ADDING YEARS TO THE LIFE OF YOUR
OUR SPECIALIZED CARE AND FEEDING PROGRAM
We have achieved amazing success in lengthening the lives of our rescued dogs. We have our dogs living as much as twice their normal lifespans.
We have accomplished this by utilizing our feeding and care program and feeding all natural Gentle Giants dog food.
Here are the three
critical areas that you should focus upon:
(1) How you care for your dog;
(2) How you feed your dog; and
(3) What you feed your dog.
How You Should Care For Your Leonberger
Longevity: Physical And Emotional Care Of Your Leonberger Is Critical!
Nurturing The Physical And Emotional Needs Of Our Leonbergers
Our Leonbergers Are Living An Average Of 14 To 18 Years!
Because we have been enormously successful in prolonging the healthy, happy lives of our Gentle Giants, we have strict care requirements so that our adopters can hopefully enjoy the same amazing success that we have had. Everyone wants their dog to live the longest, healthiest, happiest life, and if you follow our feeding and care program and feed all natural Gentle Giants dog food, you will have the opportunity to love and enjoy your loving canine family member with you as much as twice as long as you might have otherwise.
Our Leonbergers are house dogs, not outside dogs. And, they are not garage dogs, laundry room dogs, barn dogs, shed dogs or patio dogs. Your Leonberger should live inside your home in the main living area as a member of your family, day and night, and go outside only to eat, to go to the bathroom, for short periods of play, and to be with you and your family whenever you are outside for as long as you are outside. At all other times, he/she should be inside the main living area of your home. Also, providing a cushioned bed for them becomes very important to them, and their bed becomes their "security blanket."
Many people have traditionally left their Leonbergers outside during the day, and brought them in only at night. Their Leonbergers usually live short lives, usually 7 to 9 years. Some people leave their dogs outside day and night, and their dogs usually live even shorter lives.
We cater to the physical and emotional needs of our Leonbergers, and they live a lot longer.
For example, we allow our Leonbergers the freedom to go outside whenever they want to, and conversely, the freedom to come back inside whenever they want to. These are the same freedoms that a human has.
So, it does take a little extra effort to pay attention to what your Leonberger is trying to communicate to you. And by doing this, your Leonberger feels that he or she has some say so in their life and they don't give up and resign themselves that they are either “cooped up” outside or “cooped up” inside. This freedom we give them enriches their emotional needs and their spirit, and they are happier. Happier dogs live longer.
Our Leonbergers go outside every few hours (or sooner if they want to). Yes, they frolic and play in between feeding times. You can see that in the many photos on our website. But, after about 15 to 20 minutes, they've had enough and that frolic and play gets old for them and they want to come back into their "den" (figuratively speaking), which is your home.
We say in our literature that a “doggie door” is optional, not required. What isn't optional is leaving your adopted Leonberger outside other than when he/she is eating, going to the bathroom, briefly playing, or being with you or your family when you are outside.
Our Leonbergers are house dogs, and your Leonberger should be allowed to stay in your house, whether you are home or not.
When we started rescuing Leonbergers, our dogs were living an average of 7 to 9 years. Now, our Leonbergers are living an average of 14 to 18 years. A significant attribute of our success in increasing the length of their lives is to nurture their needs and instincts, and living inside has shown itself time and again, to be a key ingredient in lengthening their lives.
Spaying And Neutering Your Leonberger
All of our Leonbergers are spayed or neutered at five to six months of age or as soon as we get them after five months of age. Spaying (females) and neutering (males) does not only prevent excessive breeding, which, if left unspayed and unneutered, results in so many millions of unwanted dogs that end up in animal shelters each year (most of which are put to death), but, spaying and neutering your Leonberger at an early age (the optimum age is five to six months) is critical to extend and prolong your dog's life.
Cancer is the #1 killer of dogs, and 85% of all cancers (whether they end up developing in the bones, organs, blood or skin) originate in the reproductive organs. So, by spaying or neutering your Leonberger at an early age, you are giving your dog the gift of a much longer life! This is one of the most important things that you can do for your Leonberger, and it is one of the key things that we do to help our dogs live an average of 14 to 18 years.
