How to Choose the Best Giant Breed Puppy Food
Determining the right food for a giant breed puppy can feel like a daunting task. Since puppies of this size experience a far longer growth period than the average puppy, it is important to select a diet that will support the giant breed pup through each stage of its development.
Since giant breed puppies often take up to two to three years to reach full maturity, it is important to feed them a puppy food suited to their size for their first year of life or until the pup has reached 75 percent of its adult size. Rapid growth can cause permanent structural issues in puppies, and thus, a puppy food fed past these boundaries can cause irreparable harm due to its high protein and fat content.
Giant breed dogs bear several health problems in common. Though most of these conditions are not brought on by diet, they can be aggravated by poor nutrition, making it vital to select a food that will be a critical help in encouraging good health. Among the health issues that can plague giant breeds are hip and elbow dysplasia, heart problems, obesity, osteochondrosis, developmental orthopedic disease, and bloat.
Any diet for a giant breed puppy should contain a moderate amount of fat and must also include the correct ratio of calcium to phosphorus to support the correct growth rate. The optimal proportion for a giant breed puppy is 1.2 parts of calcium to each unit of phosphorus.
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The correct amount of food is important to prevent giant breed puppies from becoming overweight. To determine how much of the best giant breed puppy food to feed a pup of this size, the bag of itself can serve as a helpful guide through its suggested serving size. Use this as a starting point, adjusting as needed for the puppy’s weight, age, and activity level. The amounts of food may need to be calibrated several times as the pup the grows to ensure adequate nutrition.
To prevent hunger from occurring, giant breed puppies should be fed several mini meals throughout the day. Care should be taken not to overfeed as this can quickly lead to weight gain.
Since bloat is a common problem in giant breed puppies, it is important for owners to do all they can to try to prevent this from occurring. Unfortunately, veterinary professionals are not certain what causes bloat. It is believed that both eating too much and too quickly can be contributing factors. To avoid this common problem, feed a large or giant breed puppy food that includes big pieces of kibble to encourage chewing, thus making it difficult to overeat or consume food too rapidly.
Dietary Requirements for Giant Breed Puppy Foods
The primary ingredient in any diet for a giant breed puppy should be a high-quality protein of animal origins. Whole meats are preferred, but meat meals are also an excellent option. By-products are of little nutritional value and foods containing them should be avoided. Plant-based proteins such as soy, corn, and wheat are common food allergens and difficult for giant breed puppies to digest; avoid them.
Good digestion is the key to puppies receiving the maximum benefit from the best giant breed puppy food. To ensure this happens, the addition of prebiotics and probiotics to a formulation are a great help. If not included in a food, these can be supplemented by purchasing a product from a reputable pet retailer or a veterinarian. Prebiotics and probiotics support digestion and encourage the development of healthy gut flora.
Healthy fats are vital for the health of giant breed puppies. It is from healthy fats that pups get their energy and also receive the dietary assistance they need to maintain good coat and skin health. These are best obtained from animal sources such as chicken fat or salmon oil. These fats also contain DHA, a powerhouse fatty acid that aids in cognitive and vision development.
Carbohydrates form a lesser part of the giant breed puppy’s diet. Whether they are derived from fruits, vegetables, or whole grains, the primary importance is that they be easy to digest and rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are responsible for strengthening a puppy’s immunity to fight off disease.
Lastly, giant breed puppies can greatly benefit from supplements to support their joint health. Look for a food that contains glucosamine and/or chondroitin, two powerful helps in maintaining excellent joint function. These can also be supplemented outside of the puppy’s food if necessary.
Things to Look for in the Best Giant Breed Puppy Food
Here is a basic list of the most important things to look for in a giant breed puppy food:
- Whole meat or meat meal proteins heading up the ingredients list
- Prepared without the addition of chemicals, flavorings, fillers, or mystery ingredients
- Enriched with probiotics, digestive enzymes, and helpful supplements
- Meets AAFCO nutritional requirements for a complete and balanced food
- Includes healthy fats such as chicken fat or salmon oil
- Contains the correct ratio of calcium to phosphorus to promote a healthy rate of growth