Choosing the best large breed puppy food isn’t always easy, but pet owners must give it their best shot to find one for their puppy. That’s because large breed dogs have needs that differ from small breed dogs. They require a certain ratio of nutrients for them to avoid medical problems down the road such as hip dysplasia, bloat, or even bone cancer.
Since it can be difficult for people to find the right puppy foods for their large breed dogs, we decided to do some initial research and find out what foods were available. What we discovered was an extensive list of puppy foods for large breed dogs. A list that we’ve included below for our reader’s convenience.
Here are our top 10 picks for the best Large Breed Puppy Foods:
#10 Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food
Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Puppy Food is one of the most recommended puppy foods for large breed dogs among veterinarians. That’s because this brand delivers the nutrition the puppy needs to get off to a great start. It’s made with minerals that help to promote strong bones in puppies, DHA for healthy brain developments and a blend of vitamins that support overall health. Although this brand’s morsels are a little larger than comparable brands, which may make it hard to eat for some dogs, it’s generally well-received and well-loved by most puppies.
Pros: Ideal for large breed puppies
Puppies love it
Cons: This food’s pieces are quite large
#9 Wellness Complete Health Large Breed
Too many puppy foods are made with animal by-products, and too few of them are made with wholesome protein sources such as real chicken, beef, or lamb. Fortunately, that’s not the case with this quality large breed food. The number one ingredient found in this dog food is deboned chicken, and that’s followed by whitefish, oatmeal, ground peas, ground brown rice, and salmon meal. It also contains sweet potatoes, apples, blueberries, spinach, carrots, an assortment of minerals, and ground flaxseed. Its morsels might be a bit large, but it provides the nutrition large puppies need to thrive.
Pros: Deboned chicken is its #1 ingredient
Rich in antioxidants and Omega 3 fatty acids
Cons: The kibble is quite large
#8 Diamond Naturals Real Lamb Recipe
When real lamb is the first ingredient listed on a puppy food bag, then you know it’s going to be good food. This product isn’t just made with real lamb, however. It’s also made with other high-quality ingredients that help to round out its formula. This food contains lamb meal, peas, cracked pearled barley, chicken fat, salmon oil, dried chicory root, pumpkin, chia seeds, oranges, blueberries, spinach, coconut, papaya, and spinach. These ingredients not only provide vitamins, minerals, and protein, but they also deliver DHA, probiotics, and glucosamine as well.
Pros: Lamb is the first ingredient listed
Made with antioxidants & Omega 3 fatty acids
Cons: Food is a bit expensive
#7 Diamond Premium Recipe Complete
Although this puppy food isn’t specifically designed for large breed dogs, it does provide much of the nutrition that larger breed puppies need. It has smaller morsels than most large breed formulas, but it still packs the protein and fat that large puppies need. It also 31% protein, 20% fat, and is packed with Omega Fatty Acids. It’s puppy food that’s made in the U.S from quality ingredients and provides large puppies with all of the nutrition they need.
Pros: Fats and proteins are well balanced
Contains antioxidants and Omega 3 fatty acids
Kibble isn’t too large
Cons: Chicken by-product is the first ingredient listed
#6 Fromm Family Foods Gold Large Breed Food
This high-quality product claims to be the best large breed puppy food available, and after looking over its ingredients list, it certainly can be said that they use some of the best ingredients. The number one ingredient in this dry dog food is chicken, and that’s followed by chicken meal, chicken broth, oat groats, pearled barley, brown rice, and fish meal. It also contains dried egg, chicken liver, dried tomatoes, salmon oil, duck, lamb, carrots and sweet potatoes. The only thing that holds this product from being in the top three is that it’s one of the most expensive dog foods we’ve come across.
Cons: It’s very expensive
#5 Nutro Wholesome Essentials Dry Puppy Food
Although these dry foods morsels seem a bit hard and might be tough for puppies who are just able to eat dry food, it does deliver an impressive amount of nutrition in each bite. This food is made with chicken as its primary ingredient, so it provides the protein that growing pups need. It also has several other ingredients that deliver vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and Omega 3 fatty acids to the puppy’s diet. These ingredients include brewer’s rice, split peas, whole brown rice, dried sweet potatoes, lamb meal, fish oil, and a host of dried fruits.
Pros: Made with non-GMO ingredients
Contains antioxidants & Omega 3 fatty acids
Chicken is the #1 listed ingredient
Cons: Morsels seem kind of hard
#4 Royal Canin Large Puppy Dry Food
This product is easy for dogs to digest and contains the vitamins and minerals growing puppies need for healthy immune systems, healthy skin and fur, and for general overall health. This product is also made with prebiotics that help to promote a healthy digestive system. Some of the ingredients found in this formula include chicken fat, brewers yeast, corn, wheat, fish oil, and a variety of high-quality vitamins and minerals. Overall, it’s not the best puppy food for large puppies, but it is a good one.
Pros: Easy for puppies to digest
Supports growing immune systems
Promotes general health
Cons: Price is higher than other dry puppy foods
#3 Nutro Max Natural Dry Puppy Food
This quality large breed puppy food is made from a combination of farm-raised chickens and whole grains. That allows it to not only provide the puppy with a high-quality protein but also with the fiber that puppy’s digestive systems need. This product is manufactured in the USA using wholesome ingredients and doesn’t contain any artificial colors or preservatives. And although it’s not made with inferior quality chicken by-product meals, it is made with a high-quality chicken meal that uses select chicken pieces that deliver glucosamine and chondroitin to the dog’s diet for improved joint health.
