Nutrition Category IconNutrition

Best Puppy Food For Large Breed Dogs: Ratings & Reviews

Emma Braby

Last Updated: April 25, 2020 | 10 min read

Large Breed Puppy Eating Dog Food

Searching for the best puppy food for your large breed dog? You aren’t alone! People all over the world are adopting large breed puppies every day. Welcoming a puppy into your life is one of those milestone moments, and one that has no doubt taken a lot of deliberation with every family member, and much time spent researching everything you need to know, as well as finding a reputable breeder to work with. You’ve now found your four-legged soulmate, but how and what exactly do you feed him?

Feeding your pup the right food is so so important! Not only will it keep him happy and puppy-like, but it is one of the easiest ways to keep him healthy and avoid unnecessary trips to the Veterinarian. It is arguably the most important time of his life, and good nutrition will ensure that he develops as he should and set the foundations for a healthy life and body.

Here in this article we are going to walk you through everything you need to know about large breed puppy nutrition. From the most important nutrients to look for what ingredients to avoid, along with some of the greatest puppy food brands around and which of their products are the very best. Not only are there several different choices of dry kibble for your large breed puppy below, but we’ve also listed out some of the top wet foods available as well.  Let’s jump in!

At a Glance: Our Favorite Foods for Large Breed Puppies

Best Overall: Diamond Naturals
Top Limited Ingredient: Instinct Raw
Wet Food For Large Breed Puppies: Blue Buffalo

Note: Clicking the above links will take you to Amazon.com, where you can get additional product information and customer reviews. If you make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Large Breed Puppies

Large Breed Puppies Eating Together
It may be helpful to stick to a breed specific nutritional plan if available.

Generally speaking, puppies are categorized into sizes depending on the size they are expected to become once they reach full maturity. Full maturity can be reached at any point between 10 and 24 months depending on their breed. Some giant breeds may fall into the large category depending on each specific dog, but generally speaking, each breed can be categorized by their expected adult size.

Large breed puppies are dogs that will reach between 51 and 100 pounds by the time they are fully grown adults, and that’s what this nutritional guide represents.  Below is a list of several large breeds that fall into this guide.  For a better picture of each specific breed, it’s a better idea to visit each breed-specific dog food guide. Below you’ll find a few.

Large Breed Puppy Nutrient Needs

Large Breed Puppies Eating Dog Food
Large Breed Puppies have different nutritional needs from small and medium-sized dogs.

As we have already said, there is not a one size fits all approach to puppy nutrition. Not only do you need to think about their individual needs, such as sensitive stomachs, ingredient allergies or intolerances, and believe it or not, likes and dislikes, but you also have to think about their breed and the size that they are expected to be.

Small breeds need much smaller kibble that’s nutrient-packed, while Large breeds like the Great Pyrenees often need a kibble with a higher protein content considering their larger muscle mass and higher energy needs. Large breed foods also have optimized fat, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D levels, because these ingredients control the speed at which his large bones grow.

If his bones grow too fast, then he will be at much higher risk of suffering Hip Dysplasia and other developmental bone disorders. Therefore, it is important to feed your large pup nutrition that is specifically designed for his size, and most generic puppy food packaging will state that it is not suited to large breed puppies for this reason.

Ingredients to Look For

Large Breed Puppy Food Ingredients
Large Breed puppy food should have specific nutritional values.

Firstly, it is important to read the ingredients list yourself and not to solely trust product labels. Unfortunately, many brands are simply looking to make profit and have little concern for your pup’s welfare, and often will exaggerate claims or mislead consumers. Here are the main ingredients and nutrients to look out for in any puppy food.

Whole Named Meats: There are two points to cover here. Firstly, whole meats or meat meals (not by-product meals which we will discuss in the ingredients to avoid!) are not only full of protein and energy, but they also include other nutrients such as glucosamine, which is important for bone and joint health, as well as fats and oils for brain development and coat health. In fact, meat meals can be packed with four times as much protein than the meat that it was made from.

