Do you own a large breed puppy and want to make sure that it gets the nutrients that it needs?
If so, then it’s important to know why certain food is better for your large breed puppy. Your larger breed dog has different needs than those of smaller breeds, and feeding them the right food with quality ingredients will take care of most of these needs (but not all of them, that’s where supplements like glucosamine, MSM, fish oil and probiotics come in).
Giving larger dogs the best type of large breed puppy food will allow them to stay healthy and have the energy needed to play and go on walks. With our knowledge of dog health, you will be able to create a long, fulfilling life for your furry friend.
The type of puppy food for large breed dogs that you choose matters, and here is why nutrition is different for your large breed puppy.
1. Bone Development and Function
When you are looking for giant breed puppy food at the local pet shop, it’s important for you to understand what to give your pet and when. This will allow your dog’s bones to develop at the right rate and function for as long as possible, so that the animal can avoid injuries in the future.
Large breed puppies usually take between 12 and 18 months to mature, and their skeletal systems are more susceptible to health problems, including the most common medical issues in large breed dogs. Among these issues is a lack of nutrition, or receiving it from the wrong resources, which can affect the operation of cells that control bone growth and their overall growth rate.
With the right nutrition, your puppy will have no problem growing to the size it should be and developing bones that can support its weight. Their bones will also have an easier time keeping the dog’s muscles, tendons, and ligaments attached and working properly.
2. Reducing Health Risks
The best puppy food for a large breed will do more for your dog than help him or her have an easier time moving around at the moment. The goal is to give your puppy a long life to enjoy, and part of that involves reducing their chances of encountering severe health issues through proper nutrition.
The majority of problems that large breeds face as they age have a negative impact on joint health for dogs and bones in the paws, legs, hips, and spine. Prime examples include osteochondrosis, dysplasia, panosteitis, hypertrophic osteodystrophy, and osteochondrosis (be sure to check out our article for the best joint supplements for dogs).
If you have children, then you need to take the same approach to giving your puppy proper nutrition as you would for your kids. The best dog food for giant breeds has a large supply of protein, which keeps body tissue in good condition and supplies the energy needed to get through the day.
When it comes to large breeds, the best kind of protein to go with is complete protein. This nutrient helps improve the dog’s immune system which helps fight off health issues similar to the ones we mentioned above.
You can find complete protein in many of the same sources that humans consume for the same purpose, such as chicken, pork, fish, and beef. We recommend focusing on chicken because it also contains chondroitin and glucosamine, which allow both puppies and adult dogs to maintain strong joints.
4. Vitamin D
Another factor that you need to consider when feeding a large breed puppy is the fact that there are certain nutrients that it has trouble producing on its own. Your giant dog’s meals should ensure that there is a balance in the nutrients that it can’t make naturally, among the most significant being Vitamin D.
Your large breed puppy needs Vitamin D to regulate the amount of calcium that they can consume, which affects their chances of avoiding skeletal issues and their ability to process energy. Your dog will also have an easier time avoiding cardiovascular problems in the short and long term.
If you own a large breed dog, it will have a harder time producing Vitamin D than not only humans but smaller dogs as well. Make sure that whatever food you choose has a proper amount of Vitamin D so that you can give your puppy a healthier heart and bones.
5. Caloric Density
While you’ll want to help your large breed puppy to avoid issues that can lead to a lack of growth, you’ll also want to avoid giving them food that will make them become overgrown. One factor that you’ll need to consider in this case is caloric density, which makes it easier for the dog to reach the right size and shape.
You’ll need to calculate your puppy’s body condition score (BCS), which should be 4/9 throughout its youth. This should help your puppy achieve a balanced caloric density as it gets older, which should be between 3,200 and 4,100 kcal/kg.
Be sure to avoid high-fat diets, measure the BCS every two to three weeks, and make changes in your puppy’s meals when you see fit. This will allow your puppy to reduce its risk of obesity and problems with skeletal and muscular development, thus giving it a longer, easier existence.
Another important nutrient that your dog’s diet should include is fiber, which emphasizes the need for vegetable-based meals to balance the meat. This nutrient allows your dog to better digest food, which is important for larger canines because they have shorter digestive tracts.
With enough fiber in their meals, puppies can keep their stools moist which makes them easier to pass. This can also help your dog lose weight, if necessary, by making them feel fuller on less food.
Common sources of fiber that you can find for dog food include brown rice, rice bran, grain oatmeal, and beet pulp. Include this food with the meat so that your dog has a balance of protein and fiber, and has the energy needed for games.
Vitamin D is not the only nutrient that large breed puppies have a hard time producing on their own, another important one is fatty acids. That’s why you need to find a dog food that has a plentiful supply.
Fats come in handy for more than just keeping your dog slim and having the energy for chases and playing catch. They also help improve the health of your dog’s skin and hair, which allows it to feel and look good.
Whatever brand you stick with should have Omega-3 or Omega-6 fatty acids. We also advise finding food with linoleic acid, in case your usual choices don’t have the omega options. Fat sources include fish, oils, and nuts.
Balance is an important factor to consider when giving your large puppy the food that it needs. As much as your puppy needs calcium to ensure long-term health, it needs to be balanced with phosphorus to avoid poor growth and muscle disorders.
Phosphorus is another nutrient that dogs can’t produce naturally, and a lack of it can make it harder for the body to keep the bones in shape. Over consumption of calcium can make this process even harder.
With the right food for dogs, each meal will have a 1:1 to 2:1 ratio of calcium to phosphorus. If your usual brand doesn’t have the enough phosphorus, then find one that has more, and you can mix both to find the right balance.
9. Portion Control
While all of the nutrients that we mentioned above are needed in your large breed puppy’s meals, consuming too much can cause problems for their growth. With the right balance of nutrients and appropriate size of meals, this issue can be avoided.
If you have a puppy that is less than six months old, then you need to feed it three times a day to make sure it gets to the size it needs to be. For puppies between six months of age and maturity, limit their meals to two per day to avoid obesity and bone issues.
Younger puppies can eat as much as they want as long as it is for around 10 minutes. Older puppies can eat for around the same amount of time, and make sure that each important nutrient is supplied so that the meals are beneficial.
Our Take on Large Breed Puppy Nutrition
Large breed puppies need special food with quality ingredients and that requires knowing what food to feed them, as well as in what quantity. Their meals should include plenty of nutrients that their bodies can’t produce on their own.
Food for large breeds need protein, Vitamin D, fats, and other nutrients to keep them in shape for fun in the backyard. You also need to monitor how much they eat so that they don’t put themselves at greater risk of health problems.
With these nutrients and tips, your puppy will stay in good health and enjoy a long, fun, and fulfilling life.
For more dog health expertise, check out our comprehensive list of dog articles today so that your canine friends can enjoy fun and games for as long as possible.