Feeding
PAGE IS BEING UPDATED, lastest update 7/2017

This page is not to tell you what brand to feed your dog. It is simply to share knowledge and information. I firmly believe, without a doubt, the first few months of your puppies life will set the stage for his/her future. Take the time to learn and make informed decisions. Do not just listen to someone posting loudly on public forums. Its your puppy, your furry fmaily member, so put some time into learning and give your fur baby the best chance at growing safely.

Feeding your Pup:
Pertaining to kibble- Most puppy foods are not appropriate for giant breed pups, as they contain an incorrect nutrient ratio for them, this pertains to many 'all life stages formulas' also. Obviously I have no control over what you feed however, I try my best to offer information so that you may make a more informed decision. What you feed your pup, will affect it for the rest of its life. The very best thing you can do is feed your pup an appropriate food and proper portions so he/she will grow ever so slowly. This will not affect the size at maturity; however it will help to ensure a healthier skeletal system for that massive body they will have one day.

A puppy does NOT have the ability to excrete/rid it's body of excess calcium prior to 6 months of age on average. Therefore it is very important to choose a food made for giant/large breed puppies. Even then you need to check it's levels and ensure they are safe. Manufacturers are required to only list the minimum or maximum calcium and phosphorus levels, not the actual or average. This can be very misleading for us!
*For example: Holistic Select large giant breed puppy food lists minimum calcium as not less then 1.10%; however, when I asked the actual calcium content, the company told me 2.21% as fed (yes I have this in writing from them). This is much too high for a large breed puppy. I no longer recommend this food at all! Even htough it is labeled for 'large & giant breed puppies' it should not be fed to them.

Here is page that contains a calcium content analyzer You will need to know the 'as fed' caclium, phosphorus and kcals/kg. To use the calculator enter the 'as fed' average or max calcium and same for phosphorus and 'as fed' kcals/kg. This analyzer will give you the grams of calcium/1000 kilocalories. Keep in mind you want 2.5-3.5 grams calcium/1000 kcals (lower is best). Most adult foods are above this already;so forget the notion that it is safer to feed an adult food to your puppy! Feeding puppies adult food too early is the same as calcium supplementation. Commercial food formulation for calcium is based on the caloric density of food. Adult food is less caloric dense so more of the food is required to meet the caloric needs of puppies. This can result in the consumption of two times the amount of calcium and too many clories than would be ingested with a large/giant breed puppy formula.
Tidbit of info- AAFCOs nutrient profiles for "all life stages" is the same as "growth/gestation/lactation" formulation. Which means there may be a few that could work for your giant breed pup, but definitley not all.
Remember if the calcium & phosphorus listed the bag of food says min (for minimum), you must call manufacturer and get actual or max of each.

It is important to keep pups lean, do not overfeed, do not feed a high caloric food, do not feed an unbalanced calcium phosphorus food; in essence, nearly all puppy food (not labeled large or giant breed) is not good for a newf (giant breed) pup! Which is why some people think adult food is better. The problem with that is, if you donít know what to look for, you can be feeding entirely too much calcium (adult food often has 2% or higher), which can accelerate bone growth, but not tissue and ligaments, thus can be a major contributing factor to Panosteitis. Please feed a giant large breed puppy food to your Newfoundland puppy.

General nutrition levels to keep in mind for the kibble:
Protein around 23%-29%
Fat idealy 12% - settle for 11%-16%
fiber 2.4%-5.5%
Calcium .8% - 1.5% max
Phosphorus .8%-1.2% (dependent upon calcium level)
Ca-P ratio 1.1:1- 1.3:1
Calories per cup 350-400


I can not stress enough, how important the first year of growing is to a giant breed pup.
For inquiring minds, here is a page that tells you how to convert to dry matter basis.

I do not recommend feeding raw to a growing giant breed puppy. It is far too important that they have a balanced diet. The only way you can accomplish that is to have a Veterinary Nutirionalist helping with the diet. So it is best to not feed a raw diet until they are through the growing stage, at least 18 months.
Yes there are good kibbles out there (though many will disagree here). Dogs have been raised on them for ages and survived, some excelled, others did not. What I am trying to say is; there is not one right way to do things, there are a variety of ways. Whichever path you choose, you must gain some basic understanding and be comfortable with your choice. Most importantly, keep an open mind and be sure what you are choosing is within the proper protein, fat, caloric, calcium and phosphorus ratios for you pup (ask your breeder for guidance in those areas, they know their lines best).

Gground veggies make wonderful fillers for the pups, without adding calories, fat or raising proteins. Pups need kept thin and allowed to grow slowly. Growing them fast will NOT make a bigger dog, rather open the door for a host of skeletal issues. Extra calories can accelerate growth which needs to be avoided. Always err on the side of caution when feeding a giant breed pup! Overfeeding and free feeding may lead to a host of trouble for your baby. I am not saying kept thin will ensure they never experience problems, but it certainly helps to stack the odds in your favor :)
Think of it this way------ Suppose your puppy has a predisposition to something, the environment it is raised in and the nutrients it receives can possibly keep it at bay or exacerbate it. Please keep this is mind always when you feel the urge to overfeed or give one more treat or let them jump off the couch or porch etc.


