I just love large breed dogs. So when I got my two adorable little labrador pups, Max and Jessie, I wanted to get them the best possible food for their wellbeing. Do you have a large breed puppy? If you do, you want to make sure you give your puppy the best large breed puppy food to support their healthy growth.
Different breeds have different nutritional needs. My labrador puppies, for example, are prone to skeletal growth problems. Many large breed dogs are. To avoid these health issues, you want to make sure that you meet their nutritional requirements
The best way to avoid health problems in your puppy’s future is to support healthy growth from the start.
In this article, I will help you choose the best food for your large breed puppy.
Let’s dive right in.
Things to Consider before choosing best large breed puppy food
Did you know that compared to a young adult dog, your puppy grows almost 20 times faster? That is very fast growth! To support your puppy and all the energy he needs to make that rapid growth possible, you want to give him the right stuff.
Your puppy’s nutritional requirements will depend on its body size and energy levels. You will need to give your puppy food that will meet their needs regarding balanced proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, fatty acids, and minerals.
Compared to smaller breeds, large dogs are more prone to health issues, especially as they age. By providing your large breed puppy with their optimal nutritional requirements, you lay the foundation for their lifelong well-being.
Large breed puppies grow faster than small breeds, and they stay puppies for longer. For these reasons, your large breed puppy is more likely to suffer from skeletal problems.
Larger breeds tend to suffer more from problems like:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Osteochondrosis (OCD)
- Developmental Orthopedic Disease (DOD)
- Elbow Dysplasia
The nutritional requirements for your large breed puppy are different to those of a small breed puppy. Large breed puppy foods should have lower levels of calcium and phosphorus compare to those of small breed foods.
Because your large breed will grow much bigger than a small breed puppy, his food needs to be less energy dense. This ensures your puppy grows slowly and steadily. Steady growth means you can avoid the health issues mentioned above.
But don’t you worry, armed with the right information about feeding your large breed puppy, you can avoid these problems. So read on and find out how you can choose the best food for your large breed puppy.
Our goal is a Healthy Happy Puppy!
If you just follow a guideline blindly without question, you may cause a problem Apart from the guidelines below; you should use some common sense.
- Does your puppy look healthy and happy?
- Is he looking a little over or under weight?
- How active is your puppy?
- Is it very cold or hot where you live?
All these different factors contribute to how many calories your puppy burns. Life is as it is. Conditions are always changing. So to your dog’s needs will change as he grows.
So, make a habit of observing your puppy every day. You will know him better. In time you will know him well enough to know when something is out of balance. If something looks wrong, ask yourself why? What can you do to improve it?
Quantity – daily caloric requirements
You want to meet your puppy’s daily caloric needs to support his rapid growth rate. A good commercial dog food will give a feeding guideline.
Make sure the puppy food that you choose is age-appropriate. While the guidelines are helpful, take the following things into consideration:
- Where do your puppy’s calories come from?
- Do your puppy’s calories only come from commercial dog food?
- Do you feed your puppy other treats?
- Does your puppy get any calories from fresh fruit or veg?
- Do you feed your puppy any raw meat or other treats?
The Danger of Overfeeding
You want your puppy to get enough calories in a day. But you don’t want to feed him too much either. If you let your dog eat whenever he feels like it, he may just overfeed. This is called free choice feeding.
- Over feeding is dangerous because your puppy can grow too fast.
- Over feeding can lead to serious health problems later in your puppy’s life.
- Over feeding is dangerous because your puppy can get too fat.
If at all possible it is best to keep your puppy on a feeding schedule. In this way, you can feed your puppy smaller amounts at a time, three or four times a day.
Ingredients to Look For:
- Protein from whole animal products
The bulk of you puppy’s diet should be protein. The best protein should come from a good natural source like lamb, salmon or chicken.
- Carbs from Healthy Grains
Look for a healthy level of carbs from white or brown rice or oats. Many dog foods are packed with cheap grains as fillers to drive the bulk up and the price down. Your puppy’s digestive system is not evolved to cope with grains, so potatoes and sweet potatoes are often a better choice.
