Just because your dog is a large or giant breed, doesn’t mean you can pile up the food and hope for the best. These dogs need a well-balanced, nutritious meal – food that has been scientifically developed for them and the way they grow.
There are various products on the market these days that cater specifically for large and giant breeds. Therefore, owners don’t have an excuse. But, what makes this food so special?
From puppy phase
Feeding your giant dog a specific diet should start when he is still a puppy. During the growth phase of the puppy, his bone structure shouldn’t be placed under too much stress – something that extra weight will do. A fat puppy is neither healthy nor cute. It is also important to avoid games that involve jumping, as this will place strain on his bones and joints.
Although large and giant breed dogs have obviously bigger bones than their smaller counterparts, this doesn’t mean that they are stronger. In fact, their bones tend to have a thinner cortex, larger medullary cavity, and less dense spongy bone. Therefore rapidly growing large and giant breed puppies are more inclined to exhibit development bone problems such as hip and elbow dysplasia and osteochondrosis.
For this reason, giant and large breed puppies require a diet that has moderate calcium, phosphorus and calorie levels. With so many different food options developed for these breeds, there is no excuse to feed them food that doesn’t support their nutritional and growth needs.
Over-nutrition will cause the bones to grow too fast, with a lower density, and the skeleton will therefore be less able to withstand the stresses and strains put on it by an increasing muscle mass and body weight.
The critical factor in preventing joint problems in large breed dogs is to maintain an ideal body weight during growth. Excess weight on an immature skeleton is what causes the damage.
Once they are fully grown, a large or giant breed dog still needs to be fed a diet specially formulated for his size.
Adults weigh between 40 and 100kg. Examples of giant breeds include:
- Great Dane
- Irish Wolfhound
- Pyrenean Mountain Dog
- Saint Bernard
Adults weigh more than 25kg.Examples of large breeds include:
- German Shepherd Dog
- Belgian Shepherd Dog
- Golden Retriever
- Labrador Retriever
- Rhodesian Ridgeback
- Afghan Hound
- Bull Terrier