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I have some concerns about my puppy's rapid growth (or what I consider to be rapid growth) which my veterinarian did not discuss with me at her appointment last week. Lately I have been doing hours upon hours of research on large breed dogs since I have never had one before. I have read quite a bit that a large breed puppy can grow too fast and it can cause damage to their health, like their joints and skeletal system, so have been feeding her a large breed puppy food with a maximum calcium level lower than 1.5%.
Anyways, last month at her 10 week old appointment she was 19lbs, and last week at her 14 week appointment she was 31.5lbs. It literally looks like she grows taller every time I turn around for a second and then turn back and look at her again.
A 12.5lb increase in one month worries me. Is that too much of an increase? I feel like my vet would have been concerned if it was.. but he just said "I hope you wanted a really big dog." When he asked what dog food brand I was feeding her, I told her it was Authority's large breed puppy formula and he said he had never heard of it, but he only suggests feeding three foods, in this order: 1. Hill's Science Diet, 2. Purina One, and 3. Royal Canin. He highly suggested I switched her to one of these foods, because these are the highest quality foods available on the market only foods he would ever feed a dog. After the shots were administered we talked about heartworm preventative and such, he told me to go to the front desk and just walked away. He didn't ask if I had any questions or concerns or anything, and he was gone before I even had the chance to utter a "thank you."
I also have more large breed concerns, such as when to spay her. I've been told 6 months many times, but I've read doing it at 6 months causes dogs to grow taller, raising the chance of hip dysplasia. I asked the veterinarian I saw at her 10 week check up and she said she will only grow to 60-80lbs so I shouldn't worry about it. I explained to her that both of her parents were larger than that and she kind of brushed me off.
This is my new baby we are talking about here. I want as many opinions and as much help as I can get. I have read too many horror stories about hip and elbow dysplasia's connection with large breeds.
Another concern (also joint related) is she is constantly running around and jumping (midst-run). Can this cause joint damage?
Am I being an overly concerned doggie mother here??
Thanks in advance.
also, sorry for the mini rant.
 

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This is honestly the cutest, this is the way I was when I first got my puppy. Great Dane.. so alot of growing and alot of health issues can occur. What breed of dog is she? Honestly it sound normal so far, her growth rate. I feed my dog Hills veterinary exclusive large breed formula..that's juse what the breeder started him on so i kept with it . Hills science diet is also really good. The horror stories are honestly so terrifying. But alot of times are also slim chances. She's a puppy, can't stop her from jumping all over the place. I worried about EVERYTHING you listed.. it gets easier. The worrying goes away (slightly ) lol. You sound like a wonderful doggy mother. As for spay I can't say anything as my pup is male.
 

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Do you know what breed your dog is? For a large breed dog, I don't think it the growth rate you mentioned is that unusual. Your puppy will probably be doing a lot of growing up until about 6 months of age, at which point you might notice things slowing down a bit, but even so, they'll probably keep growing until they are about 1-2 years of age, depending on the dog and the breed. I think your pup is probably doing fine at the moment, even with the jumping and running. It just sounds like she's being a puppy. I would be more concerned if she's jumping from high locations and forced to run on hard surfaces with a lot of impact on her joints.

With the spaying, I think it's very much a personal choice and you should do more reading on it and make a well informed decision. Female dogs can go into their first heat at around the 6 mo mark and I think that's why a lot of people recommend spaying at the 6 mo mark. Nevertheless, the the issue of when to spay is quite controversial, as the risks for various things can increase and decrease depending on when the procedure is done. I would recommend doing some research on that topic, have a conversation with your vet, and make a well informed decision.

It sounds like the bigger issue here is that you are having a difficult time establishing good communication with your vet. Would you be able to visit a few other vets in the area and perhaps get recommendations from friends and family? You have questions and if you're going to pay a vet for their services, you might as pay for a vet who will take the time to address your questions!
 

