Practical Nutrition for Large Breed Puppies
Large-breed puppies generally grow more rapidly than smaller-
breed dogs in order to achieve their adult weight of 50 pounds or
more. Therefore, they need a diet that supports growth without
allowing them to grow too quickly, a circumstance that can
contribute to abnormal skeletal development.
Nutrition can play a key role in promoting healthy skeletal
development. Limiting calcium intake is especially important in
large breed puppies less than six months old. Studies show that
large breed puppies fed a high-calcium diet are more likely to
develop poor conformation and early lameness, in addition to other
bone diseases. Research has also shown that dietary protein does
not play an important role in the development of skeletal
abnormalities, but high dietary energy and calcium intake can
promote an excessive growth rate and an increased risk of
developing skeletal problems.
How to select the right food for a large breed puppy

Look for ...
•        Reduced calcium
Large Breed Formula (formulated specifically for large and giant
breed puppies) has 0.83 grams of calcium per cup, compared with
1.26 grams per cup in  Puppy Original Formula, a
diet more suitable for small and medium breed puppies)
•        Normal Calcium: Phosphorus Ratio (1.1:1 to 1.4:1)
Puppy Large Breed Formula has 1.26:1 calcium:phosphorus ratio
•        Reduced calories
Puppy Large Breed Formula has 367 kcal of metabolizable
energy/cup, compared with 428 kcal/cup for Puppy Original Formula
•        Normal amount of moderately fermentable fiber
Puppy Large Breed Formula has no more than 5% of crude fiber
(guaranteed analysis) and contains beet pulp (a moderately
fermentable fiber) for maintaining intestinal health
•      Puppy large breed formulas are a complete and balanced diet
formulated to meet the unique nutritional needs of large-breed
•        No supplements are necessary. In fact, feeding calcium,
phosphorus or vitamin D supplements will alter the critical balance
of minerals in the diets and may lead to developmental bone
•        Puppy large breed formulas should be fed from weaning up
to 24 months, depending on the breed/expected mature size of the
dog. After that time, the dog can be switched to the appropriate
adult food.