- Natural Fats and Oils
Generous amounts of these ensure all round well being and health. Healthy fats and oils will ensure your puppy’s coat looks shine, and his muscle develops correctly.
- Essential Vitamins and Minerals
As we mentioned before your puppy needs a healthy balance of calcium and phosphorus. Also, a good diet includes a wide range of other minerals and vitamins including vitamins A, C, E, B-complex, Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids.
Ingredients to Avoid:
- By-products from Meat and Vegetables
Some brands use these by-products to stuff in extra protein. This is no good for your puppy as these by-products can come from all sorts of nasty sources you don’t even want to think consider. Stick to recognizable whole animal products.
- Grain fillers
Avoid food that is bulked up with more cheap carbs from grains than protein. Your puppy is a carnivore remember!
- Corn Syrup
This is a type of sugar that is commonly used to flavor foods. Too much sugar is bad for your puppy and can lead to health problems like hyperactivity, obesity or even diabetes.
Some cheap dog foods contain all kinds of artificial flavorings, colorants, and sweetness. These are like poison for your puppy and should not be in his diet at all. Read the list of ingredients on the back of the food carefully. Beware of things like growth hormones, pesticides, BHA, BHT, Synthetic vitamin K, Hydrochloric Acid, Ethoxyquin, and Propylene Glycol.
Harmful food for large breed puppies
There are some foods that you should never feed your large breed puppy. Here is a list of foods that are a bug No No for your pup.
- Moldy food
- Pips and Seeds from Apples, Cherries, Peaches and Mustard Seeds.
- Avocado, Grapes or the green parts (leaves and stems) of tomatoes.
- These Nuts: Macadamia or Walnut
- Yeast and Hops, this includes Beer and Yeast Dough.
- Alcohol, Coffee or Tea.
- Candy, Chocolate, Xylitol or Artificial Sweeteners.
- Garlic, Onions or Salt
- Excessively fatty food
- Grain hulls
Too Much Calcium
In large breed puppies, too much dietary calcium can cause health problems. It increases your puppy’s risk of skeletal disease like hip dysplasia.
The reason for this is puppies can not regulate their calcium absorption very well.
Ensure that the food you choose follows the calcium guidelines below.
Calcium Guidelines for Your Large Breed Puppy
Your puppy food should have a Calcium to Phosphorous ratio of 1:1 to 1.8:1
On a dry matter basis if should contain
- 1.2 to 1.8% calcium
- 1.0 to 1.6% phosphorus
Caution for Canned and Raw Feeders
Your growing puppy eats a lot. Raw food can be expensive compared to kibble.
Take note of the fact that most canned and raw foods have very high-fat levels. So that means your puppy gets more calories per kilogram on a dry matter basis compared to dry food.
Because raw feed can be so energy dense, it is important to make sure it meets these calorie-weighted nutrient requirements:
- A ratio of 2 to 4.5g calcium/1000 calories
- A ratio of 2.5 to 4. phosphorus/1000 calories
- Calcium to Phosphorous ratio of 1:1 to 1.8:1
Common Large Breed Puppy Health Problems
- Hip Dysplasia
- Elbow Dysplasia – the result of various abnormalities in the development of your dog’s elbow joint. It this is severe in your dog, he may need surgery to reduce pain.
- Panosteitis – this often occurs in growing large breed dogs. It is a type of inflammation. Puppies that get pano, usually do so before one year of age. If your puppy suddenly has pain and limps, or hops from one leg to the other go to a vet immediately. These symptoms are classics signs of pano.
- Bloat also known as GDV (Gastric Dilation-Volvulus – this is a nasty condition and if your puppy shows any signs of GDV get to a veterinarian immediately. His tummy fills with air, which can be life-threatening.
If your puppy suffers from chronic ear inflammation, poor coat quality, obsessive licking, chronic gas, diarrhea vomiting he may have an allergy and should be tested by a qualified veterinarian. Common food allergies in dogs include:
It is important to find a nice balance between value for money and the best large breed puppy food for your dog. You don’t want to end up broke. Your puppy is growing and will need food for many years to come.
