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Large vs. Small Breed puppy Food?
by Unknown

There is considerable controversy regarding the role of nutrition during the developmental and growth periods of puppyhood, and its possible effects on the musculoskeletal system in later life, especially in our larger (greater than 60 lb) breeds. Certain problems are believed to be at least modulated by over supplementation of various nutrients, in the mistaken belief that rapid growth is desirable. Included in the list of medical problems that are believed, in part, attributable to over supplementation are: Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy, Osteochondrosis, Hip Dysplasia.
The most significant problems appear to be related to the following, in order of decreasing importance: 1. Calcium, 2. Energy, and 3. Protein .

1. Calcium: The ideal calcium content, on a dry weight basis is 0.7%-1.2%-. AAFCO recommendation is 1%-2.5% which is generally acceptable though not ideal; however, for giant breeds, such as the Great Dane, the lower end of this range is especially recommended. It is believed that calcium in excess of 3% on a dry weight basis can predispose to significant skeletal abnormalities, such as those mentioned above. Keep in mind, also, that adding of vitamins, particularly Vitamin D, will also increase absorption of dietary calcium (to possibly excessive levels).

2. Energy: If too many calories are supplied and consumed on a daily basis, too rapid growth results and the excess mass that must be supported on an immature skeleton can result in microscopic damage to skeletal tissue, with subsequent malformation and/or malarticulation of joints, degenerative changes and potentially chronic pain. For most practical purposes, energy levels in food can be extrapolated principally from dietary fat, which should be no less than 9% (AAFCO recommendation) to maximum of 12% on a dry weight basis. Total kcal/kg of food should remain in the 3.2 to 3.8 range

3. Protein: As a percent of diet on a dry weight basis should range between 15%- 27% (AAFCO recommends minumum of 22%). The ideal protein concentration is difficult to specify, since it is, in part dependent upon biological value of the protein source; (i.e. if of high biological value, then less is needed {more is assimilated} and the lower end of the range is desired). Protein markedly above the upper limit described here will be converted to energy, rather then incorporated into protein tissue. This will, therefore, add to the energy burden, and potentiate the problems associated with excess energy consumption, as described above

So how do you tell if your feeding your large breed correctly? Take the above information and extrapluate this from it.

Protein is good, Higher protein, leads to more enegry, but if the food has high protein and then contains less fat and less carbohydrates (IE Grain Free Foods). The enegry gain from the protein won't be exceessive and it will be in balance for your large breed dog.
So you really need to be careful, most companies produce a large breed formula, that does the balancing act for you, based on the ingredients used in the products. 

Here's a common list of Large Breed Dogs, their are many more.. Some mixes are large breed. But from the list below you should be able to determine get an idea if your dog might be considered a large breed dog.

Doberman Pinscher
English Setter
Dogo Argentino
German Shepherd
German Pinscher
Giant Schnauzer
Golden Retriever
Gordon Setter
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
Irish Setter
Neopolitan Mastiff
Saint Bernard
Wolf dog

This article was published on Wednesday 31 December, 2008.

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