We Found the Best Dog Food for Large Breed Puppies

Written by Austin S.
Updated: January 11, 2023
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Key Points:

  • The #1 Best Overall dog food for large breed puppies is the Purina Pro Plan High Protein Large Breed Dry Puppy Food.
  • Large breed puppies need food that contains the right nutrients, such as glucosamine, to support developing cartilage and joints.
  • The best puppy food for large breeds should contain DHA for brain and eye development.
  • All puppies are different and it’s important to carefully consider the needs of your dog when choosing the right puppy food.

As the owner of a large breed puppy, one thing you should know is that nutritional requirements vary among puppies of different breeds. Special breeds of dogs require food with specific ingredients to ensure they grow and develop at an appropriate speed. And grow they will! Most veterinarians and pet nutritionists consider a puppy a large breed if they’ll be 55 to 100 pounds when fully grown. If they will be larger than that then they will be considered giant breeds.

Large breed puppies grow quickly — sometimes too fast to adjust to their new size! Make sure to make their living environment as safe as possible to prevent injury. Puppy-proof your home as you would for a toddler. Move breakable items off of tables, put rugs down on slippery floors or put high traction dog socks on their feet, and make note of what’s on your kitchen counters. You’ll want to keep dangerous or tasty foods out of reach of your new big puppy.

Exercise is also very important for your large breed puppy so they can develop strong bones and muscles. You need to take time to play with your puppy and take them for walks to keep them from developing destructive tendencies because of boredom. These playtimes can expend their pent-up puppy energy while forming a loving bond with their new humans!

Large breed puppies require a specific balance of calcium and phosphorus to ensure appropriate and timely bone development. This makes selecting the right food for your large-breed puppy extremely important. So, what is the best puppy food for large breeds?

To help you make the best choice in selecting food for your large breed puppy, we have done the research and put together a review on the best dog food for large breed puppies. We have also included a section that gives a guide on what to look for when buying dog food for your large breed puppy.

  1. Purina Pro Plan High Protein Chicken and Rice
  2. Purina Pro Plan High Protein Chicken and Rice
    • Comes in chicken and rice flavor
    • Contains glucosamine for your puppy’s cartilages and joints
    • Uses whole grain wheat
    • Contains DHA for brain and vision development
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  3. Purina ONE Natural, High Protein +Plus
  4. Purina ONE Natural, High Protein +Plus
    • Best budget option
    • Uses real chicken as its number-one ingredient
    • High in protein
    • Uses whole-grain corn
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  5. Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food
  6. Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food
    • Contains high-quality lamb protein to help build muscle
    • Has DHA for brain and eye development
    • Contains no fillers
    • Contains probiotics for the digestive system
    Check Chewy Check Amazon

A-Z-Animals Top Picks for Dog Food for Large Breed Puppies

#1 Best Overall: Purina Pro Plan High Protein Large Breed Dry Puppy Food

In our review, the best dog food for large breed puppies is the Purina Pro Plan High Protein Large Breed Dry Puppy Food.

This product comes in a chicken and rice flavor that most dogs enjoy. It also uses real chicken as its number one ingredient. It also contains glucosamine for your puppy’s cartilages and joints, as well as DHA for brain and vision development. This product also contains whole grain wheat, which is better and provides more benefits than corn, which is usually substituted for whole-grain wheat. This great puppy food is even fortified with guaranteed live probiotics to support a developing immune system.

The only drawback of this product is that it may cause diarrhea in some puppies. However, this product remains our top pick for the best dog food for large breed puppies.

Pros and Cons of the Purina Pro Plan High Protein Large Breed Dry Puppy Food

ProsCons
This food comes in a chicken and rice flavor.It can sometimes cause diarrhea.
It uses real chicken as its number one ingredient. 
It contains DHA for brain and vision development. 
It contains glucosamine for to support cartilage and joint development. 
This food features guaranteed live probiotics to support the immune system. 
Overall Best
Purina Pro Plan High Protein Chicken and Rice
  • Comes in chicken and rice flavor
  • Contains glucosamine for your puppy’s cartilages and joints
  • Uses whole grain wheat
  • Contains DHA for brain and vision development
Check Chewy Check Amazon

2. Best for Affordability: Purina ONE Natural Dry Puppy Food

Purina ONE Natural Dry Puppy Food is our top recommendation when it comes to affordability because it comes in a large bag at an affordable price.

This product also uses real chicken as its number-one ingredient. However, this product uses whole-grain corn instead of whole grain wheat. Corn does not have the same benefits as wheat and might not be easily digestible.

This food contains glucosamine to promote healthy joints. It also contains DHA to support eye and brain development, while calcium supports healthy teeth. Furthermore, the addition of antioxidants aids the development of the immune system, while omega-6 fatty acids promote a healthy coat and skin.

One of the concerns about this product is that it can cause stomach irritation, so puppy owners have to monitor their puppies after feeding them to see if vomiting or diarrhea occurs. You should take your puppy to the vet for a checkup if it does.

