Caring for Large Dog Breeds
Large dog breeds require extra attention in certain areas, such as feeding, hygiene, exercise and discipline.
Dogs come in a huge range of breeds, as their different colors, sizes and shapes suggest. Of course, all dogs have certain needs, such as food, shelter, love and attention, and so on. However, did you know that larger dog breeds need attention in specific areas? Caring for large dog breeds can be somewhat different to caring for a smaller breed of dog.
Caring for large dog breeds
Your dog will need certain things from you depending on its age. What does that mean? For instance, a puppy will need different nutrients, training, and other things compared with a fully grown adult dog or even an older dog.
The puppy stage is fundamental for the dog’s growth, health and development. During that stage of your dog’s life, it’s important that you make sure your puppy has an adequate diet, and that it receives sufficient exercise for its breed and age.
An adequate diet will be similar for almost any large dog breed, whether it’s mainly of dry kibble, wet dog food or homemade. However, it’s important that you take into account your dog’s specific needs. Make sure that what you’re feeding your dog is appropriate for its age and health.
There are different types of dog food available on the market depending on the animal’s requirements, as well as diverse diets. To resolve any doubts you have on the topic, a professional will be able to advise you.
Exercise and hygiene
One important area that’s often overlooked in dog care is good hygiene. Good hygiene should include everything from the place they have to go to the toilet to the correct cleaning of their eyes and ears, as well as teeth and nail care.
Exercise isn’t just necessary, it’s also an essential factor in the dog’s development. Sufficient exercise will help it get rid of its excess energy, as well as getting it used to socializing with other dogs.
You should also take into account the fact that each dog breed has its own peculiarities and qualities. Let’s consider an example of two large dog breeds. A Nordic dog breed such as the Alaskan Malamute won’t require exactly the same care as a dog from a warmer climate, such as a Spanish Greyhound.
Considering these two dog breeds, the Alaskan Malamute is a dog that forms part of the Nordic dog sled breeds. Hardy, and with a calm personality, these are very sociable dogs. That last quality means they don’t make great guard dogs, since they don’t bark or growl.
On the other hand, the Spanish Greyhound is an indispensable companion for hunters. Agile and fast, this dog is very strong and wiry, although its sense of smell isn’t that great. Their presence in the Iberian Peninsula dates back to the 9th century, when the Arabs introduced them to the area.
As you can see from these two examples, due to different qualities and personalities, different dog breeds will require distinct areas of care, such as the time you spend with them, exercise and other aspects.
Further aspects involved in caring for large dog breeds
Caring for your dog’s coat
With the different large dog breeds, one aspect that you should take into account is how you should care for their fur. For instance, Nordic dog breeds have a strong, thick coat of hair that needs looking after almost daily.
There are three basic aspects to caring for your dog’s coat. These are a good diet, regular and frequent brushing with an appropriate brush (which will depend on the breed of dog), and periodic baths to keep the coat clean and soft. When you pay attention to these aspects, your dog’s coat will be healthy and glossy.
Different games to try when exercising your dog
All large dog breeds should do a great deal of exercise to burn off the abundant energy they have. Formerly, these breeds were used as working dogs to perform different tasks. Among the different roles these dogs had were as guard dogs, sheepdogs, sled dogs or hunting dogs.
Among the different exercises there are for your dog, you could consider long daily walks, as well as taking your dog to open spaces such as the park, where it can run around. A good combination for exercise would be classic games such as fetch together with exercises that encourage the dog to run and play.
There are different games that you can use to motivate your dog to run. The best known are such games as fetch the ball or playing with a frisbee. However, there are other possibilities. Get creative and invent some games for your dog; the sky’s the limit!
Among some of the playtime favorites are playing with a stick or playing with other dogs. There are also games to help stimulate their senses, such as hide and seek which encourages dogs to use their sense of smell.
There are also agility games, such as obstacle courses. This last option is great for enabling the dog and its owner to exercise at the same time as well as enjoying playing together.
Discipline for large dog breeds
All the aspects we’ve mentioned above, whether it be diet, hygiene, or exercise, should be combined with good discipline. Dogs, no matter their breed, require discipline from when they are puppies so that they will be obedient and well-behaved as adult dogs. Therefore, discipline and training forms part of a dog’s basic care.
However, don’t forget that dogs also need a lot of love and attention. They are very loyal animals that love to be fussed over and petted by their owners. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t discipline your dog. Affection and discipline aren’t mutually exclusive.