Big dog breeds require special diets—Dog foods for giant breeds—to ensure proper growth. Just like collars, beds, and everything else, a large breed cannot eat anything tossed at it. Many owners aim for rapid growth when feeding their large breed puppies. But, although they have massive potential for growth, it is unhealthy for giant breed pups to grow too fast.
Eating anything would lead to rapid exponential growth for these puppies. While this does not sound like a problem, the development of body mass is not in sync with the skeletal system growth. Thus, increasing the risk of bone and joint problems in large dogs. Therefore, dog foods for giant breeds help to regulate the growth rate of these dogs to reduce the risk of complications. This article will help you in selecting the right dog food to buy for your big breed.
12 Best Dog Foods for Giant Breeds
Taking the best methods of choosing dog foods into account, here is a list of the top 12 dog foods for giant dogs.
1. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Nature’s Evolutionary Diet
The Blue Buffalo Wilderness nature’s evolutionary diet is a giant breed of dog food for adults, formulated to meet their nutritional needs. It has salmon and chicken flavors with real deboned meat and a balance of carbohydrates and calories.
Besides, the ingredients are beneficial for coat and skin health, with life source bits for immune support that also have antioxidant properties. Its pack has feeding charts per weight of your dog and feeding guidelines. Most users observed a better, shinny coat on their dog and that their dog was generally in great shape. It is also good for senior dogs–one user said it made his 12-year-old dog look three and increased its life expectancy.
The dog owners got happier dogs that enjoyed this meal like they were treats. Other pros are that it is grain-free, wheat-free, soy-free, and has real meat. This meal has no artificial preservatives. A user complained that his Labrador hated the life source bits and always spat it out. Very few buyers complained about a specific bad batch, although their dogs were enjoying the other packs.
- Made with real deboned meat
- Contains balanced calories and carbohydrates
- Free from fillers and artificial preservatives
- Can cause loose poop
- Some customers complained about a bad batch
2. Purina Pro Plan Adult Dog Food
Purina pro—plan adult dog food comes in a variety of flavors and has wet and dry options. This meal is formulated for dogs over 50 pounds and has a highly digestible formula for optimal nutrient usage. It is also made from real meat to meet your dog’s protein requirements.
Its natural fiber content from wheat bran promotes healthy digestive health. Additionally, it contains glucosamine and omega-3 fatty acids, which promote joint health. The major benefit of this product is the high veterinarian recommendation. Purina pro contains good fiber that promotes healthy digestion. Besides, it has carbohydrates and minerals that keep your pet healthy.
It contains wheat and corn, which may be allergens. Also, it has poultry by-products that could cause stomach upset, although buyers that slowly introduced the food did not notice loose stool.
- Has a lot of flavors
- Highly digestible
- Promotes healthy bones and joints
- Contains corn and wheat which can cause allergies
- More expensive than other counterparts
3. Diamond Naturals Large Breed Adult Dog Chicken and Rice Formula
Diamond naturals—large breed dry dog food for adult dogs, is made with quality ingredients to ensure whole nutrition. It has protein from cage-free chickens and appropriate fat content to maintain ideal body conditions.
In addition to this, it contains superfoods and probiotics for digestive support. It also has omega-fatty acids for healthy skin and coats.
Its major pro is maintaining good fur health. The diamond naturals meal is also good for the joints of the big dogs. The best part is that it is excellent for senior dogs. However, some dogs may not enjoy its taste so much after constant use.
- Made from free-range chicken
- Promotes healthy digestion
- Keeps the coat and skin healthy
- Suitable for senior dogs
- Not for dogs with chicken allergies
- Some dogs may not like the taste after a while
4. Iams Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food
For dogs over 50 pounds, Iams large breed dog food maintains healthy joints. The food has a crunchy texture that keeps the teeth clean.
Additionally, its protein is sourced from eggs and chickens to build strong muscles and a healthy heart. It also has probiotics and antioxidants, which help the digestive and immune health, respectively.
A major pro is most users have dogs that enjoy the food. They also had an easy transition. The challenge with this food is its large kibble size which could be difficult to eat and clog auto feeders.
- Helps keep the teeth clean
- Rich probiotics and antioxidants
- Improves immunity
- Large kibble size can clog auto-feeders
- The hardness of kibbles can’t be good for seniors
5. Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Dry Large Breed Dog Food
Made with all-natural ingredients, Nature’s Recipe dog food’s formula is gentle on the stomach. It is suitable for dogs over 50 pounds, but it is not for puppies or pregnant dogs. This food is a grain-free formula made from dense carbohydrate sources.
The food contains quality natural ingredients without artificial colors or flavors. It is vet recommended for dogs with skin problems.
