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Best Large-Breed Puppy Food: Good Grub for Growers

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Dog Food By Kelsey Leicht 21 min read January 31, 2024 2 Comments

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large breed puppy food

As the old adage says, “From a small food dish a mighty doggo may grow.”

Or something like that. 

While every pupper needs good food, a large-breed puppy’s diet requires special care to ensure proper growth, development, and joint health. Those big, goofy paws and long legs need extra attention in the diet department to avoid growing too quickly. 

With that in mind, we’ll explain some of the most important things large-breed puppies need in a food, and identify some of the best options on the market.

But, if you’re in a hurry, just check out our quick picks below!

Best Large Breed Puppy Food: Quick Picks

Best Overall Food for Large-Breed Puppies
Best Dry Dog Food for Large-Breed Puppies
Best Wet Dog Food for Large-Breed Puppies
Best Affordable Food for Large Breed Puppies
Best Overall Food for Large-Breed Puppies
Best Wet Dog Food for Large-Breed Puppies
Best Affordable Food for Large Breed Puppies

What’s So Special About Large Breed Puppy Nutrition?

Nutrition for Large Breed Puppies

While a small- or medium-sized breed may excel on any high-quality diet, your large breed puppy is at risk for several health issues if fed incorrectly. A large-breed puppy’s growth should be carefully monitored, especially if he’s a giant breed, who may reach 100 pounds or more. 

Large breeds grow quickly by nature, but canines who grow too quickly can suffer from serious orthopedic ailments, including: 

  • Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy: A condition causing skeletal deformities and pain in the limbs
  • Osteochondrosis: A disorder affecting range of motion and cartilage in your dog’s joints
  • Panosteitis: A painful inflammation of the leg bones
  • Hip and Elbow Dysplasia: An abnormal development of joints leading to lameness and pain

Growing quickly and growing correctly are two different things. You want your dog’s body to develop properly rather than rush through the process. A weakened frame will lead to lifelong problems and pain.

The purpose of large breed puppy food is to allow your dog to grow at a safe rate that avoids the issues described above.

Large breed puppy formulas stray from standard puppy food kibble by including less: 

  • Fat/Calories: Aside from preventing a spike in growth, limiting fat and excess calories can decrease your pupperoni’s risk of obesity, which stresses already sensitive joints as your pooch grows.
  • Calcium: There is such a thing as too much of a good thing when it comes to a growing large breed puppy and calcium. Think of it as putting too much fertilizer on a pupper plant.
  • Phosphorus: Like calcium, too much phosphorus in your pup’s diet can lead to skeletal malformation.
  • Vitamin D: Vitamin D allows your pooch’s body to use the calcium in his diet, but too much Vitamin D can lead to imbalances and growth issues.

It sounds like a lot of work, but most dog food brands are in the loop and offer large breed puppy formulas, allowing you to focus on the important things, like what to expect with your new fur friend and teaching him cool new tricks to wow his friends with at the dog park.

The Best Large-Breed Puppy Foods

purpose of dog chews

There are many large-breed puppy foods on the market, but we’ve narrowed it down to a few all-star options. Each of these checks off our boxes of excellence.

1. Ollie Fresh Dog Food

Best Overall Food for Large-Breed Puppies
Ollie Fresh Dog Food
Fresh human-grade dog food meeting the AAFCO nutrient profile for all life stages, including the growth of large-breed dogs.
Special Discount: We've cut a deal with Ollie -- new customers can get 50% off!
Buy Now (Get 50% Off) Read Our Review

WHO’S THIS FOOD BEST FOR?

Pet parents seeking the best large-breed puppy food around, regardless of cost.

About: Customize your large-breed barker’s eats to his unique needs with Ollie Fresh Dog Food, a mouthwatering mix of real meat, produce, and carb sources that meet the AAFCO profile for all life stages nutrition, including the growth of large-breed dogs. Answer a brief survey covering your canine’s age, breed, activity level, and body condition and a team of experts will cook up the perfect meal plan before it’s fresh-frozen and shipped to your door. Puppy have allergies? No worries, Ollie can cater to those too!

