We Found the Best Dog Food for Large Breed Puppies for 2022

Written by Austin S.
Updated: September 12, 2022

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Key Points:

  • Large breed puppies need food that contains the right nutrients, such as glucosamine, to support developing cartilage and joints.
  • Quality foods should contain DHA for brain and eye development.
  • All puppies are different – some foods may cause diarrhea and need to be switched with another 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 55-100 pounds when fully grown. If they will be larger than that – 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.

To help you make the best choice 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.

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

  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

#1 Overall Best: Purina Pro Dry Puppy Food

In our review, the Best Dog Food for Large Breed Puppies is the Purina Pro 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.

Purina Pro Dry Puppy Food 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 fortified with guaranteed live probiotics to support a developing immune system.

Crunchy kibble combined with tender, shredded pieces for delicious taste and texture make this puppy food a favorite!

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.

ProsCons
Comes in a chicken and rice flavorMay cause diarrhea
Uses real chicken as its number one ingredient 
Contains DHA for brain and vision development 
Contains Glucosamine for cartilage and joints development 
Uses whole grain wheat 
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 Puppy Dog Food

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

This product also uses real chicken as its number-one ingredient and has glucosamine for joint health. 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.

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.

ProsCons
Comes in a large bagCan cause stomach irritation
AffordableUses whole grain corn
High in protein 
Contains glucosamine for joints and cartilage 
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 muscle building: Diamonds Naturals Large Breed Puppy Dry Food

Diamonds Naturals Large Breed Puppy Dry Food utilizes high-quality lamb protein to help build muscle in your pup. This product skips fillers such as wheat and corn and opts instead for rice and veggies.

Diamonds Naturals Large Breed Puppy Dry Food also has DHA for brain and eye development and probiotics to assist gastrointestinal health. It’s formulated with antioxidants and proper levels of protein and fat – to help your puppy grow up strong. This food can also be fed to pregnant or nursing adults.

However, one major drawback of this product is that increased shedding, bald spots, and diarrhea can occur from using this product.

ProsCons
Utilizes high-quality lamb proteinCan cause shedding and bald spots
No fillersCan cause diarrhea
Contains DHA for brain and vision development 
Contains 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: Royal Canin Large Puppy Dry Food

This product is listed as premium because it offers great food to your puppy but does so at a slightly higher price. Royal Canin Large Puppy Dry 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. Unique kibble design encourages enthusiastic puppies to chew thoroughly. Highly digestible proteins and probiotics help promote healthy digestion and optimal stool quality.

This product has several notable drawbacks. These include its high price range, its use of corn, and its less protein than some of the other products discussed above.

However, if you do not mind the price range and the use of corn, then you can use Royal Canin Large Puppy Dry Food for your puppy.

ProsCons
Supports joint and cartilage healthHigher price point
Contains vitamins that support your puppy’s immune systemContains corn
Great for healthy skin and coatLess protein than others

Choosing the Best Dog Food for Large Breed Puppies: What To Look For

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:

Importance of 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.

Presence of whole-grain 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.

Most reviewers’ complaints had to do with large breed puppies with bouts of diarrhea after feeding. One reviewer said, “My second time buying and when we started using it my puppy started having diarrhea.” and another said, “However, our Rottie immediately began having consistently loose stool (i.e., all stool loose from morning to evening) after he began eating the bag received 8/4/20.”

Mostly though, the reviews from buyers were overwhelmingly positive as one reviewer said, “No gas, firm stools, happy dog, happy owners. Vet felt this food is a good choice, doesn’t subscribe to all the expensive food hype.” Another notes how puppies liked the kibbles saying, “Both my puppies really enjoy eating it.” Several reviewers remarked on how good the food smelled and said that their dogs devoured it in seconds!

Summary of the Best Food for Large Breed Puppies

RankBest ForProduct
1.Overall BestPurina Pro Dry Puppy Food
2.Best for AffordabilityPurina ONE Natural Puppy Dog Food
3.Best Muscle BuildingDiamonds Naturals Large Breed Puppy Dry Food
4.Best PremiumRoyal Canin Large Puppy Dry Food

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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 for 2022 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 6-12 weeks 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.