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5 Best Large Breed Puppy Foods

In this guide we’ll take a look at the best dog food for large breed puppies.
We’ve compared quality of ingredients, nutritional information, and value for money
to give you our top recommendations below.

Breed Advisor only recommends products that we’ve tested, or significantly researched . This page contains affiliate links, that at no additional cost to you, may earn a small commission for the site. Find out more here.

What is the Best Dog Food for Large Breed Puppies?

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Vet’s Advice

It is a good idea to get your large breed puppy on the right diet from an early age. With so much growth and development to do, the correct nutrition is extremely important. Choosing a large breed commercial diet that is Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) approved will give you confidence that the food is appropriate for your dog’s age and size. However, there are some key things you could still look out for when picking a diet for your large breed puppy.

Pick a diet that has around 1.5% calcium

The food you pick should have carefully controlled calcium levels as puppies are unable to regulate calcium absorption, which could lead to skeletal malformations. The diet should be around 1.5% calcium (or 3 grams/1000kcal).

Your chosen diet should have an appropriate calcium: phosphorus ratio

A ratio of 1:1 to 1:3 calcium to phosphorus is important to ensure these nutrients can work together in growing healthy bones and joints. Again, if the calcium level is too high it will affect this ratio, causing issues.

Choose a diet that contains around 25% protein to support growth

Adult dogs usually require a minimum of 18% protein in their diets, whereas growing puppies need around 22%. Larger breeds of dog need a bit more than this at around 25% to 30%. Don’t be tempted to pick a food that contains very high protein levels though. This can affect calcium-phosphorus balance and also encourages growth that is too rapid.

Pick a diet with around 10% fat or less

You don’t want your large breed pup to become overweight as this will be a strain on his growing bones and joints. A diet that contains around 10% fat or less would be ideal, with energy coming from protein and carbohydrate sources instead.

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Compare Our Recommended Dog Foods

Use the dropdown to sort the table by the feature that’s most important to you.

  • Top 5 Ingredients
  • Type
  • Lifestage
  • Calories
  • Protein
  • Fat
  • Fiber
  • Cost
  • Our score
  • holistic-select-large-giant-breed-puppy-health-lamb-meal-oatmeal-recipe-dry-dog-food

    Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy

    • Top 5 Ingredients
      1. Lamb Meal
      2. Chicken Meal
      3. Oatmeal
      4. Brown Rice
      5. Barley
    • TypeDry food
    • LifestagePuppy
    • Calories433 kcal/cup
    • Protein
      25%

      25%

    • Fat
      16%

      16%

    • Fiber
      4.5%

      4.5%

    • 5
    • Buy from Chewy
    • Buy from Amazon
  • wellness-large-breed-complete-health-puppy-deboned-chicken-brown-rice-salmon-meal-recipe-dry-dog-food

    Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Puppy

    • Top 5 Ingredients
      1. Deboned Chicken
      2. Chicken Meal
      3. Peas
      4. Ground Brown Rice
      5. Salmon Meal
    • TypeDry food
    • LifestagePuppy
    • Calories367 kcal/cup
    • Protein
      29%

      29%

    • Fat
      13%

      13%

    • Fiber
      5%

      5%

    • 4.8
    • Buy from Chewy
    • Buy from Amazon
  • diamond-naturals-large-breed-puppy-formula-dry-dog-food

    Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy

    • Top 5 Ingredients
      1. Lamb
      2. Lamb Meal
      3. Whole Grain Brown Rice
      4. Cracked Pearled Barley
      5. Grain Sorghum
    • TypeDry food
    • LifestagePuppy
    • Calories342 kcal/cup
    • Protein
      27%

      27%

    • Fat
      15%

      15%

    • Fiber
      3.5%

      3.5%

    • 4.6
    • Buy from Chewy
    • Buy from Amazon
  • blue-buffalo-carnivora-woodland-blend-large-breed-puppy-grain-free-dry-dog-food

    Blue Buffalo Carnivora Large Breed Puppy

    • Top 5 Ingredients
      1. Deboned Chicken
      2. Dried Chicken
      3. Deboned Turkey
      4. Chicken Meal
      5. Tapioca Starch
    • TypeDry food
    • LifestagePuppy
    • Calories422 kcal/cup
    • Protein
      40%

      40%

    • Fat
      17%

      17%

    • Fiber
      5%

      5%

    • 4.5
    • Buy from Chewy
  • chicken-soup-for-the-soul-large-breed-puppy-chicken-turkey-brown-rice-recipe-dry-dog-food