First Five Ingredients: Turkey, Butternut Squash, Turkey Livers, Oats, & Lentils

Features:

  • Human-grade ingredients deliver the bee’s knees in quality
  • Real meat is always the top ingredient
  • Choose from beef, chicken, pork, lamb, and turkey-based recipes
  • A veterinary nutritionist is behind every Ollie recipe
  • Made in the United States with global ingredients

Ingredients List

Turkey, Butternut Squash, Turkey Livers, Oats, Lentils...,

spinach, blueberries, kale, tricalcium phosphate, salt, salmon oil, taurine, zinc gluconate, vitamin E supplement, ferrous sulphate, copper amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) supplement, riboflavin (vitamin B2), thiamine hydrochloride (vitamin B1), pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), potassium iodide

Pros

  • Customizable to your puppy’s unique dietary needs, including allergies
  • Most dogs go gaga for the taste and texture
  • Meets the AAFCO nutrition profile for all life stages, including the growth of large-breed barkers, so it can be a long-term eat for your pup
  • Can’t beat the quality of human-grade ingredients

Cons

  • As a fresh dog food, refrigeration is required
  • One of the pricier dog foods around

2. Blue Buffalo Life Protection (Large-Breed Puppy)

Best Kibble for Large-Breed Puppies
Blue Buffalo Life Protection (Large Breed Puppy)
A large-breed-focused puppy food loaded with immune-boosting antioxidants, lean protein, and wholesome grains.
Buy on Amazon Buy on Chewy

WHO’S THIS FOOD BEST FOR?

Large-breed puppy owners after premium ingredients in a shelf-stable kibble form.

About: Blue Buffalo’s Large-Breed Puppy Formula is a solid all-around large-breed puppy food with this grain-inclusive recipe of fiber-packed brown rice, oatmeal, barley, and more. Offered in puppy-sized kibble chunks with added antioxidant-rich LifeSource Bits, this food aims to bolster your baby barker’s immune system as he takes on the world around him. Added DHA and ARA omega fatty acids promote brain and eye development, while the rest of the omega blend from fish meal, fish oil, and flaxseed keeps his coat shiny and skin soft and itch-free.

First Five Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, & Barley

Features:

  • Deboned chicken is its #1 ingredient, and there is no mystery meat to contend with
  • Contains a bounty of fresh produce, including blueberries and cranberries
  • Includes appropriate levels of calcium and phosphorus for gradual, healthy growth
  • Does not contain any corn, soy, or wheat 
  • Made in the USA with quality ingredients from trusted worldwide suppliers

Ingredients List

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Barley...,

Pea Protein, Peas, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Fish Meal (source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Natural Flavor, Flaxseed (source of Omega 6 Fatty Acids), Dried Tomato Pomace, Dried Egg Product, Dicalcium Phosphate, Fish Oil (source of ARA- Arachidonic Acid and DHA-Docosahexaenoic Acid), Salt, Direct Dehydrated Alfalfa Pellets, Choline Chloride, Dried Chicory Root, Potassium Chloride, Potatoes, Pea Fiber, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, DL-Methionine, Calcium Carbonate, preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, Vitamin E Supplement, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Garlic, L-Carnitine, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Vegetable Juice for color, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Blueberries, Cranberries, Barley Grass, Parsley, Turmeric, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), L-Lysine, Copper Sulfate, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Sulfate, Taurine, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Calcium Iodate, 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), Sodium Selenite, Oil of Rosemary.

Pros

  • Most puppy palates seem to approve of the food’s flavor
  • Rich in brain-boosting fats that also promote skin and coat health, keeping your puppy looking and feeling great
  • Pricing isn’t bad for such high-quality ingredients

Cons

  • Some owners felt the kibblets were too small
  • Pickier dogs may refuse to eat the LifeSource Bits

3. Nutro Chicken & Brown Rice (Large Breed Puppy)

Best Non-GMO Food for Large-Breed Puppies
Nutro Chicken & Brown Rice (Large Breed Puppy)

A nutrient-rich puppy food made with lean protein, antioxidants, and joint-supporting supplements. 

Buy on Amazon Buy on Chewy

WHO’S THIS FOOD BEST FOR?

Large-breed puppy parents looking for a grain-inclusive crunchy kibble with pawesome perks like non-GMO ingredients.

About: Nutro Chicken & Brown Rice is a nutritious, large-breed puppy formula made for supporting joints and bones with its glucosamine and chondroitin-fortified recipe. Real fruits and vegetables, including belly-soothing pumpkin and kale, sneak in flavor, nutrients, and fiber. To the delight of many, this Nutro puppy pick also only uses non-GMO ingredients, which is hard to find in the pet food world.

