A good large breed puppy food diet focus around slowly encouraging growth over 18 months to 2 years. Preventing overly-rapid-growth is imperative to reducing the risk of skeletal and joint ailments such as hip dysplasia later in her adult life.
Large breed puppies have substantially longer puppyhood. Skeletal structure and joint takes a longer time to develop enough to support their weight, hence a greater stress on keeping large breeds lean.
Regulate intakes of Protein, Carbohydrate and Fats
Most vitamins and minerals are required in the same amount as with other smaller breeds puppies. The 3 groups of nutrients to provide in moderation when it comes to large or giant breed puppies are proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
Common sources of protein-rich food for your puppy are Chicken, beef, lamb, fish, liver, milk or milk products, eggs and soy.
Plants proteins tend to be of lower quality compared to animal protein. This is a plus when it comes to regulating protein intake for large breeds, plant products also come with other essentials like minerals, vitamins and fiber.
Common sources of plant proteins are wheat, rice, maize, barley and soy.
Dogs do not have a biological need for carbohydrates but there are many benefits to include it in a large breed puppy food diet.
As a source of energy, carbohydrates are more readily used than protein and lower in calories than fat. While proteins can be used energy, having carbohydrates will free up proteins to do what proteins do best; building cells, muscles, hormones, antibodies, blood and amino acids.
Carbohydrates slow digestion, allowing more time for nutrients to be absorbed and keeping your dog feel full for a longer period, decreasing the need to snack more often and risk over-feeding as a result.
Common sources of carbohydrates include, rice, wheat, maize, barley, oats, soybean hulls, beet pulp, bran and pectin.
Chicken, beef and lamb meat are good source of animal fats while seed oils from Sunflower and Flaxseed are great examples of plant fats.
Known as Omega-6, this fatty acid is key for production of energy, a healthy coat and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
It’s important to note that unlike humans, cholesterol level and clogged arteries are generally not a problem for dogs, in that sense saturated fats are not a concern.
Omega-3 fatty acid on the other hand are rich in fish and fish oil such as mackerel, salmon, tuna, cod liver oil and herring oil. 1 tablespoon of Omega-3 rich fish meat will meet the daily need of a 40-pound dog.
Omega-3 is crucial for it's strong anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the risk of heart disease and repairing of wounds.
It cannot be stressed enough that while these 3 nutrients deserve special attention in a large breed puppy food diet, they are essential to the overall health and growth of your puppy.
Key take away here? Balance and moderation but not deprive.
A weekly review will put you and your puppy in good state…
Simple weekly guidelines for assessing your puppy’s weight:
Waist and abdominal tuck are very visible. Minimal fat over ribs, mostly just skin. Ribs, spine and hips are easily felt and visible.
Waist visible behind ribs from top view. Abdominal tuck rises just above ribs. Thin layer of fat over ribs. Able to feel the bumps of his rib cage without pressing in. Able to feel the bumps of her two pelvic bones over her rump without pressing in.
Waist not prominent from top view. No to little abdominal tuck visible. Excessive fat prevents ribs, spine and hips from being felt.
Calcium in large breed puppy food diet
One of the most important nutrients for both puppies and adult dogs’ diet. Calcium is imperative to healthy teeth and skeletal development.
There is simply not enough calcium in any other food sources. Bones and eggshells must be added exclusively in a large breed puppy food diet.
While it is fine and even enjoyable for your grown-up dogs to have that occasional bone, young puppies might not have that luxury with their still developing teeth.
A cheaper and more consistent recommendation will be eggshell powders.
Once clean and dry, eggshells must be ground to a fine powdery form with no sharp edges. Mix it to her food according to her weight.
Weight of puppy/dog Daily amount of powdered eggshell
10-pound ¼ teaspoon
20-pound ½ teaspoon
40-pound ¾ teaspoon
60-pound 1 teaspoon
Like most things in life, don’t overdo a good thing. Too much calcium will hinder the absorption of phosphorus, a vital mineral responsible for strong teeth and bone.
The only difference between a smaller breed versus a large breed is that large breeds takes a much longer time to grow and develop their joint and skeletal structure. All puppies need Protein, Carbohydrate and fats to thrive. In the case of large breed, the tricky part comes from the need to balance rate of growth for their bones and joint to develop well.
Ultimately, keeping a puppy lean is important across all breeds for health reasons. A lean dog is also likely to keep you company for many more years compared to an obese one. Studies have shown lean dogs can live as much as 2 years longer than overweight ones. As large breeds tend to have a shorter life span, that will mean an extension of her life by as much as 15%!