Best Large Breed Puppy Food – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide


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Dogs are more than just animals, they are our best friends. And when it comes to feeding them, we want nothing but the best. If you are parenting a large puppy, it’s important that you get the best large breed puppy food on the market, ensuring it contains all the proper nutrients—your puppy’s well-being and growth depend on it.

We at FeedFond are here with the best large breed puppy food reviews – all to cater to the needs of your large breed puppy. Hopefully, this will help you to make an informed decision about which puppy food is best for your furry best friend. 


Best Large Breed Puppy Food – Comparison Chart

Preview
Top Choice
Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Puppy, 26-Pound Bag
Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Large Breed Puppy Food, Chicken, Salmon & Rice, 30-Pound Bag
Hill's Science Diet Large Breed Puppy Food, Chicken Meal & Oats Dry Dog Food, 30 lb Bag
Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Puppy Large Breed Chicken & Rice Formula Puppy Dry Food - (1) 18 lb. Bag
Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food, Large & Giant Breed Puppy Recipe, 30-Pound Bag
Key Ingredients
Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Potatoes, Peas, Potato Protein,
Deboned Chicken, Whitefish, Chicken Meal, Oatmeal, Ground Peas, Ground Barley
Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Oats, Whole Grain Sorghum
Ingredients Chicken, Brewers Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Whole Grain Corn
Lamb Meal, Chicken Meal, Oatmeal, Brown Rice, Barley
Our Rating
Top Choice
Preview
Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Puppy, 26-Pound Bag
Key Ingredients
Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Potatoes, Peas, Potato Protein,
Our Rating
Buy from Amazon
Preview
Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Large Breed Puppy Food, Chicken, Salmon & Rice, 30-Pound Bag
Key Ingredients
Deboned Chicken, Whitefish, Chicken Meal, Oatmeal, Ground Peas, Ground Barley
Our Rating
Buy from Amazon
Preview
Hill's Science Diet Large Breed Puppy Food, Chicken Meal & Oats Dry Dog Food, 30 lb Bag
Key Ingredients
Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Oats, Whole Grain Sorghum
Our Rating
Buy from Amazon
Preview
Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Puppy Large Breed Chicken & Rice Formula Puppy Dry Food - (1) 18 lb. Bag
Key Ingredients
Ingredients Chicken, Brewers Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Whole Grain Corn
Our Rating
Buy from Amazon
Preview
Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food, Large & Giant Breed Puppy Recipe, 30-Pound Bag
Key Ingredients
Lamb Meal, Chicken Meal, Oatmeal, Brown Rice, Barley
Our Rating
Buy from Amazon

Last update on 2018-03-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Recommended 10 Best Large Breed Puppy Foods

It’s not surprising that you’d get overwhelmed by among the thousands of foods available on the market. But we’ve narrowed them down by picking only the best of the best. All of the suggestions were highly recommended by countless dog owners, vets, and trainers.

#1. Wellness Core Natural – Best Large Breed Puppy Food

Best Large Breed Puppy Food - Wellness Core Natural

Overview:

Wellness Core Natural Grain is 100% grain-free and protein-rich, made with premium chicken, turkey, and salmon. Additionally, it has the necessary DHA (an Omega-3 fatty acid) needed for your puppy’s healthy development. The formula contains live active probiotics, prebiotics and fibers that take care of the puppy’s internal track, promotes healthy digestion and focuses on overall holistic wellness.

What we Love About it:

The specially-formulated small kibble is easy for your puppy to chew. Plus, it’s made from premium natural ingredients. It maintains a strict policy of not using any artificial colors, flavors or preservatives and is made right here in the USA.

Pros:Cons:
  • Protein-rich dog food
  • Contains essential vitamins and minerals
  • Contains high-quality carbohydrates
  • Small and easy-to-chew kibble
  • Some customers complained that their dogs had diarrhea after having this

Check the latest price on Amazon

#2. Wellness Complete Health

Best Large Breed Puppy Food - Wellness Complete Health

Overview:

Wellness Complete Health kibble is made from deboned chicken with regulated calories and added DHA for healthy brain and eye development. It also guarantees levels of calcium and phosphorous to aid in controlled bone development. The formula is specially made to support the proper growth of large breed puppies.  The company prides itself on using no meat by-products, fillers or artificial preservatives.

What we Love About it:

The Wellness recipe promotes five stages of wellness in your dog – Skin and Coat, Digestive Health, Eyes, Teeth and Gums, and Energy and Immunity.

