Best Large Breed Puppy Food To Keep Your Pet Healthy And Happy

best food for german shepherd to gain weight

The nutritional requirements of large breed puppies are quite different to the small and medium breeds. Since most of the puppy foods are formulated to meet the needs of the small and medium breeds, you have got to be extra mindful while choosing the food for your pet. Although larger breed puppies take a long time to mature, they grow rapidly at first. The best large breed puppy food should, therefore, consist of the right amount of calories, calcium, and phosphorus. It is also important not to underfeed or overfeed the puppy or it could lead to orthopedic issues.

Quick Look : Top 5 Best Large Breed Puppy Food 

* Click on the Best Large Breed Puppy Food brands for more information, prices and details. Alternatively, scroll down below to read our overview.

Reviews Of The Best Large Breed Puppy Food

1. Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food

​Features

  • This dog food is completely grain free and will serve as a perfectly balanced everyday nutrition for your puppy
  • It is made with premium quality chicken, salmon, and turkey and is therefore very rich in protein and calories. It provides the puppies with DHA required for a healthy development.
  • It is an all natural dog food with no added flavors, preservatives or artificial colors
  • Does not contain wheat, soy or meat by products
  • It is made in the USA and backed by the Wellness Guarantee
  • The customers are provided with discounts upon subscription

Pros

  • Has antioxidant ingredients like blueberries and broccoli
  • Has flaxseed and fish oils that are great for the skin and the fur of the puppies
  • It is highly digestible for the puppies
  • Does not contain grains and therefore does not upset the dog’s stomach

Cons

    • Has caused vomiting in some cases
    • The finicky eaters may not prefer this food

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2. Orijen Large Breed Puppy

​Features

  • It is formulated in a way so as to replicate a dog’s natural diet.
  • It contains 80% meat from chicken, turkey, whole eggs and freshly caught fish
  • 20% of it is vitamin rich fruits and vegetables
  • The puppy food has a very limited amount of carbohydrate
  • Has healthy levels of calcium and phosphorus required for a proper growth
  • Has bacterias that aid in the digestion process of the puppies

Pros

  • The puppies enjoy the taste
  • Gives smooth and shining fur coat
  • Does not contain an excess of filler products
  • Cost efficient
  • Provides high energy to the puppies

Cons

    • Gives bad smelling poop
    • Can cause loose stools

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3. CANIDAE Life Stages Dry Dog Food for Puppies, Adults & Seniors

​Features

  • This can be used for dogs all ages, breeds, and sizes
  • Since it can be used for dogs as well as cats, it can help in a convenient and neat storage
  • The pet food has a dense nutrition content
  • It is very rich in proteins
  • Does not contain wheat, soy or corn

Pros

  • Abides by the AAFCO nutritional requirements
  • Uses high-quality ingredients
  • Limited amount of grains

Cons

  • Cannot be fed to pets with sensitive stomach

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4. Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Large Breed Puppy Food

​Features

  • It serves as a balanced everyday nutrition for your dogs
  • Formulated especially for the large breed puppies
  • The kibbles are larger and contain deboned meat
  • Has regulated calorie content and added DHA
  • Does not contain any artificial flavors, colors or preservatives

Pros

Cons

  • Can cause weight increase
  • Can cause gas formation

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5. Wilderness Blue Buffalo High Protein Dry Adult Dog Food

​Features

  • Has a high salmon content, thus making the food very palatable among the dogs
  • The formula is inspired by the diet of the wolves
  • Does not contains grains
  • Rich in chicken and fish supplies

Pros

Cons

  • Can be messy

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The Nutritional Needs of Large Breed Puppies​

best large breed puppy food for german shepherds

​Calorific requirements are the most important aspects when planning for a puppy. Since they indulge in a lot of physical activities throughout the day, they also tend to burn a lot of calories. Therefore, it is important that they be given a high energy food. The larger the breed, the higher the calorific requirement. You should, however, be careful not to feed them too many calories as it could lead to obesity later in life which could further lead to other issues. Since the first 12 months are more crucial during the growth of the puppies, their diet should be closely monitored during this phase.

