Large & Giant Breed Puppy Health
01.25.2010 | 09:53 am
As you may have noticed, we talk a lot about puppies this time of year. We love puppies for same reasons many others do…because they are absolutely irresistible – so full of life and vigor, and so incredibly cute. Although puppies do seem invincible at times, we can’t stress enough the importance of selecting the right food that will nourish and help them grow properly. Let’s take a few minutes to look at some of our favorite puppies of all time, those that fit into the large and giant breed category.
Large or giant breed dogs are among the most popular breeds. Of the 160 or so breeds registered with the American Kennel Club, the majority listed in the top half are large or giant breeds. Labrador Retrievers are the most popular breed by a significant margin, and have been for some time. Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Boxers and Standard Poodles are all in the top ten breeds.
It is essential that the pet parents of these breeds are aware of the special needs of large and giant breed dogs in order to provide all that is needed to assure a long, happy and healthy life.
Many of the larger breeds have the potential to grow 100 times their birth weight. They have a faster growth rate; however, that rate must be controlled in order to allow the puppy to develop normally without the risk of problems. For this reason, it is important to feed a diet that specifically addresses the needs of large and giant breed puppies. Like any diet, the basic formula should be extremely nutritious containing highly digestible ingredients that address all the needs of that specific life stage.
Just what are the nutritional needs of these rapidly growing large and giant breed puppies?
Controlled growth, optimum levels of calcium and phosphorus, essential fatty acids as well as specific holistic ingredients to enhance development are all essential elements in an optimum holistic formula for a large or giant breed puppy.
If growth is not controlled and calcium levels are in excess, the puppy runs the risk of contracting one of several developmental bone diseases, all of which are very painful and can have permanent detrimental effects on the puppy’s quality of life. Traditional puppy diets are designed with lots of protein and fat so as to provide large amounts of calories. Large and giant breed puppies do not do well on these diets and for that reason; large and giant breed formulas were developed.
1. Controlled Growth:
If too many calories are consumed the rate of growth will be increased, which is to be avoided. Too many calories increases weight too rapidly on the developing bones and can raise the risk of bone problems. These puppies should be fed an amount of food that maintains a slightly lean body condition, at least until they are approximately 10-12 months of age. For this reason, Holistic Select® Large and Giant Breed Puppy Formula contains lower levels of protein, fat and calories than traditional puppy diets so as to help the pet parent control the rate of growth.
2. Calcium and Phosphorus Levels:
Most would assume that large and giant breed puppies would need more calcium and phosphorus than a smaller breed puppy, as their bone structure is so mush bigger. On the contrary, they actually need slightly less calcium. Too much calcium can also increase the incidence of any one of those very painful developmental bone diseases. The challenge is to provide just enough calcium to reduce the risk bone problems while supplying levels that allow for maximum growth potential. As long as you are feeding a balanced diet, never supplement a large and giant breed puppy with a mineral supplement.
3. Certain Essential Fatty Acids:
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an essential Omega 3 fatty acid that has been found to enhance brain development in puppies. It is important that these giant and in some cases large breeds are well trained so that control is maintained. By providing holistic, functional food ingredients that support proper brain development puppies have been found to be more easily trained in the basic obedience commands.
4. Probiotics or Direct Fed Microbials (DFMs):
Probiotics are the essential bacteria that play a key role in establishing the normal flora of the gut so that proper digestion is achieved. They have the holistic benefit of also enhancing the immune system early on in the puppy’s life. By feeding a diet daily that contains these natural organisms, the digestive system and immune system are at optimum efficiency all the time.
Prebiotics are the essential foods necessary to keep the probiotics or DFMs healthy and happy. They are natural ingredients that have benefit specifically to the good bacteria as well as additional advantages for the puppy. Holistic Select® Large and Giant Breed Puppy Formula uses beet pulp and inulin to provide ideal nutrients to these good bacteria that produce other short chain fatty acids necessary for a healthy intestinal tract. Some beet pulp is retained in the digestive tract to assure adequate stool volume to keep the digestive contents moving along.
Holistic Select® Large and Giant Breed Puppy Formula is designed with the precise needs in mind so as to give your puppy the right start in life. We have been making holistic and natural diets specifically for large and giant breed puppies for over 20 years and have the experience and expertise to provide your pet with the ideal formula it deserves.
Holistic Select® diets contain no wheat, soy or corn and contain natural ingredients that have functional benefits that together enhance the health and well-being of our four legged companions.
- Kelp to improve skin and hair coat as well as provide a natural source of trace minerals.
- Yucca is an odor reducer and a known anti-inflammatory
- Glucosamine for joint health
- Natural Digestive Enzymes are added to the food to increase total digestibility.
- Taurine and L-Carnitine are added to what naturally occurs in the ingredients so as to encourage a healthy heart.
It’s always best to feed regularly as opposed to leaving food out for your puppy at all times. This will help control rate of growth. Likewise, try and avoid feeding just before and just after exercise to reduce the chances of “bloat”, another potential problem for some breeds. Giving a puppy the right start in life is as important as giving a child the right start. Creating good habits and feeding an optimum diet that encourages maximum growth potential while reducing the risk of disease is the ultimate goal.
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