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Different dogs need different food - I get that. I understand the reasoning behind generic "large breed" and "small breed" foods, especially for puppies, but do Yorkies and Spaniels really have different nutrition requirements? Its something I've noticed a lot more of recently - breed specific foods. Until about a year ago, I didn't even know breed-specific dog food formulas existed and then our local Petsmart started carrying Royal Canin Chihuahua, Poodle, etc. Now I see Eukanuba has a whole whack of formulas for different breeds (Yorkies, Spaniels, Labradors, Dachshund, GSD, Boxer...), and Nature's Recipe has a "Terrier" formula, so obviously there is a market for this kind of thing. What I don't get is why. Why are people so stupid to think that their Spaniel will suffer if he's not fed a food that is not marked "for Spaniels"? Is there any science behind it anywhere at all, or is it entirely the marketing department's idea?
 

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Different dogs do not need different food. Large breed, small breed, indoor, weight management, it's all marketing. Dogs look different on the outside, but they are all the same species on the inside.
 

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Large breed is important though. The calcium:phosphorous level might differ and they add glucosamine and condroitin most of the time.

Everything else is marketing. Just one big rip off.
 

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Breed specific is a farce. Small breed and large breed can have some nutritional differences, but small and large "bites" are usually the same food and are just differently sized for smaller or bigger dogs. The ingredients of "breed specific" foods may differ slightly, but essentially they are the same. Just a gimmick to make more money.
 

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Nutritional requirements are based on the overall age, health, size and activity level of a dog, not on the breed. You can have two dogs of the same breed with completely different requirements just as easily as you can have two dogs of completely different breeds with the same requirements.
 

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I'm actually going to say breed specific dog food has some reasoning behind it. However pet foods labeled like that are pretty much just a marketing scam.

While all dogs are dogs, each breed has been bred for whatever purpose and as a result their bodies and nutritional needs are slightly different. Different breeds have different health issues, metabolic rates etc so what they thrive on can differ slightly although the overall picture is still a dog. I the end, we just think of it as feeding whatever works well you our dog but the breed of the dog can certainly play a factor in that.
 

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I think breed specific is a gimmick. Large breed puppy, I can understand but that's it. Dogs need whatever food they need for any issues, not breed specific ones. Only thing I can think of is Dalmatians that sometimes need something special, can't recall what it is because I've never had a Dal.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Different dogs do not need different food. Large breed, small breed, indoor, weight management, it's all marketing. Dogs look different on the outside, but they are all the same species on the inside.
Different dogs definitely do need different foods - there is no one food that is best for all dogs! Not all dogs do well on chicken-based foods, some dogs can only tolerate grain-free foods... some dogs won't touch raw meat. Just like some people can't eat gluten, eggs, lactose/milk proteins, meat, nuts, etc.

While all dogs are dogs, each breed has been bred for whatever purpose and as a result their bodies and nutritional needs are slightly different. Different breeds have different health issues, metabolic rates etc so what they thrive on can differ slightly although the overall picture is still a dog. I the end, we just think of it as feeding whatever works well you our dog but the breed of the dog can certainly play a factor in that.
This is what I was wondering... but is there any actual scientific research behind it? Like, have the companies making these breed-specific formulas actually tested them on a range of dogs within the targeted breed and found it made a difference in factor x, y, or z compared to another food? (Coat health, or joint strength, or what have you). The scientist in me would like to read that research I think...
 

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Different dogs definitely do need different foods - there is no one food that is best for all dogs! Not all dogs do well on chicken-based foods, some dogs can only tolerate grain-free foods... some dogs won't touch raw meat. Just like some people can't eat gluten, eggs, lactose/milk proteins, meat, nuts, etc.
I agree,there is a lite, lower calorie food for overweight dogs and many more for different situations.
 

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Different dogs definitely do need different foods - there is no one food that is best for all dogs! Not all dogs do well on chicken-based foods, some dogs can only tolerate grain-free foods... some dogs won't touch raw meat. Just like some people can't eat gluten, eggs, lactose/milk proteins, meat, nuts, etc.
But that's based on disease, not on the status quo. The status quo is that all dogs are the same species and therefor, can thrive off the same nutrition. Now.. if your dog is diabetic, protein-sensitive, picky, etc then you need to take the status quo and make adjustments in order to fit your dog, but that doesn't change the base nutrient need of dogs in general.
 

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But that's based on disease, not on the status quo. The status quo is that all dogs are the same species and therefor, can thrive off the same nutrition. Now.. if your dog is diabetic, protein-sensitive, picky, etc then you need to take the status quo and make adjustments in order to fit your dog, but that doesn't change the base nutrient need of dogs in general.
She's right. She's not saying that all dogs do well on the exact same food, just that, overall, as a species, all dogs have the same basic nutritional requirements and breed specific foods are just a gimmick. Which they are.
 

