“They are at a higher than average risk for developmental orthopedic diseases,” according to PetMD. “Overly rapid growth appears to be an important factor in determining which individuals develop these conditions and which do not. Large breed puppy foods are slightly lower in fat, contain a little less calcium and phosphorus, and have a carefully balanced calcium to phosphorus ratio to help these dogs grow at a healthier rate.”
“Great Dane pups grow much faster than Chihuahuas, so they should eat different foods,” writes Lynn Buzhardt for VCA, a veterinary hospital brand available throughout Canada and the United States. “Large breed pups grow A LOT! But they should not grow up too fast.”
“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.
Large breed puppy chow should be lower in fat, lower in calcium, lower in phosphorus and lower in vitamin D. This makes it slightly different from regular puppy food.
Puppies of any size need more calories than similarly sized adult dogs to support body growth and their oversized energy and puppy food offers more calories per serving.