Vitamins-- Most pups do NOT require any addiitonal supplements. Often times too much of a good thing is as bad or worse then not enough! Any type of calcium added is a huge no-no! Glucosamine, Chrondroitin, MSM are always beneficial, just ensure you are not giving any extra calcium during their growth phase. Their bodies will use extra calcium if it is given, so be very careful.

I am not advocating one brand of food here, but due to many email requests, I will list some various foods with calcium grams per 1000 kcal. Perhaps the numbers will show you why we should not be looking at just ingredients. A food can have wonderful ingredients, but wrong ratios, so it may do more harm than good. Keep in mind some brand have ingredient we may like better than another, but what counts is the result in your puppy, not what our human mind wants to see on the list! Iams, Eukanuba and Purina have excellent levels of nutrition, that is the only reason I listed them here. While their ingredients are not my choice, they have what can work well for a giant pup. More will be added to list as time permits.

NOTE- early 2017 Nutro has recently changed their formulas which now puts their calcium higher than desired for safe range of giant breed pups. Yes it is still within AFCO limits, but to choose the higher end of those limits is not a wise choice.

Fromm has one of the best levels for giant breed puppies, provided their system works well with the Duck. Fromms calcium level is 2.8 g per 1000 kcal while most others are 4.0 g per 1000 kcals or higher. Come on, any of us with a brain can see this is a tremendous difference to a puppy whose body can NOT excrete excess calcium prior to 6 months of age (and are often overfed)! Please learn how to check values for yourself and help your puppy grow up healthy. He or she will thank you with endless love for many years to come!

All foods with a calcium level of 3.5 g per 1000 kcals or lower will have an asterik (**) at end.
Fromm large breed puppy gold Calcium = 2.8 g per 1000 kcal **
Fromm heartland Gold large breed puppy grain-free (red meat) Calcium = 2.7 g per 1000 kcal **
Eagle Pack large and giant breed puppy Calcium = 4.2 g per 1000 kcal
Sportmix Wholesome large breed chicken and rice formula Calcium = 2.8 g per 1000 kcal **
Sportmix Wholesomes Chicken and rice Calcium 3.3 g per 1000 kcal ** (this is an all life stage food)
Dr Tims Kinesis All Life Stages Formula Calcium = 2.6 g per 1000 kcal **
Nutro wholesome essentials large breed puppy brown rice and sweet potato Calcium = 4.5 g per 1000 kcal
Nutro Max large breed puppy Calcium = 4.6 g per 1000 kcal
Canidae lifestages large breed puppy Calcium = 2.6 g per 1000 kcal **
Eukanuba large breed puppy lifestages formula Calcium = 2.5 g per 1000 kcal **
Iams proactive health smart puppy large breed Calcium = est 2.3 g per 1000 kcal **
Purina ProPlan Focus large breed puppy Calcium = est 3.3 g per 1000 kcal **
Pro Pac large breed puppy chicken meal and brown rice Calcium = 3.4 g per 1000 kcal **
Precise Holistic large and giant breed puppy Calcium = 3.7 g per 1000 kcal
Precise natural large and giant breed puppy Calcium = 3.5 g per 1000 kcal **
Wellness Complete Health large breed puppy Calcium = 3.7 g per 1000 kcal
Chicken Soup for the Soul large breed puppy Calcium = 3.7 g per 1000 kcal
Diamond Naturals large breed puppy Calcium = 3.8 g per 100 kcal
Taste Of the Wild Pacific Stream PuppyCalcium = 3.6 g per 1000 kcal
Taste Of The Wild High Prarie puppy Calcium = 3.8 g per 1000 kcal
AvoDerm Chicken meal & brown rice large breed puppy Calcium = 3.1 g per 1000 kcal **
** EXAMPLE of adult AvoDerm chicken meal % brown rice large breed adult Calcium = 5.8 g per 1000 kcal EXAMPLE only to show how calcium in an adult can be way too high for a growing puppy.
Royal Canin Giant puppy food Calcium = 3.3 g per 1000 kcal **
Sportmix Wholesomes grain-free chicken meal and chickpea Calcium = 3.1 g per 1000 kcal **
Sportmi Wholesomes grain-free whitefish meal and chickpeas Calcium = 3.7 g per 1000 kcal
Calcium = 3.0 g per 1000 kcal **
Blue Buffalo grain-free large breed puppy chicken recipe Calcium = 3.4 g per 100 kcal **
Blue Buffalo Wilderness chicken large breed puppy Calcium = 3.4 g per 1000 kcal **


Yes, there is still more to read. As you can tell, the subject of feeding is top priority to me. Kudos to you for striving to learn..your pup will thank you!

