Many pet owners think that all dry dog foods are the same. But if you want your giant furball to stay healthy, you need to find the best large breed dog food.
We’re here to help.
Dogs that grow large require specific nutrition. So before you pick a random brand, let’s explore the most nutritional options. Here’s how we chose them.
The Methodology of Our Research
We selected eleven products and double-checked if they have what it takes to provide a healthy nutritional meal for large dogs. We looked into five pivotal factors. Let’s check them out.
Labels list the ingredients by weight, so the first five components are essential since they’re the highest quantity. Some of the most common ingredients in large breed dog food include real chicken, salmon, turkey, meat meal, grains, vegetables, fruits, fats, and oils.
The best large breed dog food should have a good protein and fat amount (max 22%), with a high quantity of fiber and moisture. Some formulas on our list contain 38% protein, while others have only 9% fat. Most are rich in fiber with around 10–12% moisture content.
These nutrients bring even more health benefits to your pooch. They often include vitamins, minerals, Omega fatty acids, DHA, EPA, Calcium, Glucosamine, or Chondroitin. Almost all of our reviewed formulas have these extra benefits. You’ll find them mentioned on the package’s front side and analyzed in percentages on the back.
The price of dog food depends on the formula and package size. We managed to find a decent four-pound dog food for only $11. But other healthy options are way more expensive. Among the best food for large breed dogs, you’ll find many budget-friendly options. And if you are lucky, you might even get a discount.
Not every food fits every dog’s needs. To find out the actual effects of the formulas, we went to multiple review sections and consulted with customers. We also considered the products’ amazingly high ratings, ranging from 4.6 to 4.8 stars.
Large breed dog food with chicken as the first ingredient. It offers adult and senior recipes in three package sizes. The formula is 100% natural and non-GMO.
Nutro has a “Feed Clean Philosophy”. So its formula is non-GMO, and the number one ingredient is high-quality protein. It’s the optimal senior dog food for large breed furballs, as it offers two recipes (for adults and seniors) in three package sizes (13lb–40lb). Nutro partners with trusted farmers and suppliers to source real chicken, brown rice, kale, spinach, tomato, and eggs.
The first five ingredients are chicken, whole grain brown rice, sorghum, brewers rice, and chicken meal. The recipe is said to deliver a balanced diet rich in protein, fatty acids, minerals, chondroitin, and glucosamine. It’s a food that keeps dogs fit, with a healthy immune system, strong joints, and luxurious skin and coat.
- Adult & Senior Recipe
- Three package options
- Chicken as the first ingredient
- Rich in protein
- 100% natural ingredients
- No chicken by-product, meal, corn, wheat, or soy
- Some dogs experienced vomiting
- Might cause loose stool
Why we choose this product: The food is a highly palatable yet digestible meal that’s gentle on your dog’s stomach and digestive tract. It’s a very good natural dog food for large breed dogs if you’re looking for a 100% natural and non-GMO formula.
It’s the best large breed dog food for allergies, as the formula is grain-free and rich in nutrients that improve the overall wellbeing of your big pooch. The food is made in the US and comes in a 20 lb package with free shipping.
Only Natural Pet Powerfood is a US-made dry food for muscle and joint support, healthy heart function, energy boost, and nourished skin and coat of large dogs. Its grain-free formula is rich in protein, fat, omega-3, fatty acids, glucosamine, chondroitin, and amino acids.
As for the top large breed dog food reviews, customers say that the coats of their big fellas became much softer while their skin issues faded away. The food contains turkey, turkey and chicken meal, taurine, real vegetables, and fruit. It’s a holistic, vet-formulated recipe with 20lb carbon-neutral packaging and free shipping.
- 20 lb net weight
- Free shipping
- Turkey as the first ingredient
- Holistic, vet-formulated food
- Carbon-neutral packaging
- Improves the skin, coat, joints, muscles & heart
- Small kibbles
- Some dogs might not like the taste
Why we choose this product: Only Natural is a holistic power food with carbon-neutral packaging. Its formula is rich in protein, fat, glucosamine, chondroitin, amino acids, omega-3, and omega-6. Plus, it’s grain-free — perfect for allergy-prone dogs.
