Having a large dog as a pet is wonderful. They are well-behaved, generally extremely docile and friendly, and are supremely cuddlable. However, one problem that many large dog owners struggle with is feeding the hulking masses of fluff.
What food should you feed your large dog? What nutrients do they need? How much food is enough? These are all questions that many large pup owners ask themselves, and we’re going to answer them in this article.
We’ll be reviewing some of the best foods for your large breed dog, providing you with all the information you need. Read on for more.
Table of Contents
Best Large Breed Dog Food Reviews
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula - Adult Dry Dog Food
If you’re looking for healthy and holistic food for your large dog, then look no further than the Life Protection Formula from Blue Buffalo. Contrary to what the name might suggest, this dog food is not going to save your dog’s life in a pinch but is rather meant to keep them as healthy as possible.
The Life Protection Formula by Blue Buffalo was specifically created for the holistic well-being and health of your large adult dogs. The great thing about Blue Buffalo is that all of their formulas have real meat at their base, as well as garden fruits and veggies, whole grains, and added LifeSource Bits.
The resulting formulae are precise blends of nutrients that have been enhanced using a Super 7 package of ingredients that are rich in antioxidants. This Adult Chicken and Brown Rice recipe include deboned chicken that is protein-rich, as well as other natural ingredients that your dogs will love, and that will ensure that they’re as healthy as they can be.
Blue Buffalo offers this formula in a variety of bag sizes, ranging all the way from 3 pounds to 30 pounds. If you are planning to transition your big dog from their regular dog food to the Life Protection Formula, you’ll want to start by mixing 25% of the Blue Buffalo with your dog’s old food.
Then, slowly and steadily increase the proportion of the Life Protection Formula over the next two weeks. By then, your furry friend should be fully accustomed to the new food and will be much happier because of it.
The great thing about the Life Protection Formula from Blue Buffalo is that it is extremely rich in nutritional ingredients, making it great for large dogs who often need more nutrients. It also comes in a variety of bag sizes, so that you don’t have to spend a small fortune on a large bag if your dog doesn’t eat that much food.
The dried yeast in this formula is quite a controversial topic because while fans believe that it can boost the immune system and repel fleas, critics say that it is linked to allergic reactions. However, like with all allergies, your dog will first need to be allergic to yeast to experience a reaction.
Blackwood Pet Sensitive Skin and Stomach Dog Food
Made in the USA
As the name suggests, the All-Stages Sensitive Skin and Stomach food from Blackwood is ideal for those who have big dogs that suffer from skin and stomach sensitivity. Blackwood, a BrightPet Nutrition Group product, is a very popular brand that is known for creating high-quality products. This food is no exception, and it is one of the best options for dogs in all stages of their life.
High-quality proteins, like real lamb, chicken, or salmon meal, are the top ingredients that are found within many dry food formulas. Blackwood Sensitive Skin and Stomach is formulated using key ingredients that can help support your dog’s specific needs, based on their lifestyle and other unique needs.
There’s quite a debate ongoing in the pet food industry regarding specific food for different stages of a dog’s life. In recent years, AAFCO (The Association of American Feed Control Officials) has changed its position on this topic. In the past, we associated dogs of different sizes with different needs, and that required different food formulas to sustain them and provide them with the necessary nutrients. For large dogs, Blackwood now has their all-stage formulas, which meet AAFCO’s guaranteed analysis (required amount of crude protein, fat, fiber, and moisture content) for all sizes and breeds. You can read more about that here.
The specialized Sensitive Skin & Stomach formula is perfect for dogs that might experience sensitivity in those areas. This dry formula is made with real lamb meal as its primary ingredient. This is another popular topic for debate in the industry. It turns out ‘meal’ retains 80% more protein than its ‘real’ meat counterpart (i.e. moisture plays a big role here). To further increase the quality of their food, Backwood slow cooks it’s kibble in small batches. This ensures the nutrition stays in the food and makes it to your dog’s bowl. It also contains brown rice, oat groats, and veggies that are easy for your dog to digest. Read more about this formula’s nutrition here.
Real protein meal, whole food, and even raw protein are top ingredients in formulas that promote overall health in your dogs. Each ingredient that comes after it is there to serve a particular purpose and each reputable manufacturer’s dry formula is tailored to provide the best fat-to-protein ratio to help your dog maintain their ideal body condition.
