Feeding Puppy Food

Why would anyone feed their Border Collie puppy "puppy food"? For what it's worth, I feed my puppies adult dog food, period. I have owned medium and large breeds for 15 years, and have never had one incidence of hip dysplasia (or of malnutrition). It's definitely not a controlled study, of course, but I will say that feeding ANY kind of dog food it would be, in the opinion of lots of vets, impossible to NOT hit the nutritional needs of the dogs, including protein. The problem is the dog food companies have done 99% of the research into canine nutrition, and they're not sharing their findings with anybody. So until we DO have some good, control-studied, peer-reviewed data on dog nutrition we all just have to use our common sense.

This is the quantity versus quality argument I gave with concern to fats. You can make up for poor quality by eating large quantities - just to get enough vitamins, minerals, proteins, etc. As Covert Bailey once noted for humans - "There's not many nutrients in a Twinkie. So if you're going to eat them, eat a lot of them."

In theory, this is true, but I have two problems with it. 1) Adult dog food has different nutritional ratios than puppy food. Puppies do need different levels of nutrients and this cannot be accomplished through the consumption of a large quantity of improperly ratioed adult food. 2) Even if a puppy can theoretically make up for the lack of quality through increased quantity, I doubt that most pups are capable of consuming such larger amounts. Their smaller digestive systems just can't handle it. Besides, why stress a pup's already laboring digestive system by requiring that it process much larger volumes to get the required nutrients?

Finally, it may be true that MOST dog foods could provide the required nutrients, no matter the brand, but some ratios (as in the calcium/phosphorus ratio) must be the proper one and would you trust "El Cheapo" dog food to ensure that the proper ratios were followed?

I beg to differ about the dog food research. We do know a heck of a lot about canine nutrition. And yes, though the dog food companies have done most of the research, that does not invalidate it. Dog food companies and their labs routinely publish their findings in peer-reviewed journals and they are certainly controlled studies. There's a vast amount of published data on canine nutrition. The dog food industry doesn't go about this willy-nilly and there's no trade secrets to proper nutrition. They're the ones doing the work because they have the funds for the research and they have the interest at stake. You can go to all the major veterinary journals and find data published by research scientists at Hills, Iams, Friskies, etc. They have Ph.D's and DVMs just like all the other researchers publishing in the same journals. In fact, I'd venture to say that we know more about canine nutrition than we do about 75% of other canine health issues - in light of the fact that there is such a large volume of research being conducted on the matter.

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Page last updated April 1, 1997. All material Copyright 2004 Border Collie Rescue, Inc. and Dr. Nicholas B. Carter
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