Best Large Breed Dog Food - Comparison and Reviews

Becky - author

Author: Becky Roberts
Last Updated: November 2019​

Category: Best Dog Foods

Large dog breeds have unique nutritional requirements as they have larger body structures to support, and they require more energy than smaller breeds. Additionally, large breeds undergo high growth rates between life stages, which increases their risk of health problems.

large breed german shepherdWith proper nutrition, you can effectively maintain your dog’s health, energy levels, and quality of life. The food you choose is significant to protect your dog from health problems.

Choosing the right food for your large dog is easier said than done, as there are many different products available. It can be hard to know if a particular ingredient is beneficial for your dog.

To help you find the perfect chow for your pooch, we’ll look at the best large breed dog foods and help you choose the most suitable product for your dog’s unique dietary requirements.

Best Large Breed Dog Food 2019 - Reviews

1. Diamond Naturals Formula for Large Breed Dogs

Diamond Naturals chicken and rice formula for large breed adult dogs is AAFCO approved and has an average fat content and caloric density to cater to the average adult’s dietary needs.

The primary ingredients, namely chicken and chicken meal, are also the primary sources of animal-based protein. Another source of protein in this food is rice bran, which is the outer layer of rice grains. This ingredient provides all three macronutrients, including fat and protein, and it is a source of dietary fiber to promote gastrointestinal health.

The other dietary fiber ingredients in the product include whole grain brown rice, cracked pearled barley, and rice bran.

Chicken is the only significant source of fat. This ingredient contains omega-6 fatty acids and, to a lesser extent, omega-3 fatty acids. Diamond Naturals doesn’t contain flaxseed, which is the most common source of omega-3 fatty acids.

The carbohydrate content of this food is high considering your dog’s dietary needs, but low in comparison with the carb content of other products. As a result, this product is ideal for dogs that are overweight. Four ingredients contain carbs in this dog food, including cracked pearled barley, ground white rice, rice bran, and grain sorghum.

Grain sorghum is a gluten-free carb that is also rich in B vitamins and minerals such as phosphorus, iron, manganese, and magnesium.   

Diamond Naturals Adult Large Breed Real Meat Recipe Premium Dry Dog Food With Real Cage Free Chicken 40Lb

Pros

  • Proteins are mostly animal-based
  • Appropriate fat content for large breeds
  • Rich in minerals and vitamins
  • The product contains no low-quality fillers or artificial ingredients

Cons

  • Carbohydrate content may be too high for some dogs

2. Purina Pro Plan Savor Large Breed Formula

Purina Pro Plan dog food for large breeds is not only AAFCO-approved but also underwent feeding trials, which are widely considered to be the superior testing method.

This product is a healthy source of all three macronutrients, namely protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Chicken is the number one ingredient and most prominent source of animal-based protein and fat. The other protein sources are mostly plant-based and include whole grain wheat, soybean meal, whole grain corn, corn gluten meal, and corn germ meal.

Purina Pro Plan dog food for large breeds is also rich in dietary fiber. The healthiest fiber ingredients include ground rice and barley. Both these ingredients are sources of carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.

Ingredients that provide your dog with essential fatty acids include whole grain corn, chicken, and beef tallow. The latter is preserved with mixed tocopherols and is a rendered form of beef fat, which is a nutritious fat source.

This product contains calcium carbonate to promote orthopedic health as well as supplements for vitamins E, A, B12, and D3. Carbohydrate sources include ground rice and barley. The macronutrient content of this dog food is well-balanced and provides your dog with complete nutrition.

One drawback of this food, though, is that the protein sources are mostly plant-based, so the food may lack the amino acids that your dog needs.

Purina Pro Plan With Probiotics Large Breed Dry Dog Food, SAVOR Shredded Blend Large Breed Formula - 34 lb. Bag

Pros

  • The product underwent feeding trials
  • Rich in minerals and vitamins
  • High fiber content to promote gut health
  • Healthy sources of carbohydrates

Cons

  • Proteins are mostly plant-based

3. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Dry Dog Food for Large Breeds

The dog food from Blue Buffalo is AAFCO-approved and is one of the highest quality products available for large breeds. It has a relatively low carb content, and an appropriate calorie density and fat content for healthy adult dogs.

