Choosing a dog breed is a responsible decision, in which many nuances must be taken into account. In particular, the size of an adult animal. The classification of breeds includes 5 varieties:
The characteristics of a particular breed and the size of the dog determine the appropriate diet and conditions of detention, the nature of the walk, and caring for the pet. This article will focus on the correct feeding of large breed puppies.
These include Giant Schnauzers, Rottweilers, St. Bernards, Great Dane, Wolfhounds, Mastiffs, etc. Their weight at maturity exceeds 30 kg, and the height at the withers is more than 60 and even 75 cm.
Why it is important to select complete food for large breed puppies
The first year of a puppy’s life is the time when the foundation of their health is laid. During this period, the metabolism is especially fast, the skeleton is rapidly developing and strengthening, and the immune system learns to cope with various stimuli. A healthy genetic base is very important. But no great pedigree will save if the puppy is not properly fed.
Proper nutrition, including all the nutrients, vitamins, micro- and macroelements necessary for a puppy, is a guarantee of the pet’s health and the timely passage of all stages of development. Growing up, dogs meet the standards of their breed, are distinguished by a spectacular exterior and active behavior. On the contrary, puppies that were not fed correctly grow up small, sickly, lethargic, have health problems, suffer from vitamin deficiency, obesity, joint problems and other diseases. Also, under unfavorable conditions, the risk of developing heart diseases, deformities of the limbs and spine increases.
Therefore, responsible owners get acquainted in advance with the dietary habits of large breed puppies. Consultation with a veterinarian, veterinary dietitian and an experienced breeder is required before choosing a feed.
Features of growth and development of large breed puppies
- From the moment of birth, puppies of large and giant breeds increase their body weight by 70–90 times. For comparison, small dogs gain 20 times their weight. Therefore, it is especially important that the diet of a large-breed puppy contains components that contribute to the formation of a strong skeleton and healthy joints.
- Active growth lasts up to 2 years, while small breed dogs become adults and fully formed individuals within 10 months after birth.
- Large breed puppies are prone to overeating and obesity. Dividing the daily portion into 3-4 meals will help control weight.
- Large breed dogs are susceptible to musculoskeletal injuries and cardiovascular pathologies. Until 3 months old, do not allow the puppy to jump, climb on furniture, climb and descend stairs, because during this period of life, the puppies have undeveloped bone tissue and weak ligaments.
Smooth transfer of puppies to self-feeding usually begins at 4 weeks. The consistency of the feed should gradually change from soft to hard. After two months of age, puppies completely switch to a ready-made diet (when choosing this type of food). For large and giant breed dogs, veterinarians may recommend feed additives, especially those containing calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D.
What food is suitable for large breed puppies
The easiest way to compose a complete diet for your pet is to choose a suitable ready-made food designed specifically for puppies of large breeds. Its composition should include all the necessary components for growth and development. Pet food for dogs of miniature, small and medium breeds will not work, as it does not contain enough nutrients, certain vitamins and minerals. When choosing, you should give preference to super premium-class feeds from reliable manufacturers. The basis of such diets is meat and meat products rich in protein, which is necessary for puppies during the period of rapid growth for the formation of tissues and organs. Quality commercial feed contains the right mix of nutrients, vitamins and minerals in the right proportion. They can also include other components, such as L-carnitine for muscle development, glucosamine and chondroitin for cartilage formation.
Self-preparation of food for a puppy is a laborious task, since you need to know the daily need of a growing dog and clearly monitor its supply. With natural feeding, it is very difficult to achieve the balance that is characteristic of high-quality ready-made feeds. Although for a competent breeder, nothing is impossible. If you bought your puppy from a responsible dog breeder who prefers natural feeding, they will give you recipes for suitable diets. But in any case, bioactive substances will have to be added.
Various feed additives can be an addition to the basic diet, for example, the vitamin-mineral complex for puppies. It is available in the form of tablets and contains an optimal ratio of vitamins, macro- and microelements, as well as prebiotics to normalize the digestive processes. The need for the use of the vitamin-mineral complex is determined by the veterinarian. Before using the drug, you must read the instructions.
How it is correct to feed large breed puppies
- Do not overfeed. Excess weight is extremely harmful for a growing organism, since it increases the load on the heart and an incompletely formed musculoskeletal system. When the puppy refuses to eat part of the meal, there is no need to force feed. Watch him: if no other warning symptoms appear, reduce the portion.
- You cannot feed the puppy from your table. Meat and fish bones, potatoes and pasta, fatty meat, sausages and lard, canned food, citrus fruits, sweets, chocolate are strictly prohibited.
- If you plan to prepare food for the puppy yourself, carefully study the daily allowance (the need for nutrients, vitamins, micro- and macroelements), calorie content and consult your doctor on the selection of a suitable vitamin and mineral complex to fill the deficiency of nutrients from food. Be careful with calcium supplements! An imbalanced macronutrient balance leads to abnormal bone growth.
- Try as soon as possible to decide on the type of feed – a certain brand of industrial food or cooked at home. This will allow not to injure the digestive system by abrupt and frequent transitions from one type of food to another, from one ready-made feed to another. If for some reason the diet did not fit, you need to replace it gradually.
- The pellets in the dry food should be large so that the puppy absorbs food more slowly and trains the jaw muscles. If the dog is struggling with this, soak the food slightly in water.
- Feeding the puppy should take place at least 1–2 hours before walking or physical activity, or 1–2 hours after. Otherwise, there is a risk of intestinal volvulus.
- Monitor your puppy’s weight. If your pet is gaining pounds too quickly, consult your veterinarian and reduce the amount of food.
Consult your veterinary dietitian to help you choose the right food for your pet. It will help determine the optimal diet, taking into account the characteristics of the breed and the health of a particular puppy.