If you want to adopt a dog from us, you must spay or neuter your own dog prior to be approved for adoption. Also, unspayed and unneutered dogs do not always get along with spayed and neutered dogs, and we have achieved an amazing level of socialization, good behavior and easy handling with our dogs (see Our Gentle Giants Training) by combining spaying/neutering with our immensely successful training program. We feel that it is in the best interest and safety for our dogs and for your dog that you spay or neuter your dog before we adopt a dog to you.
We Use Crates To House Train Puppies!
Our dogs are crate trained, but we only use plastic (not metal) crates when our youngest puppies are learning to be housebroken. When our puppies are housebroken, usually at four to six months of age, we stop using crates. If a puppy is still in the chewing stage, we will "baby gate" them in our kitchen when we can't watch them. Giant breed dogs and many medium and small breed dogs are not comfortable in crates, and they are not happy in kennels, so we don't use either after four to six months of age.
Keeping Your Leonberger Out Of The Sun And Away From Heat
The sun's rays are dangerous and can be very detrimental to your Leonberger's health. Giant breed dogs and some medium and smaller breeds need to stay out of direct sunlight as much as possible. Most giant breeds and some medium and small breeds have a single coat of fur, which gives them no protection against the harmful rays of the sun. They can develop skin cancer very quickly. Once the skin cancer develops, the dogs usually develop internal cancerous tumors as well. This can quickly lead to death.
Other breeds of dogs have a short, thick inner coat of fur that protects them from the sun. Because most giant breeds and some medium and small breeds do not have a short, thick inner coat of fur, they should not be allowed to lie out in the sun at all. Interestingly, dogs with inner coats of fur shed all year long, whereas giant breed dogs and some medium and small breeds without the inner coats of fur shed only twice a year.
Leonbergers also need to stay away from heat. Their bodies do not dissipate heat well, and they can get heat stroke, which can cripple them or kill them.
If someone wants to keep their Leonberger outside, whether it is during the day or at night, whether they are home or not, we will not adopt to them.
Feeding Your Leonberger To Maximize His/Her Life Span
Our care and feeding program has worked magnificently for the thousands of giant breed dogs and many medium and small breed dogs in the last 17 years here where we could see and experience the results first hand. No one else in the country that we know of who cares for dogs has accomplished this or anywhere near this to our knowledge.
It is our love for these dogs and our total commitment to saving, enriching and lengthening their lives that has provided us with the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of these magnificent animals.
That is why we do what we do and why we have (what may seem strict to some people) the requirements that we have. In the end, the dogs we adopt have proven to be living longer, happier lives in their new adopted homes, and that has made their adopters happier because their loving canine companions are with them longer. You can read this first hand in the many letters and emails that we have posted on our website.
You can experience the same or similar results with your Leonberger by following our feeding and care techniques and by feeding all natural Gentle Giants dog food to your dog.
How We Feed Our Leonbergers
Every day we feed more than 600 lbs. of our all natural Gentle Giants World Class Canine Cuisine dog food to our rescued dogs, some of which are Leonbergers. We feed our adult dogs five (5) or more times each day, and we feed our puppies eight (8) or more times each day.
Unlike other brands of dog food where you have to limit and regulate how much your dog eats because your dog might over eat another brand of dog food, with our Gentle Giants dog food, your Leonberger will actually SELF-REGULATE himself/herself how much he or she eats and will not over eat our Gentle Giants dog food. Most people find that their Leonberger and other dogs will actually eat as much as 1/3 less of our Gentle Giants dog food than what they fed their dog before switching to Gentle Giants dog food. Feeding all natural Gentle Giants dog food to your Leonberger and your other dogs can make your dogs' coats look healthy and shiny. Also, your Leonberger and your other dogs will likely be more alert and have more energy, and you will likely clean up about 1/3 less stool.
