Nutrition for Large and Giant Breed Adult Dogs

Healthy joints and proper weight are especially important for dogs that grow to be over 50 pounds. But not all large and giant breed adult dogs have the same nutritional needs. Is your dog getting proper exercise? Is she about to have puppies? Special conditions can dramatically affect your dog's nutritional demands. Giving her a food specially formulated for her large size, life stage and activity level is the easiest way to make sure she's getting the nutrients she needs.

Healthy Joints and Cartilage

Joint health is a big concern for owners of large and giant breed dogs. A large/giant-breed formula that contains glucosamine can help nourish healthy joints. A naturally occurring compound, glucosamine supports healthy joints and cartilage, and vitamins and minerals help promote the production of cartilage. Also, keeping your dog at a healthy weight will help minimize joint stress.

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Choosing a Food for Overall Health

To address the special needs of your large or giant breed dog, look for these features:

  • Glucosamine to nourish healthy joints and cartilage
  • Less fat to help maintain an ideal body condition for less joint stress
  • Vitamin-rich fish oils for healthy skin, shiny coat and overall health
  • Essential vitamins and minerals to help support the immune system and help maintain good health
  • High-quality, animal-based protein sources to help maintain muscle tone
  • A moderately-fermentable fiber source, such as beet pulp, to maintain intestinal health, enhance your dog's ability to absorb nutrients and reduce backyard cleanup
  • A carbohydrate blend to help sustain energy by maintaining normal blood sugar levels

These components are key to good nutrition. Look for them in dry or wet dog food and when you select treats.

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Guarding Against Weight Gain

Dogs with lower activity levels or dog's that have been neutered or spayed are all prone to weight gain. Controlling your dog's weight is an important step toward protecting against the health effects of excess weight, such as diabetes or joint health problems. If you do use a weight-management food, look for these characteristics:

  • A reduced fat level that still offers essential nutrients for skin and coat health
  • L-carnitine, a key nutrient that helps burn fat and maintain muscle mass during weight loss
  • Special carbohydrate blends that help maintain energy while managing weight
  • Vitamin-rich fish oils for overall health
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Pregnancy

Pregnant dogs have substantial nutrition requirements. Starting in the seventh week of her pregnancy, a mother dog will need to increase her energy intake up to 50% by the time she gives birth and increase it even more when she starts nursing her puppies. Because she may lose her appetite at times, it's important that she eats a nutrient-dense food. A complete, balanced puppy formula can give her the extra nutrients she needs. But avoid puppy food created for large and giant breeds since these formulas contain specially adjusted levels of energy and minerals which may not be sufficient for a pregnant or nursing dog.

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Switching to a Mature Diet

Dogs who grow to be over 50 pounds are considered mature at age 5 - 6, earlier than small-breed dogs. So, it's critical to make a proactive transition to a specially formulated mature diet to help keep your dog healthy and active as he ages.

For more information about dog nutrition:

Carbohydrate Sources in IAMS® Dog Foods
Nutrition for a Healthy Skin and Coat
Nutritional Needs of Pregnant and Nursing Dogs
Supplementing Your Dog's Diet
The Role of Protein, Fat and Fiber

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