Choosing the right type of food is one of the first things that anyone would think of upon adopting or getting a puppy. It doesn’t matter kind of breed or mixed-breeds your puppy is, I’ll bet if you want to him/her with a healthy, delicious and high-quality food to ensure your buddy reach his/her full potential. This is also will be more vital if you have a large breed puppy which the nutrition of the food will impact with his growth.
Large breed puppies have nutritional needs that are different from smaller breeds. So, it’s essential that you just don’t buy dog food that you first come across in an online shop or at a brick-and-mortar store. In this article, you will learn how to choose the best dry puppy food for large breed dogs and recommendations on which dry food to give to your puppy.
Why You Need Specific Dry Food for Large Breed Dogs?
Large breed dogs are those who will grow to at least 24 inches in height and tip the scales from 55 to 85 pounds. Also called giant dogs, these canines can intimidate most people and thus make for an excellent watchdog. They are also known to be very protective of their owners. Their size gives them superior strength which explains why they are often used as working dogs.
Large breeds dogs include German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Rottweiler, German Shorthaired Pointer, Doberman Pinscher, Akita, Alaskan Malamute, Old English Sheepdog, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Irish Setter, Bullmastiff, Dalmatian, and Alaskan Husky, among others.
Large breed puppies grow up to 20 times faster than their more mature counterparts. This underscores the need for puppies to be given the right diet to support their physical development.
Large breed puppies should be given food that can provide them with a wide range of nutrients like vitamins and minerals. Even though, large breed canine nutrition is similar to small breed dog nutrition, there are notable exceptions. For one, large breed puppies need special diets to avoid certain health risks such as obesity, bloating, and orthopedic disease. These health concerns typically hound large breed puppies as they mature into adults.
Puppy Growth & Maturation
Moreover, large breed puppies will take more time to fully mature than their smaller counterparts. Smaller breed dogs would become adults by the time they reach their first birthday; on the other hand, larger breeds won’t be fully grown until they are 12 to 24 months old.
While large breed dogs take more time to fully mature, this doesn’t mean that their puppies are small. In fact, large breed puppies grow faster and at a longer duration compared to smaller dogs. For example, a Labrador retriever will reach his adult height in just 6 months. But that won’t mean that the dog will stop growing. In fact, he can still grow until he reaches his 2nd birthday.
In comparison, a small breed dog like a Chihuahua will reach his adult size by the 6th month. But he will not grow any further. Most Chihuahuas are considered fully grown by their first year. If you looking for the best recommendation of dry puppy food then you could read our another article “What is The Best Dry Puppy Food For Small Breed Dogs?“
Large Breed Diet & Nutrition Needs
Large dog breeds not only grow faster and at a longer duration than smaller breeds, but they also have slower metabolic rates. This means that giant dogs won’t be able to burn calories as quickly as smaller dogs, and thus, they have to consume fewer calories per pound.
To better illustrate this, let’s say that an English Mastiff needs to consume around 3,000 calories a day to maintain his weight of 150 pounds. On the other hand, a French Bulldog needs only 400 calories a day to keep his weight of 10 pounds. The English Mastiff is getting only 20 calories for every pound even though he is eating more dry food.
Small breed dogs like the French Bulldog will also feel full after consuming a small scoop of kibble. On the other hand, larger dogs have bigger stomachs and thus would have to absorb a higher volume to feel satiated.
Big dogs also have larger frames compared to small dogs aside from being at risk of arthritis when they reach the latter stages of their lives. A diet rich in antioxidants can play a huge role in reducing the chances of arthritis. Antioxidants can help in preventing other health issues that big dogs may encounter later on in life such as cancer, eye problems, and heart disease.
Health Concerns for Large Breed Dog
While large breed pups can grow to massive sizes, they must not grow up too quickly or else the weight gain can put a lot of stress on their growing skeletons. Rapid growth can also lead to structural defects that can make the skeleton unable to bear the puppy’s growing body weight. The rapid growth of puppies is often associated with increased risks of hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and Osteochondritis Dissecans or OCD, a disease of the cartilage affecting the joints.
Hip dysplasia is due to hip joint malformation. It is common in large dog breeds like German Shepherds and can be influenced by genetics and their diet. Feeding large breed dogs with food that contains too much calcium can increase risks of this condition. Hip dysplasia will affect the mobility of the dog as he matures, making it difficult to move around and climb higher areas.
Elbow dysplasia, on the other hand, can lead to pain and inflammation of the elbow joint. Unlike hip dysplasia, however, it can develop in German Shepherd pups. It is also possible for this ailment to resurface later on in a German Shepherd’s life. OCD is a painful joint disease affecting the elbows, knees, and shoulders of German shepherds and other large breed dogs.