First Five Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Sorghum, Whole Grain Brown Rice, & Whole Grain Barley

Features: 

  • Farm-raised chicken stars as the first ingredient
  • Grain-inclusive recipe features a blend of energizing whole-grain sorghum, brown rice, and barley
  • Omega fatty acids from fish oil and chia seed help with brain, skin, and coat health
  • Contains no corn, soy, wheat, or meat by-products
  • Cooked and packaged in the USA with vetted global ingredients

Ingredients List

Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Sorghum, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Whole Grain Barley...,

Potato Protein, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Brewers Rice, Natural Flavor, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Fish Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Salt, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Citric Acid (preservative), Mixed Tocopherols (preservative), Chia Seed, Dried Coconut, Dried Tomato Pomace, Dried Egg Product, Dried Pumpkin, Dried Kale, Dried Spinach, Vitamin E Supplement, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Sodium Selenite, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Manganous Oxide, Potassium Iodide, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract.

Pros

  • Loaded with premium ingredients like lean protein and fiber-rich produce
  • Kibblet size and shape are wins with most pups (and pawrents concerned about overly eager eaters!)
  • Pricing isn’t bad considering the food’s quality

Cons

  • Lacks belly-friendly probiotics
  • Mixed proteins may be problematic for puppies with sensitive systems

4. Canidae Chicken & Rice Canned

Best Wet Dog Food for Large-Breed Puppies
Canidae Chicken & Rice Canned
An all-life-stages canned food featuring lean protein and wholesome grains in a palate-pleasing pate.
Buy on Amazon Buy on Chewy

WHO’S THIS FOOD BEST FOR?

An easy-to-mix-and-chew pate texture and meaty taste makes this a prime pick for large-breed puppies that are picky or dealing with dental issues.

About: Treat your puppy to a scrumptious and satisfying mix of chicken, grains, and organ meat with Canidae Chicken & Rice Canned. If your pup isn’t chomp-happy over chicken, there are also lamb and multi-protein recipes to explore. Added broth amps up your hound’s hydration and adds flavor that even picky puppies want to explore. Best of all, this pate-style pupper food can be fed alone or combined with your puppy’s favorite kibble as a special treat.

Features:

  • Meets the AAFCO nutrient profile for all life stages, including the growth of large-breed dogs
  • Doesn’t include carrageenan, a controversial thickener made of seaweed
  • Fatty acids promote healthier skin and a shinier coat
  • No corn, soy, or wheat appear in this recipe
  • Made in the United States with global ingredients

First Five Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Dried Egg Product, & Brown Rice

Ingredients List

Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Dried Egg Product, Brown Rice...,

Pearled Barley, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Salmon Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Sunflower Oil, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Agar-agar, Choline Chloride, Canola Oil, Dried Kelp, Dried Cranberries, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Sulfate, Niacin Supplement, Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Zinc Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Vitamin A Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Iron Proteinate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Copper Sulfate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Manganese Proteinate, Potassium Iodide, Riboflavin Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Cobalt Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Rosemary Extract. 

Pros

  • All life stages formula ideal for multi-dog families or feeding your puppy for life
  • A rare grain-inclusive canned dog food
  • Pate texture easily mixes in with kibble or mashes for puppies with dental problems

Cons

  • More protein options would be ideal for puppies with meat allergies
  • Some puppies prefer a gravy-rich stew-style wet food

5. Diamond Naturals (Large-Breed Puppy)

Best Budget-Friendly Food for Large-Breed Puppies
Diamond Naturals (Large Breed Puppy)

A high-quality yet affordable kibble that's designed to meet the needs of young puppies who'll eventually exceed 70 pounds in weight.

Buy on Amazon Buy on Chewy

WHO’S THIS FOOD BEST FOR?

Budget-savvy puppy pawrents after the best ingredients without breaking the bank.

About: Diamond Naturals Large-Breed Puppy Dry Formula is a high-quality kibble for your growing woofer made with pasture-raised lamb and real fruits and vegetables, yet it won’t blow a jumbo hole in your budget. Grain-inclusive, it fuels your puppy’s pawed adventures with a blend of whole grain brown rice, barley, and sorghum, while fatty acids from salmon oil and flaxseed nourish your curious canine’s brain, skin, and coat with every meal. This recipe also lacks artificial colors and flavors, sticking to natural ingredients for your pup.

