The 12 Best Large Breed Puppy Foods In 2024
While all puppies are special, large and giant-breed puppies require special attention due to their unique growth patterns and size. As a pet parent of a large breed puppy, you'll encounter specific challenges and choices, including finding the best large breed puppy foods tailored to their needs.
First, it's important to note that your puppy may grow to be heavier than you, which makes obedience training essential. Additionally, large and giant-breed puppies are more prone to bone and muscle development issues than smaller breed puppies.
Diet plays a crucial role in ensuring that puppies of large breeds grow and mature normally, but not too quickly. To help you make an informed decision about your puppy's food, we have compiled reviews of the best large breed puppy foods on BestForPets (bestforpets.org).
We hope that our suggestions will be helpful as you select the best diet for your large puppy.
Deborah R. Fletcher (DVM)Veterinarian
The information provided is current and up-to-date, in line with the latest research conducted in the field of veterinary medicine.Read more
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|Large-Breed Purina One SmartBlend Dog Food
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|Iams ProActive Health Smart Large Breed Dog Food
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|Large Breed Diamond Naturals Puppy Formula
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|Purina ProPlan Large Breed Puppy
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|Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Large Breed
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|Nutro Natural Selection Large-Breed Dog
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|Royal Canin Large Dog Dry Formula
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|Eukanuba Large Breed Puppy
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|Wellness Complete Health for Large Breeds Chicken, Rice, and Salmon
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|Instinct Raw Enhance Large Breed Dog
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|Nulo Freestyle Salmon & Turkey Dry Dog Food for Large Breeds
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|Natural Large and Giant Breed Lamb and Oatmeal
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1. Large-Breed Purina One SmartBlend Dog Food
Purina One SmartBlend provides a cost-effective option produced by the same manufacturer as our top pick.
Although the first ingredient is genuine poultry and the protein content is high, the inclusion of wheat, corn, and soy may not be suitable for dogs with food allergies or sensitivities. Nevertheless, most dogs find the flavor and texture of this meal to be highly appealing.
Made in the USA, Purina One SmartBlend contains no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
Some regular buyers of this product have reported inconsistencies in bag quality. Additionally, some owners of picky eaters have noted that their dogs have differing opinions about this meal.
Purina ONE Plus Large Breed Puppy Food Dry Formula is a 31.1-pound package of dry puppy food containing dehydrated poultry as the primary ingredient.
This food is designed to provide puppies with the protein they need to build robust, growing muscles, including a healthy heart.
Purina ONE puppy food contains DHA, a nutrient found in mother’s milk, to support vision and cognitive development, along with four antioxidant sources for immune support.
This puppy food for large breeds also includes high levels of protein and glucosamine to promote healthy growth and joints.
Purina ONE dry dog food for large breed puppies delivers a great taste with crunchy bites and tender meaty morsels without the use of artificial flavors or preservatives.
At Purina, we are dedicated to producing premium dog food that meets the nutritional needs of your furry companion.
Real chicken as the source of protein
Includes wheat, corn, and soy
Certain quality problems
It might be avoided by fussy eaters
2. Iams ProActive Health Smart Large Breed Dog Food
Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Large Breed is an excellent option for pet parents looking for an economical yet high-quality food for their large breed puppies.
Produced by a reputable company with over 60 years of experience, this puppy food offers great value for money.
While these large breed puppy foods are primarily made of real poultry, it does include chicken by-products, which is typical of less expensive dog foods. While by-products aren’t harmful to dogs, some pet owners prefer to avoid them.
Compared to our top pick, this food contains slightly more calcium per cup but fewer calories per cup. Some dog owners have reported that their pets still appear hungry after eating this food, which could be due to its lower calorie content.
Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Large Breed is specially formulated to meet the specific needs of large breed puppies, with farm-raised poultry as the first ingredient to promote strong muscles and essential minerals to aid in bone development.
Veterinarians recommend this puppy food because it contains 22 essential nutrients, including omega-3 DHA to promote healthy cognition and antioxidants to help develop a strong immune system.
This dog food is complete and balanced, made with premium animal protein, and contains no artificial preservatives, flavors, or additives.
There is a complete range of foods for your pet’s age, size, and dietary requirements, from puppy to adult to mature, and from small to large breeds, with formulas that promote healthy weight and digestion.
Choose Iams Super Premium Dog Food for nutrition tailored to your pet’s specific nutritional requirements. These premium, high-quality recipes are created in the United States using the world’s finest ingredients.
