Your dog needs exercise just as much as you do. You can both do it at the same time. First, you both need to eat properly in order to achieve the maximum effect from the exercise. Sorry, but I’m going to concentrate on your dog for now though.

He needs to have food that is high in protein and also have some carbs for energy. By now, he should be an adult. Depending on his breed, he will be around 12-18 months old. Smaller breed dogs will reach this point closer to one year of age. He will be at approximately 80% of his weight by this time.

Calcium-still needed?

He’s not going to require the same amount of calcium now, as he did when he was a puppy, although a balanced portion is still important. Too much calcium at this stage in his life could be detrimental.

As a puppy, he needed it to build strong bones, teeth and nails. Now that he is an adult, not so much. You want to keep his bones strong, but too much can build up and create problems with his joints. Conversely, too little can make for brittle bones. He will need a complete and balanced formula food specifically designed for his age group.

Many brands out there provide this balance. Make sure to look for the approval by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, AAFCO. They set the nutrient guidelines for all pet foods and the specific age groups. You should see this on the ingredient label to make sure.

Your larger breeds will still need to maintain a certain level of phosphorous and calcium to protect their bones to support the extra weight of their breed and skeletal health. His metabolism is lower than that of smaller breed dogs though so be careful.

Fish oils and vitamins-shiny and new inside too

There is some controversy on adding fish oil supplements to your dog’s food. There is no need to add supplements as long as you buy the right food for your dog’s age and breed. Fish oils in the ingredients are essential, not just for the smooth, shiny coat we want them to have, but also aids their overall health as well. These oils from fish contain the Omega-3 fatty acids they need to reduce joint pain as well as heart and kidney diseases as they get older.

Fiber-just as good for him too

Fiber is good for Fido as well as it is for us two-legged animals. As with us, it is good for his digestive system.

The first thing is that it will help to fill him up, which keeps him from overeating. As I mentioned above, his metabolism is slower than when he was a puppy. A couple of good fibers that are healthy for him are:

  • Apples- high in fiber content
  • Canned pumpkin
  • Brown rice vs white rice-3X more fiber than white rice
  • Vegetables such as carrots and green beans, fresh, not canned-too many preservatives. These will also help with colon health, weight management, diarrhea, constipation and diabetes mellitus. Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder from too much sugar, same as with humans.
  • Oatmeal and bran are good sources too. Bran comes from the shell of many grains.

You don’t want artificial additives or preservatives for colors and flavors. If you want or need to add some flavor to his dry food, try a little chicken broth. He will love you for it!

Regular exercise will help as well to relieve gas for him. Sorry, but it’s a fact!

So, long and short, run with the big dogs. It will do you both some good.

11 Replies to “Running with the big dogs-do it for them too”

  1. I love my big beautiful dog. He is a cross between a Belgian Shepherd and a Norwegian Elkhound. I feed him regular dog food, but I have wondered, from time to time, if there were ways that I could supplement his diet. I am just now learning that I could give hime fish supplements, brown rice and vegetables (really?). I am going to be adding these soon and taking on that broth suggestion. Thank you. I know Sandy will love me for it.

    1. Thanks for your input. Just need to make sure her food contains fish. No need to buy fish, but fresh veggies, yes.

  2. Hello,

    Thank you for this awesome post about running with the big dogs. I need reminded from time to time about making sure my hunting dog gets his exercise and eats well. I should be exercising more with  him too. I do give him a Omega-3 supplement that the vet says is good for him. The vet says those Omega-3 supplements aren’t all created equal. We like to take him out for running, but I have to be honest, sometimes he ignores me and spends all day sending tweets to his fans. 

    Thank you! 

    1. Thanks Russ for your comments…or are they his? LOL In response to the Omega-3 issue, you are correct. Not all fatty acid supplements are created equal. You should check the labels on his regular food for the specific fatty acids. He may be getting enough, although keeping in touch with his vet is very important as well, especially if he/she had known him for a long time. 

      If he has any more questions, tell him to feel free to ask.


  3. This is such an interesting article especially focusing on the well-being of dogs. I usually take my dog for an evening walk or jog and I totally agree is very important for it to exercise as I do. Also, thank you for elaborating on how and what to feed them to make sure it’s not too much or too little that way they reach their maximum energy potential positively.

    1. Thanks Jeff for your comments and I hope that article and future articles will help. If you have any questions, I’ll be glad to include the answers in an article or answer them directly.


  4. Hi,

    Thanks so much for sharing good information to know more about how to keep my big dog in good health and helping him to be on its best to do some exercise.

    My dog is a gentle big lab and he loves to go out as many times every single day, I guess he needs lots of exercise, he’s still young and doing good.

    I’ve had a few dongs in the past and I know well how with age some dogs will have some problems later, after reading your post, it helped me to know about about big dogs nutrition and I was wondering if I should give more home cooking for my dogs as well.

    After reading the list of food that will help a dog to have more fiber in its diet, should I give my dog some extra food cooked my me, what do you think?

    1. Hi Alejandra. You have a big lab? Not so gentle as a lap dog, but I love them anyway. Have you read my article on ‘Feeding  your puppy-do’s and dont’s? This will give you some insights about feeding from the table and what a dog can and cannot eat. Home cooking is good, however, you want to be careful what you give him. If you do cook for him, make sure you feed that food to him away from his regular food and only in small portions. Also, do not feed him the home cooking at the same time as you and your family are eating. Check out the article, I think it will help you with some guidelines. Thank you for your comment and question. Feel free to contact me anytime. Future articles to follow.


  5. I don’t know that exercise helps with dog’s gas.   This was just one of the new things that I learned from your post. It has been just within the last five years that I have realized that dogs need fiber like humans.   Also, I had not realized that brown Rice has 3X the fiber than White Rice.   Totally agree with having a balanced diet – is there a particular brand of dog food you would recommend over others?

    1. Thanks Steve. So far there are two that seem to have the most of required nutrients. I’m sure there are many, but the two that keep coming up are Nutrish and Blue Buffalo.

  6. I dogsit for several big dogs. Typically they go out on their own to get exercises, but maybe I’ll try to incorporate some running with them next time! 

    They do have a healthy diet. I will have to relay this article to their owners so they are aware of all the vitamins and minerals needed to help the doggie exercise and recover well too!

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