Feeding a Black Russian Terrier Puppy

'Tripti' - her last photo before going to the United Kingdom

Raw food vs kibble

RAW or BARF diet is great, but for adult dogs. Personally, I would not dare to give a heavy black terrier puppy such a diet. I have read many books on raw food nutrition, but I would be afraid to compose a RAW diet for a puppy, because there are too many ingredients needed and the relationships between them.

Of course, as an owner you are responsible for your puppy, and you will decide what feed will your pup eat. But before you decide on BARF/RAW food at puppy/junior age, please think about the possible consequences.

Why proper food is so important

The most important aspect in feeding a black terrier is to take care of joint development. A black terrier puppy is heavy and grows very fast. Sometimes the development of the joints cannot keep up with the development of the heavy body. Therefore, we take great care of the health and strength of the joints up to 12-15 months of age if we want to enjoy a healthy and active adult black terrier for many years. One of the most important feed indicators that has the greatest impact on joint health and strength is the amount of calcium and phosphorus, and the ratio of calcium to phosphorus. For a black Russian terrier puppy, this is about 1.2-1.4% of calcium and 0.9-1% of phosphorus. For smaller and leaner breeds, the amount of calcium should be higher. The wrong amount of calcium and phosphorus can cause big problems in the joints. It is easy to find scientific studies on this subject on the Internet. And most studies indicate the above amount of calcium and phosphorus. However, in the ready RAW food diets, the calcium and phosphorus values are very, very different from those recommended for giant breed puppies. There is also sometimes no distinction between diets for small, large and giant breed puppies. And there should be, because puppies, depending on their physique, weight, have different nutritional needs.

Of course, it's not that if a puppy eats the wrong food it will become crippled, but after a while it can cause the joints to weaken, and a weaker joint is more prone to developing joint laxity, which can lead to inflammation in the joint and eventually dysplasia. In extreme cases, there may even be structural problems or deformities of the acetabulum/bone head. Curvatures can also develop at multiple points in the skeletal system. This rarely happens in lightweight, small breeds, but often happens in heavy giant breeds. I have already seen several puppies and junior black terriers that had very crooked paws, deformed. They were fed a BARF diet. After changing to the correct food, some of the curvature subsided, but most of the changes were irreversible.

It's also important with black terrier food that the puppy/junior doesn't grow too fast, as this is a huge stress on the joints. Growth should be steady, not leaping.

I have used many kibbles, some have worked better, some worse. The most important thing for me is that the food is premium/super-premium with great ingredients, ideal calcium and phosphorus content and to ensure constant growth. Such a food, fed 3 times a day, 3x 150-170 grams, about 500 grams a day provides everything a black terrier puppy needs for healthy growth and for maximum joint protection. Remember that the price, although you can distinguish quite quickly between a poor food and a premium food, does not guarantee the quality of the food. There are many large breed puppy foods that cost a lot but the quality of the ingredients is poor. So read the labels on the back of the food bag or the 'Ingredients' tab on the food manufacturer's or shop's website to check that the ingredients really are of the highest quality. If in doubt, ask your breeder.

It is also very important to regularly examine whether your puppy has too much fat:

If you decide to change the food, it is important to do it gradually, in order to avoid diarrhea.