The Best Large Breed Dog Food in 2022
- The Best Large Breed Dog Food
- 1. ORIJEN Six Fish Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
- 2. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Large Breed Dog Food
- 3. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Food
- 4. NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE Adult Healthy Weight
- 5. Nature’s Recipe Grain Free Large Breed Dry Dog Food
- 6. Diamond Naturals Premium Large Breed Formula
- 7. IAMS Large Breed Chicken & Whole Grains Recipe
- 8. Purina ONE Large Breed Adult Formula
- 9. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Nature’s Evolutionary Diet Large Breed
- 10. CANIDAE All Life Stages Large Breed Formula
- 11. Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Dog Food
- 12. Wellness Complete Health Large Breed Dog Food
- 13. Eukanuba Large Breed Adult Dog Food
- 14. Nutro Ultra The Superfood Plate
- 15. Eagle Pack Natural Dog Food
- 16. Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food
With a large breed dog, it can be easy to assume that you can feed them ordinary dog food, but in a super-sized portion to match their appetite. But your large breed dog has specific nutritional needs that should be met by a specially formulated large breed dog food if you are to support your dog's health and keep them happy. And this is because large and giant breeds of dogs can be prone to some health issues more than smaller breed pooches and will also need carefully balanced calories and nutrients to support them through their various life stages.
But with a growing number of large breed dog food products coming on to the market, how do you decide which is best for your big canine pet? Don’t worry, we’ve put together a menu of some of the best large breed dog food from the leading dog food brands to help you make your final selection.
The Best Large Breed Dog Food
1. ORIJEN Six Fish Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Your large breed dog will thrive on high quality protein and with this Six Fish recipe from raw dog food specialists, Orijen, he will be spoilt for choice! With fresh mackerel, herring, monkfish, redfish, flounder and silver hake, as well as fish meal, the nutritional value of this dry dog food is obvious.
Made from 85% animal ingredients, including cartilage and bone, Six Fish is nutrient dense and will leave your large breed mealtime satisfied. With a minimum of 38% protein and 18% good fats, there is plenty to support your large breed’s all-round health, including their joints and heart, but this does mean it is on the high calorie side, coming in at around 445 Kcal per cup.
But for an active adult large breed dog who enjoys his protein, this is one of the best dry dog foods for a delicious and appropriately nutritious meal in his food bowl. ORIJEN Six Fish Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is one of 7 dog food recipes included in our Orijen Dog Food Review.
2. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Large Breed Dog Food
Formulated for large dog breeds who may have a more sensitive digestion, this grain free recipe from Wellness Core uses premium chicken and turkey to up the taste factor come chow down time.
As an easily digestible dry dog food, Wellness Core for Large Breeds also includes a nutritional mix of fruits and vegetables for essential vitamins and minerals as well as the all-important fiber. And the kibble is sized large to make it easier for your large breed dog to eat.
Fortified with antioxidants, glucosamine and chondroitin, you also get added probiotics to help settle and support your large dog’s digestion. And made without by-products, fillers, grain wheat, corn or soy, we think this is on the best dog food for large breeds list if you have a sensitive or allergy prone giant pooch.
3. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Food
If you are looking for high quality ingredients and targeted health support for your large breeds, then check out Blue Buffalo’s Life Protection Formula for large adult dogs.
Quality protein is at the heart of this dry dog food and its nutritional formula has your large dog’s needs in mind. With L-carnitine, calcium, glucosamine and chondroitin, there is some quality nutrition to support lean muscles and promote joint and bone health. You also get antioxidants, vitamins and minerals for their all-round mobility, health and wellbeing.
As a large kibble dry dog food, it also packs in flavor, with real chicken boosted by whole grain ground brown rice, fruit and tasty garden vegetables. It is also a clean recipe when it comes to unnecessary ingredients, with no chicken by product meal, fillers, wheat, corn or soy.
4. NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE Adult Healthy Weight
A simple recipe is often best for your large breed dog and with managed calories Nutro Natural Choice you don’t have to compromise on taste or quality.
