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Proper nutrition is the best opportunity to keep your puppy healthy throughout his life. If you start him with good nutrition and give him adequate veterinary care from the beginning, his chances of developing a growth disorder are greatly reduced.
Growth disorders include abnormal posture, bowed legs, severe obesity, painful joints, muscle wasting, hip dysplasia and difficulty walking. If your puppy grows too fast, he may develop those symptoms.
Large or giant breed puppies (those who will weigh more than 55 pounds when fully grown) are the breeds most at risk for growth disorders. Other factors like environment, genetics and nutrition also play a part in your dog's risk.
Feeding your puppy the right food in the right way is essential to his proper development. How should you feed your puppy? Veterinarians recommend these options for better control of growth rate and body weight:
- Meal restrictions - Dividing daily food amount into two to three servings
- Time-restrictions - Giving food for specific time intervals
It's much easier to prevent growth disorders than treat them, so properly feeding your puppy the right food will be the best preventative measure you can take. For large and giant breed puppies, veterinarians recommend a food with restricted energy and calcium. Medium and small breed puppies benefit from controlled intake of a properly balanced growth formula.
For an accurate diagnosis and treatment options, always consult your veterinarian.