do i feed my Rottweiler puppy puppy food or not?

by Connie
(Midlothian, TX, USA)

My vet advised me not to feed my new puppy, puppy food as it will make her grow quicker and cause problems with her bones as she get’s a little older.

I feed my dog’s all natural brand dry dog food and was talking with a man who has a rescue about my vet telling me not to feed my rottweiler puppy food where he disagreed and said a large breed puppy food should be used up to 2 years of age to develop strong bones.

So, now I am unsure as to what is best for my girl, a good all natural puppy food or adult food and pet-form vitamin-mineral supplement, cosequin- DS, and Ester -C immune support tabs.

When I changed her to the puppy food, I stopped the supplement’s as I don’t want to give her to much of something and cause her damage in the future.

Hi Connie
This is a subject where there are often conflicting opinions – with each side being passionate about their viewpoint!

Personally I agree with your second recommendation – that is to feed a puppy food until the pup is mature. The key here is to feed only a premium food that has been specifically formulated for large breed puppies.

That way you can be sure that the optimum ratio of protein:fats:calcium etc. is adhered to and that your puppy doesn’t get too much of anything. Your vet is correct in that some puppy foods are too high in protein for a large breed puppy and can lead to bone/joint issues, but a premium ‘large breed puppy food’ won’t have that problem.

I’d recommend that you visit my Feeding Puppies page as it has all the information you need on how to choose the correct food, and what dietary needs your pup has. My Best Puppy Food page has more info. plus a selection of some of the best choices on the market.

Hope this helps. Best of luck with your pup.

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I just want to make sure that we give Dakota the nutrition she needs to develop right and I keep getting different answers from friends.

I know you are not a veterinarian, but is it an indication of hip problems if she seems to favor her left rear side often? Or could it just be a “tweak” from running and sliding? Can you have an x-ray before one year old to check it out, or when has her body basically past the “puppy” development stage?

Thank you so much for ANY information you may be able to share!

We dearly love the breed and this is our first female.

Hi Marsha
Dakota is beautiful, she certainly looks in great condition!

Rotties are very slow to mature and often don’t reach adulthood until they’re around 18 months – 2 years old. Sometimes males are even slower, especially the really big boys. I had a male who didn’t really ‘grow into’ his head and bone structure until he was 3 years old!

Because they’re growing pretty rapidly (albeit in fits and starts) during puppyhood and adolescence, I find it best to keep them on a large breed puppy food until they’re around 18 months old. You’ll definitely find differing opinions on this, and some people prefer to switch to an adult food by a year old, but in my personal opinion that is too early.

My Feeding Puppies and Best Puppy Food pages have tons of tips and advice that will help you in this area.

Rotties are big and heavy, and they can be clumsy and poorly co-ordinated during the rapid growth stages they experience in adolescence. It’s best not to allow a pup to jump or run too far on hard surfaces while their bones/joints are developing. This can lead to injury or problems.

If Dakota is favoring one side, she could have hurt the knee joint on the back leg (injury to this joint is fairly common in Rotties), or she could have a hip joint that isn’t well formed. It could also simply be ‘growing pains’ (otherwise known as Panosteitis), which is a bone condition that is also pretty common in young large breed pups. One which they grow out of.

If Dakotas parents have and OFA rating of ‘Good’ or ‘Excellent’, chances are her hips are fine. If her parents weren’t OFA’d or they had a ‘Fair’ or ‘Poor’ rating, she could have a congenital hip defect.

As you have guessed, at this age, X-rays will be inconclusive as she is still growing and her bones/joints aren’t fully formed. Your vet may be able to tell if she has a hip problem by manually manipulating her joint, but it’s not foolproof by any means.

If she seems to have trouble getting up from a sitting, or lying position, seems to ‘hop’ or skip when she walks, appears to have pain/discomfort in her rear end, or you can hear a ‘clicking’ sound as she walks, then a hip problem should be suspected.

I’d suggest talking over your concern with your veterinarian and ask his advice, he would be in the best position to get you on track for a diagnosis. Hopefully, there is nothing to worry about but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

I wish you the best of luck with your beautiful girl – enjoy her.