10 Best Puppy Foods for Large Breed Reviews and Guide 2018
Great dog parents know that a puppy’s health begins with a high-quality diet. A nutritious food fuels your pup’s mind and body. It helps her develop lean muscles, a healthy brain, good vision, and a shiny coat. It also gives her the energy needed to grow up happy and strong.
When looking for the best large breed puppy food, one important thing to consider is quality. You are looking for food with real ingredients, similar to what you eat at home. What you are not looking for is puppy food with by-products, preservatives, flavors, or artificial colors. And if your pup has food allergies or sensitivities, you are also looking to avoid soy, corn, grains, and other allergens.
We have compiled a list of top 10 best puppy food for large breed dogs 2018F. These quality puppy foods offer well-balanced nutrition- a lot of lean protein, calories, and fats. They are made from real ingredients to ensure your pup grow healthy and fast.
But before then, we will enlighten you more on how to choose the best large breed puppy food.
If you are in a hurry, check out our recommendation list below.
Best Large Breed Puppy Food Buying Guide
What Are the Nutritional Needs of Large Breed Puppies?
Dogs need a good balance of protein, carbohydrate, and fat in their diet for their bodies to function optimally. Protein, in particular, is important to help them grow and maintain healthy muscles and tissues. Carbohydrate and fats fuel their bodies and fiber help in digestion.
When they are young, puppies act like miniature versions of their adult selves, but their nutrition needs are quite different. Adult dogs require a minimum of 18% protein and 5% crude fat in their daily diet. For puppies, they require 22% crude protein and 8% fat.
What accounts for these higher nutritional needs? The fact that puppies are constantly growing and thus needs a high amount of energy and protein to sustain their growth. That’s why best large breed puppy foods are usually higher in protein and fat content than adult dog’s recipes.
While your puppy needs plenty of energy and proteins, there is a fine line between just feeding her enough and too much. What many pet parents do not realize is that large breed puppies have a different growth rate than small-breed puppies.
Large-breed puppies grow faster and stay as puppies longer than small-breed puppies. Therefore, they have unique nutritional needs. It also means they have unique risks. If a large-breed puppy develops and grows too quick, it could develop musculoskeletal problems or orthopedic disease as an adult.
So, how do ensure your large breed puppy gets enough nutrients he needs to grow without putting him at high risk of growing too quick? The best method is to feed him a quality large breed formula. These recipes contain high amounts of protein to help your pup grow and develop optimally. They also contain a moderate amount of fat for extra energy. Small-breed puppy food contains higher levels of fat content since small dogs generally have a faster metabolism.
A large-breed formula also has controlled levels of phosphorous and calcium for healthy bones. The ideal calcium to phosphorous ratio is 1:1 or1.8:1. This equates to a calcium content of between 1.2% and 1.8% and phosphorous content of between 1.0% and 1.6%.
Large-breed puppies may also need chondroitin and glucosamine in their diets to help their developing joints.
Features of the Best Large Breed Puppy Foods
All dogs need nutritious and healthy food. There are several important characteristics you will always want to check when choosing a diet for your canine friend. While you may not always find food that ticks all the boxes, you should certainly strive to go for the brand that satisfies most of the criteria below.
In general, the best puppy foods for large dog breeds should;
Have a whole protein as the topmost ingredient
Although dogs are omnivorous, the do need protein. That’s why meat should make up for a large portion of their healthy daily diet. The best large breed puppy food should include a whole protein as one of the ingredients such as beef, chicken, salmon, or pork, at the very beginning of the ingredient list.
Not have artificial flavors, colors, and other additives
Puppy food manufacturers often include things like flavors and artificial colors to make their formula more palatable and appetizing. However, these additives and flavors often trigger allergies. If a pup food has high-quality ingredients, these additions are unnecessary.
Artificial colors are especially unnecessary, as your puppy doesn’t care what color her food is.
Not have by-products or unidentified meat meal
Some meat by-products and meat meals are tasty and quite nutritious, and that’s why many manufacturers include them in their recipes. However, it is important to avoid brands that add these two ingredients in their diets. This is why you need to avoid foods with by-products, and unidentified meal meals as most of them include unsafe and unsavory ingredients.
