Home Puppies Top 12 Best Large Breed Puppy Foods

Top 12 Best Large Breed Puppy Foods

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Puppies need to eat a diet that is specifically formulated for their unique nutritional needs. Similarly, large breed dogs have their own list of nutritional requirements that differ from those of small breed dogs. The best large breed puppy foods are developed with the fast growth rate and specific nutritional requirements of large breed puppies in mind.

Best Large Breed Puppy FoodsWhen it comes to raising a disease-free and healthy puppy, nutrition is the first thing for a pet owner to focus on. Studies show that large breed dogs are more likely to develop musculoskeletal and orthopedic diseases, arthritis and other joint problems. Based on recent research of these disorders (source), veterinarians and companies have developed special puppy food brands designed for large breeds to prevent these health issues.

We’ll go over all 12 brands in this article, and cover each in detail. Below we have provided information on each best large breed puppy food recipe, including a full list of ingredients. Here’s a quick look at our top five picks:

Large Breed Puppy Food Price Value Rating
ORIJEN Large Breed Dry Food $$$ $3.63/lb 5 stars
Holistic Select Natural Dry Food $$ $2/lb 4 half stars
Blue Freedom Grain Free Dry Food $$ $2.08/lb 4 half stars
Fromm Family Foods Gold Nutritionals Food $$ $2.26/lb 4 half stars
Iams Proactive Health Dry Food $ $1.05/lb 4 half stars

* Click on the best large breed puppy foods for more information, prices and details. Scroll below to read reviews.

Remember that no article can replace a consultation with a veterinarian or a certified canine nutritionist. For the best advice on how to feed a large breed puppy (your specific dog), make sure that you consult with a professional dog expert.

Choosing the Best Large Breed Puppy Food Brand

Many new puppy owners are not aware of just how important it is to choose the right brand of food for their new canine companion. They assume that pet food regulations are strict, and companies can only manufacture quality products that are safe for dogs. Sadly, there are loopholes in pet food regulations that allow manufacturers to include some less than ideal ingredients in the dog food they produce.

How to Choose the Best Puppy Food BrandFor example, current regulations DO NOT require meat ingredients to be sourced from USDA inspected and approved slaughtered animals. That means that some meat ingredients could be sourced from 4D (dead, dying, diseased or disabled) animals that have been rejected for use in the human food industry.

So, basing your choice of puppy food solely on price or brand recognition could prove to be damaging to your dog’s health and well-being. Just because a brand is popular, doesn’t mean that it uses healthy ingredients. And, when it comes to price, you typically get what you pay for. If a puppy food brand is a lot cheaper than others, it’s probably because the manufacturer used cheaper (less healthy) ingredients.

Don’t worry. We know it’s overwhelming to try to choose the best large breed puppy foods, but we’re here to help. While it would be impossible to recommend the absolute best food for any dog without examining it, we’ve found 12 puppy food brands that offer high-quality nutrition that will meet the needs of most large breed pups.

About Large Breed Puppy Nutrition

Large breed dogs have unique nutritional needs that differ from those of small and medium dogs. There are many factors that can be affected by poor nutrition in large or giant breeds, the most important crucial is bone growth, and research have demonstrated how this can be significantly influenced by what you feed your large breed pup (study).

Studies have also shown that poor nutrition (mostly related to calcium and phosphorus intake) can result in improper skeletal development and diseases in large and giant breeds. While a lot of the research is focused on nutrition for puppies, there are also studies that show nutrition plays a huge role in the overall health and well-being of large breed dogs from puppyhood through their senior years (study).

Best Large Breed Puppy FoodsLarge breed puppies grow faster than their small- and medium-sized counterparts. This quick growth puts a lot of stress on their skeletal structure and joints, which can result in severe health problems if not addressed with proper nutrition while they are young (study).

It is important that the best large breed puppy foods provide enough calories, vitamins and minerals for your young dog, while at the same time have lower levels of other ingredients. This ideal mix of ingredients is what makes large breed dog food recipes different from other formulas. The amount and kind of nutrients your puppy gets needs to match their age, size, breed, activity level and metabolism to avoid health complications as they age.

You’re not going to be able to figure this all out on your own. While there are lists like Sarah Ann Taylor’s rankings of best puppy food brands, it’s generally pretty difficult to formulate a perfect diet of your pooch all on your own. All of these variables make for an extremely complicated process of researching to figure out your dog’s exact nutritional needs and find a food that meets them.

