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12 Best Puppy Foods for Large Breeds

Written by Khalil
Khalil is passionate about all sorts of domesticated pets. They have written dozens of articles across the web.
Published on
Tuesday 6 October 2020
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
best puppy foods for large breeds
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Several large breed puppy food brands are available in the market to help large breeds grow and nurture properly. Whether you’re a parent to a cute Doberman puppy or a Great Dane, it’s in your hands to take care of their nutritional needs. Since they grow quite quickly, they’re prone to hip dysplasia and other orthopedic diseases.

We won’t leave you to look for those on the aisle by yourself. First, we’ll discuss what you should look for in an optimal diet, and what you shouldn’t for your puppy. Next, we’ll go over the list of puppy food for large breeds, ending with a quick question and answer session!

12 Best Dog Foods for Large Breed Puppies

Now that you know what you’re looking for in puppy foods, it’s time to unveil the puppy food for large breeds. There are many options for you to choose from – we all know how selective our puppies can be. Try and test a bit to see which one fits your pup’s taste buds. Here’s our list of the 12 best puppy foods for large breeds:

1. Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Large Breed

To start off this list, we’re going straight to Hill’s Science Diet – a great series of balanced puppy and dog foods. This dog food is specifically for large breed dogs and has a great mix of ingredients in Chicken and Oats, a balanced blend of minerals, high-quality proteins, and low calcium to promote health in large breed puppies. You have two options to get this recipe for your pup – a 15lb or a 30lb bag, so you can never run out of your dog’s essentials.

Science Diet has been a favorite for many dog owners in the past. Since this particular food for large breed puppies features chicken, sit are loved by many dogs. If you’re looking to switch to this recipe, you can add small portions to your puppy’s food as other owners have done. Then, you may shift to it entirely in a few days. The large breed puppy food has managed to bag great reviews so far!

However, you might come across a few negative reviews regarding the smell or taste of the food. Unfortunately, such issues can occur after the food is delivered to you but refunds or new bags are sent if a legitimate concern is present.


  • Rich in high-quality protein
  • Contains vitamins and minerals
  • Low in calcium


  • Has a strong smell
  • Some dogs didn’t like the flavor

2. Purina Pro Plan Dry Large Breed Puppy Food

Proteins are a must-have for large breed puppies to grow into healthy doggies. The Purina Pro Plan series caters to these needs of puppies by incorporating proteins into delicious recipes for puppies. This dry recipe features two ingredients – chicken and rice – along with a grain-free edition (chicken) for large breed pups. The puppy food also has glucosamine, which helps maintain bone health and strengthen the joints and cartilage. The recipe is available in several sizes ranging from 4lb. to 47lb. bags.

Large breed puppies have specific requirements when it comes to their diets. Purina takes care of those dietary requirements by adding proteins, minerals, fatty acids, and vitamins for your dog’s health. What’s best is – that puppy food doesn’t lose its charm when it comes to taste, which is an issue with most healthy foods. We don’t see many dog owners complaining about the palatability of this delicious recipe!

A few owners reported their puppies sick after having the recipe. It’s often a reaction to the ingredient or a digestive issue – make sure you’re correctly reading the food labels.


  • Contains glucosamine for healthy joints and hips
  • Has protein from real chicken
  • Contains essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals


  • This can result in digestive issues in some dogs
  • Some dogs experienced vomiting

3. Iams ProActive Health Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food

Next on our list, we have the best large breed puppy food for German Shepherds from the Iams ProActive Health series. This particular recipe by Iams features a tantalizing taste of chicken along with a punch of minerals and nutrients for your puppy. To be exact, it features 22 such nutritious ingredients which are in a mother dog’s milk. That’s not all – omega 3 and DHA are great nutrients to improve cognitive health in puppies for smarter responses during training. Currently, it’s only available in a 30lb bag which can last for quite some time!

Most dog owners loved the price-to-quality ratio with Iams large breed puppy foods. These recipes are delicious, nutritious, and economical – basically all-in-one offerings. Not to mention, the ingredients can really help your puppy stay healthy, have a shiny coat, and boost their immune systems.

A few puppies had digestive issues after having a few kibbles. Make sure your pup isn’t allergic, and you’ve slowly transitioned to the new food.