This chicken and brown rice recipe specifically for adult large breed dogs has all the core nutrition they need without excess calories for effective weight management, packed into tasty size appropriate kibble. Made with non-GMO high quality ingredients, and with no chicken by-product meal just real deboned chicken, you get the added nutritional benefits of fiber-packed ground brown rice, along with peas, alfalfa and omega-rich flaxseed.
Wheat free, this is one of the best dog food recipes to help boost your large dog’s immune system and maintain their digestion while supporting their weight management as well as joint and heart health. For more options, check out our detailed review of Nutro Dog Food.
5. Nature’s Recipe Grain Free Large Breed Dry Dog Food
Many large breed dogs have some sensitivity with their digestive system and so do better on a grain free diet. And with this all-natural dry dog food from Nature’s Recipes, your over-sized pooch doesn’t have to lose out on mealtime satisfaction or taste.
This nutrient dense recipe has real, deboned chicken along, with chicken meal, fortified by vitamin-rich vegetables including pumpkin and sweet potatoes for energy. And as well as being grain free, this parred back recipe contains no corn, wheat, soy or artificial flavors.
Formulated for large dogs over 50 pounds, it is also fortified with calcium and phosphorus for strong bones plus omegas 3 and 6 for healthy skin and tip top coat condition.
6. Diamond Naturals Premium Large Breed Formula
With high quality ingredients, including pasture-raised lamb and lamb meal as its number one protein, Diamond Naturals Adult Dry Dog Food is a contender for title of best dog food for large breeds. It contains managed quantities of protein and a lower level of calories without compromising on nutrition or taste so is ideal for senior as well as more active adult canines. And with whole brown rice, whole grain barley and flaxseed, it offers a host of tasty goodness.
With amino acids for lean muscles, it also contains Diamond Naturals Superfood mix, bringing a balanced profile of antioxidants, glucosamine and chondroitin in a highly digestible formula. You also get added probiotics to support your large dog’s gut health.
7. IAMS Large Breed Chicken & Whole Grains Recipe
Strong muscles and bones are crucial to the health of any large dog, as is maintaining their weight and keeping them active. And with quality whole chicken, plus chicken by product meal for extra nutrition, IAMS Proactive offers excellent nutrition for your adult large dog.
The chicken is farm-raised, and the recipe contains no added fillers or artificial preservatives, just balanced nutrition, packed into easy to eat and digest kibble. IAMS has also taken the digestive sensitivities of some large and giant dog breeds into account and has ensured sufficient fiber as well as added probiotics for gut comfort and health.
Feed on its own or mixed with a large dog breed wet food for a delicious and stomach friendly meal your four-legged friend will love. For more information on the brand, check out our Iams Dog Food Review.
8. Purina ONE Large Breed Adult Formula
Strong muscles, joint health and a healthy heart – these are all key considerations when it comes to your 50 pound-plus pet. And market leader Purina has formulated a tasty dry dog food that takes all of these into account. This good value 30-pound bag will more than satisfy your adult large dog, while giving you peace of mind you are giving him all the essential nutrition he needs.
With real chicken, boosted by the concentrated benefits of chicken by-product, it also contains corn, whole grain wheat and soy, so may not be for more food sensitive dogs. But with a joint support complex of glucosamine and added essential vitamins and minerals to support the immune system, energy levels and general health this is a good daily large dog food to seriously consider.
9. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Nature’s Evolutionary Diet Large Breed
Protein rich, this formula for large adult dogs is a good choice if your pooch is active and on the go. Taking its inspiration from the natural diet of dogs in the wild, this grain free formula supplies energy and essential nutrients to cater for all your dog’s health and wellbeing needs.
With premium whole chicken and fish meal, the recipe is nutritionally balanced with slow-releasing carbohydrates, as well as selected fruit and vegetables. You also get calcium and phosphorus for strong bones along with omega fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals plus joint-health boosting chondroitin and glucosamine.
It is also corn, soy and additive free for a clean approach towards your large dog’s nutritional health.
