In a rush and just want my recommendation? I think the Orijen Puppy Large is a great choice.
Getting a new puppy is an exciting time. You need to ensure you prepare appropriately because your puppy will have a lot of needs. One of the most important is food.
It is essential that you buy food specifically for puppies because it has the nutritional content that matches your dog’s needs. In addition, you need to look for a large breed food as it will differ from those made for small breeds. Choosing the right food is incredibly important to your dog’s overall health, so you need to look for the best large breed puppy food.
In this article, I’m reviewing the following large breed puppy foods.
- Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Puppy
- Wellness Complete Health Large Breed Puppy Food
- Orijen Puppy Large
- Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Formula
- Blue Buffalo Life Protection Large Breed Puppy Food
What Are the Nutritional Needs of a Large Breed Puppy?
When feeding your dog, it is vital that you match the food to the particular needs of your dog’s breed and age. Puppies have different nutritional needs than adult dogs. You must ensure their diet is complete and balanced.
Commercial foods are often the best large breed puppy food because they have carefully monitored ingredients and blends to ensure they provide an adequate amount of minerals, vitamins, protein, and fat to match your dog’s needs at this stage of life.
VCA Hospitals explains that you have to be cautious about feeding your pup because you cannot allow it to grow too quickly or to become obese. Both can lead to serious strain on the bones, muscles, and joints, leading to lifelong health issues.
Any food you choose needs to have a balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats that provide your pup with the nutrients it needs, and that serves as an energy source able to handle a high-energy puppy. You want to look for a food with around 9% fat and 30% protein.
Calcium is another essential need of large breed puppies. Ideally, any food you choose should have a calcium range between 1.3% and 1.5%. Proper calcium levels help to ensure that your dog’s bones grow correctly and at the right rate to prevent fragile bone issues.
Do note that puppies’ bodies cannot regulate calcium like older dogs, so you have to take care of this for them to prevent an overload. The following clip provides more information for you.
The best large breed puppy food will have a balance of calcium and phosphorus. A good ratio is between 1:1 to 1:3 of calcium to phosphorus. It also should contain other essentials, including manganese, vitamins A and D, copper, and zinc.
Why Is It Important to Carefully Choose a Puppy’s Food?
Puppies are at a particularly vulnerable point in development. What you feed your dog at this time in its life can impact its health from here on out. The American Kennel Club says giving your dog the right food is the best thing you can do to prevent future health problems.
The right food will help prevent obesity. It will give your puppy the right balance of ingredients to support a healthy weight and proper growth.
A good diet will help you avoid giving too much or too little nutrients. It can extend your puppy’s life, prevent digestion issues, help prevent growth problems, and extend your dog’s life.
How to Know if a Food Is High-Quality
Many dog foods on the market state they are for large breed puppies, but it is not always easy to know which one to choose. They all claim to be the best large breed puppy food, but you can’t take the label as proof a food is good.
The best strategy is to do a little research. Check to see the food passes government requirements. Ensure the company has strong internal standards for quality. Look for approval or recommendations from professionals such as the AKC or veterinarians.
You should always pay attention to the ingredient list. High-quality foods won’t contain fillers. They will be as natural as possible. The first ingredients should be meat products and not grains or flavorings.
It also helps if you know where the food originates. Companies that are proud of where they source their ingredients will make it known on the packaging. This is a good indicator that the company takes care in crafting the food, which will reflect in the quality.
How Do I Feed My Puppy in the First Year?
The first year of your puppy’s life is the most important when it comes to nutrition. You want to make sure you feed your puppy enough. Introduce your dog to solid food at about six weeks of age. From this point until about 12 weeks, you will feed your puppy four times per day.
At about three months, you can decrease the feedings to three times per day. Keep this up until about six months when your pup starts to look less plump and lose its puppy belly.
At this time, you can reduce feedings to two times per day. Between six to 12 months, you will transition to adult food. Don’t change food too early. Wait until your dog reaches maturity or until you get them spayed or neutered. It is much better to feed them puppy food for too long, than to start adult food too early.
Best Large Breed Puppy Food Reviews
There are many excellent food options on the market for large breed puppies, but I’ve put together what I think is a strong list of five of the best large breed puppy food options.
Hill’s Science large breed puppy food has a carefully controlled level of calcium. It has DHA from fish oil to help with brain and eye development. Plus, this food uses only high-quality ingredients, with protein being first on the label every time.
The manufacturing occurs in the USA, and food scientists, veterinarians, and Ph.D. nutritionists carefully developed and tested this food to ensure quality standards. Veterinarians highly recommend this brand as the number one option.
This food gets most of its protein from chicken meal. It has 30% protein and 14% fat.
- Professionally developed and tested
- Veterinarian recommended
- High in fat
Wellness Complete Health puppy food for large breeds gets the bulk of its protein from animals, including fresh chicken. It is a trusted name in dog food with manufacturing in the USA. It features high-quality ingredients with no meat by-products, artificial preservatives, or fillers. It is also non-GMO.
The food contains DHA from salmon oil for brain development. It has antioxidants to boost the immune system and contains omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. In this puppy food, there is 32% protein and 14% fat.
- No GMOs
- Well-known brand name
- No supporting research or accolades
The puppy food from Orijen is grain-free, which is good for sensitive pups. It is a premium brand, which means it has a higher price than many other brands on this list.
The food contains fresh meat, and the company focuses on using free-range chicken, wild-caught fish, and cage-free eggs. It doesn’t contain plant proteins or synthetic additives.
The brand boosts using a biologically appropriate formula to create its food that is better for your dog’s digestive system and overall health. The food contains fruits and vegetables from Kentucky farms and makes all its products in its award-winning kitchens.
This puppy food contains 43% protein and 18% fat. It gets most of its protein from poultry and fish.
- Natural focus on ingredients
- Accolades for quality
- High price
Diamond Naturals puppy food is a budget-friendly option featuring fresh meat sources. It contains no artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors.
With manufacturing in the USA, this food comes from a company that has been family-owned since 1970. It has strict safety protocols for all of its manufacturing.
The food features proprietary probiotics, omega fatty acids, antioxidants, and DHA. It helps support brain, eye, skin, and coat health, along with supporting a healthy immune system.
The food has 30% protein and 17% fat. It gets its protein from fresh meat and meal.
- Features probiotics
- Strict safety protocols
- High fat content
- Use of meal as a primary source of protein
Blue Buffalo is a well-known brand name with high ratings from consumers. It is affordable and features high-quality meat ingredients.
The food contains DHA and ARA. A highlight of this food is the LifeSource Bits, which feature a blend of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals to give the food a healthy boost. Overall, you can expect immune support, along with support for a healthy brain and eyes when you choose this food for your pet.
It contains no chicken, by-product meals, corn, wheat, or soy. It also is free of artificial flavors and preservatives. The formula for the food was developed by holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists. It has 29% protein and 17% fat.
- Natural ingredients
- No soy, wheat, or corn
- Developed by animal health experts
- Might not be suitable for dogs with sensitive stomachs
- Lower in protein than recommended
Whatever food you put into your puppy’s bowl, it must be high quality to provide the nutrition your dog needs to grow strong and healthy. The right food is especially important for large breed puppies as they grow very fast, and need the right nutrients to support proper growth.
If you choose one of the best large breed puppy food options from my list, you can rest easy knowing it is a highly recommended brand. However, my top recommendation is the Orijen Puppy Large.
The reason I chose this brand is that despite the higher fat content than the other brands on the list, it is evident that the company strives to produce only the best possible product.
This is a very trustworthy brand, and I genuinely feel when buying Orijen that you are buying the best of the best.