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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all -- This is yet another "what food is best" type of question that I've read 100 different answers to, but I have an added twist in that our dog is a gulper and I am wondering about kibble shape with regards to that.

3 M/O Male, 31lbs. Day 3 at the house, old owners fed Eukanuba Large Breed Puppy food. Naturally we are keeping that going, and will begin transitioning off it asap. Although it is listed as a good food by the dogfoodadviser, looking at the ingredients: 2-Corn Meal 3-Chicken By-Product Meal 5-Brewers Rice it just does not seem like a top notch food. We had initially planned on changing over to Merrick but as I was looking for best in class, I started seeing more and more about the issues with Grain Free... So, I shifted from the Merrick offerings and was settling on either Royal Canin GSD Food [Seems a bit high in protein for a growing large breed, and a shade low on phosphorus - which seemed odd for a food designed for GSD's], Holistic Lamb and Oat Large and Giant puppy food which seems to be right on the money by the numbers. Or because of such rave reviews here, Fromm Gold Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food - although I could not find a good breakdown of the nutritional info to compare vs RC or Holistic.

Honestly, I suspect any of those three would be fantastic kibble for the pup - but, I did note the RC was designed to encourage chewing. "Nash" is a very bad gulper. Zero chew of kibble, chomp a mouthfull and swallow. He will wipe out a cup in a matter of seconds. Until I get a slowfeed bowl (stopping today to pick one up) I've been tossing a few pieces in his bowl at a time, and forcing him to slow down that way. I tried using a toy to slow him down, but he just forced through it and it made no difference. Now, he's not at all food "aggressive" - no growling, or anything of that nature when I have my hands IN his bowl, or take the bowl away or whatever. He is very forceful in trying to get to the food and to eat it as fast as humanly ... err doggedly possible.

I'm not sure how much of a difference food shape will actually make, and I suspect once he realizes he no longer has to fight for his food the gulping will begin to fade - but it's just not worth the risk to not do what I can to help quell it. So, does anyone have any experience with the RC GSD food in regards to gulping? AKA, does it actually help? And of course, glad to hear any opinions on the food selections. I know, some will say Orijen or bust, but at 38% protein, that seems like asking for too speedy of growth potential. I think, basically, considering the gulping my best question is which of the three: RC GSD, Holistic Lamb and Oat, Fromm Gold Large puppy. Or am I overlooking a great option (Not a big fan of Victor) And will not be feeding Grain Free unless we need to.

Oh, and feel free to post some - "hey look here" links on gulping. I have not yet even began researching how to stop that yet.
 

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Congrats on the pup! I switched from grain free as well and went on to Victor and absolutely love it, hard poops, shiny coat, great teeth. But of the ones you stated ive heard only amazing things about Fromm.. My beast is also an inhaler of anything stupid enough to get close to his mouth. The slow feeder works perfect when I need it but I do all of his feeding by hand while training so hes only getting small handfuls at a time, this can also help with food guarding and is great for bonding.

Also, i dont think the type of food or kibble shape makes any difference at all.


Show us some pics!!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Introducing Nash. Freshly primped from the stop at Petsmart on the way home.

As for the kibble shape, I'm of the same opinion but have never had to consider it before. I have no personal experiences with Victor so I'm purely basing it others experience. What made you decide victor over the others? We fed Wellness Core to Beau (our Bloodhound). Helped a bit going grain free for his allergies. As he got sick and we were trying different foods to spark his appetite we tried Merrick and he enjoyed it quite well and it seemed to be very high quality. But seems like their large puppy foods are all grain free...
 

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I didn't worry about kibble shapes. I fed by hand sometimes, especially when I wanted to start teaching "watch me" or "leave it", and I also bought a slow feeder bowl. Kong makes a wobbly treat/kibble dispensing toy that's good for amusing a dog AND slowing the rate at which he can eat. Try those out.

FYI the people who gave me Boon were feeding "Good Natured" puppy food, which was a PetCo brand I think, and being phased out. I bought all the store had and it lasted me months. By the time Boon was about 5 months, I was transitioning him slowly to an adult food. He has eaten American Journey brand salmon and sweet potato ever since and done well on it. (That's a brand from Chewy.com)
 

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Mine is on Victor. He's done great on it. As far as these GSD forums are concerned you can't go wrong with Fromm's and Victor. I have used RC GSD on a previous dog and it worked fine for him. If your dog does fine on it, no reason not to use it. However RC GSD is considerably more expensive than Fromms or Victor which are generally known to be better quality food than RC.
 