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Depending on the breed, that type of growth might just be normal. It's also important to keep track of body condition. For most large breeds, being SLIGHTLY underweight is much healthier than being even slightly overweight. Here's a chart that can give you some idea of body conditions:

As for the foods recommended by your vet... Those are not at all what I would ever consider the 'highest quality foods available'. At all. But really, the best food for your dog is the food your dog does best on. I do know people who have had successes with Purina Pro Plan and Purina Beyond. Science Diet is, in my opinion, WAY too overpriced. The foods we've used for our giant breed are Merrick, Farmina, Fromm, Origin, Annamaet, Dr. Tim's (which is what both dogs are currently doing best on). I've also heard really good things about 4Health and Costco's branded dog food. There's a debate on whether to feed large breed puppy food vs all life stages, but really it comes down to the phosphorus:calcium ratio with helping to control growth.

Oh! And don't necessarily feed the recommended serving the bag gives. Keep track of your dog's body condition and feed based on what they need to keep in that ideal range.
 

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I wouldn't be worried about the growth rate. My puppy weighed 26 lbs at 10 weeks and 43 lbs at 14 weeks.

What were her parents and how big were they?

Here is a list of advice I generally give owners of giant breed dogs (any dog that will be over 110 lbs at adult weight). If I didn't copy and paste it, I'd be typing it out about 7-10 times a week, so please excuse the formality of it. Most of these things are applicable to both large/giant breeds, though the calcium/phosphorous ratio isn't as pertinent and finding a vet who knows giant breeds very well may not be as important:

1. Nutrition - Because giant breeds grow at an incredible rate, feeding them properly is important. If you don't go with raw, finding a grain-free quality kibble is really important. Try to keep the calcium around 1.5% and the phosphorous between .8-1%. I feed Earthborn and have had great success with it.

2. Health insurance - Get it now. I recommend health insurance to anyone who is buying a giant breed. Getting your puppy enrolled at 8 weeks means you get through the waiting period and then odds are nothing can be considered "pre-existing" by your insurance company. Vet bills with giant breeds stack up fast. My dogs are with Healthy Paws, but many people also recommend Embrace.

3. Don't spay/neuter until the dog is at least 16-18 months old. Early spay/neuter is linked to bone and other cancers. It's also linked to late growth plate closure, obesity, cruciate disease and hip dysplasia. Female giants are generally advised to be spayed 3 months after their first or second heat, depending on when their first heat comes. If her first heat is 8-9 months, I'd recommend waiting until after the second. If it is at 11-12 months, then after the first will be okay.

4. Find a vet who knows giant breeds. The giants are a different ball game than small/medium/large dogs. They have different health concerns, altering at the appropriate time is crucial, nutrition guidelines are important. Many small animal vets don't know that these things matter.

5. Exercise/activity - Don't do long periods of sustained motion exercise, like walking or jogging, until the dog is at least 18 months old and their joints have closed. Free exercise (where the dog is allowed to change pace, lay down, stop, etc) on soft surfaces is the way to exercise growing giant breeds.
I can probably give more accurate advice on your specific puppy after I know the breeds and weights of the parents if you have any other questions :)
 

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Thanks for all of the feedback, guys! I've been told a lot that I worry too much, but I'd rather be safe than sorry. Also thank you, Kfas, I try my absolute best to be a good doggie mommy. It is so hard sometimes because she is a very independent girl and thinks it's her way or no way (unless I'm the one with the treats!)
She is three-quarters Anatolain Shepherd and one-fourth Great Pyrenees. Her mother is 85-90lbs, her father is 95-100, and one of her older siblings that the woman I got her from kept was 105lbs at 13 months and still growing some.
I am very concerned about when to get her spayed, mostly because (as Haerath said) the link between early spaying and bone cancers, but I also have an unaltered male dog. If I don't get her spayed before her first heat, I'll probably end up investing in doggie diapers, for obvious reasons.
Effisia, I was completely shocked when the vet listed those foods. I can't say I trust Purina very much, and hills and royal canin are far out of my budget. It just made me feel a bit.. Weird. I was expecting things like Orijen, maybe Blue Buffalo. I did months of research on what food to buy before getting her, and settled on transitioning from 4Health to Authority Large Breed Puppy between every bag. I made my decisions based on the calcium to phosphorus ratio, my budget of course, and their ratings on dogfoodadvisor.com. Both bags have recommend feeding her about three cups a day, and even with her being extremely active and having a good body condition (I periodically check, she has stayed in the 'ideal' condition as long as I have had her), she only eats two cups some days.
The problem with finding another vet, which I would absolutely like to do, is that I live in a small town and it's kind of difficult to travel so far just for a vet I may not even like, mostly because of my parents being my only source of transportation. She isn't due back for three months, though. I've been trying to find one close. Everyone I know takes their pets there because that's their only choice, and I have gotten mixed reviews. I am looking into a holistic vet about an hour away.