Real chicken protein
More calcium than our leading choice
Does include byproducts
Fewer calories per cup
3. Large Breed Diamond Naturals Puppy Formula
Lamb is the primary source of protein in Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy , which is created by our family-owned business and contains no corn, wheat, soy, or artificial colors or flavors.
Our meal is packed with superfoods like blueberries, kale, and quinoa, which provide an abundance of natural antioxidants that may make you wonder if your dog is eating better than you!
While most of the foods on our list contain probiotics, Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy is the only one that features a probiotic strain that is specific to dogs.
Some customers have reported that this food has a strong odor and an odd texture, while others have mentioned that their dogs do not enjoy the flavor and prefer other proteins like chicken.
Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy contains DHA to support brain and eye development, an antioxidant formulation to promote overall health, and balanced omega fatty acids that support healthy skin and coat.
At Diamond Naturals, we take pride in using high-quality ingredients and ensuring that our meals are nutritionally balanced for the well-being of your pup.
Produced by a family-owned business
High nutrient density
No wheat, corn, or soy
Strong odor and uncommon texture
Some puppies dislike the flavor.
4. Purina ProPlan Large Breed Puppy Chicken and Rice
Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Puppy Dry food is a top recommendation for the best large breed puppy food overall.
This meal is rich in protein from real poultry, providing your giant-breed puppy with essential nutrients for their skeletal and muscular development.
As one of the earliest and most well-known manufacturers of dog food, Purina offers a wide variety of high-quality products, including this one.
This diet is formulated to support a healthy growth rate for large breed puppies and contains glucosamine, which promotes joint and cartilage development.
It also contains vitamin A and omega-6 fatty acids, which nourish the skin and coat. With real poultry as the first ingredient, the high-protein formula is beneficial for your puppy’s growth and development.
To ensure that your dog’s meal is easily digested, these large breed puppy foods include additional probiotics. It’s also formulated to support your large dog’s musculoskeletal health, which is essential given the stress placed on these areas by larger dogs.
Most users give this meal positive ratings, although some recent customers have commented that their canines did not enjoy the new formula.
This product comes in a 34-pound bag and is a chicken and rice formula. If you’re looking for a high-quality, protein-rich meal for your large breed puppy that promotes growth and development, Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Dry Puppy Food is an excellent choice.
Excellent grade protein
Designed to promote healthy joints
Some canines detest the new formulation
5. Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Large Breed Chicken Meal and Oat Dry Dog Food
Hill's Science Diet is a renowned brand that veterinarians often recommend and sell. These large breed puppy foods are made with natural, high-quality ingredients and doesn’t contain any artificial additives or byproducts. It includes cereals like wheat and maize.
At Hill’s, we prioritize food safety, quality, and flavor, and we are pleased to see that our customers agree with overwhelmingly positive reviews.
However, we understand that this food ranks lower on some lists due to its lower protein and calcium content compared to other brands. Some consumers have also reported that this cuisine has a mild, unpleasant odor.
Like other foods on the list, some dog owners have reported that this food caused digestive issues in their pets, with excessive flatulence being the most frequently reported symptom.
Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food is specially formulated with the optimal amount of calcium to encourage controlled bone development in large breed canines. It uses a balanced mineral profile to support healthy bones and teeth in growing dogs.
This puppy food also contains DHA from fish oil, which promotes the development of the dog’s brain and eyes. The high-quality protein in this food helps your large pup build and maintain lean muscle mass.
Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food is produced in a Hill’s-owned, TRUE GOLD-certified, zero-waste facility using trusted global ingredients. It’s the leading brand recommended by veterinarians.
Safety and quality take precedence
Often recommended by vets
Having less protein and calcium
May lead to excessive gas
6. Nutro Natural Selection Large-Breed Dog Chicken with Brown Rice
Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Chicken with Brown Rice is a non-GMO, more affordable option for puppies compared to the Wellness diet. It’s a suitable choice for pet owners who are looking for a natural diet that fits their budget.
This food is formulated for puppies and is ideal for large and giant breeds that have a slow growth rate. It doesn’t contain any artificial colors or flavors and prioritizes the use of natural, easily identifiable ingredients.
Some Nutro Natural Choice customers have been using its products for more than two decades. However, some dog owners have reported that their pets don’t like the flavor of this food, while others have noticed that it upsets their stomachs.
The Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food, Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe comes in a 30-pound bag and is made with non-GMO ingredients. It’s designed for large breed puppies up to 18 months old, with real poultry as the primary ingredient.
This dry kibble is made with high-quality protein sources and includes DHA and other omega-3 fatty acids to support the brain and eye development of large breed puppies.
