Feeding your adult dog
A large dog has different needs when it comes to dog food than a small dog. It must not consume too many energy substances, and certain ingredients should also be more important for the dog.
Dog owners who have a large dog like a Caucasian Shepherd, and want to look into the topic of dog food, will hopefully find this article helpful.
We have tried our best to get some important information together so you can see at a glance, what to consider when buying food for your Ovcharka. We also give you some price-performance tips.
The chunks in the food for such large dogs must be of an appropriate size. Large dog - large mouth - simple!
Accordingly, the food chunks should be of an optimal size.
If the chunks are too small, the dog will just gobble the food down without chewing, which potentially leads to intestinal and stomach issues. Pieces that need proper chewing are great for your Ovcharka's digestive system and also clean his/her teeth and train the dog's chewing muscles.
What do you want to feed your dog?
Personally, we prefer fresh meat as it is the most natural food.
But of course, not everybody has the right source to get fresh meat at a good price or have enough storage space.
How you want to feed your Caucasian Shepherd surely is your personal choice, and there are lots of good (but also some not so good) products on the market.
Different dogs - different diets
Basically, every dog needs a different diet, depending on:
Also, keep in mind some possible food intolerances. Many dog foods contain ingredients which can cause food intolerances. Please also note that some dogs have a genetic predisposition that can lead to diseases.
Large dogs like the Caucasian Shepherds are often affected by bone structure disorders. Therefore, they need special food that is adapted to their needs.
We don't want to be too negative, but there is indeed a higher risk for certain diseases in large dogs.
Giant breeds can be affected by various health problems. Due to the high weight, large/Giant breeds can be affected by bone structure diseases because, during fast growth, the body mass increases immensely.
Often hip joint and elbow dysplasia can occur. Many large dogs are affected by joint arthritis. Heart problems or the so-called Wobbler syndrome can occur.
Some of these diseases can be caused by the wrong nutritional concept. A large dog like your Ovcharka needs a higher amount of energy and more nutrients during growth.
However, it makes more sense to build on slow growth so that no diseases can develop in the bone structure. Therefore, the food should only contain as much energy as the dog can consume. This way, you can prevent bone diseases to a large extent.
In addition, a good amount of calcium, vitamins and minerals should be provided. For the heart function, L-carnitine or taurine should be included in the food. These substances are perfect for supporting heart function.
Meat is the most important protein source for the dog and should therefore be at the top of the declaration. The protein source should be at least 25% for a large/giant dog. This is usually the case for dried meat.
Fresh meat has more water and should therefore be present in a higher amount if no additional dried meat or meat meal is included. Meat meal is basically dehydrated fresh meat.
To provide your dog with sufficient vitamins and minerals, there should be an appealing amount of plant-based ingredients such as vegetables, fruits and herbs.
Grains should be avoided, as they are only a filler and have indigestible cell walls. Wholemeal products or potatoes are suitable for carbohydrates.
Animal fats should definitely be included in dog food. They provide not only energy but also proteins and carbohydrates. Saturated fatty acids are ideal; they are also good for the skin and coat.
Vegetable oils should be used in high quality; olive oil, but also fish oil is excellent. They are good for muscle development, eyes and nerves.
Water should be considered at about 10% in the dry food. In wet food, the amount is about 60 to 80%. Nevertheless, the dog should always have access to fresh water.
The exact amount of food cannot be generalised. It depends not only on the breed but also on the dog's living situation. Besides, the weight plays a decisive role, and the daily exercise must also be taken into consideration.
Every manufacturer provides a feeding table for their dog food. However, this is only a guideline. The amounts must be individually composed for each dog. An adult dog needs about 2 to 4% of its own body weight in food.
Wet or dry food?
There is a wide range of wet and dry food on the market today. Every manufacturer now offers dry and wet food. Each type of food has its advantages and disadvantages.
In terms of price, shelf life and tolerance, dry food is far ahead however, wet food scores with a high proportion of moisture and taste due to the juicy sauce.
Basically, it doesn't matter whether you feed wet or dry food. The main thing is that your dog gets a balanced and suitable diet for his/her needs.
Conclusion: A healthy mix of good quality food is ideal.
Feeding your new puppy
This section is for anyone who has a young puppy with them and is wondering: What is the best dog food for my puppy? But don't worry, we'll explain everything you need to know step by step.
"Tell me what you feed, and I'll tell you what kind of dog your puppy will turn out to be".
Answers to the most pressing questions, such as "What's best for my puppy?" and "How do I know what food is best?" are provided in the next few lines:
Dogs have always been prey eaters, and in addition to the meat of the prey animal, they also ingested the stomach contents. This way, they were optimally supplied with nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
A natural diet is essential for healthy growth and stable development.