All-natural and grain-free formula, packed with chicken, sweet potato, and pumpkin. It’s the best dog food for large dogs over 50 lbs and comes in a 24 lb packaging. Plus, it’s excellent for skin, coat, muscle, and bone improvement, as well as healthy digestion.
Nature’s Recipe put their first dog food on the market over 35 years ago. The company’s always aimed to create a natural formula that’s affordable and palatable at the same time. Their recipe is free of grains, artificial flavors, preservatives, or soy proteins, and it’s aimed at adult dogs over 50 pounds.
It’s the leading large breed dog food for sensitive skin and coat, as it’s rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The formula consists of real chicken, sweet potatoes, apples, pumpkin, and poultry fat. It’s full of fiber and supports digestive health, while the proteins maintain muscle strength. Plus, calcium and phosphorus help the teeth and bones.
- 24 lb net weight
- All-natural & grain-free
- The first ingredient is real chicken
- Free of grains, artificial flavors, or preservatives
- Rich in fiber, proteins, fatty acids, calcium, and phosphorus
- Healthy & natural recipes for over 35 years
- The shipping box is barely taped.
- Might cause diarrhea
Why we choose this product: Nature’s Recipe is one of the few brands that offer a grain-free option at such a low price. The formula is natural, rich in vitamins, nutrients, and minerals — perfect for strong bones, healthy digestion, muscles, skin, and coat.
A 26 lb package of grain-free kibbles for large adult dogs. The formula is natural and grain-free. It contains chicken, turkey, lentils, peas, and dried ground potatoes. Plus, it’s backed up by a wellness guarantee.
Wellness Core is famous for containing 80% more flavor-filled meat, and it’s a natural and grain-free option for your big fella. The kibbles are the perfect size for larger jaws. The packaging weighs 26 lb.
It’s the best dog food for a sensitive stomach for large breed dogs, as it’s free from grains, wheat, corn, or artificial preservatives. It’s a formula backed up by a wellness guarantee, containing chicken, turkey, lentils, peas, and dried ground potatoes. The kibbles are stacked with glucosamine, chondroitin, vitamins, antioxidants, probiotics, and omega fatty acids. All in all, this dry dog food promotes lean body mass, supports the muscles and heart, and improves the coat and skin.
- US-made with globally sourced ingredients
- 26 lb Package
- The first ingredient is chicken
- Wellness guarantee
- All-natural & grain-free
- Promotes lean body mass & muscle tone
- Improves heart levels, coat & skin
- The package might be damaged upon shipping.
- Not tasty for some dogs
Why we choose this product: Wellness Core is a natural and grain-free formula backed up by a wellness guarantee. It contains 80% more flavored meat, and it’s the optimal large breed dry dog food for lean body mass, and for improving the muscles, heart, coat, and skin.
The top-notch dog food for large breed adults prone to allergies. Its formula is grain-free and with real meat as the first ingredient. The dog food is available in three recipes. It’s made in the US and comes in 15 lbs or 30 lbs packaging.
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula is climate pledge friendly and compact by design and offers 15 lb and 30 lb packages. It uses real meat as the first ingredient, followed by whole grains, veggies, and fruit. Also, you can choose between three recipes — chicken and brown rice, lamb and brown rice, or fish and oatmeal.
It’s an excellent grain free large breed dog food for pets prone to allergies. Plus, it’s free from artificial colors, preservatives, and flavors. The formula is rich in glucosamine, chondroitin, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. The ingredients help improve joints, muscles, bones, teeth, skin, coat, and boost the energy levels and overall immune system.
- 15 lb & 30 lb packages
- Three recipes
- Real meat as the first ingredient
- Climate Pledge Friendly
- No artificial colors, preservatives, or flavors
- Rich in vitamins, antioxidants & minerals
- Could be higher in protein
- Might cause diarrhea
Why we choose this product: Holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists selected the ingredients and developed a formula with real meat, grains, veggies, and fruit. The product is certified as compact by design and climate pledge friendly.