Another notable property of this dog food is that it derives most of its protein from animal-based ingredients. These protein sources include chicken, chicken meal, menhaden meal, and dried egg product. All these ingredients have high biological values and provide a wide range of health benefits.

This product also contains high-quality sources of plant-based proteins, including peas and dehydrated alfalfa meal. Both these ingredients are healthy sources of dietary fiber and a wealth of minerals and vitamins to promote your dog’s overall health.

Another source of dietary fiber in this product is pea fiber. This particular ingredient is the reason why vets sometimes recommend this food to dogs that are struggling with their sugar levels and colon health.

Flaxseed is a noteworthy ingredient as it is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fiber, protein, B vitamins, and a wide range of minerals. Other sources of essential fatty acids include chicken fat, which is rich in omega-6 fatty acids and fish oil as a source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food, Chicken 24-lb

Pros

  • Animal-based proteins provide amino acids
  • Rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
  • Provides your dog with a wide range of vitamins and minerals
  • High-quality dietary fiber promotes colon health
  • Easily ingestible

Cons

  • Relatively expensive

4. Wellness Complete Health for Large Breed Adult Dogs

Wellness Complete Health’s deboned chicken and brown rice recipe for adult dogs is AAFCO-approved and is another high-quality product for weight maintenance and proper organ functioning.

Protein sources are somewhat limited, but all of them are high-quality ingredients, and they are mostly meat-based. As a result, you can rest assured that your dog is getting all the amino acids he needs.

Ingredients for proteins include chicken, chicken meal, and salmon meal. The plant-based proteins are peas and ground flaxseed. Both the pea and flaxseed ingredients are healthy sources of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

The other ingredients that contain fiber include ground brown rice, barley, oats, oatmeal, tomato, and carrots. The only low-quality source of fiber is tomato pomace, which is widely regarded to be an inexpensive filler. This ingredient is not all bad, however, as it is also a source of vitamin A, the B vitamins, and lycopene.

There are only two notable sources of fat in this product. The first is chicken fat that is a healthy source of linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid. The second is ground flaxseed, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

The two prominent sources of carbohydrates are oats and barley. Both these products are rich in B vitamins and minerals like manganese.

Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Large Breed Dog Food, Chicken & Rice, 30-Pound Bag

Pros

  • Animal-based proteins provide all amino acids
  • High-quality sources of carbs and dietary fiber
  • Contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
  • Unique dog food ingredients like taurine, spinach, and vitamin E

Cons

  • Tomato pomace is considered a low-quality filler
  • Contains traces of garlic powder

5. Canidae All Life Stages Large Breed Dry Dog Formula

Canidae All Life Stages dog food is AAFCO-approved and offers a macronutrient blend that is suitable for maintaining your adult dog’s weight and energy levels.

This product has a crude protein content of around 23% with protein-containing ingredients that include turkey meal, peas, rice bran, and sun-cured alfalfa. Most of these ingredients are plant-based, so the product may not provide your dog with all the necessary amino acids.

However, if your dog has problems with digestion, this product is ideal with its wide range of high-quality dietary fiber sources, including rice bran, sun-cured alfalfa, oatmeal, and millet. Both oatmeal and millet are rich in B vitamins and minerals such as manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium.

There are several vegetables in this formula that contribute to your dog’s fiber, vitamin, and mineral intake. These vegetables include butternut squash, carrot, sage, parsley, blueberry, zucchini, pumpkin, and green bean.

Canidae All Life Stages dog food is also a good source of essential fatty acid. The most prominent fat sources are flaxseed and salmon oil, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Rice bran also provides fat for your dog’s diet.

Despite having a relatively high carb content, there are only two significant carbohydrates in the ingredients, namely rice bran, and pea.

CANIDAE All Life Stages, Premium Dry Dog Food, Large Breed Formula

Pros

  • A high-quality source of dietary fiber
  • Rich in omega-3 fatty acids
  • Provides a wide range of vitamins and minerals
  • Suitable for dogs with digestive problems

Cons

  • Contains canola oil
  • Most protein ingredients are plant-based
  • High carbohydrate content

6. Eukanuba Adult Large Breed Dry Formula

The adult dry food from Eukanuba is AAFCO approved and is one of the higher-quality products on our list.