Your veterinarian may not even be able to give you the most accurate information on this subject. Most general veterinarians are not experts in canine nutrition specifically. But, they should be able to guide you to better sources. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian or a trained canine nutritionist before switching to one of these best large breed puppy foods.

What are the Best Large Breed Puppy Foods?
top 12 most nutritious foods for large breed puppies

1Orijen Large Breed Dry Food

ORIJEN Large Breed Dry Puppy FoodOrijen Puppy Large dry dog food is a grain-free, low-glycemic, and protein-rich formula tailored to the unique needs of large breed puppies. Its 85%-to-15% ratio of poultry, egg, and fish to botanical ingredients emphasizes the need for canine diets to be based mainly on animal protein sources. In fact, the first 15 ingredients are all premium meat and fish (including chicken, turkey and mackerel). And it does not lack of wholesome fruits and super foods like kale, spinach, collard greens, and a whole lot more.

Ingredients: Deboned chicken, deboned turkey, yellowtail flounder, whole eggs, whole atlantic mackerel, chicken liver, turkey liver, chicken heart, turkey heart, whole atlantic herring, dehydrated chicken, dehydrated turkey, dehydrated mackerel, dehydrated chicken liver, dehydrated turkey liver, whole green peas, whole navy beans, red lentils, chicken necks, chicken kidney, pinto beans, chickpeas, green lentils, natural chicken flavor, lentil fiber, herring oil, ground chicken bone, chicken cartilage, chicken fat, turkey cartilage, dried kelp, freeze-dried chicken liver, freeze-dried turkey liver, whole pumpkin, whole butternut squash, kale, spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens, whole carrots, apples, pears, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, zinc proteinate, mixed tocopherols (preservative), chicory root, turmeric, sarsaparilla root, althea root, rosehips, juniper berries, dried lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, dried lactobacillus casei fermentation product.

It’s very important for large breed dogs to eat foods that have lower levels of calcium and phosphorous, and Orijen has it in the proper levels (1.1% Ca and 0.9% P) and optimum ratio (1.2:1). Dogs get the added benefit of eating closest to raw because Orijen Large Breed Dry Puppy Food uses freeze-dried and dehydrated ingredients with the nutrients and flavor of raw locked in. It does have a fishy smell, which is understandable due to its flounder, mackerel, and herring ingredients.

Aside from the benefits of a diet compatible to the needs of a large breed puppy, this is one of the best large breed puppy foods because it helps in improving poop consistency. The dietary fiber and probiotics in this recipe help maintain healthy guts and excellent stool quality. Orijen is pricey, but dogs love its flavor and are healthier for it. So even that price tag and the stinky smell won’t talk us out of it.

PROS:

  • Grain-free, low-glycemic and protein-rich formula
  • 85%-to-15% ratio of poultry, egg, and fish to botanical ingredients
  • First 15 ingredients are all premium meat and fish
  • No grain, tapioca, potato or plant protein concentrates
CONS:

  • Some reviewers weren’t happy with the strong fish smell of this product
  • As with all of the best large breed puppy foods, there are reports from owners who claim their dog would not eat this

best large breed puppy foodsMost helpful review about this best large breed puppy foods: “I tried this for my puppy because it received 5 stars from DogFoodAdvisor.com — which is where I get all of my dog food advice. So you know from there that this is definitely a quality purchase with quality ingredients that…”

 

2Holistic Select Natural Dry Food

Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog FoodHolistic Select formula for large and giant breed puppies is made from lamb meal, chicken meal, oatmeal, brown rice, fruits and vegetables, prebiotic fiber, digestive enzymes, probiotics, and supplemental vitamins and minerals. This dog food places great importance on gut health and regular bowel movement, and we understand why. Around 70% of the immune cells reside along the dog’s digestive system, so ensuring a full-functioning digestive tract results to a strong immune system.

Ingredients: Lamb Meal, Chicken Meal, Oatmeal, Brown Rice, Barley, Peas, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Oats, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Salmon Oil, Flaxseed, Pumpkin, Cranberries, Apples, Brewers Dried Yeast, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Papayas, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Blueberries, Pomegranates, Vitamin E Supplement, Inulin, L-Carnitine, Dried Kelp, Zinc Proteinate, Mixed Tocopherols added to preserve freshness, Zinc Sulfate, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Vitamin A Supplement, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Ground Cinnamon, Ground Fennel, Ground Peppermint, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride , Riboflavin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Dried Lactobacillus bulgaricus Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus thermophilus Fermentation Product, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Dried Bacillus licheniformis Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus subtilis Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus oryzae Fermentation Product, Dried Trichoderma reesei Fermentation Product, Dried Rhizopus oryzae Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract, Green Tea Extract, Spearmint Extract