Apart from the calories, your puppy also needs to have a healthy supply of protein in the diet. This will help in a healthy development of muscles and avert skeletal deformities. A good supply of protein during the growth phase will help in a healthy and fast growth. Calcium and phosphorus are the other two elements required for a good skeletal growth. A healthy intake of these two elements will ensure that the puppy does not undergo any bone and joint deformities during the growth phase or later in life. Eating too much calcium can again be harmful as it can lead to skeletal malformations. The best large breed puppy food has calcium and phosphorus in the ratio 1:1 and 1:3 for optimal results.

A healthy diet for the canines should also include Vitamins A, D, zinc, manganese, and copper. Large breed pups should have more high-quality protein, low-fat diets. Grapes, raisins, and onions are some of the food items that should be strictly avoided. You could also have consultations with a vet for a proper pup diet​

​Why Choose Specific Foods For Labrador Puppies or Large Breeds?

best dog food comparison

​The growth phase of the puppies is accompanied by a rapid bone and muscle development. Therefore, nutrition plays a very important role during this period. The muscle and the bones should grow in synchronization and at a proper rate. Since the increasing body mass tends to put more strain on the joints, the ligaments and joints should also undergo a healthy development. Due to this very reason, the puppies should be given a low-fat diet as increased body fat could lead to increased weight and therefore more stress on the joints.

A healthy diet during this phase will help the puppies have a healthy growth along with a healthy bone density. It will also prevent any occurrence of skeletal malformations. It should be noted that there are also some skeletal disorders which are genetic and you can do little to help. However, you should not stop feeding your pup a balanced diet as there a number of conditions like developmental orthopedic disease (DOD), hip dysplasia and osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) which can affect the pups in the case of nutritional deficiencies. Since these conditions are more prevalent among the large breed pups with higher nutritional requirements, you should be extra careful about what you feed your pup, especially during the first 12 months. Proper nutrition will also allow the pups to grow to their full adult size with highly reduced risk of bone and joint disease.

Why Are There Different Adult And Puppy Dog Food?​

Puppy Dog Food

​Due to their rapid brain and body development, puppies need higher amounts of specific nutrients in their diet. Keeping this in mind, the dog food manufacturers have separate items for the adult and puppy dogs. Puppies usually require more protein in their diet to complement a healthy development of muscles. They also need more fat than the adult dogs. Therefore, the best large breed puppy food has a higher proportion- of amino acids, omega 3 fatty acids, and minerals in their diet. Omega 3 fatty acids help in a healthy development of the eye and the brain in the young pups.The larger your dog breed, the more careful you should be regarding their diet.

Larger breed pups have higher chances of developing dysplasia and should, therefore, be given a carefully balanced diet with just the right amount of calcium and phosphorus. Large breed pups should also be given a high- calorie diet as they are physically very agile and tend to waste a lot of energy running and jumping around.

All of the nutritional requirements considered, there is a marked difference in the composition of adult and puppy dog food. You should make it a point to find out the developmental disease risks for your pup and maintain the diet accordingly. When the pups are given requirement specific diets, they can grow at a faster and healthier rate. Once they reach 80% the size of adult dogs, they can be given the usual adult dog food. Different breeds reach this stage during different times. Larger breeds normally take a longer time to acquire this body size and should, therefore, be looked after closely till they finally reach adulthood.

It should be noted that puppies may face nutritional deficiencies and developmental risks In case they are given adult food instead of the puppy food. Not only that, your dog can even become obese and overweight. Therefore, it is best to continue with the best large breed puppy food for at least 12 to 16 months. On the flip side, continuing with puppy food once the pup reaches adulthood can lead to musculo-skeletal disorders.​

Why Should You Feed Kibble To Your Pet Labrador Puppy?

Pet Labrador Puppy

​There is always a question as to which is potentially the best large breed puppy food. So far, kibble has been considered as the safest and the best large breed puppy food for younger pets. It meets all the nutritional requirements and is loaded with vitamins and minerals. It is the ultimate balanced diet for puppies and more so for the larger breeds. This is mainly owing to the fact that kibble uses only high-quality products during the manufacturing stage and places more importance on the vital nutrients along with their proportion.