And it’s not only rapid growth that can cause health problems to large breed dogs. Their massive size coupled with other factors like lack of physical activity or exercise can cause them to become overweight or obese. Going back to our example, the German Shepherd is also at risk of obesity. The breed needs a certain amount of exercise which if not achieved regularly can lead to weight gain.
What Should You Consider to Choose Dry Puppy Food for Large Breed?
With the many dry puppy food products available in the market, it can really be confusing which one to buy. There are several things to consider in choosing the best large breed puppy food. One is the brand reputation. As they say, you get what you pay for. Giving dry food manufactured by a reputable brand is a wise decision because you can be assured of the quality. Reputable dog food manufacturers invest heavily in research and development to ensure that their dry food products are completely balanced. Good brands are also very likely to have undergone and passed the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) feeding trials.
You should check on the ingredients list before buying dry puppy food. Make sure that the food has the following:
Protein is essential to the growth of large breed puppies as it helps in building strong muscles and body tissues. Real meat like chicken, turkey, beef, duck, fish, and other poultry are excellent sources of protein. Plants and meat by-products like claws, horns, hair, and feathers are also good protein sources albeit not as good as those coming from real meats. Dry food coming from plant and meat by-products tends to be cheaper, though. Other sources of protein in dry dog food are eggs, fish, cheese, corn, and wheat.
Carbohydrate & Grain-Free
Carbs provide our canine friends with the energy they need to function every day. Cereal grains are the most common kinds of carbs used in dog foods. These include barley, oats, brown rice, whole wheat, whole corn, potato, and millet. Look for the word ‘whole’ in the description of the ingredients providing carbs as this would indicate that the puppy food can give high-quality carbs and fiber to keep your pet energized.
You’d also want to give your puppy grain-free food. Dogs don’t have the natural digestive support for breaking down and metabolizing cereal grains. Their digestive system mainly relies on fermentation to break down fibers and grains. Over the long run, this can affect the gastrointestinal system lining leading to food allergies, inflammation disorders, and obesity.
Fat & Omega-3
Fats and fatty acids are also needed by puppies. Omega-3, in particular, is essential for cell function and normal physiologic function in young canines. Omega-6, meanwhile, is necessary for growth as well as healthy skin and coat of dogs. Fish is the best source of omega-3. Check if the puppy food has ingredients such as salmon or trout. For Omega-6, look for vegetable oils like corn oil and soybean oil.
Calcium & Vitamin D
Both calcium and vitamin D is essential in the growth of puppies as well as for the development of their teeth and bones. Vitamin D is also needed to promote calcium absorption of canines while maintaining the right blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. Foods like eggs, salmon, herring, mackerel, and cod liver are good sources of this vitamin. As for calcium, excellent sources include fish including tuna and salmon as well as vegetables and legumes like beans, broccoli, and spinach.
Small Breed vs. Large Breed Puppy Food
Puppy food for small breed dogs is different from large breed puppy food not only in the nutritional formula but also in size. Dry food size for small breeds is usually more modest compared than the size of those for larger breeds. Smaller dogs have smaller jaws which means they need to be given food that is small enough for them to chew and digest.
On the other hand, large breed puppy foods have optimal levels for calcium. As mentioned earlier, too much calcium in their diet can be damaging to large breed dogs as it can increase risks of hip dysplasia. Thus, puppy food formulated for large breed dogs have optimized calcium levels for controlled bone development.
How Much Food Should a Large Breed Puppy Eat?
In general, puppies aged six weeks can be fed with dry food. Large breed puppies can be given 2 to 4 feedings a day to meet their nutritional demands. The amount per feeding will largely depend on various factors such as age, activity level, and metabolism. But to give you an idea, a Belgian Malinois should be given 1 ½ to 2 ½ cups of food per day in weeks 6 to 11. The number of cups can increase to 2 ⅓ to 3 ½ by the time the puppy reaches his third month.
Why Should I Choose Dry Puppy Food Over Wet Food?
In picking food for your puppy, you are to choose between dry food and wet dog food. For most pet owners, however, the choice is easy– dry food.
Dry food for puppy offers a lot of advantages. It is convenient to store and serve. It is also more reasonably priced. Moreover, puppies can get the needed nutrients to support their growth when they eat dry food.
Let’s first look at the practical reasons to give dry food to your puppy. First, dry kibble is more economical to feed to puppies. It has a lower cost because of its lower percentage of water compared to canned food. The protein-rich ingredients used in dry food such as corn, wheat, and soy are also cheaper than meat contributing further to the lower costs of kibble.
