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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

We will be bringing our new Lab girls, Jenna & Bella home soon. The breeder advises Skinners Field & Trial Muesli Puppy food until 12 weeks & then the adult version of this food. She also says it is unessersary to add tripe to the food, they are happy with just the complete (I am used to adding a little tripe for my Danes to their complete food, to give them something tasty!)

Would welcome opinions from those of you with more experience of Labs. than us. Am I right in thinking it is wise to keep the protein content down whilst they are growing? (again used to this with the danes)

Many Thanks,

Debbie
 

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Am I right in thinking it is wise to keep the protein content down whilst they are growing?
Hi Debbies, the simple answer to this is yes.

I have never used Skinners so cannot comment, but I have heard a few good opinions on it :) I feed raw (BARF) but previously did feed a good additive free kibble.

The main reason for maintaining a lower protein level is for slower growth in the puppies. The pups should grow slowly and evenly. I hope JohnW sees this, as he will be able to explain in much greater detail, (I know the why's and wherefore's just not able to explain it easily)

But will give a comparison. Two of my Labs were feed a high protein puppy food until 8 months, the growth rate was phenomenal, reaching full height by 5 months. This is extremely bad for the growing bones and growth platelets. And of course the extra weight that the pup carries :( All this does is put extra strain on the joints and may be the cause of non hereditary HD. Both have just been hip scored and although good, not as good as I would have hoped. I do believe the high protien puppy food had something to do with this. The 2 pups I have running on at the moment are feed raw and have been since weaning. They are both small, compact and growing slowly but very steadily, without the growth spurts. They may not fully mature until around 18 months to 2 years and I personally believe this is much healthier for them and their joints.

Also, If your breeder has given you a diet sheet, then I would stick to this. (Although I would prefer to keep them on puppy food a little longer that 12 weeks, but definately not any longer than 5/6months)

Kay & the Exelby Clan
 

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Hi Debbies
Kayc has said it all really. I to would be happier to keep them on a puppy or Junior food until about 5to6months. Then on to an adult food. Also I am sure the breeder will put you right about excercise, but with two together you will have to be extremely careful, that they do not over do things All the best Meg
 

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Hi

Kay, your description of rapid growth is true of my Harvey, he is 6 months old and I now realise he has grown far too fast and is carrying too much weight. I have just changed from 29% protein puppy food to 24% junior but am wondering now if maybe he ought to go straight to 21% adult as suggested by meg

I need to do something, I am keeping his portions very tight already but still he is a porker :?

Cheers
Nigel
 

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I think Kay knows this is one of my Hobby horses!

I usually feed my dogs on Masters but having won a sack of Skinners in a working test, and being too mean to throw anything away, I gave it a try and was very pleased with it. If anything happened that I could not get Masters this would be my choice. I must say that what I won was not the Muesli, but I do like the manufacturer. I'll add to that by saying that they do plough some of the profits back into dogs by sponsoring quite a few gundog events.

As others have said, I prefer to get my puppies off of the higher protein puppy food early rather than late. Up to about a year old the bones of a puppy have not fully hardened and it’s easy for damage to be done by putting too much weight on too soon. In days of old there was no such thing as “Puppy Food”. We fed exactly the same as we fed our adults. No complete foods in those days, it was tins and biscuit and about the only tins were Pedigree Chum, Kennomeat and Chappie, and only one flavour! In exactly the same way, there is no puppy food in the wild! In that case, after the bitch has weaned her puppies off of her milk, the next stage would be to regurgitate pre digested food for the puppies. (Some bitches still do this for their puppies and unfortunately some people think the bitch is being sick and clear it up!!) After a short time of regurgitating the puppy would be expected to eat the same as the rest of the pack.

In the days before the fast growing puppy food we rarely saw OCD. Is there a link? I don’t believe we can give our dogs OCD or HD, but if there is a propensity towards these then I am convinced we can make it worst. In the wild, eating a natural diet a dog would grow at a certain rate. For those who can remember, think back to the dogs in the show ring in the “Puppy” class back in the 1960’s, then compare with the dogs in the same class now. There is no comparison! A six month old entering the ring now would look like a year old puppy back in those days. It might not be “Fat” as such but because of it’s larger size it is carrying far more weight that in the days of old. One thing is certain, the way I feed I have never had a puppy reach full size until it is around two years old. An old friend who lives some way away saw my Anna at a year old and her comment was, “Oh John, she’s got no ‘body’!” It was a year later when she next saw her and on first sight she said, “Oh, this one’s gorgeous! Far better than the one I saw last year!” It was the same dog!

Personally I don’t feed the Muesli, I prefer the extruded type of complete. My feelings are that it gives the dog something to crunch on to help clean the teeth. So saying, with a Labrador, the food passes straight down without even touching the sides so I doubt it helps anyway! My approach to feeding would be, At some point between four and five months when I have two or three weeks food left I would get a bag of “Adult” I would start by substituting just a little for a little of the “Puppy” and over the next month I would increase the Adult and decrease the Puppy so that the change is completed at around 5 to 6 months. That way there is no shock to the system at the change.

Whilst on the subject of food, two other thoughts for you. Foods aimed at working dogs are Vat free. Not a good reason for feeding a poor quality food obviously, but with a good quality food such as I believe Skinners to be, quite a nice saving! My other thought is that I do not feed a complete to the exclusion of all else. My dogs often get a little of what I’m having and I believe this helps their stomachs to take changes in diet in their stride. Anna by the way loves Sweet and Sour Chicken and also Blue Stilton cheese, although I stress so do I so she gets very little!!!

Best wishes, John
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
What to feed?

Dear John,

Thanks for what would seem to be very sound advice. Out of interest, I feed my Danes on Wagg (they have just brought out a worker version), 21% protein and they thrive on it! I do add a little tripe for them, which I'm advised is not needed for Labs. They also get little treats occasionally!

I will follow the advice I've been given here and keep my puppies on the puppy food until they are a few months old and then gradually change them over to adult.

Thanks again.

Debbie
 

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I don't know Wagg Debbie so can’t comment on it. What I will say though is that with a properly balanced food, any addition is likely to unbalance it. Of course, just like humans, a diet does not need to be a "self contained" balanced feed every single time. Our food achieves a balance over a period of time. If we existed solely on cornflakes for example we would soon be in trouble. But add a good roast and veg in for dinner and some fruit between, we achieve a balance. The same applies to dogs. I give a little of what we have. Some meat, some gravy, some veg, a little biscuit and add the lot together and there is something like a good long term balance.

Regards, John
 
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