Taking care of big dogs with long hair is more difficult than any other breed. If you are keeping one, you should have known by now how care demanding these dogs are.
It requires a lot of scheduling, watching growth rate, choosing the right kind of food to guarantee that your dog is getting all the nutrients he needs, and of course, grooming!
In case that you are planning to get one of the big dogs with long hair or re-considering your choices for your pooch, this article will be a great resource to the two basic dog needs; Nutrition and grooming.
In order to be able to know what are the breeds that is considered large breeds, you should know some facts about big dogs first.
Breeds That are Considered Big Dogs
Dogs are mainly classified into three main size categories; small dogs, medium and large dogs. After that, these categories expand to be more accurate when describing a dog’s size. They became five categories; Toy, Small, medium(standard), large, and giant.
Some breeders even differentiate between a small and a toy dog, also with the large and very large(giant) dog, but these classifications will differ from a breeder to another, so stick to the main general distribution.
To call a dog large or big, he has to be around 24 inches in height and not less than 50 pounds. A giant dog is who surpasses 100 pounds of weight. So a dog is considered big when he is beyond 50 pounds but under 100 pounds.
Big Dogs with Long Hair: Nutrition
There are an endless number of dog food on the shelves that you read the word “the best” on them. To know what is the ‘real’ best food for your pooch, you need to acknowledge a few things first to guarantee the best choice of food to your dog from the puppy age to when he becomes a senior.
Big dogs acquire specific nutritional supplements to get a balanced diet. These supplements include vitamins and minerals. Commercial dog foods are the most trustworthy choice for most pet parents. There are plenty of types of food in the commercial dogs’ meals like; meat, vegetables, fruits, and grain. This variety is to meet the standard regulations that are put by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).
Ideally, dog food should contain the right amount of protein, fibers, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins combined together and forming an easy digestive meal for the dog to get all these nutrients.
The difference between large dogs diet and small and standard dogs is not significant. It only has a few, but important changes. Adult dogs need serious monitoring for signals of diseases like bloat, excess weight gain or orthopedic disorders.
Puppies, on the other hand, need a balanced diet to eliminate any chances for future health problems.
Big Dogs with Long Hair: Large Puppies Food
Large puppies diet require special care of the owners. Big breeds are known for the rapid growth rate compared to small or medium breeds. A small pup from a large breed could gain more than 100 pounds of weight in the first 18 months of his life.
This shows that big dogs get affected easily by the consumption of calories and other nutrients, any imbalances on the diet and insufficient choices of food.
Large dogs are naturally familiar with rapid growth, but excessive growing than the normal rate could help in causing a lot of orthopedic disorders like hips and elbows dysplasia.
Overfeeding your puppy is one of the common reasons that may cause developmental orthopedic diseases(DOD). Food with a lot of fat, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D enhances the risks of having DOD. Opposing contrary believes excessive calcium won’t be good for the puppy health and skeletal shape, in fact, it will do the exact opposite.
The number of times you feed your dog matters, avoiding free eating is a must in order to prevent excess weight gain.
Instead of dividing your dog’s meals into small portions, monitor his weight to know whether your dog is overweight or not. Doing research on the ideal weight your puppy should be and asking your vet for the average proper weight for your puppy’s breed are great alternatives instead of dividing the meals.
When your dog gets to adulthood, talking with your veterinarian about the suitable food options for the new stage. Adult large dogs are apt to have more than just orthopedic disorders. Obesity and bloat are more likely to hit adult dogs.
Overweight dogs are more prone to have many problems in muscles, bones, and joints and those are not the only serious problems by obesity. Chronic diseases like kidney failure, high blood pressure, and diabetes!
This will affect the dog’s flexibility and quality of life. Bloating is when a mass of gases build-up in a dog’s stomach, it is a serious condition that sometimes leads to fatal consequences. Large and giant dogs are more prone to have bloat than other dogs.
It is treatable, but prevention will always be the best option. Here are some tips to avoid having bloat; Avoid giving your dog only one large meal and divide it into reasonable portions, put the dog food bowl on the ground level and don’t raise it, don’t give your dog too much food with high-fat ingredients, and don’t follow mealtime with a hard exercising session, wait for at least 1 hour.
Searching for The Right Food Labels
While searching for the perfect and suitable for your large dog, we always tend to read the labels to figure out more if that o type of food is sufficient for our pets. Sometimes the labels on the food bag or can are misleading than useful. So, here are a few things to look for while choosing the best for your dog;
Always search for food that meets the requirements of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Food cans or bags that are certified by the AAFCO have the right to write on their product ” Balanced and complete”. Try to avoid purchasing dog food with too much oil or fat. You can identify this kind by looking for oils or fats labeled as the first, second or third ingredient.
Big Dogs with Long Hair: Food for a Shiny Coat
Nutrition is also important for maintaining a healthy large dog with a shiny and polished coat. Taking care of the dog’s fur is not only with grooming it regularly. The kind of food a dog is consuming is also one of the factors affecting his fur appearance.
Fatty acids are the key for a healthy dogs coat. Omega 3 and Omega 6 are great for your pooch’s fur. Omega 6 helps in replacing the sins oil and give the dog’s coat the luster shiny look. It can be found in vegetable oil, sunflower or safflower oil.
As for Omega 3, it helps dogs with skin problems more. Flax-seed oil and fish oil are rich with Omega 3. Owners could also search for supplements with EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) which are good for the health of the dog’s coat.
Grooming Big Dogs with Long Hair
Grooming your long-haired pooch is another thing you have to keep in mind. Dogs with long hair would take much more time for grooming than a short-haired dog. Long hair comes with the need for a daily or every other day grooming routine. Leaving your pooch without grooming won’t only leave him with messy hair, it also makes him more prone to having mats that will eventually result in inflamed skin or sores.
Brushing is one of the most important aspects of grooming your long-haired dog. Daily or every other day you will have to brush your dog’s hair to prevent mat creation. Do you know how to deal with mats? if the answer is yes check
Steps to brush your long haired dog;
Let your dog lay on his back on a towel or a blanket and remove his collar.
Start brushing the underside of your pooch and Start brushing away from the direction of the dog’s skin. Neck, belly, and the legs from the inside. Untangle the hair with a comb or with your fingers.
Apply a detangler or spray conditioner for the knots that still there. Part the hair and brush from the root to the end of the hair follicle.
After finishing the the underside, repeat the same steps for the sides and back
With a smooth brush, brush the dogs face and tail to get the flowing look.
Bathing is what you should know about now. The number of times a dog should take a bath is the same for short and long hair dogs, the process is a little different considering the length and the thickness of the hair.
For more detailed information about grooming a dog with long hair check How to Groom a Dog with Long Hair Best 6 Tips
Mainly, dogs need to take baths every month, but some dogs with oily coat may need a bath every two weeks or so.
Prepare a dog shampoo and conditioner and don’t use human products as it may cause skin irritation. Brush your dog before bathing and use lukewarm water. Don’t use a human hair dryer as it can become too hot and cause burns to your dog.
After finishing, don’t forget to treat and praise your dog!
All of these are home grooming solutions, if you think this is too much work for you, you can consider taking your pooch for a professional groomer. Check our article How Much Does Dog Grooming Cost: A Comprehensive Answer to figure out more about the cost of dogs grooming.
Remember that keeping a pet is a choice. You are obligation-free as long as you don’t choose to keep a dog, but the moment you get one, taking care of that dog is your full responsibility. Large dogs with long hair may need a lot of care and monitoring. But, don’t you love to have a diva under your house roof?
Share with us if you have or ever considered to have a big dog with long hair before.