First Five Ingredients: Lamb, Lamb Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Cracked Pearled Barley, & Grain Sorghum

Features:

  • Lamb is the first ingredient, followed by protein-rich lamb meal
  • Contains a good mixture of fruits and vegetables, including papaya, pumpkin, and blueberries
  • Probiotics give your puppy’s digestion a helping paw
  • Doesn’t contain corn, wheat, or soy that may upset sensitive systems
  • Made in the USA with global ingredients

Ingredients List

Lamb, Lamb Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Cracked Pearled Barley, Grain Sorghum...,

Dried Yeast, Egg Product, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Ground White Rice, Fish Meal, Tomato Pomace, Natural Flavor, Flaxseed, Salmon Oil (Source Of Dha), Salt, Dl-Methionine, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Dried Chicory Root, L-Carnitine, Kale, Chia Seed, Pumpkin, Blueberries, Oranges, Quinoa, Dried Kelp, Coconut, Spinach, Carrots, Papaya, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Subtilis Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Animalis Fermentation Product, Vitamin E Supplement, Beta Carotene, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Thiamine Mononitrate, Manganese Proteinate, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Aci

Pros

  • Price point is hard to beat, especially when you factor in the cost-saving extras like probiotics
  • Larger food bag allow for fewer store runs
  • Most puppies seem to be fans of the taste

Cons

  • More protein options would be ideal for puppies with picky palates or sensitive tummies
  • A few pups experienced gassiness after switching to the food

6. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Large-Breed Puppy

Best Grain-Free Food for Large-Breed Puppies
Wellness CORE Grain-Free Large Breed Puppy
A dry dog food featuring grain-free carb sources, lean proteins, and fatty acids formulated for healthy large-breed puppy growth.
Buy on Chewy

WHO’S THIS FOOD BEST FOR?

Puppies with vet-diagnosed grain allergies can benefit from this kibble’s alternative carb sources, including peas and lentils.

About: Fuel your puppy’s next adventure with Wellness CORE Grain-Fre Large Breed Puppy Food, a crunchable kibble with a carb concoction of peas, potatoes, and lentils that suits sniffers with allergies to traditional grains like barley and rice. Its natural goodness extends deeper into the garden, with fruits and veggies like apples, blueberries, and zinc offering immune-boosting antioxidants. You’ll also find heaps of omega-3 fatty acids for supporting your puppy’s skin and coat, including DHA for brain development.

First Five Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas, Dried Ground Potatoes, Turkey Meal, & Lentils

Features:

  • Real deboned chicken is the primary ingredient, trailed by chicken and turkey meals
  • Probiotics and fiber-filled ingredients give doggy digestion a nudge in the right direction
  • Doesn’t contain corn, soy, wheat, wheat gluten, or eggs
  • Taurine supports canine heart heart
  • Wellness CORE is made in the USA with ingredients from trusted suppliers around the world

Ingredients List

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas, Dried Ground Potatoes, Turkey Meal, Lentils...,

Ground Flaxseed, Tomato Pomace, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Salmon Oil, Natural Chicken Flavor, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, Bananas, Spinach, Broccoli, Carrots, Parsley, Apples, Blueberries, Kale, Sweet Potato, Taurine, Zinc Proteinate, Mixed Tocopherols added to preserve freshness, Zinc Sulfate, Calcium Carbonate, Niacin, Iron Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Biotin, Chicory Root Extract, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), 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

Pros

  • Grain-free recipe a good match for puppies with vet-diagnosed grain allergies
  • Rich source of skin, coat, and brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids
  • Added taurine gives your puppy’s heart a helping hand

Cons

  • Most dogs don’t need grain-free food
  • Recipe can be too rich for some canine tummies

7. Natural Balanced Limited Ingredient Puppy

Best LID Food for Large-Breed Puppies
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet
A limited-ingredient kibble formulated for healthy puppy development, including those expected to weigh more than 70 pounds.
Buy on Amazon Buy on Chewy

WHO’S THIS FOOD BEST FOR?

A limited ingredient list makes this kibble a top pick for large-breed puppies with food restrictions or sensitive systems.

About: Skip your puppy’s problem triggers with Natural Balance’s Limited Ingredient Puppy, a kibble made with a brief ingredient list that’s delicate on skin and tummies. Featuring a single protein source, this food’s a good match for puppies with meat allergies. You have plenty of tasty options for your pupper, too, with salmon, chicken, lamb recipes. Need grain-free food? Check out Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Reserve Duck.

