Feeding Giant Breed Puppies
Feeding Giant Breed Puppies For Healthy Growth
Those very largest of the large breeds, known as the giant breeds, can pose a real problem for owners especially in their first six to eight months of life. Giant breed puppies tend to grow faster than other breeds but they also have significant health issues associated with these rapid growth spurts. By feeding your puppy properly you can help with overall healthy development and prevent some of the common conditions associated with feeding the wrong quantity and types of foods.
Giant breeds are not a separate group or class of dogs. Typically when most owners think of giant breeds they consider the Great Dane, English Mastiffs, Giant Schnauzers, Newfoundland, Komodor, Irish Wolfhound, Scottish Deerhound and the Great Pyrenees. However other breeds can also be included in this very large dog category including the German Shepherd Dog, Rottweiler, St. Bernard, Bloodhound and the Akita.
Since these puppies will grow very fast it is important to feed the best possible food possible but not the food with the highest protein content. High levels of protein will result in more rapid growth, further stressing already rapidly expanding joints and muscles, ligaments and tendons as well as feet, elbows and knees. Holistic foods that are free from preservatives and chemical additives are also recommended for these dogs as well as all others.
There are specific foods made for large or giant breed puppies that offer a good balanced meal. If you are feeding a raw foods diet it is important to ensure that the nutritional needs of the puppy are being met through a variety of different types of meats and proteins. In other words you don't want to just feed chicken or just feed beef; rather you will need to provide a variety of meats that will ensure all nutrition requirements are fulfilled. Some breeders also recommend adding vegetables and small amounts of fruits and grains while others avoid adding these to the raw food diets. If you have any concerns your vet or an animal nutritionalist that specializes in canine nutrition may be the very best option as a consultant.
Typically most foods for the large or giant breeds of puppies will have about 23 to 25% protein, 15% fat or as low as 12% with a higher level of calcium, usually about 1.2 to 1.5% depending on the specific brand and formulation. Avoid feeding a really energy rich diet, which means that the caloric count of the food should be about 360 calories per cup, with levels of 380 still acceptable. Avoid anything higher than this as rapid weight gain will be highly problematic for these breeds, especially as puppies but even into adulthood.
Avoid overfeeding at all costs. If in doubt check carefully with your vet. Some of these dogs are prone to overeating and if you give them free choice as puppies they will eat until the tub is empty, which is definitely a health risk. Bloat can be a problem in many of these breeds so feed several smaller meals, provide water during the day but do not encourage drinking large quantities of water with dry kibble intake.
Article by Jacob Tanner, go to petflow.com to order Wellness dog food & Canidae pet food online! 1
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