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Introducing Nash. Freshly primped from the stop at Petsmart on the way home.

As for the kibble shape, I'm of the same opinion but have never had to consider it before. I have no personal experiences with Victor so I'm purely basing it others experience. What made you decide victor over the others? We fed Wellness Core to Beau (our Bloodhound). Helped a bit going grain free for his allergies. As he got sick and we were trying different foods to spark his appetite we tried Merrick and he enjoyed it quite well and it seemed to be very high quality. But seems like their large puppy foods are all grain free...

I fed my last shepherd TOTW, which is what I would have fed my new pup if not for the new study saying grain free causes DCM, which is what my last one passed from. So I decided to stay away from grain free this time (which wasnt easy because most of these reputable companies specify in grainfree) and the overall consensus from this group and some local trainers is either raw or victor. I knew I didnt want to feed raw but I never heard of them so did my own research and it looked like a very high quality product so decided to go with it and am very happy I did. *I feed the Victor Nutra Pro
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Ok, thanks guys. After doing a little digging on my own about Victor, yeah it looks like very high quality food. And I see a TON of people here feed it. I really like the ingredient list on the Nutra Pro - but I do have one concern. If I noted it correctly, one of the suggestions with Large Breed Puppies was to keep the protein a little lower, something like 15%-27% ideally. Even the standard guideline was 28% IIRC. But, with the V- Nutra Pro its 38% (Same as Orijin I think). Is that not actually too high for large breeds? (And yeah, I get that is being really picky and compared to a lot of foods that a lot of dogs eat its in a whole new level, but...) We previously had a Bloodhound with Dysplasia, which we were lucky in that it started bad but very slowly progressed [I think due to a consistent quality food and glucosamine/chondroitin suppliments for about a decade. Good weight and relatively low activity of course helped immensely (no long long walks, hikes etc. He would be sore from shorter ones and even long car rides, which he loved.]

I'm not trying to be a contrarian, and I know a lot of folks are feeding this. I'm just concerned that its going to put unnecessary weight on Nash if we are unable to burn off a ton of calories. I would love to say that we would be able to, but reality is that we probably would not - especially in winter. I am no expert, far from it. But, while I think V-Nutra (for example) is a fantastic food - I am afraid it may be better suited to a dog that would be worked over much harder than we will be able to.

If I'm overthinking it, that's fine too - I just wanted to try to head off issues if I can...

Maybe the numbers I have are wrong but I have the ideal as:
Calcium .7-1.2%
Fat 9-12%
Protein 15-27% (Stay on the lower end if high quality protein)
Phosphorus 1-1.6% (in a 1:1 up to 1.8/1 Calcium/Phosphorus ratio)

Victor Nutra Pro has:
Protein: 38%
Fat: 18%
Calcium: 1.38%
Phosphorus: 1.16
The ingredients are top notch, but everything is above the ideal, save Phosphorus.

Holistic Select Large and Giant Breed Puppy Health Lamb Meal & Oatmeal:
Protein: 23%
Fat: 12%
Calcium: 1.1
Phosphorus .8 (a little low)
This seemed to have the "best" numbers vs "Ideal", but I have heard very little in terms of people feeding it.

Fromm Gold Large Puppy:
Protein: 26%
Fat 14%
I could not find Calcium or phosphorus listed, but I seem to remember reading somewhere here that it was under 1.2% calcium.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ok, I apparently just did not write down the rest of the numbers from the Fromm website. To update the last post, they list everything and Calcium was 1.35 Phosphorus 1.02.

I think considering Nash will be getting other forms of protein anyway, I am going to avoid the really high percentage in Victor. Fromm's Large Breed Puppy Gold is going to be our first trial. Hopefully all goes well, and we can feed that.

As for the gulping... It's really aggravating to go from a bloodhound that we were able to free feed with no issues, to the gulper GSD lol. But, it really has been a blessing in it's own little way. I've done more hand feeding than I anticipated and used kibble as training treats more often than I did with Beau. I am 100% on the "you should be able to mess with your dogs food bowl at any time" side of that argument - and having to deal with the gulper should take that food time interaction even further. I did pick up one of the slow-feeder bowls and I have to say I am amazed! As a test, I loaded it with 1 cup of food... which he would scarf in a matter of seconds in a standard small feeding dish - with the slow feeder, it took just over 4 1/2 minutes! I don't think it would work as well with much more, as it would just be too piled up.

