Larger dogs have special food requirements when they are growing. This is because they grow quicker and longer than other small breeds. It’s important to make sure the food you buy has the right nutrients and formula for these puppies, as giving them the wrong food, or food that’s not suitable can have health complications, particularly for dogs that are prone to pre-existing conditions like hip dysplasia.
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Best Large Breed Puppy Food Buying Guide
There are plenty of great puppy foods out there for large or small-breed puppies. So, take a look at some of the different factors that differentiate the two. I’ve summarised the main considerations here, but I’ve written a more in-depth article about just what to look for in puppy food, so check that out too for a more in-depth look.
Nutrients and calories
One of the most important things when choosing any time of food for your dog is the nutrient content. You want to be sure that whatever you get is designed to give them plenty of vitamins and minerals. You need to make sure that your pup is getting not just the right nutrients, but the right balance of nutrients… and to do that you will have to take a very close look at the ingredients in any food you’re considering.
Large breed dogs grow fast, so there might be a temptation to give them a lot of calorie-dense, high-protein food. However, foods too loaded in calories can actually cause issues for your puppy, especially if it makes them grow too quickly as this can put strain on their joints. So you want to look for food with a ‘moderate’ calorific content.
The key ingredients you want to look out for are:
- A good source of identifiable animal-based protein as the main ingredient
- Little or no animal by-products – these offer no value in terms of nutrition
- Natural or organic ingredients
- Low grain content – can trigger allergies
- No additives, or artificial flavorings, colors, and preservatives.
In terms of nutritional content, as a ballpark guide aim for:
- Protein: 23 – 25%
- Fat: 12 – 15%
- Calcium: 1.2 – 1.5%
When thinking about proteins and fats, make sure it’s from an identifiable animal source. See here for more info.
What kind of health conditions does your dog have? While they are still a puppy they may not have a lot of health conditions but that’s not always the case. Some foods have grains, which you should avoid as they can trigger allergies. If your dog is very sensitive or has identified allergies then you’ll need to look for hypoallergenic dog food to keep him/her healthy.
As your dog gets older this will become even more important so
make sure you pay attention as they get older. Also, watch for any signs of
health problems or negative reactions to certain foods. Some dogs may
experience loose stools or gas as a result of specific ingredients in their food,
even if those ingredients are otherwise good for them.
Best Large Breed Puppy Food Reviews
We’ve taken a look at some of the best options on dog food for your large breed puppy. That way you can make sure that your dog will get all the nutrients they need to be as healthy as possible.
1. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food
Designed specifically for large breed puppies, this food is available in different sizes as well as different flavors so you can get something that works for your needs and your dog. What’s more important is that it has plenty of calcium for large breed dogs that are still growing, and includes plenty of minerals to ensure stronger bones and teeth. It also offers the right balance of calories, includes DHA for healthy brain and eye development, and includes plenty of protein.
Made in the USA, this food is one of the most commonly recommended by veterinarians and has the ingredients necessary to help support overall heart health. It’s also made in the US with natural ingredients and offers a kibble size that’s easy for your puppy to eat, but not too small either. All you have to do is take a look at the optimal feeding size for your dog and you’ll be able to make sure they’re getting the nutrients that they need to help them grow big and strong. Plus the food is made in flavors that they will enjoy eating.
· Made in the US
· Larger pieces are better for bigger dogs
· Plenty of nutrients to make sure your dog has what they need to grow healthy
· Bad smell to the food
· Not all dogs seem to like/eat the food
2. Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Puppy Food
Available in two different flavors this large breed puppy food is designed for dogs up to 18 months. The chicken version has the first ingredient has real chicken and doesn’t include any chicken by-product meal. You also won’t find corn, wheat, or soy included in this food, which makes it even better for your pet. It’s full of great protein and no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. Instead, it’s filled with DHA, glucosamine, chondroitin, and more.
You’ll get antioxidants and more that are all designed to help your dog’s brain and eye development as well as healthy joints and immunities. Add in the fact that it’s cooked in the USA with some of the best ingredients available anywhere and your dog is definitely going to look and feel great as they continue to grow. You’ll find no GMO ingredients and a brand that’s well known and trusted. Not to mention you can find the adult and senior varieties for your dog as well and keep them in the Nutro Natural Choice family for their entire life.
