Raising a puppy is lots of fun and can be very rewarding, but it requires patience and preparation. Furthermore, caring for a large breed puppy presents it’s own set of unique challenges. Here we’ll explore your large breed puppy’s specific socialization, training, nutritional, and feeding needs.
When full grown, large breed dogs generally weigh 60 lbs. or more, or measure around 25” & higher at the shoulder. Here are a few of the most common large dog breeds according to the American Kennel Club:
Your large breed puppy’s size alone will intimidate some of their peers (and their peers’ parents). That’s why our recommendation to socialize early and often especially applies to large breeds. Interacting with other dogs and humans at an early age will teach your puppy boundaries as they relate to size & strength. FREE Puppy Hour at DOGUROO is a great way to start socializing your large breed. Puppy and Obedience training classes provide a foundation of obedience that facilitates the transition to a polite, respectful large breed adult.
All puppies require elevated caloric, protein, and other nutrient levels to support healthy growth. It’s important, however, to help your large breed puppy grow at a healthy rate. If your puppy’s bones and joints grow too quickly, they may have trouble supporting your dog’s ideal weight during adulthood. Here are a few recommendations to consider when choosing a food for your large breed puppy:
CALORIES: ~ 350-400 kcal/cup
PROTEIN: High end of moderate (25-35%)
CALCIUM: ~ 1% (0.7-1.5%)
PHOSPHORUS: ~ 1% (0.7-1.2%)
TRANSITION TO ADULT FOOD: The standard of transitioning at 1 year may not be best for your large breed puppy. Consider switching at around 6-8 months unless your puppy’s food closely follows the guidelines above.
One of the life-threatening canine conditions more common among large breeds is bloat. Bloat occurs when the stomach twists due to a rapid intake of food, water, or air. Consider the following:
Feed 3 times a day: Feeding 3 meals a day limits the amount of food in your puppy’s stomach at any one time and allows for consistent nutrient intake.
Moderate consumption: The height from which your puppy eats is less important than their overall rate of consumption. Moderate your puppy’s rate of consumption by placing a tennis ball in their bowl or using a slow-feed bowl.
Monitor activity level: Limit your dog’s activity 1 hour before and after mealtimes to allow for healthy digestion.
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