Are you on the hunt for the best dog food for your giant breed adult dog? This guide is a must-read for all massive doggy parents, whether you have a gorgeous Great Dane, a marvelous Mastiff, or another towering tail-wagger. Nutrition is one of the most critical aspects of their life and can be the difference between a healthy and a not-so-healthy pooch.
However, we understand that choosing the best food for your adult dog can be difficult. Not only are there thousands of products, all claiming to be the best, but there also isn’t much information available about what enormous breeds need compared to other-sized doggos.
Our giant dog food guide takes you through what nutrients they need and why. We have scoured the food market to identify the best picks. The options are varied due to recipes catered for dietary needs and different budgets. So, let’s get the humongous scoop on what your big buddy needs.
At A Glance: Our Favorite Foods For Giant Breed Dogs
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- Do Giant Dogs Need Special Food?
- Giant Dog Breed Nutritional Needs
- Dry Dog Foods For Giant Breeds
- Wet Dog Foods For Giant Breeds
- Healthy Weight Options
- Final Thoughts
Do Giant Dogs Need Special Food?
They need extra space in the home (and crate), XXL products, and usually cost more to insure and groom. And one thing’s for sure; they rack up a substantial monthly food bill. Although there is no set size for what constitutes a giant breed, it is commonly accepted that they weigh over 100 pounds at maturity.
If you are looking for the best food for giant breed puppies, we have a guide dedicated just to them. Although all dogs are different, most larger dog breeds reach maturity between 12 and 18 months. So this is the time to transition them between puppy and adult food slowly.
Giant Dog Breed Nutritional Needs
It would be best if you based your nutritional choice on your dog’s specific dietary needs. Some may have specific health conditions requiring certain nutrients, and others require grain-free or grain-inclusive diets. Plus, believe it or not, some giant doggos are just downright fussy about flavors. Thankfully, you probably know what they already need or like by adulthood, making your choice more straightforward.
There isn’t a vast choice for giant-specific dog breed food. You should also be aware that feeding your big breed a food designed for large breed dogs is acceptable as long as it meets the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles. Adult dogs need a minimum of 18% crude protein and 5.5% fat to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Bigger dogs carry a lot of weight which affects their joints, cardiac systems, and more, and they are also prone to excess weight gain. Large and giant dog breed food takes all of their nutritional needs into account. So it is essential to feed them these foods over poor-quality or generic ones. If you pick an option that isn’t specifically for large or giant dog breeds or tailored to their lifestyle, you are unlikely to meet their nutritional requirements.
Ingredients to Seek Out
Whatever specific dietary needs your dog has, all dogs need a well-balanced diet. To achieve this, you need to pick a high-quality food option rather than poor quality or store-branded food. High-quality companies use better-quality ingredients that provide the nutrients your dog needs to stay healthy.
Unfortunately, many food labels are misleading, so you cannot rely on labels to tell you the truth about a product’s nutritional value. Whether you choose kibble, wet food, or a tailored food subscription service, you must read the ingredient label and understand what to look for. Here are the main components of a healthy doggy diet and the ingredients that provide them.
The first ingredient in any ingredients list should always be meat, preferably whole meat such as chicken, beef, or deboned salmon. Protein is the most important nutritional component of a dog’s diet. This is because it provides energy and the essential building blocks for a healthy body, as well as fats, oils, vitamins, minerals, and yummy taste.
Meat meals are a great source of concentrated protein and are listed as chicken meal or beef meal, for example. It has up to four times the amount of protein than whole meat ingredients. The meat should be named and not listed as meat derivatives or poultry meal, for example. Unnamed ingredients pose a risk for those with intolerances. High-quality products are usually transparent on what meats they use.
Healthy carbs are necessary for a dog’s diet, providing additional energy and nutrients that meat alone cannot. Healthy carbohydrates include veggies, such as sweet potatoes, lentils, and peas. Alternatively, grains are also used, including brown rice, oatmeal, and barley. All are suitable and provide the nutrients your dog needs, but you may want to consider the debate of grain vs. non-grain doggy diets if you haven’t already done so.
Omega Fatty Acids
Fats are often viewed as the enemy in both human and animal diets. However, they provide a wealth of nutritional benefits. High-quality products use healthy omega fatty acids, such as meat meals, fish, fish oils, eggs, plant oils, and flaxseeds. Omega fatty acids support the health of skin, coat, bones, organs, eyes, digestion, vitamin absorption, overall Wellness, and more. So, it’s important not to skip them.
As much as your giant Fido might persuade you, cheeseburgers and fries do not count as healthy fats. Big dogs are prone to weight gain. Additional weight gain might lead to further health problems, painful joints, a strained cardiac system, and a shortened lifespan. So please only feed them doggy food and no table scraps. Unless your vet says otherwise, a high-quality food product supplies all the healthy fats your dog needs.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruit and vegetables are other essential components of doggy diets. They provide vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to keep their immune systems healthy and robust, enabling them to fight illness and disease. Plus, it keeps them feeling healthier thanks to a better oxidative state. Nutrient-rich fruits and veggies to look out for include blueberries, cranberries, kelp, carrots, and broccoli.
