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Dog Food Nutrition

5 Best Dog Foods For Great Pyrenees

February 17, 2019

5 Best Dog Foods For Great Pyrenees

As their name suggests, the Great Pyrenees comes from the Pyrenees Mountain Range between France and Spain in southwestern Europe.

Basque shepherds have kept them to guard their flocks for centuries. But these large, elegant white dogs were also popular with Louis XIV and Queen Victoria.

It’s believed that, crossed with retrievers, they played a role in producing the Landseer color in the Newfoundland. The Great Pyrenees are gentle, loving, and loyal at home but they are naturally protective with a strong guarding instinct. They are very good with children and other pets since they are so patient.

They do shed and drool. The Great Pyrenees can be an independent thinker so training may go slowly.

This breed is not extremely active but they do require a lot of space and regular exercise. Great Pyrenees are still kept as working livestock guardian dogs on some farms and ranches.

If you like a large/giant breed, it’s hard to find fault with the majestic Great Pyrenees. We can help you find the best dog foods for Great Pyrenees.

Best dog foods for Great Pyrenees

ImageProductFeatures

Best Overall

Royal Canin Giant Puppy Dry Dog Food
  • Has the proper blend of minerals for good bone and joint growth
  • Designed for puppies that will weigh over 100 pounds at maturity
  • Suitable for the metabolism of a giant breed puppy
Check Price
Purina Pro Plan Giant Breed Adult Dry Dog Food
  • Formulated especially for giant dogs that weigh over 100 pounds
  • Real chicken is the first ingredient
  • Good protein and fat levels
Check Price

Best for Weight Loss

Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Adult Recipe
  • Optimal calcium and phosphorus levels
  • Great digestive system support
  • No artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or potatoes
Check Price

Best Affordable

Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Giant Adult Dry Dog Food
  • Contains glucosamine and chondrotin for joint support
  • Very large kibble
  • Nutrients for your dog’s heart
Check Price
Hill's Science Diet Adult Large Breed Chicken & Barley Recipe Dry Dog Food
  • Chicken is the first ingredient
  • Provides natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin
  • Chelated minerals, probiotic supplements
Check Price

1. Royal Canin Giant Puppy Dry Dog Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 32.0%
  • Fat – 12.0%
  • Fiber – 3.4%
  • Calories – 341 kcal/cup

Our top pick for the best dog food for Great Pyrenees is Royal Canin Giant Puppy Dry Dog Food. Most companies don’t make a puppy food that is designed specifically for giant breeds.

It’s more common to find foods that are labeled for large puppies or large/giant puppies combined so we really like the fact this this puppy food is made just for giant breed puppies.

This formula is made for puppies that will weigh over 100 pounds when they mature. It meets the needs of puppies that have an extended growth period, such as Great Pyrenees.

Royal Canin also provides a specialized blend of minerals, such as calcium and phosphorus, to promote proper growth for bones and joints.

Highly digestible proteins and prebiotics help promote optimal digestive health and stool quality. We think this food is an excellent choice for growing Great Pyrenees puppies.

Pros:

  • Suitable for the metabolism of a giant breed puppy
  • Designed for puppies that will weigh over 100 pounds at maturity
  • Has the proper blend of minerals for good bone and joint growth

Cons:

  • This food is for puppies up to age 8 months; then transition to a “puppy junior” food for the next growth stage

Our criteria

As much as possible, we try to follow the criteria of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association when choosing the best dog foods for Great Pyrenees and other dogs.

We look for dog foods that meet the following criteria:

  • AAFCO-approved foods, especially foods that have used food trials.
  • Dog food companies that invest in nutritional research.
  • We prefer dog foods that have been formulated by veterinary nutritionists.
  • We value good quality control.
  • We value nutrition over clever marketing. Remember that you won’t be eating the dog food, your dog will. It’s important to choose the food that is best for your dog even if the ingredients don’t sound appealing to you.

We also take into consideration the warning from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about a possible link between grain free dog foods and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs. The FDA’s investigation has now expanded to include exotic proteins in dog foods. You can read the latest research in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association .

