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    Best Large Breed Puppy Food of 2018

    Best Large Breed Puppy Food of 2018

    Did you know that your puppy needs to have certain nutrients that may not be found in many adult dog foods?

    Puppies do a lot of growing in their first year or so of life, and it is important that you ensure that they get the nutrients, and the amounts of nutrients, that they need in order to grow up strong and healthy.

    There are all kinds of different types of dog foods available on the market, and many of them are specifically for puppies, and then they are often broken down into not only puppy food, but food for certain types of puppies.

    Today we are going to take a look our five favorite picks for best large breed puppy food.

    Top Five Puppy Foods for Large Breeds Comparison Chart

    Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Large Breed Puppy Food, Chicken, Salmon & Rice, 30-Pound Bag
    Eagle Pack Natural Dry Large Breed Puppy Food, Lamb, Chicken & Fish, 30-Pound Bag
    Nutro Wholesome Essentials Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food Pasture-Fed Lamb & Rice Recipe, 30 lb. Bag
    Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Puppy, 26-Pound Bag
    TUFFY'S PET FOOD 131115 Nutri Large Breed Chicken/Rice Puppy Food, 30-Pound
    Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Large Breed Puppy Food, Chicken, Salmon & Rice, 30-Pound Bag
    Eagle Pack Natural Dry Large Breed Puppy Food, Lamb, Chicken & Fish, 30-Pound Bag
    Nutro Wholesome Essentials Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food Pasture-Fed Lamb & Rice Recipe, 30 lb. Bag
    Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Puppy, 26-Pound Bag
    TUFFY'S PET FOOD 131115 Nutri Large Breed Chicken/Rice Puppy Food, 30-Pound
    $61.74
    from $14.24
    from $9.99
    $59.99
    $48.79
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    -
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    Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Large Breed Puppy Food, Chicken, Salmon & Rice, 30-Pound Bag
    Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Large Breed Puppy Food, Chicken, Salmon & Rice, 30-Pound Bag
    $61.74
    -
    Eagle Pack Natural Dry Large Breed Puppy Food, Lamb, Chicken & Fish, 30-Pound Bag
    Eagle Pack Natural Dry Large Breed Puppy Food, Lamb, Chicken & Fish, 30-Pound Bag
    from $14.24
    -
    Nutro Wholesome Essentials Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food Pasture-Fed Lamb & Rice Recipe, 30 lb. Bag
    Nutro Wholesome Essentials Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food Pasture-Fed Lamb & Rice Recipe, 30 lb. Bag
    from $9.99
    -
    Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Puppy, 26-Pound Bag
    Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Puppy, 26-Pound Bag
    $59.99
    -
    TUFFY'S PET FOOD 131115 Nutri Large Breed Chicken/Rice Puppy Food, 30-Pound
    TUFFY'S PET FOOD 131115 Nutri Large Breed Chicken/Rice Puppy Food, 30-Pound
    $48.79
    -

    Do large and giant breed puppies really have different nutritional needs than smaller breed puppies? After I adopted my little Bishon, I looked into this question. It turns out that they do have different requirements.

    This can seem counter-intuitive because aren’t all dogs really just sweet, little, domesticated wolves? Actually... no. Dogs — unlike wolves — have been breed purposefully for different physical traits. Breeding accidentally gave dogs unique health problems and therefore, unique nutritional needs.

    When you think about how different a pug is from, say, a Saint Bernard, it actually makes sense.

    Our fur babies are entirely dependent on us to meet their needs. If our dogs are going to live long and healthy lives, we have to give them the healthiest food possible

    Nutritional Needs of a Large Breed Puppy

    Large breed puppies grow for longer periods than small breed puppies. This means they spend longer in puppyhood than their smaller counterparts — their puppyhoods can last up to 2 years!

    Larger-breed pups also gain mass at a higher rate than smaller-breed pups. If you’d like to check your puppy’s breed-size and expected growth rate, try this handy growth estimator.

    A large breed dog is defined by The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) as a dog whose typical adult weight is expected to exceed 70 pounds. However, some experts advise lowering that limit to “50 pounds or more” just to be safe.

    It is important to ensure that your little guy (or gal) gets all the right nutrients to grow up strong and healthy. However, if he (or she) is a large-breed puppy you’ll need to watch for excessive nutrients.

