Large dog breeds face certain health problems not encountered by small and medium dog breeds. Some of the common health risks faced by these breeds include hip dyslexia, bone inflammation, obesity and arthritis. Due to these health risks, large breed dogs have specific nutritional requirements that must be considered when shopping for dog food. These requirements not only extend to adult dogs but also to large breed puppies.
In this article, we provide the best large breed puppy food reviews. We look at the best foods including the top brands available on Amazon for large breed puppies. We also have a helpful buying guide for owners who are looking for the best large breed dog food.
Keeping your puppy healthy and well fed is essential to its development. This is why we have scoured the market for only the best puppy foods for large breeds. These foods contain the right ingredients your puppy needs to develop properly. If your dog has any ongoing health issues, we recommend you talk to your vet and find out whether you need to buy special puppy food formulations.
Best Puppy Foods Comparison Table for Large Breeds
Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Puppy Chicken Meal and Oats Dry Recipe
Chicken - Puppy
15.5 - 30
Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Puppy Chicken and Rice Formula
Puppy Large Breed Chicken & Rice Formula
18 - 34
CANIDAE All Life Stages Large Breed Puppy Duck Meal, Brown Rise and Lentils Formula
Large Breed Puppy Formula with Chicken, Lamb & Fish
15 - 30
Wellness Complete Dry Large Breed Puppy Chicken, Rice and Salmon Formula
Large Breed Puppy
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Large Breed Puppy Chicken Formula
Chicken Formula Large Breed Grain Free
EUKANUBA Puppy Dry Dog Food
Chicken - Large Breed
5 - 16 - 33
Diamond Naturals Large Breed Dry Puppy Food
20 - 40
Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Dry Dog Food for Puppy
5 - 15 - 30
NUTRO Puppy Dry Dog Food
Chicken - Large Breed
15 - 30
IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH Puppy Dry Dog Food
Chicken - Puppy Large Breed
15 - 30.6 - 38.5
Available Types of Food
Puppy food for large breeds comes in two main categories; dry and wet.
• Dry food (kibble)
Most dogs, regardless of age and breed, are fed dry dog food. One advantage of dry type is that it does not spoil fast even after opening. Additionally, most experts consider it better for healthy development of strong teeth as it allows puppies to 'exercise’ their teeth when eating.
It is easier to control portions of dry food compared to those of wet food. This makes it ideal for large breed puppies, which are prone to obesity. You can measure out exact portions to keep the puppy from overeating.
In most cases, kibble for puppies is the more cost friendly option. Getting high quality canned food is often very expensive.
• Wet food
The other category is wet food. It comes in canned form and usually consists of meat-based stews with an assortment of starches and vegetables depending on the specific recipe. While it is more expensive then kibble, wet food is beneficial for puppies that tend to be choosy in their diet.
Because there are many tastes and flavors available, your fussy puppy is likely to find one that suits its preferences. The main challenge comes in giving the puppy the right amount of portions. There is an increased risk of the puppy putting on excess weight. One tip experts give to dog owners is to use wet food as a supplemental to kibble. Feed it a little wet food but leave kibble as the main meal. We highly recommend you talk to your vet for the best recommendation.
In addition to these two categories, there are also puppy treats that come in various tastes and forms. Biscuits are especially common but you can also find dried treats and small chewables. Make sure you find treats that are low in calories and filled with nutritious ingredients.
There are tons of dog food brands in the market. Some have been around for years and are trusted by customers while others are fairly recent. But all have appealing product choices with each claiming to offer the best dog food for large breed puppies.
Launched in 1996, Canidae has grown to become one of the most respected dog food brands in the market. All their dog foods are made from fresh farm ingredients and real meat. They have a number of both dry and wet foods for large breed puppies.
These foods are made with the nutritional and health needs of large breed puppies in mind. They provide the right combination of energy and nutrients necessary for the puppy’s healthy growth and development. For instance, they are high in protein content to facilitate the puppy’s development. They also have enough fat to keep the puppy energized. Most importantly, the calcium content is kept low to prevent any bone and joint problems from developing. Too much calcium has been linked to arthritis, hip dyslexia and other orthopedic issues.