  • Rich in DHA for cognitive development
  • Has essential fatty acids for healthier skin and coat
  • Boosts immune system


  • Some puppies had digestive issues
  • Some dogs had stinky poop

4. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Puppy Food

Our next chicken and rice puppy food are from Blue Buffalo. This recipe caters to large breed puppies and helps them be healthy in the long run. The Blue Life protection formula also has DHA and ARA, which are two healthy fatty acids used to support cognitive and retinal functions in dogs. With an adequate count of calories, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, you can get 30lb. bag without worries of it turning out bad.

Blue Buffalo’s long been at the frontier of delicious dog foods. Luckily, their puppy foods for large breeds haven’t been any disappointment. They’re incredibly palatable with a great punch of nutritional values to support your dog’s immune system. The freshness and flavor was the best-selected feature of this recipe by many dog owners.

However, a few owners didn’t appreciate the difference in kibble size and flavor after a few tries. It’s often an issue with the distributor and can be brought up for a refund or a different bag – if it’s a genuine issue.


  • Contains DHA for brain development
  • Highly palatable
  • Dogs love the flavor of this dog food


  • Inconsistent kibble size
  • Small kibble size

5. Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food

Let’s switch up the proteins a bit here. With a lamb, rice, and veggie formula, the recipe ranks first in our list as a large breed puppy food without chicken. The recipe from Diamond Naturals features a punch of premium ingredients that offer a number of benefits from lean muscles to a boost in immune health. Like we said earlier, phosphorus and calcium are necessary for puppies, but in moderation. Luckily, this recipe features a great mix of these minerals along with DHA, glucosamine, chondroitin, and antioxidants as well!

Diamond Naturals puppy food for large breeds has smaller kibbles, each of which is equally nutrient-rich. Many dog owners loved their decision to change this recipe for their puppies. One other thing highlighted by most owners is the exclusion of artificial ingredients, preservatives, and all such fillers in puppy food.

Diarrhea is a concern when transitioning to new puppy food. So was the case with Diamond Naturals puppy food. Make sure to take it slow and see if your puppy doesn’t have an allergic reaction to the ingredients.


  • Improves immune system
  • Free from artificial preservatives and ingredients
  • Contains glucosamine for healthier joints


  • Some dogs had diarrhea when transitioned to this food
  • Not enticing to other dogs

6. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Large Breed Puppy Lamb & Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

If you own a choosy puppy when it comes to their plates, it’s time you shifted to this extremely palatable dog food by Nutro. The Wholesome Essentials recipe features an all-natural (non-GMO) ingredient list with the addition of calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, and several antioxidants. You can choose between a lamb or a chicken-based high-protein recipe, both of which are available in a 30lb. bag.

The health benefits from Nutro’s dry dog foods are apparent from the get-go, and so is said by hundreds of dog lovers and owners. The vet recommended puppy food is great for a healthy coat, functional immune system, and better digestive system. Puppies love the taste of this dry food, and you won’t be disappointed either.

A few batches weren’t great for a few dog owners, resulting in digestive issues for their puppies. Though you can bring such cases up with the distributor for a quick refund.


  • Free from GMO ingredients
  • Rich in omega-3 fatty acids
  • Contains antioxidants


  • Some puppies had digestive issues
  • Other dogs do not like the taste

7. Wellness Natural Large Breed Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

The Wellness Natural recipes offer a complete diet when it comes to your large breed puppy’s well-being. The high-protein diet includes chicken and rice, along with a grained and a grain-free option.

This balanced set of nutrients can help support your dog’s brain development, shiny skin and coat, boosted immune system, and increased overall energy. It’s available in two bag sizes; a 15lb and a 30lb bag.

Transitioning to this recipe won’t be an issue at all. Your pup will love having a taste of this recipe and quickly shift to it. Though owners do comment on the pricing point of the large breed puppy food, it’s still great in terms of taste and nutrients. Whether it’s a Doberman or a Great Dane, this recipe will be your puppy’s favorite of all time!


  • High in protein
  • Supports brain development
  • Improves immune system


  • It is pricey
  • Some customers received torn bags

8. Eagle Pack Large & Giant Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food

The Eagle Pack’s well-known for their natural-ingredient dog foods. With this puppy food for large breeds, they’re devoted to promoting health with an optimal balance of nutrients.

Not just that, but the addition of DHA, glucosamine, and other fatty acids is great for your dog’s coat and healthy bodily functions. It features a mix of two proteins, chicken and Lamb, which makes it one of the best puppy foods to date. Lastly, it’s available in two bag sizes of 15lb and 30lb.

Dog owners rave about how great this large breed puppy food turned out to be. Danes, Dobermans, and Labs all love it – mainly due to its unique mix of ingredients and taste. This could very well be the best puppy food for Labs. Though some bags did turn out to be a bit smelly for a few dog owners, because of which they had to return them.


