Large Breed Dog Care
Large breed dogs can bring tons of fun, happiness, and slobber to your life, but if you want them to enjoy a long, healthy life, it’s important that you care for them properly. Large dog breeds require different care than smaller breeds because they are prone to different health issues. At Germantown Vet, we’re experts when it comes to large breed dogs—in fact our staff owns some large breeds, including German Shepherds!
Keep your dog’s health in check by scheduling a routine physical exam at our Germantown, MD animal hospital. Fill out the form to the right or call 240-252-7467240-252-7467.
Caring for Your Large Breed Dog
That Puppy Is Going to Get BIG
Great Danes, German Shepherds, Bernese Mountain Dogs, and other large breeds all start out as tiny cute puppies—but you need to remember that that little furball is going to grow into a big dog. Make sure that you are fully prepared for the size and power of a large breed dog by reading the rest of our care tips.
Big Dogs Have Big Appetites
Large breed dogs eat more than smaller dogs—it’s as simple as that. Make sure that you’re going to be able to afford the sheer volume of food your dog will eat. A dog over 80 pounds can consume anywhere between 4 and 6 cups of high-quality dog food daily. And as always, we strongly recommend selecting the highest quality dog food that you can afford.
When choosing a dog food, make sure to check the ingredients listed on the back—if the first couple of ingredients are meat or meat meal products, that’s an indicator of a high quality dog food. Some popular brands include Taste of the Wild and Blue Buffalo.
Size Means Strength, So Training Is Necessary
Not only is your large breed dog going to be big—he or she is going to be strong, too. Very strong. We’ve seen people dragged across the waiting room on more than one occasion by their powerful pup—that’s why training is vital for big dogs. Even if you have the strength to rein in your dog, having control over your pet’s actions is going to lead to a much happier life for you and your dog. Enroll in obedience classes and keep at it. Work on the training at home in your spare time—not only is that a great way to practice, but it’s good exercise for your dog.
Keep Your Dog Happy & Healthy
Some health issues are much more common in big breeds than they are in smaller dogs. Bloat and joint issues such as arthritis and hip dysplasia are two of the major health concerns that are more prevalent in large breed dogs.
- Bloat – bloat is most common in dogs that have deep chests, such as Great Danes, although it can occur in any breed of dog. It is most commonly caused by swallowing too much air (which can occur when eating too quickly) and by eating too soon after exercising or vice versa. Bloat is a life threatening emergency, so it’s incredibly important to know how to prevent it and recognize it when it happens. If your dog is exhibiting any of the following symptoms, rush to the vet immediately. Signs of bloat in your dog are:
- Restlessness & pacing
- Unsuccessful vomiting (retching)
- Enlarged abdomen
- Joint issues – joint issues, such as arthritis and hip dysplasia, are another common health concern for larger breeds of dogs. As your dog is growing and developing, avoid letting them run, walk, or play on hard surfaces. Also try to keep him or her from jumping off from any sort of high surface, like beds or couches. . It’s also important not to grab or pull on your dog’s hips or shoulders because that adds unnecessary stress to their joints. To avoid joint issues, you should also keep your dog at a healthy weight with a strict diet and exercise regimen. Your dog’s bone structure is only meant to carry a certain amount of weight, so going over that is a big health concern.