Features:

  • Taurine starts your puppy’s heart health off on the right paw
  • Joint-friendly glucosamine supports your growing buddy’s frame
  • Grain-inclusive recipe keeps your puppy playing (and full) with brown rice and brewers rice
  • Omega-3 fatty acids from flaxseed and salmon oil nourish your puppy’s skin, coat, brain, and eye health
  • Made in the USA with global ingredients

First Five Ingredients: Salmon, Menhaden Fish Meal, Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, & Rice Bran

Ingredients List

Salmon, Menhaden Fish Meal, Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, Rice Bran...,

Canola Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Oat Groats, Flaxseed, Brewers Dried Yeast, Natural Flavor, Salt, Salmon Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Dl-Methionine, Taurine, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex, Thiamine Mononitrate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Biotin), Potassium Chloride, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate, Calcium Iodate), Choline Chloride, L-Threonine, Citric Acid (Preservative), Mixed Tocopherols (Preservative), Rosemary Extract

Pros

  • Limited ingredient list makes spotting your puppy’s triggers a breeze
  • Single-protein recipe ideal for pups with meat allergies
  • Rich in fatty acids for skin and coat support

Cons

  • Doesn’t include belly-boosting probiotics that could benefit barkers with tummy troubles
  • Lacks fruits and vegetables, though this is by design as a LID food

8. Purina Pro Plan Puppy Sensitive Skin & Stomach

Best Food for Large-Breed Puppies with Sensitive Skin
Purina Pro Plan Puppy Sensitive Skin & Stomach
A kibble crafted for delicate systems with skin-nourishing omega-3s and healthy grains.
Buy on Chewy Buy on Amazon

WHO’S THIS FOOD BEST FOR?

A skin-friendly formula rich in omega-3s makes this a good grub for large-breed puppies with dry, itchy, or sensitive skin.

About: Bolster your best fur friend’s skin and coat health with Purina Pro Plan Puppy Sensitive Skin & Stomach, a fatty-acid-rich food designed by experts to sidestep adverse skin and stomach reactions with easy-to-digest grains and zero corn, soy, and wheat. Led by salmon, this food also has the protein your growing pupper’s muscles demand. You can also opt for a lamb-leaning recipe if your floof isn’t a fan of fish. Antioxidants aid in immune health, which is an area of concern in canines with allergies, while balanced calcium and phosphorus supports long-term bone health.

Features:

  • Real salmon is the first ingredient
  • Meets the AAFCO nutrient profile for all life stages, including the growth of large-sized dogs
  • Probiotics and prebiotic fiber support healthier puppy digestion
  • Added taurine supports your puppy’s heart health
  • Made in the United States with internationally sourced ingredients

First Five Ingredients: Salmon, Rice, Barley, Fish Meal, & Canola Meal

Ingredients List

Salmon, Rice, Barley, Fish Meal, Canola Meal...,

Beef Fat Preserved With Mixed-Tocopherols, Dried Yeast, Oat Meal, Pea Protein, Salmon Meal, Natural Flavor, Fish Oil, Chicory Root Inulin, Sunflower Oil, Salt, Calcium Carbonate, L-Lysine Monohydrochloride, Potassium Chloride, Taurine, Dl-Methionine, Minerals [Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite], Choline Chloride, Mono And Dicalcium Phosphate, Vitamins [Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin (Vitamin B-3), Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B-5), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B-1), Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B-2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6), Folic Acid (Vitamin B-9), Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Vitamin K), Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Biotin (Vitamin B-7)], L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Vitamin C), Dried Bacillus Coagulans Fermentation Product.

Pros

  • Expertly formulated to avoid skin and stomach reactions in canines and boost skin health with ample healthy fats
  • Grain-inclusive recipe fuels your puppy with gentle grains
  • Belly-boosting prebiotic fiber and probiotics a plus for doggo digestion

Cons

  • More protein options would be ideal for puppies who dislike (or don’t tolerate) salmon or lamb
  • Lacks fresh fruits and vegetables

9. The Farmer’s Dog

Best Dog Food for Picky Large-Breed Puppies
The Farmer’s Dog
A mouthwatering mixture of human-grade meat and carbs customized to your puppy's unique needs.
Special Discount: With K9 of Mine, you can get 50% off your first order!
Buy Now (Get 50% Off) Read Our Review

WHO’S THIS FOOD BEST FOR?

A flavorful mash of real meat, carbs, and produce entices even the pickiest puppies into sampling this savory option.

