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Kibble or dry food for dogs can come in different sizes – not every pet parent knows that. Large breeds will need larger pieces and small breeds will need tinier ones.
Big breeds need the larger kibble to be able to feel full more easily due to having bigger stomachs. Usually, puppy food crafted for large breed puppies will have bigger pieces.
Aside from the kibble size, large-breed puppy food varies on other levels as well compared to regular puppy food.
How do they differ? Let’s find out.
What Is the Difference Between Large Breed Dog Food and Other Dog Food?
There are numerous dog food recipes and formulas out there each advertising to meet a different need. Large-breed puppies are a specific group that manufacturers and nutritionists consider. Puppy food is meant to be crafted to help puppies of any size meet their full growth potential.
In order to do that, the requirements lie further than just the physical size of the kibble but within the nutritional value as well. Large-breed puppy food is formulated in a way to address the specific needs of large-breed puppies, which is slow but steady growth.
Unlike small breeds and regular medium breeds, a large breed puppy takes anywhere between 1.5 to 2 years to grow to its full size!
You can imagine the time and effort it takes during this period to make sure the large breed puppy has enough nutrition to grow steadily, but not too much that it causes rapid growth.
Let’s take a look at a few key differences between large-breed puppy food and regular dog food.
Lower Calories and Fat
Your large breed puppy needs a lot of energy to grow, and dogs get it from the calories and fat in their food. As said, it’s important to make sure your large breed puppy gets enough, but not too much. Both overfeeding and underfeeding are bad, and we get that it’s a very fine line separating the two. However, if you go with large-breed puppy food specially formulated for your fur baby’s size, you will remain within the proper limits.
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Lower Amounts of Calcium and Phosphorus
It may sound counter-intuitive, but large-breed puppies actually need lower amounts of calcium and phosphorus, despite these substances being imperative for healthy bone growth. Too much of these minerals can cause rapid growth, which means your large breed puppy will grow too much too quickly.
The process of rapid growth can cause stress on your dog’s muscles and skeleton, which will then lead to higher chances of mobility and joint health issues. This is the main reason why food for large breeds is formulated with a very low calcium to phosphorus ratio.
The larger kibble for large breeds promotes better digestion aside from being a better-suited size for their mouths. Larger kibble means your dog will have to take the time to chew each mouthful before swallowing because the alternative could lead to bloating and that’s never something you want in dogs.
It also helps fill up your large breed puppies better than regular-sized kibble. This is why you will generally notice that large-breed puppy food has bigger pieces.
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Can Large Breed Puppies Eat Normal Puppy Food?
Although you can feed your large breed puppy regular puppy food, we do not recommend feeding large breed puppies standard food.
As said, large-breed puppy food is specially formulated to meet the nutritional needs of their larger stature, which is necessary for healthy growth and even brain and vision development.
Normal puppy food may be too “nutrient-dense” for your large breed, which will lead to some of the health issues we have touched on above. The question isn’t really “can you feed large breed puppies normal puppy food”, but whether it’s a good idea.
If you have a puppy that is straddling the line between medium to large breed (anywhere around 60-70 pounds), you can ask your vet what the best course of action is when selecting puppy food.
If your large breed is closer to being classified as a giant breed (anywhere around 90- 100 pounds), then we would also ask your vet if there is a brand for giant breed puppies or if large breed puppy food will do.
Unfortunately, pet parents will have to opt for a dry dog food diet for large-breed puppies to get specific formulas. There may be rare wet food floating around for large breeds, but we have yet to come across one in person.
If you are not a fan of dry kibble, opting for a subscription fresh food diet where the recipe is also specifically formulated for each dog is an excellent choice as well.
If you aren’t opposed to a raw diet, there are experts and pet parents out there that also support the ancestral way.
Frequently Asked Questions
What brand of dog food has the largest kibble?
Most large-breed puppy food recipes have the largest kibble regardless of the brand. Large breeds need bigger kibble pieces to feel full, take the time to chew the food, and avoid bloating and indigestion, and the kibble won’t “slip through the cracks”.
Does the kibble size matter for puppies?
Yes, kibble size does matter for puppies and other dogs at any life stage. This is because small-breed dogs will most likely struggle to chew and break down large kibble pieces and large-breed dogs tend to swallow small kibble whole without chewing. Luckily, it’s not very difficult to find the appropriate kibble size for your dog.
Dog food for large breed puppies has the biggest kibble pieces. Gastrointestinal issues are among the most commonly faced in dogs, which can be a big headache for pet owners.
A gassy dog is also unpleasant for us, but what’s more important is the discomfort it causes your dogs. If you have a large breed, search for large-breed puppy foods because they are formulated for your dog to help enhance his growth (but not too much).