    Excessive nutrients can make your little one grow too quickly. Regular vet visits can help your puppy’s veterinarian determine if he is growing too quickly.

    To prevent large breed dogs from growing too quickly, dog food manufacturers limit the amounts of certain nutrients like fat, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D. Although too much of these ingredients can be bad, so can too little — so you don't want to eliminate them entirely.

    If you want to be sure that a food doesn’t contain too much or too little of these nutrients, look for an AAFCO nutritional adequacy statement on the bag. This is a statement saying that the food meets the requirements of AAFCO. The AAFCO sets the guidelines for canine nutrition.

    Unique Health Problems

    Large breed dogs are susceptible to health problems such as orthopedic issues, obesity, and bloat.

    Orthopedic problems have 3 known contributing factors: Genetics, overfeeding, and too much dietary calcium. One of the more common orthopedic problems in larger breeds is hip dysplasia, in which the hip joints develop abnormally.

    Another orthopedic disorder is osteochondrosis dissecans, which can cause bone deformities and cartilage damage.

    Obesity can have genetic contributing factors but is easily controlled by diet and exercise.

    Bloat is a life-threatening, sudden-onset emergency. The exact causes are not yet known. It is thought that large chest sizes might contribute to it. However, some contributing factors have been discovered. To help prevent bloat:

    • Avoid raised-bowl feeding
    • Avoid heavy exercise after eating
    • Avoid rapid eating of food (these types of bowls can help)
    • Avoid eating a large amount of food
    • Avoid once-a-day feeding
    • Avoid feeding dry foods that have a high-fat content

    How Much Food Should my Puppy Eat?

    cartoon dog with big teeth

    Puppies between 6 months and adulthood should be fed twice daily. Usually, this is done in the morning and evening.

    Adult dogs can be fed once or twice a day based on your dog’s individual needs.

    To find out how many total cups of food to feed per day, consult the instructions on your dog’s food. You’ll need to know the total daily volume of food from which to start since dog food can vary in calories and serving sizes. However, keep in mind that an individual puppy’s caloric needs can vary by as much as 50%, so you may need to make some adjustments over time.

    How Many Times Per Day Should My Puppy Eat?

    One once-popular feeding method — free feeding — is now discouraged, especially for larger breed pups. Free feeding can put your dog at risk for obesity, and contribute to excessive growth.

    According to the American Kennel Association (AKC), puppies 6 months and under should eat 3–4 times per day.

    You can divide the total cups of food equally among feedings, or vary it according to your puppy’s individual needs. However, you want to make sure your pup has adequate energy throughout his day, and enough food in his belly to sleep well at night.

    The AKC website suggests breaking up the feedings as follows:

    • a feeding after your puppy's morning potty break
    • a feeding around noon or lunchtime
    • a feeding at dinnertime

    When Should We Switch to Adult Dog Food?

    For larger breeds, you may have to wait a year or two before your dog is ready for adult dog food. Since each breed is different, you’ll want to track your pup’s weight to see when his or her height and weight becomes that of an adult’s. If you have a mixed breed, consult your veterinarian.

    Now that we’ve covered the basics, let's take a look our five favorite picks for best large breed puppy food of 2018.

    Best Puppy Food for Large Breeds Reviews

    1. Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Food for Large Breeds

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

    Large breed puppies need the nutrients that are going to guarantee their healthy growth. They need kibble that is larger, so they aren’t going to choke on it. They also need to have food that they enjoy eating, and that is not too high in calories. After all, you want them to grow to their proper size, and not to be overweight. That is where Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry food for large breeds comes in.

    Review

    A growing puppy needs a diet that is going to provide them with balanced nutrition, so they get all of the nutrients that they need, and the right amounts of those nutrients. Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Food has been created with the ideal balance of protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals for optimal health.

    This dry dog food is specifically designed for large breed puppies that have longer growth cycles and tend to grow faster than smaller breeds. It offers a complete and balanced daily diet, and helps to control the amount of energy intake so they grow at the right pace. It has calcium and phosphorus to help bone development, and the DHA fatty acid supports eye and brain development.

    See our full review here.