We receive dozens of emails regularly from people who have had amazing results from feeding our all natural Gentle Giants dog food and following our feeding and care program that provides their dog with the opportunity to live a much longer, healthier, happier life.
How You Should Feed Your Leonberger And Other Dogs
Here is how we feed our dogs to maximize their life span . . . You should follow our feeding program.
We feed Gentle Giants World Class Canine Cuisine only, because it is highly nutritious with balanced protein and low fat content to be heart healthy.
We feed dry food only. Only if a dog is severely underweight or upon the recommendation of a veterinarian, do we add canned food.
We elevate all of our food and water bowls at a height so that our dogs don't have to lean down to eat, they just tilt their heads down to eat. We do this to avoid bloat and torsion, the number two killer of giant breed dogs and a killer of medium and smaller breeds as well.
We do not limit the amount of dog food that we feed at each feeding. If our dogs are hungry, we feed them more.
We feed our dry food for 10 to 15 minutes only, and then we remove the food. We never leave the food out (free feed) because if dogs have any stress or exercise with food on their stomachs, they can bloat and die.
We always provide fresh water daily.
We do not allow our dogs to exercise for 1 hour before and for 1 hour after each feeding - We do not feed for at least 1 hour before and after riding in a vehicle.
We feed our puppies under 6 months of age 7 to 8 times a day.
We feed our puppies 6 months of age to 1 year old 6 to 7 times a day.
We feed our puppies and adults over 1 year old 5 or more times a day.
What You Should Feed Your Leonberger And Other Dogs -
All Natural Gentle Giants World Class Canine Cuisine
We have our dogs living far longer than is traditional for our giant breeds and for our medium and smaller breeds. Our program for increased longevity combines early spay/neuter, our special feeding and care program, and our high nutrition, balanced protein, low fat Gentle Giants dog food. Because our dog food is so nutritious, your Leonberger can obtain all the nutrition he/she needs by eating less food than with other dog food formulas. This provides your Leonberger with increased protection against bloat and torsion, a major killer of giant breed dogs, and a killer of other medium and smaller breeds as well.
We require dog food with our minimum specifications to be fed to our adopted dogs. The requirements are as follows:
Crude Protein = 22% - lower protein content to protect against hypertrophic osteo dystrophy in puppies and panosteitus in adult dogs; also, your dog's kidneys are less likely to "burn out."
Crude Fat = 9% - lower fat content to protect against heart disease
What We Believe Is Absolutely Critical!
Only Feed Your Dog 100% All Natural Gentle Giants Dog Food!
Never Feed Your Dog More Than 22% Protein!
And Never Feed Your Dog More Than 9% Fat!
(check the "Guaranteed Nutrient Analysis" information on your dog food bag)
Our additional requirements are as follows:
Protein Source: Chicken, Fish and Eggs;
Vegetables: Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Beets, Peas, Celery, Lettuce, Parsely, Watercress and Spinach;
Fruits: Cranberries, Blueberries and Apples;
Nutritious Grains: Pearled Barley, Brown Rice, Oatmeal and Flax Seeds;
Vitamins and Antioxidants: Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Beta-Carotene, Dried Kelp, Taurine, Niacin and Biotin;
Omega-6 Fatty Acids = 1.25% minimum for healthy skin and a healthy coat;
Omega-3 Fatty Acids = .5% minimum for healthy skin and a healthy coat;
Glucosamine = 600 mg/kg for bone, hip, and joint benefits;
Chondroitin = 300 mg/kg for bone, hip, and joint benefits; and
Prebiotics and Probiotics to increase digestion and absorption of food.
We recommend Gentle Giants World Class Canine Cuisine dog food to maximize the longevity of all dogs. It is specially formulated with the highest quality all natural USA only ingredients and with the proper balance of protein and fat content to maximize the longevity of all breeds at all ages.
In addition to complying with our minimum requirements, all natural Gentle Giants World Class Canine Cuisine contains 3 protein sources, 9 real garden vegetables, 3 natural fruits, and 4 nutritious grains. It also includes enriched levels of antioxidants (Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Beta Carotene) to help support the immune system, sequestered trace minerals (SQM) for improved mineral bioavailability, and numerous important vitamins and nutrients.
