Large dogs need to be fed differently than small dogs. Here you can find out why this is and what you need to pay attention to when feeding a large dog.
Every adult dog, regardless of its size, needs basically the same nutrients. However, this does not apply in the growth phase: puppies of large breeds have to put on weight quickly and therefore have special nutritional requirements. Nutritional errors during growth can have fatal consequences, especially in large dog breeds. But feeding a giant dog depends on other factors as well.
Effectively prevent digestive problems
Large dogs have a relatively shorter gastrointestinal tract than small dogs, which is why they defecate more often and usually have poorer stool quality than the smaller breeds. Large dogs also release more sodium and water into the colon, increasing the water content in the stool. In order to prevent digestive problems in large dogs as far as possible, the food should therefore be highly digestible.
Ideal feed for large dogs
Special ready-made food for large dogs usually takes into account the special needs of the heavyweights. Self-prepared portions should largely consist of easily digestible components. Dogs can easily digest the following foods:
- muscle meat
- Dairy products
- broken down carbohydrates (e.g. boiled potatoes)
- oils or fat
On the other hand, feed that is rich in connective tissue or roughage, such as offal or wheat bran, is less digestible. These should not end up in the bowl of a large dog.
Prevent dangerous stomach torsion
Large dogs, especially those with a deep and wide chest, are more likely to suffer from torsion than other dogs. Although the exact causes of this life-threatening disease are still unclear, other risk factors are known that can promote gastric torsion:
- anxious or nervous behavior
- Eating large amounts of feed at once
- increased air swallowing
- physical activity immediately after eating
- excessive fermentation in the stomach
To prevent gastric torsion, you should feed your dog several smaller rations per day. Be sure to avoid stress, high exertion, and exercise for about two hours after feeding your dog.
The energy requirement is independent of size
Large dogs actually have a similarly high energy requirement as small dogs. How much energy a dog uses and how much energy it therefore needs to get from food is not influenced by body size, but rather by the following factors:
- activity of the dog
- age of the dog
- Insulating function of the fur
Dogs with short and less dense coats need more energy to maintain their body temperature. The proportion of a dog’s lean body mass also plays a role: dogs with a lot of muscle mass have a significantly higher energy requirement.
Sensitive digestion and the right feeding regimen to avoid health risks are crucial when feeding a large dog. A particularly high energy requirement is not necessarily the case with every large dog – you should definitely consider this when it comes to dog nutrition.