Advice on feeding large breed dogs

The nutritional needs of any animal are associated with the type of metabolism, level of exercise and size. The nutrition of large breed dogs differs from other breeds and owners must have the necessary knowledge to provide their 4-legged friend with the nutrients he needs.

The nutritional needs of a large breed dog

At birth, an average puppy will weigh between 120 and 550 grams. The amount of food you need to provide varies according to its size. 

Broadly speaking, here’s what you need to know about nutrients:

  • An average dog should be given a diet consisting of a minimum of 22 grams of  animal protein  and a maximum of 25 grams.
  • As for fats , he can ingest up to 82.5 grams per day. The average recommended amount is 13.8 grams.
  • As for  vitamins and minerals,  vitamins A and E, calcium, phosphorus and potassium must be present.

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is an organization that publishes nutrient profiles on a regular basis, listing the nutrients that are good for animals.

The consequences of a nutritional imbalance

25% of veterinary consultations are linked to developmental orthopedic diseases, such as osteoarthritis. In at least a quarter of cases, the disease is due to an unbalanced diet low in calcium and other essential nutrients.

Overfeeding a puppy can be worse than malnutrition. Although the little one will not receive the necessary nutrients for a period of time, it will grow shortly after regaining a balance in its diet.

If a puppy is overfed, he will gain weight and grow at a faster rate than recommended. This will result in an overload of the skeleton  which can cause the following diseases:

  • Osteochondrosis
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Fragmentation and fracture of the coronoid process

In 1974, a study analyzed 12 pairs of Great Dane dogs, which received a diet rich in protein, phosphorus and calories. In those fed in this way, the aforementioned diseases prevailed.

Compared to large breed dogs that were given an unbalanced diet, those that received a balanced diet showed far fewer pathologies associated with overgrowth. Hip dysplasia was one of the most common in overfed animals.

For adults, overeating causes a variety of problems. Joint deterioration appears to be one of the most frequent symptoms.

Remember that daily physical exercise related to the energy expenditure of the breed in question should be associated with a balanced diet , as disturbances related to a sedentary lifestyle could arise.

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