Feeding Your Large Breed Puppy The Right Amounts
When it comes to a feeding regimen, never just fill a food bowl and let a puppy graze. Instead, start your puppy off right by introducing a schedule of controlled feeding amounts as detailed in the feeding guidelines on the packaging. The recommended feeding guide on the bag asks questions such as how old is your puppy and how heavy is your puppy in order to gauge feeding amount. Its a good idea to re-check every two months, suggests Wellness veterinarian Dr. Danielle Bernal. Its a guideline, and every dog is different. Use your eye if you think your puppy is gaining too much weight, reduce the amount by 10 percent.
Its important to remember that even large breed puppies have quite small tummies. When they are as young as eight to 12 weeks, they tend to have bursts of energy and then flop and sleep. Its okay to take the required feeding amount and initially divide it into three or four small meals. But by the time they are 12 weeks old, divide that amount into two meals per day, advises Bernal.
When measuring food amounts always use a standard measuring cup to measure. Never grab any cup or mug in the kitchen as they usually hold different and arbitrary amounts. Also, be sure that its a level cup. Anything heaped is extra food and ultimately will cause a puppy to gain weight.
What Fruit Cant Dogs Eat
What Fruits Are Not Good for Dogs?
- Avocado. This fruit contains persin, a toxin that makes dogs throw up and have diarrhea.
- Cherries. Cherry pits contain cyanide.
- Grapes. Grapes can cause sudden kidney failure in dogs.
- Tomatoes. The green parts of the tomato plant have solanine, which is toxic to dogs.
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Dog Articles: Health
Puppy, adult and senior: all three stages are important times in your furry pals life when its appropriate to ask your veterinarian about your dogs diet.
Thats usually when your puppy is nearing his adult height and can transition to adult food. Spaying or neutering usually occurs at this age as well, lowering your dogs need for increased energy hence a reason to switch from puppy to adult dog food.
Breed size matters
Switching to adult food coincides with maturity, but due to the large variety of breeds, different dogs mature at different rates. Smaller breeds tend to mature faster than larger breeds:
Dogs up to 30 pounds mature around 10 to 12 months of age.
Some toy breeds can mature as early as seven to nine months old.
Medium breeds, up to 80 pounds, mature between 12 to 16 months.
Large breeds can mature at 12, 13, or even 14 months old.
Giant breed dogs can take up to two years to reach full maturity.
No more three squares a day
Most pet parents feed two half-portions of adult food when their dogs are over a year old.
Eyes on your furry friend. Not his food.
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What About Foods For All Life Stages Are They Safe For Puppies
In addition to foods that are labelled as being appropriate for growth and reproduction or adult maintenance,you may also see foods bearing a label that indicates they are appropriate for all life stages.
These foods are appropriate for most healthy dogs , so you can go ahead and feed them to your puppy.
These foods are designed to meet the requirements for growth and reproduction and adult maintenance. But because the nutritional requirements for puppy foods exceed those of typical adult foods, it means these are essentially puppy food.
Because they have higher protein and fat content than many adult foods, you will want to keep an eye on the body weight of adult dogs fed such recipes.
But as long as your pooch stays nice and svelte, theyre fine for adults too. This extra protein also makes puppy food or all life stages food a great dog food for weight gain if youre trying to get a thin dog to a healthier weight.
A Final Note Of Caution
In the past, veterinarians and breeders have recommended transitioning large/giant puppies to adult dog food at an early age to help slow their growth. Adult dog food is generally less energy-dense, thus, less calorie-dense.
However, this is risky because the energy density and calcium levels of the thousands of adult dog foods available are so variable. Some may be higher or lower in calcium and calorie density than the growth food the pet was just transitioned away from. Depending on the energy density and calcium concentration, your puppy may actually take in even more calcium than they would have if they were just kept on puppy formula.
The best advice is to continue the large/giant breed puppy on a large breed growth formula until they reach skeletal maturity.
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Senior Large And Giant Breed Dogs Have Different Nutritional Needs
The point at which an adult dog becomes a senior pet is both subjective and variable, given that life expectancies vary widely among dogs depending on their breed and body size. Large and giant breed dogs are often considered seniors at 5 or 6 years old. One rule of thumb is to consider your dog a senior for the last 25 percent of the breeds predicted lifespan.
Aging, in itself, is not a disease, but it is associated with several diseases. Like us, dogs experience several age-related changes, including loss of vision or hearing, decreased energy requirements, obesity and even cognitive dysfunction . Some of the diseases commonly seen in older dogs are arthritis, diabetes, dental problems, heart or kidney disease, and cancer. The immune system also weakens with age, which can leave your older dog at a higher risk for infection and slowed healing.