The ratio of calcium to phosphorous in Holistic Select is well within what’s recommended as safe, and contains around the same calories (per cup) and fat level as Orijen. Large breed puppies placed on Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food for 10-12 months showed moderate but steady growth. Gradual growth is much preferred over rapid growth, because it closely matches the development of their skeletal system, and thus helps reduce the incidence of orthopedic disorders common to large breed dogs.

best large breed puppy foodsPuppies love the flavor of this recipe and they seem more satisfied after every meal. Their skin and coat often get complimented on and their owners couldn’t be any prouder. Potty sessions have become easier under this diet, too – no more runny stools or painful constipations.

PROS:

  • Formulated with a digestive health support system that includes pre- and probiotics, natural fibers and digestive enzymes
  • Contains all-natural ingredients with no meat by-products, wheat, wheat-gluten or artificial colors, flavors or fillers
  • Made in the USA
  • Specifically formulated for dogs weighing more than 50 pounds in adulthood
CONS:

  • Unhappy buyers say this food caused an allergic reaction in their dog
  • While they note that it is one of the best large breed puppy foods, some reviewers claim their dog would not eat it

best large breed puppy foodsMost helpful review about this best large breed puppy foods: “Our Great Dane Puppy has been on this food since she was 4 months old.. Because of their rapid growth she was already experiencing joint, growing pains.. They are also BIGG eaters and can have a sensitive…”

 

3Blue Freedom Grain Free Dry Food

Blue Freedom Grain Free Puppy Dry Dog FoodBlue Freedom Grain-free chicken recipe with LifeSource bits provides large breed puppies the nutrients they need to grow properly. It is made with chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, potatoes, egg product, and nutrient-rich high-fiber plant sources like flaxseed, alfalfa meal, blueberries, cranberries, carrots, turmeric, and barley grass. This food from Blue Buffalo also contains sources of essential fatty acids necessary for brain and eye development, probiotics for healthy digestion and immune system, and vitamin and mineral supplements for overall health and functioning.

Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Pea Starch, Peas, Potatoes, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Turkey Meal, Pea Fiber, Tomato Pomace (source of Lycopene), Flaxseed (source of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids), Natural Chicken Flavor, Alfalfa Meal, Potato Starch, Whole Carrots, Whole Sweet Potatoes, Blueberries, Cranberries, Barley Grass, Dried Parsley, Garlic, Dried Kelp, Taurine, Yucca Schidigera Extract, L-Carnitine, L-Lysine, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Chondroitin Sulfate, Turmeric, Oil of Rosemary, Dried Chicory Root, Beta Carotene, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Niacin (Vitamin B3), d-Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Biotin (Vitamin B7), Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Calcium Ascorbate (source of Vitamin C), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Choline Chloride, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate, Salt, Caramel, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Dried Yeast (source of Saccharomyces cerevisiae), Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product.

Blue Freedom Grain Free Puppy Dry Dog Food has appropriate levels of protein, carbohydrates, and fats, and its calcium to phosphorous ratio (1.4:1) is within what’s considered healthy for a large breed dog. Blue Freedom is less calorie-dense or protein-rich than other Blue recipes. It is formulated as such to ensure that dogs get what they require for growing without gaining too much weight too quickly, which increases the risk of developing joint and bone issues in the future.

best large breed puppy foodsDogs seem to find interesting the mixture of triangular brown kibbles and smaller dark LifeSource balls. We like the idea that they were cold-formed and thus more nutritious sources of antioxidants and other nutrients. Many dogs love this recipe, while some don’t. If your puppy happens to like it, then you’re in luck because it’s very reasonably priced.

PROS:

  • Real deboned chicken is the first ingredient
  • No grains, gluten, chicken (or poultry) by-product meals, corn, wheat or soy
  • Calcium to phosphorous ratio (1.4:1)
  • DHA and ARA fatty acids, plus choline to support healthy cognitive development and retinal function
CONS:

  • As with all of the best large breed puppy foods, some owner say their pet would not eat this
  • Be careful when ordering online as many reviewers received expired product

best large breed puppy foodsMost helpful review about this best large breed puppy foods: “I just received this dog food. Fortunately, because of a few negative reviews, I checked the expiration date. It expired TEN months ago. The fact that it was shipped to me a few days ago is a sign of extremely poor…”

 

4Fromm Family Foods Gold Nutritionals

Fromm Family Foods Gold Nutritionals Dog FoodThis recipe from Fromm Family Foods for large breed puppies is made with a variety of protein sources, such as duck, chicken, lamb, and dried whole eggs. It also contains oatmeal, barley, brown rice, potatoes, flaxseed, lettuce, vitamins, minerals, prebiotic fiber, and probiotics. Its protein and fat contents are within healthy levels, which are important to watch out for because of the risk of developmental joint diseases associated with large breed dogs.