Fruits and veggies also provide fiber which is vital for digestive support and better stool health. Fiber is essential for greedy giants forever on the hunt for food, as it keeps them feeling fuller for longer. Great sources of fiber include sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and beet pulp.
Glucosamine is essential for giant dogs because it supports joint health. Most high-quality dog foods increase the glucosamine content for giant breeds because they need it more than smaller dogs. This is mainly because their joints are under increased pressure from the extra weight. Look for ingredients such as meat meals, fish oil, eggs, green-lipped mussels, or additional glucosamine supplements.
High-quality products are typically focused on natural food only, which is always best for our best friends. Preservatives are often required to keep food fresh, nutrient-rich, and edible. Ingredients such as ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and mixed tocopherols (vitamin E) are examples of natural preservatives. As well as botanical oils such as peppermint and rosemary extract. Artificial preservatives are more likely to irritate your dog’s digestive system.
Dry Dog Foods For Giant Breeds
Now that you know what to look for in a high-quality product for your giant buddy, in this section, we talk you through our top picks for the best dry dog foods for giant breeds. Each product is suitable for giant dog breeds, AAFCO compliant, high-quality, and rated well. By reading each product review, you can choose the best option for your dog with ease. Let’s take a closer look.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Large Breed Grain-Free
This recipe is from the Blue Buffalo higher-protein Wilderness range. But instead of using common meat ingredients like chicken and poultry, it uses only red meat and seafood. Depending on the recipe, the proteins used are deboned beef, fish meal, beef meal, deboned lamb, and deboned venison. The protein content is 28%, which is plenty enough to keep your pooch satisfied.
This grain-free recipe uses peas, tapioca, and potatoes instead of grains. It is also rich in healthy omega fatty acids thanks to flaxseed, fish oil, and meat meals. Nutrient-rich ingredients such as alfalfa meal, sweet potatoes, cranberries, and dried kelp keep your dog’s immune system strong and healthy. And at 700mg/kg, this kibble has a high glucosamine content than most others.
We love that this large breed formula is chicken and poultry-free, making it a top choice for giant dog breeds intolerant of these commonly used meat sources.
Hill's Science Diet Adult Large Breed
- Veterinarian-endorsed brand.
- Chicken is the first ingredient.
- Grain-inclusive option.
- Infused with vitamin and mineral supplements.
- Added omega fatty acids.
- Made in the United States.
Hill’s Science Diet is renowned for its simple recipes, usually made with grains, and this choice is no exception. Canine nutritionists base their recipes on the scientific observations of large dog breeds and their nutritional needs. So you can be sure it provides everything your gentle giant needs, thanks to key ingredients and supplements.
At 20%, it has the lowest protein content of our choices. But this sometimes benefits some bigger dogs and their sensitive stomachs, and it is still AAFCO compliant. Chicken is the first ingredient, with chicken meal listed further down. Apples, broccoli, and carrots are listed too, along with added supplements, to ensure their immune system is kept strong and fighting fit.
We love that this recipe uses grains as a source of energy and healthy carbs, making it an excellent option for giant dogs who do better on a grain-based diet. Or parents looking to avoid grain-free nutrition.
Wellness Core Large Breed Grain-Free
- Highest protein content in our dry list.
- The first three ingredients are meat.
- Highest glucosamine content for joint support.
- Made with nutrient-rich fruits and veggies.
- Fiber content is high to satisfy appetite.
- Probiotic ingredients added for smoother digestion.
This is our more premium dry food choice for giant dog breeds, and it is Wellness’s high protein range, offering 34% protein. The meat sources and first three ingredients include deboned chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal. These are rich in amino acids, energy, glucosamine, and flavor. This recipe is a grain-free option that relies on lentils and peas instead of grains.
Spinach, broccoli, carrots, apples, blueberries, and kale provide the all-important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to keep them robust. At 6%, the fiber content is high, meaning your ravenous pooch feels fuller longer, helping to stave off weight gain. The glucosamine content is 750mg/kg, meaning this option offers joints the most support. The kibble pieces are larger than usual, making it easier to eat.
We love that this recipe has a high protein level, making it an ideal option for any fussy or meat-obsessed giant doggos.
Wet Dog Foods For Giant Breeds
Dried kibble alone is not always the right choice for every dog or owner. Some dogs refuse to eat dried biscuit pieces, and some owners prefer to take a fresher approach to their dog’s nutrition. Whether you want to feed them just wet food or mix it in with dried kibble, here are the three options we like for giant breeds.
The Farmer's Dog
- Cooked fresh, flash-frozen, and shipped to you.
- Personalized meal plans.
- 4 healthy, vet-designed options: beef, chicken, turkey, or pork.
- Made with human-grade ingredients (no fillers or preservatives).
- Manufactured in the United States.
- Calories and nutritional values vary based on recipe.
The Farmer’s Dog is a fresh food subscription-based service that delivers personalized meals straight to your door. Taking care of a giant is hard work enough, so these guys take the meal prep and meal proportioning for you. Depending on the information you give them, there are four recipe options to choose from (turkey, chicken, beef, and pork), all grain-free.
