Determining feeding guidelines for your large puppy –a canine who will weigh 50 pounds or more as an adult–can be a challenge. Should you focus on his size or age? What if he has an appetite that matches his size? Can you give him any kind of dog food? The key to all of these questions is balance. Plan a diet that makes sense and helps your four-legged family member be healthy.
1. Buy commercial food
Until your canine becomes an adult, avoid making him homemade food. Why? Calculating the appropriate levels of fiber, protein, carbohydrates and fat for a puppy is complex. As a consequence, you may end up inadvertently depriving him of certain nutrients. Instead, focus on providing your dog with high-quality commercial food made for puppies with an Associate American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) label, coupled with a dish full of water.
2. Set a normal feeding schedule
Never let a dog set his own feeding schedule. This feeding guideline is crucial, especially for your large puppy. Large-breed puppies can develop hip dysplasia if they are overfed and given too much vitamin D. For this reason, you need to control his eating. Give him three meals a day based on his current weight. Portion sizes per meal normally go as follows: up to 10 pounds – 1/3 to 1 cups; 10 to 25 pounds – 1 to 2 1/4 cups; and 25 to 50 pounds – 2 1/4 to 3 3/4 cups.
3. Adjust your puppy’s diet as necessary
Don’t be afraid to adjust your large puppy’s diet if he’s too thin or bulking up. Give him more or less food depending on the situation. The ideal look for him should be lean. Get an eagle-eye view of him and check for certain warning factors, such as visible ribs (too thin) or extra fat (too big). His body should remind you of a thin hot dog, not a skeleton or a sausage.
4. Avoid giving him milk or supplements
Dogs aren’t humans. As a result, a feeding guideline for your large puppy you should follow is to not give him milk or supplements. Unlike with babies, puppies don’t digest cow’s milk well; this substance usually leads to diarrhea. Supplements don’t really help either. Young canines can get all of the nutrients they need from dog food created just for them.
5. Never give your large puppy a bone
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned pet owners against feeding their dogs bones. Bones can hurt or tear up a canine’s insides, choke him and do other internal damage. For this reason, if your puppy likes to chew on things, get him a few chew toys–ones that can be buried and gnawed on just like a big bone.
Use these feeding guidelines as tool in preparing meals for your large puppy. For more information, contact your local veterinarian. He can give you more custom information that will help your new best friend develop into a vibrant adult.
* Complete Healthy Dog Book, Betsy Brevitz, D.V.M.
* How to Feed Your Dog: from Diet to Feeding Schedules