Basically, every adult dog needs the same nutrients regardless of their size. However, this does not apply in the growth phase: large breed puppies have to gain weight quickly and therefore have special nutritional requirements. Diet errors during growth can have fatal consequences, especially for large breeds of dogs. But feeding a giant dog also depends on other factors.
In proportion, large dogs have a shorter gastrointestinal tract than small dogs, which is why they defecate more often and usually have a poorer quality than the smaller breeds. Large dogs also release more sodium and water into their large intestines, which increases the amount of water in their feces. In order to prevent digestive problems in large dogs as much as possible, the food should therefore be highly digestible.
Special ready-made food for large dogs usually takes into account the special needs of heavyweights. Self-prepared portions should largely consist of highly digestible components. Dogs can easily digest the following feeds:
On the other hand, feed that is rich in connective tissue or fiber, such as offal or wheat bran, is less easily digestible. So these shouldn’t end up in the bowl of a large dog.
Eggs are easy to digest, even for large dogs. © stock.adobe.com/chendongshan
Large dogs, especially those with deep and wide chests, are more likely to have gastric torsion than other dogs. Although the exact causes of this life-threatening disease are still unclear, other risk factors are known that can promote stomach torsion:
To prevent stomach torsion, you should give your dog several smaller rations per day. Make sure to try to avoid stress, exertion, and exercise for your dog for about two hours after eating.
Large dogs need to relax after eating. © stock.adobe.com/DavidGillisDesign
Large dogs actually have a similar high energy requirement as small dogs. How much energy a dog consumes and how much energy it has to ingest through food is not influenced by body size, but rather by the following factors:
Dogs with short and less thick coats need more energy to maintain their body temperature. The percentage of a dog’s lean body mass also plays a role: Dogs with a lot of muscle mass have a significantly higher energy requirement.
Sensitive digestion and proper feeding methods to avoid health risks are crucial in feeding a large dog. However, every large dog does not necessarily have a particularly high energy requirement – you should definitely consider this when feeding your dog.