Healthy Carbohydrates: Healthy carbohydrates are important because protein alone cannot provide him with enough energy to not only sustain him throughout the day, but also to provide him with the puppy growing power that his body needs. Healthy carbohydrates can take the form of whole grains, such as barley, oatmeal or brown rice, or vegetables such as potatoes, peas and lentils. Whether you choose a grain free or grain inclusive diet (there are arguments for both), all healthy carbohydrates are full of vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Natural Preservatives: Natural is always best, and this is definitely true when it comes to food. Preserving food is sometimes needed, especially when we are serving up real meats and fresh fruits in the form of kibble. Natural preservatives such as vitamin C (ascorbic acid), vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) and botanical oils such as Rosemary and Peppermint extract are important to keep his food fresh and retain their nutrients.

Fruits and Vegetables: Just like us humans, it is important for our pups to eat fruit and vegetables because they offer a variety of health benefits that meat alone cannot provide. They are full to the brim of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which ensure that his immune system is boosted, bones are strengthened, and other bodily functions are supported. In addition, these ingredients are also very fibrous which helps to keep his digestive system regular and healthy, and feeling fuller for longer which is important if he is constantly begging for food.

Omega Fatty Acids: There is a common misconception that omega acids and other fats are bad for a dog’s health, but the reality is, it is much needed and without it health problems arise. Not only does it keep his cardiovascular system healthy, brain and eye development functioning and his skin and coat nourished, but it also allows him to absorb vitamins and minerals which improve his overall wellness. 

Essential Amino Acids: Amino acids are compounds that form the essential building blocks that living beings need to, well, live. Every vital process that your dog’s body undergoes relies on essential amino acids in some way, and as his body cannot produce them all naturally he relies on a well-balanced diet. Be sure to look out for arginine, lysine, histidine, isoleucine, phenylalanine, threonine, valine, leucine, methionine and tryptophan in the ingredients list, and they can all be found in animal proteins, egg products and fish oils.

Puppy Foods For Large Breeds

Top Puppy Foods For Large Breeds
There are several puppy foods that should meet your large breed’s needs.

Now that you are armed with the information about what ingredients to look for, what ingredients to avoid, and which brands currently offer the best puppy products on the market you could go out into the big wide world of pet nutrition and spend a lot of time finding one.

Or, you could save yourself A LOT of time and pick one from our recommendation list below. Not only are our recommendations all high-quality kibbles that list the much-needed puppy nutrients and avoid the harmful ingredients, but they are also all highly rated online by other puppy owners as well as being made by reputable brands. We have also broken our recommendation list into puppy sizes, and there is also something for every budget too!

Remembering that large breed puppies need controlled levels of certain nutrients as mentioned above, it is important to feed your large pup specially designed food, such as these.

 
Wellness Puppy
Orijen Puppy
Blue Buffalo
Diamond Naturals
Instinct Raw
Protein
35%
38%
35%
27%
33.5%
Fats
14%
16%
14%
15%
18.5%
Fiber
5.5%
6%
6%
3%
5%
Moisture
10%
12%
10%
10%
9%
Kcal/Cup
387
449
411
342
485

Wellness Core Large Breed Puppy

Wellness Natural Pet Food CORE Natural Grain...
  • ADVANCED NATURAL NUTRITION TO FUEL YOUR LARGE BREED PUPPY'S BEST...
  • SUPPORTS HEALTHY GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT: Guaranteed levels of DHA...
  • LEANER BODY MASS AND MUSCLE TONE: Wellness CORE dog food is made...
  • SUPPORTS HEALTHY SKIN AND COAT with guaranteed levels of omega...

If you click the link above and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Deboned Chicken and Chicken meal are the first two ingredients in this protein rich kibble, with Turkey meal following shortly behind. Chicken fat helps to preserve this kibble naturally, and with Salmon oil, his cognitive development and coat health is well cared for. This kibble is fortified with vitamins and minerals to strengthen his immune system, and superfoods such as bananas, spinach and broccoli are also listed. This product has the optimum calcium and phosphorus levels for strong and controlled bone growth too.

We love that each kibble in this product is coated in ‘acticoat’, which is their probiotic solution that helps to support a healthy digestive system with every bite.