Grain-free dog kibble for large breed puppies, with a formula of fresh chicken, turkey, fish, and eggs. It’s a whole prey diet, including poultry, organs, and cartilages. The ingredients are US-sourced, and the package comes in two sizes.
It’s the closest formula to a raw diet. Plus, this is a multi-award-winning food with US-sourced ingredients, mainly in Kentucky. Around 85% of its contents are quality ingredients, with 15 being fresh or raw meat, fish, poultry, organs, cartilage, and bones. Also, it’s a grain-free formula with plenty of vegetables and fruits.
It’s the ideal dog food for large breed puppies, as the ingredients help them develop their maximum biological potential. The recipe contains high levels of calcium and phosphorus, glucosamine, fiber, fatty acids, chondroitin, DHA, and EPA. You can rest assured that it’ll provide your big pooch with a healthy gut, skin, coat, joints, bones, and muscles.
- 13 lb & 25 lb package
- Free-run chicken & turkey as first ingredients
- Fresh ingredients
- Multi-award winning product
- The most protein-packed kibble
- Might cause soft stool
Why we choose this product: It’s the top tier dry dog food for large breed puppies as the ingredients are fresh, regional, and bursting with goodness and taste. The formula has won multiple awards. Plus, it contains over 85% quality ingredients, 15 of which are raw or fresh meat.
Description: Natural and protein-packed formula for large breed adult dogs. You can choose between two US-made recipes in four package sizes. Also, it’s free from artificial preservatives, flavors, or fillers. The first ingredient is chicken or lamb.
Iams High Protein is a US-made, vet-recommended dry dog food. It’s the most suitable large breed dog food for the money you pay, as the formula is natural and full of proteins, antioxidants, fibers, prebiotics, vitamins, and minerals.
Its first ingredient is chicken or lamb, followed by ground whole grain barley, corn, sorghum, and chicken by-product meal, which is a source of chondroitin and glucosamine. The formula doesn’t contain any artificial preservatives, fillers, or flavors. You can choose between chicken and rice or lamb and rice recipe and four package sizes (15lb–40lb). It’s a budget-friendly kibble that guarantees healthy immunity and digestion, as well as strong joints, muscles, and bones.
- Four package options
- Two recipes
- Chicken or lamb as the first ingredient
- Natural formula
- 0% fillers
- Packaging could be damaged
- Some might find the food unpalatable
Why we choose this product: This is outstanding cheap dog food for large breed dogs with 0% fillers. The protein-rich formula will keep your big pooch up and running in years to come.
US-made company with a formula that fits every dog’s age. The first ingredient is real salmon, followed by wholesome vegetables, grains, and fruits. It comes in three package sizes, and it’s AAFCO approved.
American Journey’s recipe is a 25% protein-rich diet approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. The food is manufactured in California and comes in three package sizes (4lb–28lb).
The top ingredient is deboned salmon — a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. It’s the ideal dry dog food for large breed dogs that lack these nutrients, especially those with unhealthy skin or coats. Plus, DHA also supports healthy brain and vision development. The other ingredients are menhaden fish, brown rice, peas, rice bran, sweet potato, and carrots. Based on this blend of nutrients, antioxidants, and fibers, the formula helps to develop a healthy immune system, easy digestion, lean mass, and sustained energy.
- 4 lb, 14 lb, 28 lb packages
- Deboned salmon is the first ingredient
- 25% protein
- Natural fiber, wholesome grains, vegetables & fruits
- Picky eaters might not like the smell
- May contain crumbs
Why we choose this product: American Journey’s Salmon & Brown Rice recipe is AAFCO-approved. It’s the best inexpensive dog food for large breeds that offers a well-balanced meal for your big fella, packed with proteins, fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber.
24 lb dog food for sensitive skin and stomach. It contains salmon, sunflower oil, and oatmeal. The food has guaranteed live probiotics.
Purina Pro Plan’s formula specializes in digestive health with skin and coat nourishment. It’s the best dog food for large breeds that have sensitive skin or stomachs, fortified with guaranteed live probiotics. It comes in a 24 lb package, and the first five ingredients are salmon, barley, rice, oatmeal, and canola meal.
