Large dogs are extra affectionate and cuddly. However, due to their dimensions, these dogs have their own set of requirements. Breeds that are large and massive like German shepherds and Great Danes differ from smaller breeds in their diet as well as how they should exercise, and what they should consider most during puppyhood. We talked to the veterinarian Joanna Gale, BVetMed, an expert from Mars Petcare expert, to find out how to keep your dog’s size looking and feeling great.
1. Feed the right food
All dogs require foods that are designed specifically to meet their nutritional and body requirements. However, as per Gale, big dog breeds should not eat any food. They need a specific diet designed for giant or large breeds that have more nutrients to aid in the development of joints in a healthy way. “The major difference lies in the proportion of micronutrients calcium, phosphorus, and calcium.” In addition, she says that joint damage over time could occur if the ratio isn’t properly controlled.
Larger dogs are more prone to suffering from joint pains such as hip dysplasia and arthritis as they age. It is therefore essential to take every precaution to safeguard their joints starting from the time they are puppies.
Feed puppy food to your dog until adulthood. This happens later in giant and large breeds. “Their development can take between two and three months,” Gale says. “Although they appear mature their joints and bones could have not been.”
The bottom line is to ask your veterinarian for advice on the best food for your dog for feeding amounts, frequency as well as when your dog is ready to move into adult chewing kibble.
2. Avoid Vigorous Exercise
The amount of exercise dogs require is dependent on breed. Some breeds, like Labrador retriever breeds, are more energetic, while others, such as mastiffs are content to relax. Because big dogs have joints that are prone to injury be sure to take some precautions during your dog’s exercise.
During puppyhood, avoid long or strenuous walks and avoid jumping. “This causes excessive strain on joints and can lead to injury,” Gale says. “Walks in puppies tend to be more focused on exploration as well as stimulation than consuming them by exercising.”
But, when your dog is mature, Gale recommends a minimum of two 30-minute walks every day. It’s all dependent on the breed. your pet may require more than this to remain physically active and mentally stimulated. Find out what kind your pet’s type of workout seems to favor–such as long-distance exercise, swimming as well as agility training. Also, consider which activity will be most beneficial for both your family and you.
The bottom line is to keep the exercise enjoyable and low-impact for puppies while keeping an eye on the increase in activity as you get older.
3. Do your dog enjoy a calm time after the Food
Bloat is a health problem that larger dogs are particularly susceptible to developing. The stomach is filled with food, air, or water, and then becomes too swollen to press on the lungs and making it difficult to breathe. The stomach also narrows the passageways in and from the stomach. This is what prevents the contents from flowing out. In the event of a crisis, the stomach can actually turn around its own (gastric dilation volvulus, or GDV) which stops the circulation of blood to the major organs.
Reduce your dog’s chance of developing bloat by following these easy guidelines: First, don’t let your dog play or exercise immediately after eating, suggests Gale. Additionally make sure to feed your dog several times per day, rather than eating a single meal. If your dog eats too fast, you might want to consider using a slow bowl for food to keep your dog from eating a lot of air.
The bottom line is that taking a few simple steps reduces the chance of having bloats in large dogs.
4. Maintain an appropriate weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for all breeds of dogs however it is especially important for breeds with large bodies. Their large bodies put greater stress on joints which can wear out with time. In addition, the weight adds pressure to joints.
“Keeping big dogs in shape is essential to ensure they remain healthy and mobile throughout the length of time is possible,” Gale says. “Large breeds age at around 6 or 7 years old. They could begin showing signs of age, like stiff joints.”
The bottom line: Big dogs are more mature than smaller dogs, and have a higher risk to experience joint problems. Being healthy and weight-bearing reduces the risk of developing joint problems.
5. Make an investment in Training
Your dog’s size is an adorable pet to you. For many the large breeds of dogs are frightening. Learn to train your pup to be a large and strong dog that will hold you by the leash or knock you down in exuberance.
“The time and effort you invest in the training of your puppy and exposure to your dog to other animals, as well as people, will be worth it. A well-socialized pet with a friendly disposition and behavior that is well-behaved makes everyone feel comfortable,” Gale says.
The bottom line is to train big dog breeds when they’re young and manageable.
6. Make sure your dog has enough space
Large dogs occupy an enormous amount of space in your heart as well as within your home. Being a dog owner will require more space for your pet and the things he has. For instance, dog beds and crates require extra space to allow your dog to spread out. Food bags that are large require extra storage space, and your pet requires space to run around and cool off.
The bottom line is to ensure that you have enough space for your pet to move around freely as well as to store any pet-related items.
Big dog breeds can be a great way to have fun and are wonderful furry companions if you keep these guidelines in your mind. The time, effort, and money you invest into caring for your beloved pet will be returned to you with a huge amount of affection.