Ingredients: Duck, Chicken Meal, Chicken, Oatmeal, Pearled Barley, Brown Rice, Menhaden Fish Meal, Lamb, Potatoes, Dried Tomato Pomace, Dried Whole Egg, Chicken Fat, Salmon Oil, Cheese, Flaxseed, Brewers Dried Yeast, Alfalfa Meal, Carrots, Lettuce, Celery, Chicken Cartilage, Calcium Sulfate, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Monocalcium Phosphate, DL-Methionine, L-Tryptophan, Taurine, Chicory Root Extract, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Sodium Selenite, Sorbic Acid (Preservative), Vitamins, Minerals, Probiotics

The kibbles are slightly large which we find perfect for large breed puppies. This size encourages chewing, which is necessary for dental health. Dogs display great energy in their activities while also showing well-toned muscles and perfect weight. With Fromm Family Foods Gold Nutritionals Dog Food, it’s actually easier to control the puppies’ weight at ideal levels because of the lower calorie count per cup.

This is an expensive brand, second only to Orijen, but it’s worth every cent. Gorgeous fur and healthy skin are just a few of the bonuses that it comes with, and you’d also notice smaller and firmer poop. This indicates that the nutrients in this dog food are very well-absorbed and utilized by your dog, with just the right amount of insoluble fiber to produce firm stools.

PROS:

  • Real duck is the first ingredient
  • Specifically formulated for dogs weighing more than 50 pounds in adulthood
  • Contains a minimum of 26% protein and 14% fat
CONS:

  • Unhappy buyers say this food caused an allergic reaction in their do

best large breed puppy foodsMost helpful review about this best large breed puppy foods: “I switched to Fromm’s Gold Adult after a few years with another brand. My dog had started to dry heave and developed reflux, diarrhea, and horrible gas suddenly after eating from the new bag of…”

 

5Iams Proactive Health Dry Food

Iams Proactive Health Puppy Dry Dog FoodChicken is the main protein source and first ingredient of Iams Proactive Healthy Puppy large breed dog food. This formula contains 26% crude protein critical for growth and for building strong muscles. It also contains wholesome whole-grain corn and sorghum, which provide energy, natural vitamins and minerals, and a good balance of soluble and insoluble fibers. It is enriched with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to ensure proper body functions and healthy immune system.

Ingredients: Chicken, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn Grits, Brewers Rice, Dried Beet Pulp, Fish Meal (source of fish oil , Natural Flavor, Fish Oil (preserved with mixed Tocopherols), Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols), Dried Egg Product , Dried Brewers Yeast, Potassium Chloride, Caramel Color, Salt,  Choline Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Carrots, Tomatoes, Fructooligosaccharides , Spinach, Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Potassium Iodide), Green Peas, L-Lysine Monohydrochloride , DL-Methionine ,Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate (source of Vitamin B1), Vitamin B12 supplement, Niacin, Riboflavin Supplement (source of Vitamin B2), Inositol, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (source of Vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Dried Apple Pomace, Dried Blueberry Pomace, Mixed Tocopherols, Rosemary Extract

Buyers say this is one of the best large breed puppy foods, because their pup preferred it over their previous brand. Their owners noticed that the kibbles of Iams Proactive Health Puppy Dry Dog Food are softer and gentler on baby teeth. The sizes of the pieces are also more consistent than other brands they’ve tried.

best large breed puppy foodsThe puppies that used to have dull rough hair showed great improvement. They now sport enviably silky coats. While their appetites have improved, they seem to feel full quicker. With that, you don’t need to feed them too much or sweat over keeping your dog’s weight at the ideal mark.