  • Contains DHA for cognitive development
  • Rich in essential fatty acids
  • Has glucosamine for joint and hip health


  • Some bags are smelly
  • Some dogs had loose stools

9. Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy Food

Digestive health is the most important for large breed puppies. Luckily, this dog food by Holistic Select packs a bunch of probiotics, prebiotics, fibers, enzymes, and botanicals. It features a larger kibble with a punch of flavor and high-protein ingredients like Lamb, which is loved by dogs of all sizes.

Moreover, it doesn’t include any artificial flavors, meat by-products, wheat, or colors, which are toxic for puppies. You can choose from two options to purchase this dog food – a 15lb and a 30lb bag.

Large breed puppies love this nutritious dog food. Some dog owners reviewed their dogs to be throwing up after shifting to this recipe. One thing to keep in mind here is that not all dogs can transition to new recipes quickly, especially since this one’s healthy. It takes time so you might want to mix two dog foods until your dog is comfortable.


  • Contains prebiotics and probiotics for a healthier digestion
  • Free from meat by-products and artificial colors and flavors
  • Has digestive enzymes


  • Some dogs had diarrhea

10. Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Holistic Puppy Diet Dry Dog Food

Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Holistic can help you give your pup the wholesome, nutritious diet you’ve been looking for. With enriched proteins, fat, and carbohydrate formula, the recipe packs a punch in terms of nutritious gains and optimum growth.

The puppy food for large breeds also has the desired levels of calcium and phosphorus to allow your pup to grow without any health issues. This dry dog food is available in a 30lb bag, so you don’t run out quickly and can help your pup nourish over time.


  • Rich in proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats
  • Has a moderate amount of calcium and phosphorus
  • Provides complete and balanced nutrition


  • Some dogs experienced sickness
  • Some pups did not like the flavor

11. Eukanuba Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food

Can’t find the perfect match for your pup’s taste buds? Try the Eukanuba dry dog food to help him get an active intake of all nutrients, minerals, and vitamins. This can help your furry friend develop a healthy mind and body, and grow into a silky-coated large pup.

The Eukanuba large puppy food is packed with high-quality proteins (chicken), DHA, fatty acids, low calcium and phosphorus, and carbs, so your puppy doesn’t ever lose his energy. It’s time you started your pup on the righteous path to a good retreat and watch him grow into a giant doggo!


  • High in DHA for brain development
  • Has low calcium and phosphorus
  • Improves coat and skin


  • It is expensive
  • Some ingredients are not high-quality

12. American Journey for Large Breed Puppies

To end our list of food for large breed puppies, we’re going with the American Journey large breed puppy food. The kibble is made with an all-natural ingredient list, deboned chicken, low levels of calcium and phosphorus, and essential fatty acids to boost your pup’s health.

The American Journey large puppy food is grain-free and doesn’t contain any other additive or filler, so you’re free from worries on that end as well. It’s time you shifted to an option which offers taste, nutritional value, and well-being for your large breed pup.


  • Low levels of calcium and phosphorus
  • Contains essential fatty acids
  • Boosts immune system
  • Free from fillers and additives


  • Some picky eaters did not like the taste
large breed puppies requirement
There are a few changes you must do in your large pup’s diet.

How to Choose Puppy Foods for Large Breeds

Like I said before, parenting a large breed dog is quite different than small dog breeds. Owing to their unique traits, large breed dogs require specialized food for their diets. To help your pup grow into a healthy adult, you should be taking care of their nutritional requirements.

To help you pick the best puppy foods for large breeds, here are a few nutritional facts you should take a look at:

large puppy food low fat content
High-fat content can lead to obesity.

Low-Fat Content

Fats are a great source of energy for puppies – actually, twice of that from carbohydrates or proteins. The fatty acids from the fats in food for large breed puppies are great for the regulation of bodily functions, temperature, and the nervous system in dogs.

However, high-fat content means higher calories, thus indicating more energy. Since larger dog breeds have a slower metabolism rate, their high energy intake can lead to more increase in weight. If you make sure your large dog takes in low-fat foods as a puppy, he’s going to grow into a healthy adult. Most dog foods which are for large breed puppies do consider this fact. They include low levels of fatty acids and limit them to an amount that’s beneficial for your dog. As we’ll see later, puppy foods are rich in omega-3, omega-6, and DHA, all of which are healthy for your pup.

