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From VetChef vets and nutritionists

Why you need to feed toy and giant breeds differently

Updated: Dec 1, 2021

You may have noticed the attention to detail we make at VetChef in providing the right recipes and supplements for different sized breeds as they grow. Here are some of reasons why size matters when it comes to home cooking for your dog.

Canines have lived alongside humans for thousands of years. Over several decades we have selectively bred a huge variety of dogs, originally to help our survival as working dogs, and now of course, because as a society - we just love dogs! They have become an integral part of family life for many people.

The results of this selective breeding are easy to see, from the tiniest Chihuahua to the Great Dane and everything wrinkly and fluffy in-between. But how about on the inside? How has this breeding changed the canine from within?

Dogs come in all shapes and sizes but today I am going to look at ‘toy’ and ‘large’ breeds to demonstrate why size matters and how we can help tailor nutritional needs to specific breeds. Typically a toy breed would be under 6kg and a large breed dog over 25 kg when fully grown.

The most noticeable difference between large and small breeds is the amount of calories they require per kilogram for their body weight. As a general rule, the smaller the animal, the faster their metabolic rate. Meaning they have a faster heart and respiratory rate and they need more calories to fuel this faster metabolism.

Many pet food companies will manipulate the calorie content of their products to accommodate for this. When we are cooking from home it helps to choose recipes that have more calories per mouthful to fuel small dogs, without having to fill them with large volumes of food.

Conversely larger breeds require less calories per kilogram of bodyweight, as they have a slower metabolic rate. Keeping larger breeds a healthy weight is really important for their joint health especially during puppy hood and as they enter their senior years. During the first few months, demand for calories in all breeds is much higher. Often it will be 3 times as much for an adult dog. When the puppy reaches half its adult weight, this can reduce to 2.5 times and then will gradually decrease until the dog is fully grown.

When a dog becomes fully grown and mature, it’s able to move on to an adult diet. The age at which maturity is reached will also depend on its breed. At this time the growth plates in the bones close. The smaller the breed the quicker it reaches maturity, a Chihuahua for example becomes an adult at around 9 months and Great Danes around 18 months.

Calcium levels in large breeds need to be monitored closely as larger breeds have historically suffered with joint issues due to an imbalance in the calcium and phosphorus. It’s not as simple as feeding more calcium as they have larger bones, in fact this approach can have disastrous effects on bone growth. Monitoring levels of zinc, copper, iodine, manganese, and the Vitamins A,D and C will ensure the best start for your larger breed puppy .

Our tiny dogs are well known for being picky eaters often refusing the bowl of gourmet dog food in favour of something handfed from your plate. Using VetChef recipes will help offer variety and keep mealtimes something to look forward to for your more discerning dogs.

The VetChef recipes and supplements have your dog covered for growth and adulthood regardless of breed size, accommodating all dogs, great and small.

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