Is there a difference between large breed and giant breed dog food? Here’s What to Do Next

Best Large Breed Dog Food for Adults

Once your large breed puppy has reached adulthood, it is time to find yet another food. This transitional period is a good opportunity to talk to your vet about her recommendations for the best large breed dog food. Your veterinarian will be happy to share insights and observations about the best diet for your dog based on breed, size, and other health concerns, and vets have access to a wide range of resources that allow them to help you make an informed choice.

There are three conditions that are influenced by your dog’s nutrition that affect large breed adult dogs:

Orthopedic Disease in Dogs

Large and giant breed dogs are more prone to developing musculoskeletal and orthopedic disorders like hip dysplasia, arthritis, and osteochondrosis. These diseases are linked to excessive growth, hereditary factors, exercise, and nutrition. As an owner, there is not much you can do about hereditary factors, aside from selecting a puppy from a responsible breeder and only breeding healthy dogs, but you do have control over growth rate, exercise, and nutrition.

Feeding your puppy an appropriate large breed puppy diet decreases the dog’s risk of developing DOD. Once he is an adult, it is up to you to monitor diet and exercise to make sure he maintains a healthy weight. A good quality diet with the proper balance of nutrients for large breed dogs helps prevent joints, muscles, and bones from breaking down. Many large breed adult formulas include the joint supplement glucosamine to further improve orthopedic health.

Obesity in Dogs

An estimated 53 percent of American dogs are obese or overweight. Obesity is particularly dangerous for large breed dogs, as it increases their risk of developing orthopedic diseases later in life. All of that extra weight stresses their joints, muscles, and bones, which can lead to serious conditions that affect their quality of life and mobility. Obesity has also been linked to other serious health conditions, including Type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, and high-blood pressure.

Bloat in Dogs

Bloat, known in the veterinary community as gastric dilation and volvulus (GDV), is a very serious and sometimes fatal condition that affects large and giant breed dogs. Bloat occurs when gasses accumulate in the stomach rapidly and have no way to escape. Bloat can be fatal in just a few hours. While there are several different treatment options, prevention is still the best approach for dealing with bloat. Here are a few steps you can take to reduce your dog’s risk of bloat.

  • Feed multiple meals a day, instead of one large, heavy meal, to prevent rapid eating
  • Feed from floor level (not a raised feeder)
  • Avoid foods with high-fat contents (foods with oil and fat in the first four ingredients on the label)
  • Feed foods with large kibble
  • Avoid strenuous exercise 1-2 hours after eating
  • The best option to help your large breed dog avoid this condition is usually a large breed dog formula. Look for a reputable dog food manufacturer that carries a large breed formula and don’t hesitate to ask your veterinarian for her recommendations.

    What is the Difference Between Small Breed Dog Food and Regular?

    In the commercial dog food world, toy and small formulas are often one and the same, and with good reason: “A lot of small dogs are also high in energy and low in stomach capacity. Plus, they need bite-sized kibble for their relatively small mouths,” says Dr. Nelson.

    However, small dogs are more likely than toy dogs to become overweight. To ensure that toy- and small-dog formulas do not pack the pounds on your dog, small-dog owners need to be particularly attuned to portion control.

    Finding the right dog food for your dog is a significant first step; ensuring they are fed correctly is the second. Follow the portion recommendations on the label and adjust accordingly if your dog does not maintain a healthy weight.

    As there is a wide variety of dog foods on the market for small dogs, check with your veterinarian to help you to find the right one for your dog for whatever their life stage.

    Small breed dogs

    Our four-legged friends on the smaller end of the spectrum have very fast metabolisms. From their puppy stage, through to when they’re fully grown, small breed dogs require a diet that accommodates their need for higher calorie foods. But despite these fast metabolisms, you should take great care when portioning your dog’s diet, as they can gain weight quickly. Follow the feeding guide on the food’s label or check in with your local Greencross Vets to be sure you’re giving your dog the optimum amount for good health.

    It’s also important to take into account the size of the kibble. In order to minimise waste and help smaller breeds gain the most from their diet, the size of the kibble must also suit the size of the dog. Kibble formulated for small breeds will be smaller than kibble for larger breeds as it is made with the size of the dog’s jaw in mind. Smaller breeds can be more prone to gastrointestinal upsets and poor dental health, so feeding a diet specific to them can help manage these issues. This is why choosing a pet food tailored to your pet’s size, life stage and breed is the best choice, as it offers them a balanced diet with all the nutrients they need to stay happy and healthy.

    Is there a difference between large and small breed dog foods?

    Your large breed puppy has special nutritional needs that make it important for him to eat food formulated specifically for his size. Learn more about what makes this food different and how you can give your dog the best nutrition.