Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Adult versus Puppy Food

Food is one of the issues that seems to be like religion and politics--everyone has a differing viewpoint and strong opinions. We feed our dogs and puppies Pro Plan Lamb and Rice Adult food. The seniors get Pro Plan Senior. The reason why the puppies get the adult food is that we want slow, steady growth and secondly, we have had extraordinary good luck with using the adult food. We have never fed a large breed formula. I talked with a local orthopedist about nutrition in Labradors and he indicated that feeding an adult formula was the best thing to do. He did not think that there was any advantage in feeding a large breed formula. Unfortunately, many vets are ill-informed and think that Labradors have similar nutritional needs as pointers or poodles. They don't! The English type Labradors tend to have more bone and overall substance than many other breeds. They don't need a lot of protein and fat--in fact, a 24-25 % protein and 12% fat is just fine for these dogs. In fact, I've occasionally had to feed a lite formula when a puppy begins to exhibit signs of pano or a growth spurt in which the bones grow unevenly. A breeder friend once described this syndrome as "piano leg" and recommended that the protein content be reduced immediately. I put the puppy on lite formular Pro Plan and the problem corrected within a week.

Another favorite thing for vets to do is to recommend a food that they carry, such as Science Diet. Science Diet is not a food that I would recommend for Labradors. I believe that we as breeders have a good idea about what works for our dogs and what doesn't. Each breeder will have a different opinion but I think that it is best to heed the advice of the breeder from whom you get a puppy, rather than disregarding and going with a vet's advice.

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