It is grain-free, and dogs like it. Also, it doesn’t have soy, wheat, and corn, which are allergens. The best part is that its unique formula has almost no cons.
- Gentle on stomach
- No artificial flavors and colors
- It is grain-free
- Some customers received damaged packages
6. Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free, Dry Dog Food
The Whole Earth farm dry dog foods come in varieties for puppies and big and small breeds. Made with all-natural ingredients, the first five of them are pork meal, potatoes, peas, sweet potatoes, and pea protein.
It is grain-free and does not contain common allergens like corn, wheat, soy, poultry by-products, or artificial ingredients
The kibble size is good for easy chewing. While dogs love the original formula, a recent change in formula is not agreeable to a few dogs.
- Made with all-natural ingredients
- Free from corn, wheat, soy, and other by-products
- Great kibble size
- Some dogs didn’t like the new formula
- Greasy texture
7. Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-free Recipe with Smoked Salmon
Taste of the Wild pacific stream is made with real smoked salmon to meet optimum protein requirements. Its unique formula meets the nutrition needs of puppies, adult dogs, senior dogs, and cats. It is made with superfoods and antioxidants to boost immunity and strength.
This taste of the wild dog food has no added grain, preservatives, soy, or corn. This recipe also contains probiotics for easy digestion. Its ingredients meet the Association of American Feed Control Officials nutrient requirement standards. The food is good for a dog’s fur coat, and dogs love the taste.
This meal is for both large and small breeds. So, it may either not meet the energy need of a smaller breed, or cause rapid growth in a giant breed puppy. The superfood content may be challenging for a large puppy or senior. Some users had to increase exercise duration for their dogs to avoid obesity.
- Improves immunity and strength
- Suitable for small and large-sized dogs
- Promotes healthy digestion
- Can give your dog a bad breath
- Superfoods can be hard to digest for senior dogs
8. Rachael Ray Nutrish SuperMedleys Dry Dog Food
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Rachael ray nutrish supermedleys formula meets the nutritional needs of all sizes of dogs. It is made with real meat and brown rice to meet your dog’s macronutrient needs. The meal’s contents promote a healthy coat, aid digestion, and also boost immunity.
Its pros are that picky dogs like the taste and reduce allergy rates. However, it is not grain-free.
- Provides all the nutritional needs of your dog
- Suitable for picky eaters
- Promotes healthy coat
- Not for dogs with grain allergies
- It contains soybeans
9. Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Dry Dog Food
Hill’s Science—diet adult dog food has contents designed to meet the nutritional needs of senior dogs. Its fiber and probiotic content aid in digestion. This food formula meets the energy requirements of old giant breeds. Also, it promotes a healthy coat and skin.
This particular diet formula increases the life expectancy of dogs. Most long-term users had a long time with their senior dogs.
One user whose dog sheds a lot noticed less shedding in her dog after the diet change to this brand. Although it is pricey, many buyers enjoyed the effects on their dogs.
- Promotes healthy skin and coat
- Increases life expectancy of dogs
- Aids in healthy digestion
- It is pricey
- Has a strong smell
10. Merrick Limited Ingredient Grain-free Diet Dry Dog Food
Merrick limited ingredient diet dog food’s ingredients mix definitely helps dogs with allergies. The meal has a single animal protein source and supports healthy digestion. Lacking grain, soy, wheat, corn, artificial additives, dairy, and gluten ingredients, it is not allergenic.
The single-source animal protein comes as either deboned meat, fish, or poultry. Their recipes come with nine key ingredients that are essential for health maintenance.
The rabbit is from France, the lamb is from New Zealand, and everything is from the United States. A not-so-appealing factor is the packaging, it is not resealable, and it has no fastener.
- Has a single-source animal protein
- Promotes healthy digestion
- Helps dogs with allergies
- Not for picky eaters
11. Castor and Pollux Organix Organic Recipe Dry Dog food
Castor and Pollux organic recipe has all-natural organic ingredients that give your dog the benefits of a rich taste. It has no artificial content from farming to production to provide no chance for allergies.
The oatmeal and barley content makes it good for digestive health. Free-range organic chicken, organic chicken meal, organic oatmeal, organic barley, and organic chickpeas are its first five ingredients.
The pros are that it is a non-GMO product and dogs like the taste. Although, it’s barely content makes it a possible allergen.
