Do you want your dog to grow very BIG?

By Kodichukwu Okonkwo, DVM | August 2nd, 2018

People, especially Nigerians try to make their dogs grow big fast. They explore so many food additives, multivitamins, and castrations and even buy expensive food for their pets just to make them grow very big. There is this premium attached to BIG dogs in Nigeria. Someone called me once to inquire about a certain advert I placed on fairvet puppy market section. The question he asked me that was very important to him was: “Is the puppy big?” I was confused because puppies are of various sizes or weights at some certain age.

Some dog sellers use this as a weapon against buyers who don’t know much about dogs and would say that a dog of 3 months is actually 6 weeks old to exaggerate the size. They have done this to some of our clients. I have to tell them the truth after examining the teeth. One of the episodes that happened was when a seller told our client that the puppy was 2 weeks old. I was dazed and asked for the date of birth. I threatened the seller that we will not buy until he told the truth about the age. He made a call and the date of birth was confirmed, the puppy was 7 weeks.

The fact is that some people just want a big dog no matter the breed. I have encountered someone that was expecting his German shepherd to be as big as a Caucasian and had to educate him that German shepherds are actually medium-sized dogs while Caucasians are expected to be bigger.

So many dog owners see some insanely muscular dogs on the internet and dream of making their own dogs look the same. These people are owners of Mastiffs and Rottweilers. They go and buy some multivitamins I suspect to be steroids just to get this result. Some of these vitamins have the picture of muscular dogs on them.

I wish to say to many of you that want your dogs to become very big to consider many other factors that might hinder your expectations like the genetic makeup of your pets and their breeds. You need to know the standard size of the dog you own before you buy. So many buy mixed breeds with unpredictable growth patterns and start to expect massive growth.

Some people go ahead to buy various types of dog food with a lot of promise just to achieve this. It’s important to feed your pet properly and very well but sometimes we neglect things like parasites in the blood or on the skin that can make your effort futile. You can feed your pet very well but when parasites like ticks and worms are actively disturbing their health you achieve nothing.

Feeding the right food at the right time is simply the key to getting the pet to grow to the maximum size expressed by his genetic makeup. Dogs that have the genes to grow big will have to be fed the right food at the growth stage of the pet in other to achieve the best result. The puppy stage of any dog is the right time to feed the dog well and properly.

Feeding your puppy plenty once a day can be counterproductive but when the same puppy is fed in a divided ration 3-4 times daily the puppy tends to grow better. Some dog owners or handlers sometimes refuse to feed puppies at intervals because they defecate a lot. I had to educate them that they are actually trying to limit the dog’s growth and development especially now that he needs to grow fast.

Another lesson you need to learn is that it’s not how much food your dog eats that matters but how much he absorbs into his bodybuilding blocks for growth. So feeding plenty of food does not equate to more growth but eating the right quantity at the right time. Read the direction on the food you buy your puppy to find out.

Exercise is very important for puppies for better growth. Puppies play a lot because they always need exercise and this is very essential to their growth. Muscle development in adult dogs also requires exercise. No matter the number of steroids (I don’t encourage this) you give them if you don’t allow them to exercise you will be losing money. Exercise actually activates body processes to work especially when the body is resting. You will notice that your puppy plays a lot and eventually sleeps long. During this sleep, the body's processes are active to achieve growth and development.

Dogs are carnivorous animals which means that they feed on flesh or meat. The stomach and intestines of dogs are actually built to digest meat or flesh. They are now adapting to the household food we feed them over the years of domestication. Commercial dog food producers are now taking advantage of this adaptation to formulate meals that meet their basic needs. It’s very important to bear in mind the natural food your dog deserves (meat) so that you can provide them, then supplement them with other types of food that they have adapted to.

There is a very widely circulating idea that when you castrate your male dogs they grow bigger than they would have been. From my experience, it seems to be true but what I discovered is that they lose the masculine looks that male dogs have and start to add extra flesh in distortion. I will discourage this practice if the sole intention is to have a big dog because of the ‘maleness’ of the dog that will be lost eventually.

The total well-being of your dog is required before your dog is able to utilize the nutrients in the food you give him so make sure you achieve all that by making sure his veterinary care has been given top priority before you apply all that has been suggested in this article. Your dog will be very big if he is supposed to be big given his genetic makeup. The size of the parents of the dog can give you a clue as to how big the dog will turn out at the end –this is not guaranteed.

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Kodichukwu Okonkwo, DVM

Founder of Fairvet Animal Clinic Ltd since 2011, studied at the University of Nigeria Nsukka. He is well experienced in small animal, large animal & poultry medicine, and also skilled at zoo medicine. He loves animals and builds both professional and personal relationship with pet owners in order to sustain a good interaction with pet and animal owners, coupled with His great skills in programming; he brought about which he personally built from scratch.

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