10. CANIDAE All Life Stages Large Breed Formula
Suitable for all lifestages, we think Canidae’s Premium Dog Food is a good option for younger dogs and so is a contender for best puppy food for large breeds. Made with whole grains, it offers a good level of energy for the large pup on the go but is also nutrient rich to support their development and growth.
Delicious yet lean turkey meal is the single protein source, alongside energy and fiber rich whole grain brown rice. Plus, there are no fillers, wheat, soy or corn to irritate their young digestion. You also get omega 3 & 6, antioxidants, probiotics and joint-support nutrition for total health support.
However, this formula is quite high in calories per portion, so best suited to the growing pup as part of a controlled diet, or an active adult large dog. If you want to find out more about their company, product lines, and recall history, read our review of Canidae Dog Food.
11. Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Dog Food
Your large breed dog has its unique energy needs which Hill’s Science Diet’s specially formulated recipe aims to cater for – and it does it pretty well. Based around a tasty whole chicken and barley recipe, the protein and carbohydrate levels are carefully balanced to support the large dog who has things he needs to do!
But this dry dog food is not all about sustaining your pooch’s active lifestyle as it is packed with nutrients that are essential to a large dog’s good health. These include joint-boosting glucosamine and chondroitin as well as omegas 3 and 6.
You also get an effective antioxidant blend of vitamins and minerals for a healthy immune system and fiber for a happy digestion. And the large kibble is perfect to slow down your pooch if they like to wolf down their pet foods!
12. Wellness Complete Health Large Breed Dog Food
Targeting key large dog breed nutrition goals of healthy joints, weight management, immune system, energy and digestive support, Wellness Complete is solid balanced nutrition for your large or giant adult dog. And with a flavorsome deboned chicken and brown rice recipe, there will be no issue of tempting your big pooch to his food bowl.
The dry kibble is a good size to control the speed of their eating and the recipe contains no fillers, artificial preservatives or meat by-products. Added into this quality ingredient mix, you also get joint supporting glucosamine and chondroitin as well as coat condition boosting omega fatty acids and vitamin E. There are also guaranteed levels of calcium and phosphorus, which are key to the bone and teeth health in large sized canines.
Available in good value 30-pound bags, this Wellness Complete is a safe choice for everyday mealtimes for your pet.
13. Eukanuba Large Breed Adult Dog Food
Eukanuba are known for their balanced nutrition for canines, and their large breed dog food formula is no exception. And it also acknowledges that we pet parents love to spend time and play with our active, on the go doggos.
Their Active Advantage formula aims to support both the physical energy levels of your large dog, and their mental sharpness so your gorgeous pooch can live their life to the full. This adult dry dog food has quality chicken as its number one protein, nutritionally boosted by ingredients including chicken meal for chondroitin and glucosamine, barley and dried beet plus omega rich chicken fat and fish oil. You also get DHA and vitamin E for brain function.
This is a tasty, energy supporting meal for pooches over the age of 15 months that are living their best active lives.
14. Nutro Ultra The Superfood Plate
The concept of superfoods has been a buzzword in human nutrition for quite some time, and it is now making its mark in the canine diet. Nutro’s Ultra formula has taken the idea and developed a superfood blend that works well for the larger sized dog.
With 15 dog-safe superfoods, including blueberries, kale and chia seeds, this delicious dry kibble for large dogs also includes a trio of quality protein – chicken, lamb and salmon. Together you get a dog food that recognizes the unique dietary needs of the larger breed dog to pack powerful nutritional and health boosting punch.
Designed to nourish, provide energy and support your pet’s daily health, this superfood meal is also digestion friendly. And the whole recipe is free of chicken by-products, corn, soy or wheat.
15. Eagle Pack Natural Dog Food
With their formulas proven to support performance dogs, including racing sled dogs, Eagle Pack has used its expertise to bring their know-how to an energy and health supporting dry dog food for large and giant breeds of all life stages.