Pros:Cons:
  • Balanced Nutrition
  • Controlled bone development
  • Trusted by many customers
  • No fillers or by-products
  • Some customers complained that their dogs vomited after having this

Check the latest price on Amazon


#3. Hill Science Diet

Best Large Breed Puppy Food - Hill Science Diet

Overview:

Hill’s Science Diet chicken meal and oats recipe contain optimal levels of calcium for controlled bone growth in large breed puppies up to one-year-old. Their formula contains natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin which help to build strong muscles and joints. In addition, a clinically proven blend of antioxidants and vitamin C will ensure a healthy immune system for your large breed puppy.

What we Love About it:

Hill Science uses natural, easy-to-digest ingredients that contain no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. However, please note: this kibble is not for pregnant dogs.

Pros:Cons:
  • Chicken meal recipe
  • Builds strong muscles and joints
  • Promotes a healthy immune system
  • No artificial components
  • Not for pregnant dogs

Check the latest price on Amazon

#4. Purina Pro Plan Focus

Best Large Breed Puppy Food - Purina Pro Plan Focus

Overview:

Purina Pro Plan Focus Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food uses real chicken as their #1 ingredient and focuses on your puppy’s needs to maintain an active lifestyle. Each of their ingredients is carefully selected for a specific and functional nutritional purpose. It contains DHA from fish oils that will feed your puppy’s brain and vision development. Also, the phosphorus, calcium and other minerals will help develop strong teeth and bones.

What we Love About it:

It’s great for dogs with sensitive stomachs. It also uses high-quality ingredients which support the best growth for your large breed puppy.

Pros:Cons:
  • Uses real chicken
  • Helps develop brain and vision
  • Helps develop strong bones and teeth
  • Crunchy kibble
  • Some customers complained that the food doesn’t appeal to their dogs

Check the latest price on Amazon

#5. Holistic Select Natural

Best Large Breed Puppy Food - Holistic Select Natural

Overview:

Holistic Select is another choice for the best dog food for large breed puppies. Their larger kibble is formulated to support healthy digestion by using real lamb and DHA to help support balanced growth. It contains all the necessary pre & probiotics, natural fibers, digestive enzymes, and botanicals, making it one of the best large breed puppy food products you can buy.

What we Love About it:

Holistic Select Natural uses the finest natural ingredients. They avoid wheat and wheat gluten and other artificial ingredients and fillers.

Pros:Cons:
  • Natural ingredients
  • Large kibble
  • Real lamb and DHA
  • Contains all pre and probiotics
  • Customers complained that the food loses appeal after a few days

Check the latest price on Amazon

#6. Blue Buffalo Wilderness

Best Large Breed Puppy Food - Blue Buffalo Wilderness

Overview:

Blue Buffalo Wilderness is an excellent high-protein, grain-free, natural dog food. It’s perfect for large breed puppies because of its 32% crude protein content present in the recipe. The five main ingredients are beef, chicken meal, fish meal, and eggs. It helps develop strong muscles and the wholesome fruits and vegetables provide essential nutrition for your growing puppy.

What we Love About it:

The formula doesn’t contain any corn, soy, poultry by-product or any artificial preservatives and flavors.

Pros:Cons:
  • Grain-free recipe
  • High-protein content
  • Formula contains five different probiotic strains
  • Recommended by vets
  • Some customers complained that their dogs faced gastrointestinal issues

Check the latest price on Amazon

#7. Nutro Wholesome Essentials

Best Large Breed Puppy Food - Nutro Wholesome Essentials

Overview:

Nutro Wholesome features non-GMO ingredients which assure many dog owners. Their chicken and chicken meal make up 26% of the crude protein content. It also features split peas, whole grain sorghum, whole brown rice, chicken fat, pea protein, and lamb meal. The added Omega 3 fatty acid promotes healthy growth and development.

What we Love About it:

Essential calcium is added to the food formula which helps support strong bones, joints, and skeletal structure.

Pros:Cons:
  • Non-GMO ingredients
  • No artificial flavors, additives or colors
  • Money-back guarantee
  • Brown rice and sweet potatoes used for carbohydrates
  •  Some customers reviewed that their dogs had a soft-stool after having this food

Check the latest price on Amazon

#8. Blue Buffalo Life Protection

Best Large Breed Puppy Food - Blue Buffalo Life Protection

Overview:

Blue Buffalo Life Protection is an excellent choice when it comes to chicken and rice recipes. It contains a minimum of 26% crude protein which comes from deboned chicken and chicken meal and whole ground brown rice. In addition, spinach, pumpkin, potatoes, blueberries, cranberries, apples, blackberries and pomegranate is added to make it a wholesome meal. L-Carnitine helps develop the lean muscles for your growing large breed puppy.