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This is what I was wondering... but is there any actual scientific research behind it? Like, have the companies making these breed-specific formulas actually tested them on a range of dogs within the targeted breed and found it made a difference in factor x, y, or z compared to another food? (Coat health, or joint strength, or what have you). The scientist in me would like to read that research I think...
I highly doubt there is any reliable scientific research. It would take lots of pure bred dogs of each test breed. That's a lot of time and money to put into something that's mostly a marketing gimmick to get more money.

A lot of nutritional requirements in breeds would also mostly differ because of what they do. Since a lot of breeds aren't really doing what they're bred to do, the overall nutritional requirement for a typical house pet is much more uniform. For example, sled dog breeds that actually do sled dog work would certainly require more calories and fat than a chihuahua but when you have them all as pampered pets not doing hard labor, those extra calories would only make the dogs fat and cause problem.
 

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the Royal Canin breed specific foods amuse me

Chihuahua:
Corn, chicken meal, brewers rice, corn gluten meal, chicken fat, brown rice, oat groats

Shih Tzu:
Chicken meal, brown rice, rice, chicken fat, oatmeal, wheat gluten meal,

Poodle:
Chicken meal, corn gluten meal, chicken fat, brown rice, barley, oatmeal

Boxer:
Chicken meal, brown rice, rice, chicken fat, oatmeal, wheat gluten meal

GSD:
Chicken meal, brown rice, oatmeal, chicken fat, barley, rice

hey Boxers and Shih Tzus have the same needs apperntly! and Chihuahua's for some reason need more corn then any other breed lol
 

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But that's based on disease, not on the status quo. The status quo is that all dogs are the same species and therefor, can thrive off the same nutrition. Now.. if your dog is diabetic, protein-sensitive, picky, etc then you need to take the status quo and make adjustments in order to fit your dog, but that doesn't change the base nutrient need of dogs in general.
Except that a few nutritional requirements can vary and are fairly consistent among specific breeds. For instance, Great Danes and Irish Wolfhounds need the correct calcium/phosphorus ratio to grow in a way that doesn't destroy their joints. You could say this is more of a size issue than a breed issue, I s'pose, but since some breeds are large and others are small, it does work within breed lines.

Then dalmatians have specific dietary needs related to uric acid. They need foods low in purines...they are most concentrated in foods that tend to be quite healthy for your average dog, like organ meat. I would never object to a food marketed especially for dalmatians that took this into account.

Same goes for low carb foods made for very small breeds (I don't know that any exist, but I would approve of it), since they tend to be susceptible to hypoglycemia, which is made worse by quickly absorbed carbs and better by slowly absorbed proteins. You may consider these illness, but they are certainly breed-specific illnesses.

Now, I'm certainly not implying that these brands marketing foods for different breeds are taking anything like this into account. I do definitely believe they are a gimmick. But that doesn't mean that all dogs have the same nutritional requirements, because they don't. There are some notable differences within breed lines. I don't really understand what you mean about the status quo...you've essentially stated that dogs don't need different, unless they do. Which makes no sense. If I thought there were any exceptions to a rule I would never state that rule so plainly.
 

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I don't really understand what you mean about the status quo...you've essentially stated that dogs don't need different, unless they do. Which makes no sense. If I thought there were any exceptions to a rule I would never state that rule so plainly.
The status quo is for a healthy dog. If a breed needs more or less of something in order to thrive, then you have to formulate its diet based on disease. Not on health.
The healthy dog is a carnivore who can eat meats/bone/organs without supplementation. (Now, keep in mind when I say that, I say it in the 'perfect world' sense. Where the correct amount would fall from the sky or whatever.) That's what I mean by status quo.
 

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The status quo is for a healthy dog. If a breed needs more or less of something in order to thrive, then you have to formulate its diet based on disease. Not on health.
The healthy dog is a carnivore who can eat meats/bone/organs without supplementation. (Now, keep in mind when I say that, I say it in the 'perfect world' sense. Where the correct amount would fall from the sky or whatever.) That's what I mean by status quo.
But we're not talking about raw diets here. We're talking about kibble. So I'm very confused by your example.

If we agree that some dogs have breed specific illnesses related to nutrition, would that not justify the formulation of breed-specific diets? Whether or not you define the difference as an illness doesn't change the fact that the entire breed would have certain nutritional requirements. Among purebreds a different dog does indeed sometimes mean a different food. Your initial statement that large breed diets, for instance, are a gimmick (inherently) is just not true. Large breed diets have a different calcium/phosphorus ratio that "ordinary" foods. Maybe large breed dogs fall outside your idea of the "status quo" but if that's the case, I'd love to hear a list of breeds that *do* fit into it, because we've already eliminated very large and very small dogs, as well as dalmatians due to "illness". So what's left? Just medium sized dogs? lol Wait, no, medium sized dogs minus schnauzers and any other medium sized breeds that require low fat diets due to their susceptibility to pancreatitis. The status quo is starting to sound like a minority of all dogs. haha
 

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But we're not talking about raw diets here. We're talking about kibble. So I'm very confused by your example.