Salmon provides a healthy muscle mass and protects the skin and coat. The formula is rich in glucosamine, prebiotic fiber, EPA, DHA, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. The food also includes sunflower oil — a rich source of omega-6 fatty acids that reduce inflammation and arthritis pain.
- 24 lb package
- For adult dogs with sensitive skin & stomach
- Salmon as the first ingredient
- Rich in protein and omega fatty acids
- Guaranteed live probiotics
- Oatmeal is easily digestible
- Bad smell
- Fish meal is too vague of an ingredient
Why we choose this product: Purina stands among the best dog food brands for large dogs. Their formula contains all the right nutrients for sensitive skin and stomachs. Plus, it boosts immunity and reduces inflammation and arthritis pain.
A large breed dog formula aiming at weight loss and maintaining a fit body. It contains L-carnitine, only 9% fat, and the first ingredient is real chicken. The food comes in two package sizes.
For over 50 years, Eukanuba has crafted its formulas to provide the right nutrition for a healthy dog. Its recipe for weight control contains only 9% fat. So here’s the best large breed dog food for weight loss that contains L-carnitine — a famous chemical that burns fat.
The main star is real chicken, accompanied by wheat, chicken by-product meal, corn, barley, and ground grain sorghum. The food is rich in protein, glucosamine, and chondroitin. Also, it contributes to healthy brain function, thanks to the DHA and vitamin E. As for the skin and coat, the omega-6 and 3 fatty acids cover that, too. The kibble is clinically proven to reduce tartar, and it’s rich in antioxidants and fiber. It’s among the best choices for dogs older than a year and comes in 15 lb and 30 lb packages.
- 15 lb & 30 lb packages
- Real chicken as the first ingredient
- Large breed adult dog food for weight loss
- With L-carnitine
- Only 9% of fat
- Clinically proven to reduce tartar
- Contains chicken by-product meal
- Not grain-free
Why we choose this product: Eukanuba’s weight loss formula is low in fat and rich in L-carnitine. The first ingredient is chicken, which is a beneficial source of protein. Plus, it promotes lean muscles and agile joints.
US-made grain-free dog food rich in protein and fatty acids. It’s the best dog food for big dogs that enjoy raw meat. It contains freeze-dried raw bites and raw coated kibble.
Merrick is a team of veterinarians, nutritionists, and scientists that formulate a variety of grain-free recipes. It’s a top-rated large breed dog food with 4.6/5 stars on Amazon. If your dog’s fond of raw meat, this food might be a good choice as it contains freeze-dried raw bites and raw coated kibble. It comes in 10 lb and 20 lb packages.
The recipe consists of deboned chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, sweet and regular potatoes. The raw ingredients went through High-Pressure Processing for the safest protein. It’s a grain-free formula that’s rich in omega fatty acids. Plus, this top large breed dog food is made in FDA-approved facilities.
- 10 lb & 20 lb packages
- Freeze-dried raw bites & raw coated kibble
- Deboned chicken as the first ingredient
- Tested for safety
- Healthy digestion, hip, joints, skin & coat
- Might cause diarrhea
- Small kibbles
Why we choose this product: It’s made with safely processed and freeze-dried raw meat. Plus, it’s rich in protein, grain-free, and full of omega fatty acids. The food has an almost five-star rating, and it’s FDA approved.
Finding the Healthiest Dog Food for Large Breeds
Food is a massive part of our lives, and it’s just as essential for our dogs. Most people choose dog food by its colorful packaging or the lowest price. But that’s not the healthiest option for your furry best friend.
How to Choose
Going for price over quality can sometimes cost you triple. Let’s see what you should look for instead.
Size & Age
Developing puppies need quality dog food for growth, so the finest large breed puppy food should have a complete and balanced formula. While you can find many brands for all large dogs and life stages, consider picking one specifically for your dog’s needs. Your vet can also help you find the best dry dog food for large dogs.
A large adult dog weighs 60–100 lbs on average. Although many companies formulate meals for all large breeds, some have specific requirements. For example, the most suitable dog food for Golden Retrievers should be richer in protein to keep up with the breed’s high energy.