Moreover, dry food doesn’t need refrigeration after opening. It can be left out for your puppy to eat. You won’t have to worry about dry food getting spoiled especially if you leave it exposed to the air for hours or even days. Plus, dry kibble is more convenient for pet owners who are fond of bringing their puppies outdoors.
Finally, dry food is more comfortable to measure compared to canned food. You can easily measure out recommended portions to your puppy. With all these practical benefits or advantages of dry dog food, you should not be shocked to learn that more dog owners prefer to give dry food to their puppies.
Dry food also offers many health benefits to puppies. Chewing kibble is good for a puppy’s tooth as it prevents tartar and plaque buildup. Your puppy will likely have a more tolerable breath if he chows down exclusively on dry food.
7 Best Dry Puppy Food for Large Breeds
Orijen Large Puppy Formula Dog Food
This dry puppy food for large breeds canines replicates the natural diet of dogs. It consists of key ingredients like meats, fruits, and vegetables. It contains 80 percent meat including chicken and turkey giving it the high-quality proteins that large breed puppies need for their optimal growth. It also has other protein sources like chicken liver, whole eggs, and fish. It is grain-free, too, with a minimal amount of carbohydrates. The dry food also contains 20 percent of fruits and vegetables that can provide the necessary vitamins to canines. Moreover, Orijen Puppy food contains prebiotics and probiotics that aid in canine digestion. If you are looking for a high-quality dry food for your puppy then Orijen Large Puppy Formula Dog Food is highly recommended.
Wilderness Blue Buffalo High Protein
High in protein and DHA, this dog food features real meats and fruits and vegetables. It is rich in protein with ingredients such as chicken meal and deboned chicken as well as pea protein. It is also packed in fats and fatty acids with ingredients like menhaden fish and flaxseed. Plus it includes ingredients like blueberries, cranberries, and sweet potatoes to provide the essential vitamins and minerals that growing puppies need. It also has DHA that supports cognitive learning and retinal function of puppies. It contains no artificial flavor or preservatives as well as chicken or poultry by-products.
Wellness CORE Grain-Free Puppy Chicken & Turkey
This well-balanced and nutritious dog food is made from natural grains rich in protein. It is also free from artificial flavors, preservatives, fillers, and meat by-products. It is made from premium poultry such as chicken and turkey for protein. Plus it is rich in vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids like omega 3 and 6 for healthy cellular activity, improved immunity, and shiny coat. It also has the needed nutrients for healthy gums, teeth, and eyes. This puppy food has been formulated for natural chewing and digestion of puppy. The kibble size should easily fit in the smaller mouths of puppies.
Iams Large Breed Puppy Food
Chicken is the top ingredient of this best dog food for large breed puppies so you can be assured that your pet will get high-quality protein from it. Grains and vegetables have also been incorporated into this food to promote proper digestion in puppies. This large breed puppy food also has Omega-3 DHA that can support healthier and smarter puppies. It is also designed to help healthy bones and joints, stiff muscles, and well-functioning immune system.
Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food Grain Free Large & Giant Breed Puppy Lamb & Chicken Meals
Holistic Select’s dry food for large and giant breed puppies has been designed to promote proper digestion in canines. It can also provide good nutrition to puppies with its potent combination of fruits, vegetables, and antioxidant-rich superfoods. This dry puppy food contains brewers yeast, which this could be a controversial ingredient. Even though brewers yeast is rich in minerals and other healthy nutrients, and fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system. There’s still pro and cons of yeast in dog food. If you suspect your puppy or dog is allergic then we recommended not this product.
Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy
Rounding out our list is the best dog food for large breed puppies from Diamond Naturals. Real Lamb meat is its top and first ingredient, giving puppies the protein they need to grow. It also has DHA to promote optimal brain and vision development. Plus it also has powerful antioxidants from real fruits and vegetables which it helps develop a good immune system.
Royal Canin Giant Junior Dry Dog Food
This dry dog food is specially formulated for puppies who are bound to weigh more than 100 pounds when they reach adulthood. It can be given to giant breed puppies who are at least 8 months old. It promotes muscle development in large breed puppies while supporting food digestive health. Aside from being rich in protein, this dry dog food also contains L-carnitine for healthy muscles. It also has optimal amounts of calcium and phosphorus for healthy bones and joints. This dry puppy food also includes chelated minerals, a mineral that has been chemically linked to an amino acid or protein. This mineral makes protein easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are commonly found in better dry dog foods.
That’s our seven recommendation dry puppy food for large breed dogs. We hope this article could help you to decide which the best dry puppy food for a large breeds to fits your particular puppy’s needs. If you have any best option of dry puppy food that we have mentioned above, please let us know in this comments section below!