· No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
· First ingredient is real chicken
· Includes nutrients your dog needs to grow healthy and strong
· Not ideal for dogs with sensitive digestion
3. Purina ONE SmartBlend Natural Puppy Food
This dry dog food is made by one of the best-known dog food companies around and it offers great features for your dog for the price. It’s a natural variety that’s filled with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that are all designed to help improve your dog’s vision and brain development throughout their puppy years. Not to mention the food itself is recommended by veterinarians and takes care of what your puppy needs to be well.
With this particular food, chicken is the first ingredient, which means that your dog is getting high-quality food that’s filled with protein. That’s great for supporting their muscle growth and for their joints you’ll find several sources of glucosamine that are all natural. Even better, the food itself is made in the USA, so you know that you’re getting something you can count on to help your dog feel their best and actually be their best as they continue to grow.
· Veterinarian recommended food for large breed puppies
· Provides plenty of protein, DHA, vitamins, minerals, and glucosamine
· Use for puppies up to two years
· Some dogs don’t like all pieces
· Can cause problems for dogs with sensitive stomachs
4. Fromm Family Foods Large Breed Puppy Food
With this product, you’re going to get high-quality puppy food that offers everything your growing dog needs in order to be happy and healthy. The company itself is family-owned and operated, so you’ll be supporting a small brand, and you’ll get quality dry food that’s designed to help your puppy feel and be their best. That’s because of the variety of high-quality ingredients that are included.
The first ingredients are duck, chicken meal, and chicken, and you’ll find plenty of vegetables and other meats that offer vitamins and minerals. Your dog will get a puppy food that’s safe for them to eat and comfortable for them as well. In fact, it has small kibble pieces that are good for dogs up to one year of age. This product is designed to make sure that your dog has the energy they need and also that they enjoy the food that they eat.
· Specially designed for large breed puppies with nutrients they need
· Made in the USA by a small family business
· Meat is included in the first few ingredients (and the first)
· More expensive than some other types of high quality dog foods
· Includes grains and barley
5. ORIJEN Puppy Food
If you want to get your dog the healthiest and best quality food that you can then you definitely want to take a closer look at this one. It’s designed to be biologically appropriate for large breed puppies with plenty of protein and healthy fat. In fact, it’s 85% animal ingredients including raw chicken and turkey, cage-free eggs, wild-caught fish, and more. You’ll also find liver coated over the entire thing.
This puppy food has the first five ingredients either fresh or raw, so you know your dog is getting something that’s good for them. It’s also made in the USA with ingredients from all over the world so you get the best of the best. This entirely grain, gluten, corn, wheat, and soy-free product is high-protein and all natural. Your dog is going to get everything they need to make them healthier than ever and to make sure that they want to keep eating. It’s great for nourishing growing dogs and especially larger ones that are in need of real protein ingredients.
· 85% animal products for ingredients including fish, eggs, chicken, and turkey
· 15 fresh or raw ingredients included including the first five
· No grain, gluten, corn, wheat, or soy ingredients included
· Can be quite expensive compared to other products
· Can cause loose stools and gas
Best Large Breed Puppy Food FAQs
Still have some questions? You’re not alone, so do take a look at each of these common questions.
Can I feed my new dog the same food as my last dog?
If your previous dog was the same breed or size, then yes the food will be fine, but just make sure the food you give it is premium quality.
If you had an older dog before and now a younger, or much younger one, then probably not, especially if your previous food was specially formulated for older dogs and the problems they have had. In that case, you don’t want to give your new dog the same food you have leftover. The same is true if your old or new dog has any special health needs.
your vet about the food you gave your previous dog and about what your new dog
needs. You may be able to hold onto it for a little while and use it then or
you may need to donate or dispose of it.
Should I get organic dog food?
Organic dog food is generally always going to be superior quality and there are plenty of different options for specialty foods and diets like grain-free and raw. If you are considering organic make sure you look at the qualities of the food itself.
be good for you and your dog, but it can also be expensive for no good reason.
Make sure you look at what type of ingredients are in the food itself and which
are organic. The most important consideration is the mix of ingredients and the quality of the protein and fat source.
Do I need puppy food for my dog?
If you have a puppy then you should definitely get a puppy food for your dog. These foods are designed to give your new dog the nutrients they need in order to be healthier and to grow the way they should.
different types of puppy food out there that you can take a look at and choose
something that might be better for your dog for a longer period of time. Or you
can look at foods that are designed specifically for younger puppies and change
as your dog does.
Find the Best Large Breed Puppy Food That’s Right for You
Don’t miss out on the best large breed puppy food for your dog. Instead, make sure you’re looking at each of our top picks and the features you need to know to get the right food for a healthy dog.