It also contains natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin to support healthy joints and antioxidants that are essential for a healthy immune system.
This dog food is free from poultry by-product meal, corn, wheat, and soy. It’s prepared in the United States with the finest ingredients sourced from around the world.
One of the most inexpensive naturally occurring meals
No artificial colors or flavors
Some pups don’t enjoy the flavor
It may not be suitable for those with delicate stomachs.
7. Royal Canin Large Dog Dry Formula
RoyalCanin Huge Puppy is a long-lasting puppy food that’s ideal for large and giant breeds, designed to be fed until your pup reaches 15 months of age. This formula is tailored to breeds that mature at a slower rate.
Unlike other premium meals on our list, this food does not contain a whole animal protein source, but its price reflects Royal Canin’s position as a high-end dog food brand.
It’s worth noting that this food does not contain additional calcium, so your veterinarian may recommend a calcium supplement if you choose this product.
However, the company prioritizes quality and manufacturing standards, and the vast majority of users report that their dogs enjoy this food and rate it highly.
Royal Canin Giant Breed Adult Dry Dog Food is specifically formulated for extra-large breed dogs that are 2 years or older and weigh over 100 lbs.
This dog food contains glucosamine, chondroitin, and EPA & DHA to support bone and joint health, as well as an exclusive antioxidant vitality complex that promotes cellular health.
Nutrients, including taurine, promote heart health, while easily digestible proteins and a balanced blend of fibers promote healthy digestion.
At Royal Canin, we take pride in producing premium dog food that meets the nutritional needs of your furry friend.
High production quality standards
Most canines appreciate the flavor
Feedable till 15 months
No added calcium
8. Eukanuba Large Breed Puppy
Eukanuba Large Breed Puppy is a fantastic option for large breed puppies with slow growth, as it can be fed until your furry friend is 2 years old. Our company focuses on using nutritional research to provide the highest quality dog food possible.
While chicken is the primary source of protein in this diet, it also contains by-products and grains that some owners may prefer to avoid. Additionally, it is more expensive than meals with equivalent nutritional content and ingredients.
Users have reported that the kibble is typically too large for very young puppies to eat effectively. However, some owners of picky eaters have seen positive results with this food.
Eukanuba Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food is a complete and balanced diet for large breed puppies up to 15 months old with an anticipated adult weight over 55 lbs.
It contains high-quality animal protein and optimal levels of calcium and phosphorus to support muscle growth and bone health in active puppies.
Clinically proven levels of DHA support healthy brain development for smarter, more trainable puppies, while fat and carbohydrate levels provide concentrated energy that is beneficial for growing puppies. High-quality chicken is the primary source of protein that fuels their day.
At Eukanuba, we dedicate ourselves to crafting premium dog food that fulfills your furry companion’s nutritional requirements.
Can be given to infants as young as 2 years
Real chicken as the source of protein
Acceptable to many finicky dogs
9. Wellness Complete Health for Large Breeds Chicken, Rice, and Salmon
Wellness Large Breed Complete Health provides a high protein diet for large breed dogs that includes chicken and salmon to promote overall body health. This product has an appropriate protein-to-fat ratio and one of the highest calcium contents on our list.
This meal is an excellent option for dog owners who value a natural, GMO-free diet that doesn’t include additives or synthetic preservatives.
It’s formulated with an optimal balance of nature’s best ingredients, which have been carefully selected to nourish and support your dog’s health.
Additionally, it includes guaranteed levels of DHA from salmon oil to support brain development, antioxidants to support healthy immune systems, and balanced nutrients to promote optimal vitality. Omega fatty acids promote healthy skin and coat.
This puppy food doesn’t contain corn, wheat, soy, poultry by-products, wheat gluten, or artificial colors or preservatives.
While some consumers have reported difficulties feeding these kibbles to their puppies due to their unique shapes and extreme hardness, others have complained that their dogs didn’t enjoy the taste.
It’s important to note that these aren’t the cheapest large breed puppy foods, so the owner may lose money if their dog refuses to eat it.
Wellness Large Breed Complete Health is produced in the United States using only the finest ingredients sourced from around the world. Each recipe is crafted with wholesome, non-GMO, minimally processed ingredients.
High calcium content
All-natural, no fillers or preservatives
Hard, asymmetrical kibble
Some dogs loathe the flavor.
10. Instinct Raw Enhance Large Breed Dog
Protein-rich Instinct Raw Boost is an excellent food option to help your large-breed puppy develop strong muscles and bones simultaneously.