For this reason we don’t generally recommend grain free dog foods for most dogs. If your veterinarian recommends a grain free dog food for health reasons, you should definitely follow his or her advice. If your dog has a food allergy or food sensitivity or some other health issue that makes it difficult for him to eat foods with grains/cereals, please work with your vet to select a food for your Great Pyrenees.

These are the reasons why you won’t find some of the most popular grain free dog foods listed here. We follow current veterinary health research and try to provide you with the best advice possible for your dog.

The foods we recommend are what we believe are the best dog foods for Great Pyrenees.

What kind of diet should you feed your Great Pyrenees?

Most Great Pyrenees should be able to eat a normal diet for dogs

. As long as your dog doesn’t have a health problem, he should be able to eat the nutrients described here.

Protein

An adult Great Pyrenees needs a minimum of 18 percent protein in his diet for daily maintenance. Pregnant/nursing females and puppies need at least 22 percent protein in their diets. Many dog foods today have higher protein percentages than these levels.

You may have heard that giant breed puppies, such as Great Pyrenees, will be adversely affected if they have too much protein in their diet. This is a myth. Higher amounts of protein for puppies have no effect on skeletal development or calcium metabolism. Many good puppy foods have protein percentages up to about 29 percent.

A good adult food for your Great Pyrenees can have a protein percentage between 22 and 26 percent.

Fat

While humans often shy away from foods with fat, fat is an important part of your dog’s diet. It adds taste to a low-fat dry kibble diet. It gives your dog energy. Some vitamins are fat-soluble so your dog’s body can absorb them. And fatty acids are good for your dog’s skin, coat, and organs. Adult dogs require a minimum of 5 percent fat in their daily diet.

Pregnant/nursing female dogs and puppies need at least 8 percent fat per day. Nearly all dog foods have higher fat levels than these percentages.

You do need to be aware of the fat percentage and calories in any food you feed. Fat and calorie levels vary from food to food so it can be easy to overfeed your dog, especially when you change dog foods.

A scoop of a new food can have many more calories than a scoop of your old dog food. A fat percentage of 12 to 16 percent is considered moderate and should be suitable for Great Pyrenees that are moderately active.

Carbohydrates

Contrary to popular belief, carbohydrates are not “filler ingredients” or empty calories They perform some important functions.

Like fat, they are a source of energy. They can be a source of fiber. They can also provide nutrients.

Your dog’s brain needs the simple sugars and starches from carbs. Your dog’s gastrointestinal system needs fiber that comes from carbs.

And complex carbohydrates help keep your dog’s glucose levels even so he won’t have blood sugar spikes after eating. Complex carbohydrates also help keep your dog from feeling hungry after meals.

Fiber

Dogs need fiber to help with their digestion just as humans do. Fiber can be soluble or insoluble. You may see ingredients such as chicory, inulin, and beet pulp listed in dog foods. These are soluble fibers. Soluble fiber draws water into your dog’s gastric system and turns the stomach contents to gel.

This slows the digestive process. Insoluble fiber can add bulk to the digestive matter in your dog’s system, speeding digestion.

Kibbles today usually have between 3 and 6 percent fiber. If your Great Pyrenees is having loose stools you could be feeding a food that has too much fiber for his system.

You can try to change to a food that has less fiber. If your Great Pyrenees seems to be constipated, you can try changing to a food that has a little more fiber. We do recommend that you take your dog to see a veterinarian if your dog is having digestive problems.

Probiotics and prebiotics

Prebiotics and probiotics help your dog’s gastrointestinal system function properly and strengthen his immune system. Prebiotics are a dietary fiber. They encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria in your dog’s digestive system. You will often see prebiotics such as chicory and inulin added to dog foods.

Probiotics are living microorganisms that help “colonize” your dog’s digestive system. They can add billions of “good” bacteria to your dog’s system.

They are sometimes added in dog foods or you can purchase probiotics separately to add to your dog’s diet. Probiotics typically hibernate until they reach your dog’s gastrointestinal system when they go into action.

It’s thought that about 70 percent of your dog’s immune system is based in his G.I. tract so prebiotics and probiotics can play a big role in your dog’s health.

Vitamins and minerals

Vitamins and minerals are usually added back into pet foods after cooking. This is done because kibble, especially, is cooked at a very high temperature which can destroy the natural vitamins and minerals in the food. Adding vitamins and minerals back into the food ensures that the food is nutritionally complete.