All Canidae foods do not contain soy, wheat or corn. The exclusion of wheat and corn is especially important in controlling how much weight large breed puppies put on as they grow.
2. Blue Buffalo
Blue Buffalo carries a line of dog foods exclusively created for large breed dogs including puppies, adults and seniors. If you have a large breed puppy or several, this is one of the best brands you can choose. The food is prepared with the aim of creating the best nutritional foundation for the puppy, one that will help it grow into a healthy adult.
Blue Buffalo puppy food contains more proteins and fat to cater to the puppy’s rapid growth and high energy needs. In addition, it contains antioxidants, minerals and vitamins, which have numerous health benefits for the puppy. They boost immunity, keep the puppy’s bones strong and ensure the skin remains smooth and healthy as the dog grows.
You can get Blue Buffalo dog food in both wet and dry forms. All contain nutritious ingredient with real meat forming each food’s foundation. They also have special formulations for puppies with specific nutritional needs. To keep your dog happy, they also sell a variety of ultra healthy treats formulated specifically for large breed puppies.
Nutro is one of the most affordable dog food brands in the market. For pet owners that want to keep their dogs healthy while not spending too much money, this is one of the best brands. Nutro offers different dog foods to fit various life stages. They have food for senior dogs, adult dogs, young adults and puppies. Their puppy food is created to support the development of strong bones and joints as well as a healthy immune system.
Because large breed puppies experience rapid growth, Nutro puppy food is also high in protein content to cater to this quick change in bone and muscle structure. The ingredients also provide an energy punch to keep the puppy up and energized. If your dog is in need of any special nutrition, Nutro carries a number of special formulations including grain free, weight management, high endurance and limited ingredient. Talk to your vet to find out if your dog needs to be placed on a special diet.
4. Merrick Pet Care
Established in 1988, Merrick Pet Care is one of the longest running dog food companies. Their passion for healthy, wholesome and nutritious dog food has made them one of the most loved dog food brands. In addition to their popular adult wet and dry dog foods, they also carry a variety of foods aimed at large breed puppies.
All Merrick Pet Care foods contain real meat as the main ingredient. This provides the puppy with a wholesome and tasty source of proteins and other essential minerals. They also come with a variety of other ingredients to provide fat, vitamins and fiber to cater to all nutritional and health needs of the developing puppy.
They also carry a variety of healthy dog treats including biscuits, sausages and raw meat.
5. Natural Balance
For years, the name Natural Balance has been associated with the best dog foods in the market. Their range of healthy dog foods caters to dogs of various breeds, sizes and age. For large breed puppies, Natural Balance has a variety of wet and dry foods aimed to meeting the needs of these rapidly growing animals.
Through a perfect balance of ingredients, Natural Balance foods provide the right amount of proteins for growth support, adequate fat and carbohydrates to meet energy needs, fiber to ease digestion and all vitamins and minerals necessary for all round health.
Natural Balance also provides rolls made mostly from meat. These rolls are ideal as a nutritional supplement to the puppy’s food. They can be chopped, sliced or grated. They also come in handy as a quick meal when you are travelling with your puppy.
5 Best Food Reviews
When looking for the best dog food, most dog owners are seeking a product that ticks all the right boxes. These include nutritious, natural without any harmful artificial ingredients, energy-giving and fairly priced. Based on these factors, we have scoured Amazon for the best dog food for large breeds.
We have picked these top five foods based on what customers have to say about them, their ratings and of course the nutritional benefit of each recipe. If you are looking for the best puppy food for large breeds, feel free to take your pick from the top five reviewed below.
1. Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Puppy Chicken Meal and Oats Dry Recipe
Hill’s Science Diet is a brand respected for its experience and expertise when it comes to making the best dog food for large breed puppy. Their formulation for large breed puppies is wholly natural with no artificial colors, preservatives or flavors used. Meat forms the foundation of the meal with other ingredients added on to create a fully balanced recipe for your quickly growing puppy.