Feeding your large dog too much or too little may result in obesity, skeletal distortion, inflammation, and skin problems. While there are all-purpose recipes, many are specifically formulated for weight loss, sensitive skin, or problematic digestion. For instance, if your dog is obese, it’s better to pick a food brand that’s low in fat.
Even if the food has fantastic nutrient value, it’s not worth it if it’s not palatable. For example, the best large breed dog food for picky eaters should come in the flavor your dog loves.
Determine how much money you’re willing to invest in dog food for your large pooch. Consider the different ingredients and always check the guaranteed analysis. Compare the products and find the optimal recipe that fits your dog’s needs and your budget.
Large Breed Dog Food — Best & Worst Ingredients
If there’s one thing to consider when choosing a good large breed dog food, that’s the ingredient list. But how do you know which nutrients are the best for your dog? We’ll give you a cheat sheet.
Here are the best ingredients for a well-balanced large breed diet:
- Meat: A good quality protein derived from real meat is an essential part of any recipe. It produces amino acids that restore tissues, build healthy muscles, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, skin, and hair.
- Meat meal: It’s a highly concentrated protein powder from rendering real meat, containing 65% protein and 10% water. It’s a safe ingredient as long as you know what kind of meat it came from.
- Carbs & Grains: These ingredients might not be the finest food for large breed dogs that are sensitive to them, but they’re beneficial for the rest. Carbs and grains provide healthy digestion and boost energy levels.
- Vegetables & Fruits: Sweet or regular potatoes, pumpkin, and carrots are rich in vitamins and minerals. Fruits like blueberries, cranberries, or apples contain fiber, vitamin C, and powerful antioxidants.
- Fatty Acids: Fish oil, flaxseed, soybean, canola oil, and olive oil all contain Omega-3 fatty acids. Meat, poultry, eggs, sunflower oil, and fish provide Omega-6. Both contribute to proper cell function and luxurious skin and coat.
- Water: The ideal dog food for giant breeds should contain the right amounts of moisture for absorbing and digesting the ingredients. We recommend 10 to 12% moisture.
Spare your dog harmful ingredients. Here’s which ones to avoid:
- Artificial preservatives: BHA, BHT, and Ethoxyquin are artificial preservatives that may cause immune deficiencies in dogs. Besides, they can trigger kidney failure and cancer symptoms.
- Artificial Coloring: No dog ever showed interest in kibble color. Artificial coloring might even cause allergic reactions or hyperactivity. The most popular ones are Blue 2, Red 40, or Yellow 5.
- Propylene Glycol: You’ll find this ingredient in anti-freeze products. It helps to reduce moisture, texture and prevent bacteria. That said, it can be highly poisonous if ingested in large amounts.
- White Rice & Corn: The best giant breed dog food shouldn’t contain high levels of fillers. Recipes with too much rice and corn may cause obesity, bloating, and diarrhea.
Large Breed Dog Food vs Regular Dog Food
The vital characteristic of large breed dog food is a rich protein source.
Many large puppies are prone to overgrowth and musculoskeletal issues, so they need a protein-based diet for lean mass and reduced fat. That’s why the first ingredients should include a whole protein of chicken, beef, fish, or pork.
Meat protein supports bone and joint health due to its glucosamine and chondroitin. Also, it contains omega fatty acids to nurture the skin and coat. Some of the five star large breed dog food brands aim for a healthy skeletal system and have low amounts of calcium and phosphorus.
Another ingredient you’ll frequently see in a large breed formula is fiber. It contributes to healthy weight and digestion. The last characteristic that differentiates large breed dog foods from regular ones is the kibble size. Big dogs have bigger jaws, so their kibbles should be slightly larger.
Common Health Issues in Large Dog Breeds
While these health problems aren’t guaranteed to occur, you should be aware of them. Plus, some ingredients can help with disease discomfort. So don’t rush to pick your best large breed dog food from our reviews. Learn about the possible health issues first:
- Hip & Elbow Dysplasia: A genetic condition causing hip or joint displacement.
- Arthritis: It’s joint Inflammation due to damaged cartilage. That causes rubbing of the joints, resulting in pain and stiffness. On top of foods there are also joint supplement for dogs to help with this.