Switching Your Leonberger And Other Dogs Food To Gentle Giants
Here is our recommended method for switching your Leonberger and your other dogs food to all natural Gentle Giants dog food:
Mix the dog food that you are currently using with Gentle Giants in the following proportions:
Day 1: 80% current dog food, 20 % Gentle Giants
Day 2: 70% current dog food, 30 % Gentle Giants
Day 3: 60% current dog food, 40 % Gentle Giants
Day 4: 50% current dog food, 50 % Gentle Giants
Day 5: 40% current dog food, 60 % Gentle Giants
Day 6: 30% current dog food, 70 % Gentle Giants
Day 7: 20% current dog food, 80 % Gentle Giants
Day 8: 100 % Gentle Giants
If during this transition period your dog gets loose stool, stop the ratio change until your dog's stool returns to normal.
If for some reason the loose stool persists, then put in a cup of cooked rice
with the food to help tighten up the stool.
Converting Your Leonberger's Feeding Program To Gentle Giants
Here is our recommended method for converting your Leonberger and your other dogs existing feeding program to Gentle Giants multi-meal
self-regulated feeding program. Our dog food is designed for all dogs to self-regulate how much they eat, not limit how much they eat. The amounts shown on our dog food bag indicate what you will eventually offer to your Leonberger and to your other dogs, not what is expected to be consumed by your Leonberger and other dogs.
Most regular dog food has 12% or more fat content. This causes dogs to eat more than they should and more than they need. It also loads them with "empty calories" which can cause them to be overweight and develop numerous ailments. Cutting corners with the quality of the food you feed to your dog will not save you money. You will likely be spending far more money, time and aggravation taking your dogs back and forth to veterinarians for expensive treatments.
Gentle Giants dog food has only 9% fat content, which does not cause dogs to eat more than they should or more than they need.
Dogs that have been raised on Gentle Giants will only eat what they need to eat. That's how we can present them with more Gentle Giants dog food than we expect them to consume.
When dogs are switched from another dog food to Gentle Giants, the conversion period to allowing them to fully self-regulate how much they eat should be several months.
Converting dogs to our way of feeding (5 or more feedings per day), which is how we believe that we are able to help them live considerably longer lives, must be a very gradual process for dogs who have only been fed a high fat content dog food (over 9% fat) and who have only been fed 1 or 2 times a day.
How we convert them is as follows:
1. No change in the amount currently fed until your Leonberger and your other dogs are 100% on Gentle Giants for 30 days.
2. When your Leonberger and other dogs have been eating only Gentle Giants for 30 days, add one additional feeding with the same amount of Gentle Giants as you have been feeding at each meal (ie: if you are feeding your dog 2 cups of Gentle Giants at each meal, then add one more feeding with 2 cups of Gentle Giants) and visually evaluate how your Leonberger and your other dogs respond.
If your Leonberger and your other dogs start gulping down the additional feeding, then immediately reduce the amount of dog food
in the additional feeding so your Leonberger and other dogs don't over eat. Continue this partial extra meal until your Leonberger
and other dogs eat their extra meal more normally before increasing the amount given to your dogs. If your Leonberger and other dogs eat the additional meal normally or "pick" at the dog food or leave some food in the extra feeding, that is excellent and what you want. Always remember that your Leonberger and your other dogs MUST HAVE NO STRESS AND NO EXERCISE for 1 hour before and for 1 hour after each feeding.
After another 2-3 weeks, add an additional feeding and review how your Leonberger and your other dogs react to the second additional feeding
as described above.
Ultimately, you want your Leonberger and your other dogs to self-regulate how much they eat and to eat only what they actually need.
We invite you and encourage you to follow our feeding and care techniques and to feed our all natural Gentle Giants dog food to your Leonberger. Please let us know of your results. If you have questions, you can send email to us at email@example.com.