Feeding Canagan to puppy but told it's too high in protein - help!

Hi everyone,

I am a new dog owner and have a VERY excitable 15 week old golden retriever. She came to us from the breeder on Eukanuba but she never had solid stools and everyone I met said it wasn’t great food, so took advice and settled on Canagan. She absolutely adores it, but my puppy trainer said that she is very fizzy and the high protein content may not be helping and suggested Royal Canin or Burns. I’ve just looked these up on here and they don’t score very highly…so I am now confused and needing help on what sort of food would be better.

Thanks so much for any helpful advice you can give. I am finding that there is all just too much choice and information and that I’m drowning a bit!

It is a myth that high protein causes dogs to by hyper, it sounds to me like your puppy is just being a puppy, and full of good energy and health from eating a healthy food. some dogs do go through a slightly hyper stage for a few weeks soon after switching to a high protein food, this is due to the body getting used to the new diet, it is not long lasting and high protein fed dogs are generally calmer in the long term.

the source of the protein is also important and should be a high quality meat based protein, not a plant based one.

If you are happy with your choice of food, and the health results you are seeing, stick with it, and consider a different trainer instead.

also remember that, in general, puppy foods are higher in protein than the adult equivalent as the adult foods are too low in protein for healthy growth, and also that dogs are primarily meat eaters and thrive on protein rich foods. Raw, generally considered the best you can feed a dog, is 40-60% protein, or higher, once the moisture is removed, higher in protein than any dry food available.


Agree 100%

Agree 99%. I’d actually say definitely find another trainer. You say in your other post that your trainer described your puppy as ‘not easy’ and that rings huge alarm bells for me - about the trainer, not the puppy! Your pup is just a baby, for heaven’s sake!! No puppy can be or should be judged as ‘not easy’ at that age, least of all a puppy of an active and slow maturing breed such as yours. In my opinion any trainer who would say that is making excuses for their own lack of knowledge and ability. Steer well clear.

Agree 99%. I'd actually say **definitely** find another trainer.

I was being kind :wink:


Oh, ok I wasn’t expecting those answers!! She’s quite well respected locally and having asked for recommendations from all of my ‘doggy’ friends, her name was the one that kept coming up…

;D Kindness is perhaps not my forte when the future of a dog is at stake.

Sadly, the world of dog training is full of charlatans, many of them ‘well respected’ by the owners of obedient but unhappy dogs who have been bullied into submission by them and by owners who have taken their advice - the dogs that refuse to be bullied are written off by them as ‘too dominant’, ‘too excitable’ etc etc. I’ve seen it far too often >:(

Hello welcome to the forum. I have to say that I like Canagan and had a spell of feeding it to my dogs. The protein is more moderate than some and this is one of the things that drew me to it. If you check out David’s review on the Dog Food Directory here you will see that he mentions this.

I’ve had dogs for many years and the received wisdom was that high protein equals hyperactivity so I can see where your trainer is coming from on this. He or she is not to be blamed for this opinion - they may have formed it from experience or from the fact that in the past it was widely disseminated that this was the case. The other thing is that a puppy of this age will be (so called) ‘hyperactive’ - that is just normal behaviour and shouldn’t really be labelled as such.

You have two choices - you can follow the suggestion of lowering the protein or stick with the Canagan. You have looked at the reviews of the products mentioned in the Dog Food Directory of this website and have formed the opinion that you are not too keen on them so my advice would be to stick with Canagan but the choice is yours.

There is no need to ditch your trainer, especially if you are getting on well otherwise. The choice of food is yours and yours alone. The only reason to change trainers is if they put pressure on about the matter. All dogs are different and none of us are perfect; we can’t know everything there is to know about dogs. If you decide to stick with your current food and are worried about crossing the trainer, just quietly say that you prefer to stick with Canagan and that you know it to be a good food with a more moderate protein than some other products.

Edit: Thinking about her liveliness, I would just like to add that puppies are very much like children - they don’t know when to stop and can easily get over tired. This can manifest itself in so called ‘hyperactivity’. I see that you have children and no doubt they are having fun playing with Rosie. However, puppies this young do need plenty of rest, not least because you don’t want to put too much pressure on those growing joints, in particular the hips. This is particularly important in Retrievers. Try to make sure she has enough ‘down time’ where she is left alone to rest.

Training classes can be a good thing (as well as not so good). The owner can do most of the training at home and when out on walks. There are loads of great articles/YouTube videos on line. By all means continue with your classes if it is going well but don’t be afraid to pull out for now if Rosie is not quite ready. She is very young and you could leave it a bit longer, waiting for her to mature a bit. There is no rush.