- Made with all-natural ingredients
- Aids in healthy digestion
- Has no artificial contents
- Not for picky dogs
- It is pricey
12. Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Large Breed Dog Food
With carefully selected natural ingredients, Wellness—complete healthy dry dog food meets the nutritional needs of giant dog breeds from ages one and above. Its first five ingredients are deboned chicken, deboned whitefish, chicken meal, oatmeal, and ground peas. It also has probiotics for digestive health. Created for whole-body health, this meal’s significant contents are-
- Antioxidant-rich blueberries for immune support
- Spinach is also rich in antioxidants that boost immunity
- High-quality proteins for optimal energy production
- Flaxseed, which contains omega fatty acids for a shiny coat
The product does not contain GMO ingredients. It is good for all ages of giant breed dogs. A buyer observed her puppy had loose stool from following the pack recommendations, but the poop returned to normal after reducing the quantity. However, it isn’t grain-free.
- Improves digestive health
- Promotes dog’s immunity
- Does not contain GMO products
- Not for dogs with grain allergies
- The low-calorie content is not suitable for active dogs
What are Dog Foods for Giant Breeds?
Dog foods for giant breeds are meals that meet the dog’s nutritional needs while ensuring well-paced healthy growth. These foods are essential to reduce the genetic problems large breeds are predisposed to having. Some common health problems for giant breeds are:
- Hip and elbow dysplasia are regular among large breeds. Arthritis is usually familiar with senior dogs
- Aortic stenosis
- They have gastric torsion (bloating) more due to the shape of their chest
Food for giant dogs is composed to reduce the risks of these genetic problems in dogs. While you cannot control which genes your dog has, you can control it’s diet. However, you should note that these meals do not suddenly eradicate the risk of these genetic problems; it only reduces them.
How To Choose Dog Food for Giant Breeds
Giant dog breeds are genetically predisposed to bone problems. Therefore, you should ensure your large breed is getting proper nutrients for growth. So, you need to take note of the factors that will affect the food your dog should take.
High Source Of Proteins
Every dog needs proteins for regular metabolism, tissue growth, and repair. According to AAFCO, an adult dog’s protein requirement is about 18% of its diet, while a growing dog needs a minimum of 22%. A good dog meal for giant dogs needs to meet the minimum protein requirements.
Natural Source of Ingredients
Ensuring the source of ingredients for your dog’s food is all-natural holds a lot of benefits for your giant breed. Here are five of the benefits.
- They are easier for your dog to digest
- Natural ingredients reduce the risk of food allergies and skin problems in the long term
- It improves the quality and longevity of life
- Natural food promotes health and boosts immunity
- Also, they have a rich flavor that your dog will enjoy
Fat Component of the Food
The fat component is more tricky because large dogs have a slow metabolism. They also have a higher risk of obesity; therefore, the fat content of their food should be moderate. A growing dog needs a minimum of 8.5%, and adults require 5.5% for maintenance.
The reduction of fats in their diets, however, causes dry skin and flaky furs. So, use foods with omega fatty acids to help keep their coats and skin healthy.
Fats are calorie-dense foods, and calories provide energy for rapid growth. Therefore, reducing fat intake reduces the amounts of calories available, and this leads to a well-paced growth.
Age of The Giant Breed
Like every other dog, different ages have varying dietary needs in giant breeds. The growth complications for big dogs change with age. Therefore, nutritional obligations for giant dogs also change with age. For the breed age, the focus will be the nutrient requirements for puppies and senior dogs.
The need for puppies is to avoid rapid growth without proper bone development. Another focus is to prevent skeletal problems by ensuring the right calcium-phosphate balance. The energy measured in calories is regulated to avoid unpaced growth.
Fat content in puppy food is reduced in giant puppy food to meet the average growth requirements while avoiding unnecessary bone problems. Controlling calcium-to-phosphate levels within a safe range is done by lowering calcium content.
Puppies also suffer from lactose intolerance, so dairy products do not need to be content of their food. The best food for puppies has less calcium, fewer fats, and no dairy products. When the time comes to switch large puppies to adult meals, it is always safer to do it later than too early. For a guide, on how and when to change, check here.
For Senior Dogs
Aging is not a disease, but in dogs like in humans, old age comes with health risks. Some age-related changes dogs experiences include cognitive dysfunction, arthritis, diabetes, dental, heart, and kidney problems, and cancer. They also experience decreased energy requirements and maintain good health. The best senior dog food for large breeds has the following attributes.
- Highly digestible proteins to maintain muscle mass and prevent protein reserve depletion
- Omega-3 fatty acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin improve joint health in all ages of giant breeds
- A lower calorie content
- High fiber content reduces the risk of constipation
- Antioxidant-rich meals to boost immunity
When changing meals for senior dogs, consider their general health. If they are healthy and thriving, good adult dog food will be awesome.
Vitamins, Minerals, and Supplements
Some vitamins, minerals, and supplements are beneficial for your dogs, while some are not helpful in excess.
