How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Large Breed Dogs
Large breed dogs add a lot of adventure and love to a home. To help keep a large dog healthy and well, a diet that is properly balanced and made from the highest quality ingredients is an absolute necessity.
Large breed dogs can be predisposed to several different health conditions that can be impacted by diet. Among the problems that can plague them include hip and elbow dysplasia, arthritis, and osteochondrosis. In addition to this, excess weight can greatly exacerbate the potential for disease. To prevent any nutritional impact on potential health problems in large breed dogs, it is recommended that all food be measured and all intake carefully monitored.
Bloat is another condition that can affect large breed dogs. This is of particular concern as bloat is often life-threatening. Although it is not known what causes bloat, experts agree that two of the most important things to avoid are eating too rapidly or too much. Feeding the best large breed dog food with pieces of kibble that encourage careful chewing and swallowing can help combat these tendencies.
Choosing the Correct Calorie Count for Large Breed Dogs
It can be challenging trying to determine how much food to feed a large breed dog. Many different factors come into play when making this assessment. The dog’s age, activity level, and breed will all need to be considered in this decision. As a starting point, it is an excellent idea to use the suggested serving size on the bag as a guideline, making adjustments as needed with weight and appetite serving as helpful guides.
Dietary Requirements for Large Breed Dog Foods
Any food selected for a large breed dog of adult size should contain a minimum of 18 percent protein and 5 percent fat. Care should be taken not to choose a food that goes to extremes in either of these categories as excess weight can cause strain on the dog’s body, possibly leading to injury.
Since large breed dogs can be prone to hip and elbow problems as well as arthritis, it is important to select a food that will provide support for the large dog’s joints. Foods containing glucosamine and chondroitin are a great help in encouraging excellent joint health.
Large breed dogs require a diet that is formulated specifically to meet their needs. For this reason, the average generic adult food is not ideal. Foods designed specifically for large breed consumption are the optimal choice. The best foods for large breed dogs are dense in calories, meaning the dog needs to eat less food to achieve the same result.
To prevent overeating and assist with maintaining oral health, it is a good idea to select a large breed food that contains big pieces of kibble. In addition to these benefits, big kibble pieces encourage dogs to eat more slowly, thus helping to prevent bloat.
Protein should be the first ingredient in any food for a large breed dog. It should come from animal origins and is best in whole form whenever possible. Meat meals provide a powerhouse punch of concentrated nutrition; however, foods based on by-products and plant-based proteins should be avoided.
Dietary fiber is derived from the carbohydrates included in a food. Large breed dogs typically can eat grain-inclusive or grain-free foods with no adverse effects. The best choices for the large dog breed’s diet include carbohydrates that are high in fiber and antioxidants to assist with digestion and fortify immunity.
Healthy fats are an important building block in keeping large breed dogs healthy. They provide vital energy and encourage coat and skin health. The best sources for healthy fats come from animal sources and include such items as chicken fat and oily fish such as mackerel, sardines, anchovies, and salmon.
Things to Look for in the Best Food for Large Breed Dogs
Here is a basic list of the most important things to look for in a food for a large breed dog:
- Whole proteins heading up the ingredients list
- Prepared without the addition of chemicals, flavorings, fillers, or mystery ingredients
- Enriched with probiotics and helpful supplements
- Meets AAFCO nutritional requirements for a complete and balanced food