Thanks again for all of the replies. If anyone else has any other tips or recommendations, I will gladly accept them! Its really eased my mind, I honestly worry about my dogs every waking hour.

0113161529.jpg
Here is a picture from last week on the way home from the vet!
 

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She's beautiful :) Some of the things from my list definitely do apply - be careful with strenuous exercise, feed a quality food (though calcium/phosphorous doesn't mean as much).

I do recommend health insurance, also. And because she's a mix, your premiums will be way less than they would for a purebred of that size. Shepherds and Pyrs do have some major health concerns, so it's something to look into.

I definitely think you should let her go through her first heat before you spay her. There's doggie underwear available for females in heat that you can look into!
 

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I have some concerns about my puppy's rapid growth (or what I consider to be rapid growth) which my veterinarian did not discuss with me at her appointment last week. Lately I have been doing hours upon hours of research on large breed dogs since I have never had one before. I have read quite a bit that a large breed puppy can grow too fast and it can cause damage to their health, like their joints and skeletal system, so have been feeding her a large breed puppy food with a maximum calcium level lower than 1.5%.
Anyways, last month at her 10 week old appointment she was 19lbs, and last week at her 14 week appointment she was 31.5lbs. It literally looks like she grows taller every time I turn around for a second and then turn back and look at her again.
A 12.5lb increase in one month worries me. Is that too much of an increase? I feel like my vet would have been concerned if it was.. but he just said "I hope you wanted a really big dog." When he asked what dog food brand I was feeding her, I told her it was Authority's large breed puppy formula and he said he had never heard of it, but he only suggests feeding three foods, in this order: 1. Hill's Science Diet, 2. Purina One, and 3. Royal Canin. He highly suggested I switched her to one of these foods, because these are the highest quality foods available on the market only foods he would ever feed a dog. After the shots were administered we talked about heartworm preventative and such, he told me to go to the front desk and just walked away. He didn't ask if I had any questions or concerns or anything, and he was gone before I even had the chance to utter a "thank you."
I also have more large breed concerns, such as when to spay her. I've been told 6 months many times, but I've read doing it at 6 months causes dogs to grow taller, raising the chance of hip dysplasia. I asked the veterinarian I saw at her 10 week check up and she said she will only grow to 60-80lbs so I shouldn't worry about it. I explained to her that both of her parents were larger than that and she kind of brushed me off.
This is my new baby we are talking about here. I want as many opinions and as much help as I can get. I have read too many horror stories about hip and elbow dysplasia's connection with large breeds.
Another concern (also joint related) is she is constantly running around and jumping (midst-run). Can this cause joint damage?
Am I being an overly concerned doggie mother here??
Thanks in advance.
also, sorry for the mini rant.
Vets love to sell you the high priced dry foods, they’re in business after all.
Try reading up on Feeding Raw. All my working field dogs are primarily fed raw diet and costs can be minimal, unless you resort to Commercially prepacked raw. Find a butcher or wholesale meat supplier to get the lowest cost. Raw chicken carcasses, necks, dogs love to crunch through them. MEATY beef bones like brisket are good. All my dogs have made it to 16 yrs and we’re fit til the end. Can’t ask for more. Good luck.
 
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