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The 5 Best Large Breed Dog Foods In 2023

By:
Buzzpetz
| Updated: May 28, 2023
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Best large breed dog foods 2023
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If you have a large breed dog, you know how much they love to eat. But did you know that they also have special nutritional needs? Large-breed dogs are prone to certain health issues, such as joint problems, bloat, and obesity, that can be prevented or managed by feeding them the right food. In this article, we will explore why large dogs need special food, what are the highlights of large breed dog food, and review some of the best dog food for large breeds available on the market.

Why Large Dogs Need Special Food

Large breed dogs are those that weigh more than 50 pounds as adults. They have different growth patterns and metabolic rates than smaller dogs, which means they need different amounts and types of nutrients. Some of the reasons why large dogs need special food are:

  • They grow faster and longer. Large breed puppies can reach their adult size in 12 to 18 months, compared to 9 to 12 months for smaller breeds. This means they need more energy and protein to support their rapid growth. However, they also need to avoid excess calories and calcium, which can cause skeletal problems and obesity.
  • They have bigger bones and joints. Large-breed dogs have more stress on their bones and joints due to their size and weight. This can lead to joint diseases, such as hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis, especially as they age. They need food that contains glucosamine, chondroitin, and omega-3 fatty acids to support their joint health and mobility.
  • They are more prone to bloat. Bloat is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the stomach fills with gas and twists on itself. It can cut off the blood supply to vital organs and cause shock or death. Large-breed dogs are more susceptible to bloat because of their deep chests and large stomachs. They need food that is easy to digest and does not cause gas. They also need to eat smaller meals more frequently and avoid exercise right after eating.

Highlights of Large Breed Dog Food

Large-breed dog food is specially formulated to meet the nutritional needs of large dogs. It has some features that distinguish it from regular dog food, such as:

  • Lower calorie density. Large-breed dog food has fewer calories per cup than regular dog food. This helps prevent overfeeding and obesity, which can cause health problems for large dogs. It also helps them feel full and satisfied without eating too much.
  • Optimal protein and fat levels. Large-breed dog food has moderate levels of protein and fat to support their muscle mass and energy needs. It also has a balanced ratio of amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. Too much or too little protein or fat can cause health issues for large dogs.
  • Controlled calcium and phosphorus levels. Large-breed dog food has lower calcium and phosphorus levels than regular dog food. This helps regulate their bone growth and development and prevent skeletal problems. It also helps maintain their blood pH levels and kidney function.
  • Added joint supplements. Large-breed dog food often contains glucosamine, chondroitin, and omega-3 fatty acids to support joint health and mobility. These ingredients help reduce inflammation, lubricate the joints, and repair cartilage.
  • High-quality ingredients. Large-breed dog food should contain high-quality ingredients that are natural, wholesome, and easily digestible. It should avoid artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, fillers, by-products, or allergens that can cause digestive issues or allergic reactions.

#1 Blue Buffalo Large Breed Dog Food

Blue Buffalo is a well-known brand that offers a variety of dog food formulas for different life stages, breeds, sizes, and dietary needs. Their large breed dog food is designed to provide complete and balanced nutrition for large dogs over 50 pounds.

 
Best Overall
$85.98
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Large Breed Dog Food

Premium, high-protein BLUE Wilderness is the protein-rich food your large breed dog was born to love. Created to satisfy ancestral cravings, it starts with high-quality deboned salmon and contains wholesome grains for truly balanced nutrition.

If you’re looking for high-quality dog food that is designed for large breeds, you might want to check out Blue Buffalo. The first ingredient is real meat (salmon), a must-have for your canine buddy. It’s also packed with nutrients and antioxidants like LifeSource Bits, which are small dark kibbles containing vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support his immune system and overall health. Plus, it has glucosamine and chondroitin to help joints and bones stay strong. If you’ve had large dogs before, you’ll know is high on the list of importance for giving them the pain-free long life you want for them. Blue Buffalo is a great choice for anyone who wants the best for their pets.

Features

  • It is made with natural ingredients, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
  • It contains protein-rich salmon to support lean muscles.
  • It has glucosamine and chondroitin to support bigger dogs’ joint health and mobility.
  • It features TruMune, a postbiotic designed to support gut health.
  • It includes antioxidant-rich LifeSource Bits™, a precise blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals selected by veterinarians and animal nutritionists.

Pros

  • Contains real meat as the first ingredient.
  • Contains LifeSource Bits
  • Packed with postbiotics and antioxidants

Cons

  • It is more expensive than some other brands
  • It may not suit some dogs with sensitive stomachs or allergies

#2 Nutro Ultra Large Breed Dog Food

Nutro Ultra is another popular brand that offers a range of dog food formulas for different life stages, breeds, sizes, and dietary needs. Their large breed dog food is designed to provide holistic nutrition for large dogs over 50 pounds.

 
Runner-Up
$54.98
NUTRO ULTRA Adult Large Breed

NUTRO ULTRA believes that dogs deserve to enjoy their food as much as we enjoy ours. And like us, they shouldn’t have to compromise on taste.

