Labradoodle & Goldendoodle Forum


We are getting a new Goldendoodle puppy this weekend. The food the breeder is feeding is Natural Balance Puppy Formula Lamb & Brown Rice. I saw that this food is not on the recommend list. Is it a good food? I am considering switching his food to Fromm Large Breed Puppy Gold or Fromm Heartland Gold Large Breed Puppy. I won't switch the food until after 2 weeks. I am just wondering if I should get the grain free one or the one with grains. Thanks!

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We took Natural Balance off of our recommended list after the company was sold to Del Monte in 2014. Del Monte's pet food brands are now under the name "Big Heart Pet Brands", and they include some of the worst products on the market and some of the biggest most devastating recalls, including Pup-a-roni and Milo's Kitchen. The puppy formula your breeder is feeding is extremely low in protein, fat and calories, which is the opposite of what a good puppy formula should be. 

I would definitely switch foods after the initial two week period, provided there are no parasites or digestive issues. 

You do not need to go with a Large Breed Formula unless your pup is expected to top 80 or 90 lbs as an adult, and really, not even then. Any Fromm puppy formula would be fine. You might even consider going with an all life stages formula. My pup came home from his breeder on fromm's Surf & Turf from the Four Star Line. Perfect poops, and never any digestive issues or health problems. We have been rotating formulas since he was about 5 months old. 

Is it really 80 or 90 lbs?  Fromm says over 50 for large breed (I would think 65+ though is "large").

I mean at a quick glance the formulas are quite similar but large breed has lower kcal/cup (384 vs. 420) and less fat (14.8% vs. 19%). 

Riley is a bit of a chow hound (ok a lot chow hound) so I think we'll stick with the large breed regardless so she gets the bigger meals :p

She's been doing great on the Fromm Puppy Gold large breed btw - great poops and I like that the kibble is small it seems to help slow down her eating.

I know all the dog food bags say the large breed formulas are for dogs over 50 lbs, but that's just marketing. They are really meant for the giant breeds; Newfoundlands, Irish Wolfhounds, Great Danes, (and yes, I would include BMDs (but not necessarily bernedoodles), etc...those breeds who take at least 18 months to reach full skeletal growth,   The idea behind the large breed formulas is that you don't want the dog to put on too much weight too fast, before the bones & joints are ready to handle it. And of course, you can do that by closely monitoring calorie intake with any food. 

According to Marion Nestle (PhD & professor emeritus of nutrition, one of the foremost authorities on the topic of diet for both people and dogs), all of the puppy, senior, large breed, etc formulas are mostly marketing gimmicks. 

One practical reason I dislike these specialty type formulas is that they greatly limit the variety you can give your dog. Most food lines only carry one variety of "large breed" food, as opposed to dozens of protein choices and variations for their regular formulas. 

But it doesn;t really do any harm to feed them if you don;t mind paying more money, because as you point out, you do have to feed more to get the same amount of calories per meal. 

We'll see how she tops out - you have a good point that there's only one large breed formula for most foods... so we wouldn't be able to rotate which I wouldn't be happy with.

Will revisit this for sure when we move her to adult food. :)

Thanks! That's really helpful.



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