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Ensuring the optimal nutrition for a puppy is fundamental for their overall well-being. Puppies are so cute, and it’s easy to want to feed them lots of food and treats! However, an overfed puppy can experience health problems that can devastate their experience in life.

Feeding too much, over-supplementation, and filling up the food bowl with toppers and treats to entice eating are on the chopping block today! Curious about why? Here is a list of common problems associated with giving puppies too much nutrition:

  • Carpal Laxity (flat feet or “knuckling over”)
  • Growing pains (panosteitis)
  • HOD, OCD, and other bone growth problems
  • Obesity (which shortens lifespans by 2 years, on average)
  • Chronic loose stools (often blamed on “allergies”)

This article digs into the repercussions of overfeeding, shedding light on growth disorders, the risks of over-supplementation, and the potential pitfalls of excessive toppers and treats.


Understanding Growth Disorders in Large and Giant Breeds

Large and giant breed puppies require specialized nutrition due to their rapid growth and susceptibility to developmental issues. Overfeeding can contribute to growth disorders like hip dysplasia and hypertrophic osteodystrophy. These conditions result from overly swift bone growth, leading to improper joint formation and structural abnormalities.

Owners of giant breed puppies (such as Great Danes, which we talk a lot about here) are often alarmed if they see a few ribs. However, a lean body condition is desirable!

The Role of Caloric Intake

Overfeeding is essentially providing more calories than a puppy’s body needs. Proper portion control is crucial to prevent this. Consult your veterinarian to determine the appropriate food amount based on factors such as age, weight, and breed. Adjustments may be necessary as your puppy grows.

The Dangers of Over-Supplementation

Puppies, akin to humans, require specific nutrients for healthy development. However, excessive supplementation can lead to imbalances and potential health issues. For instance, over-supplying calcium to large breed puppies may disrupt the delicate balance needed for proper bone development, contributing to skeletal problems.

Ensuring Nutritional Balance

Choose a high-quality puppy food that meets the nutritional standards set by reputable organizations. Before introducing any supplements to your puppy’s diet, consult your vet to ensure they are necessary and safe.

Toppers, Treats, and the Challenge of Picky Eating

While treats and toppers play a role in training and bonding, moderation is key. Overindulgence in these extras may lead to picky eating habits and an unbalanced diet. Puppies may prefer the tasty treats over their regular meals, resulting in nutritional deficiencies.

Maintaining Balance

To maintain a well-balanced diet, limit treats and toppers to no more than 10% of your puppy’s daily caloric intake. Opt for healthy, puppy-friendly options, and use them sparingly to avoid disrupting the nutritional balance of their main meals.


In conclusion, overfeeding, especially in large and giant breed puppies, can have serious consequences for their health and development. Emphasize proper portion control, opt for high-quality nutrition, and be cautious with treat and topper intake. By providing a balanced diet and consulting with your veterinarian, you’ll set your puppy on the path to a healthy and happy life.

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. 

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