Don’t make your choice based just on the price. Some cheap animal foods just don’t have the right nutritional requirements. If your budget is small, stick to kibble instead of feeding raw or canned foods.
Best large breed puppy food 2017 – Top 10
It can be confusing and overwhelming when you start looking for the best food for your fluffy bundle of joy. There are hundreds of brands out there.
That is why I have made a list of the best large breed puppy foods for 2017. I spent hours searching and comparing different brands to bring you my top ten choices that you can buy now.
|Castor and Pollux Organix Puppy Recipe Chicken, Brown Rice and Flaxseed||Castor & Pollux||Puppy Recipe||Organic Chicken, Brown Rice and Flaxseed||Certified Organic||Dry|
|Castor & Pollux Natural Pet Foods Organic Grain Free Small Breed Recipe - Certified Organic Chicken and Peas||Castor & Pollux||Organic Grain Free Small Breed Recipe||Organic Chicken and Peas||Certified Organic and Grain Free||Dry|
|Holistic Select Large and Giant Breed Puppy Health Lamb and Oatmeal Recipe||Holistic Select||Large and Giant Breed Puppy Health Lamb and Oatmeal Recipe||Lamb Meal,|
Ground Brown and White Rice
|Wellness Complete Health Large Breed Puppy Deboned Chicken, Brown Rice and Salmon Meal Recipe||Wellness||Large Breed Complete Health Puppy Recipe||Deboned Chicken, Whitefish and chicken meal||Dry|
|Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Puppy Formula Smoked Salmon||Taste of the Wild||Pacific Steam Dry Dog Food For Puppy||Salmon, Ocean Fish Meal and Sweetpotatoes||Dry|
|Eagle Pack Large & Giant Breed Puppy||Eagle Pack||Natural Pet Food, Large and Giant Breed Puppy Formula||Lamb Meal, Ground Brown and White Rice||Dry|
|Natural Balance Large Breed Puppy Limited Ingredients Lamb and Brown Rice||Natural Balance||Limited Ingredient Diets Large Breed Puppy & Adult||Lamb Meal, Ground Brown and White Rice||Dry|
|Canidae Life Stages Large Breed Puppy Duck Meal, Brown Rice & Lentils Formula||Canidae||Life Stages Large Breed Puppy||Duck Meal, Brown Rice and Lentils||Dry|
|Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Dry Large Breed Puppy Food Chicken||Blue Wilderness||High Protein Grain Free Puppy Large Breed||Chicken||Yes||Dry|
|Merrick Grain Free Puppy Recipe Debonened Chicken, Potatoes, Peas and Sweet Potatoes||Merrick||Grain Free Real Duck and Sweet Potatoe Recipe||Duck and Sweet Potatoe||Yes||Dry|
Our Top Pick for Best Dog Food for German Shepherd 2017
I spent hours examining all the different large breed puppy foods available on the market. I compared nutritional content, protein sources and the pros and cons of each one. All the products on our Top 10 List of Large Breed Puppy Foods are very good and deserve their spot.
In the end, there was one that stood out above all the others and that is Castor and Pollux Large Breed Puppy Food. This product not only meets the basic criteria for a good large breed puppy food, it goes over and beyond.
This recipe’s superior ingredients, all organically sourced makes it stand out above all the rest. No other product on our list can claim their ingredients are organically sourced. Not only that but it boasts significantly higher quantities, and more of all the essential vitamins and minerals that a growing puppy needs.
For these reasons Castor and Pollux Large Breed Puppy Food is our top choice for the Best Large Breed Puppy Food for 2017.
Analysis & Review
Best Large Breed Puppy Food #1: ROYAL CANIN BREED HEALTH NUTRITION German Shepherd Puppy dry dog food
Castor and Pollux prepare this organically certified recipe with the best ingredients your puppy could want. No more stress about the presence of pesticides or genetically modified ingredients.
It packs a whopping 26% crude protein from certified organic whole chicken. The carbs in this recipe come from healthy sources, predominantly from Millet and peas, which are also a good source of fibre.