    Chicken Soup for the Soul Puppy

    • Top 5 Ingredients
      1. Chicken
      2. Turkey
      3. Chicken Meal (Natural Source Of Glucosamine And Chondroitin Sulfate)
      4. Turkey Meal
      5. Cracked Pearled Barley
    • TypeDry food
    • LifestagePuppy
    • Calories367 kcal/cup
    • Protein
      27%

      27%

    • Fat
      13%

      13%

    • Fiber
      5%

      5%

    • 4.4
    • Buy from Chewy
    • Buy from Amazon

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Large Breed Puppy Food Reviews

Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy Health Lamb Meal & Oatmeal Recipe Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Lamb Meal
    2. Chicken Meal
    3. Oatmeal
    4. Brown Rice
    5. Barley

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Puppy
  • Calories: 433 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 25%
  • Fat: 16%
  • Fiber: 4.5%

Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy Health Lamb Meal & Oatmeal Recipe is an excellent quality diet that has been specifically designed to address the needs of growing large breed puppies. An important element of this food is the inclusion of probiotics, digestive enzymes, and fiber-rich foods to support the large breed puppy’s digestion.

A diet rich in superfoods, Holistic Select bases its carbohydrates on high-fiber whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Fruits such as blueberries and pomegranates have been included for their excellent disease- fighting properties.

High quality proteins are the first ingredients of this nutrient-dense food to ensure adequate amounts of amino acids and healthy fats.  Holistic Select is rich in DHA to encourage healthy cognitive function and vision development. With such an emphasis on meeting the nutritional needs of puppies of this size, Holistic Select earns high marks as the best food for large breed puppies.

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Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Puppy Deboned Chicken, Brown Rice & Salmon Meal Recipe Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Deboned Chicken
    2. Chicken Meal
    3. Peas
    4. Ground Brown Rice
    5. Salmon Meal

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Puppy
  • Calories: 367 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 29%
  • Fat: 13%
  • Fiber: 5%

Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Puppy is a powerhouse of nutrition to propel the large breed puppy’s development and health forward. The food’s ratio of calcium to phosphorus has been carefully calibrated to ensure a correct rate of growth.

Its main protein source is deboned chicken, a high-quality meat that is reinforced with the addition of both chicken meal and salmon meal. Wellness, a diet rated as one of the best large breed puppy foods, contains omega 3 and 6 fatty acids as well as DHA to support eye and brain development.

Flaxseed has been added to this food to support healthy coat and skin. Since large breed puppies can be prone to developing heart issues, taurine has been included in Wellness’ recipe to provide cardiac support.

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Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Lamb
    2. Lamb Meal
    3. Whole Grain Brown Rice
    4. Cracked Pearled Barley
    5. Grain Sorghum

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Puppy
  • Calories: 342 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 27%
  • Fat: 15%
  • Fiber: 3.5%

Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food has everything that large breed puppies need from their diet to thrive. This food lists lamb as its first ingredient, a high-quality whole meat that contains essential fatty and amino acids to support brain and vision health as well as healthy skin and coat.

A grain-inclusive formulation, the carbohydrates in this diet are taken from both whole grains and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables to assist with digestion and a strong immune system. Probiotics have also been included to help with processing the food.

Diamond Naturals is free from corn, wheat, filler, artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives, making it among the best dog foods for large breed puppies.

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Blue Buffalo Carnivora Woodland Blend Large Breed Puppy Grain-Free Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Deboned Chicken
    2. Dried Chicken
    3. Deboned Turkey
    4. Chicken Meal
    5. Tapioca Starch

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Puppy
  • Calories: 422 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 40%
  • Fat: 17%
  • Fiber: 5%

Though available at a higher price point, Blue Buffalo Carnivora earns top marks for its excellent nutritional quality that supports the needs of large breed puppies. A food that is rich in protein content, Carnivora’s first ingredients include deboned chicken, dried chicken, deboned turkey, and chicken meal, ensuring puppies have the essential fatty acids they need to assist with their critical developmental periods.

Blue Buffalo Carnivora contains no grains, peas, or potatoes. Many families consider it to be the best food for large breed puppies with sensitive stomachs.

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Chicken Soup for the Soul Large Breed Puppy Chicken, Turkey & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Chicken
    2. Turkey
    3. Chicken Meal (Natural Source Of Glucosamine And Chondroitin Sulfate)
    4. Turkey Meal
    5. Cracked Pearled Barley

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Puppy
  • Calories: 367 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 27%
  • Fat: 13%
  • Fiber: 5%

Chicken Soup for the Soul Puppy is a food that owners can feel good about feeding to their growing large breed pup. Salmon oil has been added to this diet to provide support for developing systems in the large breed pup including both vision and cognitive function. The proper ratio of calcium to phosphorus is present in this powerhouse food.

