For starters, what size dogs are considered small breed, medium breed, large breed, and giant breed? The general guidelines recommended by the makers of ORIJEN dog food and ACANA dog food are as follows:
Small breeds are generally 4 to 30 lbs.
Medium breeds are generally 30-50 lbs.
Large breeds are generally 50 -100 lbs.
Giant breeds are generally over 100 lbs.
According to the makers of ORIJEN dog food and ACANA dog food, any puppy that will have an estimated adult weight of 50 lbs. and up should be eating the ORIJEN Large Breed puppy diet, or a similar All Life Stages diet (like the ACANA Wild Prairie, ACANA Chicken and Burbank Potato, ACANA Pacifica or ORIJEN 6 Fish) as a puppy. The main reason is because of the energy and mineral content of the food. Red Meat diets contain higher calcium and phosphorus content, which is not as ideal as poultry or fish diets during puppyhood for growth and reproduction. So, we caution people to use the poultry and fish diets during puppyhood to help steady growth.
If you are going to feed your large breed puppy an All Life Stages food, you need to increase the amount of food during puppyhood and level it off during adulthood, to ensure that your puppy gets the same nutritional content as a puppy formula. For puppies aged 1½ to 3 months old feed twice the recommended adult amount. From ages 3 to 6 months feed 1½ times the adult amount and ages 6 to12 months feed 1¼ times the adult amount. After 12 months you can feed the regular adult amount for current weight and activity level. For large breed puppies you should extend the last part from 6 to14 months old (at 1¼ times the adult amount) and for giant breed puppies it would be 6 to 24 months old (at 1¼ times the adult amount).
On our website (www.naturaldogfoodexpress.com) every formula under “Our Dog Food” has an orange link to a Fact Sheet with recommended feeding guidelines, crude protein analyses, and lots of useful tidbits.
So remember, with larger dogs, it is important to slow down growth and development to curtail orthopedic problems down the road. The above mentioned formulas have the proper energy and mineral balance for growing large breed puppies.
Once the dog reaches an adult age—14 months for a large breed dog, and 18-24 months for a giant breed dog—then you can feed a more energy-dense food as mineral content is not a concern anymore. At that point you can rotate in any of the other diets for variety (like ACANA Ranchlands, ORIJEN Regional Red, ACANA Grasslands or ACANA Lamb and Okanagan Apple). In short, once the growth spurt is complete, you don’t have to monitor the energy and mineral content of the food. ANY formulas in the ACANA or ORIJEN line up can be fed to an adult large breed dog.
We also recommend rotational feedings. Once the dog reaches adulthood it may be best to rotate the different meat sources for variety. It not only mimics natural eating habits and prevents intolerances, but it keeps dogs from getting bored. Imagine if you were to eat chicken every day for the rest of your life; that just might become a bit boring.