From growth to adulthood

Large-sized puppies


Large Breed dogs, the MAXIS, are those whose adult weight ranges from 26 to 44 kg. Excellent dogs for herding, tracking, rescue, assistance to visually-impaired persons, they are faithful companions ever ready to accompany their master on sporting outings. Their growth should be especially monitored.

Guard dogs such as the German Shepherd Dog, search and rescue dogs such as the Belgian Shepherd Malinois, shepherd dogs such as the Briard, assistance dogs such as the Golden Retriever, in most cases large-sized dogs originally have real abilities for work. Powerful, dedicated, sturdy, exceptionally versatile, they are also able to live in an urban environment, provided that their need to be active outdoors is met. Their growth extends over a total of 15 to 18 months. These puppies often have a higher digestive sensitivity than those of small-sized breeds.


A skeletal development to be monitored

During his first year, the large breed puppy will multiply his birth weight by more than 80, whereas a small breed dog with an adult weight under 10 kg will multiply his birth weight by only 20 and will complete his growth around 10 months of age (and even sometimes earlier in Toy breeds such as the Chihuahua). These differences explain why skeletal malformation disorders are almost exclusively found in large breed dogs, confirming the importance of the diet in securing the latter’s growth. Insufficient protein or calcium intakes might indeed affect the construction of the bone framework. Conversely, a diet containing too much energy will promote early weight gain exposing the puppy to bone disorders or joint dysplasias. Limiting the energy density, combined with proper intakes, enables to better control the growth rate and therefore minimize risks.


A higher digestive sensitivity

After weaning, a puppy’s digestive system is immature. It is not yet ready to assimilate too large a quantity of food and is unable to digest starch properly. MAXI puppies show an increased sensitivity due to their anatomy: their digestive tract is proportionally smaller than that of a small dog and the time spent by food in the colon is much longer, which results in higher fermenting activity and poor stool quality. A Health Nutrition food formulated with a combination of nutrients ensuring intestinal flora balance, of fiber such as psyllium to promote transit and of highly digestible protein, offers optimal digestive safety. Furthermore, a quality energy intake allows for harmonious muscle and body development. This intake which has a high nutritional value matches the high requirements of MAXI puppies while preventing any excess weight risk and therefore bone and joint deformation risks.


Excess eating should be forbidden

The owners of large dogs sometimes think that if they overfeed their animal, he’ll have a bigger size as an adult. But it is not so! The dog will simply reach his adult size (and chiefly his weight) more quickly. However, this early growth is not beneficial, since it subjects the immature skeleton of these dogs to excess work which may induce bone and joint malformations. It is not uncommon that owners of large breed or giant breed dogs supplement their puppy’s diet with calcium-rich supplements. This practice is justified only if the dog is fed a homemade diet, i.e. specially prepared for the dog and based on meat, vegetables and other starchy foods.

If the dog is fed complete prepared food formulated for growth, and therefore with a controlled calcium intake, this supplementation practice is not only pointless, but dangerous. Research on calcium requirements in large breed dogs during growth has clearly established that excess calcium may interact with bone growth and lead to bone and joint malformations.

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