Using all-natural ingredients, this formula is nutrient rich and certainly not lacking in taste, if the response of users’ dogs is anything to go by. At its heart is a dual mix using chicken and pork meal for a concentrated protein hit. Carefully balanced with good fats and carbohydrates, the result is a nutritious and energy supporting dog food that can also be used to help maintain a healthy weight.
Fortified with immune-supporting antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, there is also chondroitin and glucosamine for healthy joints and omega-rich flaxseed for boosting skin and coat health. And as you would expect with such a natural approach to large breed nutrition, there are fillers, soy, corn or artificial nasties in this tasty recipe.
16. Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food
Digestive issues can be a problem with many large and giant breed dogs which is where the right nutrition is essential. And, with Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food you can be confident you are doing the best by your sensitive dog, while giving them tasty and effective nutrition.
Based around a chicken meal and gut-soothing oatmeal recipe, Holistics Natural have cleverly balanced energy and muscle supporting quality protein with digestive health friendly ingredients.
You get both pre and probiotics, along with live yoghurt cultures, digestive enzymes and plenty of natural fiber. But this recipe is not all about a happy tum as there’s a whole host of other nutrients too. There’s calcium, phosphorus, glucosamine and chondroitin for bone and joint health, as well as taurine for their heart and omegas and antioxidants for immune support and all-round good health. All packed into super-tasty kibble which has a satisfying crunch.
Best Large Breed Dog Food Buying Guide
What are Nutritional Needs of Large and Giant Breed Dogs?
When it comes to diet, all dogs are not the same and the largest breed dogs require higher nutrient density from their food, including:
Due to their slower metabolic rate, large breed dogs require food that is lower in calorific density compared to regular dog food. And this is because in many cases a large and giant breeds will need less calories than a medium-sized dog that is more active to maintain a healthy weight. For more options head over to our guide on dog food for weight loss.
Large breed puppies in particular need careful calorie management as, if they grow too quickly, it can leave them at risk from developmental orthopedic diseases, which includes hip and elbow dysplasia.
However, they still need sufficient calories to sustain their energy and activity levels as well as leaving them feeling satisfied, come chow time.
Large breed dogs require high quality protein to help build and maintain strong muscles as well as support their general energy needs and good health.
As well as protein, large breed adult dogs as well as puppies need sufficient fats, including omega fatty acids to sustain their energy levels as well as their heart, eye and joint health. Omega 3 can also help to prevent inflammation and degeneration of their joints.
Vitamins and Minerals
To sustain and support good health in large breed dogs, they will need a good balance of essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, B, and calcium.
Their larger and heavier frame means large and giant breed dogs need extra support for healthy bones, muscles, tendons, and joints so look for a dog food with glucosamine, which is naturally present in most animal protein but can also be added. Glucosamine is important for joint health and healthy cartilage and can help to protect joints from wear and tear.
Fiber and Probiotics
Large breed dogs can be prone to a sensitive digestion as well as food allergies and can also be susceptible to a condition called bloat, where their stomach becomes twisted. Many large dog foods also have bigger kibble to encourage slower eating in your large breed dog, and to reduce the chance of bloat developing. Check out our guide on the best probiotic for dogs for more info.
Puppy, Adult, or Senior - Does Lifestage Matter?
According to the American Kennel Club, when it comes to feeding large breed dogs, their life stage matters. And this is why you should always choose the most appropriate best large breed dog food for their age.
Large Breed Puppy
Large breed pups grow quickly and then take longer to get to adulthood than smaller dogs. And their initial accelerated growth rate means that their nutrition needs to be spot on, if you are to avoid any health issues related to this rapid development stage.
To avoid associated health conditions such as developmental orthopedic disease a large breed pup needs a large breed dog food that is lower in fat, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D than a regular puppy formula.
Large Breed Adult Dog
The diet of an adult large or giant breed dog is also different to the dog food they were fed as a pup and will need managed calories and quality protein as well as vitamins, minerals and supplements to sustain their activity levels, a healthy weight and general good health.