Large dog breed puppies also undergo quick skeletal changes at this age. High-fat content can lead to obesity and developmental orthopedic disease (DOD) in dogs. Fat content should be, at max, a 10-25% of your dog’s diet (on a dry matter basis).

Low in Calcium

Calcium’s great at developing healthy bones and strengthening your dog’s bone structure. However, at this growing age of a pup, a shortage or excess of calcium in their diet can lead to changes in their skeletal structure. High levels of calcium can also lead to DOD in dogs.

Think of it this way – a Great Dane puppy obviously has more bone to grow into than a Chihuahua. Keep calcium to a minimum for large dog breeds, so it’s balanced for your dog until of age. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) suggests keeping it to a minimum of 0.7-1.5% for large dog breeds.

Low Phosphorus Content

Phosphorus is excellent for your puppy’s bone growth and teeth. Just as calcium, a shortage or excess of this mineral can be an issue for puppies. Vets suggest the ratio of calcium to phosphorus should be 1.1:1 for growing dogs.

Make sure to check puppy food for large breeds with the recommended levels of phosphorus. One key source of this mineral is raw meat – it’s better to stick to dog foods which have a balanced, calculated intake. Excess of phosphorus can also lead to skeletal issues and DOD like osteochondrosis in dogs.

Low Levels of Vitamin D

Lastly, vitamin D is an essential vitamin for dogs to consume. A dog’s muscular and nervous system heavily relies on this vitamin, which plays a significant role in absorbing calcium and phosphorus though it should be taken into consideration as well.

AAFCO suggests adult dog foods have a 500IU of vitamin D (per kilogram of food). The most significant source of vitamin D are livers, egg yolks, and fish. Beef and dairy also contain a small amount of vitamin D in them.

Though large dog breed puppies shouldn’t be fed this figure (500IU) either. It should be much lower to be an adequate figure. An adequate intake can help you maintain your puppy’s bone growth and ensure your puppy’s growth into a happy adult dog. It can also help avoid diseases like the radius curvus syndrome.

puppy foods for large breeds
You can choose from many different large breed puppy foods.

Puppy Foods for Large Breeds – FAQs

That was our list of some of the best food for large breed puppies. Now, you might still have concerns before shifting to new dog food for your puppy. For that, we’ve picked up a few frequently asked questions about large breed puppy foods which we’ll be answering next.

Do large breed puppies need special food?

Large breed puppies don’t require special food, but there are a few changes in their diets. Since their bones grow quickly, and are more prone to orthopedic diseases, bloating, and obesity. In that, their diets are low in fat, carbs, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D.

Most dog foods cater to these requirements and ensure a complete diet for large breed puppies. Aside from low calcium and a few other minerals, such foods are also high in omega-3 fatty acids, DHA, and glucosamine, which are great for puppies. Antioxidants are also abundant in dog foods that support immunity during a puppy’s growth.

What diet is best for large-breed puppies?

Large breed puppies need a balanced diet to help their bodies grow properly and avoid health issues.

The Hill’s Science Diet and Purina Pro Plan are two of the best large breed puppy foods which you can try. They mark a punch of flavor along with scientifically proven diet plans for your pup to grow into healthy adults.

Most dog food for large breed puppies is available in a dry form. Though some of the best wet puppy food without chicken can also be great alternatives. Purina Pro and Hill’s Science have loads of great options you can go with for your large breed puppy!

How much should I feed my large-breed puppy?

Each large breed puppy has different nutritional needs. Consult your vet to get an estimate on the figure and plan out a proper diet. Make sure to read the food labels on your desired dog food and keep all nutritional values in mind. Usually, the figure is around 186-345 grams (per day) for a 70-90 lbs puppy.

To get started, you might want to take activity, metabolism, and age into account. For a growing pup, you’ll frequently schedule meals but keep the amounts smaller every time. This can help them metabolize and digest the nutrients from each meal properly.

Is regular puppy food bad for giant-breed puppies?

Puppy food is quite rich in nutrients and calories, which might not be great for large breed puppies. During this age, their growth is maximum, and puppy food can be an addition to it. However, you’re good to go with food that is made for large breed puppies specifically, as it contains lower levels of nutrients.

It’s recommended by vets never to use regular food for large breed puppies. High-calorie intake can help them gain weight and suffer from obesity, bloating, or orthopedic diseases.

large breed puppy food nutrients
Not all puppy foods are great for large breed puppies.

Every dog matters, and to ensure your large breed pup is receiving the best diet, make sure they are receiving the best puppy food for large breeds.

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