Here is a table showing the average proportions of each dietary component. Note the high levels of proteins. This is necessary to cater to a rapidly growing puppy. The fiber is important to ease digestion. Fat content is kept at 10% to ensure adequate energy without causing weight gain.
Aimed at dogs less than a year old, Hill’s Science Diet food comes in the form of canned food, kibble and treats. Whichever food type you give to your puppy, you are guaranteed the healthiest formulation with plenty of vitamins and minerals to support the dog’s development.
2. Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Puppy Chicken and Rice Formula
This is one of the highest rated puppy food on Amazon. With over a thousand reviews, it is obvious that customers trust it and have seen their puppies enjoy immense health benefits when on this diet. Based on real chicken (no chicken meal used), there are enough high quality proteins in this formulation to support your puppy’s development.
The rice provides energy-giving carbohydrates to fuel the muscles. In addition, the formula contains fish oil that is rich in DHA fatty acid. This supports the healthy development of the brain and eyes. There are also antioxidants to boost the puppy’s immunity as it grows.
As we mentioned before, large breed dogs are exposed to increased risk of joint problems. Natural glucosamine in the formulation supports developing joints, ensuring they remain stable and strong as the puppy becomes bigger.
The food is available in a variety of sizes from as small as 4lb to as big as 37.5lb.
3. CANIDAE All Life Stages Large Breed Puppy Duck Meal, Brown Rise and Lentils Formula
The Canidae brand is synonymous with quality. This is why their puppy formulations are considered some of the best in the industry. All their large breed recipes are vet formulated to ensure the best nutritional benefits for puppies. The recipe uses no wheat, corn or soy, which are often seen as empty calorie sources.
Duck meal provides a wholesome source of proteins to support quick development especially of the bones and muscles. Brown rise provides a source of energy without being too high in calories. Lentils are a healthy source of carbohydrates that also contain various minerals and vitamins.
Puppies, regardless of breed, are prone to digestion issues especially if they are just starting out on a new formulation. This is why Canidae adds probiotics to their food formulation. They prevent sensitivities and ease the digestion process. The food also contains Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to keep the puppy’s skin healthy and beautiful.
Canidae All Life States food is available in several sizes including a 5-pound bag, a 15-pound bag, a 30-pound bag and a 44-pound bag.
4. Wellness Complete Dry Large Breed Puppy Chicken, Rice and Salmon Formula
This recipe contains everything your puppy needs to grow into a healthy adult. It is all-natural and contains no artificial colors or flavors. This ensures no adverse effect at all on your puppy. Deboned chicken is the main source of calories for this formulation, ensuring that your dog receives adequate proteins to support rapid bone and muscle development. A variety of minerals and vitamins support the immune system and gives the dog a smooth and vibrant coat. DH fatty acid is added to support the development of the eyes and brain.
Because large breed puppies can easily put on weight, this formulation comes with controlled calories, reduced fat content and increased fiber content. This ensures that the puppy gets full without overeating.
Wellness Complete food comes in large kibble size, which is perfect for these types of dogs. It allows the puppy to strengthen their jaws and teeth as they chew on the dry food.
5. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Large Breed Puppy Chicken Formula
When it comes to highly nutritious and health-packed dog food, BLUE Wilderness is a name you will encounter often. In addition to many popular flavors and formulations they sell, the company also has a specialized high protein formulation made specifically for large breed puppies.
Large breed puppies tend to grow very quickly. To support this fast growth especially in the bones and muscles, it is extremely essential that their diets contain enough protein. This is why a high protein diet is highly recommended by vets for large breed puppies.
This formulation is also rich in DHA fatty acid, a component that experts have identified as crucial to eye and brain development. To support bone development and prevent bon problems so common in large breed dogs, Blue Buffalo’s formulation contains the perfect balance of phosphorous, calcium and various vitamins.
The food comes in special kibble sizes to encourage the development of stronger teeth and remove tartar as the puppy chews. It is available in a 4.5-pound bag, an 11-pound bag and a 24-pound bag.