- Wobbler Syndrome: Cervical spine disease resulting in neck pain and spinal cord compression.
- Aortic Stenosis: Obstruction of blood flow due to narrow aortic valve opening. It causes difficulty breathing and potentially fainting.
- Entropion: It’s a genetic condition that causes the eyelid to be inverted inward. It can irritate the area and cause excessive tearing.
- Gastric Dilatation & Volvulus Syndrome: A life-threatening condition that causes the stomach to bloat and twist by blocking its entrance and exit.
If you want to learn more, check our specific guides for different breeds on PawsomeAdvice.
At a Glance — Summary of the Leading Large Dog Food Brands
Nutro Natural Choice Dry Dog Food: Best overall
Only Natural Pet Powerfood: Turkey-based recipe
Nature’s Recipe Grain-free Dry Dog Food: Fiber-rich formula
Wellness Core Grain-free Dry Dog Food: Whole-body health
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Dry Dog Food: Climate Pledge Friendly product
Orijen Grain-free Dog Food for Large Breed Puppies: Large breed puppy dry dog food
Iams High Protein Dry Dog Food: Budget-friendly formula
American Journey Active Life Formula Dry Dog Food: Salmon-based formula
Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach Dog Food: Formula for healthy digestion
Eukanuba Body Weight Control Dry Dog Food: Low-fat formula
Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Grain-Free Dry Dog Food: Freeze-dried raw ingredients
How Much Should You Feed a Large Breed Dog?
Generally speaking, large dogs need around 1 ½ cups per 22 lbs daily. To make things easier, some of the leading large dog food brands include feeding recommendations on the packaging.
Still, every dog is different, so we pet owners need to tailor the food to our pet’s allergies, activity levels, and preferences. It’s best to discuss your dog’s weight with your veterinarian. You can also check the body condition score to determine whether your dog is overweight or underweight and adjust the food amounts accordingly.
How to Change Your Dog’s Food
The ideal transition from one food to another is gradual. That way, you’ll avoid the potential risk of digestive upset.
Adjusting to good large breed dog food takes around eleven days:
- First three days: Add 25% new food to 75% old food.
- Following three days: Mix 50% new and 50% old food.
- The seventh day: Give 75% new food and only 25% old.
- Last (eleventh) day: The meal should consist of 100% new food.
Final Thoughts: What’s the Ideal Nutrition For Large Breed Puppies? + Our Top Pick
Many first-time owners struggle to choose the optimal large breed food for their furry friend. Some even pick a cheap brand without realizing those often lack good nutrition value.
But there’s no need to worry. The Nutro’s Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe guarantees the best formula for adults and large senior dogs. The food has 4.8/5 stars on Amazon. Plus, it’s 100% natural, non-GMO, and with plenty of protein. Thanks to the “Nutro Feed Clean Philosophy,” your dog will eat only natural and recognizable ingredients. It’s the finest large breed grain-free dog food packed with proteins, antioxidants, glucosamine, chondroitin, vitamins, and minerals.
The Nutro food boosts immunity and supports healthy joints — a significant advantage for dogs suffering from arthritis. If that’s your case, consider easing their pain with the best orthopedic dog bed that will provide comfy and natural body positioning. Change your pet’s lifestyle, pick the right products for health, and see the results.
Is a grain-free diet recommended for my large breed dog?
The FDA claims that a grain-free diet might cause heart problems, as over 1100 dogs with dilated cardiomyopathy ate grain-free dog food. But if your large dog is allergic to grains, a grain-free option is the safest alternative.
What is the finest dog food for large breed puppies?
Our top pick for the best large breed puppy food is the Orijen Grain-free Dry Dog Food. It’s US-made and suits even the pickiest of eaters. The formula contains minerals, vitamins, and proteins, including fresh poultry, fish, and freeze-dried liver.
What nutrients are essential in large breed dog food?
For starters, never consider a recipe that’s full of fillers, additives, preservatives, artificial flavors, or colors. As for the essentials — probiotics, DHA, glucosamine, chondroitin, fats, carbs, and proteins are the main ingredients to consider when choosing the best large breed dog food.