When it comes to big dogs, we know they have some big appetites, but do you know about how to best meet their nutritional needs? Learn how to support your large breed dog as they grow from puppies into adults and what they need to stay healthy.
1. Beware of too much calcium
According to Lynn Buzhardt, DVM of VCA Hospitals, “Calcium is needed for strong bones, but is harmful in excess. Pups, unlike adult dogs, cannot adequately regulate how much dietary calcium they absorb from the intestinal tract. Sometimes they absorb and retain too much calcium which can cause skeletal malformations.”
She continues to explain that in addition, too much calcium in your dog’s diet can cause other nutritional deficiencies. Check your large breed pup’s food and discuss your dog’s calcium needs with your vet. Unless the food is lacking in calcium, they will probably recommend you skip the calcium supplements.
2. Match caloric needs to activity levels
As puppies, large breed dogs grow very quickly sometimes as much as a few pounds a week in certain stages of their growth. During this time they will need a lot of calories and quality nutrition to make sure they are growing at the right speed.
Growing too fast can cause health issues later in life, so check in with your vet if you have any questions or concerns. All those puppy appointments for vaccines can come in handy allowing you and your pup some extra face time with the vet.
Dr. Buzhardt says, "The adult size of your dog may be determined by genetics; however, the time it takes for your dog to become “full grown” can be impacted by proper nutrition. Growing at the proper rate means less risk of bone and joint disease. So, exert some control over your dog’s diet and help control his growth."
Once your dog is done growing, you want to match their caloric needs with their activity levels. Not all large breed dogs are high energy and too many calories consumed each day can lead to weight gain if you aren’t monitoring.
3. Feed the right amount of high-quality protein
Getting the right amount of high-quality protein is important because it contributes to your pups muscle growth. Too much protein can cause imbalances and negatively impact your pup’s growth.
If your pup grows too fast their bones may develop weaker, this combined with any excess weight can contribute to health issues down the road. High-quality protein for your pup can be costly, but it’s no different than feeding yourself. When you go to the grocery store, you see that the organic free-range chicken is a higher price per pound than the “factory farmed” stuff. So choose your pup’s food wisely.
At Ollie, we want to make it easy to feed your large breed pup. We work with a veterinary nutritionist to choose the highest quality human-grade proteins for our recipes. We also work to ensure they are nutritionally balanced and full of the good stuff. You’ll see ingredients like pumpkin, blueberries, carrots, spinach, cod liver oil, and chia seeds. We also add organ meats for added vitamins and minerals. These nutrient-dense protein sources can give your pup’s wellness a big boost.
Getting started is easy, we’ll ask you a few questions about your pup and create a customized meal plan for them. Our food is gently cooked and then frozen to preserve freshness and all that great nutrition. The food will be shipped directly to your door in conveniently portioned packages. Store in your freezer and then thaw in the fridge 24 hours or so before your pup is ready to chow down!
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.