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Discussion Starter #1
I currently have Whiskey on Stella and Chewy puppy kibble. Came to me on that apparently but I doubt so, judging by the poops the first few days and now. His poop is still soft but holds its shape.
I have mixed in some Wellness Core Puppy as my ShihTzu did well on that. Plus it is cheaper ($5 vs $7/day for Stella and Chewy).

Long story short, at that price I am able to purchase a high quality home cooked food made locally (Furry’s Kitchen) which my previous Shih Tzu was on in his last few years (he passed away at 18) PLUS extra money for treats. It will also make my life easier as Bailey is on the home cooked food.

Are there specific nutritional requirements for a spoo puppy that will make home cooked food unsuitable until a later date? Or I can just go ahead and switch?
I asked the manufacturer, they told me the food they made is suitable for all life stages but are not able to provide a nutritional analysis as a lot of customers request for special orders and it is not economical to do so.
 

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The only issue for a large breed puppy that I'm aware of is around calcium and phosphorous. An excess or imbalance can lead to skeletal growth issues. This came up yesterday as well, so I'll share the same link to more information.

Personally, I'd go ahead and try the home cooked food and just check his growth weekly. As long as he's not putting on more than about 2 lbs/week, I'd trust that the food is fine.

Alternatively, if you want a more cautious path, you could wait until he's about 6 months old and has done most of his growing to switch him over.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Oh no.. he’s gained at least 1kg in the 10(?) days we had him as the vet told us to increase his food since he’s on the very thin end of the chart (as the vet said “he’s all fluff, skin, and bones right now). And he’s also grown an inch...have we fed too much?? 😱

I have read about the calcium and phosphorus ratio hence asking the manufacturer for their nutritional analysis. And my hesitance to change him over..but their answers were “we aren’t aware of any negative feedback regarding the feeding of large breed puppies other than providing more than the recommended amount”.

A bigger concern than the money is that he doesn’t seem to be doing well on both types of kibble as his poop is soft (must pick them up very gingerly like they’re precious stones type soft) and his belly gets fairly bloated (lots of gas). He’s a month and a half shy of 6 months and I’m wondering if it is fair for him to have tummy troubles for that long.

The alternative would be to source for frozen raw food for him that is also locally produced (Pet Cubes). They have puppy formulas but again not specific to large breed puppies.:unsure:
 

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Oh no.. he’s gained at least 1kg in the 10(?) days we had him as the vet told us to increase his food since he’s on the very thin end of the chart (as the vet said “he’s all fluff, skin, and bones right now). And he’s also grown an inch...have we fed too much?? 😱

I have read about the calcium and phosphorus ratio hence asking the manufacturer for their nutritional analysis. And my hesitance to change him over..but their answers were “we aren’t aware of any negative feedback regarding the feeding of large breed puppies other than providing more than the recommended amount”.

A bigger concern than the money is that he doesn’t seem to be doing well on both types of kibble as his poop is soft (must pick them up very gingerly like they’re precious stones type soft) and his belly gets fairly bloated (lots of gas). He’s a month and a half shy of 6 months and I’m wondering if it is fair for him to have tummy troubles for that long.

The alternative would be to source for frozen raw food for him that is also locally produced (Pet Cubes). They have puppy formulas but again not specific to large breed puppies.:unsure:
I'll answer the direct questions first:
  • A spoo's max growth rate is about 1.5-2 lbs/week (or about 0.75-1 kg/week). Growing 1 kg (2.2 lbs) in 10 days is less than this amount and within the guidelines. You're fine.
  • I don't know your vet. Many conventional vets like to see pups a little on the fat side. More holistic vets, or vets that work specifically with sport animals, prefer a little leaner. On the body conditioning scale, a 4-5 out of 10 is preferred in poodles. The rib/hand test is more accurate. Both of these tests work better for adult animals who aren't growing, because....
  • Dogs grow a little like humans. Kids get a little chunky before they shoot up and get thin and lanky. Mia's growth looked like an accordion for the first few months; she grew long then tall. I wouldn't worry too much about food amount on a daily basis, it's about the overall trajectory. As long as the max growth rate is under about 1 kg/week, you're doing fine. If your spoo suddenly grows 2 kgs/week for consecutive weeks, then there's a problem.
I agree, it sounds like you should change foods. If you want absolute certainty around Ca:p, then try another kibble. You should be able to get small sample packs from your local dog food store.

From the information you've provided, I would give the home cooked food that you're already feeding to your other dog a shot. Your other dog is doing well, and it's a reputable local brand. The local raw brand also sounds promising. But as you're feeding the home cooked food to your other dog, why not try it out first?
 

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Around that age Basil (SPOO, girl) was growing like a wild weed. Sometimes I would be surprised after filling her bowl to the top (we free feed) thinking, "there's no way she will eat all that over the next 24 hours" to "holy crap my baby was hungry!" Some days we just burned a ton of calories, some days we were couch potatoes. I let Basil listen to her own body.

Sometimes her poop was softer (in the morning, usually), sometimes it was more firm. It was normal. My parents were a source of anxiety, "OMG you need to have her checked out she might have something.". Dang, chill out... Geez.