In other words, large breed puppy foods with lamb meal or chicken by-products are better, but you should avoid those with meat meal or poultry meal.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that promote proper intestinal function. That’s why most manufacturers include them in their recipes. They are also available in supplementary form. However, this is not a must-have ingredient, but foods with probiotics are more convenient and more cost-effective.
Be rich in omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids help improve skin and coat, reduce inflammation, and support brain function. Therefore, you will want to look for foods that have different sources of these compounds. Salmon, fish meal, and flaxseed are some of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. You will see them in many puppy foods.
Have plenty of antioxidants
Antioxidants support your immune system and keep your dog healthy. Antioxidants are typically found in vegetables and colorful fruits. Some of the colorful blueberries, pumpkin, spinach, carrots, kale, among others.
With that in mind, you are now in a better position to choose the best large breed puppy food. Here are the top best brands;
Features That Make Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Food Stand Out
- This diet food has no flavors, artificial colors, or preservatives
- This product comes with money back guarantee
- Contains antioxidants such as vitamins C and E to improve health
- Has optimal levels of calcium for optimal growth of bones in large breeds puppies
- It has natural, high-quality ingredients
- It has minerals, amino acids, and vitamins making it a highly nutritious meal
Proc of Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Food
- Dog find this food tasty
- It has high-quality ingredients
- This puppy food is affordable
- It is made in the USA
Conc of Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Food
- It has both pork and chicken products which may cause problems especially if your dog has allergies to any of these ingredients
Why We Recommend It
The primary reason we can recommend this puppy food from Hill’s Science Diet is the small kibble size it comes in. Puppies have small mouths and may find it challenging to chew and swallow big food chunks. Fortunately, this food comes in tiny kibble sizes.
It is one of the best large breed puppy foods for pet owners who doesn’t want to leave any good nutrition to chance. It also has 100% money back guarantee in case your puppy fail to like it. This makes this food a no-risk option. In addition, it uses the highest quality of whole ingredients, in order to ensure your puppy grows and develop well.
Features That Make Eagle Pack Natural Dog Food Stand Out
- It has whole meat ingredients including lamb, pork, and chicken meals
- These foods have gone through extensive testing procedures thus are safe
- Contains chelated minerals to make them easily absorbed into the puppies body system
- There are no meat by-products or meat from unnamed sources
- Has no sweeteners, colors, or preservatives
Proc of Eagle Pack Natural Dog Food
- It contains a high amount of digestible protein
- It also has antioxidants to boost your puppy’s immune system
- This food provides balanced and complete nutrition for your puppy
- It has quality carbohydrates to offer dietary fiber
- Consists of chondroitin and glucosamine for healthy bones and teeth
Conc of Eagle Pack Natural Dog Food
- It might cause skin problems to dogs with food sensitivities
- It is not ideal for puppies that do not tolerate grain
Why We Recommend It
It is a quality product that provides quality protein and brown rice as well as minerals and vitamins. This provides an ideal balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. The dog and puppy food include omega fatty acids and natural antioxidants that help in promoting the health of your pet.
Besides, this dog food contains glucosamine hydrochloride that helps support the nutritional needs of your dog. It comes in different formulations including lamb meat, chicken, and turkey.
Eagle Pack Natural Dog Food has a high content of quality, digestible proteins that help in improving lean muscle development. Besides your dog will crave this food for its natural flavor.
Features That Make Nutro Max Puppy Dry Food Stand Out
- Nutro best dry food is formulated for growing puppies using premium ingredients that can be traced back to their source
- Made in the USA. The real farm-raised chicken delivers amino acids that not only help build a strong muscle but also maintain a healthy metabolism
- And due to the premium ingredients from Nutro, they never include chicken by-product meal, corn or wheat. They are committed to offering great tasting and all natural diets so that your dog can live a happy and long life
- This recipe has vitamins, trace elements, and minerals. This ensures your pup maintains a healthy development
- This product uses no artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives as it is produced in the manufacturer’s own facilities for quality and safety
- Nutro has been reputable for ensuring that their formula is tailored to meet your pet’s health condition and stage of life
Proc of Nutro Max Puppy Dry Food
- Most dogs like the taste
- Has premium ingredients
- Contains less fat
- Has added vitamins and minerals
Conc of Nutro Max Puppy Dry Food
- The chicken ingredient may be allergic to some dogs
Why We Recommend It
This dog food has premium ingredients that are traceable back to their source. Additionally, the meal contains added omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for a smooth and shiny coat. The protein to fat ratio makes it ideal for growing puppies.