Their average protein content is 40%, much higher than kibble options. It uses real meat as the first ingredient, a mixture of highly nutritious animal organs, and fish oil for extra joint support. They infuse their recipes with a unique nutrient blend to ensure your pup’s immune system is supported. Only human-grade ingredients are used, which explains why it smells good enough to eat.
We love that this recipe is made with the finest, human-grade ingredients, meaning it offers premium nutrition for your beloved giant dog.
Blue Buffalo Large Breed Recipe
- First ingredient is chicken.
- Pate-style wet food.
- Grain-inclusive wet food.
- Infused with fish oil and glucosamine for joint health.
- Designed specifically for large breed dogs.
- Made in the United States.
Blue Buffalo has created this homestyle recipe specifically for large breed dogs. It is infused with sources of glucosamine for extra joint support. It is a pate style wet food which some dogs prefer to fresher, moister food. The ingredients list starts with whole chicken followed by tasty chicken broth for an extra punch of flavor.
Carrots, peas, and sweet potatoes provide fiber and mineral goodness for your dog’s digestive system and immunity, as do blueberries and cranberries. This grain-inclusive option lists brown rice, barley, and oatmeal, ensuring Fido has extra energy for the day. Fish oil and flaxseed provide the healthy omega fats needed for a shiny coat, joint support, and overall health.
We love that this recipe is our budget-friendly choice for giant dogs craving wet food.
Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Grain Free
- Limited ingredient formula for sensitive stomachs.
- Made with duck as the only meat source.
- Grain and chicken-free option.
- Enriched with vitamins and minerals.
- Canola oil is low in saturated fat for healthy weight.
- Made in the United States.
Natural Balance is best known for its limited ingredient formulas, which sensitive dogs love. It only uses one meat and one carbohydrate source, followed by essential micro-ingredients, making it simple to digest. The micro-ingredients include crucial vitamins, minerals, and other supplements needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Duck is the first ingredient, followed by duck broth, with a hint of duck meal too. Although this recipe offers the lowest protein content, it is still AAFCO compliant and sometimes better for dogs who cannot digest meat-rich formulas. It is also a grain-free and chicken-free recipe, making it ideal for giant dogs who are intolerant of grains or this commonly used meat source.
We love that this recipe includes only one meat and one carb, making it a dream for big dogs with a sensitive digestive system.
Healthy Weight Options
Giant dog breeds shouldn’t put on too much weight as it adds pressure on their already heavily laden joints. Excess weight also leads to other health concerns and strains their cardiac system, leading to a shortened lifespan. And as we already know, giant dogs’ lives are already too short. So, it’s imperative to maintain a healthy weight.
Here we have two healthy weight options for giant dog breeds. If you notice your pup is gaining extra pounds, switching to a weight management kibble is essential and getting them moving more. It’s also advised to visit your vet to ensure no underlying conditions are responsible for the excess pounds. Let’s take a look at our top weight management choices.
Nutro Large Breed Healthy Weight
Chicken and chicken meal are the first two ingredients in this recipe, providing a protein content of 22%. Chicken meal provides glucosamine needed for your dog’s weakened or slower joints too. This recipe is grain-inclusive and uses a variety of mixed grains to provide slow-release energy. The fat content falls between 7% and 10%, and the calorie count per cup is 245.
Nutro lists many nutrient-dense ingredients such as chia seed, coconut, pumpkin, kale, and spinach and enriched with vitamin and mineral supplements. These ingredients ensure your pup maintains a healthy oxidative state and robust immune system. They also add lots of fiber, keeping greedy giants from hunting their next snack immediately after mealtime.
We love that this recipe is our budget-friendly pick in the weight management section while still offering a quality healthy choice.
Hill's Science Diet Adult Large Breed Light
- Contains 18% fewer calories than Adult Large formula.
- Glucosamine and chondroitin work to maintain healthy joints and cartilage.
- Antioxidants plus vitamins E and C.
- No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
- Made in the United States.
The first ingredient and the sole animal protein is chicken meal, making it a top choice for giant dogs who need easy-to-digest formulas. It is low on calories (271 per cup) and fat (5.5%), meaning it should be relatively simple for your dog to lose weight with this option. The fiber content is 14%, which is super high and keeps your pup feeling fuller for longer.
Despite being low in fat and calories, it still provides a well-balanced diet for your dog’s overall nutritional needs. L-carnitine is listed, which stimulates doggy metabolisms and helps them burn extra calories. Glucosamine supports the joints, helping counteract the pressure from excess weight.
We love that this recipe has a very low-fat content. Meaning if your big guy needs to lose a lot of weight, this is the best option.
Each of our picks is high-quality, AAFCO compliant, focused on large breed needs, and highly rated by other giant dog owners. They also offer a variety based on dietary needs and budgets. Hopefully, you have found our reviews helpful, enabling you to pick the best option for your pup.
Giant dogs have specific nutritional needs compared to smaller doggos. This means it is essential to pick dog food designed specifically for large and giant dogs or tailored to their individual needs. Every dog is unique, so it’s necessary to consider their dietary needs and taste preferences when picking a food for them.