What we Love About it:

Rich in natural ingredients with a precise blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Pros:Cons:
  • Deboned chicken
  • Whole grains and brown rice
  • Made in the USA
  • No poultry by-products
  • Some customers reviewed that their dog had diarrhea after having this

Check the latest price on Amazon

#9. Nature’s Variety Instinct

Best Large Breed Puppy Food - Nature's Variety Instinct

Overview:

Instinct Raw Boost is great for your large breed puppy because of its high protein content. The recipe contains a minimum of 33.5% crude protein from chicken and turkey meal. Chickpeas, ground flaxseed, and various vitamins and minerals are added to it. To make the food more nutritious and tasty, carrots, apples, and cranberries are also included.

What we Love About it:

Instinct Raw uses real meat in their formula along with whole food ingredients. The food is minimally processed which is highly nutritious for your large breed puppy.

Pros:Cons:
  • Raw ingredients
  • Uses chicken and turkey meal
  • Packed with Omega-3 and antioxidants
  • Grain-free and high-protein
  • Some customers reviewed that the ingredient blending is inconsistent

Check the latest price on Amazon

#10. Fromm Family Gold

Best Large Breed Puppy Food - Fromm Family Gold

Overview:

Fromm Gold is an above average dog food that has gained massive customer reviews. With 28% protein content and a mean fat level of 16%, this is one of the best dog foods on the market. The main ingredients used in the formula are fresh ducks, chicken, lamb, whole eggs and real cheese. The overall carbohydrate content makes up 48% with a 58% fat-to-protein ratio.

What we Love About it:

Fromm Gold uses flaxseed for protein. In addition, it also has brewers yeast and alfalfa meal added to the final mix.

Pros:Cons:
  • Uses a mixture of duck, chicken, and lamb
  • Great protein to fat ratio
  • Tasty
  • Great customer reviews
  • Some customers reviewed their puppy had a loose stool after having this

Check the latest price on Amazon


Best Large Breed Puppy Food For Your Puppy’s Nutritional Needs

large breed puppy eating food- best large breed puppy food guide

Large breed puppies have different nutritional needs than smaller breeds, mostly because they grow in size so quickly. They tend to eat a lot after birth and increase their weight up to 50 to 70 times their birth weight!

However, excessive nutrition can be harmful in large breed puppies. Although their bodies grow quickly, they mature slowly and can take almost 24 months to grow up into full grown dogs.

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has set certain nutritional requirements for dogs. However, their guidelines don’t distinguish between the specific needs of large breed dogs and puppies, and smaller breeds. While the standard is acceptable for ordinary food, it doesn’t really meet the requirements for large breed puppies. 

Read the Nutrition Labels Carefully

Due to a change in certain labeling laws, food companies are now required to show a detailed list of ingredients and in what percentage they are used. This way you can be 100% sure what you are feeding your dog without consulting a veterinarian or a nutritionist.

The trick is where to look.

Read the Nutritional Adequacy Statement based on the standards set by AAFCO and the National Academy of Science. It’s usually on the backside of the packaging, near the nutrition charts. There you will find the complete information on how the recipe was formulated and for what breed or size dog it was made for.

Related Read: High Calorie Dog Food Reviews- Safe Choices for a Healthy Dog


Health Problems Related To Large Breed Puppies

veterinary checking Lab puppy :Best Large Breed Puppy food GUIDE

Just like infants, puppies also need special care. Large breed dogs aren’t different and they also face health issues at their puppy, adult and senior stages in life. Food plays an important part in this. That’s why we need to take special care in selecting the best large breed puppy food to provide the best possible growth. It’s our duty as responsible dog owners to understand the health problems so that we can prevent them.

Here are a few health problems most commonly seen in large breed dogs.

Predisposition to Joint Problems

Large breed dogs are prone to health problems related to bones and joints. That’s why good large breed puppy food brands have lower fat, vitamin D, calcium and phosphorous in their formulas. This supports your puppy’s optimal growth at an appropriate speed—not too fast, not too slow. It also helps prevent bone and joint disease.

The skeletal structure of large breed dogs puts stress on their hips and joints. They commonly face problems like arthritis, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, osteochondrosis, developmental orthopedic disease (DOD), obesity and digestive problems.