If we agree that some dogs have breed specific illnesses related to nutrition, would that not justify the formulation of breed-specific diets? Whether or not you define the difference as an illness doesn't change the fact that the entire breed would have certain nutritional requirements. Among purebreds a different dog does indeed sometimes mean a different food. Your initial statement that large breed diets, for instance, are a gimmick (inherently) is just not true. Large breed diets have a different calcium/phosphorus ratio that "ordinary" foods. Maybe large breed dogs fall outside your idea of the "status quo" but if that's the case, I'd love to hear a list of breeds that *do* fit into it, because we've already eliminated very large and very small dogs, as well as dalmatians due to "illness". So what's left? Just medium sized dogs? lol Wait, no, medium sized dogs minus schnauzers and any other medium sized breeds that require low fat diets due to their susceptibility to pancreatitis. The status quo is starting to sound like a minority of all dogs. haha
You have to understand that I don't consider most breeds to be healthy. I stand by the notion that healthy means you are in good condition. If you have susceptibility to bone growth issues, kidney issues, pancreatitis, diabetes, whatever, then you are not healthy. Wild/feral animals don't have those kinds of susceptibilities because susceptible animals die. Only healthy ones procreate and survive.
Now, kibble is not species appropriate imo, but for the sake of this conversation, I was pretending it was in order to answer the OP's question. I have found too much controversy to believe that large breed dogs need a different kind of food in order to grow properly. There are owners that fed whatever and their dogs turn out fine and also owners who fed large breed food and their dogs do not turn out fine.

Like someone else said, if the breed specific foods actually took into account certain differences in their nutritional needs because of their propensity towards a certain disease, then yes, I think that would be a great idea. But seeing as boxers and Shih Tzus "need" the same nutrients.. I'm not quite so convinced.
 

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But we're not talking about raw diets here. We're talking about kibble. So I'm very confused by your example.

If we agree that some dogs have breed specific illnesses related to nutrition, would that not justify the formulation of breed-specific diets? Whether or not you define the difference as an illness doesn't change the fact that the entire breed would have certain nutritional requirements. Among purebreds a different dog does indeed sometimes mean a different food. Your initial statement that large breed diets, for instance, are a gimmick (inherently) is just not true. Large breed diets have a different calcium/phosphorus ratio that "ordinary" foods. Maybe large breed dogs fall outside your idea of the "status quo" but if that's the case, I'd love to hear a list of breeds that *do* fit into it, because we've already eliminated very large and very small dogs, as well as dalmatians due to "illness". So what's left? Just medium sized dogs? lol Wait, no, medium sized dogs minus schnauzers and any other medium sized breeds that require low fat diets due to their susceptibility to pancreatitis. The status quo is starting to sound like a minority of all dogs. haha
If you baked meat, bones, and organs into a kibble it's work.

Dalmatians are on the mend about their illness though. I forget which registry, but one doesn't allow any dogs with the disease to be registered last I found. For very large dogs I think calcium:phosphorous is important. Although you'll see even those values switch with different brands. You need 1:1.2-2. Basically just a bit more calcium than phosphorous. Very small dogs just need to be fed more frequently. Plus, I believe low carb should be the standard for all kibble. As far as pancreatitis you'll find not all dogs need low fat. They need easily digestible protein that isn't too fatty. Not necessarily low fat. Chicken and rabbit are both lean meats. Lots of dogs with EPI switch to raw and can now eat so obviously they don't need carbs to the sky to be ok.

Anyway, I kind of agree with the status quo to a degree. I fully agree with what Minka is saying. You adapt based on disease. A dog can have a disease and still be relatively healthy. A healthy dog doesn't need much added. For Boxers they can suffer from hypothyroidism and there's the "Boxer normal/low" so most supplement kelp. That's an adaptation upon disease, not health. The dog is still heathy. I think she's perfectly right. The base system of a healthy dog just needs meat, bone, and organ to thrive. We've messed with wolves and developed different breeds along with that different deficiencies and problems. I've found that does that were less tampered with away from the wolf seemed to be the healthiest. All breeds have the same base system. They're all pretty much the same on the inside. At least on what that inside needs. Mutations do happen which cause disease, but otherwise they're good.
 

