The importance of nutrition for your growing puppy
We all know how important good nutrition is for growing children and the same is true for growing puppies. Puppy diets contain increased amounts of energy, protein and calcium compared to an adult dog’s diet. Improper feeding can increase your puppy’s risk of obesity, growth-related joint problems, poor muscle and bone development and poor immunity. At Vet HQ we recommend feeding a puppy-specific diet until 12 months of age which will ensure healthy growth and development.
However, when it comes to large breed puppies (breeds which weigh more than 25kg when fully mature) nutrition is slightly different. While they still require an appropriate balance of calcium and phosphorus, they need a lower overall amount of calcium and energy than a small/medium breed puppy. If a large breed puppy grows too quickly or has too much calcium, they are at risk of getting developmental orthopedic disorders and conditions such as hip dysplasia. That said, they will still reach their normal height and weight, but just grow at a slower rate.
Doby is a male Doberman puppy who was brought into Vet HQ at 9 weeks old by his new owners for a health check and was given a clean bill of health. In the consultation we discussed the importance of nutrition for healthy bone development because the breeder had not been feeding Doby a large-breed puppy diet. His owners wanted to ensure he was getting the best start in life and started him on Hills Vet Essentials large breed puppy food. Just by chance, within 12 hours of our chat, Doby suddenly started to stand and walk differently and was brought back into Vet HQ.
While he had no pain in his front legs, Doby’s wrists were sticking outwards which was causing him to walk awkwardly, but none of his joints were actually dislocated. We diagnosed Doby with a developmental orthopaedic disease called “Carpal Flexural Deformity”. This disease presents suddenly in large breed puppies and is thought to be caused by nutritional imbalances in rapidly growing large breed puppies and may also have a genetic component. As Doby’s bones began to grow too quickly, his ligaments and tendons couldn’t keep up and resulted in the deformity in his front legs.
With a good quality large breed puppy diet to control his rate of growth and slow exercise on non-slip surfaces, Doby had significant improvement within 2 weeks. Now, 2 months later, Doby is completely back to normal.
If you have a large breed puppy, please ensure they are on a specific “large breed puppy diet”. If you have any questions about nutrition please call us at Vet HQ.