The web browser you are using is out of date and no longer supported by this site. For the best TractorSupply.com experience, please consider updating your browser to the latest version.
Navigate to Shopping Cart
Cart Item Count
 
  • Left Arrow
    My Account
  • Left Arrow
    My Account
  • Make My Store

    Your nearest store doesn't match your preferred store. Do you want to change the nearest store as your preferred store?

    CONFIRM CLEAR INFO?

    Click "YES" to clear all the customer data, cart contents and start new shopping session.

    Your current shopping session will get automatically reset in seconds.
    If you are still active user then please click "NO"

    Changing your store affects your localized pricing. This includes the price of items you already have in your shopping cart. Are you sure you want to change your store?

    Your nearest store doesn't match your preferred store. Do you want to change the nearest store as your preferred store?


    • To Shop Online
    • To Check In-Store Availability

    click here
    We do not share this information with anyone. For details,please view our Privacy Policy

    Large Breed Nutrition | Summer 2012 Out Here Magazine

    Correct feeding now will fend off orthopedic problems later

    a Great Pyrenees puppy lying on the grassing
    This Great Pyrenees puppy and other large breeds like her need special nutrition when they're young to fend off orthopedic problems later.
    Out Here

    By Hollie Deese

    Photography by iStock

    When Abby, the 9-week-old Great Pyrenees puppy, arrived at her new home, her first meal — and every one after that for nearly a full year — consisted of dog food formulated specifically to keep her young, fast-growing bones healthy and strong.

    All puppies need special care for a good, healthy start in life. But large- and giant-breed puppies like Abby require even more diligence because the larger the dog, the quicker they grow, and incorrect feeding can set the stage for skeletal problems later on, says Joseph Wakshlag, assistant professor of clinical nutrition at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine.

    "The problem is that lots of giant- breed dogs have orthopedic issues anyway, because the size of the dog leads to that" Wakshlag says.

    But large-breed dog owners can lessen the inevitable — or at least keep orthopedic issues to a minimum — by making sure their puppy's diet has the correct amount of calcium phosphorus during the first four months of life.

    That means feeding dog food made specifically for large-breed puppies, Wakshlag says.

    Dog food designed for all dogs or all life stages generally has more calcium than a puppy should have, he says.

    "And that can be part of the problem because too much calcium can exacerbate joint problems" he says.

    Too much calcium in a growing dog's diet can result in joint lesions — a problem owners won't see until the dog is in serious pain. "You are not going to pick it up until the dog goes lame" he says.

    Even well-meaning owners who pursue the advice of websites or breeders to create their own healthy raw diet at home can do more harm than good to their large-breed puppy's skeletal system if they don't provide their large-breed puppy with the correct balance of nutrients, Wakshlag says.

    And at that point it can be impossible to determine what was the real cause of the problem — genetics or diet.

    Problems caused by too much calcium — which will manifest themselves within four or six months — can be reversed and in some instances even heal. But more often than not they can lead to painful surgery and a lifetime of problems, Wakshlag says.

    Even well-meaning owners who pursue the advice of websites or breeders to create their own healthy raw diet at home can do more harm than good to their large-breed puppy's skeletal system if they don't provide their large-breed puppy with the correct balance of nutrients, Wakshlag says.

    The same goes for vitamins and supplements, which are largely unnecessary, unless prescribed by a veterinarian, Wakshlag says. "If your dog is eating any known large-breed puppy food, there is no real reason to give them calcium, no real reason for vitamin C" he says.

    And while everybody loves a roly-poly puppy, that only spells trouble down the road, particularly for large breeds.

    "People put way too much weight on their puppies but fat puppies have a high risk for joint disease" Wakshlag advises. "You are looking for a nice, lean look. If you can't feel your puppy's ribs, then you are probably feeding him too much."

    Large-breed puppy owners need to consider the future and feed correctly now to provide their pet a good, comfortable quality of life as he or she gets older, without pain, stiffness, and even surgery.

    Hollie Deese is a writer based in Gallatin, Tenn.

     

    Popular Pages on TractorSupply.com