Many dog owners believe in the myth that feeding high levels of dietary protein can cause joint problems. We can assure you that there is no evidence of such claims. The three main reasons for joint problems in large breed dogs are genetics, overfeeding and having too much calcium in their meals.

Overweight and Overfeeding

One of the key points is to measure the food for your large breed puppy carefully. If you don’t measure it, overfeeding can cause the dog to develop orthopedic problems because of too much weight gain; however, measuring their food and providing them with a balanced diet with all essential nutrients will prevent your dog from becoming overweight.

Overweight and overfeeding are also major causes of heart disease and shortened life spans in dogs. It’s imperative that you restrict your dog’s diet and make sure they get a lot of exercises. Continuation of this routine will greatly reduce your large breed puppy’s health problems as they age.

Excess Calcium

Calcium is generally good for your bones, however, too much of it can have adverse effects on the bone and skeletal structure of your dog. Puppies mostly suffer from this condition. They cannot regulate how much calcium to absorb from their intestinal tracts which leads to overgrown joints and an unbalanced skeletal structure.

Bloat

Bloating, also known as Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV) is a fatal condition seen mostly in large breed dogs. When gasses inside the stomach amass fast without any escape, the dog faces a fatal condition of bloat. Most don’t survive if the condition is unnoticed or left untreated. That’s why prevention is the best option.

Following these feeding practices will greatly reduce the chance of bloating.

  • Instead of one or two  big meals, try to feed your dog multiple times a day and in appropriate amounts
  • Do not use a raised feeder; a floor bowl is the best option
  • Avoid high-fat contents in your dog’s diet
  • Use a large kibble size, they will prevent rapid feeding
  • No high-energy exercise after feeding. However, it’s okay to walk your dog

Diseases Caused by Nutritional Imbalance

Other than regular health problems, the lack of proper nutrition can also cause various health problems for large breed puppies. Nutritional imbalances are a serious issue that can result in severe damage to their physical health and lead to long-term issues and shortened lifespans.

Here are the most common ones:

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Hypertrophic osteodystrophy
  • Hypophosphatemic Rickets
  • Nutritional hyperparathyroidism
  • Osteochondritis dissecans
  • Osteochondrosis
  • Osteomalacia
  • Panosteitis
  • Radius curvus syndrome
  • Wobbler syndrome (cervical spondylomyelopathy)

Important Read: Diabetes In Dogs: Causes, Treatments & Everything in Between


 Types of Best Dog Food for Large Breed Puppies

best dog food for large breed puppies kibble size

When you want to buy food for your large breed puppy, you have quite a few options to choose from. Do you get wet or dry food? Expensive or cheap commercial food? And a whole host of other questions.

Well, hopefully, this guide will help you simplify things so that you can make the best food choice for your dog.

Dry vs. Wet Food

It’s always better to choose high-quality dry food—also known as kibble—for your large breed puppy. It’s more beneficial in terms of both cost and health reasons than any canned or wet food.

Here is why you should get dry dog food for your canine friend:

  • Dry food is widely available for purchase and very convenient to store
  • It’s very easy to measure and will prevent you from overfeeding your dog
  • Dry food doesn’t go to waste the way wet foods do
  • It’s highly beneficial for your dog’s teeth as chewing will naturally exercise and clean their teeth and gums
  • Wet food is expensive

Cheap vs. Expensive

Keep in mind, every dry food brand is different. We all know that some people buy cheap brands for their pets. While saving money is understandable, it’s not always wise to cut corners or buy cheap food only to save a few bucks; your dog’s health is more important.

Buying a quality puppy food may appear to be expensive up front, but it saves a lot of money in the long run. It’s safe to say that cheap commercial food is made from low-quality ingredients. They use grains as fillers and add artificial materials which have zero nutritional value.

Quality brands, on the other hand, use human grade ingredients. That means, they contain mostly meat and have the proper nutritional contents without any useless fillers.

The Outcome

When trying out the best large breed puppy food that is balanced and nutritious, you will notice that your puppy eats a lot less than that of other commercial foods. The varied nutritional values make a difference in their feeling of fullness.

Finally, when you feed your puppy the best large breed puppy food, you will drastically cut down on veterinarian costs over the long run.

Related Read: Best Dog Food: Complete Guide to What is Right for Your Dog


Best Large Breed Dog Food Buying Guide

Best Large Breed Dog Food - Buying Guide

Naturally, we want the best for our dogs, and food and nutrition play a very important part in their wellbeing. So as responsible dog owners, we must be careful when selecting the best dog food for our large breed dogs.