I like the feeding interaction, and mixing up some hand feeding, refilling, and uninterrupted feeding is great -- but I know I don't always have time to control the feed speed myself, the slow feeder bowl steps in perfectly. It's also fun to watch him work out his plan of attack. I think a little extra problem solving, especially as a pup, is a great thing! I wish it was not an issue, but, after watching him I may would use a slow feeder on any dog (at least intermittently) just to make feeding time more of an event vs just dumping kibble and moving on.
 

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Its a myth that high protein causes rapid growth in puppies. What you need to make sure is correct is the calcium and phosphorus ratios. Puppies benefit from high fat and high protein as this is when their bodies need it most.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
It wasn't rapid growth, as in bone development, that I am concerned with - in terms of protein. It's the quick weight gain high protein diets often end up with, especially if the dog is not worked hard enough to burn the calories. That alone can cause joint issues in the long term because of the way they are being developed early with extra rapid weight gain. If I can help avoid hip issues or arthritis in the long run, I would rather go slow now. Kind of the same as boosting calcium with cottage cheese, or whatever, to help ear pop. Does it help? Maybe, probably not -- but to me, not worth boosting calcium to get ears up considering the long term potential impact. The other thing I am taking into consideration is that we also supplement kibble with training treats, etc. Being meat based, they are miniature protein packs.

The other concern with high protein is the potential impacts on the kidney and liver. I know that a healthy dog "should" be able to tolerate high levels of protein, safely -- but if they have any liver or kidney issues, extra protein is detrimental. I'd rather stay slow and safe, instead of risking things. Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating a "low protein" diet at all. Just thinking I want to avoid really high levels. Fromm's blue bag has 26%, add in additional from training treats (although I am using more and more kibble than treats) and I think that will be plenty high. BUT -- having just said all of that... I am NOT a pet nutritionist, so if I am wrong and we SHOULD be feeding higher than what I have recorded as a recommended 15-27% nominal range, please feel free to correct me.

I fed higher than that for many years (34%), with additional meats. Kidney levels were always a little off, and I nor the vets made any connection - or had any concern about the food because it was good quality food. However, once we were in chronic kidney failure (unrealized because it was slow forming, and Beau gave no indicators we noticed. We only found it via bloodwork following a likely cancer diagnosis) - we cut proteins for the obvious reasons. I don't know that we didn't exacerbate things by feeding too protein rich of a diet. So, I guess I am also a little gun shy...
 

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Then its not a high protein issue, its a caloric surplus issue based off of what you said. You may just have to feed less of a denser food. 1 cup of one food wont be equal to a cup of another.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yeah, I get the different caloric impacts of different foods, that's why we feed based on calories not quantity. Contemplating this discussion and and considering the high number of folks feeding Orijin and Victor - obviously it's not over the top or there would be a lot of folks here with major issues. (Maybe there are and I haven't noticed, lol.) Maybe I should just go crazy and as we transition off the 'Nuba transition into a 50/50 blend of Fromm's Large Puppy and Victor Nutra-Pro lol.

The other thing I am considering now is digestibility. Chicken, for example, is a highly digestible protein, whereas "x-meals" are not as digestible. So, the source of the protein makes a difference. 38% if only 50-60% is digestible vs 26% where 70 to 80% is can make a difference.

Top meat in Victor Nutra-Select (38% Protein): Chicken Meal
Top meat in Fromms Large Puppy (26% Protein): Chicken

Considering Both ends of the range:
38% @ 50% uptake is a nominal 19.0%
26% @ 70% uptake is a nominal 18.2%

38% @ 60% uptake is a nominal 22.8%
26% @ 80% uptake is a nominal 20.8%

So - if I am doing my math semi-correct (and yeah, this is akin to theorycrafting) there is really only about .8% to 2% difference in actual protein uptake between the listed 38% and 26%. I am sure it's not exactly that because of other ingredients - but, I suspect a total analysis would show they are much closer than the 12% that it looks like.

MMAGS - Thanks for the posts! It's really gotten me thinking and looking even closer at the foods. In the end, I suspect we are probably pretty golden with any High Quality Food. As good as processed food gets anyway, lol. :D It's too bad there isn't some sort of concise, "This is the best - it is what you NEED to feed" answer we could go by.
 