Chicken Soup for the Soul’s recipe includes both glucosamine and chondroitin to assist with the large breed puppy’s joints during its critical developmental stages. Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids have been enriched to encourage healthy skin and coat quality.

An American made food, Chicken Soup for the Soul is free from wheat, corn, and soy, common food allergens for many dogs. For the best dog food for large breed puppies, it’s hard to beat Chicken Soup for the Soul.

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How to Choose the Best Puppy Food for Large Breed Pups

Large breed puppies are such a delight. Though it would seem all puppies would need the same thing from their food, large breed pups have slightly different nutritional requirements than those of their smaller breed counterparts.

Large breed puppies can be predisposed to some health conditions which do not necessarily plague smaller breed pups. One of the most critical things that must be observed is rate of growth. Since large breed puppies undergo a longer developmental period, a food that is not properly nutritionally balanced can lead to rapid bone growth, a condition which can cause permanent structural problems when the pup reaches full maturity. To prevent this from occurring, large breed puppies should be fed a diet that contains the correct ratio of calcium to phosphorus which is defined as 1.2 parts of calcium to each unit of phosphorus.

Other health issues that can pose a problem for large breed puppies include hip and elbow dysplasia, osteochondrosis, developmental orthopedic disease, digestion issues, and even obesity. To prevent these conditions from developing, a diet for large breed puppies should provide support for joints through a healthy amount of included omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.

Care must be taken to ensure large breed puppies do not become overweight, a problem that places far too much stress on their developing bodies. The best way to avoid a puppy from becoming overweight is to carefully measure all food and monitor intake, cutting back at the first sign of weight gain and increasing food should the puppy appear underweight. Overweight large breed puppies are at a far greater risk of succumbing to heart disease.

Another problem seen in large breed puppies is bloat. Though it is not known what leads to the development of this life-threatening sickness, it is believed that eating too much or too rapidly are contributing factors. Feeding a food designed specifically for a large breed puppy will encourage the dog to eat at a conservative pace thus supporting the dog consuming correct amounts.

The best large breed puppy food takes into account the unique nutritional requirements larger dogs face as they grow.

Choosing the Correct Calorie Count for Large Breed Puppies

Determining how much of the best food for large breed puppies to feed a pup will depend on a number of different factors. The dog’s activity level, age, and breed will be important considerations. As a starting point, it is a good idea to consult the bag of food for suggested serving sizes, adjusting amounts until achieving the correct meal portion to support a healthy weight and satisfied appetite.

Puppies require their food to be spread throughout their day to maintain optimal energy levels. It is a good idea to divide the puppy’s food into mini meals to keep hunger at bay.

Since large breed puppies experience a longer growth rate and also have specific nutritional needs, it is best to feed this pup a large breed puppy formulation only until the pooch reaches one year of age or has achieved 75 percent of its adult size. At this time, the dog can be transitioned to an appropriate adult food.

Dietary Requirements for Large Breed Puppy Foods

Any food suited to large breed puppies should be comprised of a minimum of 22 percent protein and 8 percent fat. It must also be properly balanced and derived from the highest quality ingredients.

Protein should be the main ingredient in any food suitable for large breed puppies. Whole meats are best, but meat meals are also an excellent concentrated source of protein. By-products are poor quality. Plant-based proteins such as corn, soy, and wheat are common food allergens and difficult for puppies to digest, and thus, should be avoided. The best puppy foods for large breed pups do not contain any of these ingredients.

The addition of prebiotics and probiotics to a diet can assist with the large breed puppy’s processing and utilization of its food. They also encourage the development of healthy gut flora to boost excellent intestinal health.

Carbohydrates form an important, though lesser, part of any healthy diet. For dogs with no stomach or skin sensitivities, a grain-inclusive diet is perfectly acceptable. Whether or not carbohydrates are derived from whole grains, fruits, or vegetables, the primary importance is that they are easy to digest and rich in fiber and antioxidants to support a healthy immune system and optimal digestion.

Healthy fats are a vital component of any diet for the large breed puppy. These are best obtained from animal sources such as chicken fat or oily fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, or anchovies. These will assist with cognitive and eye development as well as provide the needed energy boosts that active puppies need.

Things to Look for in the Best Large Breed Puppy Food

Here is a basic list of the most important things to look for in a food for a large breed puppy:

  • Whole proteins heading up the ingredients list
  • Prepared without the addition of chemicals, flavorings, fillers, or mystery ingredients
  • Enriched with probiotics and helpful supplements
  • Meets AAFCO nutritional requirements for a complete and balanced food

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