Features That Make Wellness Core Natural Puppy Food Stand Out
- This Wellness Core grain-free dog food. It uses chicken and turkey recipe as primary sources of proteins to support your large puppy well being
- It has been made with a larger kibble size that is suitable for your large breed dog
- It comes with glucosamine and chondroitin both which offer joint support
- This diet is made in the US with premium ingredients coming from other regions
- The level of fat and calories in this formula is moderate to help your pup grow without compromising the body weight
- This meal is rich in antioxidants to help boost the immune system of your pet to prevent infections
- There are active probiotics that enhance the digestive health and offer healthy fiber
- Despite having a long list of ingredients, Wellness Core Natural puppy food includes no fillers and meat by-products and is obviously soy free
Proc of Wellness Core Natural Puppy Food
- Helps manage body weight for your growing pup
- All-natural premium ingredients
- Have chelated minerals
Conc of Wellness Core Natural Puppy Food
- There’s the use of pea fiber which is considered filler
Why We Recommend It
This meal has an impressive protein content offered by the chicken and turkey sources. What’s more, it is grain- and gluten-free which makes it suitable for dogs with allergies. The unique combination of ingredients in perfect proportions makes it incredibly nutritious for your growing puppy.
Features That Make Blue Buffalo Freedom Large Breed Puppy Stand Out
- This is a high-quality dog food that has been made for large breed puppies. It has a superb protein content of 22%
- The number one ingredient is a deboned chicken which is tasty and protein-rich to ensure lean muscle growth
- For dogs that have stomach sensitivities, this is among the best large breed puppy food on the market today
- The recipe comes with BLUE LifeSource Bits to ensure you get what you pay for
- It’s 100% gluten free which is perfect for your large breed puppy that shows signs of grain allergy
- Better yet, the formula offers DHA and ARA fatty acids for a smooth and shiny coat
- BLUE Buffalo Freedom offer vitamins and minerals to meet all your growing puppy needs
- The meal is rich in antioxidants to boost the immune system of your puppy
- There’s plenty of chondroitin and glucosamine to help support your puppy’s joints
- The kibbles are conveniently shaped to control tartar
- There are no fillers included such as corn wheat and artificial flavors
Proc of Blue Buffalo Freedom Large Breed Puppy
- It is free of grain and gluten
- It offers extra support to the heart and joint
- It offers support to the heart and joint
Conc of Blue Buffalo Freedom Large Breed Puppy
- The bag is smaller for a higher price
Why We Recommend It
This food is a great choice for large puppies and particularly for dogs that are prone to bowel issues. It offers special LifeSource bits that pack a blend of vitamins and minerals for healthy growth. It comes with excellent levels of proteins and fats to ensure that your puppy stays healthy looking.
Features That Make BLUE Wilderness Puppy Dry Dog Food Stand Out
- While adult dogs need nutrients to help them maintain and heal the body, puppies need food that can help them reach maturity
- The Blue Wilderness Formula offers chicken as the number 1 ingredient and doesn’t include unnecessary additives
- The formula is grain free with each bite offering nutrition and preventing allergies
- The Blue Freedom large breed puppy food contains added special vitamins and minerals to help your puppy grow strong and big
- This formula includes chelated minerals that are known to facilitate the absorption of proteins and minerals
- The great thing is that Blue Buffalo offers dog food for dogs of all ages and so you can switch to different meals of the company as your dog ages
- There are no by-products, and you get to choose from 3 different options as well.
