pretty good information....and yes they sell science diet in the office.
They have both told me that purina puppy chow is the best thing to start my puppies out on, I know there are LOTS of people who think it is junk, however I have never had a problem with it, my vet and his partners all agree that it is great for the pups, anyone who has used it that I know has had no problems, the pups that are now coming to me for grooming and are over a year old have wonderful coats, great teeth etc. When I have an expectant mommy I give her puppy chow everyday and now I dont have a problem with dry/yukky looking coats.
I guess when it comes to selecting food for your pets you have to go with what your vet tells you and your own pervious experience. For the last 6 years its been puppy chow around here and as of yet I have found no reason to change.