Best Large Breed Puppy Foods: Other Recommended
The next five foods did not earn a spot in our top five list of the best food for large breed puppies. But they are still good enough to warrant a mention. If you do not find what you are looking for in the above list, the following foods are also highly recommended.
• EUKANUBA Puppy Dry Dog Food – specially made with animal-based proteins to support quick bone and muscle development in large breed puppies. (https://www.amazon.com/EUKANUBA-Puppy-Large-Breed-Pounds/dp/B006OLAJA0/)
• Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Lamb and Rice Formula – Sold in 20 and 40 pound bags, this formulation contsins DHA for brain and eye development, Antioxidants for a healthy immune system and omega fatty acids for a healthy skin and coat. (https://www.amazon.com/Diamond-Naturals-Puppy-Large-Formula/dp/B000WFKDT6/)
• Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Dry Dog Food for Puppy – contains a mixture of fish proteins for healthy bone and muscle development. It also comes with a blend of real fruits and vegetables to balance out the formulation with healthy minerals and vitamins. (https://www.amazon.com/Taste-Wild-Prairie-Formula-30-Pound/dp/B006BU77F4/)
• NUTRO Large Breed Puppy Chicken, Oatmeal and Brown Rice formula – Nutro’s special formulation for large breed puppies is made from a variety of wholesome ingredients to deliver all essential nutrients to your growing puppy. It contains no gluten, corn, wheat or soy. (https://www.amazon.com/NUTRO-Large-Breed-Chicken-Oatmeal/dp/B00TQRK9QI/)
• IAMS Proactive Health Smart Large Breed Puppy Dry Food – IAMS’ special formulation for large breed puppies has everything your dog needs for proper growth and all-round health. The formulation is based majorly on proteins sourced from chicken and eggs. (https://www.amazon.com/PROACTIVE-HEALTH-Smart-Puppy-Pounds/dp/B00C3HSSWU/)
Buying Guide: Important Things To Look For
With so many brands and products to choose from, it can be more than a little difficult to make the right choice. How do you decide what food to choose for your dog? Do you go for canned or kibble? How do you choose the healthiest treats?
Here is a brief buying guide to help you choose the best food for large breed puppy.
1. Understand what your puppy needs
We have already talked a lot about the nutritional needs of large breed puppies. They need plenty of proteins to help them maintain their rapid growth. They also need certain minerals such as phosphorous to keep the bones strong and prevent problems such as hip dyslexia.
Because of its high-energy needs, a large breed puppy needs to have adequate carbohydrates and fat in its diet. Healthy sources include lentils, brown rice and oats. Finally, a large breed puppy needs to take in a controlled amount of calories and fat to prevent excessive weight. The best formulations will usually include fiber, which allows the puppy to fill up quickly without overeating.
2. Check the nutritional information
You can easily check the nutritional information of foods before you buy them. Companies will often provide a recipe list containing every ingredient used in the formulation. They will also provide an analysis table showing the proportions of various components such as minerals, proteins, fiber and fat.
When checking these labels, look for foods with high protein content (ideally 23 to 26 percent), average fat content (around 10 percent), fiber and essential minerals and vitamins. Check that the calcium is not too much as it can cause orthopedic issues. The ideal calcium content is between 1.2 and 1.8 percent while phosphorous content should be between 1.0 and 1.6 percent.
Here is a short video with additional tips on how to read dog food labels. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkjUvFrPoZA)
3. Be wary of high calorie treats
Too often, dog owners do not consider how treats impact their dog’s health. They tend to give the dog too many high-calorie treats, causing weight gain and making the dog eat less of actual healthy food. When you buy treats for your large breed puppy, go for the healthiest options filled with nutrients and low on calories.
That’s a lot of information on foods to chew on (no pun intended). But it should help you raise a healthy large breed dog. Now you know the different types of food for large breed puppies, the top brands you can trust and the best foods available on Amazon. That should make your search for the right food so much easier.
As always, remember to talk to your vet if you think your pet has any health condition that warrants a special diet.