Meat-based protein sources include chicken and egg products. These ingredients have high biological values, and they are easy to ingest. Their formula measurements are also higher than the plant-based protein sources.

Non-animal protein sources include wheat and corn. Both these ingredients, especially corn, are controversial dog food ingredients. Wheat and corn don’t have the same amino acid profiles as meat, and many professionals question these ingredients’ digestibility and nutritional value.

The most prominent source of dietary fiber in this product is dried plain beet pulp, which is an unsweetened filler than can regulate blood sugar and promote intestinal health.

The vitamin sources in this dog food include vitamins A, B12, and D3 supplements as well as ground grain sorghum, which is rich in B vitamins. This ingredient also provides minerals such as manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron.

Eukanuba Large Breed dog food doesn’t contain flaxseed or salmon oil. The only fat sources are chicken and chicken fat, which provides omega-6 fatty acids. There are no prominent ingredients that contain omega-3 fatty acids, so there is an imbalance in terms of essential fatty acids.

Eukanuba Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food, 33 lb. bag

Pros

  • Most protein sources are meat-based and have high amino acid profiles
  • Rich in minerals and vitamins to promote overall health
  • Authentic flavor for picky eaters
  • Easily digestible
  • Supports intestinal health and regulates blood sugar

Cons

  • The product contains corn and wheat
  • Lack of omega-3 fatty acid sources

7. IAMS Proactive Health Large Breed Adult Dry Food

This dry food product from IAMS Proactive Health has a formula that is AAFCO approved. It stands out from the others in that it has a prominent B vitamin profile. As a result, vets may recommend this food for dogs to boost energy levels and carbohydrate metabolism, regulate hormones, enhance energy metabolism, and facilitate enzyme function.

Sources of B vitamins in this product include ground whole grain barley, a vitamin B12 supplement, ground whole grain sorghum, flaxseed, and choline chloride.

Another benefit of this dog food is that most of its protein sources are animal-based, and they have a high amino acid profile. These ingredients include real chicken and dried egg products. Plant-based protein sources in the food include ground whole grain corn, dried brewers’ yeast, and flaxseed.

IAMS Proactive Health large breed dog food has a well-balanced essential fatty acid content, too. Ingredients containing omega-6 fatty acids include chicken and chicken fat. Flaxseed is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. It is also rich in dietary fiber, which promotes intestinal health. Other fiber-rich ingredients include carrot and dried beet pulp.

Several ingredients provide your dog with minerals such as phosphorus, iron, manganese, magnesium, and calcium. These products include ground whole grain corn, ground whole grain sorghum, dried brewer’s yeast, flaxseed, and carrot.

IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH Large Breed Premium Adult Dry Dog Food (1) 30 Pound Bag

Pros

  • Rich source of B vitamins
  • Protein sources are animal-based
  • Real chicken as a primary ingredient
  • The balanced essential fatty acid content

Cons

  • Contains caramel color which can trigger food sensitivity
  • The chicken by-product is a controversial ingredient

8. Nutro Wholesome Essentials for Adult Large Breeds

NUTRO Wholesome Essentials dry dog food has a balanced macronutrient formula and is available in a chicken, brown rice, and sweet potato flavor.

The most significant feature of this product is that most protein ingredients are animal-based. As a result, this food has an optimal amino acid profile. Meat-based proteins in this dog food include chicken, chicken meal, and lamb meal.

Plant-based proteins include split pea, rice bran, and flaxseed. All these plant-based protein sources are also excellent sources of dietary fiber, but they are not the only ones. Other ingredients that are rich in dietary fiber include whole brown rice, dried sweet potato, and dried plain beet pulp.

Because of this wide range of fiber-rich ingredients, this food promotes intestinal health and can help with the regulation of blood sugar. It is also rich in fat. Chicken fat is a source of omega-6 fatty acids. Flaxseed and rice bran provide your dog with sufficient omega-3 fatty acids. 

Nutro Wholesome Essentials has a carb content of around 48%. Primary carb sources in this product include whole-grain sorghum, rice bran, and dried sweet potato.