Spoiler alert! Every ingredient listed after ‘salt’ makes up less than 1% of the overall recipe. Read more here regarding how to decipher pet food ingredients and nutrition.
Blackwood Sensitive Skin and Stomach is the culmination of decades of advanced nutrition research from the brand and is backed by leading pet food nutritionists, including veterinarians, and behaviorists. Together, they aim to provide your dog with all of the nutrition they need to be at their best.
It’s hard to find much wrong with this formula. The guaranteed analysis shows a strong protein profile (you may look for more protein if your pooch is more active), healthy fat content, and both omega and probiotic supplements.
It may not be available at your local pet store.
Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
This unique dry dog food formula was designed to nourish your canine companion with the balanced diet that nature intended for them to have. It is formulated with protein like bison and is a grain-free recipe that includes sweet potatoes and peas to deliver the high-digestible energy that your active large dog needs.
While your large dog might not be a coyote or a wolf, they do share the same ancestral cravings. In order to satisfy these primal appetites, the wet and dry formulas from Taste of the Wild are made using real roasted meat, as well as vegetables, fruits, and legumes that are specifically chosen for their health benefits.
The brand makes all of their dog foods with premium meats like buffalo, wild boar, turkey, smoked salmon, quail, lamb, roasted bison, and duck. Each formula is free of grains and is proven to provide even the largest dogs with lasting energy, thanks to the complex carbs found in legumes and sweet potatoes.
These proteins, which are easily digested, are rich in fiber and will keep your large pup feeling energized and full throughout the day, no matter how active they are. Because your dog’s gut contains 70% of its immune system, it only makes sense to pick a food that benefits their digestive tract.
Taste of the Wild comes with species-specific probiotics that contain bacteria that can be found naturally in your dog’s GI tract. In order to help your dog absorb all of the beneficial minerals contained in this food, the formula contains chelated minerals, meaning that they easily attach to proteins, to be absorbed during digestion.
The great thing about the Taste of the Wild formula is that it contains several ingredients that improve your dog’s overall health. There is a trio of superfoods contained in the formula, in the form of raspberries, blueberries, and tomatoes, and their immune-boosting properties are invaluable to your dog’s health.
Since this is such a unique formula, there are going to be hits and misses. While some customers report that their dogs are noticeably more healthy and that their coats are more glossy, others have reported unhealthy bowel movements and a dulling of the coats. You’d be better off buying a small bag to sample at first.
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Formula for Sensitive Skin & Stomach
Here we have another formula that is meant to help those pups out there with sensitive skin and stomachs. This dry dog food was specially made for adult dogs and features real chicken and probiotic fiber to support healthy digestion. The recipe is also a great source of Vitamin E, promoting a lustrous coat and healthy skin.
If your large dog is sensitive, then you may want to give Hill’s Science formula a try. It has precise nutritional benefits that are meant to support your dog’s healthy lifestyle and are made with wholesome ingredients like barley and savory chicken meal.
This is a nourishing recipe designed to meet your dogs’ nutritional needs and nourish their coat and skin. It is made in the United States, and each ingredient complies with the stringent requirements of purity and nutrient content, which go above and beyond the industry’s standards.
It’s no secret that vets are experts on your dog’s health, and more of them have recommended the nutrition of Hill’s Science, which is based on biology, than any other brand. This formula is clinically proven to provide antioxidants to improve your dog’s immune system.
However, even the healthiest foods won’t be of any use if your dog refuses to eat them. Thankfully, each Hill’s recipe is rich in texture, taste, and aroma, to ensure that your dog won’t be able to resist eating them.
Every year, Hill’s performs quality systems audits for all of their manufacturing facilities to ensure that they are meeting the high standards that your pet needs. They also do safety checks on all of their foods to ensure that your pet isn’t in any danger.
Hill’s dry dog food is backed by research and science, so you know that your dog is getting exactly the nutrients they need to be as healthy as possible. This is also great-tasting dog food, so you won’t have to worry about your furry friend turning their nose up at it when it’s their dinner time.
The kibble size of this food is rather small, and if your dog is used to eating larger pellets, they may not enjoy it. Some customers have also reported that the kibble is burnt on one side.