    Sale
    Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Large Breed Puppy Food, Chicken, Salmon & Rice, 30-Pound Bag
    • COMPLETE HEALTH: complete and balanced everyday nutrition for your large breed puppy
    • LARGE BREED PUPPY FORMULA: Larger kibble size, made with delicious deboned chicken with regulated calories and added DHA for healthy bone, brain and eye development
    • ALL NATURAL: Contains only premium, all natural ingredients with no wheat, corn, soy, meat by-products, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives
    • MADE IN USA: Backed by the Wellness Guarantee and proudly made only in the USA

    PROS

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      Controlled calories and less fat
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      Contains no meat by-products or fillers
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      Whole-body nutritional support

    CONS

    • Product may be out of date
    • Some dogs experience gas and diarrhea

    2. Eagle Pack Natural Dry Dog Food

    Eagle Pack Natural Dry Large Breed Puppy Food, Lamb, Chicken & Fish, 30-Pound Bag

    If you would like to ensure that your puppy is getting the right nutrition, and no fillers and unnatural ingredients in their food, a good choice is Eagle Pack Natural Dry Dog Food. This is a complete and balanced puppy food that is 100 percent natural, and made specifically for large breed puppies. This kibble contains only the highest quality, all-natural ingredients, with no meat by-products, corn, wheat, artificial colors or flavors, and preservatives.

    Review

    Here is a larger kibble that will give your puppy a complete and balanced diet. Some of the main ingredients include lamb, chicken, and fish, and it also contains DHA to help support healthy brain and eye development. This is a US brand that has been specializing in healthy dog food for more than 25 years, and all products are proudly made in the US and backed by the Eagle Pack Guarantee.

    Among the best large breed puppy food, this kibble has just the right balance of nutrients, including protein, good carbohydrates, and healthy fats, along with antioxidants and omega fatty acids for healthy growth and development. It contains dual animal proteins including lamb and chicken meals for muscle development, and the controlled calories and balanced minerals work to support the muscular and skeletal growth rate.

    See our full review here.

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    Eagle Pack Natural Dry Large Breed Puppy Food, Lamb, Chicken & Fish, 30-Pound Bag
    • COMPLETE & BALANCED: all natural, delicious dry dog recipe for everyday nutrition for your dog
    • LARGE & GIANT BREED PUPPY FORMULA: A larger kibble, everyday complete & balanced diet made with premium ingredients like real lamb, chicken & fish, plus DHA to help support healthy growth in puppies.
    • ALL NATURAL: Contains only premium, all natural ingredients with no corn, wheat, meat by-products, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives;
    • MADE IN USA: Backed by the Eagle Pack Guarantee and proudly made only in the USA.

    PROS

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      Vitamins and minerals for a strong immune system
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      Contains no corn or wheat
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      Contains no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives

    CONS

    • Some ingredients can cause allergic reactions
    • Can cause diarrhea in some dogs
    • Product may be expired

    3. Nutro WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS Large Breed Dry Puppy Food

    Nutro Wholesome Essentials Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food Pasture-Fed Lamb & Rice Recipe, 30 lb. Bag

    This large breed dry puppy food is made using only natural, healthy ingredients, including pasture-fed lamb. It is loaded with the nutrients puppies need for healthy growth, and this food is specifically tailored to meet the needs of your large breed puppy. It includes Omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA that will help to promote healthy growth and development at all stages of puppyhood.

    Review

    This natural dry dog food is rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that your growing puppy needs. It also contains no artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, and most dogs find it pretty darned tasty. You don’t have to worry about this food being full of fillers such as corn, wheat, and soy protein, and there is also no chicken by-product meal. While the ingredients are non-GMO, there may be some traces of genetically modified material because of minimal cross-contact in the manufacturing process.

    Nutro WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS Natural Dry Dog Food supports healthy skin and coats, and keeps fur soft and luxurious. The vitamins and minerals will help your pup to develop a strong immune system. This kibble helps to support healthy digestion, and provides all of the nutrients that your growing pup needs in the first year or so of life.

    See our full review here.

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    Nutro Wholesome Essentials Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food Pasture-Fed Lamb & Rice Recipe, 30 lb. Bag
    • Contains one (1) 30 lb. bag of NUTRO WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food Pasture-Fed Lamb & Rice Recipe
    • Pasture-fed lamb is the #1 ingredient to help support strong muscles.
    • NUTRO Food for Large Breed Puppies is made with calcium to build strong bones and joints and omega 3 fatty acids like DHA to support healthy growth and development.
    • Crafted with essential antioxidants, such as vitamin E, for a healthy immune system.
    • Made with Non-GMO Ingredients* *Trace amounts of genetically modified material may be present due to potential cross contact during manufacturing.