Minerals and vitamins are integral to promote your dog’s overall health. These ingredients include vitamins E, B12, A, and D3 supplements, as well as choline chloride, which is a member of the B-vitamin complex.

NUTRO WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS Natural Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food Farm-Raised Chicken, Brown Rice & Sweet Potato Recipe, 30 lb. Bag

Pros

  • Animal-based proteins for an optimal amino acid profile
  • Rich in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids
  • High-quality sources of dietary fiber

Cons

  • Brewers’ rice is a low-quality grain

9. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food

Hill’s Science Diet dry dog food for large breed adults has a chicken meal and barley flavor and is AAFCO-approved. This product has a 10% moisture content, a relatively low-fat content, and a low-calorie density.

Ingredients that are sources of protein include chicken meal, whole grain wheat, whole grain corn, and corn gluten meal. Whole grain wheat and corn are not considered to be high-quality sources of protein. Additionally, chicken meal is the only animal-based source of protein, and, as a result, this product doesn’t have the best amino acid profile.

Sources of dietary fiber in this product include cracked pearled barley, pea fiber, flaxseed, and dried beet pulp. These ingredients have a high quality, and they are rich in minerals and vitamins. Low-quality sources of fiber in this dog food include powdered cellulose and whole-grain wheat.

This product has a relatively low fat content, but it has a balanced essential fatty acid content. Soybean oil provides omega-6 fatty acids and no omega-3 acids. The latter is supplied by flaxseed, which is also a source of B vitamins and a wide range of minerals.

The food has an authentic pork flavor that is derived from natural sources, but it has little nutritional value.

Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult, Large Breed, Light,  Chicken Meal & Barley Recipe, 30 LB Bag

Pros

  • Highly quality dietary fiber ingredients
  • Rich in minerals and vitamins
  • No artificial colors or preservatives

Cons

  • Proteins are mostly plant-based
  • Low amino acid profile

10. Nutro Ultra Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Nutro Ultra’s food for large breeds is another high-quality product with a suitable amino acid profile to promote body tissue development.

Animal-based protein sources in this product include real chicken, chicken meal, lamb meal, and salmon meal. These primary ingredients are more prevalent than the plant-based protein ingredients, which include rice bran and whole flaxseed.

Another feature that contributes significantly to this food’s quality is the full range of high-quality dietary fiber sources. These ingredients include whole brown rice, rice bran, whole-grain oatmeal, and dried beet pulp. Whole flaxseed is also an excellent source of fiber.

Like most other dog foods, this product contains several sources of omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids. Chicken and chicken fat provide omega-6 fatty acids, and flaxseed is a quality source of omega-3 fatty acids. Additionally, this food also contains sunflower oil, which is an omega-6 fatty acid source.

Nutro Ultra is a good source of minerals and vitamins, as it contains choline chloride, and supplements for vitamins E, B12, A, and D3. The product also contains potassium chloride, which is a potassium supplement.

Nutro Ultra Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food With A Trio Of Proteins From Chicken, Lamb And Salmon, 30 Lb. Bag

Pros

  • Animal-based protein sources
  • A high amino acid profile
  • High-quality sources of essential fatty acids, including sunflower oil
  • High in dietary fiber

Cons

  • A relatively high carbohydrate content
  • Contains tomato pomace and brewers’ rice

How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Large Breeds

Choosing the appropriate dog food for your large breed comes down to taking the correct buying considerations into account. You may also want to see your vet determine if your dog has any special dietary needs. Your vet can recommend a particular dog food to address health concerns.

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Below, we will take a look at the crucial buying considerations as well as frequently asked questions to help you optimize your large dog nutrition needs.

What Things to Consider When Buying Large Breed Dog Food

Nutritional Needs of Large Breed Dogs

Proteins

The protein content is widely regarded to be the most significant consideration when purchasing dog food. This macronutrient consists of amino acids and plays several roles in your dog’s body. Your dog needs proteins for the development of muscle tissue, the formation of new skin cells, and in the creation of body chemicals like enzymes and hormones.