Initially I pressed my own personal insecurities onto Basil as a pup. I was worried about over feeding her and her being fat (sigh). My vet always wanted Basil with a little puppy belly. I was relieved to hear my vet say "let Basil eat as much as she needs and we will reevaluate it after she's one year old." Okay great. I won't worry. Basil will stop eating when she's full. I want Basil to grow normally to her full genetic limit, and she tends to stop when she's full.

To this day, she is super athletic and lean, which is a blessing and a curse. I often find myself wishing we could swap metabolisms. But, it's what I signed up for! (And I love it)


She's still on the same puppy/Junior formula since she was ~5 weeks old from her Breeder. Her breeder prewarned me that her kibble will be slightly more expensive and I just bit the bullet. (25# for $63). She eats ~0.7 pounds a day, I weighed it for a week just out of curiosity. I feed her an insta-pot chicken thigh every morning that I got for $0.98/lb to help on the food bill. My parents still spoil her with fresh food from the garden.

Here was Basil's growth chart so far.
 

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So, a 'regular' puppy food (as in not meant for large breeds) would he worse than an all-life-stages or adult formula. Assuming Whiskey us going to be on the larger side of Spoos, given how much weight you said he is gaining. The smaller stature spoos that are around 40lbs are fine on regular puppy. Do you have an expected adult size?
Personally I'd be very hesitant to use a food that does not have an analysis done on levels. How do you or they know it's balanced then?
I'd also point out that measuring his growth is not a great way to assess the levels of a food. Poodles are by nature tall and lanky, it would be pretty hard to know whether you were looking at normal vs abnormal growth. By the time skeletal abnormalities are present it's probably too late...
Small breeds are a lot more forgiving in regards to diet (other than too much weight gain, lol).
My Raffi was always very lean as a pup too, to the point that there was no way I would shave him down since people would probably think he was starving! He wasn't.
 

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As a vet tech, we are taught that dog breeds are more alike than they are different, when it comes to health etc. So we always look at general dog knowledge before breed specific (I don't mean things like overall outward condition and appearance of course. Obviously a bulldog and a whippet are assessed differently, for example).
When Whiles t comes to free feeding vs restricted, I just can't feel comfortable with 'eat whatever they want'. Although I have seen some overweight Spoos, I'm not concerned about them getting fat, but reaching their full growth too soon. Studies showed that pups who were free fed were more likely to develop orthopedic issues than ones that were restricted to 2/3 of the amount the free fed pups ate. Although poodles were not involved, these were done on a few large breeds.
Anyways. I'm not saying that some dogs won't do perfectly fine eating as much as they want, obviously it depends on the individual.
Sorry, I tend to go off on long rambles! I like to know all the information possible before I make decisions, and I often assume that everyone else wants all of it too 😬😉
 

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Puppy formulas are generally simply the same as the adult formula, but with less filler. If you are feeding a top rated food you would probably be fine with the adult formula. Remember, when wolves, fox, hyena, and bear are weaned, they eat what the adults eat.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks all!!
I know I am rambling and being indecisive but I really wanted to get some opinions before I jumped in to something that could be less beneficial in the long term. I don't even think I think half as hard about what I eat..

@Liz Thanks for letting me know his growth is in the normal range. The vet was concerned about his weight as his hips and spine were poking(?) out. Told me to increase his food intake from 300g/day to 400g/day. She did tell me to keep him on the leaner side for his hips and joints but not quite as thin as he is now.

@Basil_the_Spoo Thanks for the growth chart of Basil!!! Why didn't I think of creating this for Whiskey.. I used to do it for Bailey because she wasn't growing as we expected.
Unfortunately, I can't free feed as my Shih Tzu is a glutton, she is going to feast on the buffet.. HAHA! I will have at least one pig at the end of Whiskey's puppyhood if I free fed him :)

@Starvt His parents were 40lb and 45lb and Whiskey is expected to mature around that range.
I preferred one brand over the other as I could see the ingredients (the meat, the pumpkins etc), the other one with all the nutritional analysis was just a gray-brown mush. The first brand (the one I am giving) includes a nutri-mix in the food and has won numerous local awards. I tried the food 🤫 it tasted delicious sans seasoning. I guess I assumed it was balanced based on the nutri-mix, awards, taste, and look of the food. The latter brand is less recognized here and also more expensive, but they do have a puppy line and nutritional analysis 🤔

@Michigan Gal I didn't think of that. All the biology I learned in school was forgotten..HAHA! Thanks for the reminder :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I've spoken to my vet (while we got his last set of vaccines), based on his growth the past 13 days (only gained 1kg) she recommends either of the following:
1. Stay on the Puppy Kibble and top with the home cooked food I have now, or
2. Get the homecooked food with the puppy line and supplement with the kibble as training treats

Since I already purchased the home cooked (non-puppy), I will start him on that as a topper and see how he does on that. If the poop gets better (and less smelly) we may just move him to the puppy home cooked food.

In any case, I was told to keep him on puppy kibble until he is 12-18 months...but I remember reading on PF that we should switch out earlier :unsure: or was it for smaller poodles....
 

