Dad (who got his unique name after he snored the first night he was home) is now 2 years old, and he’s “very playful,” Chang says. Dad is also 150 pounds and “doesn’t realize it,” he adds. Dad will sometimes sleep in Chang’s bed and, it seems, it’s pretty hard to stop him.
“Having a giant breed dog can be a lot of fun, but it does come with its own specific health considerations,” Callie Harris, DVM, a Purina veterinarian, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. Harris says giant breed dog owners can definitely benefit from investing in a few select items.
Special dog food
Large dog breeds require a different diet than their smaller counterparts, and “it’s important to feed them a diet that is specific for their growing needs,” Harris says. Big dogs can be more predisposed to joint disease as they age, which is why Harris recommends talking to your vet about putting your large dog on a special joint mobility diet, like Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets JM Joint Mobility Dog Food.
A ball thrower
Exercise is “extremely important” for all dogs, but especially for giant breed dogs, Harris says. She recommends investing in a ball thrower like this Chuckit! Classic Launcher or iFetch Interactive Ball Launcher, which allows dog owners to easily throw balls longer distances. Regular exercise can also be helpful for a giant breed dog’s joints, Harris says, to help keep “everything movable, lubricated and healthy.”
A weighted blanket (recommended specifically for large dogs with anxiety)
Dad suffers from separation anxiety, and it’s been tough for Chang and his partner to leave him alone for longer periods of time. “He’s a very big baby,” Chang says. Chang recently had to leave for a weekend and hired a kennel to come and pick Dad up, care for him during the day and drop him off later. “The first night that we left, they could not get him there. He’s 150 pounds!” Chang says. “We want to be able to feel safe with leaving him alone.”
Harris recommends a weighted blanket to help ease his anxiety. Try the Canine Coddler or ComfyCalm. “Weighted blankets provides constant pressure, almost like it’s a continuous hug, which has been shown to be really helpful as far as reducing anxiety,” she explains.
Having a giant breed dog can be a unique experience, but taking care of your pet’s needs now can help ensure they have a long and healthy life.
This article was paid for by Purina and created by Yahoo Lifestyle’s branded content team. The Yahoo Lifestyle editorial staff did not participate in the creation of this content.