FCP (fragmented coronoid process) and OCD (osteochondrosis dissecans)in the elbow joint of young fast growing dogs, occur frequently in breeds like Rottweiler, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Bernese Mountain Dog, Newfoundland, St. Bernhard and German Shepherd dog.
Most of the affected dogs show a higher bodyweight compared to other puppies of the same age ( weight about 17-25 kg and higher).
Males are up to three or four times as much affected as females (possibly the result of the higher bodyweight and the faster growth of males).
The disease begins to develop during the 4.-5. month of age, when the highest rate of growth takes place.
The development of OCD and/or FCP is promoted by overnutritition (high protein, high energy, additional supply of minerals, Ca++) because the genetic predisposition for fast growing will be used and disturbances of enchondral ossification becomes more likely.
The actual situation of FCP and OCD in breeds with genetic disposition for these diseases can be improved and manifestation can possibly be avoided in young growing dogs, if their surrounding conditions, like feeding, exercise and playing activities are changed or improved..
Once the puppies are three month of age, they must not be overfeed, controlled calcium, phosphurs and calories, plus controlled exercise is of great importance as well. Controlled feeding will not lead to a smaller size, but the dogs will grow slower and they will be less susceptible for growth disturbances, which occur between the 3.-7. month, when fastest growing rates are present.
In other words...too much food, too high nutrient content, too many calories can only invote trouble! Please keep your pups thin...if you can't stand not feeding them more, then feed baby carrots or rice cakes.

Do NOT let your puppy get fat his first year of life. It is extremely important to keep your puppy thin throughout the first year of his life. Studies have been done proving that overweight puppies are more prone to joint maladies. You should be able to feel your puppy's ribs easily without having to press through a layer of fat for the first year of his life. If you have to press through a layer of fat, cut back on food until you reach the desired weight. Puppies that are kept lean throughout their first year of life do not stress their joints during that critical period of growth from birth to one year. Puppies that are made to inappropriately carry excess weight on their growing frames are far more likely to develop any of the various joint problems specific to this breed and suffer for life.

High-Calorie, High Carb Diets Contribute to Rapid Growth and Obesity; Two Precursors of Arthritis
When a puppy gains size and weight too quickly, the cartilage in his body often can't keep up with the growth of his frame, and cartilage deficits result. When imbalances of this type develop in a growing dog, they can contribute to hip dysplasia and other structural weaknesses that ultimately lead to arthritis.
High calorie diets, which are typically also high in carbohydrates, can cause too-rapid growth, especially in larger breed dogs. In fact, research indicates the amount of calories a dog consumes, especially from the age of three to ten months, can have a significant impact on whether a pup genetically prone to hip dysplasia will develop the condition.

In a 1997 study of Labrador Retriever puppies, the dogs fed free choice (from an all day, all-you-can-eat-buffet) had a much higher rate of hip dysplasia than their littermates who were fed the same food, but in controlled portions that amounted to 25 percent less than the free fed pups.
The retriever study results and conclusions as reported by the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association:
Prevalence of radiographic evidence of hip joint osteoarthritis in all dogs increased linearly throughout the study, from an overall prevalence of 15% at 2 years to 67% by 14 years. Restricted-fed dogs had lower prevalence and later onset of hip joint osteoarthritis. Median age at first identification of radiographic evidence of hip joint osteoarthritis was significantly lower in the control-fed group (6 years), compared with the restricted-fed group (12 years). Restricted feeding delayed or prevented development of radiographic signs of hip joint osteoarthritis in this cohort of Labrador Retrievers. Lifetime maintenance of 25% diet restriction delayed onset and reduced severity of hip joint osteoarthritis, thus favorably affecting both duration and quality of life. In addition, the data indicated that development of hip joint osteoarthritis was not bimodal in these dogs but occurred as a continuum throughout life. The free-fed dogs were also quite a bit heavier as adults than the controlled portions group -- by about 22 pounds on average.
Research indicates obesity can increase the severity of dysplasia and arthritis, which only makes sense. Extra weight can accelerate the degeneration of joints. Dogs born with genes that make them prone to hip dysplasia, if allowed to grow overweight, will be at much higher risk of developing the disease, and subsequently, arthritis as well.

Merck Veterinary Manual states- osteochondritis dissecans(OCD)The most common sites of OCD, which usually is seen in young animals, are the femoropatellar joint, tibiotarsal (tarsocrural) joint, fetlock (metacarpophalangeal and metatarsophalangeal) joints, and the shoulder. The exact cause is unknown but is assumed to be multifactorial. Factors include genetic predisposition, fast growth, high caloric intake, low copper and high zinc levels, and endocrine factors.

During his first year, the large breed puppy will multiply his birth weight by more than 80, whereas a small breed dog with an adult weight under 10 kg will multiply his birth weight by only 20 and will complete his growth around 10 months of age (and even sometimes earlier in Toy breeds such as the Chihuahua). These differences explain why skeletal malformation disorders are almost exclusively found in large breed dogs, confirming the importance of the diet in securing the latters growth. Insufficient protein or calcium intakes might indeed affect the construction of the bone framework. Conversely, a diet containing too much energy will promote early weight gain exposing the puppy to bone disorders or joint dysplasias. Limiting the energy density, combined with proper intakes, enables to better control the growth rate and therefore minimize risks.
I hope the above information helps you to realize how important "slow growth" is to your Newfy!

Last Updated:09/04/2016
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