Large – Giant Dog Breeds – Pet tip 164
There are a lot of reasons why people choose large and giant breed dogs as pets. They are beautiful, gentle, playful, and in addition to loyal companionship, they also provide many owners with a sense of security that just can’t be found in a Chihuahua or Pomeranian. However, as compared to their toy-sized counterparts, large and giant breed dogs can be very challenging to own. There are a number of behavioural and medical issues that are unique to extra large canines, and which should be considered by anyone interested in bringing one of these dogs into their family.
Proper obedience is important with any dog, but when your dog tips the scales at 150 lbs, it is absolutely essential. People are often intimidated by dogs like Great Danes and Saint Bernards, and for good reason: No matter how good-natured they may be, dogs of this size can pose a serious threat to people and other pets if they are not well trained. Ideally, you should enrol your dog in obedience classes while he or she is still a puppy, and therefore still at a manageable size. It is a good idea to look for a trainer who has experience with giant breed dogs. Working with your trainer and at home, you must work to establish dominance over your pet and maintain their attention and respect. Even when you feel comfortable with your dog’s level of obedience it is always advisable to keep a careful watch on your pet when children are present. A giant dog has the potential to injure small children with a simple shove or an affectionate snuggle.
Another concern with giant breed dogs which is often overlooked by wannabe owners, is the cost. Due to their size alone, these dogs cost much more to raise than your average dog. Initial costs, such as those of a bed, crate, and even toys, are generally much greater when you need size XL of everything. Also, as you might expect, the bigger the dog, the bigger the food bills. Giant breeds can eat as much as 10 cups of dog food per day, meaning they can cost almost five times more to feed than a small dog. As well, basic veterinary care becomes much more expensive with bigger dogs. Many owners are surprised to know that the costs of a spay or neuter as well as medications for flea and heartworm prevention are usually size dependent.
The vet bills however don’t end there. Enormous dogs are linked with quite a number of serious health problems. In addition to bulked up bills for basic care, owners should be prepared for the possibility of major illnesses and chronic conditions which require veterinary care. Some of the most common problems seen in these dogs include orthopedic, cardiac, and digestive issues. Orthopedic problems in large breed dogs generally result from an energy imbalance during bone growth and development. Feeding a diet designed specifically for large breed dogs can help to reduce the likelihood of these issues later in life. Similarly, digestive problems, such as bloat, can be prevented by proper feeding. Large dogs should be fed in several small meals to prevent over-eating and should not exercise right after eating. Cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle, is another common problem in large breed dogs. While there aren’t any ways for you to prevent this problem, it is important that your veterinarian monitors your dog’s cardiac health regularly, in order to diagnose and treat this condition as early as possible. Unfortunately, this sort of care does not come cheap.
There are a lot of reasons why people choose large and giant breed dogs as pets. There are also, however, a lot of reasons why these dogs may not be the best pet for you. It is a far too common occurrence that people buy an adorable large breed puppy without considering how big, and how expensive, that puppy will one day become. No one can deny that big dogs mean big fun, big love, and big kisses, but they also mean big responsibility. So please, be a big person, and think carefully about the decision to take home a one of these wonderful dogs.
By Ashley O’Driscoll – Pets.ca writer