Orijen Large Breed Puppy

ORIJEN Dry Dog Food, Puppy Large,...
  • ORIJEN Puppy Large dog food delivers a diet rich and varied in...
  • With 85% quality animal ingredients, ORIJEN nourishes dogs...
  • Using fresh and raw animal ingredients, including meat, organs,...
  • Our Fresh Regional Ingredients are supplied by people we know and...

If you click the link above and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Just like the original puppy recipe for medium breeds, this formula is also multi-award winning and a super-premium grain free recipe. This large breed recipe has the optimum levels of calcium and phosphorus, whilst still ensuring that protein is the main star. With the first fifteen ingredients being high-quality whole-prey ingredients, he will savor the meat, bones, organs, cartilages and blood of the animal. There is also plenty of veggies and fruit which provide him with all the vitamins he needs, as well as fiber for a healthy gut.

We love that this recipe has market leading levels of protein, which is not only important for his large muscle mass and growth, but also supplies meaty taste that big pups crave!


Blue Buffalo Wilderness Large Breed Puppy

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein, Natural...
  • PACKED WITH REAL CHICKEN: A recipe made to satisfy your puppy’s...
  • HEALTHY INGREDIENTS: BLUE Wilderness grain free dog food, made...
  • WITH LIFESOURCE BITS: This formula contains BLUE’s exclusive...
  • NATURAL DOG FOOD: BLUE dry dog food features the finest natural...

If you click the link above and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

This recipe is from their Wilderness range, whose main focus is protein which is important for large dogs with equally large muscle mass, so deboned Chicken and Chicken meal are the first two listed ingredients. It also provides him with plenty of fruit and veggies for his fibrous needs, such as peas, potatoes and sweet potatoes, and it is these ingredients that replace the grains. The LifeSource Bits are fortified with all the vitamins he needs, as well as the optimum calcium and phosphorus levels for strong bones.

We love that this recipe has a high fiber content which is great for those large pups who need assistance in achieving a regular digestive system.


Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Formula

Diamond Naturals Large Breed Dry Puppy Food...
  • HIGH quality PROTEIN made with real PASTURE RAISED lamb; for a...
  • Premium ingredients with added vitamins & minerals; SUPERFOODS...
  • A smaller kibble, nutrient rich & HIGHLY DIGESTIBLE with...
  • FAMILY OWNED & run, MADE in the USA choosing ingredients from...

If you click the link above and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Lamb and Lamb meal are the first two ingredients on this list, and with chia seeds and quinoa, his energy levels will remain high to keep him fit and active. There are a variety of antioxidants and superfoods listed, such as oranges, coconut, kale and papaya, and fibers such as kelp and coconut to support a healthy gut flora. This recipe is also the best option for those owners who have a lower budget, but again, without compromising on quality.

We love that this recipe is the only grain inclusive recipe on this list, which is important for those owners who want to avoid feeding their pups a grain free diet. 


Instinct Raw Boost Large Breed Puppy

Instinct Raw Boost Large Breed Puppy Grain...
  • GRAIN FREE PUPPY FOOD WITH FREEZE DRIED RAW CAGE FREE CHICKEN:...
  • PUPPY DOG FOOD PLUS FREEZE DRIED RAW PIECES: Made with calcium &...
  • THE FIRST RAW BOOSTED LARGE BREED PUPPY KIBBLE: Raw Boost mixes...
  • POWER OF RAW INGREDIENTS: Our dog food is made with the pure,...

If you click the link above and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Chicken and Chicken meal are the first two ingredients on this list, and when combining this with the raw Chicken meal toppers, you can be sure that your large pup will go crazy for the flavor. It is minimally processed which makes this recipe nutrient dense, and with egg product, fish meal and Salmon oil, you can be sure that his cognitive function and coat is supported. Chicken livers and hearts also take pride of place in the recipe list, and there are also guaranteed levels of calcium and phosphorus for strong bones and teeth.

We love that this recipe has raw toppers, which are full of nutrient dense ingredients and add texture to his bowl.


Wet Foods For Large Breed Puppies

Wet Food For Large Breed Puppies
Large Breed Puppies can also benefit from wet food.

