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Why Dog Breeds Need Different Diets

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So your dog can eat anything other dogs eat, right? Wrong!

puppy-eatingAll dog breeds, sizes and ages have similar nutritional requirements, such as vitamins, minerals and fiber, there are important differences between them. You always want to feed your dog a diet that includes a generous amount of omega fatty acids, which help promote healthy hearts, vision and immune systems, as well as shinier coats and improved cholesterol levels. Moreover, you want to feed your dog the appropriate kind of food at the right age. When your dog is a puppy, they need to eat puppy food, much  like babies and toddlers. Similarly, adult dogs need to eat adult food, and potentially change their diet as disease or health problems occur in their senior years.

But what about feeding a specially formulated for your husky, pug or beagle?

While food specifically tailored for a specific breed, like a dachshund, isn’t harmful, the more important thing to focus on is the life stage of your dog and whether they classify as a small or large dog breed. For instance, a Labrador puppy can develop joint problems if it’s fed a diet that’s too high in calories or calcium. Another thing to consider is whether your dog is a hunting, sport or working dog, or how much exercise they get through walks and play. Regardless of breed, proper dog nutrition will help ward off disease in addition to helping with problems like digestion or bad breath.

Large breed dogs, especially large breed puppies, are prone to orthopedic diseases like hip dysplasia, where the hip socket develops abnormally and can lead to lameness or arthritis. To help reduce the chances of these kinds of diseases, feed your large breed puppies diets that include lower levels of calcium and phosphorous. Once your large breed dog becomes an adult, they should be fed more food in larger pieces. And as they get older, there’s a likelihood they could suffer from arthritis, so diets that contain glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate will help with joint health.

Small breed puppies have separate concerns, including small stomachs and high metabolic rates, which means you need to feed them a diet that’s high in calories several times a day. In fact, small breed puppies need a high caloric diet so frequently because otherwise it can lead to hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, that can result in lethargy, muscle tremors and seizures. This metabolic rate continues into adulthood, with small dogs needing more calories compared to large dogs. Unlike large dogs, smaller dogs need smaller amounts of food, so don’t confuse that with more food. What they need is smaller kibble pieces that are higher in caloric density. As small dogs get older, their diet should change to foods with a high level of antioxidants, which can help prevent free radical damage.

No matter what breed your dog is, they should be fed a well-balanced, nutritionally complete diet that helps them transition from a healthy puppy into a healthy adult dog. Always talk to your veterinarian about what kind of nutritional needs should be met. Find out which brands have the right diet for your dog.

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