There are a few things to consider while selecting a brand suited for your large breed puppy, other than large breed puppy food reviews. Apart from your financial concerns, there is the matter of taste—even puppies can have taste preferences!

Your dog’s breed also matters. Depending on medical conditions and your dog’s breed, you might need to select a food that properly suits him. Calcium and protein contents are most commonly looked out for. Your veterinarian can guide you in this matter—just ask.

Here are a few things to look for before you buy the best large breed dog food.

1. Whole Protein in the Main Ingredient

Dogs, especially large breed ones, should have whole protein as the main ingredient in their food. Good examples include chicken, beef, salmon, pork etc. As dogs are omnivorous, many companies opt for cheaper options by substituting meat for grain as the main ingredient. While they are not harmful, they won’t provide the proper nutritional requirement for the healthy growth of your large breed puppy.

2. Avoid Artificial Colors, Additives and Flavors

To make the dog food tastier and more inviting, companies often include artificial additives, flavors, and colors in their recipes. Bear in mind that these additives are often the source of food allergies and long-term health problems. It’s safe to say that a nutritious and high-quality dog food doesn’t need any artificial additives. Artificial colors are especially unnecessary as your dog will not even notice what his food looks like.

3. Probiotics and Prebiotics

A healthy gut equals a healthy animal. There are many companies who include probiotics and prebiotics in their dog food formula. Probiotics are useful bacteria that help your dog with proper digestion and healthy intestinal function. Prebiotics, on the other hand, are a special form of dietary fiber that helps the good bacteria in your gut.

4. Avoid Unidentified Meat Meals and By-products

In reality, both meat meals and by-products are tasty and nutritious for any meat-loving animal. Many dog food companies include them in their recipes to make the food more wholesome. However, do try to avoid any unidentified meat meals and by-products as they might be unsafe or come from a different species.

Example: “Chicken by-products” or “Lamb meal” is safe for your dog to ingest. But it’s important that you avoid any food that contains the terms “poultry meal” or a general “meat meal”.

5. High Omega-3 Fatty Acid

An omega-3 fatty acid is an essential form of fatty acids that are excellent for the body and brain. For dogs, they help reduce inflammation, promote brain function and improve skin and coat conditions. There are a variety of sources where this fatty acid can be found. The most common is in fish meals, salmon and flaxseed. Look for dog foods that include at least one of these ingredients.

6. Antioxidants

If there is one compound that is essential for any healthy living being, it’s antioxidants. Antioxidants boost your immune system and for a puppy, that’s a vital requirement. With a better immune system, your puppy will stay healthy and be less prone to sickness. Colorful fruits and vegetables such as cranberries, blueberries, spinach, pumpkins, kale, and carrots are an excellent source of this compound.

7. Safe and Quality Manufacturing Process

No matter how good the ingredients are or how many vitamins and minerals you include in the recipe, it all goes to moot if the manufacturing process is unhealthy. We have to make sure that the process excludes any use of toxic or dangerous chemicals. In addition, the food also has to be prepared and handled properly. This will ensure that the nutrients in the food stay intact and the taste is natural.

It’s always safe to pick a dog food from a country that has governing bodies to ensure proper manufacturing process. These bodies have high quality-control and safety standards to safeguard your dog’s health. Foods manufactured in the USA, Canada, Australia, and a few European countries are the best choices for this. 

Related Read: Can Dogs Eat This? Foods You Can and Can’t Share With Your Dog


Final Thoughts

There you go, our full review of the best large breed puppy foods with a complete buyer’s guide. Hopefully, this will help you understand the nutritional requirements to raise a healthy large breed puppy.

Keep in mind that the nourishing needs of your dogs will change as time passes. As your puppy grows into a fully-grown dog, their caloric requirements decrease. You cannot keep on feeding them puppy food and should change to a blend made for adult dogs.

Important Read: How Much Should I Feed My Dog?- Puppy to Senior Feeding Guides 


Note: This article has been updated in October 2018 to make sure the recommended products and the buyer’s guideline are up to date.  


 

Please note: Articles you read here at FeedFond are genuinely for education or entertainment purpose only. We may earn commissions from the referral link to the products we review. However, this does not influence our judgment, but we strive to help people make an informed decision with positive and negative evaluations. We withhold any responsibility for any loss, risk, and personal or otherwise, experienced as a result, directly or indirectly, from any information or guidance given here.

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