This meal consists of freeze-dried raw poultry and kibble powder, is grain-free, and contains no synthetic colors or preservatives.
It’s important to note that this food is pricier than some other options, as is the case with most foods produced from whole meats instead of byproducts.
However, with probiotics and antioxidants, this meal provides a boost to your dog’s immune system and digestive health.
It’s crucial to monitor your dog’s weight while they’re consuming this food since it has a higher lipid content than other options on our list.
Additionally, feeding canines raw food can pose health and safety risks despite the belief of some owners that it’s the most nutrient-dense option.
Even if the food is freeze-dried, it’s essential to consult with your veterinarian before feeding uncooked food to your companion.
Instinct Raw Boost is a grain-free puppy food made with raw, cage-free poultry that has been freeze-dried. This dry dog food combines high-protein, grain-free kibble with freeze-dried, all-natural uncooked chicken chunks.
The first ingredient is cage-free chicken, which provides vitality for your puppy’s growth and activity.
This infant dog food contains calcium and phosphorus for healthy teeth and bones, as well as natural DHA for the development of the brain and eyes. It does not contain any grains, potatoes, corn, wheat, soy, by-product meals, artificial colors, or preservatives.
Raw Boost combines natural, grain-free, high-protein dog food with freeze-dried raw dog food toppings in one bag. It also contains probiotics and omegas to provide large breed puppies with a complete and balanced diet.
The dog food produced by Instinct is prepared with the unadulterated, natural nutrition of raw ingredients. It’s made in the United States using the richest ingredients from around the globe, which are minimally processed and protein-packed.
Instinct Raw Boost is one of the finest raw nutrition-enhanced puppy foods available. The company manufactures both dried and liquid dog food from natural ingredients, making it an excellent alternative to popular brands such as Blue Buffalo, Rachel Ray, Hills Science Diet, Purina One, Taste of the Wild, Merrick, Natural Balance, Wellness, Orijen, and Royal Canin.
A combination of kibble and freeze-dried raw bits.
One of the highest protein contents that we examined
Some safety concerns about uncooked food
Higher fat food
11. Nulo Freestyle Salmon & Turkey Dry Dog Food for Large Breeds
Nulo Freestyle Salmon & Turkey Large Breed Puppy food is a fantastic choice for pet parents who are willing to invest a little more in their large breed pups’ diet.
This product boasts one of the highest levels of protein on our list, derived from premium sources like wild-caught salmon. It’s also grain-free, a popular choice for some dog owners, although not always the best option for every canine.
In addition to its high protein content, this diet is fortified with probiotics and fatty acids to promote joint and intestinal health. However, the cost of this food may be a concern for pet parents with large canines with hearty appetites.
Formulated with 75% animal-based protein, fewer carbohydrates, and low glycemic ingredients, Nulo Freestyle Puppy dog food is an excellent option for dogs that require a high-meat/low-carb diet.
This grain-free dry kibble contains the proper ingredients to help your puppy maintain a balanced diet, healthy weight, and a shiny coat.
This food contains the probiotic GanedenBC30, which promotes a healthy gut flora, aids digestion, and enhances metabolism and immune response.
It also contains DHA to promote your puppy’s cognitive development, which may reduce destructive behavior and help your pet adapt better to new environments.
Produced in the United States without maize, wheat gluten, soy, artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors, Nulo Freestyle Salmon & Turkey Large Breed Puppy food is an excellent option for pet parents who want to provide their furry family members with superior nutrition.
Sources of high-quality protein
Beneficial for joint and intestinal health
12. Natural Large and Giant Breed Lamb and Oatmeal
Holistic Select provides a range of digestive aids, including probiotics, fiber, and digestive enzymes.
However, some customers have reported that their dogs experienced stomach discomfort after consuming this food, while others have mentioned that this was the only diet their pets could handle.
This large breed puppy foods have a high protein and calcium content and a high calorie count per cup, making it suitable for meeting the nutritional requirements of large and giant breed dogs.
Nutrient-dense foods like this one are often preferred for developing giant breed puppies due to their high caloric needs. However, this brand may not be the most convenient option for those who prioritize convenience.
Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Adult Health Chicken Meal & Oatmeal Recipe Dry Dog Food offers optimal levels of protein, prebiotics, probiotics, digestive enzymes, and dietary fiber to support your large breed dog’s digestive health throughout their lifetime.
This dog food also includes salmon oil and flaxseed, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that promote healthy skin and coat.