The recipe has a good calcium phosphorous balance and healthy amounts of Iron, Zinc, Ameno Acid Complex, Vitamin D, Riboflavin and Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for your puppy’s healthy development.
My puppy just loves the taste and the best part is that it actually smells good when you open the bag.
Best Large Breed Puppy Food #2: Wellness Complete Health Large Breed Puppy Deboned Chicken, Brown Rice and Salmon Meal Recipe
Wellness is such a great name! It just reminds you of what you want for your puppy as he grows. And with large breeds growing so rapidly at a young age, you want a well-balanced mix of nutrition.
That is why I love Wellness Complete Health, They have made an excellent product. The correct calcium phosphorus level ensures you get the optimal balance for your rapidly growing puppy.
The main ingredients in Wellness Complete Health Puppy are Deboned Chicken, Brown Rice, and Salmon Meal. I like a whole protein as the main ingredient. With meal proteins, I get a little worried sometimes, just because you never know what else could be in there.
I like the variety of fruit and veg that are included in this mix. The other plus point for me is that it contains chicory root. Chicory root has a lot of insulin which is a natural source of soluble dietary fiber. It also acts as a prebiotic to keep your puppy’s digestive tract healthy.
Best Large Breed Puppy Food #3: Holistic Select Large and Giant Breed Puppy Health Lamb and Oatmeal Recipe
I must admit here, that the first time I bought Holistic Select’s food, I did so solely based on the packaging. I just love the little puppy shining like an angel in the middle of the green lotus. The bag serves as a good reminder that our goal is a Happy Healthy Puppy. That is kind of a great intention to hold when you feed your little one.
Once I had my bag of Holistic Select at home, of course, I read the label. As it turned out, I had not made a wrong choice. “Puppy Health” was exactly what I needed for little Jessie’s sensitive digestive system. There had been more than one occasion where other foods just made her sick. Too much of something and she would just not be able to hold it in.
I slowly transitioned Jessie over to this food over a period of seven days to give her time to adjust. We were both happier for it. Her tummy problems were gone, and my cleaning vomit after meals was over. Yay, happy puppy, happy owner.
Turns out “Puppy Health” is packed with all kinds of goodness. These guys packed a variety of ingredients into this one. The main ingredients are lamb meal, ground brown and white rice and chicken Meal. Holistic Select is rather different here compared to many other brands. The amount of protein that comes from the main ingredients is relatively lower. Instead, there is a variety of plant-based protein from quinoa, flax seed, dry anchovy and sardine, chicken fat and the list goes on.
A myriad of other superfoods, herbs, vegetables, fruits and oils contribute to the food’s extra good stuff. These include Vitamins, Omega Fatty acids, Beta-Carotene, DHA, Taurine, and probiotics.
Best Large Breed Puppy Food #4: Castor & Pollux Natural Pet Foods Organic Grain Free Small Breed Recipe – Certified Organic Chicken and Peas
Yes, Yes I know it is a Small Breed Recipe. But I had to put it on my list. I just love this brand so much for they certified organic ingredients.
In truth, I would buy good quality organic products over other products anyway. My reason being that I can sleep well knowing that my puppy is not eating something with chemical pesticide residue from sprayed ingredients. There is no hormones or antibiotics from treated livestock products either.
Did I mention that Castor & Pollux Organix are free of GMO’s?
Well, they are. If you have not tried it yet, give it a go. The healthy natural ingredients may just be the difference your dog needs.
Best Large Breed Puppy Food #5: Eagle Pack Large & Giant Breed Puppy Lamb and Chicken Meal
Eagle has been around for over 25 years, so they must be getting something right! This lovely recipe contains no corn, wheat, meat by-products or artificial color or artificial flavorings.
The recipe has a good balance of all the essentials and DHA for healthy brain and eye development. All good reasons to make it onto my list of top 10 large breed puppy foods.
This particular mix is for the really big breeds: adult weight over 50lbs. So if your puppy is on the smaller scale of large breeds, this may not be the right choice for your puppy.
I like the name Eagle Pack; the “Pack” part serves to remind me of the nature of my puppy. Your puppy and your family are your pack! Every healthy young pup needs a pack to complete his education and give him loving support as he grows. Good nutrition is not the only thing that counts.