Beneficial Vitamins, Minerals, and Supplements
- Glucosamine and Chondroitin are supplements that stimulate proper bone development and promote healthy joints
- Phosphorus reduces blood calcium levels
- Vitamin D metabolizes calcium and phosphorus
Minerals and Supplements to Avoid
- Avoid multivitamins and food supplements that increase appetite or contain unnecessary vitamins. Dogs are sensitive to certain levels of vitamins and minerals
- Your big dog breed can have 1.5% calcium in its meal. Because while giant dogs need calcium, excess calcium is not healthy for them
The verdict is, that all these dog meals are excellent in their own right. All contain essential nutrients required for giant dog breeds. Some brands change ownership and reduce quality. Always take note of your dog’s individuality when trying new meals to avoid waste. Also, read reviews of the product, check buying guide articles, and introduce a new brand slowly.
Some of these meals stood out from these 12 and they are:
- Blue buffalo wilderness adult large breed dry dog food. Which stood out for the natural ingredients, life pills, and its senior-dog-friendly nature
- Castor and Pollux Organix organic recipe dry dog food and Wellness complete health natural dry large breed dog food. Both of which are special for their all-natural, non-GMO ingredients
- Hill’s Science diet adult 7+ dry dog food stands out for being senior giant dog friendly
What is the Difference Between Large Breed Dog Food and Regular?
The significant difference between giant breed dog food and regular breed dog food is the caloric content to suit metabolic rates. Large breed dogs have a slow metabolism, while smaller breeds have a faster metabolism.
|Differentiating Factor||Large breed dog food||Regular breed dog food|
|Fat content||Less – to reduce calories and risk of obesity||Optimal for growth and metabolism|
|Supplements||Only essential supplements to avoid overweight||Multivitamins and food supplements to allow proper growth|
|Calcium content||Less calcium to ensure calcium-phosphate balance, and to reduce the risk of bone problems||Optimum calcium for cell functions|
Apart from these main differences, most differences are slight. Just because a regular dog has a fast metabolism, doesn’t mean it should be eating on a caloric surplus. Regular dogs can also get obese.
What Should Large Breed Puppies Eat?
Large Breed puppies should eat food that is lower in calories and fat. Because large puppy breeds have a high tendency for exponential growth, they become big, not minding bone development. Large dogs are genetically at risk for bone and joint problems, and uncontrolled growth increases the risk. The best foods for giant breed puppies have reduced caloric content. Calories come from carbs, proteins, and fats. Limiting calorie content allows bones to grow while curbing the standard bodily growth rate. Because fat is a calorie-dense nutrient, large breed puppy meals reduce fat levels.
A calcium-phosphate balance should be maintained for healthy bones. Excess calcium can bind to phosphorus and decrease its absorption and vice-versa. Puppies cannot control the amount of calcium reabsorbed from their intestines. Therefore their food is meant to contain balanced calcium and phosphate to maintain healthy bones.
Any food your large breed puppy should eat has to consider these factors. One puppy food that takes note of these factors is Diamond natural’s large breed puppy lamb and rice formula. It contains appropriate calcium-phosphorus ratios for bone and joint development.
Dog Foods for Giant Breeds – FAQs
To end the article, we will answer some frequently asked questions. These answers have roots in studies done by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) on the nutrition adequacy of dog and cat food.
Any dog can have giant breed food, however, not permanently. Every good dog food is designed to fit a specific group of dogs. Smaller dog breeds have large energy requirements compared to larger dogs.
Giving a dog food that is not formulated for it over long periods will cause deficiencies in metabolism. If a large breed puppy takes small breed food solely, it will overgrow whether joint and bone growth are in sync or not. The same goes for a little dog eating a giant breed food; It will not meet its optimal energy requirements.
Every dog should eat food made to meet its energy requirements. You can check the AAFCO guide to determine the nutritional needs of your dog.
The best brand of dog food brand to give your dog is one that has non-toxic ingredients that meet your dog’s nutritional needs. A brand that offers natural products and the right supplement for your dog is best for your dog. Here are some of the top dog food brands in the United States.
1. Taste of the Wild
2. Blue Buffalo
3. Nature’s Recipe
4. Merrick dog food
5. Castor and Pollux dog food
7. Hill’s Science
8. American Journey
10. Diamond naturals
11. Rachael Ray Nutrish
13. Whole Earth Farms
When picking dog foods for your giant breed companions, its individuality should come first. While brand names are essential, you need to find one that works for the needs of your giant breed. However, do not neglect brands because some are toxic for your dogs. Pick the best brand that works for your dog, and always ensure to transition carefully and get recommendations from your dog’s vet.