Adult large breed dogs can also be more susceptible to orthopedic disease and joint issues as well as digestive issues, including the potentially fatal bloat.
Senior Large Breed Adult Dog
As your large breed dog enters his later years, his senior dog food diet and calorie intake requirements to adapt again to his reduced activity as well as any age-related health issues he may well start to experience. And it is important to remember, larger breed dogs tend to have a shorter lifespan than small dogs, so your large breed dog will be considered a senior dog from around seven years of age.
The best dog food for senior large breed adult dogs will also need to take into account potential obesity due to a less active lifestyle and needs to support his weight management. Find out more about senior dog food here.
How is large-breed dog food different from regular food?
Due to the differing life-stage nutritional needs of large dogs and the slower maturity rate of large and giant breed puppies, large breed dog food has some key differences to regular dog food. The best large breed dog food should contain the easily digestible high quality protein as well as the essential carbohydrates, fiber vitamins and minerals you will find in a good quality regular dog food.
However, the best large breed dog food will be tailored to suit the energy requirements of larger canines as well as to help prevent or support the health conditions large dogs are more prone to. These include orthopedic disease, joint health, obesity and digestive issues, such as bloat. The kibble in their large breed dog foods should also be sized appropriately to foster a healthy feeding rate.
What Should You Consider When Buying Large Breed Dog Food?
With a wide choice of large breed dog foods on the market, there are several things dog owners should consider before choosing the right large breed dog food for your particular large breed dog:
As we have already seen, the nutritional needs of a growing large breed puppy are different to the best large dog breed food for adult large breed dogs. Getting the right large breed dog food formula for your large breed dogs lifestage can help dog owners provide appropriate calories for their pet's activity levels, while ensuring they are getting the appropriate nutrients and supplements from their dog food to prevent illness and support good health.
For large breed pups, the kibble needs to be safely sized to avoid choking or even an intestinal obstruction, while larger kibble for adult large breed dogs ensures they eat at a healthy rate.
The health needs of a growing large breed pup can differ from an adult, so always check the ingredient list of their large breed dog foods to ensure they are getting sufficient and targeted nutrition, which according to Canine Weekly should include appropriately added supplementation, eg glucosamine and chondroitin, for joint health.
Any Health Conditions
As well as any breed-specific health conditions your pooch may have or be susceptible to, large dogs are also more prone to certain conditions, including joint problems and hip/elbow dysplasia, digestive sensitivities, and obesity. Check your chosen dog food for large breeds is safe or directly supports your large breed dogs current and future health.
Free From Unnecessary Ingredients
Ensure you opt for high quality dog food which offers complete and balanced nutrition and doesn’t contain any specific ingredients your pet can’t tolerate or is better without, such as wheat, soy or gluten. And wherever possible avoid dog food which is made with artificial preservatives and flavors or has been bulked up with unnecessary fillers which could irritate your dog's digestive system.
How much and how often should I feed my large breed dog?
It is important to remember that just because you have a sizable dog, the contents of their food bowl doesn’t have to be super-sized. When it comes to how much to feed your large breed dog, their age, health and activity levels should be taken into consideration.
But as a rough guide for dog owners, large breed adult dogs (30-40kg in weight) should be fed around 300-410g of food in total per day to keep your dog healthy. And this should also take into account any in-between meal dog treats.
Two meals a day is also sufficient for most large breed dogs, or you could split the daily quantity between three if your doggo prefers more frequent meals.
Can my small dog eat large breed dog food?
For optimum nutrition and health for your dog, you should always feed them a dog food that has high quality ingredients and is appropriate to their breed, size, and age. So, you really should avoid giving your small breed dog a dog food that has been specifically formulated for a large breed. This is because the metabolic rate – the amount of energy they expend- is different between small and large dogs.
Smaller dogs have a higher metabolism so may not get sufficient energy from a large breed formula. They also may have problems with the larger kibble size, which could even be a choke hazard for your mini pooch. To be safe and sure that your dog is getting a balanced diet, always opt for the most appropriate dog food formula for your specific dog breed.