It’s supported by omega fatty acids, antioxidants, glucosamine, probiotics, and taurine for overall whole body health, including a healthy heart.
Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Adult Health Chicken Meal & Oatmeal Recipe Dry Dog Food is made in the USA using only the highest quality ingredients sourced from around the world.
We prepare each of our diets in our state-of-the-art facility, crafting natural recipes with nutritious ingredients that have been carefully selected.
At Holistic Select, we prioritize quality nutrition and create delicious natural recipes with wholesome ingredients that your dog will love.
Designed for delicate stomachs
Still, some puppies may not take it well.
Limited in availability
Buyer's Guide: Choosing the Best Large Breed Puppy Food
Here are our reviews of the best large breed puppy foods. How can you filter down your meal options and choose the best one now that your brain is overflowing with fresh information?
Here are a few considerations that may help you to a conclusion.
1. Nutrition Comparison
Calcium is also important for bone development, so look for foods with added calcium.
2. Food Intolerances
Some breeds are more prone to allergies and sensitivities, which can cause symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea.
These dogs may benefit from a grain-free diet or one that avoids common allergens like wheat, soy, and maize.
If your puppy shows signs of food allergies, consult with a veterinarian to rule out other health problems before trying new food.
Feeding a large breed puppy can be expensive, so it’s important to find food that fits your budget.
Don’t assume that “lower grade” ingredients like beef by-products are unhealthy – they can still provide good nutrition.
Look for foods with high-quality protein sources and follow feeding guidelines to avoid overfeeding.
4. AAFCO certification
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) sets standards for pet food nutrition and labeling.
Look for foods that meet AAFCO standards for large breed puppies to ensure that your puppy is getting the right balance of nutrients.
5. Consider the size and shape of the kibble
Large breed puppies have larger mouths and teeth than smaller breeds, so it’s important to choose a food with kibble that is the right size and shape for them to eat comfortably.
Look for foods with larger kibble pieces or special shapes designed to promote chewing and dental health.
6. Choose foods with high-quality ingredients
The quality of ingredients in your puppy’s food can have a big impact on their overall health and well-being.
Look for foods with high-quality sources of protein, such as real meat, and avoid foods with fillers or byproducts.
7. Avoid overfeeding
Large breed puppies are at risk of overgrowth and joint problems if they are overfed. Follow feeding guidelines on the food label and monitor your puppy’s weight to ensure they are getting the right amount of food to support healthy growth.
8. Consider your puppy’s individual needs
Every puppy is unique and may have specific nutritional needs or preferences.
Talk to your veterinarian about any health concerns or dietary restrictions your puppy may have, and look for foods that can meet those needs.
Discover the top 10 calcium supplements for dogs to support their bone health and vitality.
1. Does large-breed puppy food slow growth?
Yes, overfeeding large and giant breed puppies encourages undesirable rapid bone growth.
2. Do large-breed puppies need more protein?
Yes, protein is important for building muscle and developing sound joints in large-breed puppies.
3. Do large breed puppies need more or less calcium?
Less, large-breed puppies require diets with less calcium per calorie than puppies who will grow to small or medium size.
4. Does my large breed puppy need large breed puppy food?
Absolutely, it is important to feed large breed puppy foods to any puppy expected to reach a healthy adult weight of more than 50 to 70 pounds.
5. Why is large-breed puppy food different?
Large-breed puppy foods differ from regular puppy foods in several ways. They are lower in fat and calories, have slightly lower levels of calcium and phosphorus, and have a carefully balanced calcium-to-phosphorus ratio.
6. What is best to feed large breed puppies?
Large and giant breed pups should consume diets that contain at least 22% high-quality protein and 8% fat (dry matter basis).
It’s important to note that protein quality can vary depending on the source, so it’s essential to choose high-quality foods even if they cost more. If you give your pup treats, consider the calories they add to their diet.
7. When should I switch my puppy to large-breed food?
It’s important to switch to large-breed food at the right time to ensure proper growth and development. Small breeds can make the switch at 7 to 9 months, while bigger breeds should wait until 12 to 14 months.
It’s better to err on the side of caution and keep your pup on puppy food a little longer than necessary. After your puppy turns 1 year old, most owners feed them two half-portions of adult dog food per day.
For the best large breed puppy foods, Purina ProPlan Large Breed Chicken and Rice is the ideal choice due to its strong nutritional value and cheap pricing.
Iams ProActive , BestForPets‘ (bestforpets.org) best value option, is a handy, inexpensive snack that nevertheless contains high-quality protein.
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