Having your dog on the correct diet for its age is vital to good health and well-being.
Nutrient requirements differ depending on the breed and age of the dog and there are a few important factors to take into consideration.
The best advice that can be given is to feed your dog the highest quality food that you can afford. There are a multitude of dog foods out there and it can often be confusing trying to choose one.
The best way to choose a food is to ask your veterinarian what would suit your particular dog at a certain age.
All good quality dog foods will have a feeding guideline on the back of the bag. This is based on the average dog and a range is often given, depending on the weight and activity of your dog. Sometimes you will have to play around a little to find the right amount of food for your dog. Treats also form a part of the daily intake, so remember to take this into consideration when working out how much to feed.
Good quality puppy foods have been specifically formulated to take into consideration the rapid growth of baby dogs. They contain the correct amount of energy and protein as well as important minerals such as calcium.
It is important to remember that what you feed your puppy will have an effect on their health later on in life. Feeding the best quality food you can afford will definitely be beneficial to your dog and provides a good basis for a dog that can thrive.
In small and medium sized dogs, growth is generally complete by eight to 10 months, so puppies can be moved to an adult food from 12 months of age.
A large breed dog is generally defined as any dog that will have an adult weight greater than 25kg and giant breeds generally have an adult weight of greater than 50kg. Large breeds include breeds such as Labradors, golden retrievers and German shepherds.
Great Danes and Irish wolfhounds are examples of giant breed dogs. Given the size of these breeds, they are at a higher risk for developing conditions such as elbow and hip dysplasia and other growth abnormalities.
It is very important to feed these puppies a large or giant breed puppy food. These foods have been specifically formulated and contain the right amount of macronutrients as well as calcium to ensure that they do not grow too rapidly.
Feeding normal puppy food to these breeds may lead to joint abnormalities as they may grow too fast. It is often recommended to feed large and giant breed puppies on a puppy food until they are 18 months old.
Maintaining their body condition at this stage is also important, as being overweight will also put extra strain on their joints.
There are foods available for different ages and conditions and nutrition remains one of the most important aspects to maintaining a healthy and happy dog.
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