The biggest drawback for me about this particular product is the poor red packaging. I just don’t like the color; it looks too bloody to me. But hey, it is the inside that counts! And that is where your puppy’s nutrition is from. He is not going to be eating the packaging we hope!
Best Large Breed Puppy Food #6: Natural Balance Large Breed Puppy Limited Ingredients Lamb and Brown Rice
Natural Balance has been around for more than twenty years. They are serious about their customers, so each batch is tested and results posted online for clients to scrutinize
Natural Balance is a high-quality brand, and they don’t compromise on quality. While maintaining the high quality, Natural balance is relatively lower in price compared to similar foods.
The only downside to Natural Balance’s large breed puppy recipe is the lack of whole meat as a source of protein.
The limited ingredients make it ideal for your puppy if he is prone to food sensitivities or allergies. The main ingredients in the recipe are lamb meal and brown rice. Brown rice is my top choice when looking for a filler as it has extraordinary nutritional qualities compared to white rice and other conventional fillers.
Best Large Breed Puppy Food #7: Merrick Grain Free Puppy Recipe
Debonened Chicken, Potatoes, Peas and Sweet Potatoes
With its very high protein content, you can’t go wrong if your puppy likes Merricks Puppy REcide. The recipe is packed full of fresh produce to ensure a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals. The Omega 3 and 6 Oils in the mix are beneficial fats and contribute to your puppy’s healthy coat and healthy hart.
I like the added sweet potatoes and peas as a quality source of carbohydrates compared to some other fillers.
The great protein in this mix comes from poultry and fish. The rest is packed with fresh produce, vitamins and minerals.
The one downside about this product is that it contains potato protein, which can be a controversial ingredient.
Best Large Breed Puppy Food #8: Canidae Life Stages Large Breed Puppy Duck Meal, Brown Rice & Lentils Formula
Pronouncing the name of this brand can be baffling. But when it comes to choosing the best large breed puppy food you can not go wrong with choosing Canidae Life Stages Duck Meal, Brown Rica and Lentils formula.
It is specially designed for your rapidly growing puppy. It provides higher protein and omega three fatty acids that most of its competitors while having less fat.
The Duck meal in this product is an excellent source of protein and has the added benefit of providing Carnite. Carnite is important to your puppy as it acts as a vehicle to transport essential fatty acids for cellular energy production. A lack of Carnite in your puppy’s diet can lead to heart disease. A good amount of Carnite ensures that the heart and skeletal muscles will be healthy.
As I have never fed my own dog Canidae, I searched to see what other customers had to say. Six customers reported severe diarrhea from this formula. However, I think these cases are the exception rather than the rule and are most probably due to to a specific ingredient that some dogs are sensitive too.
Out of 15000 reviews, 75% were 5-star, 11% of customers gave it a 4-star rating and only six customers had problems with their puppy getting dire. That is less than 0.5%.
Best Large Breed Puppy Food #9: Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Dry Large Breed Puppy Food Chicken
So many people are happy with their puppy on this food and get good results. It is also very affordable for a quality puppy food.
A high energy food specifically designed for large breed puppies. I love the fact that the protein comes from whole chicken and that there are no meat by-products in it.
It is probably not a great choice if your puppy is not very active.
Best Large Breed Puppy Food #10: Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Puppy Formula Smoked Salmon
This puppy blend has a whopping 27% protein and includes, Prebiotic fiber and K9 strain probiotics. It is rich in Antioxidants and DHA. The main ingredient is Salmon and most puppies just love the taste.
This is a lovely grain free recipe for your pup that I can recommend. It also has a nice variety of fruit and veg to ensure an excellent rich antioxidant level to support healthy growth.
Not an excellent choice for your puppy if he is allergic or sensitive to fish.
Final Words – Wrapping it up
Finding the best food for you large breed puppy can be fun. If you know what your puppy’s needs are. I hope by reading this guide, you are armed with enough information to feed your puppy correctly. Let’s keep those cute little tails wagging joyfully!
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