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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My 4.5 month old pup was started on Annamaet Encore for all life stages, but he also had some 4Heath Salmon and Potato Puppy Chow when I first got him at 16 weeks. I prefer to have him on a LB puppy chow so I'm trying out Wellness Core Large Breed Puppy Chicken. He likes them all and I like the nutritional values in the Wellness the best. The problem with ALL of these foods is that he has 4 bowel movements a day and the stool, though well formed, is somewhat soft. It seems to me that he may not be processing the food well. I had similar issues with my other GSD when she was young. She was on Blue Freedom LB puppy chow and later Blue Freedom LB adult food. By the time she turned 2 she was having anal gland leaks and then allergy symptoms. After a long period of trial and error, she is doing fine (2 solid BMs a day) on Rx Royal Canin Select Protein Potato Rabbit.


I'm hoping to avoid these GI issues with the new pup. I hate to keep introducing new foods. I'm not opposed to feeding grains but do want to avoid meat-by-products. Does anyone make a LID in large breed puppy form? What kibble do you feed your puppies to get firm stools?


Please don't suggest RAW or homecooked. I KNOW these are better diets but I'm not in a position to do it right now.

Thanks in advance.
 

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My pup had soft stools with 4 of 5 kibbles, the only one she had firmer stools with was Victor lamb and rice. If you afford a food like The Honest Kitchen Love your puppy will get the nutrients it needs and have great stools.

None of these foods have the probiotics and digestive enzymes your puppy needs. Consider this: https://peterdobias.com/products/gutsense
 

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The Wellness Core might simply be too rich.


If you're going to feed kibble, and he has no known allergies, he'll probably do better on one WITH some rice, oats, or barley (see the other thread on the recent FDA warning on grain-free kibbles with potatoes and pulses). Those are all highly digestible. Potatoes and peas aren't as digestible for dogs, and they're being implicated in heart problems.
https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/diet-nutrition/748011-fda-dog-foods-canine-dilated-cardiomyopathy.html


My first choice would be Fromm Gold Large Breed Puppy -- great company, known for quality control, and not too "rich":
https://www.petflow.com/product/fromm/fromm-gold-holistic-large-breed-puppy-dry-dog-food?trk_search_product=1


My second, more economical choice would be Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy -- we feed a lot of this one in the rescue when we take on rescued litters. It tends to firm up their poop pretty quickly when we get them. It's not the best food out there, but it's a mid-grade food that's a good value, that agrees with "most" dogs.

https://www.chewy.com/diamond-naturals-large-breed-puppy/dp/34917


For your other dog with anal gland issues, please check out Glandex as a supplement. https://www.glandex.com/ (It's available on Amazon too.) I have used it daily for several years for my dog with anal gland issues and food allergies. It's good stuff.


If you want to do raw but can't manage it, I agree that you might want to check out The Honest Kitchen as an "in-between" commercial option to kibble. It's not raw. It's dehydrated at a relatively low temp to preserve as many enzymes as possible. That's what I feed my allergy dog -- it produces ginormous, firm poops, which are actually exactly what you want in a dog with anal gland problems. They make several "just add water" dehydrated foods that are complete diets, and two base mixes to which you add cooked or raw meat. There are a couple of all life stages diets suitable for growing puppies (the base mixes are only for adults). For us, THK worked out to about the same or slightly less than a veterinary prescription diet. FWIW, I've seen THK's smaller boxes at Sprouts and Whole Foods, if you want to read the boxes and think about it. Sojo's makes a similar line of foods that's slightly cheaper.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you for the suggestions. I will check out the Fromm as I've read several positive reviews of the brand. I'm not familiar with Victor but I'll check that out as well. As for THK, it sounds great but just too expensive. I also like to use the kibble as some of the treats for training so that would not work out as well.



That's interesting about the peas and potatoes. Dasha (the 4 yr old) doesn't tolerate peas well at all, but her current food (RC Potato Rabbit) is mostly potato - in fact it smells similar to potato chips. I resisted using it with her for a long time but when she kept having allergy issues, I finally tried it and she has done great on it. I will investigate the taurine angle and discuss this will my vet.
 

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I like the Victor foods. Made and sourced here in the U.S. Never had a recall. I've been feeding it for years to a dog with a sensitive stomach and she's done great on it.
 

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Mine was on a now-discontinued puppy kibble (Good Natured brand) only and slowly transitioned to an adult food by 6 months. That's all he ever had. His stools were soft until maybe 4-5 months, and I gave a spoonful of canned pumpkin mixed with his kibble to help firm things up a bit.

At about 5 months his stools firmed up on their own and we discontinued adding pumpkin.

My own position (based mainly on opinions from experienced people here on the forums) was that the LBP food encouraged faster growth, which I didn't want, and that "puppy food" didn't exist in dog's evolutionary history aside from mother's milk and partially pre-digested food that adult dogs brought home, so I slowly discontinued puppy food and replaced it with adult kibble. My dog gets plenty of nutrients and some healthy table scraps as supplements (plus training treats), so he doesn't need extra calories from puppy food. He's enjoying American Journey brand salmon and sweet potato.
 
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