PROS:

  • Real chicken is the first ingredient
  • Contains 26% crude protein, 14% fat and 366 kcal/cup
  • Includes 22 key nutrients that are found in a mother’s milk
  • No artificial preservatives
CONS:

  • Regular buyers complained about quality control issues with this product
  • A few unsatisfied reviewers say this food upset their dogs stomach, noting vomiting and diarrhea

best large breed puppy foodsMost helpful review about this best large breed puppy foods: “I love how my pup’s coat shines when we feed her this dog food! She’s energetic and yard clean up is a breeze since her stools are firm and fewer than the grain-free we were feeding her. The price is unbeatable and…”

 

6Instinct Raw Boost Grain Free Recipe

Instinct Raw Boost Grain Free Recipe Natural Dry Dog Food by Nature's VarietyInstinct Raw Boost chicken recipe for large breed puppies contains the same double-treat that the other Instinct Raw Boost formulas have – crunchy nutrient-rich kibbles and tender freeze-dried raw meaty pieces. This special formula is made with chicken, turkey meal, lamb meal, flaxseed, kelp, blueberries, apples, and other natural sources of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and essential fatty acids. This blend from Nature’s Variety has very much the same formulation as the original Instinct formula, except that it has glucosamine and chondroitin added to it to ensure healthy joints. It also has natural sources of DHA for proper brain and eye development.

Ingredients: Chicken, Turkey Meal, Peas, Chickpeas, Chicken Eggs, Herring Meal, Tapioca, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Ground Flaxseed, Freeze Dried Chicken, Dried Tomato Pomace, Chicken Meal, Lamb Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal, Freeze Dried Chicken Liver, Natural Flavor, Pumpkinseeds, Freeze Dried Chicken Heart, Salt, Montmorillonite Clay, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin), Carrots, Apples, Cranberries, Potassium Chloride, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide), Choline Chloride, Dried Kelp, Salmon Oil, Blueberries, Dried Bacillus coagulans Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract

This is a premium dog food in the same price category as Orijen (price per pound). It has high protein and calorie content. Just like Orijen, it is also grain-free and made from a variety of animal protein sources. Dogs love the taste and texture Instinct Raw Boost Grain Free Recipe Natural Dry Dog Food by Nature’s Variety offers, but they are clearly more enthusiastic about the freeze-dried bits than the kibbles. In fact, they make a mess of their food looking for the light-colored bits. They do eat the kibbles but only after finishing with the raw pieces.

best large breed puppy foodsOverall, dogs very well in this formula as can be seen from excellent bone structure, lean muscles, and perfect coat. This premium food has a premium price tag naturally. That’s the only downside actually, but pet owners (and their puppies, too) wouldn’t mind that so much if the ratio between kibbles and raw pieces were consistent. As it is, you may chance upon a bag with just a few raw bits if it’s your unlucky day. Just better quality control in that aspect would actually put this dog food higher up on our list.

PROS:

  • Contains crunchy nutrient-rich kibbles and tender freeze-dried raw meaty pieces
  • Real, cage-free chicken is the first ingredient
  • Grain-free
  • This is one of the best large breed puppy foods because it contains no grain, potato, corn, wheat, soy, by-product meal, artificial colors or preservatives
CONS:

  • Regular customers say they were disappointed recently when the bag size decreased but the price increased
  • There are reports from some consumers who claim this food made their dog ill, noting vomiting and diarrhea as symptoms

best large breed puppy foodsMost helpful review about this best large breed puppy foods: “Been feeding my labradors Instinct Raw Boost Grain Free dry food for a few years now. They seem to like it and seems like high quality although it is possible that one dogs occaisional dry skin is food…”

 

7Nutro Wholesome Essentials Food

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Puppy Dry Dog FoodNutro Wholesome Essentials abides by its “Feed clean” standard and doesn’t contain genetically-modified ingredients, chicken by-product meal, soy, corn, wheat, and artificial color, flavor, or preservatives. What it contains instead are lamb meat, lamb meal, rice, peas, oatmeal, sunflower oil, fish oil, and other wholesome ingredients. Whole grains and rice bran provide roughage necessary for producing firm stools. This is one of the best large breed puppy foods, as it has vitamin supplements and chelated minerals to ensure that puppies get all the nutrients they need for growing up.

Ingredients: Deboned Lamb, Chicken Meal (source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate), Whole Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, Rice Bran, Whole Grain Oatmeal, Split Peas, Pea Protein, Lamb Meal, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Natural Flavor, Sunflower Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Soybean Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Chickpeas, Fish Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Potassium Chloride, Salt, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid (preservatives), Zinc Sulfate, Niacin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Selenium Yeast, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract

Puppies love the full flavor of this real lamb formula and their owners are happy that they’re feeding their fur babies clean and nutritious food. It comes at a very affordable price, too, which makes it really attractive to the budget-conscious. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Puppy Dry Dog Food is not a grain-free dog food but uses wholesome grains instead which are good sources of natural vitamins, energy and dietary fiber.

best large breed puppy foodsNutro Wholesome Essentials has moderate levels of protein and calories, which is what your large breed puppies must be getting from their food. This makes it possible for them to attain their ideal weight gradually without unnecessarily straining their young bones and joints too much.