Nutrition can be a powerful tool in helping senior dogs to maintain health, reduce risk of disease and help manage disease. However, determining which dog food is best for your older dog can be challenging. In choosing a food for an older dog, the first thing to consider is your pets overall health. If your senior dog is healthy, in good body condition and eating a good-quality adult food, there is no reason to change pet food. But if your older dog is showing signs of age-related changes or one of the common diseases, then adjustments to the diet may help.
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So What Is The Best Food For Large Breeds
There is no one brand of food that is the best food for large breeds. As an owner, it is up to you to do your research about large breed nutrition and determine which food is the best for your dog. The best way to do this is to consult with your veterinarian. Your vet can help you come up with a lifelong nutrition plan for all your dogs stages of life, giving him the best chance at a long and healthy life.
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How To Transition From Puppy Formula To Adult Formula Or All
When that one-time ball of fluff is done growing, its time to transition to an adult formula. Sudden changes in food can be upsetting to a dogs gastrointestinal system. For that reason, many brands recommend a phased approach, starting with a small ratio of adult food to puppy food, and gradually increasing that adult ratio.
However, if youre feeding your puppy NutriSource brands from the start, the phased approach isnt necessary. in particular NutriSource chicken and rice recipes transition exceptionally well from puppy to adult formulations.
If youre feeding your dog a brand that does require a phased approach, heres a basic formula to follow:
- Day 1: 80% puppy formula to 20% adult formula
- Day 3: 50-50 mix of puppy and adult formula
- Day 5: 20% puppy formula to 80% adult formula
- Day 7: 100% adult formula
Chart Your Puppys Weight And Growth
- There are growth-and-weight charts available in print and online. Weigh the puppy weekly and record his progress, comparing him to breed-appropriate weight charts. Adjust his food intake to achieve an average rate of growth.
- Weighing a dog, even a squirming puppy, is easy. Just weigh yourself, then weigh yourself holding the puppy. Subtract the differencethats the puppys weight. Voila!
- Dont worry about an ounce or two either way no two dogs, even within breeds, are built exactly alike.
- A young dog carrying too much weight has an increased risk of orthopedic problems, due to stress on immature joints. Obesity can also lead to diabetes, diseases of the heart and other organs, and general lethargy.
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How Do I Choose The Best Puppy Food
You should choose a large breed puppy food from a dog food company that has undergone AAFCO feeding trials. This means that the specific formulation of the diet has been fed to dogs to make sure there are no deficiencies. As surprising as it may seem, many dog food companies make their food based on a recipe and never feed it to actual dogs before sending into the stores. You want to choose a pet food company which invests in scientific research and consults with veterinary nutritionists to provide a dog food that specially balanced for a puppy’s development.
How Much Should Puppies Eat
A fresh meal service like Ollie helps change your feeding approach as your dog changes ages from puppy to adult so you dont have to worry about portions during different life stages.
Since puppies are growing rapidly, they need more food than adult dogs. Puppy nutrition is crucial for developing a foundation for future growth, as well as their bone and organ development. Puppies must have a specific amount of calcium in their diet, otherwise, they can develop metabolic bone disease or orthopedic conditions like early-onset arthritis. Toy-breed puppies, in particular, are prone to hypoglycemia.
Puppies need small, frequent feedings. For the first few months of a puppys life, they will need small meals of food throughout the day as they transition from their mothers milk to solid food. Starting around four months, puppies can begin eating about three times a day, and after that, puppies will quickly graduate to twice-a-day feedings.
Feeding them three or four times per day makes it easier for puppies to digest and help keep energy levels consistent. However, its important to not overfeed them, since overweight puppies are more likely to become overweight adult dogs.
Even though puppies grow quickly, its important to keep caloric intake and food amount consistent from four to twelve months of age. Puppies use fewer calories for growth as they become older. This comprehensive puppy feeding chart has vet-recommended guidelines on how much and how often to feed your puppy.
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Calcium And Vitamin D Levels
Many studies have looked at the link between mineral imbalances and DOD. The most likely culprits are calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus. These minerals, along with other hormones, must maintain a delicate balance to allow for proper growth while avoiding pathology. Too much or too little can lead to serious health conditions.
Calcium is the most important element of bone mineralization and is vital for proper skeletal development. Large/giant breed puppies fed foods high in calcium have an increased risk of DOD, most notably OCD lesions on joints like their shoulders, elbows, and ankle joints. Delayed skeletal maturation and growth of the long bones, angular limb deformities, and other conditions have also been found in puppies fed high calcium diets.