Thank you so much Dottie. I do like the classes as I am a total novice and she has given me some structure around how to train Rosie - I had read a huge amount before I got her, but rather like children, you can read all of the ‘baby’ books you like, but the reality is somewhat different!! As it happens last night was the last one and is just a basic obedience class for us to build on.

She didn’t put any pressure on me to change foods, no, just suggested that it may help to feed her something lower in protein, hence me asking for help. I do like the Canagan, she seems very happy on it, and her stools are finally hardening up - which wasn’t the case on Eukanuba at all, so I think it’s definitely better for her.

Thank you for the tip about the over tiredness - last week was half term so I had to physically separate the children from the puppy and allow her to sleep unimpeded!

1 Like

Exactly Dottie, a puppy of this age should not be labelled as such, so I’m afraid I cannot agree with you about possibly sticking with a trainer who does just that.

I also believe that anyone who sets themselves up as a trainer and expert has a duty of care to keep up to date with current knowledge and should not be peddling discredited ideas about diet, or about anything else. Would you trust a doctor who nowadays advised you that smoking would be good for you as it would help you to relax (as one once told my mother - he genuinely believed it at the time, it was commonly thought to be the case) or to get sunburned as often as possible to cure teenage acne (as one once told me, ditto)? Those who set themselves up as experts should ensure they are up to date.

There I entirely agree, 15 weeks is very young for formal training.

I would say: relax and enjoy your puppy, she sounds entirely normal to me. Do lots of reading and research (you could do a lot worse than starting with the Dog Listener website David G pointed you to above) before choosing a trainer, and in the meantime just encourage good behaviour with lots of praise and the occasional treat whilst discouraging unwanted behaviour with gentle disapproval and/or distraction techniques. She really is just a baby; you wouldn’t expect a 2 year old child to learn to read and write, after all.

1 Like

The issue of high protein/hyperactivity is an interesting one so I have started a new thread here in order to discuss it in a more general sense.

Hello, I was reading with interest this thread. We have a Great Dane puppy, almost 7 months old. Elsa was on Orijen which was very high in protein; then we changed to Arden Grange which has a lot less protein. We haven’t noticed any change, she is the usual character who likes to play a lot and sleep a lot as well. :smiley:
From how you have described your puppy it looks to me is a very adorable and healthy puppy…enjoy :slight_smile:

Hello from Shirley & lottie ,
Tried my westie on Millies and nutriment (both very high protein) with very poor results, the skin problems and itching it caused was unbelievable.Cost me a fortune in vet fees,and she’s still not right.

hello shirley
what other foods did you try? you said you tried lots of foods including the two you mention ? did you ever consider a isolation diet it worked for me sort of, before we jumped in for full blood alergy tests
be interesting to hear all the other foods you tried that mad your dog itch
nice to see you here

Hello again,
The main food she was on before was symply turkey, wet & dry, She was still itchy, especially her face and legs/feet + a hot spot on her back. But her anal glands were always blocked and had soft stools.
That’s why I tried the 4 and 5* foods, but made her worse, I’m now trying barking heads grain free fish wet+ dry,but it’s far to early to see if this is any better for her.

It’s just the high protein foods made her skin issues worse,especially her face. She’s still having treatment from the vet.
It was very interesting to read about the storage mites in the dry dog food regarding the face itching!

I would certainly find another trainer too.

Puppies are like kids, bouncy, mad and full of life. I have found over the last two years of working with my dog in classes and closely with my dog trainer that people expect far too much of their puppy or come out with some very odd notions that they themselves have thought of or have been told by trainers!

Regarding dog training, make sure you go to a trainer who is IMDT certified most of all. This means they are a member of the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers who promote rewards based training which is the only way forward and the most effective. Make sure they have other qualifications and are members of guilds dog trainers, pet handlers and so on. If they’ve got professional qualifications as long as your arm, brilliant.

If they’ve only got years of experience and come out with phrases like “I’ve been doing it for X years, I know what I’m doing” steer clear.

My dog trainer is IMDT certified and has a whole slew of other qualifications and she is constantly on courses and further improving herself. She is a delight to work with and all the dogs absolutely adore her.

Regarding food, there is nothing wrong with high protein and most dogs get on with it fine. There are some that don’t though and for them I recommend a 60/40 formula such as Canagan where as brands like Orijen are 80/20.

Canagan is suitable for all life stages and is a very good alternative if your dog doesn’t get on with a brand of food like Orijen. In my opinion a dog food should be high meat content, vegetables, fruits, botanical extracts and nothing else.

If a food has got rice, oats and in particular maize, I’m not interested!

Posts following this one split into a new topic which can be found here.