PROS:

  • Made with non-GMO ingredients
  • No chicken by-product meal, artificial flavors or colors, artificial preservatives, corn, wheat or soy
  • Real deboned lamb is the real ingredient
CONS:

  • As with all of the best large breed puppy foods, there are reports from owners who claim their dog would not eat this
  • Multiple reviewers say this food gave their puppy diarrhea

best large breed puppy foodsMost helpful review about this best large breed puppy foods: “So far I have been very impressed with this puppy food except it is a little expensive. I have a new boxer puppy and she seems to have a sensitive stomach. I had started feeding her Puppy Chow (which I’ve feed…”

 

8CANIDAE Life Stages Food

Canidae Life Stages Canned Dog Food for PuppiesGive your puppies this deep-flavored meal that’s rich in protein and other nutrients necessary for a puppy’s active life and high-growth period. These best large breed puppy foods from CANIDAE are made with chicken and lamb meat, ocean white fish and eggs. It’s enriched with supplemental vitamin and chelated minerals (more easily absorbed than non-chelated) for well-balanced nutrition. This contains no soy, corn, wheat, hormones, or artificial color, flavor, and preservatives.

Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Lamb, Chicken Liver, Ocean Whitefish, Brown Rice, Eggs, Guar Gum, Sunflower Oil (Source of Omega-6 Fatty Acids), Suncured Alfalfa Meal, Dicalcium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Flaxseed Oil (Source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids), Choline Chloride, Carrageenan, Salt, Kelp, Rosemary Extract, Cranberries, Lecithin, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Cassia Gum, Vitamins (Ascorbic Acid (Source of Vitamin C), Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Niacin, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Thiamine Mononitrate), Minerals (Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate)

You get the greatest bang for your money with this canned food. Each can contains all ground meat, which is moist but not soupy as you would often see in most canned wet dog food. That means you get what you’re paying for, which is the meat not the liquid. Puppies are happiest with this great-tasting high-protein food. Some pet owners mix CANIDAE Life Stages Canned Dog Food for Puppies with Canidae dry kibbles, and it definitely adds zest to every bowl.

best large breed puppy foodsPuppies’ stools are firmer and smaller (few and far between, too), which could only indicate that they are digesting their food so well and absorbing the nutrients instead of expelling their food as waste. Feeding is so much easier with this multi-stage dog food, and this is a huge help for households with dogs of various life stages.

PROS:

  • Enriched with supplemental vitamin and chelated minerals
  • No soy, corn, wheat, hormones, and no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
  • Real chicken is the first ingredient
CONS:

  • Many reviewers were disappointed with the quality control of this product

best large breed puppy foodsMost helpful review about this best large breed puppy foods: “As a former pet food educator and vet tech, I’m really picky about what I feed my animals. I’d fed Merrik and Organix wet foods in addition to Merrik’s dry food, but my senior dog started having digestive…”

 

9Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed

Hill's Science Diet Large Breed Dry Dog FoodHill’s Science Diet Chicken Meal & Oats Recipe for large breed puppies is backed up by scientific research and clinical trials to ensure that it’s the perfect formula for this category of dogs. It has adequate levels of calories and protein to fuel large breed puppies’ growth and energy needs, and controlled ratio of calcium and phosphorous to support a healthy skeletal system. Its ingredients include chicken meal and whole grains of wheat, oats, sorghum and corn. It also contains fruits, vegetables, oils, and nutrient supplements.

Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Oats, Whole Grain Sorghum, Corn Gluten Meal, Whole Grain Corn, Pork Fat, Chicken Liver Flavor, Flaxseed, Dried Beet Pulp, Fish Oil, Lactic Acid, Pork Flavor, Iodized Salt, Potassium Chloride, Dicalcium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Taurine, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Oat Fiber, L-Carnitine, Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, Natural Flavors, Beta-Carotene, Apples, Broccoli, Carrots, Cranberries, Green Peas

The kibbles are medium-sized cubes which puppies like to take crunchy chomps on before swallowing. This is healthier for their teeth and gums. Chewing also makes puppies eat so much slower, which is good because they’ll feel fuller with a lesser amount of food. Other pet owners tried soaking the kibbles of Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Dry Dog Food in broth and water and that, too, worked for their fur babies.

best large breed puppy foodsPuppies that frequently had digestive problems responded positively to Science Diet. Gone were the runny stools and gas. Their bowel movement has also become more regular. They are in great shape, more active, and have shiny coats. The price of this recipe went up a bit but packaging has also improved (comes in well-sealed box), so the cost is still pretty reasonable overall.