In this way, muscles can be built up in harmony with bone growth.
This is how your new baby feels in the first hours and days when coming to live with you.
He/she is without a dog mum and siblings in a completely foreign environment. Even if you lie down on the floor with him, combine bonding sounds with cuddling sessions - the stress for the little puppy remains.
His physical condition plays a decisive role in the emotional balance. To avoid additional infections or digestive problems, you should initially stick to the breeder's recommended puppy food.
If a change is unavoidable, give your puppy the chance to get used to it slowly.
It is best to increase the amount of food every two days:
1st and 2nd day = 25:75 - new to old puppy food.
3rd and 4th day = 50:50 - new to old puppy food
5th and 6th day = 75:50 - New to old puppy food
This will allow your puppy's digestive tract to get used to the new food and show you how well it is coping with the new puppy food.
Your puppy will thank you with bursting energy and great resourcefulness.
Puppies need specific nutrients for optimal development and healthy growth.
Their gastrointestinal tract needs to develop and can only digest small meals. A puppy needs twice as much energy as an adult dog.
Therefore, a puppy must have several small meals available, initially up to four times a day. At six months, three meals a day are sufficient.
When fully grown, one full meal a day is sufficient. However, 2 meals are also recommended here - in the morning and evening.
We have been looking at food specially adapted to the needs of puppies.
This food must at least meet these conditions:
Puppies need at least 22% protein and 8% fat, while adult dogs need just 18% protein and 5% fat.
The right proteins and fats must be in the food. Choosing the right ingredients will make the best puppy food for you.
In addition to protein and fat, puppy food must meet at least these four criteria for optimal development and healthy growth:
If the puppy does not receive enough fluids, dehydration can occur very quickly - this is life-threatening for the little one.
2. Easily digestible carbohydrates and proteins
If the food contains only low-quality carbohydrates, his energy balance will be undersupplied - this will affect his entire development. High-quality carbohydrates are provided by oats, quinoa or brown rice.
Balanced vitamins strengthen the immune system and promote healthy skeletal development.
A slight increase in calcium and phosphorus is essential for bone development in young puppies.
These things do not belong in an optimal puppy food:
Preservatives, additives or colourings are at least as unhealthy for sensitive puppies as they are for human babies.
These ingredients disqualify any product labelled as puppy food from the outset.
Puppy food must:
Be produced hygienically and responsibly.
Meet shelf-life standards.
But no matter how carefully the food is handled, it cannot compensate for failures in the production process.
Every dog owner, no matter how hard he/she tries, is at the mercy of the dog food manufacturers to a certain extent - and his puppy or dog with him.
The most important thing about declaration:
The shelves are overflowing - there is dog food in masses.
The class of the food is only proven by the information on the print or label.
Here it must be clear and concise:
There are no limits to the inventiveness of manufacturers here. The palette ranges from completely insufficient and unspecific information - so-called closed declaration - to differentiated declaration of all ingredients at 100%.
In tests, the products receive points according to the accuracy of the declaration. A mere stringing together of "meat, vegetables, minerals" without any indication of the proportions and species used gets the lowest score.
The same applies to vague, sometimes misleading information and listings.
If it is recognisable on the label which product is contained in which composition and of which origin with what percentage exactly, then this gives the dog owner precise information about the food composition.
Tips on the ingredients
As prey eaters with predestined teeth and short intestines, it is also crystal clear for puppies: they need sufficient meat as a protein supplier.
The list of other ingredients must make it clear to the puppy owner which other substances are added to the meat.
The young puppy also needs vitamins and minerals from vegetable components.
Grains are actually out of place here, and if there are any, it should be rice or millet. Some puppies are allergic to soy, which is why many manufacturers do not use it.
Fruit and vegetables for vitamins
It needs fat and oil for all the ingredients provided to be digested in the puppy's stomach.
All these ingredients must be labelled accurately - this is a positive result.
Other ingredients inevitably lead to an unnecessary burden on the puppy's stomach and are consequently reflected negatively in the rating.
The meat contents
The meat in the food provides the necessary 22% protein, and most of the 8% fat that a puppy needs for healthy growth and optimal development.
This allows its muscles, cartilage, tendons and ligaments to develop in an age-appropriate way.
Our dog, the carnivore
Over the millennia, dogs have changed and adapted their appearance a lot. However, one thing has remained the same - their gastrointestinal tract. Similar to humans, there have been hardly any adaptations.
That is why good puppy food contains at least 70% meat.
The meat content can be made up of offal (rumen, heart, liver or lungs) or other meat pieces. The individual proportions are clearly indicated on good quality food.