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This is an older thread on PF but it is a companion to the posts describing the importance of the proper calc/phos ratio. Standard poodles need for growth to be slowed, and not all puppy foods, even large breed specific, take this into account.

When to change to adult food | Poodle Forum

Another thread with addititional info
New food question (I know, I know)... | Poodle Forum

(linking these for the calc/phos info, grain-free is a different topic with more current studies being done)

CharismaticMillie is one of our breeder/members, fyi. Liz, you'll likely recognize the names in those posts.

For those able to purchase foods meeting and labeled with AAFCO guideline notes:

Starting in 2016, AAFCO guidelines now require pet foods that are categorized for ‘growth’ to specify if they have met additional guidelines just for large- and giant-breed puppies (i.e., dogs expected to be more than 70 lbs at their mature adult weight).

So what are these additional guidelines? Basically, the range of calcium is now narrower for large and giant breed puppies. This is because they are more sensitive to an excess or shortage of calcium while their bones are growing (a Great Dane certainly has a lot more leg bone to grow into than a Chihuahua before they become an adult!). If you have a dog that you think will be close to or above 70 lbs as an adult, you should look for puppy foods that specify they have this more narrow range of certain nutrients. As a side note, AAFCO selected 70 lbs as the cutoff for defining a ‘large breed dog,’ but others would argue 50 lbs is a more conservative cut off.

What to Look For:

Pet food labels for puppies and all life stages will soon have to have one of two qualifiers for the nutritional adequacy statement (AAFCO statement), which is required on every food to show it is complete and balanced:
  • [Pet Food Name] is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for growth/all life stages including growth of large-size dogs (70 lbs or more as an adult).

  • [Pet Food Name] is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for growth/all life stages except for growth of large-size dogs (70 lbs or more as an adult).

Be sure to carefully read these statements so you don’t overlook the small, but critical, difference between “except for” and “including”!

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Weight and body condition
About weights, poodles tend to be on the lean side of acceptable. A fit poodle will never look like a fit lab and you don't want them to. They are always going to have different body types. Poodles are very athletic dogs and will tend toward having an athletic build which is the sort you see in working pointers and vizslas. Here are some examples.

 

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Discussion Starter #12
Oh!! Thank for the links!! I knew it was on here and I read it once but I just couldn’t find the info when I needed it...we just want the best for our giant baby.
I’ve checked the Calcium: phosphorous ratio of the home cooked puppy line and it ranges from 1.45-1.8:1 depending on the meat. But I got confused over their analysis which says 17% protein, 0.30% calcium, 0.21% phosphorous.
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It seems so much lower than that of kibble..for reference Stella and Chewy’s is 1.1% calcium, 0.7% phosphorous.

The family is leaning towards keeping him on the kibble with home cooked as a topper because our Bailey, who has refused to touch kibble since 7.5 years ago, decided to take a liking to Stella and Chewy (jackpot training treats only) 🤷‍♀️
 

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I’ve checked the Calcium: phosphorous ratio of the home cooked puppy line and it ranges from 1.45-1.8:1 depending on the meat. But I got confused over their analysis which says 17% protein, 0.30% calcium, 0.21% phosphorous.
I'm sure it's mentioned in some of the info I found but I'm not actually sure how to calculate the ratio of calc/phos without doing some more looking.
Doing a bit of digging, I found a food which might be similar, shipped frozen, portioned out (no idea where it's found or sold) with a complete nutrition breakdown. I noticed that it shows numbers for the food "as fed" and "dry matter basis".

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(from Grass-Fed Beef Gently Cooked Recipe)

This "as fed" vs "dry matter basis" might explain the different numbers. I have read that protein of around 30% is beneficial, so it's probably good to verify that the protein level is also right for your pup.

This article focuses on the calc/phos percentages and ratios but mention the "dry matter basis" calculation.

Those threads linked above may shed some light on the protein percentage. I skimmed but didn't read all the way thru each.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Just an update:
We are switching almost 6 month Whiskey to a pre-prepared raw (local brand) that is mixed to cater to his age, size and breed and predicted adult size. Comes with a nutritional analysis and the people seem to know their stuff. We are required to fill in his weight before each order, which is every week, as he is a puppy.

Things that spurred this change:
1. The kibble was always out of stock...something about low demand and interrupted supply chain due to covid.
2. Bailey had an allergic reaction to the kibble and subsequently was allergic to all chicken treats after 8 years of eating them 🤷‍♀️ The allergies resulted in ear infections and overall skin inflammations. Which then in turn gave me a allergic reaction.
3. Bailey was switched to raw as part of her treatment for the allergies and seems to be doing much better and her poops are soooo small. And our allergies are also going down with her dropping less dandruff.

And so when this bag runs out, we are going to a raw breakfast, home cooked dinner :)
Of course we will be keeping a bag of Bailey-friendly kibble + wet food as an emergency food, like when something in the family crops up and we need to be able to give a quick meal or as training treats.

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PS. He's grown SOOO much...
 

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It sounds like your local product is a reasonable choice considering your issues with allergies and suppliers.
 
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