There’s nothing more magnificent than a Great Dane or a Mastiff puppy. What’s more lovable than a young Bernese Mountain Dog, covered in cuddly baby fur and full of joy and exuberance? Only someone who’s known the friendship of a large or giant breed dog can really understand the thrill of having such a noble, powerful and loving companion.
Large breed puppies need special care and attention when it comes to their dietary requirements. With large breed puppy development, too much too fast can be dangerous. While it’s important to provide sufficient nutrients for them to grow, puppies that grow too fast can develop serious health problems, including hip dysplasia and other joint and skeletal conditions.
What is a Large Breed Puppy?
A large breed puppy is defined as one that will grow to exceed 55 pounds sometime between the age of 10 months and two years of age. This can be anything from a Collie, German Shepherd or Golden Retriever to a Rottweiler, St. Bernard or Old English Sheepdog. Large breed puppies are not lap dogs, nor are they likely to be seen wearing a tutu and being carried around by a Hollywood celebrity! Large breed puppies must be fed high quality large breed puppy foods.
Keys to Feeding a Large Breed Puppy
When raising a large or giant breed puppy, the key consideration is to control the puppy’s growth rate through use of a lean, high protein diet specially formulated for large breed puppies. Whether feeding organic dog food, a home made diet or one of many appropriate large breed puppy foods, the diet should be high in protein and lower in calories than commercial puppy foods developed for the smaller breeds.
A variety of commercial foods are specially formulated for large breed puppies, from reputable manufacturers including
- Blue Wilderness
- Blue Buffalo
- Science Diet
One of the benefits of feeding commercial large breed puppy foods is that feeding guidelines are provided on the label, based on the puppy’s age and weight. Feeding a homemade recipe is much more complicated and best done in conjunction with veterinary advice.
Commercially Available Large Breed Puppy Foods
Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Large Breed is specially formulated for large and giant breed puppies, and includes natural fish oils for brain development, high quality chicken and egg protein and essential nutrients and minerals, with no added fillers or preservatives.
Blue Buffalo’s Life Protection Formula for large breed puppies contains high quality protein supplemented with wholesome grains for complex carbohydrates, garden vegetables and the manufacturer’s signature Life Source Bits (a blend of minerals and antioxidants interspersed throughout the kibble).
For those who prefer a more purely carnivorous approach, Blue Buffalo’s Wilderness Recipe for large breed puppies is a grain-free, protein-rich formulation which is touted as a sensible alternative to raw diets.
Hill’s Science Diet large breed puppy food is also rich in fish oil with Omega-6 fatty acids for brain development and a healthy coat, along with antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients in a lean protein base. Additionally, this formulation boasts the addition of glucosamine and chrondroitin to help control joint growth and health in large breed puppies.
Feeding a large breed puppy is not a “one size fits all” proposition. Because of their special dietary needs and susceptibility to musculoskeletal and joint problems, you should feed your puppy food specially formulated to control growth rate. Good large breed puppy foods supply critical vitamins and minerals, is crucial for the large breed puppy, and will result in a healthy and robust canine friend.
~And remember: A puppy’s love is unconditional, but strive to earn it anyway.~