Proc of BLUE Wilderness Puppy Dry Dog Food
- Has 3 different package sizes
- It is grain free
- Has real chicken which is protein rich
Conc of BLUE Wilderness Puppy Dry Dog Food
- A few customers reported that their dogs did not like this food
Why We Recommend It
This is a high energy dog food that’s designed for your large puppy with the chicken as the main protein and ingredient. The dog food does not include any artificial colors and preservatives. It is also grain free to ensure you get value for your money. Additionally, the formula offers balanced nutrition and is very affordable.
Features That Make Holistic Select Natural Large Breed Dog Food Stand Out
- Holistic Select aims at offering the highest standard in dog food safety and this has resulted in zero recalls
- The top award-winning brand making this food is a US-based company, meaning it has ticked all safety rules. Besides, this dog food is backed by Holistic Select Guarantee
- The turkey and Lentils recipe offers antioxidants rich superfoods such as pomegranate and blueberries to enhance the cellular health
- This is among the top brands offering the best dry dog food for large breed puppies, and you save 5% on purchase
- The holistic dog food comes with sufficient omega 3 fatty acids to enhance the skin and coat
- It’s worth noting that holistic dog food comes all-natural and premium ingredients with no by-products, corn, wheat, or artificial fillers
- This is among the best large breed puppy dog food 2018 with active probiotics, digestive enzymes, and healthy fiber to enhance the digestive health of your growing dog
Proc of Holistic Select Natural Large Breed Dog Food
- Made in the US for excellent quality
- It’s grain free and offers everyday nutrition to your dog
- Has no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives
Conc of Holistic Select Natural Large Breed Dog Food
- Bigger bags come at a higher price
Why We Recommend It
Holistic Select is among the leading brands of dog foods in the market offering a mix of healthy and powerful ingredients. This dog food is made for dogs with stomach issues, allergies and has been proven to enhance the coat. What’s more, the food is suitable for large breed dogs of all ages and your dog is sure to enjoy this meal.
Features That Make Nutro Wholesome Essentials Puppy Food Stand Out
- Whether you go for the lamb or chicken flavor, you can be sure that you are feeding your large puppy the best protein
- This recipe from Nutro offers farm-raised chicken or grass-fed lamb as the main ingredients so you can rest assured that the food that packs high-quality protein to enhance the muscles
- The dog food also has Omega 3 & 6 to ensure that your pooch feeds on healthy fats to make the coat shiny and smooth
- Your puppy will have a steady supply of energy all day long due to the inclusion of rice which offer complex carbs
- Additionally, it comes with calcium for healthy bone growth
- There are no unnecessary fillers or GMO ingredients so that everything that your dog consumes is organic
- It has natural fibers and antioxidants for healthy growth
Proc of Nutro Wholesome Essentials Puppy Food
- Has high-quality ingredients
- Made with pasture-fed lamb for healthy proteins
- Well priced considering the value it offers for your dog
Conc of Nutro Wholesome Essentials Puppy Food
- Some dogs may develop allergies with this dog food
Why We Recommend It
Nutro is an infamous brand among pet owners for their trusted farmers and suppliers and always use a high-quality protein as their number one ingredient. On top of offering affordable dog food, Nutro has ensured that your puppy gets everything they need to ensure healthy growth. Most of the customers who use this recipe have reported healthier coats. If your dog is allergic to chicken, this is an ideal choice for you.
Features That Make Purina Pro Plan Puppy Large Breed Food Stand Out
- Purina is a popular name in the dog food industry and for a good reason
- The number ingredient for this dog food is chicken which is not just tasty but protein-rich
- The formula has natural glucosamine that enhances the joint health of your pup
- This makes it to this list of best large breed puppy dog food as it contains easily digestible natural milk proteins that will help your pup develop a healthy immunity
- The diet comes with Omega 6 fatty acids and zinc which enhance the skin and coat
- Your dog will also benefit from the antioxidants in this dog food which does strengthen the immune system
- Purina offers an ideal fat to protein ratio which makes it an ideal diet for a growing pup
- The presence of rice and oatmeal serve as reliable carbs sources which the dog can digest easily
Proc of Purina Pro Plan Puppy Large Breed Food
- Tastes and smells great
- Has real chicken as the primary ingredient
- Has a satisfying blend of soft and hard kibble which is easier on your puppy’s teeth
Conc of Purina Pro Plan Puppy Large Breed Food
- Some dogs may have a loose stool, but you should ensure a slow transition to this dog food.
