Feeding your Labrador Retriever, Boxer, Golden Retriever or other large breed dog the right food is essential. But it’s just as important to feed him the right amount at the proper intervals and many pet parents ask themselves ‘How much and how often?’. This can be tough since different dogs have different needs.
And while the feeding guide on the food label is a good place to start, it’s critical to regularly monitor your dog’s physical condition and adjust his amount of food as needed. Large breed puppies especially have specific nutritional needs.
We recommend following these simple steps to keep your dog healthy:
- Weigh your dog.
- Start feeding your dog based on feeding guides and veterinary recommendations.
- Evaluate your dog’s physical condition using our body condition scoring system every two to three weeks for the first six months.
- Adjust the amount you feed accordingly.
You or your veterinarian should evaluate your growing dog’s physical condition and weight every few months. For some dogs, more frequent evaluations may be needed.Feeding Methods
When it comes to feeding your dog, there are a few ways to go. Talk to your vet about which of these methods is best for your large breed dog:
- Free choice: Food is always available to your dog.
- Time-limited feeding: Food is available to your dog for a limited time.
- Meal feeding: Food is available to your dog in a measured amount at specific mealtimes each day.
Special considerations for Pregnant or Nursing Large Breeds
Pregnant or nursing dogs need energy-dense foods with increased calcium content. During pregnancy or nursing, large breed dogs should be switched to one of the following foods.
- Science Diet® Puppy Healthy Development Original
- Science Diet® Puppy Small Bites
- Science Diet® Puppy Lamb Meal & Rice Recipe
- Ideal Balance™ Puppy
- Ideal Balance™ Small Breed
- Healthy Advantage® Puppy
As you select your puppy food for your pregnant and nursing large breed dog, please keep in mind that we do not recommend feeding Large Breed Puppy foods to large breed mothers. The reduced fat and calcium, used to control growth for joint health in growing puppies, is not ideal for their pregnant and nursing condition.