The 5 Best Dog Foods For Large Breeds
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Nothing is more wonderful than coming home from a long day at work to be greeted by your faithful canine companion – unless, of course, it jumps on you and knocks you over. Large breed dogs have their challenges, but they are also a joy and a privilege to keep.
If you want to keep your large breed dog happy and healthy for as long as possible, take the time to pick out a high-quality dog food. Keep in mind that large breed dogs have different needs than smaller dogs, so you’ll need to do some shopping around!
Keep reading to learn more about your large breed dog’s nutritional needs and to receive some tips for picking the best dog food to meet them. You’ll also receive our top 5 picks for the best dog food for large breed dogs.
Compare Best Dog Foods For Large Breeds
1. Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Adult Health Dry Dog Food
2. Nutro Natural Choice Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food
BEST FOR PUPPIES
3. Nutro Wholesome Naturals Large Breed Puppy Food
BEST FOR SENIORS
4. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Senior
BEST FOR ALLERGIES
5. Natural Balance LID Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Formula
3654 kcal/kg, 343 kcal/cup
Keep reading to see our top 5 recommendations for the best dog food for large breeds.
The Top 5 Best Dog Foods For Large Breeds
When picking a dog food for large breeds, look for high-quality ingredients such as premium animal proteins, healthy animal fats, and digestible carbohydrates.
You want to make sure the protein is high enough to maintain its lean muscle mass with just enough fat for energy.
Here are our top 5 picks for the best dog food for large breeds that you should consider:
Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Adult Health Dry Dog Food
- Protein: 24.0% Min
- Fat: 14.0% Min
- Fiber: 4.0% Max
- Calories: 433 kcal/cup
- Made with premium, all-natural ingredients, and no fillers
- Chicken meal as the first ingredient, a concentrated source of protein
- Fresh fruits and veggies as natural sources for key nutrients
- Some dogs may be sensitive to chicken or pork ingredients
- Not a grain-free recipe
Made with all-natural ingredients and free from fillers, by-products, and artificial additives, you can feel good about feeding your dog this product.
It features chicken meal as the first ingredient with whole grain carbohydrates, healthy fat, and fresh fruits and vegetables for nutritional balance.
Nutro Natural Choice Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food
- Protein: 22% Min
- Fat: 14% Min
- Fiber: 3.5% Max
- Calories: 3654 kcal/kg, 343 kcal/cup
- Made with farm-raised chicken as the first ingredient
- Glucosamine and chondroitin for bone and joint health
- Digestible whole grain carbohydrates for energy and fiber
- Doesn’t contain probiotics for digestive support
- Some dogs may be sensitive to chicken or grains
This formula features farm-raised chicken as a protein-rich first ingredient with digestible carbohydrates like whole grain sorghum and whole grain oatmeal. Plus, it is rich in glucosamine and chondroitin to support your dog’s bones and joints.
Nutro Wholesome Naturals Large Breed Puppy Food
- Protein: 26% Min
- Fat: 15% Min
- Fiber: 3% Max
- Calories: 379 kcal/cup
- Formulated to support growth and development in large breed puppies
- Features farm-raised chicken, brown rice, and sweet potatoes
- No GMO ingredients or artificial additives
- Not a grain-free recipe, some puppies may be sensitive
- Contains some plant proteins (pea protein)
It features farm-raised chicken, brown rice, and sweet potatoes in a nutritionally complete recipe for puppies.
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Senior
- Protein: 20% Min
- Fat: 10% Min
- Fiber: 7% Min
- Calories: 442 kcal/cup
- Features real chicken as the first ingredient
- LifeSource Bits provide vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
- Supplemented with glucosamine and chondroitin for strong bones and joints
- Not a grain-free recipe, some senior dogs may have trouble digesting grains
- Contains some plant proteins (pea protein and alfalfa meal)
This Blue Buffalo Life Protection formula features chicken and brown rice in a nutritionally complete recipe designed specifically for large breed seniors. As an added bonus, it contains Blue Buffalo LifeSource Bits for vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Natural Balance LID Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Formula
- Protein: 23% Min
- Fat: 14% Min
- Fiber: 4% Max
- Calories: 355 kcal/cup
- Made with a single source of protein and limited ingredients
- Free from corn, wheat, and soy as well as fillers and artificial additives
- Supports clean teeth and healthy gums in large breed dogs
- Not a grain-free recipe, some dogs might be sensitive
- Main source of fat is plant-based (canola oil)
This Natural Balance LID features a single source of animal protein, lamb, with digestible brown rice for carbohydrate support. It is designed to encourage healthy digestion and also helps support your dog’s dental health as it ages.
