First, a quick update –
Finnegan is just shy of 6 months old. We are calling his “birthday” May 1st, however we really cannot be positive. And, actually, I think May 7th is probably a bit more accurate. He was just fixed a couple of weeks ago, and he is doing fantastic. We have been working on his shyness, and he has come SO far with it. He is still wary of strangers, but far less apprehensive than he once was. Additionally, while he does not particularly like his crate, he is now – finally! – crate trained. A relief, to be sure.
Finnegan had his two week post-op check at the vet on Thursday. Other than a mild case of Swimmer’s Ear (which, I believe, he may have acquired because he got water in his ears when I bathed him last weekend – something I’ll have to keep an eye on in the future, as I get the impression he’ll be prone to ear infections), the vet was impressed with what good a shape he is in. Though they didn’t weigh him at the vet this week, but he’s probably around 50lbs. I think he’s going to end up being around 80-90 lbs – long and lean. He’s almost as tall as both his Uncle Max (my mother’s Shepherd/some sort of shaggy dog mix) and his Aunt Abby (Chris’s parent’s German Shepherd). He’s muscular and slim because he gets a lot of exercise. Worth noting, I am constantly getting compliments on how shiny his coat is. One person said while I was walking him one day, “Now, THAT’S a well-cared for dog.” My vet has said similar things of my cat, Roscoe. It makes me feel good to know that it outwardly shows that I am a responsible pet owner.
Anyway, I had overheard the vet techs talking about when to wean puppies off of puppy food. I naturally assumed 1 year, but apparently for large breed dogs, it should be more like 6-8 months. It seems there is conflicting reports on this (some people say the opposite, 18 months), but the evidence toward sooner is stronger. My vet did say he wanted him off of puppy food in the next month or so. It may be a little longer, as there’s almost a full bag (15lb) at my mother’s apartment that I am going to fetch this week when I pick up Roscoe, and I’ll transition him when that bag gets low. He is currently eating Innova Large Breed Puppy, supplemented by Wellness Just for Puppy canned food.
I feel pretty strongly about wanting to eventually transition Finnegan to grain-free (and am leaning toward doing the same for Roscoe – I have him on Wellness Indoor Health right now, which is a high quality food, but not grain-free), however it seems that all of the grain-free foods are also high in calcium, which, particularly at his age, is not good for him being a large breed. I think I will have to wait until 1.5-2yrs before I can give him one of those foods. The lesser problem, of course, will be what to pick – Wellness CORE and Innova EVO seem to be so comparable, with conflicting reports on which is the “best.” I’ve actually been told Orijen is the best (and my research seems to back that up), however there have been recall issues in Australia. This is supposedly due to their quarantine/irradiation process and is not affecting North America, but when EVO and CORE are so comparable (and a hair cheaper to boot), I would rather not tempt fate. At any rate, I have some time to decide, as none of them are ideal for Finnegan right now because of the high calcium content.
So, after much deliberation, I’ve decided on the Wellness Large Breed Adult, and I’ll supplement with the EVO canned food. Not grain-free, but still high quality, and the calcium content is formulated specifically for large breeds. Additionally, it has glucosamine-chondroitin supplements in the food, something that will help with his overall skeletal health. I got the Innova Large Breed Puppy when I got Finnegan, because I didn’t realize Wellness had a large breed option at the time. Turns out, they DO, and according to dogfoodanalysis.com, it is a better formula. Though that site has not reviewed the Adult version, it is not a leap to think if the Wellness edges out Innova in the puppy food, it will in the adult food as well. It only seems to be Innova’s large breed formula that is weaker – the rest are all comparable. This, of course, makes my decision that much easier, at least in the short term.
As I was thinking about writing this entry, all I could think of was my friend AJ’s Twitter tag, #firstworldproblems. So very true, and I admit that I feel a little bit ridiculous blogging about something that seems so trivial – what expensive boutique food to feed my animals – on the surface. However, on the other hand, as a part of the privileged upper middle class in this country (which, when compared to the entire world, makes me rich, and I try very hard not to take this privilege for granted), I truly believe that it’s only right and responsible of me to feed my animals the best food that I can. I am very conscious of what I put in (and, for that matter, on) my body; shouldn’t I be just as conscious of what I feed my animals?
Ill end this post with a recent picture, as I realize I have been lax in not only blogging about Finnegan, but also posting pictures of him!