The research I've done is in regard to Golden Retrievers, as well as the quality of ingredients and where the dog food is manufactured (which does make a difference.)  Large breed dogs do have different needs and requirements vs small breed dogs.  Dogs that are used in sportsman activities, agility competitions etc…also have different nutritional requirements.

Dogs are also like humans and some have faster metabolisms than others and require higher amounts of food.  Dog food bags have “recommended” feeding amounts.  They are guidelines and your individual dog may need more or less food to maintain a healthy weight.

Part of the different varieties within the brands is marketing and the demands of the customers vs the nutritional needs of the dog.  Bottom line is Goldens do not need corn, wheat or soy, (these are known allergens) and they need a formula that provides slow growth for bone/joint support. Until further research is done, they don't need grain-free, as dilated cardiomyopathy has effected Golden Retrievers more than any other breed.

Supporting your Golden's growth is important.

Larger dogs grow much faster than smaller dogs and you want the growth process to be slow.  A quality dog food for a Golden requires IF your dog is going to be over 70 lbs as an adult, you want to feed a formula with a balanced protein to fat, coupling that with a 1:1 phosphorus to calcium ratio to ensure the bones do not grow faster then they should be and TLC All Stage does that (and so does Life's Abundance)

TLC also adds New Zealand Green Lipped Mussels for joint support that will help while they are playful puppies, into the adult and senior years.  Their adult food also includes glucosamine and chondroitin, which supports their joints and development as well. Read more about Green Lipped Mussels here.

We've used Life's Abundance for over 10 years (and still use it, along with TLC)  When we first started using it, they only had an All-Stage formula and we raised very healthy puppies without a Large Breed Puppy Food.  The key focus needs to be it is an ALL-Stage food and meets the requirements of the correct ratio for growth for dogs over 70 lbs, which both TLC and Life's Abundance formulas do.  We started using the Large Breed Puppy Formula because our families vets required it and not feeding it was in conflict with their vet's advice and it was confusing to everyone.

In regard to grain-free diets, we don't recommend them because there is not enough research and there “seems” to be a link between them and dilated cardiomyopathy.  Here is an article on diet and dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs and cats: Diet Associated Dilated Cardiomyopathy

I think this statement from the article sums it up nicely, “Pet food marketing has outpaced the science, and owners are not always making healthy, science-based decisions even though they want to do the best for their pets. The recent cases of possible diet-associated DCM are obviously concerning and warrant vigilance within the veterinary and research communities. Importantly, although there appears to be an association between DCM (Dilated cardiomyopathy) and feeding BEG (Boutique, exotic-ingredient, and grain-free), vegetarian, vegan, or home-prepared diets in dogs, a cause-and-effect relationship has not been proven, and other factors may be equally or more important. Assessing diet history in all patients can help to identify diet-related cardiac diseases as early as possible and can help identify the cause and, potentially, best treatment for diet-associated DCM in dogs.”

Why do we extend our guarantee for dog foods we recommend?  

Because we have experience with them, know the ingredients, and also know where those ingredients are sourced from.  We also research whether or not the company has ever had a dog food recalled.  We feel this is important because recall is about quality & ingredient control.  Are their other quality foods out there? Yes, however, we do not personally have experience with them and like our vet says, it would be too time consuming to research and know each brand out there. 

We believe nutrition matters (for us humans too) and our dogs & cats depend on us to do our due diligence in feeding them for proper health and growth.  If you grow up on fast food your health will reflect it.  Cheap, low quality foods for dogs is like fast food and their health will reflect it.

I know this is a lot of information, if you have any questions, let me know.

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