Calcium Level in Dog Food

by John
(Windsor, ON, Canada)

Hi, I have a 22 month old German Shepherd dog.

I fed her large breed puppy food until she was 18 months old.

Since then, I've fed a rotation of Acana Wild Prairie and Pacifica which are both grain free. The calcium level in both these foods are 1.3 min. and 1.5 max. I'd like to add the Grasslands formula (grain free lamb) to the rotation but the calcium level in this food is 2.0 min. and 2.2 max. Is this too high?

Also, at 22 months should I still need to worry about the calcium level? Is her bone growth done at this age?

Your help is greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

Editor's Comment:

Hi John -

On average, German Shepherds reach their full growth between 18 to 24 months of age. However, it's never carved in stone, and your pup could surprise you with continued growth spurts.

Regarding calcium levels:  For canine growth diets, AAFCO (American Association of Feed Control Officials) has established calcium levels of 1% minimum to 2.5% maximum, for both growth and maintenance. The NRC's (National Research Council) recommended allowance for growing puppies is 1.2% minimum to 1.8% maximum. However, they make no distinction between breed size or growth rate.

According to, the ideal calcium content for large breed dogs, on a dry weight basis, is 0.7% to 1.2%.

You could consider playing it safe for another few months, and keep her on a lower calcium dog food.

Your vet will be the best person to give a professional opinion on whether your dog's growth plates have closed, as well as on her overall physical health and development.

Just a thought. Acana dog food is an excellent brand. However, have you perhaps considered also rotating between different all natural dog food brands, as well as including some "with grain" recipes? Just to ensure that your dog is getting a good variety of different food items in her diet.

We hope this helps. If you still have a niggling question or need extra reassurance, you can try the Ask a Veterinarian Online service, which is very inexpensive and you will receive an immediate answer from a qualified expert.

If any of our other visitors have some experience and/or knowledge on large breed dogs, and can offer some input, PLEASE chime in here!

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