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Ask the Veterinarian/Chocolate Lab feeding


My lab is 5 months old and weighs 50 lbs. He is a happy, energetic dog. He looks thick and healthy. He has never really eaten much but recently is eating less, 2-3 cups food per day on avg. I use diamond naturals puppy formula and I have been told that a high quality food like this will cause the dog not to eat as much. Is this correct? Should I switch food??

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Well 2-3 cups a day is actually quite a lot.  He is rather large for his age isn't he?  The average Lab should weight between 37 and 44 lbs at 5 months. But males DO tend to run larger.

At five months he has reached about 60% of his adult weight but not height.

Blue Diamond is not exactly a high quality food. It is not any better then Blue Buffalo or any other food that claims to be "higher quality." Granted it isn't Purina or Old Roy but it is still made with inferior ingredients that are sourced from overseas etc. And it isn't trial fed, but only formulated to meet AAFCO standards. That alone give it a very low mark in my book.
"AAFCO Statement
   Diamond Naturals Large Breed Lamb & Rice Puppy Formula is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for All Life Stages"
There is also a problem with the statement of this being for "all life stages."

While he is a puppy it's not a big deal but you cannot feed puppy food to an adult dog or a senior, but this statement says that you can. But how do they know it's right? How do they know if this food can help prevent hip and joint problems? They don't.

Aside from that, how the food is formulated is very, very important. You are building a dog to last a good 15 yrs, right? So you want to use food that's better than good, you want to use food with optimal nutrition for the correct life stage, that is formulated and TRIAL FED so that it has a proven track record of sustaining and improving the life of your dog.

I only feed and recommend Science Diet foods for good reasons: They have over 75 yrs of veterinary research behind ALL of their formulas and they only use high-quality ingredients that are grown here in the USA.

They now have a line of food that is soy, corn and wheat free- and these are some of the most common allergens in dogs. They are also free of any artificial preservatives, colors or flavors.

For your growing boy I would feed him this food here:

Now granted it says to feed more than what you're feeding, but remember that these are 8 oz measuring cups that are used, not a coffee cup or a scoop. If you precisely measure this food (into a bowl that you can use to scoop with after that, then you know the exact amount)then your dog will eat less and less of it as time goes on simply because he will be getting his energy needs met with a denser nutrient food.

This food was one of the very first food ever created to help PREVENT hip and joint problems with large breed dogs. Hills did a very long study on diet and hip dysplasia and found out that the ratios of calcium to phosphorus made a huge difference in future hip issues.

Your Blue Diamond has this as their "guaranteed analysis" which is pretty useless for finding out what exactly is in the food. That's because by law, they only have to put their minimums and maximums. Hills, on the other hand, puts online their "Dry weight analysis" which a true measure of what levels of nutrients are in the food.

here is blue diamond:
Calcium    1.2%    Minimum
Phosphorus    1.0%    Minimum

here is Hills:
Calcium          1.14  Dry matter percent
Phosphorus   0.89  Dry matter percent

As you can see, it's a lot lower than Blue Diamonds.

How high is the ratio with Blue Diamond? We don't know because that's the minimum shown and it's already too high. Just a fraction can make a huge difference.

This came from the Healthy Advantage Large Puppy food.

Now if you feel he is doing just fine on the Blue Diamond then keep him on it. However, I would have my dog on the Healthy Advantage because I known it's made here from ingredients grown here, I know the cal/phos ratio is formulated to make sure my dogs hips stay healthy and I would know that it has been fed to hundreds of dogs over a life time to ensure that it does what it says on the bag.

So it's a choice Mark. I know that owners that I have had switch were extremely grateful and pleased that they switched. Their dogs coats were shiny and the dog was a good weight and full of energy. No more giant stool in the yard either. This food is so digestible that the stool size is much smaller.

Hills always has a 100% money back guarantee on their food as well. Try a large bag and if you don't see a difference in your dog in some way, go get your money back. It's that simple.

Make sure you switch him over slowly to prevent stomach upsets. I will enclose a chart to show you how.

Please let me know in a month or so how he does if you switch him.  

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Jana Connell RVT, CVT


PLEASE READ BEFORE SUBMITTING TO ME: I am NOT a vet and do NOT diagnose diseases. That is only for a licensed Veterinarian to do. I will give you suggestions and steer you toward calling your vet for help. You can call the vet's office and talk to the technician there or the vet at times. Don't be afraid to call them! If you have a serious issue with your pet please post it to one of the veterinarians in here- I will tell you the same thing in my answer. IF your pet is injured or in an emergency situation, CALL YOUR VET- Do not wait and post in here. Just call the vet's office and get them in to see the vet right away. Critical treatment time is lost if you seek answers here when you should have your precious pet at the vets!! Don't sit at home waiting for an answer when your pet is critically ill or injured!! I can answer most questions about small animal and wildlife care as well as small animal nutrition. I can also answer questions about all phases of dental care for small animals. I DO NOT answer questions about birds (unless it is wildlife or songbirds) or HAMSTERS/GERBILS/CHINS/GUINEA PIGS/REPTILES/FROGS/RABBITS/PET BIRDS OF ANY KIND so please submit these questions to the appropriate sections. I, as well as other experts in here, do NOT do homework questions- that is for YOU to do! Please respect these rules for all of us. Thanks!


I have over 35 years experience in the field of veterinary medicine. I specialized in small animals and did wildlife rehab for over 25 years, mostly raptors, squirrels and opossums. I am a Small Animal Nutritional Consultant with 6 certificates from Hills Pet Foods, CNM and Purina. I also specialized in Small Animal Dentistry which is a field I truly love.

Audubon,World Wildlife Federation, American Society of Veterinary Dental Technicians.

Licensed with California and Oregon, RVT and CVT. Certified Veterinary Dental Technician Have over 550 logged hours of Continuing Education Credits(that means I keep up to date!).

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Nominated for Expert of the Month for the last 5 years.

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