A large breed dog has a heavier weight, bigger build, and faster growth cycle than one of a small- or medium-breed. Because of these, it has special nutrition needs. Also, since many large breeds are really meant to be working with humans, they need to have the right quality of food and the proper amount of vitamins and minerals. If you own a large breed dog, here are some suggestions on how you should choose its food.
It's best to ask a veterinarian about the best brand, formula, and recipe for your pet. The vet will base his recommendation on your pet's age, breed, and activities. You should ask the vet for a couple or more brands so you can compare which would be better for your dog and your budget.
You should also observe your dog if it has allergies or other considerations and tell the vet about it. He should be able to tell you which ingredients you need to avoid when checking pet nutrition products. Usually, allergies in dogs are caused by the wheat or soy content in their food. Some symptoms include falling hair and itchy skin.
When shopping for food for large breed dogs, read the labels carefully. The protein source or sources should be the first in the list of ingredients. Beef, chicken, lamb, salmon, and turkey are the prime protein sources you should see. Do not buy any product that say "animal protein" only. It has to be specified so you'd also know if your dog exhibits some kind of allergic reaction. Also, poor sources of protein won't give your dog the nutrition it needs regularly and may even add fats and other unnecessary substances to its diet.
Grains are just fillers. They provide very minimal nutritional benefits for your dog and even cause frequent loose stools. Be sure that grains appear far down the ingredients' list on the product label. This includes corn, which is actually discouraged by many vets. Corn is even totally omitted by some of the premium brands in the market.
If your dog has special concerns that you want to address through its regular diet, check the additional ingredients in the dog food that you want to buy. Large dogs are prone to bone and joint problems, because they are heavy. Glucosamine and chondroitin in dog food will help them fight these troubles.
Lastly, be sure that the dog food is made by a reputable company that doesn't have any nutrition issue or recent product recall. Also, buying top-quality dog food may cost you a bit more than feeding it table scraps and substandard meals. However, it will save your dog the dangers of illnesses and will help you enjoy its company even more.