Vitamin D levels in food are also important, as vitamin D helps to increase the amount of calcium absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. Puppies passively absorb 70% of total dietary calcium from the small intestinal tract. They are less able to regulate nutrient absorption compared to full-grown adults. Therefore if a puppy is taking in too much Vitamin D, they are also likely absorbing too much calcium.
NOTE:It is not recommended to supplement growing large/giant breed puppies that are fed a commercially made diet.
Things To Look For In Foods For Dogs
While puppy foods and dog foods differ in their precise nutritional requirements, there are a number of characteristics that you should look for in any food that you offer your precious family member. Some of the most important traits of good foods include:
- Good foods feature a protein as the primary protein source. Dogs and puppies of all ages are best supported by a meat-based diet, so look for things like deboned chicken, duck, beef, pork or salmon as the first listed ingredient.
- Good foods dont include unnecessary additives, including dyes or flavors. Artificial colors and other additives do not add anything important to your puppys diet, and they may trigger food allergies. Fortunately, most high-quality puppy foods now leave these types of ingredients out of their recipes.
- The very best foods are made in a country with high food-safety protocols. Countries like the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and those of Western Europe typically have sufficient regulations in place to help ensure your puppys food does not contain any harmful ingredients, while those made in other countries often lack such regulations.
- Good foods may include by-products and meat-meals, but they must be specifically identified. By-products and meat-meals sound thoroughly disgusting to most people, but they often represent a viable and perfectly acceptable ingredient for your pups food but they must be identified by species so that you know what your dog is getting.
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Large And Giant Breeds
If their adult weight is projected at 55 pounds or greater, that puts your puppy in the large-breed category. Larger breeds grow more slowly than medium to small breeds. They wont reach physical maturity at the age of 18-24 months. This means the bigger breeds have different nutritional needs than those of their smaller-sized counterparts. Because theyre maturing at a slower rate, you want to make sure you dont overdo it on minerals such as calcium.
Puppy formulas for small to medium breeds pack in more calcium than large-breed puppy formulas. If you offer the large breed the wrong puppy formula, the overload of calcium can lead to too-rapid bone growth, causing problems in adulthood. They run the risk of developing a weaker skeleton and joints as well as developmental orthopedic diseases, according to VCA Hospitals.
Nutrients For A Puppy
The growth rate for a puppy will vary by breed, but whatever their rate of development, they need the nutritional support to maintain an optimal growth rate. To develop properly, puppies need a good balance of proteins, fats, calcium, and carbohydrates.
These nutrients play an important role in brain, muscle, and brain development. It is important to maintain this balance to prevent puppies from developing into obese adults.
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Why Adult Dog Food Is Important
Puppy food is nutrient rich and high in calories to support your puppys growth, development and high energy levels.
Continuing to feed puppy food past the point of maturity could cause him to become overweight, which can lead to other health problems.
Choose a complete and balanced adult dog food formula once your puppy reaches maturity to help him maintain his ideal body condition.
When Do I Switch My Puppy To Adult Dog Food
Depending on the breed, most dogs will not stop growing for the first year or two. You can continue feeding them a puppy formula until their growth plates have sealed, as long as they are not overweight. However, you must work closely with a veterinarian to assess your puppys body condition score. This will ensure that your puppy switches from puppy to adult dog food at the ideal time. Your veterinarian can also recommend how much adult dog food you should give your dog, as too many extra calories and nutrients may be harmful.
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Whats Considered A Large Breed Puppy
The Association of American Feed Control Officers defines large breed puppies as dogs that are expected to exceed seventy pounds at their healthy adult weight. It is worth noting that some nutritionists recommend using fifty pounds as the cut-off for large breed dogs to ensure the dog receives appropriate nutrition.
There is no strict cut-off to distinguish between large and giant breeds. Popular large breed dogs include the Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Boxer, and German Shepherd. Giant breed dogs will reach larger adult sizes, often over 100 pounds. Popular giant breeds include the Saint Bernard, English Mastiff, and Great Dane.
The good news for pet owners is that nutritional needs for large and giant breed puppies are similar, so we dont need to get hung up on differentiating the two groups. Large breed puppy foods are appropriate for both large and giant breed puppies.
Balance Is Critical From Day 1 For Giant Breed Puppies
Some raw feeders recommend starting puppies on a diet of just chicken to start. And over several weeks to a month or more, slowly add in other proteins and eventually organ. This method may be fine for a Beagle, but it can lead to devastating consequences in a rapidly growing Mastiff or Great Dane puppy.
Giant breed puppies require a balanced raw diet from day 1. Balance is defined as the proper amounts of meat, bone, and organ from a variety of animal protein sources.
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