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Targeting Nutrition for Large Breed Dogs


Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
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A proper diet supports healthy canine development and weight management, important for all dog breeds. However, for large and giant breed dogs proper nutrition is especially important in maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle.

Unique Concerns for Large Breed Dogs

Large and giant breed dogs (generally categorized as those expected to reach an adult weight of 50 lbs. or more) are, in general, more prone than smaller breeds to a condition called hip dysplasia and the degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis) that often develops secondary to it. Researchers agree the predisposition to hip dysplasia is at least somewhat genetic, but dog owners should be aware that nutrition can also have an influence. Rapid growth in large breed puppies and obesity in puppies or adult dogs of any breed may increase the chance of development of hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis.

Convenient Food Choices for Large Breed Dogs

Increased awareness of the special nutritional needs of large and giant breed dogs means pet owners now have the convenience of choosing from many food options. Dog foods for large breeds, formulated with glucosamine, chondroitin, Omega-3 fatty acids, select amino acids and antioxidants, help support the development and maintenance of proper joint health and activity. A notable brand such as Hill's® Science Diet®, is a great choice, delivering nutrition that addresses the needs of large breed dogs.

Weight Management for Large Breed Dogs

In addition to proper nutrition, large and giant breed dogs benefit from healthy weight management. Excess weight stresses joints and may make genetically susceptible animals more prone to development of hip dysplasia. In addition, an overweight dog of any breed is more likely to develop osteoarthritis. Take an active role in preventing canine obesity and prevent excess calorie consumption by means of scheduled feedings and portion control. Avoid free-choice feeding. Offer food at set meal times and control portion sizes with a programmable electronic feeder such as the LeBistro Electronic Feeder .

Commercially available dog foods for large breeds provide a convenient way to ensure proper nutrition. Consult with your veterinarian to develop a nutrition and weight management regimen that best addresses the needs of your large or giant breed dog.

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