PROS:

  • This is one of the best large breed puppy foods for pups up to 1-year-old that will be over 55 lbs when fully grown
  • No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
  • Contains optimal levels of calcium for controlled bone growth
  • Natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin for strong muscles and joints
  • Supports a healthy immune system with a clinically proven blend of antioxidants with Vitamins C & E
CONS:

  • A few reviewers believed the kibble was too hard and too big for their very young puppy
  • There are reviews from some pet owners who say this food made their dog sick

best large breed puppy foodsMost helpful review about this best large breed puppy foods: “My dog has been eating Science Diet since my sister, his Vet, recommended it over 2 years ago. Since then, he has lost some weight, loves his food, and takes perfect poops! She originally recommended the Light…”

 

10Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Food

Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Dry Dog FoodThe first three ingredients of Wellness Core are chicken, chicken meal, and turkey meal, which are all high-quality sources of protein. It also contains peas, potatoes, flaxseed, salmon oil, tomato pomace, spinach, and fruits like blueberries and apples which are rich in natural nutrients and antioxidants. Vitamin and mineral supplements were added for good measure. This formula is free from grains, meat by-products, wheat, corn, soy, and artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Potatoes, Peas, Potato Protein, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Dried Ground Potatoes, Tomato Pomace, Natural Chicken Flavor, Salmon Oil, Ground Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Vitamins [Vitamin E Supplement, Beta-Carotene, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin, Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Pyroxidine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Biotin, Folic Acid], Minerals [Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate], Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Kale, Broccoli, Spinach, Parsley, Apples, Blueberries, Bananas, Choline Chloride, Mixed Tocopherols added to preserve freshness, Chicory Root Extract, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Taurine, Dried Lactobacillus plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract

Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food is among the formulas with the highest protein and calorie count in this list. This will be ideal for highly athletic large breed puppies or those that have not been hitting their ideal weight marks based on age and breed. For normally growing puppies (with typical physical activities), though, they should be fed with food that is not as calorie-rich or protein-dense.

best large breed puppy foodsThe best thing about this formula is that it is not stuffed with fillers, thus is more satisfying for dogs. The key with all of the best large breed puppy foods is not to overfeed. With this brand, buyers say their dogs’ poops are small and firm, which attest to Core’s high digestibility and good quality.

PROS:

  • Grain-free
  • No wheat, corn, soy, meat by-products, or artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
  • Deboned chicken is the first ingredient
  • Made in the USA
CONS:

  • Multiple reviews noted quality control issues like mold on the food and a discoloration in the kibble
  • As with many of the best large breed puppy foods, there are reports that this product caused vomiting and diarrhea in some pups

best large breed puppy foodsMost helpful review about this best large breed puppy foods: “I am a dog owner and dog trainer with a thirst for knowledge. When I first started hunting for a great dog food I did my research and began with Blue Buffalo. I tried a number of premium brands and formulas before…”

 

11Wellness Complete Health Food

Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Large Breed Puppy FoodThis is one of the best large breed puppy foods, as it is a wholesome dog food formulated for a steady but longer growth period. Its key ingredients are chicken, salmon, and brown rice, which provide well-proportioned levels of protein and carbohydrates. This recipe from Wellness Natural Pet Foods also contains fruits, vegetables, and salmon oil that provide natural sources of nutrients, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids. A good amount of prebiotic fiber and probiotics are present to ensure healthy digestive and immune systems. Vitamin and mineral supplements were added, too, to make sure that your puppy gets all the nutrients it needs to grow and develop properly.

Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas, Ground Brown Rice, Salmon Meal, Oatmeal, Barley, Oats, Tomato Pomace, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Ground Flaxseed, Tomatoes, Salmon Oil, Carrots, Natural Chicken Flavor, Salt, Choline Chloride, Spinach, Vitamin E Supplement, Chicory Root Extract, Yucca Shidigera Extract, Taurine, Zinc Proteinate, Mixed Tocopherols added to preserve freshness, Sweet Potatoes, Apples, Blueberries, Zinc Sulfate, Calcium Carbonate, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Vitamin A Supplement, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Garlic Powder, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Dried Lactobacillus plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract, Green Tea Extract, Spearmint Extract. This is a naturally preserved product.

