You may have noticed already, large breed puppies have an appetite that seems to be difficult to satisfy. That’s understandable since their growing bodies and active minds need the added support and certain foods can help. The best large breed puppy foods are full of all the essential ingredients, lots of protein, nutrients, and vitamins to support their unique bodies.
It takes more than the right fatty acids and quality protein content to make quality dog food so finding the right one for your pup can be difficult. This is why we have created our list of the best large breed puppy foods. Each one has a stellar reputation, is packed full of everything your pup needs, and is sure to become a new favorite in no time.
- Editor’s Choice
Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Real Lamb Recipe (Amazon) – Review
- Best Grain Free
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free – Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food (Amazon) – Review
- Best Protein Quality
Nutro Max Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food with Farm Raised Chicken (Amazon) – Review
- Best Value
Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Large Breed Puppy Food (Amazon) – Review
- Best For Energy
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Puppy Dog Food (Amazon) – Review
- Best For Strong Joints
NUTRO Wholesome Essentials Puppy Dry Dog Food, All Breed Sizes (Amazon) – Review
Editor’s Choice: Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Real Lamb Recipe
This is a premium level large breed puppy food that deservedly takes our top spot. It contains pasture-raised lamb and has tailored the amino acid levels to make it perfect for a growing pup who needs lean, strong muscles. There are plenty of antioxidants to support a healthy immune system and fatty acids to ensure their skin and coat always looks healthy. The kibble is a little smaller than a lot of other brands which makes it easier to digest and it includes DHA for enhanced vision and brain development.
The good news is that it does not contain any of the rubbish most pet owners try to avoid such as corn, wheat, and filler ingredients. There are also no artificial flavors, preservatives, or colors. With the likes of chia seed, coconut, blueberries, and other superfoods included, you can see why it is often considered to be the best large breed puppy food on the market.
- Contains pasture-raised lamb as the no1 ingredient
- No corn, wheat, or filler ingredients
- Includes superfoods and lots of antioxidants
- Smaller kibble is easily digested
Best Grain Free: Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free – Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food
A lot of people consider Blue Buffalo to be one of the best brands when it comes to all dog food let alone large breed puppy food. This product has been tailored towards those big, growing pups which is why it is full of real chicken to support healthy and growing muscles. Like their other large breed puppy foods, it contains both DHA and ARA which is found in their mother’s milk to give them better cognitive development.
Their blend of minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins are all in this product so you can expect the same excellent balance and immune system support. This large bag contains 30% protein and is grain-free which is great as they are known for causing inflammation in dogs.
- Lots of protein at 30%
- Contains real chicken
- Lots of antioxidants
- Some dog owners reported that thier dogs became gassy after eating it
Best Protein Quality: Nutro Max Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food with Farm Raised Chicken
Made with farm-raised chicken, there are plenty of signs that this is a high-quality large breed puppy food. They say it helps to support the development of young pups of up to 1 year and it is full of whole grains with lots of fiber. There are no artificial colors or preservatives, or GMOs, soy, wheat, or corn.
The all-natural ingredients make it great for pups with sensitive stomachs and it is made in the USA. The crude protein level is 26% which is decent although some brands do give you a bit more. There is a grain-free version and both have been made with your large pups needs in mind. The kibble is the right size for a growing pup to gulp down and despite the quality of the ingredients, it isn’t as pricey as some of the other brands that don’t offer the same high standards.
- Quality farm raised chicken is the no1 ingredient
- Made in the USA
- Good value
- Some pups don’t get on with the flavor
Best Value: Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Large Breed Puppy Food
Another contender for the best large breed puppy food and this product from Wellness Complete is among the top products for a reason. Its blend of deboned chicken and added DHA for increased eye, brain, and bone development impress and there is a lot of value in their large 60-lb bag. This is the sort of quantity you might need to satisfy your large breed pup or you’ll be making a trip to the store every few days.
There are only high-quality ingredients so you won’t find any meat by-products, wheat, soy, or artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives in this product. The all-natural ingredients ensure a sensible energy intake for controlled growth so your pup can transition into the fully grown dog healthily. There are a few neat extras here such as spinach which is full of antioxidants and flaxseed for healthy skin and coat as well as digestion.
- Good value in the 60 lb bag
- Contains DHA
- No animal by-products
- All-natural formula
- Protein content could be a little higher
Best For Energy: Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Puppy Dog Food
With deboned chicken as the primary ingredient, this product is an ideal large breed puppy food. Your pup needs high-quality protein as the first ingredient to support healthy muscle development and there are tonnes of vitamins from the garden veggies, whole grains, and fruits that go into the mix. There are the vital fatty acids ARA and DHA that are found in their mother’s milk that help to ensure their retinal health and cognitive function is developing well.
