Calcium Is Not Your Puppy’s Friend

Great Pyrenees Puppy

Calcium Is Not Your Puppy’s Friend

Great Pyrenees PuppyExcessive calcium in a puppy’s diet is harmful for the large breed puppy skeletal growth. While the milk mustache commercials were beneficial as an alternative to pop for children this is not such a concern for puppies. In fact, excessive calcium will contribute to a limping puppy that can lead to the diagnosis of several musculoskeletal disorders found in large breed puppies.

Large breed puppy food has been formulated with reduced calcium when compared to the smaller dog breeds. This between 0.8 to 1.2% on a dry matter basis.1 Adding in extra calcium in the form of dog treats, bones, vitamins, or regular puppy food with increase these calcium levels. Excessive calcium with accelerate bone growth which will place more stress on the joints through longer bones. This will also create lower density bones surrounding the joints which will contribute to joint injuries.

Here’s the Up North Pyrenees recommendation.

  1. Feed only Large Breed Puppy food according to the instructions on the bag. Our recommendation is Nutrisource Large Breed Puppy food. Maintain a trim puppy body until they are fully grown.
  2. Allow uncooked bones to be eaten only after your puppy is fully grown. This will allow plenty of time to allow muscle growth to protect the joints.
  3. Bones are not bad but the right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing.

Excessive calcium in a puppy’s diet is harmful for the large breed puppy skeletal growth. Maybe you have a story that you’d like to share. Tell us your thoughts on this subject. Blessings from Up North Pyrenees!


  1. Bassert, JM, John Thomas. McCumin’s Clinical Textbook for Veterinary Technicians, E-Book. 8th ed. 2014. (Atlanta, GA, Elsevier Health Sciences): 319.

Pets and Lockdowns

Great Pyrenees with children

Pets and Lockdowns

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Minnesotans will again be having to deal with another lock down called “Dial Back”.  People are relational by nature. Many of us need relationship more than we think. Yesterday, I heard on the radio that 40 million Americans have anxiety disorders and suicide is on the rise from COVID related social distancing. God, in His wisdom, has made us so that we depend on each other and more importantly depend on Him.

Puppies can’t be bred fast enough and are being sold to those trying to cope with loneliness. I believe this a good coping mechanism. Pets give you permission to go outdoors for their benefit which is a wonderful way to bump into other people. But, I wonder what will happen when the world goes back to “normal” whatever that is. Will we stay isolated with out pets or will we become more neighborly.

Here are my thoughts.

  1. Don’t buy a puppy unless you think you’ll be a forever home. If you do get a puppy then read a book on how to train a puppy. I recommend the Art of Raising a Puppy. Enjoys this God given relationship.
  2. Stay connected with people because you were designed for relationships. Make phone calls, Zoom meetings, Face Time calls, or in person visits. Be a blessing to someone else in need by dropping off groceries for someone with COVID. We were recently the beneficiary of this ministry and it was blessing to our family. Thank you John!
  3. Be mindful that God the Father has designed a longing for relationships in you. Turn your heart towards him during your loneliness. Read the Bible, listen to Bible at, pray/talk to God about your thoughts and ask Him to reveal His thoughts, and worship Him in your solitude.

I’m reminded of this Bible verse in 1 Corinthian 4:17-18 “17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

May God richly bless you in tomorrow’s upcoming COVID lock down! Thank you for your interest in Up North Pyrenees. Please share us with a friend.

Prong Collars

prong collar

Prong Collarschrome plated prong collar quick release hs35 lrg

Prong collars get a bad rap because of the way a few people have used them. But, prong collars can give you control and a training tool for your unruly adolescent dog. I work as a physical therapist. I have seen standard collars with leashes completely remove thumbs which ended up causing permanent damage, loss of function, and large medical costs. Prong collars even work well on little dogs. So, I am a bit of a realist and have your best interest in mind which will help you train your puppy better.

This heavy-duty Herm Sprenger with swivel and quick release is my choice for every Up North Pyrenees puppy. This collar is made to last and can have links removed or added to grow with your puppy. Buy a smaller prong collar when they are younger and then move up to this when they get near their full size. The quick-release is a must-have feature as it will all you to safely remove the collar and not remove a finger when your adolescent puppy can’t sit still for one more second.

This is not a choke collar and it will not asphyxiate your dog. Pressure is generated on the front of the neck when your dog pulls hard. This is uncomfortable and will initially cause your dog to yelp. However, he will quickly realize that he has total control of this painful pressure. The result is a well-behaved dog that thinks twice before dragging you out in traffic after a squirrel.

Ease into using this collar with just several minutes the first time and gradually increase wearing time during your walks on a leash. It is as simple as that. Let the dog train itself while the collar is on. See my previous article Leash Training Your Snow Bear.

