How to Choose the Best Puppy Food for Large Breed Pups
Large breed puppies are such a delight. Though it would seem all puppies would need the same thing from their food, large breed pups have slightly different nutritional requirements than those of their smaller breed counterparts.
Large breed puppies can be predisposed to some health conditions which do not necessarily plague smaller breed pups. One of the most critical things that must be observed is rate of growth. Since large breed puppies undergo a longer developmental period, a food that is not properly nutritionally balanced can lead to rapid bone growth, a condition which can cause permanent structural problems when the pup reaches full maturity. To prevent this from occurring, large breed puppies should be fed a diet that contains the correct ratio of calcium to phosphorus which is defined as 1.2 parts of calcium to each unit of phosphorus.
Other health issues that can pose a problem for large breed puppies include hip and elbow dysplasia, osteochondrosis, developmental orthopedic disease, digestion issues, and even obesity. To prevent these conditions from developing, a diet for large breed puppies should provide support for joints through a healthy amount of included omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
Care must be taken to ensure large breed puppies do not become overweight, a problem that places far too much stress on their developing bodies. The best way to avoid a puppy from becoming overweight is to carefully measure all food and monitor intake, cutting back at the first sign of weight gain and increasing food should the puppy appear underweight. Overweight large breed puppies are at a far greater risk of succumbing to heart disease.
Another problem seen in large breed puppies is bloat. Though it is not known what leads to the development of this life-threatening sickness, it is believed that eating too much or too rapidly are contributing factors. Feeding a food designed specifically for a large breed puppy will encourage the dog to eat at a conservative pace thus supporting the dog consuming correct amounts.
The best large breed puppy food takes into account the unique nutritional requirements larger dogs face as they grow.
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Choosing the Correct Calorie Count for Large Breed Puppies
Determining how much of the best food for large breed puppies to feed a pup will depend on a number of different factors. The dog’s activity level, age, and breed will be important considerations. As a starting point, it is a good idea to consult the bag of food for suggested serving sizes, adjusting amounts until achieving the correct meal portion to support a healthy weight and satisfied appetite.
Puppies require their food to be spread throughout their day to maintain optimal energy levels. It is a good idea to divide the puppy’s food into mini meals to keep hunger at bay.
Since large breed puppies experience a longer growth rate and also have specific nutritional needs, it is best to feed this pup a large breed puppy formulation only until the pooch reaches one year of age or has achieved 75 percent of its adult size. At this time, the dog can be transitioned to an appropriate adult food.
Dietary Requirements for Large Breed Puppy Foods
Any food suited to large breed puppies should be comprised of a minimum of 22 percent protein and 8 percent fat. It must also be properly balanced and derived from the highest quality ingredients.
Protein should be the main ingredient in any food suitable for large breed puppies. Whole meats are best, but meat meals are also an excellent concentrated source of protein. By-products are poor quality. Plant-based proteins such as corn, soy, and wheat are common food allergens and difficult for puppies to digest, and thus, should be avoided. The best puppy foods for large breed pups do not contain any of these ingredients.
The addition of prebiotics and probiotics to a diet can assist with the large breed puppy’s processing and utilization of its food. They also encourage the development of healthy gut flora to boost excellent intestinal health.
Carbohydrates form an important, though lesser, part of any healthy diet. For dogs with no stomach or skin sensitivities, a grain-inclusive diet is perfectly acceptable. Whether or not carbohydrates are derived from whole grains, fruits, or vegetables, the primary importance is that they are easy to digest and rich in fiber and antioxidants to support a healthy immune system and optimal digestion.
Healthy fats are a vital component of any diet for the large breed puppy. These are best obtained from animal sources such as chicken fat or oily fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, or anchovies. These will assist with cognitive and eye development as well as provide the needed energy boosts that active puppies need.
Things to Look for in the Best Large Breed Puppy Food
Here is a basic list of the most important things to look for in a food for a large breed puppy:
- 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