A large breed dog is a dog over 25kg at maturity and a giant breed is over 34kg. Large and giant breed dogs have unique needs and can benefit from a dog food formula designed just for them.
Big dogs have big appetites, but they also have slower metabolisms than their smaller cousins, so they require fewer calories and less fat from their food to maintain a healthy, lean body condition. Maintaining a lean body condition in large breed dogs has been proven in research to be the number one factor in decreasing health related issues that larger dogs are susceptible to.
At the same time, bigger breeds need to develop and support a large, strong skeletal system and powerful joints, which means an additional requirement for minerals like calcium and phosphorus.
Glucosamine is also really important in a large breed formula as it is the building block for cartilage which helps protect your dog’s bones and joints from wear and tear.
It's particularly important not to over-feed large and giant breed dogs, not just because of the usual health problems that result for all dogs, but also because if their weight outstrips the ability of their frame to support it, there's a real risk of deformities, especially during their youth.
Specially prepared large-breed formulas have larger, more satisfying kibbles to encourage big dogs to chew for longer, slowing the rate of eating and helping them get the most out of their food – as well as reducing the temptation to over-feed.
The reduced fat content takes into account their slower metabolism and helps control weight gain and minimise the impact on joints and other vital organs. However the nutrients and vitamins associated with the synthesis and repair of the joints are in good supply ensuring a balanced diet despite reduced calorie intake.
Obesity is a common nutritional disorder in all large dogs and needs to be monitored carefully. Overweight dogs are more likely to develop diabetes, heart and respiratory problems and arthritis.