    PROS

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      Natural ingredients you can actually pronounce
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      Made with real meat, including lamb
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      Ingredients sourced from trusted farmers

    CONS

    • Can cause digestive issues
    • Some dogs don’t like the taste
    • Can cause diarrhea in some dogs

    4. Wellness Core® Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food

    Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Puppy, 26-Pound Bag

    Puppies need a lot of protein in their diets in order to grow and to have energy, so you need to make sure that you are giving your puppy a healthy food that is rich in protein, such as Wellness Core® Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food. This large breed puppy food is free of grains, and made with premium ingredients, including turkey and salmon.

    Review

    Too many dog foods are loaded with fillers and other unhealthy ingredients that aren’t going to help puppies to grow strong and healthy. Wellness Core® Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food is made with all natural ingredients, and includes no wheat, corn, or soy fillers. It also contains no meat by-products, and there are no artificial colors, preservatives, and flavors. It does contain premium turkey, chicken, and salmon.

    This is a kibble that is loaded with protein, because it contains about 80 percent more meat than many of the other popular dog foods on the market. This goes along with the raw feeding philosophy which so many pet parents have been adopting in recent years. This product is made in the USA, and is backed by the Wellness Guarantee.

    Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Puppy, 26-Pound Bag
    • GRAIN FREE: 100% grain free, complete and balanced everyday nutrition for your puppy.
    • PUPPY FORMULA: Naturally grain free, protein rich, made with premium chicken, turkey & salmon with the calories and DHA needed for healthy development in puppies.
    • ALL NATURAL: Contains only premium, all natural ingredients with no wheat, corn, soy, meat by-products, or artificial colors, flavors and preservatives.
    • MADE IN USA: Backed by the Wellness Guarantee and proudly made only in the USA.

    PROS

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      Rich in antioxidants, Omega-3 fatty acids, and probiotics
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      Promotes healthy eyes and teeth
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      Just the right amount of good carbohydrates

    CONS

    • Can cause diarrhea
    • Tears in packaging

    5. NutriSource Large Breed Chicken & Rice Puppy Food

    TUFFY'S PET FOOD 131115 Nutri Large Breed Chicken/Rice Puppy Food, 30-Pound

    Puppies have much more sensitive digestive systems than adult dogs, so they need a kibble that is formulated with their delicate systems in mind. One such food is NutriSource Large Breed Chicken & Rice Puppy Food. This product is specially designed for large and giant breed puppies, giving them the nutrition they need for good muscular and skeletal health.

    Review

    This kibble is ideal for puppies from the weaning stage until they are about 18 months old, or fully matured. Recommended by the Whole Dog Journal, NutriSource Large Breed Chicken & Rice Puppy Food has just the right balance of protein, fat, carbohydrates, and calories for large breed puppies to help them grow properly. It is made with natural ingredients, including chicken, chicken meal, and brown rice.

    Specially designed for large breed puppies, this kibble is fortified with the vitamins and minerals that they need for their entire puppyhood, including vitamin A acetate, vitamin D3 supplement, niacin, folic acid, and riboflavin), as well as adjusted levels of phosphorus and calcium. It is guaranteed to provide your pup with the nutrients they need until they reach adulthood, when you can then switch to NutriSource Adult.

    PROS

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      Made with many natural ingredients
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      Rich in vitamins and minerals
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      Whole Dog Journal reviewed and recommended

    CONS

    • Torn and damaged packaging
    • Some dogs may be allergic to product
    • Can cause diarrhea and stomach aches

    Conclusion

    You need to know that you are giving your dog the nutrients they need throughout every stage of their life, beginning as soon as they are weaned from their mother. Any of the kibbles we have discussed today is going to be a great choice at ensuring that your pup grows up to be strong and healthy. If we had to choose our absolute favorite, it would be Wellness Core® Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, because it meets or exceeds all of our standards. See our FULL review here.

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    About the AuthorAngela Miller

    Hello, my name is Angela Miller. Several years ago, I rescued a little seven-year-old Bichon Frise. I started looking into dog nutrition so I could keep my little love bug for as long as I possibly could. I love my dog too much to feed him unhealthy food. I hope some of the things I've learned along the way will help you and your dog.

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