Kibble is available in both wet and dry forms. Dry kibble is, however, more beneficial as compared to the wet one. These are much easier to store as well as serve. Dry food is also not very difficult to clean up in case your pup creates a mess while being fed. Apart from that, it has a strengthening effect on the teeth since the pup will be required to chew it up while eating. It will also have a cleaning effect on the teeth due to its slightly abrasive nature. The other great benefit about dry kibble is that it is used up in a smaller quantity as compared to wet kibble and therefore lasts longer. Over the time, dry kibble turns out to be much more cost-efficient as compared to wet kibble.

Best Large Breed Puppy Food Comparison

large breed puppy food comparison

​When doing a large breed puppy food comparison, it is important to consider not only the brand but also the nutrient content. Only by feeding the puppies a well-balanced diet can you guarantee them a healthier and longer life. The puppies also have their own preference with respect to the taste of the food. So if they prefer a certain brand over the other, it is best to pick that one as you will be assured that your pet is eating the right amount. Then there are also some specific diets for puppies with medical conditions.

As a standard for various nutrients to be included in the puppy food, the AAFCO has set the minimum guidelines that should be met by each manufacturer. Large breed puppies have a higher protein requirement. Although the minimum percentage is 22%, you should look for the ones with higher protein content. The best large breed puppy food should have a fat content of 15%. Crude protein, Crude fat and Omega fatty acids also have their own minimum values. Apart from that, you should also make it a point to compare the crude fiber and moisture content between the different brands.

Sometimes, the puppies are allergic to food items like corn, soy, wheat, eggs, and beef and dairy. Allergies can appear as itchiness and ear/skin infection. It will, therefore, be helpful if you keep a close eye on their reactions after meals. This will give you an idea about the potential allergens so that you can do accordingly choose their food after a proper comparison.

Cheap Food vs Expensive Food​

​There is a big difference between cheap dog food and the expensive ones. The expensive ones have higher quality ingredients and better manufacturing processes as compared to the cheaper ones. They also abide by the food safety rules and meet the minimum nutritional standards approved by the AAFCO. All the expensive brands may not necessarily be the best large breed puppy food the line. But they are definitely better the cheaper ones.

The one major problem with cheap puppy food is that they tend to be deceitful about the nutrition content. The advertisements and the promotions may leave you feeling like they are the best brands when the truth is that they have poor nutritional content and can seriously affect the well being of your pets. Therefore, rather than looking at the nutrition content, you should look at the ingredients used in the manufacturing. This will give you a better idea about the quality of food you are feeding your pet.

Either way, it is best to opt for expensive food as the cheaper ones are always lower in quality. This does not, however, mean that you can blindly choose from the range of expensive ones. You should be mindful of the ingredients if you are looking for the best large breed puppy food for your pet. You could also consult the vet regarding the diet for your puppies. It is important to maintain a nutritional balance for a proper development of the body and brain.​

​Why Dry Food Is Better Than Wet Food?

​There are a number of reasons why dry puppy food is better than the wet food. First of all, it is much more convenient for the pet owner to store and feed. They are easier to clean up if the pets tend to create spillages. You could just fill the bowl and go about doing your chores. Dry food also gets used up slower than wet food and therefore turns out to be more economical over the time.

Other than that, dry food has a higher quantity of grain and grain based product. Being made out of corn, wheat, rice and rich protein sources, they also provide good fiber content and can replace daily meat requirements. Dry food is also better for the dental health of the puppies as it gives them something to chew on. While wet food promotes plaque buildup, dry food cleans and strengthens the teeth of the canines.​

Conclusion

​Out of the five puppy foods reviewed above the clear winner is Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food. It is exclusively formulated for puppies with specific nutritional requirements and is considered the best large breed puppy food. They are very rich in nutrition as well as flavor. This dog food goes down well with even the finicky eaters. It is 100% grain free and contains 80% protein. It also has active probiotics and fiber for a good intestinal health.

The dog food is loaded with essential vitamins, minerals, and omega 3 fatty acids. This ensures a healthy skin, shiny coat, and better immunity. It also helps in a healthy development of the eyes, teeth, and gums. Wellness Core has antioxidants and just the right amount of carbohydrates to make up for the daily energy requirement of the pup.​

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