American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe
Finally, we arrive at the Salmon and Sweet Potato recipe from American Journey. This formula is packed with nutritious ingredients to fuel the everyday adventures that your dog embarks on. It features real, boneless salmon, with all of the amino acids and proteins that your dog needs to build leaner, stronger muscles.
When your dog starts their adventure with American Journey, they’ll always be on the best path to the best nutrition. Real meat is always at the top of the ingredients list, and you won’t see any fillers like corn, soy, or wheat anywhere.
American Journey makes their foods with satisfying, tasty proteins that are rich in amino acids, as well as salmon oil that is able to replenish your dog’s coat with omegas. Some dogs don’t get along well with grains, and some even experience upset stomachs when they ingest them.
This is a grain-free recipe and is nutritionally sound while still being filling, providing your dogs with all they need to keep them going throughout the day. The recipes that American Journey uses are of the highest quality and deliver all of the nutritional benefits that your dog needs to be happy and healthy.
The American Journey formula contains wholesome vegetables and fruits, which help satisfy your large dog and keep them full for longer. It is also rich in all of the ingredients that your dog needs to maintain a healthy coat and luxurious sheen.
Unfortunately, this food is not for dogs with sensitive stomachs. Several customers have reported that their dogs experienced unhealthy bowel movements and gas after eating this food, so if you have a sensitive pup, then stay away from this food!
Here are the features you need to consider before choosing a food for your large breed pooch.
There are several important ingredients that no dog food can go without. You’ll find that proteins are generally the top ingredients of all dog foods because they are extremely nutritious. The most nutritious types of dog food will have the meat name as its first ingredient, then list it a second time before the source of fat.
Next on the list will usually be grains and carbohydrates, though it is important to remember that some dogs can be allergic to these ingredients. They will usually come in the form of beans, soy, rice, corn, oats, wheat, and barley.
Like we mentioned in the review section, even the most healthy dog food won’t do anything if your dog won’t eat it. You’ll want to try and buy food that is tasty (check the reviews) but is not flavored with too many artificial flavorings. Most dogs enjoy the taste of meats, so chicken, beef, or salmon-flavored food should go down well.
Health Features & Benefits
As you can tell, different dog foods promise different benefits to your pup. If your dog suffers from sensitivity, either in the skin or the stomach, then you are going to want to purchase dog food that can cater to that sensitivity.
On the other hand, if your dog has a dull coat, you should try to find a dog food with ingredients to boost their sheen and keep their coat looking and feeling healthy.
Like we mentioned previously, some dogs will suffer from sensitivity or allergies. It is extremely important that you take a look at the ingredient list of a dog food, especially if you know that your dog is prone to allergic reactions or sensitivity. This will save you a lot of hassle in the future.
Price vs. Value
Sometimes, expensive things aren’t actually that great. The same is true for dog foods. While an expensive food promises a whole host of health benefits, they might not be the ones that your dog needs. Don’t just buy dog food because it’s expensive – cheaper food may be exactly what your dog needs to be as healthy and happy as possible
How much food should I feed my large dog?
If your dog weighs around 70 pounds, you should feed them 3 ½ cups each day. If they weigh 80 pounds, feed them 3 ¾ cups. If your dog weighs 90 pounds, you should feed them 4 ¼ cups every day, and if they weigh 100 pounds, they should be getting 4 ½ cups of food every day.
How is large breed dog food different from regular (adult) food?
Large breed dog foods are different from other dog foods in that they contain fewer calories and less fat. They are also less rich in phosphorus and calcium, and their ratio of calcium to phosphorus is carefully balanced.
When should I switch from puppy food to large breed dog food?
You should make the change to adult dog food when your large dog is between 18 and 24 months old. Large and Giant breed puppies take slightly longer to mature, and many continue to grow until they reach 2 years old.
How important is it to get dog food specific to a large breed?
Large breed dogs must maintain special diets so that they do not suffer from certain health risks. Adult large breed dogs must be monitored carefully for obesity, orthopedic disease, and bloating. You can get help from your vet with balancing your large dog’s nutritional needs, and they’ll also be able to answer some other questions you may have.
How much calcium should be in large breed dog food?
The calcium content needs to be about 1.5%.
There you have it, folks; a complete review of some of the best large breed dog foods out there, a short buyer’s guide, and even some frequently asked questions and answers. We hope you found this article useful and that you’ll know which dog food is right for your large pup.