Pros: Made with farm-raised chickens
Contains no chicken by-product meal
Contains no artificial colors or preservatives
Cons: Bag is kind of small for the price
#2 Tuffy’s Nutri-Source Large Breed Pet Food
All a pet owner has to do is look at the ingredients listed on this product to learn that it’s a quality dry dog food. The number one listed ingredient is chicken, and that’s followed by several other wholesome ingredients including whole chicken meal, brown rice, barley, oatmeal and beat pulp. It also contains brewer’s yeast, potassium chloride, kelp meal, and fish meal. All of this comes together to make a dry large breed puppy food that supports proper skeletal and muscle grown, supports brain and vision health, and the general vitamins and minerals that allow large puppies to grow into large dogs.
Pros: Chicken is the #1 listed ingredient
Specifically designed for improved skeletal growth
Has great nutritional value
Cons: Costs more than some other puppy foods
#1 Purine One Smart-Blend Natural Formula
This dry puppy food is not only designed for large breed dogs, but it’s made with wholesome natural ingredients. It has chicken listed as its primary ingredient, and that’s followed by a bunch of other wholesome ingredients including rice flour, wheat flour, beef fat, pea fiber, and oatmeal. It is also a reasonably priced dry food that won’t have pet owners breaking the bank to feed their large breed puppy. And it’s for all of those reasons that this is the best large breed puppy food that can be bought.
Pros: Specifically designed for large breed dogs
Chicken is the #1 ingredient
It is reasonably priced
Made with natural ingredients
Cons: Some dogs love it, others dont
More products also worth checking out:
A Guide To Large Breed Puppy Foods
We could probably spend every day for a week listing some of the large breed puppy foods that are released on a regular basis and still not reach the end of our search, so we decided it might be helpful to give our readers the information they need to make the best decision. With that said, below are some tips that will enable all of our readers to buy the best large breed puppy food for their pet that’s available.
Step One: Determine If Your Pet Needs A Large Breed Formula
The first thing that our readers should think about is whether they actually need a large breed formula. The definition of a large breed dog is that it weighs over 70-pounds, so if you expect your puppy to grow up larger than that, then they will need a large breed puppy formula. If your unsure of whether your puppy is going to weight that much, then you might want to consider asking your veterinarian. Some of the breeds that are considered to be large breeds include:
- Bernese Mountain Dog
- Belgian Tervuren
- Bearded Collie
- Alaskan Malamute
- Chow Chow
And the above list is only a small selection of the dozens of different large breed dog species that exist. As we’ve said, if you’re unsure of whether your dog breed is a large breed, then be sure to check with your vet.
Step Two: Look For A Protein Source As The Main Ingredient
The next thing that the pet owner should consider when purchasing a large-breed pet food is whether real chicken or beef is listed as the main ingredient. The way dog food labels work is that the primary ingredient listed in the ingredients is the main ingredient used in the product. That’s why the consumer should choose dog foods that list beef or chicken first on the label.
It’s also a good idea to avoid chicken by-products as much as possible. Chicken or beef by-products are things that aren’t considered meat can include the non-rendered parts of an animal that isn’t considered to be meat. This includes organs, blood, bone, and whatever else the manufacturer can grind up. According to the Association Of American Feed Control Official’s Standards, the by-product isn’t supposed to contain horn, teeth, hair, or hooves. Regardless, it’s better to just go with chicken or beef as the main ingredient and leave by-products alone whenever possible.
Step Three: Try To Avoid Corn Fillers
It also should be mentioned that some large breed dog foods, especially the more inexpensive ones, use corn as one of their main ingredients. These dog foods should be avoided when possible. It’s not because corn is bad for your pet though, because it’s not. No, it should be avoided because it doesn’t provide a lot of nutritional value to the end product. It’s a cheap source of carbohydrates that’s used by dog food manufacturers as a filler. It’s okay for dog food to have some corn, but it should be towards the back of the ingredient’s list and not the front.
Step Four: Consider The Words On The Label
How a dog food is labeled will tell the consumer a lot about the ingredients that can be found in it, and we’re not just talking about the ingredient’s list. If a package says that it contains one single ingredient, then that ingredient has to make up 95% Of the ingredient—not including water. If the ingredients list more than one ingredient, then those ingredients have to add up to 95% of the ingredients of the food in question.
It’s also a good idea to think about some of the words used on the front of the packaging. If the label uses terms such as platter, entree or dinner, then it has to contain at least 25% of the named ingredient. For example, if the label says beef dinner, then it has to contain 25% beef, but if it just says beef, then it has to have at least 95% beef. That make labels a little bit tricky to read, but worth the time and effort put into them.
Step Five: Make Sure It’s Nutritionally Adequate
The last criterion for choosing the best dog food for large breeds is to make sure that it is nutritionally adequate. This can be done by looking for an AAFCO label that states that it’s nutritionally complete and balanced nutrition for the puppy. If it doesn’t, then you’ll have to do the research to find out if it has the calories, crude fat, crude protein, and fiber that the puppy needs.