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You have to understand that I don't consider most breeds to be healthy. I stand by the notion that healthy means you are in good condition. If you have susceptibility to bone growth issues, kidney issues, pancreatitis, diabetes, whatever, then you are not healthy. Wild/feral animals don't have those kinds of susceptibilities because susceptible animals die. Only healthy ones procreate and survive.
Now, kibble is not species appropriate imo, but for the sake of this conversation, I was pretending it was in order to answer the OP's question. I have found too much controversy to believe that large breed dogs need a different kind of food in order to grow properly. There are owners that fed whatever and their dogs turn out fine and also owners who fed large breed food and their dogs do not turn out fine.

Like someone else said, if the breed specific foods actually took into account certain differences in their nutritional needs because of their propensity towards a certain disease, then yes, I think that would be a great idea. But seeing as boxers and Shih Tzus "need" the same nutrients.. I'm not quite so convinced.
So you're not actually trying to offer any practical advice, then? Whether or not it is morally right to breed animals with these issues, those individual dogs still need to get fed, so I'm not willing to just toss them aside as those dogs with medical conditions that somehow don't count. I have already stated that I don't agree with the foods described here, as the differences between them didn't appear to be based on anything real about the dogs. (And anyway, I don't see how feral dogs being subjected to natural selection is relevant, given that we are discussing house pets right now!) I do take issue, though, with the rhetoric that breeds with specific needs should not be considered. If they were some rare thing, maybe, but they're not. At least in the US they are quite abundant, probably existing in at least equal numbers to randomly bred "feral" dogs. With the state of dogs right here, right now in the US, I cannot ever agree with the statement that, "Different dogs do not need different food." Suggesting that could lead to big issues for owners of certain breeds. To me it's an irresponsible statement to make.

And to clarify, I don't approve of breeding unhealthy dogs either. But I'm not going to ignore the fact that they are being and consider all dogs with special dietary needs a minority, too far outside of the norm to be considered, just because I don't like it.

Dalmatians are on the mend about their illness though. I forget which registry, but one doesn't allow any dogs with the disease to be registered last I found. For very large dogs I think calcium:phosphorous is important. Although you'll see even those values switch with different brands. You need 1:1.2-2. Basically just a bit more calcium than phosphorous. Very small dogs just need to be fed more frequently. Plus, I believe low carb should be the standard for all kibble. As far as pancreatitis you'll find not all dogs need low fat. They need easily digestible protein that isn't too fatty. Not necessarily low fat. Chicken and rabbit are both lean meats. Lots of dogs with EPI switch to raw and can now eat so obviously they don't need carbs to the sky to be ok.
So anyway, you're agreeing then that different dogs can need different foods and/or feeding schedules. Regardless of whether Dalmatians are being improved, a distinct dietary need existed and still does in some individuals. Not seeing where were are in disagreement here.

I've found that does that were less tampered with away from the wolf seemed to be the healthiest. All breeds have the same base system. They're all pretty much the same on the inside. At least on what that inside needs. Mutations do happen which cause disease, but otherwise they're good.
Again, this is all well and good but we are not discussing the best diet for some healthy feral dogs. We're talking about feeding a vast array of dog breeds, many of which do have significant mutations. Whether or not it's a disease, it still impacts what food the dog should eat! You can't just ignore that or some people are going to end up killing their dogs!

I don't think you guys are understanding where my disagreement lies or something...not sure how to be more clear.
 

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So you're not actually trying to offer any practical advice, then? Whether or not it is morally right to breed animals with these issues, those individual dogs still need to get fed, so I'm not willing to just toss them aside as those dogs with medical conditions that somehow don't count. I have already stated that I don't agree with the foods described here, as the differences between them didn't appear to be based on anything real about the dogs. (And anyway, I don't see how feral dogs being subjected to natural selection is relevant, given that we are discussing house pets right now!) I do take issue, though, with the rhetoric that breeds with specific needs should not be considered. If they were some rare thing, maybe, but they're not. At least in the US they are quite abundant, probably existing in at least equal numbers to randomly bred "feral" dogs. With the state of dogs right here, right now in the US, I cannot ever agree with the statement that, "Different dogs do not need different food." Suggesting that could lead to big issues for owners of certain breeds. To me it's an irresponsible statement to make.

And to clarify, I don't approve of breeding unhealthy dogs either. But I'm not going to ignore the fact that they are being and consider all dogs with special dietary needs a minority, too far outside of the norm to be considered, just because I don't like it.
I never said to toss aside any dog that is not perfectly healthy. I never said anything close to that. What I did say was that they are not part of the status quo; because that's what you were asking about. Feral dogs came into the equation because they are also the status quo.
As for breeds with special needs, of course they are abundant and of course their needs have to be met. If you have a dog with a problem, you can't just ignore it. But that doesn't change that on the base level, a dog is a dog is a dog.
With that in mind, I will revise my statement so it won't make you feel so uncomfortable:

Different healthy dogs do not need different foods.







*I want to elaborate more on my meaning of healthy animals but don't want to sidetrack this thread so I'm thinking about making a new one.
 
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