Top 5 Best Large Breed Puppy Foods For 2021

We all love our dogs and consider them to be part of the family. If you’re the owner of a large puppy, one of the most important things for you to consider is what kind of food to buy for your pet. The best large breed puppy food can make a big difference when it comes to your puppy’s health and well being.

Large Breed Puppy Food Comparison

Last update on 2019-01-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Larger breed puppies, which refer to any puppy that’s expected to reach a weight of over 50 pounds, have different nutritional needs than smaller puppies.

Before choosing a brand of puppy food, it’s a good idea to first browse large breed puppy food reviews and read ingredient guidelines. Let’s take a look at some of your best choices and help you identify the best puppy food for large and giant breeds.

The Nutritional Needs of Large Breed Puppies

We know that large breed puppies have different nutritional needs from smaller breeds. Small breed puppies increase their weight 10 to 20 times after birth.

By contrast, large breed puppies increase their weight by a factor of 50 to 70 times.

They also take longer to mature into full grown down dogs. While smaller breeds are fully mature by 9 to 12 months, larger breeds are not full grown until they’re between 12 and 24 months old. So we have to feed them puppy food for up to two full years. This makes it especially crucial that we choose a brand that’s nutritious and that supports optimal growth.

Large breed dogs are prone to suffering from certain types of health problems. These are mostly related to the bones and joints. The larger frame and weight of these dogs puts stress on the hips and joints of these animals. The following are some of the problems that are common with large breed dogs.

  • Obesity
  • Digestive problems
  • Arthritis
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Osteochondrosis
  • Developmental orthopedic disease or DOD. Many bone-related disorders, including hip and elbow dysplasia fall into this general category.

As dog owners, the last thing we want is a dog that’s sick or who has trouble walking. The health of our puppies depends on many factors, including genetics, exercise and the way we feed them.

Nutrition is one of the most basic ways that we can make sure our puppies grow at an appropriate rate and avoid health problems.

This requires us to feed them a natural, balanced diet that contains all of the essential nutrients.

Just as obesity is a widespread problem among humans, it has also become an issue with dogs. Inactivity is one factor that leads to this. It’s good for both our own health and that of our dogs to give them plenty of exercise! Diet, however, also plays a major role.

One of the biggest mistakes people make is overfeeding their puppies. One popular, yet misguided way of feeding dogs is called free choice or free feeding. This refers to the practice of giving a dog as much food as it wants. Many dogs that are raised with this type of feeding are overweight.

Dogs that are overweight or obese are prone to many health problems, including heart disease, and tend to have shorter life spans. They’re also more likely to develop hip dysplasia and other bone-related illnesses. By choosing the best dog food for large breed puppies, we can greatly reduce the risk of our beloved pets developing DOD.

Another factor that can contribute to DOD and other health problems in large breed dogs is getting too much calcium.

While dogs need a certain amount of calcium for healthy bones, there is evidence that too much calcium can contribute to bone diseases, especially in larger breed dogs. This is another point to keep in mind when doing a large breed puppy food comparison between one brand and another.


Pet foods are regulated by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), which sets standards for safety and nutritional needs of animals. The AAFCO, however, does not differentiate between the nutritional needs of small, medium and large breed dogs. So when we purchase ordinary dog food, it may meet general requirements but it might not be suitable for large breed puppies.

Expensive vs. Cheap Food

Aside from overfeeding, one of the most common mistakes made by puppy owners is buying cheap brands of dog food. While it’s understandable that people do this to save money, it could prove as a very short-sighted decision. The fact is, quality puppy food that costs more up front is not only better for our dogs, it actually saves us money in the long run.

First of all, inexpensive commercial dog food is made with low quality ingredients. If you read the ingredient list, you’ll see that these products are full of grains and fillers, as well as artificial ingredient with no nutritional value. The better brands of puppy food, on the other hand, are made with natural, human grade ingredients.

This means mostly meat, which is what canines in the wild would be eating.

When you buy the best large breed puppy food, you’ll find that your puppy doesn’t need as much as when you fed it commercial food. That’s because the superior brands are providing your puppy with pure nutrition rather than filler. For this reason, the higher price tag on better quality dog food is a little misleading.

Another way that we save money is in the area of medical costs. When our puppies eats more nutritious food, we spend less money on veterinarian bills. Naturally, we also love our puppies and want them to be healthy, apart from monetary concerns.

Why Dry Food is Better Than Wet Food

When wondering what to feed large breed puppies, we also have to consider whether to feed them wet or dry food. There are several reasons that high quality dry food is your better choice. There are both economic and health reasons to choose dry food, also known as kibble.