About: Serve a savory feast to your growing large-breed buddy with The Farmer’s Dog, a fresh food cooked using gentle flavor and texture-preserving methods that leave ingredients intact in a meaty mixture that’s easy to eat yet delicious. Your pup’s meal plan is customized and pre-portioned to his unique dietary needs and adjustable as he grows, ensuring your floof maintains an ideal weight as he matures into his best self. These personalized pupper meals are then frozen and shipped right to your door in eco-friendly packaging for maximum convenience with a green focus.

Features:

  • Real meat is the primary ingredient in every recipe by the Farmer’s Dog, with options like beef, chicken, and pork
  • Fatty acids give your barker’s brain, skin, and coat support
  • Vet-developed recipes ensure complete, balanced canine nutrition for your dog’s current life stage
  • Human-grade ingredients offer the bee’s knees in quality
  • Made in the USA with US and globally sourced ingredients

First Five Ingredients: USDA Chicken, Brussels Sprout, USDA Chicken Liver, Bok Choy, & Broccoli

Ingredients List

USDA Chicken, Brussels Sprout, USDA Chicken Liver, Bok Choy, Broccoli...,

Fish Oil, TFD Nutrient Pack [tricalcium phosphate, sea salt, vitamin B12 supplement, taurine, zinc amino acid chelate, iron amino acid chelate, vitamin E supplement, copper amino acid chelate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, potassium iodide, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid. 

Pros

  • Gentle cooking method preserves flavor and texture
  • Personalized and pre-portioned to your unique puppy’s needs
  • Human-grade quality a win for woofs

Cons

  • One of the more expensive dog food options
  • As a fresh diet, you must refrigerate this food

What’s Considered a Large Breed?

large breed puppy food requirements

Different sources define “large” breeds differently.

We usually consider dogs weighing more than 50 pounds to be “large,” but the AAFCO — the authority that establishes nutritional requirements for dog foods — considers canines that are at least 70 pounds as “large.”

You can figure this out by researching your puppy’s expected size as an adult if you know what breed he is. If you have a mixed breed, factor in both of his parents or ask your veterinarian for help if you’re unsure.

Some of the most popular large dog breeds that often exceed 70 pounds include:

  • Akita
  • Anatolian shepherd
  • Beauceron
  • Bernese Mountain dogs
  • Black and tan coonhound
  • Black Russian terrier
  • Bloodhound
  • Boerboel
  • Borzois
  • Bouviers des Flandres
  • Briard
  • Bullmastiff
  • Cane corso
  • Curly coated retriever
  • Doberman pinscher
  • Dogues de Bordeaux
  • Great Dane
  • Great Pyrenees
  • Greater Swiss Mountain dog
  • Irish wolfhound
  • Komondor
  • Labrador retriever
  • Leonberger
  • Mastiff
  • Neapolitan mastiff
  • Newfoundland
  • Old English sheepdog
  • Otterhound
  • Rhodesian ridgeback
  • Rottweiler
  • Scottish deerhound
  • St. Bernard
  • Tibetan mastiff
  • Weimaraner

What to Consider When Looking at Large Breed Puppy Food

foods for large breed puppies

While you can find many large breed puppy diets today, not all are created equal. Just slapping the title on the bag doesn’t always make it a good pick for your pooch.

Before purchasing a food, you have several things to consider, such as: 

  • Meeting or exceeding AAFCO guidelines— The Association of American Feed Control Officials handles all nutritional guidelines for pets, and identifies the nutritional needs for dogs at different life stages. AAFCO has a special guideline for large breed puppy food to ensure proper development and avoid rapid growth. 
  • Country of origin— With questionable ingredients and contamination scares plentiful over the last few years, sticking to dog food made in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or Western Europe is recommended.
  • Whole protein as the first ingredient— Try to stick to recipes that include a whole protein at the top of the ingredient list. This means whole chicken rather than chicken meal, for example.
  • Clearly labeled proteins: Your doggo deserves more than mystery meat in his bowl. Stick to high-quality meat proteins and brands that label all meats, meat meals, and byproducts (if included) in their ingredient lists. Simply put, “chicken meal” is fine, but “meat meal,” is not. 
  • Nutritious whole grains: Quality grains as opposed to their highly processed, low-quality counterparts are recommended. Opt for formulas containing whole oatmeal rather than brewer’s rice, for instance.
  • Hidden goodies: Try to select recipes that contain additional perks like antioxidant-rich produce, omega-3 fatty acids, and joint-supporting supplements, like chondroitin and glucosamine
  • Avoiding artificial additives: Like cheap grains, artificial colors, flavors, and more are a hotbed for canine allergies or food sensitivities in pups, so it’s best to steer clear of them altogether. Plus, they’re unnecessary for foods that contain high-quality ingredients. 

