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Puppy food and supplement recommendations

Madisonhunt

New Member
Hello everyone!
I will admit I am so confused and torn on the appropriate food and supplements to give my puppy when she arrives.

Side note: I was supposed to get a puppy at the end of this month but an unforeseen instance prevented it from happening. I will now be receiving a girl in April. I am so excited I can hardly stand it.

Anyways, I have seen so many different ways that owners are feeding their dobie puppies. I understand that it’s also based on preference and experience. However, I have no experience with this breed yet. I am torn on food brand, what supplements I should or should not include, whether I should wet her food or leave it dry, toppers, etc. I want her to be as healthy as possible. I’m also unsure of when to start supplements (as I am unsure if there is an age range where certain supplements should be introduced). I have seen some owners use some kind of mass gainer for their dogs? Is this typical?

My current lab mix has always been so easy when it comes to food and i have never had to give him supplements. So, I have not had to worry about this stuff before. I feel like I’m going into this black hole of food options 😆

Help please!
 
There are plenty of good options, and lots of right ways to feed. There are a few things that many of us agree on here and that is that SLOW growth is best for puppies. Their genetics will determine how big they'll get and fast puppy growth and extra high protein won't make them bigger in the end, just causes more problems for joints. Keep your puppy and your grown dog SLIM. Extra weight means extra problems. I trained a lot and used meals for training with a few treats tossed in to enhance the smell of the kibble. Occasionally some training would be done with only treats, but I have a dog with insane food drive, so kibble was never a problem.

Here's what I fed & still feed: My puppy was raised on All Life Stages kibble (available in most major brands, I use Diamond Naturals) with a mixed raw food topper once a day. I always soak my kibble unless using it for training. For fish oil I feed a can of sardines (packed in water, no salt if you can find it) once a week. I give a probiotic about every other day. My breeder recommended Vit. C for ears, so I supplemented that until she was done with posting at about 6 months. I have no idea if it's a needed thing, but her ears came out great. There's probably more that I'm forgetting at the moment, but that's a start. I'm sure you'll get more suggestions pretty soon.

Congrats on your puppy in April - you must share photos when you bring her home!!! We have several people with new puppies this spring so it's going to be fun to watch them and follow along!

Edit to say: Say NO to peas/lentils which are prevalent in "grain free" foods. Find a food with the highest source of meat protein you can afford, otherwise the proteins come from peas, beans & soy which is not ideal at all.
 
There are plenty of good options, and lots of right ways to feed. There are a few things that many of us agree on here and that is that SLOW growth is best for puppies. Their genetics will determine how big they'll get and fast puppy growth and extra high protein won't make them bigger in the end, just causes more problems for joints. Keep your puppy and your grown dog SLIM. Extra weight means extra problems. I trained a lot and used meals for training with a few treats tossed in to enhance the smell of the kibble. Occasionally some training would be done with only treats, but I have a dog with insane food drive, so kibble was never a problem.

Here's what I fed & still feed: My puppy was raised on All Life Stages kibble (available in most major brands, I use Diamond Naturals) with a mixed raw food topper once a day. I always soak my kibble unless using it for training. For fish oil I feed a can of sardines (packed in water, no salt if you can find it) once a week. I give a probiotic about every other day. My breeder recommended Vit. C for ears, so I supplemented that until she was done with posting at about 6 months. I have no idea if it's a needed thing, but her ears came out great. There's probably more that I'm forgetting at the moment, but that's a start. I'm sure you'll get more suggestions pretty soon.

Congrats on your puppy in April - you must share photos when you bring her home!!! We have several people with new puppies this spring so it's going to be fun to watch them and follow along!

Edit to say: Say NO to peas/lentils which are prevalent in "grain free" foods. Find a food with the highest source of meat protein you can afford, otherwise the proteins come from peas, beans & soy which is not ideal at all.
Is there a percentage of protein that I should stay under? Like stay under 30%?
I have at least narrowed it (somewhat) down to possibly Diamond Naturals, Purina Pro Plan, and Fromm (mostly because I have heard good reviews on this one). So, that’s good to know! I have consistently seen good things about that brand and although my breeder switched to a different brand, she recommended Diamond naturals as well.

The Vitamin C supplement for the ears is very intriguing. I will give that a shot! I never thought of it working that way but it makes sense.

I will absolutely share pictures and her training and growth over time!
 
I have at least narrowed it (somewhat) down to possibly Diamond Naturals, Purina Pro Plan, and Fromm
Out of all of those, Fromm is definitely your best bet. Pro Plan isn't a spectacular one and they've really jacked the price up on it.
I like to stick with independent companies instead of the chains owned by Purina, etc.
 
Is there a percentage of protein that I should stay under? Like stay under 30%?
Yes, stay under 30% for sure, and even lower if you can find it. I agree with All Life Stages food - that means no Puppy kibble, or Large Breed kibble.
The Vitamin C supplement for the ears
Can also give this past the ear posting stages. Dogs use up their vit c reserves when they are stressed, so it's never a bad idea to toss in a vit c pill every now and then. I typically use vit c in winter months for an immune boost, for us people PLUS the dog LOL.

I have seen some owners use some kind of mass gainer for their dogs? Is this typical?
No, it's not safe or responsible. Do not do this. Never give a growing puppy calcium supplements, that can come later in life. We give ground up eggshells for calcium. All supplements should not be given all the time. Always take a break from them.

whether I should wet her food or leave it dry, toppers
Soaking kibble is a good idea. Don't use hot water as it will kill nutrients, just lukewarm is good enough. Kibble swells a lot, if you've ever found kibble in your washing machine, you'll be shocked to see how much it can soak up! Since Dobermans can be prone to bloat, soaking can help avoid that - also, no exercise for an hour before and after eating.

I feel like I’m going into this black hole of food options
Everything for your prized Doberman is going to feel like a black hole 😆 This is just the beginning! 😜 Having a Doberman is the ultimate challenge and you're approaching it with just the right level of overbearingness 😆👌
 
I just started using Canidae all life stages for our new 3 month old boy. Protein is 24%. Agree to soak kibble before feeding also...let it get mushy. He had been on Purina and had runny stools, the Canidae cleared that up. WELCOME!
 
Protein under 30% definitely…hard to find a quality (first ingredients meat) 28%, 29%, 30%. Usually I see 26, 27 and then it jumps to 32, 33%. Having a high protein is not necessary and causes more problems than good. If one feels like they want a higher protein that what’s in the kibble, then a good topper can be added.

Many different good quality brands:
Diamond
Fromm
Taste of Wild
I go with Voyager because of the low Copper content- mine had liver issues in the past.

Stay away from Victor for now, they just had a massive recall.

Purina PP may not be as good quality and content wise but it has its purpose with Dobermans with highly sensitive stomachs. I know a couple of folks/breeders that feed PPP with confidence.

If you really want to educate and be confident- dive into the rabbit hole online and research. Start with Dog Food Reviews and Ratings | Dog Food Advisor, 4-5 star all life stages food is good. I have spent hours on this site researching and figuring our needs.

Things to think about- not in any order of importance:
1. Quality of food
2. $$$
3. How is it accessible- store vs online
4. Recalls
5. Types of protein: chicken, beef, fish, etc
6. Top 10 ingredients listed
7. Taurine, L-Carnitine added??
8. Big chain supplier vs independent company

Another quality option- the popular census states that a Raw diet is the best and it makes sense and is logical. Problem that I encounter is it’s just not feasible for me to buy, store and prepare the raw ingredients for a meal. We do have many members that are competent and successful with feeding raw so they can answer any questions you have.

Good luck.
 

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