Whilst we prefer dry kibble for dogs for a variety of reasons, we know that this is not always possible or the best option for every dog, and some dogs are just fussy and need a little wet food adding to the mix. So, here are a select few of our favorite wet foods for puppies of all sizes.

 
Canidae Pure
Blue Buffalo
Nulo Freestyle
Protein
9%
9%
9.5%
Fats
6.5%
6%
5%
Fiber
1%
1.3%
1%
Moisture
78%
78%
78%
Kcal/Cup
444
422
404

Canidae Pure Grain Free Puppy Formula

Canidae PURE Grain Free Wet Puppy Food with...
  • Limited ingredient canned puppy food for food sensitive puppies
  • #1 ingredient real meat for high quality protein
  • Grain free wet food perfect for those with food sensitive...
  • Just 7-10 key ingredients in each can of dog food

If you click the link above and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

This wet food is made only with 4 key ingredients: Chicken, Chicken broth, dried eggs and peas. This is great for those with sensitive stomachs, and it is grain free too. There are also plenty of omega fatty acids such as Salmon oil, as well as vitamin and mineral supplements. This has the highest fiber content and calorie count per can, which provides him with plenty of puppy growing power.

We love that this grain free formula is made with simple ingredients, so you can feed your pup guilt-free.


Blue Buffalo Homestyle Puppy Recipe

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Natural Puppy...
  • REAL CHICKEN FIRST: This paté style wet puppy food features...
  • FEED THREE WAYS: BLUE Homestyle Recipe puppy food makes a...
  • NATURAL DOG FOOD: All BLUE canned dog foods are made with the...
  • WHOLESOME INGREDIENTS: BLUE wet dog food contains NO chicken (or...

If you click the link above and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Made with Chicken, Chicken broth and Chicken liver, this homemade style recipe is made with lots of homely garden vegetables too. It has carrots, peas and sweet potatoes, as well as brown rice, barley and oatmeal for lots of fiber and energy, so it is a grain inclusive option. This recipe is fortified with vitamins and minerals too.

We love that this Blue Buffalo recipe is made with vegetables and is another great offering from blue buffalo to match their other high-quality dry foods that are often compared to other brands.


Nulo Freestyle Turkey & Cod Recipe

Nulo Puppy Grain Free Canned Wet Dog Food...
  • 12-PACK of 13 oz cans. All natural without the use of corn;...
  • HIGH MEAT/LOW CARB proprietary recipe that is GRAIN FREE and...
  • GREATER NUTRITIONAL INGREDIENTS have a beneficial mix of...
  • PROMOTES WEIGHT MANAGEMENT through reduced carbohydrate intake....

If you click the link above and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

This wet food offers an alternative to those puppies who cannot eat or do not like Chicken. Instead it is made with Turkey, Salmon and Cod, which makes up for a slightly higher protein content. This grain free recipe uses peas and lentils for its energy sources and is rich in Salmon oil and other omega fatty acids for overall well being.

We love that Nulo offers a fish based formula that offers fatty acids and other nutrients that are not often included enough in most dry dog food formulas.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How long should my large breed eat puppy food?
A: No matter the size of your breed, you should aim to transition your dog to an adult food by the time they get to 12-15 months of age. At that point you’ll want to start slowly transitioning over a one month period to an adult food.

Q: What brand of food is best for my large breed puppy?
A: Any of the brands we have listed here will meet your large breed puppy’s nutritional requirements. It may take some time to ensure that they get adjusted to their food.

Q: Where is the best place to buy food for my large breed puppy?
A: We typically recommend that you do your research, but buying online is one of the easiest and most convenient ways to have food delivered right to your doorstep.

Final Thoughts

And there you have it, everything you need to know about large breed puppy nutrition, along with the very best puppy foods available. Nutrition can be the difference between life and death, so it is important to get it right from the very beginning. Not only will it mean that his body is given everything it needs to be healthy, it will also ensure that he is as happy as he deserves to be.

Please, do not feed him herbicide, antifreeze, woodchip or roadkill, do not believe labels without reading the ingredient list for yourself, and do not assume that cheap budget store food will meet his nutritional needs, because it will not. Whilst you do not need to spend the most, you need to ensure that you provide him with quality food.

Leave a Comment