A dog needs 22 amino acids to make the protein he needs. To prevent a lack of amino acids, opt for products containing animal-based protein sources instead of plant-based ones.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are a practical source of energy for large breed dogs, but they are not essential. Ingredients containing carbs include, among others, wheat, barley rice, and potatoes. Many dog food manufacturers add too many carbs because it has a long shelf life, it is widely available, and it is more affordable than proteins and fat.

When taking a dog’s ancestral diet into account, however, it is clear that carbs should ideally only be around 14% of your dog’s diet. However, the carb content of lower-quality dog foods can be as high as 80%.

Fats

Dogs are not susceptible to the same lifestyle health issues as humans, even if they eat a high-fat diet. Fats provide your large breed dog with twice as much energy as carbohydrates and proteins, and his diet should be around 10% to 15% fat.

Fats consist of fatty acids, and they are highly digestible by dogs. Your dog absorbs the nutrients from fat first as a source of energy. Fatty acids are also necessary for the development of muscles, nerves, and other body tissue.

Vitamins and Minerals

There are countless health benefits to a sufficient vitamin and mineral intake, from eye and skin health to cell growth and the prevention of blood clotting. Your large breed dog needs vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K.

Fiber

Many people overlook fiber as a dog food component – mainly because it comes from plant-based ingredients. However, fiber is essential to improve the health of your dog’s digestive tract, managing a healthy weight, and preventing diabetes.

Whole foods and vegetables are the best sources of fiber, for example, sweet potatoes, green beans, and peas. Watch out for low-quality fiber ingredients like cellulose, corn, or tomato pomace.

Life Stage of Large Dog

Puppy

Large breed puppies require a balanced diet of fat, protein, and calcium. Puppies use more energy than an adult and senior dogs, so they need high-quality food that meets their energy requirements.

To promote skeletal growth, the food you select for your puppy should also contain sufficient proteins and calcium. Ideally, puppy food should contain 1.5% calcium, 30% animal-based protein, and 9% fat.

Adult

Large breed adult dogs require a diet that has a lower caloric density than a small dog or medium breeds. Large breeds typically have slow metabolic rates, and they don’t burn calories as fast as small dogs. Additionally, adults need more minerals and vitamins than puppies to promote overall health and prevent orthopedic diseases.

Senior

As dogs get older, they undergo a shift in dietary requirements. Generally, a dog is a senior when it enters the last third of its life expectancy.

The nutritional requirement of senior dogs depends on underlying medical conditions that can affect their weight, appetite, orthopedic, or cardiovascular health. Consult with your vet before buying food for your senior dog.

Large Dogs Health Conditions and Special Dietary Needs

Hip Dysplasia and Other Joint Diseases

As large breed dogs get older, they start struggling with conditions like arthritis, especially if they are overweight. Your dog’s diet can alleviate these conditions. Ingredients containing DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, medium-chain triglycerides in coconut oil, and joint supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin can reduce these symptoms. 

Weight Management

If your dog is losing weight, he may need a high-fat diet. However, if weight loss is the result of a muscle mass problem, a high-protein diet may be an appropriate solution. If your dog is obese, a low-fat, low-carb diet may be the answer.

FAQ’s

Can Large Breed Dogs Eat Regular Dog Food?

Your large breed dog can eat food for medium or small breeds, but this is not a sustainable and healthy solution. Large breed dog food has specific formulas to cater to your dog’s dietary needs. If you feed your dog regular food, he may not get the complete and balanced nutrition he needs.

Large breed dog food also consists of larger kibbles with a specific consistency to clean your dog’s teeth and gums. Regular dog food doesn’t have this benefit.

How Much Should I Feed my Large Breed Dog?

How much you should feed your dog per day depends on its weight. There are some general measurements you can follow if your vet didn’t recommend a feeding amount based on activity level, age, or health condition:

  • 60 pounds: 3 cups per day
  • 70 pounds: 3 ½ cups per day
  • 80 pounds: 3 ¾ cups per day
  • 90 pounds: 4 ¼ cups per day
  • 100 pounds: 4 ½ cups per day

Which Breed Qualifies as Large?

A dog is considered a large breed if it weighs at least 50 pounds and has a height of 24 inches or more. The most prominent large dog breeds are the Great Dane, St. Bernard, Napoleon Mastiff, Scottish Deerhound, and Newfoundland.

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