This also includes Blue Buffalos ‘LifeSource Bits’ which is a blend of ingredients that have been selected to ensure a healthy oxidative balance and boosts their immune system. Made from natural ingredients and without chicken by-product, wheat, soy, corn, or artificial preservatives or flavors. A lot of people say their pup has high energy levels and developed into healthy adults as a result of using this impressive large breed puppy food.
- High quality deboned chicken as primary ingredient
- Includes vital fatty acids
- Supports a healthy immune system
- No animal by-products, soy, wheat, or artificial preservatives
- Can be a little pricey for some
Best For Strong Joints: NUTRO Wholesome Essentials Puppy Dry Dog Food, All Breed Sizes
Although this can be useful for all types, and not just large breeds, it still contains plenty of ingredients ideal for the development of pups on the bigger end of the scale. They say it is suitable for all breed sizes but with chicken as the number one ingredient, no GMO in sight, and added calcium to help build strong joints and bones it is certainly going to help larger puppies.
It also contains vitamin E to support a healthy immune system and is made with whole grains, vegetables, and fruit. There is no chicken by-product or artificial preservatives, just lots of essential ingredients to support the proper growth of a large breed puppy.
- Chicken is the no1 ingredient
- Added calcium for strong joints and bones
- Not grain-free
Any developing puppy needs certain ingredients in their food, but large breed puppy food needs more of certain ingredients than others. The quality of the protein is a big factor and you shouldn’t ignore how it is sourced. Still, other considerations can ensure your pup gets everything they need as they navigate this crucial stage in their lives.
This is why it is important to educate yourself on what a quality product should contain, and what it should not. We have created the following buyer’s guide to make this decision easier.
Look for complete protein, and make sure it is the number one ingredient. This is an important place to start when it comes to selecting the best large breed puppy food for your pup. It should come from a quality source which is why you will find some brands will be more than happy to advertise that their product contains farm-raised chicken. The protein content is also important. Anything around 25% is a good place to start but some brands give you even more.
Anything close to 30% will ensure your puppy has plenty of protein for muscle growth and recovery.
No Artificial Colors
This, along with no artificial flavors or other additives is something you should look out for. Some companies try to enhance their low-quality food with certain flavors and if they are artificial then they can cause allergies and are bad news for a developing pup.
No Meat By-Products
Some brands include lots of protein in their formula but part of it is by using animal by-products. These should be avoided as they are low in quality so any brand that is not specific about all their meat-based ingredients should not be considered.
Anything that helps to support your puppy’s immune system is going to be useful. Because they can be more susceptible to illness in comparison to a fully grown dog, large breed puppy food should be full of antioxidants. Common ingredients include blueberries and spinach.
Although it isn’t always easy to find a large breed puppy food that is grain-free, it can help. Some dogs don’t tolerate grain well as it is not an ingredient they will miss because of the lack of nutrition it offers. This, and the fact that it can cause inflammation are reasons to avoid grain in dog food if you can.
The likes of Omega-3 can be great for improving the condition of your puppy’s skin and coat. Some brands can make a noticeable difference which is why they are so popular. They also promote brain function and a common source in large breed puppy food is flaxseed.
Large breed puppies often develop without any issues but there are certain things to look out for. The ingredient profile in the best large puppy dog food can help to ensure you do not encounter any of the following in yours.
When a puppies stomach turns on an axis, it can trap gas. When untreated, this can be fatal so it is important to choose a food that does not make them gassy. Although it is not specific to large breeds, it is more common.
Try to find a food that does not have a high-fat content and consider using a slow feeder dog bowl that makes it difficult for your pup to gulp their meals down so fast.
A common health issue for all large breed dogs, the same can be said for other joint problems. Because they grow so fast, large breeds puppies can be susceptible to joint problems so choose a quality food that has the right balance and ingredient profile to make sure they grow steadily, at the rate they should.
The temptation to treat your puppy can be immense, especially when they look at you with those big, hungry eyes. You have to be careful that you are giving your large breed puppy everything he needs, but not too much of what he doesn’t. Overfeeding and a lack of exercise can cause obesity in large breeds. Otherwise, stick to quality food with lower calories.
After weaning, a puppy will need a particularly high amount of protein to support their growth. This slows down but most experts recommend that the level of protein a puppy should get is anywhere between 22 – 32%.
Anything of 30% and above is considered to be a high quantity of protein.
This is easier said than done as a puppy always seems to be hungry and ready to chow down their bowl in seconds. However, there are certain things you can do to discourage fast eating. Larger kibble is one way but a slow eating dog bowl is another. This makes it difficult for him to eat everything so fast and is also good for a bit of mental stimulation.
The best of any ingredient is one that is easily digestible and when it comes to protein, chicken and lamb tend to be easy to stomach. However, if your dog has an allergy to either of these, Salmon is a good substitute because it is also high in Omega-3 and can decrease inflammation.