Nutrition for dogs based on size

To help make the journey as pet owners a blissful one, we need to respect the fact that different breeds have different needs. This means they should be fed accordingly.
Corgis on grass shifting your puppy to an adult diet

Puppy food is nutritionally dense to help them grow into a healthy and active adult dog. However, after their first year, it’s important to adjust their diet to a more balanced one with good quality nutrients.

As dog owners, it’s our responsibility to support our pets’ lifestyles and provide them with the correct diets, geared towards maintaining a healthy weight. After only 9 months, your puppy will be nearing adulthood and their size and weight during this significant phase will be a key consideration in determining and adjusting their nutritional requirements.

Adult dogs can vary enormously in size and weight, from around 1kg Chihuahuas to over 100kg English Mastiffs. 

Small-sized breeds (1-10kg)

How do you pack a big punch for little busy-bodies who are fussy eaters? Small-sized breeds such as Pugs, Shih Tzus and Dachshunds have longer life spans and higher energy requirements, so food for small breed puppies and dogs need to be formulated accordingly. 

Medium-sized breeds (11-25kg)

Size can surprise! Not too small, not too big, medium-sized breeds such as Huskies, Bull Terriers and Dalmatians rely on food that is formulated to support their high energy levels. In turn, this helps maintain a healthy weight, glossy coat and strong bones. 

Large-sized breeds (26-44kg)

Undoubtedly, they make a big impression on you and food for these puppies and dogs need to be fortified differently! Large-sized breeds such as Dobermans, Greyhounds and Sheepdogs have a large body size and great energy requirements, as well as an additional need to have the development of strong joints supported. 

Giant-sized breeds (more than 45kg)

Stop! Stare! Start again! The massive size of breeds like Saint Bernards, Mastiffs and Newfoundlands make them unmissable and unlike any other. While their heavy body weight demands stronger bones and joints, feeding them with the best nutrition need not be an intimidating task. 


Adulthood for mini dogs

At around 10 months of age, your mini adult dog should have grown to their full adult size. While they may occasionally exhibit puppy-like behavioural patterns, they won’t be for much longer. As such, it’s time for you to learn about the characteristics of adult small breed dogs.

What exactly is a mini dog?

‘Mini’ refers to small dog breeds that weigh up to 10kg when they are fully grown. This category also includes extra-small dogs, sometimes referred to as toy dog breeds which include dogs weighing less than 4kg. Many of these small dogs were originally revered for their hunting skills, but in today’s world, their image is very different. They have become very popular pets for their ability to adapt to the modern urban lifestyle. As a result of various associations in popular culture, they are often thought of as fragile creatures. Little do we know that these small dog breeds are truly tough and resilient animals, often living for more than 15 years!

Your mini adult dog may have sensitive teeth and gums, as their teeth are packed into small jaws. As such, regular inspection of their mouths and subsequent dental care is vital to their well-being. Small dog breeds also happen to have a sensitive digestive system, so feeding them a diet of high quality, easily digestible food is a must.

Mini adult dogs have high energy requirements when compared to other breeds, as their tiny legs have to put in extra effort to cover the same distance as larger breeds. As such, their intake of calories must be closely monitored to ensure it’s sufficient. However, don’t go overboard with their daily food allowance – these small breed dogs are prone to weight gain as well.

When it comes to grooming, many small dogs have long hair, making them susceptible to dermatological issues. These can be prevented by regular grooming your little canine and paying very close attention to parasite control.

Recommended Adult Diet: ROYAL CANIN® Mini Adult or ROYAL CANIN® X-Small Adult if your dog weighs less than 4.5kg as an adult

Adulthood for medium dogs

By the age of 12 months, your medium-sized dog should be fully grown. Although they may still exhibit a few puppy mannerisms and have a bit to learn about the world, their growth will soon be complete. The term ‘medium’ refers to adult dogs between 11kg and 24kg in bodyweight, which makes it a very diverse group of dogs. However, they do share many common characteristics and needs:

  • Tend to have their origins as working dogs
  • Have adjusted to modern life as great family pets (but even so, some of the most famous modern working breeds belong to this category)
  • Have tireless energy, enthusiasm and athleticism
  • Enjoy spending a lot of time playing outdoors
  • Have a developed sense of smell and a courageous nature (which makes them gain a reputation as performance dogs after training)

  • What does my ‘medium’ dog need?

    Your support, as their natural defences are very delicate (due to physical stress, activity and adverse weather conditions)
    Exercise, as they need regular, intensive dog exercises to allow them to expend energy
    Calorie intake, as their daily ratio must account for their highly energetic lifestyle (but should be adapted to body weight and condition to avoid the risk of excess weight gain)
    Recommended food, as their food must be appropriate for their size and portioned according to the feeding guidelines on the back of the packaging

    Recommended Adult Diet: ROYAL CANIN® Medium Adult


    Adulthood for maxi dogs

    As a maxi dog, your pet’s adult weight range is 26-44kg and they will reach this between 15 and 18 months. This means there’s a lot of growth happening in a short period of time. It’s important to ensure they eat the right level of balanced nutrients and energy to support healthy growth.

    Growth is generally divided into two phases. The first stage of growth is very fast and you could almost see your puppy getting bigger overnight, as the skeleton and bones are developing quickly to build the adult dog’s ‘framework’. The second stage of growth is one of consolidation – when the skeleton is fully developed and your pup now needs to build up muscle. You will notice them ‘filling out’ (not getting fat) and resembling what they will look like as a fully grown adult. 

    Keep the following in mind:

  • Control your puppy’s weight gain by ensuring they develop solid muscle to sustain energy levels as opposed to layers of fat
  • Your puppy’s diet will either positively or negatively affect their health as an adult. For example, smaller dogs have more dental problems (due to rather crowded teeth in their little jaws), so good oral hygiene is a must. They need to be fed food that reduces the risk of build-up of tartar and the formation of plaque, and helps keep their breath sweeter for longer.

  • Recommended Adult Diet: ROYAL CANIN® Maxi Adult


    Your giant puppy's junior diet

    Your puppy should be ready to move on to their junior diet. But here’s the good news: they can continue with the very best of health nutrition, tailored to their particular needs, keeping them in top condition in adulthood. As your puppy moves into their new, slower phase of growth at around 8 months of age, their nutritional needs will alter to account for the changes in their development.

    As a junior dog, it is recommended they transition from the Giant Puppy diet to their ROYAL CANIN® Junior diet for growing giant dogs, which ensures the following:

    Development of muscles: While the ROYAL CANIN® Giant Puppy diet will continue to help support sensitive joints, delicate digestion and natural defences, adapted content of highly digestible protein and high levels of L-carnitine helps promote optimal development of muscle tissue.

    Dental hygiene: A larger kibble more suited to your junior giant dog’s larger jaws, helps to encourage crunching, to slow down the speed of eating and to help keep your dog’s teeth clean.

    Energy levels: Energy intake is adapted to account for their altered needs during this slower phase of growth.

    Gradual transition: You should aim to introduce your junior giant dog’s new diet at around 8 months, with a gradual transition over 5-7 days.

    Recommended Junior Diet: ROYAL CANIN® Giant Junior


    Day-by-day nutrition guide

    Ensure you divide your dog’s food ratio into two meals a day, and then follow these diet transition steps: 

    Day 1-2: Divide the meals into 75% of the previous diet and 25% of the new diet.

    Day 3-4: Split the meals into 50% of the previous diet and 50% of the new diet.

    Day 5-6: The meals should be 25% of the previous diet and 75% of the new diet.

    Day 7: On the final day, feed your puppy only a 100% adult diet.

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