Saturday, January 11, 2014

Nutrition for Small and Large Breed Dogs: What does your dog actually need? (Guest Post)

Update: We apologize for not having dropped by ever so often. Offline life has picked up and we haven't had much time to catch up with a lot of you. We promise to do so real soon.

Today's guest post is brought to us by Stefmar Shop. 

"I'm going to get a dog!", you'd say "…and then I am going to spoil it with all kinds of treats!". Well, turns out it’s not all that simple and that having a dog is quite demanding… at least when it comes to nutrition. Naturally, dogs of all breeds tend to act similarly while they are growing up but the trick is to know what differences in their nutritional needs you have to be aware of and eventually meet.

Feeding a big and a small dog is not the same thing – in portion or manner. Make no mistake, dogs are almost as demanding as newborns and you will have to be extra careful about the way you are raising your little hairy friend. We have laid out some information you may find useful.

New Puppies by Bev Sykes, CC-BY-2.0
Early years

Large breed puppies have the tendency to suffer orthopedic diseases such as hip dysplasia. In order to prevent the development of this disease or at least try to reduce the pain (if there is any) it is recommended to feed your puppies foods that contain somewhat lower levels of phosphorous and calcium and are a little less energy dense. In fact, such nutrition has been proven to reduce possibility of developing the aforementioned disease in the first place. This goes for both large and giant breeds of dogs.

If you have small breed puppies, be aware that their metabolism is quite different than that of large breed puppies. Their extremely high metabolic rates help them burn food intake in just a matter of hours. To prevent your small breed puppy from developing hypoglycemia (which would later result in seizures, muscle tremors, weakness and sometimes death) make sure it takes in sufficient numbers of calories on regular and frequent basis. It is best to feed the puppy with calorie-dense food, up to four times a day (three is the optimal number of meals).


In case you thought all stops in your puppy's early months and that you could finally relax and play with your little doggy, we have to disappoint you. All metabolic differences between small and large dog breeds continue into their adulthood. Despite it sounding unreasonable, small dogs need more nutrients per day to maintain their health-rate on a proper level. This basically means that your small dog needs a higher calorie-intake per pound than a large dog. In fact, a fifteen pound dog needs about 500-600 calories (kcal) per day in order to maintain a healthy weight unlike a large dog of, say 120, 130 pounds that needs around 3,000 calories a day. Believe it or not, a large breed doggy requires 22.5 calories per pound while a small dog needs 40 calories per pound. All dog food designed for small breeds is more calorie-rich than that designed for large breeds’ nutrition, then one of products may be sentinel chews, not to use in puppies under 6 weeks of age.

A word of advice: Make sure you are not one of those pet-owners who make a mistake of not switching your dog from puppy food to adult food.

13-year-old American Eskimo dog
By Snowwhiteywhite (Taken by camera in the car) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Senior years

Our four-legged family members need our attention and good care even when they are in their senior years. If you own a small breed dog you should know they tend to live a very long time. To have your dog live even longer, give it food with high dietary levels of antioxidants. That way you will be able to prevent free radical damage. In case you have a large breed dog, be aware that statistics show that these dogs usually tend to suffer from some degree of arthritis, especially as they get older. This is why diets designed for big dogs contain ingredients such as chondoitin sulfate and glucosamine as they help prolong your pet's life!

We hope these information helped you in choosing proper type of food for your little friend. Be a pet-owner aware of your dog's needs and your hairy friend will be happy each time you come back home from work!


  1. That is great information and we do realise that as dogs age they need different food combinations. We followed our vets advice with Pip as she got older. Have a super Saturday.
    best wishes Molly

  2. Diet is indeed very important. With Whisky getting older, I find it necessary to add certain supplements to give her a better quality of life. :)

  3. Thank you for this information- we love hearing about food.

  4. We're with Tweedles. We love food.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

  5. That's some really helpful information, and stuff that all pet ownders should think about.

    We miss you, Haopee, but don't feel bad about not visiting so much. Life is like that sometimes. :)



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