|puppy food large breeds|
large-breed puppies, but they are all untrue:
MYTH 1: Dietary protein increases the risk of DOD.
FACT: Dietary protein has no negative effects on DOD in dogs.
MYTH 2: Vitamin C supplementation decreases the risk for DOD.
FACT: Vitamin C supplementation does not have any benefit for puppies.
MYTH 3: Calcium supplementation decreases the risk for DOD.
FACT: Calcium supplementation can increase the risk for DOD.
MYTH 4: Switching to adult food during growth decreases the risk for DOD.
FACT: Switching to adult food during growth can actually put your puppy at risk for nutritional deficiencies.
FEEDING YOUR PUPPY RIGHT
In order to achieve slow, steady growth, it is important that large- and giant-breed puppies are fed a good quality commercial large breed puppy food. In general, these diets are lower in calcium and energy density than “regular” puppy diets. These diets may also be supplemented with compounds such as glucosamine, chondroitin, and omega-3 fatty acids for potential orthopedic benefits (although these compounds can’t hurt, evidence for preventing DOD or arthritis is not strong). As there are no specific Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) guidelines for large-breed puppy formulations (versus all puppies), it is important to choose a diet produced by a large, well-known, reputable manufacturer. Beware of puppy foods that say you don’t have to restrict calories in a large- or giant-breed puppy (you do!) or that perpetuate nutrition myths (for example, the myth that grains are a common cause of allergies).
Feeding directions are required on puppy food labels, but the quality of this information varies greatly. Therefore, you should start at the amount on the lower end of the range listed on the label and keep in mind that these recommendations are only a starting point.
Every dog is an individual, and the amount on the label may be just right, too low, or too high the right amount for your growing puppy is the amount that it takes to maintain a body condition of 4 on a 9-point scale or a 2.5 on a 5-point scale.*
In addition, puppies will go through growth spurts and plateaus in growth so the amount of food will need to be adjusted frequently to maintain this optimal body condition.
Puppies should be fed 2–3 times per day and the amount of food should be measured at each meal so that the quantity can be adjusted to maintain an ideal body condition. Although some puppies can eat free choice and maintain ideal body condition, this is the exception rather than the rule. Large-breed puppy foods vary in calorie density (less than 350 to more than 450 kilocalories [kcals]/cup) – if your puppy’s breed is predisposed to obesity, you should feed a food that
has lower calorie density (less than 400 kcal/cup).
On the opposite end of the spectrum are puppies who are not food motivated and are not able to maintain ideal body condition while eating typical large-breed puppy food. In these puppies, owners should first check for overall health as a variety of health conditions can contribute to a thin, unthrifty puppy. If your puppy’s health checks out, look at the calories in the food you’ve been feeding. If the food contains less than 400 kcals/ cup, try switching to a large-breed puppy food with higher calorie density. If your puppy still has trouble maintaining weight, she may need to eat a regular (not large breed) puppy food with higher calories but appropriate calcium to maintain ideal body condition.
However, regular puppy foods also can vary widely in calories, so be sure to select one with a higher caloric density. What about small- and medium-sized dogs? If your puppy is expected to mature below 50 pounds, don’t feel left out. Most of the same principles hold to keep your special puppy in top shape to reduce the risk of excessively fast growth, nutritional deficiencies and excesses, and early obesity. Smaller puppies are much more tolerant of dietary calcium levels than large breeds, so you only need to worry about providing a puppy diet with appropriate calories to keep your puppy lean.
When growing is done. Once your dog had reached the maturity of his skeleton and joints (approximately 12-18 months of age, depending on breed), no matter what his ultimate size, you don’t want to let things go in terms of body weight and body condition. Keeping a dog trim throughout his or her lifespan has been proven to have many health benefits, such as longer lifespan, reduced pain from arthritis, and reduced risk for a variety of serious health problems.
1-The three dietary factors that can increase the risk of developmental orthopedic diseases in growing dogs:
— Excessive calories and rapid growth.
— Excessive calcium intake.
— Unbalanced diets.
2- All puppies should be fed a good quality commercial food that meets the requirements for growth until they are at least 12-18 months of age (12 months for most dogs; 18 months for giant breeds).
— Don’t switch to adult food before the puppy is full grown!
3- If the dog will mature >50 pounds, he or she should be fed a large-breed puppy food made by a large, well-known, reputable company.
4- Evaluate every 2 weeks and adjust the food frequently to keep the puppy trim throughout the growth phase (body condition score of 4 on a 9-point body condition score or a score of 2.5 on a 5-point scale).
5- Reduce calories by about 15-20% at the time of neutering to prevent fast growth and obesity (but keep the puppy on food that meets growth requirements until at least 12-18 months of age, depending upon breed).
6- Keep treats and table food at less than 10% of the puppy’s total calories to avoid unbalancing the diet and to reduce the risk of fast growth and obesity.
7- Avoid dietary supplements unless it is specifically indicated for a medical issue by your veterinarian.