Q. I’m bringing home a Mastiff puppy in a few weeks. I read recently that nutritional supplementation and/or large-breed puppy food are contraindicated because they promote too-rapid bone growth, which can possibly lead to bone deformities.
I’ve read that a good-quality adult dog food is all that is required. I also read that diets high in protein and calcium (which were recently considered optimal) are now not recommended. Is this true?
A. It can be risky and even dangerous, to supplement your puppy’s regular dog food with vitamins and minerals. In large-breed dogs, such as Mastiff’s, an excessive amount of calcium, phosphorous or vitamin D can lead to bone deformities during periods of rapid growth.
However, premium dog foods that are usually sold in pet-supply stores and veterinary clinics offer a large-breed puppy food that is appropriately balanced with calories, vitamins and minerals. You should only feed a food that has been labeled as field tested in dogs. You can find this certification on the bag or can of any premium, certified dog food.
Once your dog is 6 months old, you can switch to a high-quality adult dog food (that should also be certified as field tested). As long as you’re feeding a high-quality diet, you shouldn’t offer any additional vitamins or minerals, as they could do more harm than good.
Jon Geller, DVM