Features:

  • It is made with a trio of chicken, lamb, and salmon proteins to support lean muscles.
  • It contains a blend of 15 superfoods, such as coconut, chia, kale, blueberries, and other quality ingredients that provide antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
  • It has no chicken by-product meal, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

Pros

  • Trio of proteins from chicken, lamb and salmon to support lean muscles
  • No chicken by-product meal, corn, wheat, soy or artificial flavors, colors or preservatives
  • Noticed improvements in dogs’ coat, hair, shedding, and itching

Cons

  • High amount of plant-based ingredients
  • Some dogs had digestive issues, such as diarrhea or vomiting, after eating
  • Expensive

#3 Merrick Grain Free Large Breed Dog Food

Merrick Grain Free is another reputable brand that offers a variety of dog food formulas for different life stages, breeds, sizes, and dietary needs. Their large breed dog food is designed to provide grain-free nutrition for large dogs over 50 pounds.

$72.98
Merrick Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Merrick Large Breed Dry Dog Food Real Chicken and Sweet Potato Grain Free Dog Food Recipe is crafted with whole foods and deboned chicken as the first ingredient in this real meat dog food. This Merrick grain free dog food provides high-quality protein to help build and maintain healthy muscle tissue and energy levels for large breed adult dogs.

Features

  • It is made with real deboned chicken as the first ingredient and provides high-quality protein to support lean muscles.
  • It contains real whole foods such as sweet potatoes, peas, apples, and blueberries that provide antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
  • It is grain free and has no corn, wheat, soy, chickpeas, lentils or artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
  • It has leading levels of glucosamine and chondroitin to support the joint health and mobility of large-breed dogs.
  • It has balanced nutrition for all life stages and all breeds of dogs with a focus on naturally nutrient-rich ingredients.

Pros

  • High quality, taste and ingredients and dogs loved it
  • Saw improvements in their dogs’ skin, coat, allergies, digestion and energy levels
  • Made in the USA with locally sourced ingredients and had no recalls

Cons

  • Expensive compared to other brands
  • May not suit sensitive dogs
  • Strong smell

#4 Instinct Grain Free Large Breed Dog Food

Instinct Grain Free is another high-quality brand that offers a range of dog food formulas for different life stages, breeds, sizes, and dietary needs. Their large breed dog food is designed to provide raw-inspired nutrition for large dogs over 50 pounds.

$90.24
Instinct Raw Boost Large Breed Puppy

Instinct Raw Boost for large breed puppies is a better way to feed puppy dog food – high protein, grain-free dry dog food mixed with all-natural bites of freeze-dried raw meat, all in one bag.

Features

  • It is made with real deboned chicken as the first ingredient and provides high-quality protein to support lean muscles.
  • It contains freeze-dried raw pieces of chicken that are minimally processed and packed with natural nutrition and taste.
  • It is grain free and has no corn, wheat, soy, potato, by-product meal or artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
  • It has probiotics and omegas to support healthy digestion, skin, and coat.
  • It has calcium and phosphorus for strong teeth and bones, plus natural DHA for brain and eye development.

Pros

  • Freeze dried raw pieces were a hit
  • Noticed improvements in appetite and allergies
  • Made in the USA with responsibly sourced ingredients and had no recalls

Cons

  • Expensive compared to similar quality foods
  • Some dogs picked around the kibble and only ate the freeze dried raw pieces

#5 Wellness Complete Health Large Breed Dog Food

Wellness Complete Health is another trusted brand that offers a variety of dog food formulas for different life stages, breeds, sizes, and dietary needs. Their large breed dog food is designed to provide complete and balanced nutrition for large dogs over 50 pounds.

$44.98
Wellness Complete Health Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Wellness Complete Health natural pet food is made with carefully chosen, authentic ingredients for everyday health. An optimal balance of nutrient-rich whole foods to fulfill the unique health needs of your dog, providing whole-body nutritional support to promote complete health.

Features

  • It is made with deboned chicken as the first ingredient and provides high-quality protein to support lean muscles.
  • It contains wholesome grains such as brown rice, barley, and oatmeal that provide fiber and energy.
  • It has glucosamine and chondroitin to support large-breed dogs’ joint health and mobility.
  • It has antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to support strong immune systems and optimal health.
  • It has balanced nutrition for all life stages and all breeds of dogs with a focus on natural ingredients.

Pros

  • High quality ingredients that dogs seem to enjoy
  • Noticeable improvements in dogs’ skin, coat, allergies, digestion and weight on this food
  • Made in the USA with no corn, wheat, soy or artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.

Cons

  • Expensive compared to other food and reports of inconsistent quality or packaging issues
  • Some dogs have diarrhea, vomiting, gas after trying this food
  • Some people say this food had a bad smell or was too hard or too small for their dogs to eat

Conclusion

Large breed dogs have special nutritional needs that require special food. Large-breed dog food is specially formulated to provide optimal levels of calories, protein, fat, calcium, phosphorus, and other nutrients to support their growth, development, health, and well-being. It also contains ingredients that support their joint health and mobility, such as glucosamine and chondroitin. It avoids ingredients that can cause health problems for large dogs, such as corn, wheat, soy, chicken by-product meal, or artificial additives.

Many brands and formulas of large-breed dog food are available on the market. Some of the best ones are Blue Buffalo, Nutro Ultra, Merrick Grain Free, Instinct Grain Free, and Wellness Complete Health. Each of these brands offers high-quality ingredients, natural and wholesome recipes, and different formulas for different life stages and needs. However, they also have some drawbacks, such as higher prices or potential allergies or sensitivities. Therefore, it is important to consult your veterinarian and do your research before choosing the best dog food for your large breed dog. Remember, your dog deserves the best food for their size and health.

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