Pros and Cons of the Purina ONE Natural Dry Puppy Food

ProsCons
This food uses real chicken as its main ingredient.It can sometimes cause stomach irritation.
It contains glucosamine to support healthy joints.It uses whole grain corn rather than wheat.
DHA supports the development of eye and brain development. 
It contains antioxidants to support the development of the immune system. 
Omega-6 fatty acids are included to promote a healthy skin and coat.
Best for Affordability
Purina ONE Natural, High Protein +Plus
  • Best budget option
  • Uses real chicken as its number-one ingredient
  • High in protein
  • Uses whole-grain corn
Check Chewy Check Amazon

3. Best for Building Muscle: Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Dry Food

The best food to help your pup build muscle is the Diamonds Naturals Large Breed Puppy Dry Food which utilizes high-quality lamb protein.

This food is uniquely formulated to meet the needs of large breed puppies. Lamb is the first ingredient in this food and it also skips fillers such as wheat and corn and opts instead for rice and veggies. This food contains omega fatty acids to support a healthy coat and skin. It also has DHA for brain and eye development and prebioticsand probiotics to assist digestive health. Plus, it’s formulated with antioxidants and proper levels of protein and fat to help your puppy grow up strong.

However, one major drawback of this product is that customers have reported that the kibble is very small which isn’t suitable for all large dogs

Pros and Cons of the Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Dry Food

ProsCons
This food contains high-quality lamb as the first ingredient.The kibble is small which is not suited to all large dogs.
It is free from fillers such as wheat and corn.
It contains DHA for brain and vision development .
It contains prebiotics and probiotics for the digestive system. 
Best for muscle building
Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food
  • Contains high-quality lamb protein to help build muscle
  • Has DHA for brain and eye development
  • Contains no fillers
  • Contains probiotics for the digestive system
Check Chewy Check Amazon

4. Best Premium Option: Royal Canin Large Breed Puppy Dry Food

Our selection as the best premium option is the Royal Canin Large Breed Puppy Dry Food.

This food contains glucosamine which helps maintain joint and cartilage health, vitamins and minerals to support your puppy’s immune system, and biotin for healthy skin and shiny fur. The unique kibble design encourages enthusiastic puppies to chew thoroughly, while highly digestible proteins and probiotics help promote healthy digestion and optimal stool quality.

However, as it is a premium option this food is priced higher than the other options.

Pros and Cons of the Royal Canin Large Breed Puppy Dry Food

ProsCons
This food contains glucosamine to promote joint and cartilage health.This food is more expensive than the other options.
The vitamins and minerals in this food support the immune system.
This food contains glucosamine to promote healthy joints.It is more expensive than other options.
The vitamins and minerals in this food support the immune system.
It contains biotin for a healthy coat and skin.
The unique kibble design encourages puppies to chew thoroughly.
It contains probiotics to support a healthy digestive system.

Choosing the Best Dog Food for Large Breed Puppies

When choosing the best dog food for large breed puppies, there are three factors you need to consider. Importance of joint and cartilage support, whole grains and vegetables, and presence of protein. Here is how to consider the best dog food across each of these factors:

Joint and Cartilage support

As your puppy is rapidly growing, it needs to be fed with food that contains the right nutrient to support its developing cartilage and joints. This is important as they grow to be quite big and muscular and require strong joints to remain active and healthy.

Glucosamine helps puppies develop strong joints to support them and grow taller and gain more weight. Most quality large breed puppy foods will include glucosamine, a valuable part of your puppy’s nutrition.

Grains and Vegetables

The presence of whole grains and vegetables adds fiber to your puppy’s diet. This aids their digestion and keeps their digestive system healthy and balanced.

Vegetables also provide vitamins to your puppy. These vitamins can help support your puppy’s immune system and play a role in functions like eyesight.

Presence of Protein

One of the major ingredients required by a large breed puppy is proteins. As large breed puppies grow, they need building blocks to aid their growth. This function is met by protein as it is important in muscle development and cell generation.

Our Criteria and Experience

New puppy parents want to give their babies everything they need to be happy, healthy and strong. We wanted to provide you with the best food options for your large breed puppy. These puppies require special diets to avoid certain health risks. Orthopedic diseases, obesity, and bloating are all heavily influenced by nutrition. By combing through the many available products and by reading reviews we were able to make these outstanding selections.

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About the Author

Growing up in rural New England on a small scale farm gave me a lifelong passion for animals. I love learning about new wild animal species, habitats, animal evolutions, dogs, cats, and more. I've always been surrounded by pets and believe the best dog and best cat products are important to keeping our animals happy and healthy. It's my mission to help you learn more about wild animals, and how to care for your pets better with carefully reviewed products.

We Found the Best Dog Food for Large Breed Puppies FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What should large breed puppies eat?

The diet of a large breed puppy should be lower in fat, have a good calcium content, an appropriate calcium-phosphorus ratio, and should provide high-quality protein to your puppy.

Do large breed puppies need special food?

Yes, large breed puppies require special diets. This is done to avoid certain health risks. Orthopedic diseases, obesity, and bloating are all heavily influenced by nutrition.

How long should large breed puppies be on puppy food?

You should ensure that you feed your large breed puppy a high-quality puppy food formula for at least the first 12 months. This can extend up to 24 months for large breeds.

Is it OK to give a puppy regular dog food?

Puppies between 6 and 12 weeks old should still be fed puppy food as it is specially formulated to meet the nutritional requirements of your growing puppy. Feeding adult food to your puppy will rob it of important nutrients required for proper growth and development.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.