What’s the Best Dog Food for Your Large Breed Dog?

by Lilly

Life With Dogs is reader-supported. We may earn a small commission through products purchased using links on this page.

What’s the Best Dog Food for Your Large Breed Dog?

Choosing to be the owner of a large breed dog means you have taken on some big challenges. These bundles of canine love need some special attention to particular health aspects that can be an issue for them. Understanding their nutritional needs from day one will help keep your dog healthy and prevent disease. A good quality product, in terms of quality grain-free dog food, puppy food, wet dog food, or other high-quality dog food, is essential to their health and longevity. Talk to your dog’s veterinarian about your breed of dog and what special ingredients they may need to have in their regular pet food. There are many great dog food brands on the market, but there is no one brand that will be best as it will need to be adjusted throughout their life stages based on age and medical issues if any. Large breed dogs are more susceptible to health issues than small dog breeds such as:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Panosteitis
  • Bloat and Torsion
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy
  • Aortic Stenosis
  • Spondylolistheses
  • Cruciate Ligament Tears
  • Cherry Eye
  • Arthritis

What Is a Large Breed Dog?

Dogs are labeled by breeders are small, medium, large, and giant breed. They then branch out to large and giant. These labels depend on weight and how tall a pup is. A large dog breed is considered to be a pet over 50 lbs. and a height of 24 inches. Breeders then differentiate between large and giant. This means any dog over 90 lbs. is considered giant. Among others, they include:

  • Akita
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Bloodhound
  • Boxer
  • Collie
  • Dalmatian
  • German Shepherd
  • Great Dane
  • Komondor
  • Rottweiler
  • Saluki
  • St. Bernard
  • Weimaraner

What Brand of Dog Food Is Best for Your Large Breed Dog?

21 1

Irrespective of the size of your dog, all large breed dogs need some TLC when it comes to mealtime and the dog’s diet is key. Ingredients, such as beef, lamb, and vegetables, as well as numerous vitamins and nutrients, are essential and a limited ingredient diet is the way to go for complete health. As puppies, they grow quickly and also longer than compared to small or medium-sized breeds. A dog born at 1 lb. can quickly grow to 150 lbs. in their first 18 months of life and so getting the right ingredients in every meal is essential. This quick growth rate means that an owner must be very aware of nutrients and caloric intake of their young dog. If there are imbalances or deficiencies, then it can affect your large breed dog’s well-being. Growing too fast holds the threat of developmental orthopedic disease (DOD) which includes:

  • Hypertrophic osteodystrophy
  • Osteochondrosis
  • Retained ulnar cartilage core
  • Panosteitis
  • Hip and Elbow Dysplasia

This means that large breed dogs need some essential elements that aren’t always found in other size breeds dog food. They need foods that are lower in fat, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D. They need smaller meals throughout the day and for their weight to be monitored. Read nutrient labels and look for:

  • Two to three quality sources of meat protein
  • A healthy source of animal fat
  • DHA for brain and eye development
  • Quality source of fiber
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health


22 1

Large breed puppies are unique. They grow fast and for a longer period of time. Their rapid growth puts them at risk for improper bone formation leading to hip disease. This ailment is caused by genetics, overfeeding and too much dietary calcium. While you can’t do anything about genetics, taking care of the intake of the puppy food and calcium levels are doable. If you monitor their food in the early months you may be able to fend of health issues in their later years.

Wellness Complete Health Large Breed Puppy Food

This product is good for all puppies but is best for a large breed. It has monitored calcium and phosphorous levels to make sure your pup is getting the right levels for strong bones without becoming overloaded. It contains rich salmon-meal for brain development as well. Flaxseed is added in to keep their coat shiny and skin clean. Yucca Schidigera and Taurine support healthy digestive tracks and heart making this a great product to start your young puppy out on.

Horizon Complete Large Breed Puppy

This premium product that has above-average protein, near-average fat and below-average carbs when compared to typical dry dog food. It contains pure, real, whole grains and chicken protein for optimal nutrition. It contains barley, rye, and flaxseed but no corn, potatoes, or tapioca. A low glycemic index keeps your puppy fit with regulated blood sugar. Add in some exercise and love, along with their monitored amounts of food and your puppy gets the best start.


23 1

Victor Yukon River Salmon & Sweet Potato Grain-Free

This product is a super-premium food with high protein levels with 76% of the protein coming from fish itself. This recipe with its grain- and gluten-free formula is tailored to large breed dogs. It is also a great choice for pets with allergies and mom dogs who are lactating. There are no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives and it supports digestive and immune system health. Omega-3 & 6 fatty acids and vitamin E support glossy coats and healthy skin making this a great formula for large, active dogs.

Now Fresh Grain-Free Large Breed

This product is perfect for dogs 50+ pounds between 15 months and five years of age. It is made from fresh turkey, salmon, and duck. It is free of common allergens and irritants and includes in its formula great ingredients like New Zealand green mussels, glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints along with L-Carnitine for a healthy heart and lean muscle. In addition, it also has taurine for good vision and heart function with pre and probiotics for good digestion. This is a great product to feed your pup in their active adult years.


These healthy dog foods for large breed dogs are good picks when trying to make sure your furry friend gets the proper nutrients to support them through their fast-growing puppy phase into adulthood and its potential health issues. Large breed dogs are unique not only in their size but in their health and nutrition requirements. When you bring your large, new pup home, make sure you have talked to their veterinarian about the nutritional requirements of not only the breed but their age and potential health issues. Planning their current nutritional health based on their potential futures means they get a head start on a long, healthy, and happy life. If you are looking for the best dog food for large breed dogs, you have found it here.