[BLOG] True Story : Why I had a crush on Starter


Let’s go back in time… I am a third year student at the vet faculty in Toulouse, South-West of France. And when you’re a 20 year-old student, there are plenty of things you don’t really pay attention to.…

Here am I, wandering in a public park. It’s winter (South of France winter, which means outside temperature approaches 10⁰). I’m obviously freezing (I am French, remember?), that explains why my hands are deeply buried inside my pockets.  I am here with my Labrador bitch. She is running free in the park. She is in heats… As I said, when you are a student, there are plenty of things you should pay attention to. Like this Labrador male that comes closer and closer…  I finally realise that something is going wrong when I find them locked together in the middle of an open – and crowded- area, with everyone around laughing at me!

Two months after my bitch delivers 9 black lab puppies. This is my first litter, I am so happy… but it did not exactly go the way I wanted. After parturition my bitch was really… really skinny. She simply looked awful… Day 2 after parturition we lost 5 puppies.  I discussed this with our professor in Nutrition (it happened that I was in her class at this time), and she asked me this simple question: “How did you feed your bitch during pregnancy?”. I was a student, with no money. Obviously I fed her with pet food I was buying at the grocery, cheaper option, right? Our professor sighed and distinctly said: “Ok, let’s start again from the beginning…”. I am not going to repeat every word she said (you can view our video on Nutritional management of the pregnant bi…!), but I clearly remember the message. Wrong nutritional feeding during pregnancy leads to weak puppies, certainly poor milk quality and therefore many difficulties… She spoke of a diet called “Starter” (first time I heard about it I guess)… I kept it in the corner of my mind. One day, maybe, I would need it…

One year later, I am wandering again in the same park. My bitch is in heat again. Another lab male comes along… Did not really learn anything, did I (students, sigh)? My bitch is obviously pregnant… But this time at least I won’t do the same mistake. I go back to see our Professor in Nutrition, and she tells me exactly what to do. I will use Starter after the 42nd day of gestation… My bitch delivers 9 puppies again. After parturition, she looked wonderful: she had not lost weight this time. The puppies are vigorous. This time, I did not lose ANY of them.

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