All dogs have different age lengths, characteristics, dietary requirements, etc., and that includes large breed dogs. Whether you’re thinking about adding another dog to your current roster of little fur-balls, or you already have a large breed dog and are looking for tips to make it grow up strong and healthy – you’re in the right place.
This blog was created to help large breed dog owners understand that their dogs have different sets of health needs than other dogs. This is especially true if you’ve only owned smaller dogs. For example, if you’ve only ever owned Chihuahuas, and are now thinking about adopting a Great Dane, you’re going to be in for some eye-opening changes.
Apart from the obvious physical differences, there are also many health-related differences that must be considered (and this includes dietary requirements, too). The nutritional requirements of a pit bull are a lot different than that of a pug, and vice versa. So, if you’re looking for some nutritional tips, as well as some general healthcare information, keep on reading.
Nutritional Requirements for Large Dogs: The Basics
It should go without saying that large breed dogs require more calories than small breeds. Think about it like this: NFL players require more calories than a 105-pound office worker. The same line of thinking can be used for dogs, too. Your Great Dane puppy will need a lot more calories and nutrients than a golden doodle puppy, that’s just the reality of the situation.
You probably already understand the fact that dogs have a unique set of nutritional requirements, especially compared to cats. Feline nutritional requirements are pretty basic; just feed them some protein and fats (from animal-based foods) and you’re all set. Dogs, on the other hand, require a diet that’s more in line with what humans need (e.g. protein, fat, carbs, vitamins, minerals, etc.).
Generally speaking, the nutritional requirements for large breed dogs can be thought of as being close to the requirements for small/medium-sized dogs. Using a brand such as Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Puppy dog food would be a good start, especially for puppies. Luckily, there are numerous products on the market, all of which follow stringent dietary guidelines as recommended by regulatory bodies that cover nutritional requirements for the pet industry.
General Healthcare Tips for Large Dogs
Large breed dogs have a higher potential for a variety of diseases and health issues (e.g. developmental problems, hip dysplasia, bloating, heart problems, etc.). Of course, feeding your large breed dog a nutritious diet that’s rich in vitamins and minerals (and sourced from high-quality ingredients) is one of the absolute best ways to fight these common problems.
The other thing that you need to think about is how often you plan on taking your dog to the vet. No, we’re not talking about emergencies here. We’re talking about normal, everyday check-ups.
Don’t downplay the importance of these scheduled visits. These are the moments when your vet has the chance to catch the disease early on, and the earlier you catch a health problem, the greater chance you have of treating it (or curing it). If you never take your dog to the vet, you really need to reconsider your healthcare management strategy. Not taking your dog to the vet at least a few times per year increases the chance of them developing a serious health problem that won’t be easy to fix (especially if it advances to an end-stage prognosis).
Cancer in Large Dogs
Unfortunately, large breed dogs have a greater chance of developing cancer than other dogs. Vets aren’t quite sure of the mechanism behind this, but it exists nonetheless. As a matter of fact, cancer is the leading cause of death for dogs (that’s not accident-related). Also, dogs that reach the age of 10 (or above) have at least a 45% chance of dying from an age-related disease (or disease in general).
There are many different types of cancer that dogs can develop, just like humans, and unfortunately, the only way to treat many of them is through very powerful drugs. That’s why taking your dog for a routine inspection is very important. Not only can the vet identify and treat early-stage cancer, but they can also give the knowledge to fight that battle from home as well (e.g. proper dietary practices, exercise, etc.) – the point here is to take your dog to the vet as much as possible.