Feeding Tips for Large Breed Dogs

All dogs, including large breed dogs, need a diet that includes:
- Omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and a radiant coat
- Natural sources of glucosamine to help support healthy joints
- High quality protein sources to promote strong muscles and a healthy heart
- A highly digestible formula

Large and giant breed dogs who weigh 50 pounds or more as adults have big bodies to feed, and experience major growth at the beginning of their lives. It is also particularly important to feed large breed dogs a diet that helps them maintain a lean body condition. A nourishing diet that addresses their specific needs can help them avoid health issues common in large breed dogs such as joint and skeletal stress.

Should I consider a grain free large breed dog food?
Sensitivity to grains is rare and no more likely than your dog developing a sensitivity to other ingredients. If your dog doesn’t have a food intolerance or allergy involving grains, remember that grains such as barley can provide dietary fiber, which helps maintain the health of the digestive system1.

Whole grains are also a good source of protein, and contain valuable antioxidants. Key nutrients that whole grains can provide for your dog include: B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, protein, iron, fiber and potassium2.

If you are considering a grain free diet for your dog, your veterinarian is the best source to recommend quality, nutrient-rich options such as Purina® Beyond® Grain Free Chicken & Egg Recipe Dry Dog Food.

Do large breed puppies need specialized nutrition?
If a large or giant breed puppy is part of your family, you know that they also have special nutritional needs. They mature at a slower rate than small breed puppies, and require fewer calories per unit of body weight.

Managing caloric intake is important because excessive calories can contribute to accelerated growth and weight gain in large and giant breed puppies. Both of these issues can put unhealthy stress on a skeletal system already genetically at risk for orthopedic disease. Consult your veterinarian regarding the right levels of nutrients and calories needed to keep your puppy’s rate of growth controlled for proper development.

Portion control is important
As important as what you feed your large breed dog is how much you feed him. A large body puts a lot of stress on the skeleton that carries it, so maintaining a healthy weight is important to minimize stress on bones and joints.

Although it might be tempting to feed a bigger dog bigger portions, in the long run over-feeding will do him more harm than good. Be sure to follow the feeding instructions for your large breed dog food carefully, to ensure that you are giving your dog the nutrition he needs, without the extra calories he doesn’t.

Also, have your dog checked regularly by your veterinarian, to ensure that he is maintaining a healthy weight and body condition. With proper care and nutrition, you can help your large breed dog continue to live large, and enjoy better health, every day. 

1. The Healthiest Grains to Include in Your Diet. http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-health/the-healthiest-grains-to-include-in-your-diet
2. Oats and Brown Rice: Healthy Whole Grains Your Dog Can Eat. http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/oats-and-brown-rice-healthy-whole-grains-your-dog-can-eat-2/