What to look for when choosing the best dog foods for Great Pyrenees

GREAT PYRENEES

When choosing the best dog foods for Great Pyrenees we recommend the following:

  • Unless your veterinarian recommends otherwise, look for a dog food that contains grains;
  • Choose a food that has a protein percentage between 18 and 26 percent for adult dogs;
  • Most healthy dogs need a moderate fat percentage between 12 and 16 percent;
  • A fiber percentage between 3 and 6 percent is suitable for most dogs.

These recommendations are based on kibbles.

If your Great Pyrenees has a health issue and needs a grain free dog food, talk to your veterinarian about choosing a dog food.

According to multiple veterinary sites, food allergies are not as common as most dog lovers think but some dogs do have them. If you believe your dog has a food allergy or food sensitivity, we suggest that you work with your veterinarian and have your dog diagnosed. Your vet may recommend a food elimination diet and food trial.

It can take some time to identify the source of your dog’s problem but this course of action is usually better than trying many different dog foods and inflaming your dog’s digestive system.

Special considerations for feeding a Great Pyrenees

Bone and joint problems

The major food-related problem you should be aware of with your Great Pyrenees relates to his bone and joints. According to the Great Pyrenees Club of America, the breed has a slower metabolism than most dogs. They are also considered a giant breed.

This means that it will take your Great Pyrenees a long time to fully mature even if he begins to look like he’s full-grown. It’s best to feed a Great Pyrenees puppy a food formulated for giant breed puppies.

These foods have the right amount of calcium and phosphorus for your puppy, along with the correct calories so he won’t grow too fast.

Fast growth in a giant breed can lead to bone and joint problems later in life. You may need to feed your Great Pyrenees a puppy food for 18 months; then change to an adult food for giant breeds.

Editor’s Note

Best dog foods for Great Pyrenees puppies should have the following AAFCO statement (the phrasing can vary): “[Pet Food Name] is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for growth/all life stages including growth of large-size dogs (70 lbs or more as an adult).”

DO NOT supplement your Great Pyrenees puppy’s diet with calcium. Doing so increases the likelihood that your puppy will develop skeletal abnormalities.

Skeletal problems found in Great Pyrenees can include hip and elbow dysplasia and osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) so please feed your puppy a good food for giant breed puppies and don’t overfeed him.

Adult Great Pyrenees will do well eating a food formulated for giant breeds. Although they are adults, you need to be careful about not letting our Great Pyrenees become overweight.

Being overweight puts undue stress on bones and joints and can lead to problems with arthritis. Being overweight can also increase any tendency toward hip or elbow dysplasia.

How much should you feed your Great Pyrenees?

A mature male Great Pyrenees can stand about 27-32 inches tall at the withers; a female stands 25-29 inches tall.

Expect a mature male dog to weigh about 100 pounds. A mature female can weigh about 85 pounds. However, it’s not unusual for some large males to weigh up to 130 pounds.

Since dog foods vary, it’s best to use calories to determine how much to feed your dog instead of cups or some other measurement.

  • A three-month-old Great Pyrenees male can weigh about 40 pounds and would need about 1849 calories per day.
  • A six-month-old Great Pyrenees male can weigh about 70 pounds and would need about 1876 calories per day.
  • At one year your Great Pyrenees might weigh 105 pounds and he would need about 2288 calories per day.

Remember that your Great Pyrenees won’t be finished growing until he’s at least 18 months old or a little older.

These are only estimates. Your puppy could weigh more or less. Female puppies will usually weigh a little less. It’s best to adjust your puppy’s food based on his condition instead of just considering his weight.

If your puppy looks skinny or fat, you can change the amount you are feeding. Puppies also go through growth spurts so your puppy might look perfectly balanced one day and the next he could look like he’s all legs.

Sometimes you have to use your best judgment about how much to feed or ask your veterinarian.

2. Purina Pro Plan Giant Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 26.0%
  • Fat – 12.0%
  • Fiber – 4.5%
  • Calories – 383 kcal/cup

Purina Pro Plan is another brand that makes a giant breed formula. Purina Pro Plan Focus Giant Breed Formula Chicken Adult Dry Dog Food has real chicken as the first ingredient. It’s designed for adult giant breed dogs that weigh over 100 pounds.