  • Dry food is more convenient to buy and store. It doesn’t spoil as quickly as opened cans of wet food.
  • Dry dog food is easier to measure. You can measure out exact portions to your puppy.
  • Dry dog food is better for dogs’ teeth. Chewing kibble naturally exercises and cleans the teeth and gums.
  • Wet food is costlier. With large breed puppies, you will find it quite expensive to feed your puppy wet food.

When considering these benefits, however, we must remember that not all dry dog food is equal. That’s why we emphasize how helpful it is to read the best large breed puppy food reviews.

What to Consider When Doing a Large Breed Puppy Food Comparison

Puppy is learning to count

We’ve looked at some of the reasons that it’s so important to choose a quality brand of large breed puppy food. We all want the best for our pets. By feeding them the best possible diet, we allow them to live longer, happier lives. In summary, here’s what we should consider when selecting a brand of dry puppy food:

  • Reviews. Customer reviews can be extremely helpful when it comes to choosing a brand of dog food. It’s generally more reliable when we find a brand with lots of reviews.
  • Cost. As we’ve seen, however, you have to look at the big picture and not simply buy the cheapest brand. On the other hand, if two brands seem equal, it makes sense to at least try the less expensive one.
  • Taste. While dogs are not usually finicky eaters, they do prefer the taste of some brands of food over others. It’s always best to choose a brand that the puppy enjoys.
  • The puppy’s breed and overall health. Depending on the breed and any medical conditions, we may choose a type of food that’s lower or higher in calcium or protein, for example. Veterinarians can provide specific advice about this.
  • Experience. We can observe the dog’s health and behavior after trying a certain type of food.

Reviews of the Top Large Breed Puppy Foods

The following are large breed puppy food reviews for some of the leading brands.

Our Top Choice: Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food

Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Puppy, 26-Pound Bag
  • Grain Free: 100% Grain Free, Complete And Balanced Everyday Nutrition For Your Puppy
  • Puppy Formula: Naturally Grain Free, Protein Rich, Made With Premium Chicken, Turkey & Salmon With The Calories And Dha Needed For Healthy Development In...

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Wellness CORE is a highly nutritious and well balanced dog food brand that makes an excellent puppy formula. This is dry kibble that’s high in protein and grain free. Unlike many commercial dog foods, this formula is free of fillers, meat by-products, artificial flavors, artificial colors and preservatives.

The puppy blend is especially formulated for the smaller mouths of puppies, with a kibble size that’s easy to chew. In addition to being high in protein, this formula has a healthy fat omega blend of flax and fish that’s very good for your puppy’s coat. Also in this blend are antioxidants and probiotics, which are helpful for better digestion.

Another benefit of CORE formulas is that they’re guaranteed to be within the maximum limits of calcium and phosphorous as determined by AAFCO.

These blends also use low-ash meats. Most pet foods don’t disclose ash content, which is relevant to the protein quality of dog food. High ash content will mean an over-abundance of minerals that can contribute to health problems, especially in larger breed puppies. Wellness CORE puppy and dog food blends can be purchased in 4-pound, 12-pound and 26-pound sizes.

Many puppy and dog owners report that the health of their pets improved noticeably after switching to this brand. For these reasons, we highly recommend Wellness CORE as the best puppy food for large breeds.

Orijen Large Breed Puppy Food

Orijen Large Breed Puppy - 28.6lb
  • Biologically Appropriate Pet Food
  • Fresh Regional Ingredients

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Orijen is another high quality dog food brand that makes a blend that’s great for large breed puppies.

This formula is made in Alberta, Canada, the ingredients are fresh and local. The brand’s philosophy is to use ingredients that are as close as possible to what a dog would eat in the wild.

This includes free-run turkey and chicken and fish caught in the wild. Calcium and phosphorous are kept within safe limits by using low-ash chicken in the puppy formula.

Orijen makes blends that are low in carbohydrates and grain-free. In addition to free range, low-ash meats, vegetables and plant ingredients, such as sea vegetables, marigold flowers, juniper berries and various phytonutrients are included.

Customers who feed their dogs Orijen puppy formula report that their dogs have gotten over a variety of symptoms, including diarrhea, loose stools, bad breath, dandruff and excessive shedding. Orijen Large Breed Puppy Food is also a formula that, while costing a little more than commercial brands, goes a lot further because it’s nutrient-dense.

Owners have also noticed that their dogs’ energy increased when they started eating this brand of large breed puppy food. You can purchase Orijen Large Breed Puppy food in a 28.6 pound bag.

Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food

Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food, Large & Giant Breed Puppy Recipe, 30-Pound Bag
  • Unique Digestive Health Support: Formulated With A Unique Digestive Health Support System, Focused Around Prebiotics, Probiotics, Natural Fibers, Digestive...
  • Large & Giant Breed Puppy Formula: A Larger Kibble, Everyday Complete & Balanced Diet Made With Premium Ingredients Like Real Lamb And Dha To Help Support...