Why We Recommend It
The Purina Pro Plan Focus food for large puppies is an excellent product for dogs with stomach issues. The price might seem high, but the quality of ingredients in this recipe cannot be matched with most other dog food in the market. If your pooch doesn’t like it, you may try a smaller pack first. It’s a worthy investment in your large puppy’s health.
Features That Make Iams PROACTIVE Puppy Dry Dog Food Stand Out
- This food is ideal for large breeds puppy up to 2 years old
- The primary ingredient is chicken which is the primary source of protein for strong growth
- It has been fortified with minerals and vitamins to meet all the needs of your puppy
- This recipe is known as the smart puppy thanks to omega 3 fatty acids that enhance your puppy’s brain health
- The diet comes with enough antioxidants that help build the immunity of your pet
- It has active probiotics and beep pulps that improve the digestive health and offer gentle fiber
- Has egg based proteins
- This meal will help enhance the skin and coat of your growing pup
- Does not contain artificial fillers and grains
Proc of Iams PROACTIVE Puppy Dry Dog Food
- Has no soy, wheat and artificial additives
- Has been enriched with minerals and vitamins
- It’s highly affordable
Conc of Iams PROACTIVE Puppy Dry Dog Food
- For dogs battling food allergies, the chicken ingredient could be a deal breaker
Why We Recommend It
The ‘Smart Puppy’ recipe is suitable for building strong muscles and helps nourish the skin and coat. Dogs with stomach issues will find this a suitable food to eat and get a chance to enhance their developing brain, joint health, and vision.
How to Feed Your Large-Breed Puppy
Even if you have chosen the best large breed puppy food, you still will have to be mindful of how much food you are giving him. Excess calories can cause excessive growth which could put your small friend at risk for DOD or musculoskeletal issues.
The best way to ensure that your puppy gets sufficient amount of food is to follow the recommendations given by the manufacturer at the back of the packaging bag. These recommendations are generally written according to weight. This means you will need to weigh your puppy at least once a week to adjust his rations accordingly.
Keep in mind that the feeding recommendations are on a daily basis. Therefore, you will need to divide it by the many meals you’re planning to give your pup every day.
As your pup grows and develops, you need to monitor more than just her weight- you should keep an eye on her body condition. Before they hit 3 months of age, it is normal for large-breed puppies to develop a potbelly. However, that potbelly should start fading away once your puppy transits onto dry food. She should develop a defined waist, which is the abdominal tuck up on his back legs.
From the front view, your puppy’s stomach should not be protruding out to the sides. Also, you should only feel your puppy’s ribs through her skin; you shouldn’t see them. You can always consult your vet about your pup’s body condition if you feel you are not observing her condition correctly.
Another important thing to keep in mind when feeding your puppy is that you can only feed him on large-breed puppy food for a limited period. Eventually, you will have to switch to an adult diet. While there is no rule of thumb regarding recommendations, the general rule is that you feed your puppy large-breed puppy diet until he reaches about 80% of his adult self. Because of their slow growth rate as compared to smaller-breed puppies, this may not happen until they are 12-18 months of age.
When the times comes to make the switch, try to choose a large-breed adult recipe that is comparable and gradually switch your puppy into its new diet over the course of 5-7 days. To ensure a smoother switch, mix increasingly larger portions of the new diet with its current food.
Finding the best large breed puppy food can be fun as long as you know what your puppy’s nutrition needs are. All the pup’s foods in this guide are all meant for large breed puppies who grow relatively low and thus need enough protein and calcium to support their growth.
I hope that by reading our guide, you now have the right information to help you choose the best large breed puppy food for your small furry friend and feed them correctly. Keep those cute little friends wagging their tails joyfully.
You May Also Interested In:
- 10 Best Puppy Foods for Small Breed Review and Guide
- 10 Best Wet Dog Foods Review and Guide
- 10 Best Dry Dog Food Review and Guide
- 5 Best Dog Foods Contain Taurine Review and Guide
- 10 Best Dog Probiotics Reviews and Guide
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