Fillers / additives
Here is a list of possible fillers or additives that every dog owner should strictly avoid.
The only purpose of these ingredients is the profit motive of the manufacturers. If you find such products in the declaration - then hands-off! You are not doing your puppy any good.
Strictly avoid food containing:
No vegetables or carbohydrates
Corn gluten or potato starch or other breakdowns
General: "oils and fats
Not defined "vegetable by-products".
"Fresh meat" as an ingredient in dry foods
Puppy food by breed and age
Dog breeds are divided into three groups according to size:
(a) Small dogs up to 30 cm height at withers (shoulder height).
b) Medium dogs up to 50 cm height at the withers.
c) Large/Giant dogs with a height at the withers of more than 50 cm.
The energy requirements of a small Spitz are naturally completely different from that of a Caucasian Shepherd. Therefore, the puppy food must also meet these different requirements.
The bigger the puppy, the more energy the puppy food should have. However, attention must be paid to the amount of food so that a puppy of a large breed also has enough time to grow.
The right amount of energy
The muscles' development must keep pace with that of the bones and joints to avoid pathological disorders of the skeletal system later on.
Overfed puppies are often overweight as adult dogs, which means a significant reduction in age and life quality.
Simply following the manufacturer's instructions for puppy food can result in
overfeeding heavy puppies and
light puppies being put on a diet.
Growth curves stages of development
Play it safe and use your puppy's growth curve as a guide. Otherwise, you will lose track of whether your puppy is developing optimally.
Your vet will be happy to print out a growth curve for your puppy. If he/she knows the parents' weight, this is a very good basis for creating one.
When we sell our Caucasian Shepherd puppies Leicestershire, we can certainly provide all information.
As long as your puppy's values do not deviate more than 10% up or down, everything is within the optimal range.
If there are significant deviations, it is better to consult a veterinarian for a check-up.
A puppy goes through different stages of development during its first year of life. The food must provide the optimal nutritional composition for each stage.
For this reason, manufacturers differentiate between food for puppies (puppy), juniors, adults and seniors.
Puppy food feeds your pet during the first weeks and months after birth. After all, a tiny puppy grows by five per cent of its weight in the first four weeks of life.
Junior food can replace puppy food when the development of the muscular system is almost complete.
So, remember: the older your dog gets, the less protein it needs.
Did you know?
As a proud owner, you are not only interested in the WHAT, but also in the HOW and the WHY - perhaps there is something new for you to discover here.
How do I feed my Ovcharka baby correctly?
Remember that the first weeks with your puppy are just as exciting for your little one as they are for you. He or she is at your mercy, and you will both have to work to build up mutual trust.
Feeding is in your hands. You "kill" the prey and prepare it so that your puppy can eat it. This way, you can become his surrogate mum.
The perfect portioning and timing
The little stomach has to grow first, and the best way to do this is to feed it regularly in four small portions.
This allows the digestive tract to adjust to certain times and provide the necessary digestive juices. Your pet will also realise that he can rely on you and that he does not need to beg.
Don't leave food for more than half an hour. In this way, your Ovcharka puppy will learn to eat its food quickly, and the food will not spoil (e.g. in summer). This is also the only way to see if your puppy is staying healthy.
If an illness is coming on, every dog eats less well or not at all.
The best puppy food by breed
Every breed of dog has its own characteristics, and these also affect the diet. Three factors are decisive here:
Among the large dogs like your Caucasian:
Here you must pay close attention to a balanced diet. Too "good" feeding (too rich, too nutritious) in the puppy period leads to the rapid growth of the muscles which the development of the skeleton cannot keep up with.
Calcium and phosphorus must be sufficient in the food. Otherwise, rapid growth can lead to severe damage to the musculoskeletal system.
Most large dogs like the Ovcharka grow very fast in the first nine months of their lives but are usually not fully grown until they are two years old.
What is the best way to feed my puppy?
Your puppy likes to move, romps around, makes joyful sounds, his/her eyes shine at you, and its coat is shiny - then you have done everything well, and your puppy is optimally nourished.
Changes in coat, dull eyes or loss of appetite are warning signs, as is vomiting or diarrhoea. If it persists for more than two or three days, it is crucial to take your puppy to the vet.
Remember: Optimal nutrition also means not too fat or too lean!
Things to know:
Prey eaters are not used to grain. Their digestive tract is optimally adapted to the absorption of nutrients from meat and fish. Only high-quality cereals such as rice, maise, buckwheat or oats prevent allergies.
Important in the end:
Your beautiful Caucasian Shepherd puppy should become your best friend, and you will be the best human buddy for him/her if you both feel comfortable with each other.