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Another choice for the best dog food for large breed puppies is the Large and Giant Breed Puppy flavor made by Holistic Select. This formula contains no meat by-products, soy, corn or artificial flavors.

This blend uses a special Digestive Health Support System that includes probiotics, enzymes and healthy fiber to support healthy digestion in your puppy. This makes Holistic Select a good choice if other brands tend to cause digestive problems for your pet.

Holistic Select also includes DHA in this puppy formula, an ingredient that supports cognitive development. This may make communicating with and training a puppy easier. This brand makes a variety of distinct formulas, each designed to support the nutritional needs of various types and sizes of dogs.

The Large and Giant Breed Puppy blend is specifically designed to ensure that your puppy doesn’t get too much calcium.

Customers who feed their puppies this Holistic Select blend have noted improvements in energy levels, coat quality and a clearing up of problems related to digestion and stools. For example, dogs that tended to shed excessively had more manageable coats after they started eating this blend. Other owners report that bad breath issues were cleared up.

Canidae Life Stages Dry Dog Food

Canidae All Life Stages Large Breed Puppy Food Made With Duck Meal, Brown Rice & Lentils, 30 Lbs
  • Optimum Protein From Duck Meal + Calcium & Phosphorous
  • Premium Ingredients: No Corn, Wheat, Or Soy

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Canidae Natural Food Pet Company makes several dog food formulas, including one for large breed puppies. This is a blend of duck meal, brown rice and lentils especially made for the needs are larger breed puppies.

This blend has high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which help prevent bone and joint problems.

The ingredients glucosamine and chondroitin further support bone health. Probiotics are added for healthy digestion. Lentils provide a healthy source of carbohydrates that are useful for maintaining puppies’ energy levels. Antioxidants are added to support the immune system.

Dog owners who use Canidae report that dogs enjoy the taste of this brand. This is a nutrient-dense food that dogs find more satisfying than commercial brands, which means that dogs will be satisfied with smaller portions.

Because Canidae makes a wide variety of formulas, this is also a brand you can continue using as your puppy grows up. There are several blends that are appropriate for dogs of all sizes and ages. The large breed and puppy blend, however, is a healthy way to start out your dog’s diet. Canidae puppy and dog food blends are free of fillers, hormones, antibiotics and artificial ingredients.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Dry Puppy Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe High Protein Grain Free, Natural Puppy Dry Dog Food, Red Meat 22-Lb
  • Packaging May Vary
  • Contains One (1) 22-Lb Bag Of Blue Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe High Protein Grain Free Puppy Dry Dog Food, Red Meat

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This high-protein, grain-free formula is made with small, bite-sized kibble that’s convenient for puppies to chew and digest. The protein comes from natural sources, including de-boned chicken, turkey & chicken meal and eggs.

This is supplemented with antioxidant-rich ingredients such as cranberries, carrots, blueberries and sweet potatoes. This blend contains an ideal balance of omega-3 and 6 fatty acids for optimal digestion.

Blue Wilderness for Large Breed Puppies is a puppy food that is based on the diet of wolves in the wild.

Puppy owners who have used Blue Buffalo Wilderness have noticed that their dogs are full of energy and maintain healthy weights. Another advantage to this natural dry dog food is that it supports healthy teeth. Owners who have tried both wet food and this blend of dry puppy food report that their dogs’ teeth and gums have gotten healthier. Healthy coats are another reported benefit of this type of dog food.

Another factor that’s always important when it comes to large breed puppy food reviews is the taste. Based on owners’ comments, dogs love the taste of Blue Wilderness dog food blends. This brand is a good choice for those of us that prefer a puppy food blend that’s based on a natural and wild diet.

Switching From Puppy to Adult Foods

The nutritional needs of our dogs change over time. Even though large breed puppies take longer to grow up than other breeds, at some point we must make a transition to food for full grown dogs. This time will vary according to the breed and the growth rate of the particular dog.

We don’t want to keep feeding a full grown dog puppy food, as this can result in problems such as obesity. Puppy food is meant to support the growing stages of animals. Once the dog is an adult, its caloric requirements go down and it should be fed a food blend made for adult dogs.

As a general guideline, we should transition to adult dog food when our dogs reach their full size and weight, based on what’s typical for the breed. With larger breeds, this is usually between the ages of 12 to 24 months. With mixed-breed dogs, it can be a little trickier to gauge this time. If you’re unsure, the best thing to do is to consult a veterinarian.

When we find a puppy food that’s healthy and that our puppy likes, we can usually find another blend, made by the same brand, for full grown dogs. Sticking with the same brand makes the transition easier for the dog.


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