About Food...

There is so much to say about food, and I will be the first to admit that I am NOT a nutritionist, or expert in dog nutrition! I rely pretty heavily on a website called Dog Food Advisor, which rates various types of dog food based on a variety of criteria. For the puppies, they have been eating Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Lamb & Rice kibble. By the time they leave, they will be eating dry kibble, but you can always feel free to soften it a little with warm water if they don't seem interested. I would say talk to your own vet about their recommendations for food and how long they want you to keep your puppy on puppy food. Mine recommended to stay on it until six months, some will say just until they are 4 months, and others will say keep them on puppy food for a year! Some of the logic behind that is that they higher fat and protein content in the large breed puppy food CAN make them grow "too fast", and can increase the chance that your puppy will experience Panosteitis (or Pano, for short). Pano is sometimes described as "growing pains", and it is something that will eventually go away. Your vet may offer anti-inflammatories or pain meds such as Rimadyl, and I can tell you first hand how helpless you can sometimes feel as your pup whines or even acts lame due to these "growing pains". The other recommendation is to switch them to an adult food to curb their growth rate and give the bones some time. There is also some thought that it can be genetic, although all the information I've read on it is inconclusive. The good news for our pups if it is - NEITHER Sherman nor Betty experienced Pano, we went through it with one of our german sheperds, so our pups are unlikely to experience it.

As far as how much to feed - I will say most adult newfs are consuming between 4 to 6 cups of food per day, split into two feedings. With your puppy, you will want to follow the recommendations on their food bag for quantity, and spread that out into 3 feedings a day if possible. Since they started on kibble, they've been fed every 4-6 hours, with Betty supplementing with some milk once or twice a day.

Timing of their feedings will also be important. Typically they eat, and within 10-15 minutes, they will poop. Then they might play a little, or go take a nap. When they wake up from that nap, they will need to go again right away, so keep an eye on that. The reason I bring this up in the context of food is that if you are crate training, you want to be sure to feed them far enough in advance of putting them in their crate for the night that they have had time to "do their business" before being crated, or you may end up with a mess that's not so fun to clean up! (This is the voice of experience, and a few 3 AM kennel and puppy cleaning incidents!)

I would recommend checking out Dog Food Advisor, if you want to change puppy foods. They have a list of the best choices for Large Breed Puppy foods. If you decide to change their kibble, just be cautious to wean them over to the new food by starting out adding just a little of the new food to their current kibble, and just increasing that every few days until you get to the point of all the new food.

I will always be an advocate of feeding your pet the best food you can afford - and there is a LOT of discussion in online boards about feeding raw, or buying prepared raw food for your pet. I think these are great options if you can do that, but don't feel like you're not being a good pet parent if you feed them kibble. (Yes, I have been in some groups on a particular social media provider where people will completely bash you, saying you shouldn't have a dog if you're just going to feed them kibble!) Well, I'm not going to bash you, but give your pup the best you can, kibble or otherwise. They will love a random treat of people food, but I will caution you to NEVER feed your pet from the table. Why, you ask? Because when they are tall enough to walk up and rest their head on the table, you don't want them stealing your dinner! (Been there, done that. We've lost roasts, burgers, steaks, chicken, bread, name it!)

One last thought related to food - Allergies! We have thankfully had no issues with Sherman and Betty. Betty can (and has, much to our dismay) eat just about anything. Sherman's tummy is a little more sensitive, but he also can eat pretty much anything. We do, however, have one "allergy dog" in our house - our German Shepherd, Hannah. We've determined over the years that she has an allergy to pork (common in a lot of dog food), and possibly also to beef! We've done a lot of trial and error - with the error coming in the form of a VERY itchy dog. She does well on a "chicken and vegetable" kibble available at one of the local warehouse stores, so that's what she gets! Typical indicators though - a very itchy face, red/itchy ears, and chewing at paws/legs/hips or other joints are common "tells" of allergy issues. If you see those, work with your vet to identify the offending food or environmental allergy, and go from there!

Ok - that was a second brain dump for tonight on everything food related....but I'm sure there are things I didn't answer. If so - feel free to reach out, and I'll do my best, always with the understanding that your vet's guidance is best!

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