Boning up on big puppies

By Connie Orcutt • Published: January 1st, 2014
Category: Animal Airwaves

Really big puppies, like Great Danes, Newfoundlands and Saint Bernards, to name a few, are programmed to grow rapidly. While you may be tempted to fuel that growth with lots of food and a high-energy diet, you could do more harm than good.

Large-breed pups are prone to developing painful and debilitating bone and cartilage deformities during their first year of life when bone growth is greatest. Anything that causes bones to grow more rapidly than the rest of the body ramps up the risk. Some dogs are genetically prone, but any pup can be at risk if you feed them too much, too often or with a high-energy diet. Over-supplementing calcium or other minerals can also cause problems.

Your best bet is to use a large-breed puppy formula containing the right mix of calories, minerals and vitamins. Your veterinarian can recommend a diet and a feeding schedule for your pup.