How Long to Feed Large Breed Dogs Puppy Food 

Large breed food for puppies

Now that you know what to feed your soon-to-be large puppy, you may be wondering how long to offer it. This time frame can vary from dog to dog, as large breeds (especially giants) mature slowly despite appearing to grow quickly in size.

It’s always best to consult your vet, though the general guideline is between 1 and 2 years of age, depending on the breed.

Best Large-Breed Puppy Food: FAQ

rottweilier puppy food

Still hungry with questions surrounding the best large-breed eats for your pup? Check out these commonly asked questions and answers.

What dog food do vets recommend for large breed puppies?

Vets aren’t a monolithic group, as each has opinions about canine nutrition. Your vet will also likely recommend food based on a specific pupper patient’s needs versus issuing a blanket “best” award.

That said, quality options include fresh finds like Ollie Fresh Dog Food and The Farmer’s Dog and kibbles like Blue Buffalo’s Large-Breed Puppy Formula and Diamond Naturals Large-Breed Puppy Dry Formula.

What should a large breed puppy eat?

A large-breed puppy should eat food that meets the AAFCO nutrient profile for the growth of dogs expected to be 70 pounds or more in adulthood. You can find the AAFCO statement on dog food bags near the ingredient list and guaranteed analysis listing nutrition information. If you’re stumped on the right food for your floof, consult your vet for recommendations.

Do large breed puppies really need large breed food?

Yes, large-breed puppies benefit significantly from large-breed puppy food, as carefully calibrated nutrients ensure your baby barker grows slowly and steadily, protecting his joints. This sets your pup up for long-term success, comfort, and mobility.

What is the difference between puppy food and large breed puppy food?

Large-breed puppy food differs greatly from regular puppy food, with less calcium and phosphorus for slow and steady bone growth. Large-breed puppy food also contains less fat, calories, and protein to prevent puppies from gaining too much weight, which may damage joints and bones as they grow.

How long do you give a large breed puppy food?

Generally, large-breed puppy food should be fed between 1 and 2 years, depending on your dog’s breed. Large breeds usually dine on these diets for 12 to 18 months, while giant breeds with a great deal of growing to do, like mastiffs, can benefit until age 2.

What is considered large breed for puppy food?

While many people call a dog a “large breed” based height or general appearance, the AAFCO has an exact definition, with large-breed dogs to be those expected to exceed 70 pounds in adulthood. This includes heaps of popular breeds like German shepherds, Labrador retrievers, and Rottweilers.

Unfortunately, quite a few canines top out around 65 pounds or have broad potential weight ranges, making it hard to determine if your puppy needs large-breed puppy food. Discuss your pup’s nutrient needs with your vet if your puppy is expected to be just under 70 pounds or if you’re unsure of his ultimate size to ensure he gets the nutrition necessary for lifelong health.

Do large-breed adult dogs need large-breed food?

Yes, large-breed dogs should eat large-breed food, as these diets are catered to the unique needs of big pups, like extra joint support from glucosamine, chondroitin, and omega-3s.

   

Do you have a large breed puppy? Do you feed him one of the foods on our list or something else? We’d love to hear! Let us know in the comments!

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Written by

Kelsey Leicht

Kelsey is a lover of words and woofs. She worked hands-on with dogs for several years at a boarding kennel as a shift runner and office manager before venturing into the world of writing. She lives in New Jersey with her crew of crazy canines.

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Maggi Sprague

Another great food is Farmina, it’s made in Italy. When we first got our GSD pup I fed him him Organix puppy food but he went through bags of that way too fast. I was researching foods before we brought puppy home and I found this food through some GSD Breeders’ sites. There is the recommended feeding amounts on the bag but you can also get a personalized feeding plan from one of their reps. The food is kind of spendy but they send you coupons for every bag. Quality ingredients too!

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Kelsey Snyder

Hi Maggi,
I looked into it, and that stuff sounds awesome! They have an impressive collection of different formulas. Thanks for sharing! I’m glad you found an awesome food that works for you and your pupper.

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