What exactly is the difference between small and large breed dogs? And no, we're not just talking about size! Believe it or not, we calculate many separate factors for a dog based on their breed, lifestyle, and nutritional differences. To start, there are actually four classes of doggie size ranges: small, medium, large, and giant.
What size breed will suit my lifestyle?
While temperament, training, grooming maintenance, and athletic ability differs across all shapes and sizes of dogs, there are certain times when you must take size into account. Do you live in a house with a yard, or an apartment or condo complex? Most larger breeds will not be able to adapt to small living spaces if not exercised properly. They need the extra wiggle room to keep them happy and healthy (both mentally and physically), but depending on your activity level, high-energy breeds can live the city life if exercised appropriately everyday. Life expectancy and medical conditions are also correlated differently depending on breed and size, for further insight please read PetMD's article, How Long Do Dogs Live?, and Cesar's Way article Dog size and life span: When bigger isn't better.
What are the nutritional differences for small and large breeds?
While we covered that there are more than just two size classes for dogs, you may have noticed that many dog food brands will label their products either 'small breed' or 'large breed'. What then? And what is the difference? First, smaller dogs have a higher metabolic rate than larger dogs, and they burn through calories much quicker. Small breed puppies should especially be fed a calorie-dense food to prevent hypoglycemia, lethargy, and even more serious health conditions. Large breed dogs can be similar to small breeds, but have different requirements. Large breeds puppies require diets with lower levels of calcium and phosphorus to reduce the rate of developmental diseases such as hip dysplasia. High levels of dietary antioxidants are also necessary for small breeds that live a long time, compared to large breeds who are more apt to suffer from arthritis in old age and require ingredients like glucosamine. Learn more on how to choose the best food for your pet with sites like DogFoodAdvisor, or watch the documentary Pet Fooled on Netflix.
How does size affect grooming?
While coat maintenance is based on breed and not necessarily size, the amount of dog being groomed will definitely affect the time spent in the grooming room! A Toy Poodle may need less time for a trim compared to a Standard Poodle, and both need different preparation, tools, and materials used to conduct a good grooming. Here at Buddies it is important that we schedule our appointments ahead of time so that we may adapt our schedule to different size dogs. This allows time for our groomers to prep the right tools and products for the breed. We make the most out of every minute spent with your buddy, no matter big or small!
Whether you are deciding to bring a new pet into your home, or searching for the best brand of food, recognize that research is the best way to empower your best buddy's health and happiness. Reach out to other pet parents, groomers, or veterinarians to discuss health and nutritional options. We encourage everyone to go beyond the basics, and respect the differences of every breed!
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