This formula contains glucosamine and EPA, an omega 3 fatty acid, to support your dog’s joint health and mobility. It has 26 percent protein and 12 percent fat to help your Great Pyrenees maintain an ideal weight and body condition.

Pros:

  • Formulated especially for giant dogs that weigh over 100 pounds
  • Real chicken is the first ingredient
  • Contains glucosamine and EPA, an omega 3 fatty acid for joint health and mobility
  • Good protein and fat levels

Cons:

  • This is a maintenance dog food so it’s not suitable for puppies

3. Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Adult Health Chicken Meal & Oatmeal Recipe Dry Dog Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 24.0%
  • Fat – 14.0%
  • Fiber – 4.0%
  • Calories -433 kcal/cup

Formulated for large and giant breed dogs, Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Adult Health Chicken Meal & Oatmeal Recipe Dry Dog Food has a unique digestive health support system featuring prebiotics, probiotics, natural fibers, and digestive enzymes.

Chicken meal is the first ingredient. Contains no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, and no potatoes.

No meat by-products, wheat, or wheat-gluten. This formula has optimal levels of calcium and phosphorus for your dog’s bones. It also has glucosamine and chondroitin to support your Great Pyrenees’ hips and joints.

Live yogurt cultures and natural fiber help keep your dog’s digestive system healthy.

Pros:

  • Great digestive system support
  • Optimal calcium and phosphorus levels
  • No artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or potatoes

Cons:

  • Contains peas – as the 14th ingredient; we don’t think this will affect your dog

4. Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Giant Adult Dry Dog Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein -26.0%
  • Fat – 18.0%
  • Fiber – 3.9%
  • Calories – 427 kcal/cup

Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Giant Adult Dry Dog Food is the adult food that follows our top pick, Royal Canin Giant Puppy Dry Dog Food. (There is also a Royal Canin Junior Giant for dogs between 8 months and adulthood.) We love the fact that Royal Canin has devoted an entire line of foods to giant breeds from puppyhood to adulthood, especially when it can be difficult to find foods made just for giant breeds.

The adult formula helps supports your Great Pyrenees’ adult weight. His bones and joints can be under stress from his weight, especially if he becomes overweight. This formula contains an exclusive complex of antioxidants. It also has a combination of nutrients, including taurine, to help support a healthy heart.

Pros:

  • Very large kibble
  • Contains glucosamine and chondrotin for joint support
  • Nutrients for your dog’s heart

Cons:

  • Not suitable for puppies

5. Hill's Science Diet Adult Large Breed Chicken & Barley Recipe Dry Dog Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 21.0%
  • Fat – 12.5%
  • Fiber – 3.0%
  • Calories – 271 kcal/cup

We can also recommend Hill’s Science Diet Adult Large Breed Chicken & Barley Recipe Dry Dog Food. Hill’s recommends this food for dogs that weigh over 55 pounds.

The food has natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health and mobility – one of the things we like best about it.

This formula also has an exclusive blend of omega 6 fatty acids, vitamins and other nutrients to nourish your dog’s skin and promote a shiny coat.

This Science Diet formula also supports a healthy immune system with a clinically-proven blend of antioxidants and Vitamins C, A, and E.

Pros:

  • Chicken is the first ingredient
  • Contains natural fiber and healthy grains
  • Provides natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin

Cons:

  • Hill’s is currently recalling some of its Science Diet and Prescription canned foods because of excess Vitamin D. This only affects canned foods but it may cause some customers to be concerned.

Conclusion

The Great Pyrenees is known as a beautiful, gentle, strong-willed, and somewhat independent. Good with children and small animals, they can be territorial and protective when defending their loved ones.

They are, of course, a giant breed so they need some special care with their diet. We hope the foods we have discussed here help you choose the best dog foods for Great Pyrenees.

Carlotta Cooper

Carlotta Cooper is a long-time contributing editor for the weekly dog show magazine DN Dog News. She's the author of The Dog Adoption Bible, a Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) award winner. In addition, she is an American Kennel Club Gazette breed columnist and is the author of several books about dogs. She has been reviewing pet foods and writing about dog food for more than 10 years.
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