Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Puppy Food Debate

There seems to be a lot of discussion  surrounding dog health and nutrition these days. I personally enjoy learning about the different ideas and forms of feeding. I make my decisions on what to feed Glacier and Roscoe based on what I think the most logical argument is and how well the boys react to a specific food.
One branch of this debate I have not explored very thoroughly is,
What do you feed puppies?
There are so many options on the market these days that it's hard to know what's good and what isn't. You read the labels and interpret them the best you can and hope you're doing the right thing. Nutrition is so important for growth and you don't want to make a decision that could potentially hurt your new fur baby. How do you decide?
On the raw diet side of the argument some would say that it is not a good diet for puppies because their food has to be perfectly balanced to ensure that the baby is receiving the correct amount of vitamins, minerals, proteins and carbohydrates to thrive. I have read that a raw diet shouldn't be fed to puppies until they are six months old.  It could be argued that a raw diet may not meet the puppy's needs. Some have also argued that raw fed puppies turn out to be smaller in stature, again, due to the missing nutrients.
On the other hand, the argument for a raw diet applies here as well. People argue that dogs ate this way in the past and it is the best for them. Puppies would eat regurgitated food that the Mama wolf brought back to the den. So, in that sense,  were the puppies really eating truly raw food? It would be more like partially digested. So, is raw a good way to go with a baby?
There's also the option of feeding a puppy a commercial kibble that is specific to puppies. These foods are higher in fat, calcium and phosphorus which are necessary for puppies to grow up big and healthy. The manufacturers claim that these foods are formulated for your puppy and have everything they could possibly need.
That argument could be questioned as a lot of puppy foods contain corn and soy. Neither of which your puppy needs.
Some would argue that puppies shouldn't eat puppy   food at all and that a well balanced, commercial adult kibble is the way to go.
It is thought that the higher amounts of calcium and phosphorus cause growth problems in the puppies. These minerals cause the puppy to grow too fast, leading to structural and skeletal problems.
So. how do you know what's best?
Trial and error I suppose, but trial and error could have greater consequences for a growing puppy.
If I select a food that doesn't agree with Glacier or Roscoe, the worst thing that could happen is that they become stinky, their coat starts falling out  like crazy and they may have diarrhea. Whereas, if I select the wrong food for a puppy who is growing, she could end up under developed or with health problems. Sometimes I wish I didn't know all of the things I knew about dog nutrition and could just go buy a reasonably priced bag of food and be satisfied that my puppy liked it.
How do you choose your dog's/puppy's food? What do you feed him/her?


Mango said...

Mango NEVER ate puppy food. Puppy food is targeted at rapid growth, which is not a good thing for a giant breed. Dexter ate puppy food very briefly, maybe the first few months of his life.

I'm not a fan of puppy food in general and see it as a way for big dog food companies to grab more market share. Every notice how most of the premium kibbles don't come in a special puppy variety?

I think that you can make up for any special puppy needs by supplementing regular kibble with stuff like yogurt and baby food.

Mango Momma

Frankie Furter and Ernie said...

I have my Ernie on Blue Buffalo Puppy... butt he also gets some of MY Kibble mixed in.. so that he does NOT get too much puppy each day.

The Cat From Hell said...

Hmmm! We gived Cinnamon Puppy foods for a little while, but she did not like it as much as the food Mommy made for Bob.
Nellie said...

When we are raising guide dogs they eat puppy food, but for a shortened amount of time. For my personal dogs we fed puppy food for six months and then transitioned to regular adult food. I try to make sure that my larger breeds are getting meat and whole foods (no grains) for the first three ingredients. I also want to see condroitin. We also use things like raw carrots and other veggies as well as boiled meats in our dogs food.