“In general, giant breed puppy foods should be lower in fat, have a good calcium content, an appropriate Ca:P ratio, and provide high quality protein,” the VCA article, Nutritional Requirements of Large and Giant Breed Puppies states. “The calcium content should be around 1.5%.”
Buzhardt recommends being careful about how much calcium puppies get and to make sure that treats are low in carbohydrates and don’t contain added calcium.
Small breed puppies also need a slightly modified diet.
“Small breed puppies, especially toy breeds, require careful feeding to prevent a condition called hypoglycemia,” the American Kennel Club (AKC) notes on its website. “This means they need to be fed a calorie-dense, small breed puppy food…”
Food labelled specifically for small breeds may provide smaller-sized kibbles, which are easier to eat without choking.
Puppies of any size need more calories than similarly sized adult dogs to support body growth and their oversized energy. Puppy food offers more calories per serving.
Dogs can switch to adult food when they are about 80 per cent of their full size — for large dogs, this can be anywhere from 12 to 18 months old. Some breeds don’t reach this metric until 24 months.