This dog food has the lowest fat level among the formulas in this list. You’d want that, especially if your dog tends to overeat or gain more weight than is ideal. Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Large Breed Puppy Food also contains optimum levels and ratio of omega 3 and 6, which promote healthy skin and coat.

This large breed recipe from Wellness comes highly recommended by veterinarians. The ingredients are so wholesome that even holistic practitioners approve of them. This is not grain-free (there’s another recipe that is) but the grains it includes are nutritious and easily digestible. Puppies show so much enthusiasm eating this, so it’s safe to say that it must be flavorful, too.

PROS:

  • Made with prebiotic fiber and probiotics to ensure healthy digestive and immune systems
  • Lowest fat level of all the best large breed puppy foods on this list
  • Added DHA for healthy bone, brain and eye development
  • No wheat, corn, soy, meat by-products, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives
CONS:

  • Not grain free
  • Regular buyers have noticed a change in the recipe, and they say the new formula has made their dog ill and/or caused him to itch

best large breed puppy foodsMost helpful review about this best large breed puppy foods: “Wellness pet food is the finest quality pet food available, in my opinion, and I am a long time holistic veterinarian who uses it for my own pet, and for other pets in the past. Wellness foods are wheat, corn, soy…”

 

12Blue Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe High Protein Grain Free Food

Blue Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe High Protein Grain Free Puppy Dry Dog FoodBlue Wilderness Rocky Mountain puppy food from Blue Buffalo does not say that it’s specifically formulated for large breed puppies. A quick check of its nutritional content shows high protein, calorie, and fat levels, but not as high as with Orijen (in number 1) or Instinct Raw (in number 6), which are both large breed puppy specific formulas. Its calcium and protein ratio is within what’s considered safe for this puppy category and it’s made with high-quality ingredients, with no grains or poultry by-products.

Ingredients: Deboned Beef, Chicken Meal, Tapioca Starch, Peas, Pea Protein, Turkey Meal, Dried Egg, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Tomato Pomace (source of Lycopene), Flaxseed (source of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids), Natural Flavor, Potatoes, Fish Oil (source of ARA-Arachidonic Acid and DHA-Docosahexaenoic Acid), Deboned Bison, Deboned Venison, Deboned Lamb, Potassium Chloride, Alfalfa Meal, Salt, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Potato Starch, Calcium Carbonate, Caramel, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Mixed Tocopherols (a natural preservative), Vitamin E Supplement, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Oil of Rosemary, L-Lysine, Blueberries, Cranberries, Apples, Blackberries, Pomegranate, Spinach, Pumpkin, Barley Grass, Kelp, Parsley, Turmeric, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Copper Sulfate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Nicotinic Acid (Vitamin B3), Taurine, Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Biotin (Vitamin B7), Manganese Sulfate, Vitamin A Supplement, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, L-Carnitine, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Beta Carotene, Dried Yeast, Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, Dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, Dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Calcium Iodate

Its well-balanced nutrients are sourced from beef, chicken meal, turkey meal, bison, venison, lamb, egg, chicken fat, flaxseed, fish oil, tomato pomace, antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, fermentation extracts, and vitamin and mineral supplements. Transitioning may cause a couple of loose stools, but once fully transitioned to Blue Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe High Protein Grain Free Puppy Dry Dog Food, puppies become regular with firm and easy-to-pick-up poop. With this result, you may now start looking forward to potty training – which shouldn’t be that intimidating anymore.

best large breed puppy foodsDogs are happy with this food and seem to really like it. Remember though that this is calorie-dense, so take heed of proper food measurement. The kibbles are easy to chew. Some dogs skip around the small dark LifeSource bits, but those are the antioxidant-rich pieces and it would be great if you could find a way to make your dog eat them. Just a head up – the red meat may give your dog a red beard, so don’t be alarmed seeing it for the first time.

PROS:

  • Grain-free
  • No chicken or poultry by-products, corn, wheat, soy or artificial colors, preservatives or flavors
  • Kibbles are specifically designed to clean your dog’s teeth as he chews
CONS:

  • Not specifically formulated for large breed puppies
  • Some dogs will not eat the ‘LifeSource’ bits in this recipe
  • Some prospective buyers were leery because of Blue Buffalo’s recall history

best large breed puppy foodsMost helpful review about this best large breed puppy foods: “About 5 years ago I switched to Blue Buffalo Wilderness for all 3 of my dogs and they did very well on it initially. About 2 years back, my dogs began experiencing all kinds of gastrointestinal issues and I did not…”


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