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 norman fears
(@norman fears)
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Joined: 4 months ago
Posts: 1
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we have 2 st bernard puppies. they are 8 months old. i have heard we should feed them puppy food until they are 18 months old. i also have heard that feeding them puppy food for that long makes them grow to fast and is hard on their bones. what is correct?

Pet Type
st. bernard
Pet Name
heidi and ranger

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(@karel-carnohan)
Moderator
Joined: 9 months ago
Posts: 10
 

Congratulations on your two babies!  There is a lot of info, some good and some bad, out there concerning giant breed puppy diets. To simplify things, I will give you some key points:

  • Feed a diet appropriate for age: puppy diets are specifically formulated but many "all life stage" diets are likely okay too. 
  • The key is not to let your puppies grow TOO FAST. Keep them lean with a body condition score of 4 out of 9. Many "growth" diets are too caloric and may pack on the pounds too fast. Read labels carefully; some growth diets will specifically say they are not appropriate for breeds greater than 70 pounds. Fast growth in Giant breeds will lead to abnormal bone development.
  • Grain-free is not necessarily healthy but I'd avoid corn and wheat gluten.
  • Puppy diets from reputable companies will have an AAFCO statement on the label stating that the diet is complete and balanced and will identify the life stage.
  • I would discuss your choice with your vet. Your vet can also calculate the appropriate number of calories for healthy growth. Do NOT follow the feeding guidelines on the bag/can of whatever food you buy. Absolutely no ad lib/free feeding.
  • I am a fan of more canned food than dry but with huge dogs, dry is a budget necessity. 

The most important thing is for you to visually monitor their growth. You might be horrified about how "thin" they look but with advice from your vet, you can be assured that their growth, especially their bone development, will be healthy.

I hope this helps

Dr. Karel


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