Up North Pyrenees advocates for the keeping of all your fingers and sanity. So, buy yourself a Black Friday gift this year. Share this product with your friends. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!


Feeding Your Puppy to Maximize Health

overweight great pyrenees

overweight great pyrenees

Feeding Your Puppy to Maximize Health and Avoid Health Issues

Feeding your puppy to maximize health and avoid health issues is our most viewed blog article. We will buy just about any product that companies market to combat health issues. We all want the best for our children and our pets. Our pets need to be at peak health to fulfill whatever role they may have in your home. Sadly, many large breed dog owners get this wrong. One study found that 29% of all veterinarian visits were because of degenerative joint disease of the hips.1

Obesity body condition chart

Diet is the focus of today’s blog. Obesity is your puppy or dog’s number one enemy.  This can lead to:

Type 2 diabetes

Osteoarthritis, especially in the hip

High blood pressure

Orthopedic problems, cranial cruciate ligament injuries

Skin disease

Heart and Respiratory Disease

Decreased life expectancy (up to 2.5 years)2

53% of all dogs in the United States are overweight.2 It doesn’t matter whether you feed raw, canned, or kibble. Too much food consumption increases weight in the form of fat which constantly strains their musculoskeletal system and is especially damaging to large and giant breed dogs.

Think of fat as a gas tank. My Chevy Suburban doesn’t need a 75-gallon tank. It has a 31-gallon gas tank and I get on average 20 miles per gallon. That gives me 620 miles of range. That’s 8-10 hours of driving time, which is totally acceptable. When you add more size, you add more weight. This reduces gas mileage and makes the suspension less comfortable.

Obesity in dogs will reduce the lifespan of a healthy joint and make your puppy or dog less comfortable. Click here to see this video of an obese dog. Great Pyrenees will go from 1 pound at birth to approximately 80-140 pounds first 1-2 years of life. That rapid growth combined with obesity will end up over-stressing immature ligaments and joints and lead to early-onset joint degeneration or even hip dysplasia as early as 6-9 months old. It will also set in to play a host of metabolic issues detrimental to growth.

Stop feeding your puppy or dog so much food. Feed them highly nutritious food on a schedule. Please see my previous blog Feeding Your Great Pyrenees Puppy. This will save you money on dog food, reduce your veterinary bills, and improve your puppy’s health for a lifetime. This may be the first time that not selling you something will give you more.

Lust et al3 said this “Excess energy consumption increases the frequency and severity of hip dysplasia in genetically predisposed dogs. Food intake should be regulated to maintain a slender figure with the ribs and dorsal vertebral spines easily palpable, but not visible. Excess dietary calcium and vitamin D contribute to hip dysplasia in genetically predisposed individuals and should be avoided. High dose vitamin C supplementation in growing puppies does not prevent hip dysplasia, and this practice should be discontinued.”  Reduce the food ration if you can’t feel the ribs of your puppy. Stick to high-quality dog food alone and avoid supplements for your puppy.

Dammrich4 states “Overnutrition in dogs from the larger breeds exaggerates this tendency to create osteopenia by increasing the rates of skeletal growth and remodeling of the newly formed cancellous bone.” Overfeeding causes the bone to be less dense and predispose them to injury. Therefore, do all puppy feeding in a controlled manner 2-3 times per day for 15-30 minutes, followed by removal of food until the full size is attained.

Interestingly, restricted feeding was associated with slower growth and delayed growth plate closure in large breed puppies without reducing their adult full size.5 Delayed growth to reduce skeletal injury is what we are trying to do in large breeds. Some people feel that restricting food will create a mini version of what the puppy would have been. This is not the case. Restricted feeding slows their growth in a healthy natural way similar to what a canine would grow like in the wild. I’ve seen many coyotes and a few wolves. All of them were thin.

Pat yourself on the back the next time you see that your puppy isn’t as big as someone bragging on Facebook. A Great Pyrenees puppy that is Goliath at 6 months old is nothing to be excited about. Slow and steady will make your puppy healthier.

Up North Pyrenees raises high-quality puppies one litter at a time. We educate and support our families for a lifetime. Please consider us for your next puppy. We’re worth the wait!


  1. Richardson DC: Review of Orthopedic Case Records. Raleigh, NC, North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, 1985-1990.
  2. Fat Dogs & Dog Obesity: How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight. (2020). Retrieved 4 November 2020, from
  3. Fries CL, Remedios AM. The pathogenesis and diagnosis of canine hip dysplasia: a review. Can Vet J. 1995 Aug; 36(8): 494–502.
  4. Dämmrich K. Relationship between nutrition and bone growth in large and giant dogs. J Nutr. 1991 Nov;121(11 Suppl):S114–S121.
  5. Richardson DR. The Role of Nutrition in Canine Hip Dysplasia. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice. 1992 May; 3(22): 529-540.