Special Dietary Needs Of Large Breeds
All dogs have the same basic nutritional needs for protein, fat, and nutrients. What you may not realize, however, is that dogs of different sizes have different needs when it comes to the ratio of those nutrients.
Larger dogs also need more calories than smaller dogs, but fewer per pound of body weight.
Here are some of the top things to look for in a large breed dog food:
- High-Quality Protein. Protein is the most important nutrient for any dog, but it is particularly important for large breed dogs to maintain lean muscle mass. Look for premium animal sources for protein.
- Moderate Fat. Fat provides your dog with a concentrated source of energy as well as essential fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, but you want to keep the content moderate to avoid feeding your dog so many calories that he becomes obese.
- Joint Support. Large breed dogs have a higher risk for bone and joint problems than smaller breeds, so look for a recipe that contains joint-supporting nutrients like glucosamine and chondroitin.
- Digestibility. Many large breed dogs have sensitive stomachs, so you want to make sure that the recipe you choose is made with digestible ingredients and free from low-quality fillers and artificial additives that could upset its stomach.
Keeping all of these things in mind, you’re now ready to learn how to choose the best dog food for large breeds. Here’s what you need to know:
How To Choose The Best Dog Food For Large Breeds?
The best place to start when looking for the best dog food for large breeds is a high-quality diet formulated for large-breed dogs. This will help ensure that your dog gets the protein it needs to build healthy muscle without so much fat that it becomes overweight or obese.
In terms of specific nutritional needs, your dog requires at least 18% crude protein, 5% crude fat, and no more than 5% fiber in its diet. That is the bare minimum, however, so keep that in mind.
When it comes to protein and fat, your dog will be able to digest animal-based ingredients better than plant-based ingredients.
Meat, poultry, and fish are excellent sources of protein for dogs, and healthy fats include things like chicken fat and salmon oil. Your dog can digest certain carbohydrates as well like whole grains, starchy vegetables, beans, and legumes, but protein should be the star of its diet.
In addition to protein, fat, and digestible carbohydrates, your large breed dog can benefit from certain supplements.
Probiotics, for example, help to ensure smooth and regular digestion while chelated minerals provide a biologically valuable source of key nutrients. Glucosamine and chondroitin are also important for large-breed dogs to support their bone and joint health.
How Much Should You Feed Large Breed Dogs?
The amount you feed your large breed dog will change over the course of its life.
As a puppy, you need to make sure your dog gets enough food to grow and develop but not so much food that it grows too quickly.
Growing too fast can increase the risk that your puppy will develop musculoskeletal problems as an adult. This is why it is important to choose a large-breed puppy food – to control its growth.
The best way to determine how much to feed your large breed dog is to read the feeding recommendations on the package. Check the chart for your dog’s age, and size then follow the advice! Remember that the recommendation is for a whole day, so you’ll want to divide it into two smaller meals and space them out throughout the day.
What About Food Allergies And Sensitivities?
All dogs have the potential to develop food allergies and sensitivities – it is not limited to large breeds. If your dog develops recurrent ear infections, digestive upset, or skin problems, then it could be due to something in its food.
The best way to deal with a food allergy or sensitivity is to switch your dog to a limited ingredient diet made with a novel source of protein and carbohydrate – something it hasn’t eaten before. After about 12 weeks on the new diet, its symptoms should disappear!
Large breed dogs may require a larger volume of food than smaller breeds, but they need a recipe that is rich in protein and lower in fat.
The best place to start is with a high-quality dog food formulated for large breeds so you can ensure that your dog’s needs are met without going overboard on calories.
If you’re not sure where to look, try one of our top 5 picks for the best dog food for large breeds above!