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My puppy still inhales her kibble (mostly Fromm's) at 9 months of age. Weight and growth are on track, and she's worm free. Some kibble is put into treat dispensing toys, and she races around to empty them. As long as it's split into at least 3 meals/day plus snacks, I'm not worried about it. (Between or just before meals, some is fed by hand for training.)


When she joined our family, we fed the Victor's (red bag of "high energy" for all ages) she had been eating at the breeder's, but she ate that slowly, and never finished it. I switched to Fromm's Gold LBP with grains, and she loved it, emptying her bowl very quickly. Stools were fairly solid and dark brown with Victor's, and changed to firmer, slightly larger and less dark with Fromm's. While eating Victor's, her urine killed big patches of grass, so I was pleasantly surprised when that stopped with the Fromm's. I'm assuming that's because the Victor's had more protein than she needed.



You probably know that the DCM often doesn't correlate with low taurine level, which reportedly may not be a significant factor in many cases. That said, I do avoid the grain free version of Fromm's LBP, and supplement with a little taurine, just in case. (Yes, taurine is listed in ingredients, so that's probably overkill, but I have some sitting around for my older dog.) I also often mix another high quality kibble with the regular Fromm's, rotating brands, to cover more bases. She also gets bits of cooked chicken or turkey with training, and meat based treats.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
My puppy still inhales her kibble (mostly Fromm's) at 9 months of age. Weight and growth are on track, and she's worm free. Some kibble is put into treat dispensing toys, and she races around to empty them. As long as it's split into at least 3 meals/day plus snacks, I'm not worried about it. (Between or just before meals, some is fed by hand for training.)


When she joined our family, we fed the Victor's (red bag of "high energy" for all ages) she had been eating at the breeder's, but she ate that slowly, and never finished it. I switched to Fromm's Gold LBP with grains, and she loved it, emptying her bowl very quickly. Stools were fairly solid and dark brown with Victor's, and changed to firmer, slightly larger and less dark with Fromm's. While eating Victor's, her urine killed big patches of grass, so I was pleasantly surprised when that stopped with the Fromm's. I'm assuming that's because the Victor's had more protein than she needed.



You probably know that the DCM often doesn't correlate with low taurine level, which reportedly may not be a significant factor in many cases. That said, I do avoid the grain free version of Fromm's LBP, and supplement with a little taurine, just in case. (Yes, taurine is listed in ingredients, so that's probably overkill, but I have some sitting around for my older dog.) I also often mix another high quality kibble with the regular Fromm's, rotating brands, to cover more bases. She also gets bits of cooked chicken or turkey with training, and meat based treats.
Thanks for sharing your experience. I remember blood meal being one of those which will darken stools, so that fits with the Victors food. I never thought about protein being the grass killer, (really never thought about why it killed grass at all to be honest) but, that makes sense and fit's with Beau and is something to consider going forward as an indicator. He was natural born round up, lol. As for DCM, I really don't know too much about it other than what I've read about Taurine and Grain Free foods. Figured it made sense to not add a risk if I don't have to.
 

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One more vote for Victor, I love it and my dogs are doing great on it. Well, I love it because my dogs are doing great on it. Victor multi-pro is lower protein and lower calorie if you need that.

And get a slow feeder bowl if your puppy gulps too much.
 

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Oh and meant to say I have 2 now who do way better on Victor than Fromm. On paper Fromm looks maybe better but the proof is in the pudding, so to speak!!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Oh and meant to say I have 2 now who do way better on Victor than Fromm. On paper Fromm looks maybe better but the proof is in the pudding, so to speak!!
I agree the results matter way more than the numbers for sure. When you say you have 2 who do "way better", what do you mean? How do they do better?

As for the slow feeder, yeah - I 1000% agree they make a huge difference. I was blown away! We went from 1 cup being gobbled down in a matter of seconds, to 4 1/2 minutes! And there is zero change in guarding / food aggression. I can still approach, pet, slide the bowl, finger his food while eating, add more, hand feed etc. with zero response. It also helps with his crate training. We have had to rush time spent in the crate WAY too fast. It sucks and is unfortunate, but is also the only option. The slow feeder helps to extend one of the "good times" of eating a meal in his new little den.
 
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