What is the Best Large Breed Dog Food?

The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Beef Clusters
  • Use code VETERINARIANS30 for 30% off
  • PREMIUM NUTRITION: Clusters are thoughtfully prepared using human-grade muscle meat & liver, low glycemic carbs, beneficial fats & live probiotics; cold pressed into delicious, bite-size, ready-to-eat pieces.
  • MINIMALLY PROCESSED: Clusters are made by mixing small batches of fresh ingredients.
  • WE SAY NO TO: This recipe contains no feed-grade ingredients, meat meals, fillers, GMO ingredients, artificial flavors or artificial preservatives.

Is Large Breed Dog Food Necessary?

No, large breed dog food is not necessary.

However, large breed dogs can benefit from large breed formulas. This is because large and giant dog breeds like Labradors and Great Danes are prone to health issues that can be managed with the right food.

Also, considering their size, it is obvious that large breed dogs need sizable kibble so they can properly chew.

What’s the Difference Between Large Breed Dog Food and Regular?

Large breed dog food is different than regular kibble in both size and composition. Here are some of the differences:

  • Big Kibble Size. Dry dog food made specifically for large dogs features larger kibble, which supports chewing. Chewing the food is important because it helps with nutrient breakdown and absorption.
  • Joint Health. Large breed dog food often contains higher amounts of joint-friendly nutrients like glucosamine and chondroitin. Regular food is rarely supplemented as small, and medium-breed dogs are less prone to joint issues.
  • Calorie Content. Large breed dog food, especially large breed puppy food, is made to be slightly less energy dense. This is to enable the puppy to grow at a healthy pace its bones can keep up with. If the food is too calorically dense, it may encourage the dog to grow too fast and cause or contribute to health issues.
  • Digestive Supplements. Large breed dogs can have digestion issues. Large breed dog food is often supplemented with e helpful to have prebiotics, probiotics, and digestive enzymes. They support a healthy gut biome and digestion.

Should Large Breed Dogs Eat Grain-Free?

Whether or not a dog is eating a grain-free diet is determined on a dog-by-dog basis.

Generally speaking, it is not physiologically necessary for large breeds, to eat grain-free dog food, but if a dog has a specific grain sensitivity, a grain-free recipe will be helpful.

Consult with your veterinarian before switching to grain-free varieties.

The Best Large Breed Dog Food Formulas Reviewed

There are many large breed formulas available on the market. To help owners find the right large-breed dog food, we have reviewed some of the best products.

The Honest Kitchen Whole Food Clusters Grain-Free Beef

The Honest Kitchen Whole Food Clusters Grain Free Beef

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Summary: The Honest Kitchen Beef Recipe is grain-free dog food made with human-grade foods. The main ingredient, ranch-raised beef, is combined with low-glycemic carbohydrates, and several superfood fruits and vegetables. The recipe is enriched with live probiotics to ensure healthy digestion. It comes in the form of small, easily chewable, and bite-sized clusters. Customers can also get 30% off on their first orders of $30+ using code VETERINARIANS30.

Type: Dry dog food 

Best for: Puppies and adult dogs 

Flavor Options: Beef; Chicken; Turkey; Beef & Turkey 

Price: $6.99 per pound 

Pros

  • 30% off on first orders of $30+ using code VETERINARIANS30
  • Made with nutrient-dense, human-grade foods
  • Ranch-raised beef is the first ingredient 
  • Rich in healthy fats, antioxidants, and probiotics 
  • Bite-sized and easy-to-chew cluster pieces
  • No fillers, rendered meals, and artificial additives 

Cons

  • No significant cons 

Ingredient Analysis: Beef, potatoes, peas, beef liver, lentils, carrots, ground flaxseed, eggs, broccoli, pumpkin, apples, salmon oil, natural beef flavor, coconut oil, kale, chia seed, taurine, vitamins, minerals, probiotics, turmeric, and rosemary extract 

Review: Pet owners are delighted with this Beef Recipe and give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. They say their dogs love it, and some even describe the food as a “lifesaver.” Customers also love the fact the food comes recommended by veterinarians. Overall this is a great recipe for large-breed dogs.

IAMS High Protein Large Breed Dry Dog Food

IAMS High Protein Large Breed Dry Dog Food

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Summary: This dry dog food uses farm-raised chicken and lamb as the first ingredient. It is formulated specifically for large breeds to maintain bone and joint health. It contains a tailored blend of fiber and prebiotics for digestive health and uses no artificial preservatives or flavors. It is available in two flavors and a variety of sizes to fit the needs of most large breed dogs.

Type: Dry dog food

Best for: Large breed adult dogs

Flavor Options: Chicken; Lamb & Rice

Price: $1.25/lb

Pros

  • Real meat is the first ingredient
  • Supports strong muscles and a healthy heart
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health
  • IAMS is a vet-recommended dog food brand
  • Readily available and at an affordable price

Cons

  • Contains unspecified poultry fat

Ingredient Analysis: The first ingredient is real chicken or lamb. This provides this food with an excellent source of protein. Whole grain barley, corn, and sorghum are all next in the ingredients, and these are there for carbohydrates and fiber, although corn is generally used as a filler. Corn provides no other function than to supply more carbohydrates in dog food. Dried plain beet pulp and flaxseed help to provide more fiber, and vitamins and minerals are heavily supplemented to round off this ingredients list.

Review: Many of the over 9,000 reviews on Amazon and Chewy praise this food for helping to eliminate their dog’s skin issues and ear infections. Happy customers also noted their dogs readily ate this food, and they were happy with the subscription service Amazon offers for this food. Critical reviews, however, complained about mold developing in their food, and food that was ordered on Amazon had apparently made their dogs sick. The food’s overall rating is 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Just Food for Dogs Large Breed Daily Meals

Just Food for Dogs Large Breed Daily Meals

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Summary: The Just Food for Dogs Large Breed Variety Box is created with large dogs (over 50 pounds) in mind. The box features three recipes Turkey & Whole Wheat Macaroni, Beef & Russet Potato, and Large Breed Support. Each recipe is lightly cooked and with 100% human-grade ingredients. One of the formulas is fortified with glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health. 

Type: Fresh Cooked Dog Food 

Best for: Large Breed Adult Dogs

Flavor Options: Turkey & Whole Wheat Macaroni, Beef & Russet Potato, and Large Breed Support

Price: $103.85/3 pack 

Pros

  • Perfect for large adult dogs
  • Suitable for all breed types
  • Human-grade ingredients 
  • 50% discount on first variety box 
  • Money-back guarantee 

Cons

  • Expensive for some pet owners 

Ingredient Analysis: The box features three different recipes. The main ingredients in the Turkey & Whole Wheat Macaroni recipe are ground turkey, whole wheat macaroni, and carrots. The main ingredients in the Beef & Russet Potato recipe are ground beef, beef heart, and russet potato. The main ingredients in the Large Breed Support are ground beef, long-grain brown rice, and beef heart. 

Review: Pet owners are raving about this product box for large dogs. They are delighted with the food’s quality and are happy that the first product box can be ordered with a 50% discount. 

Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

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Summary: Made for large breeds and available in a senior dog version, this dog food contains chicken as the first ingredient. It features non-GMO ingredients and no chicken by-product meal, corn, wheat, or soy. The focus on protein with this food help to keep large dogs strong, and the added antioxidants help support their immune system. Fortified with minerals to keep joints healthy, this food is available in two formulas and three sizes.

Type: Dry dog food

Best for: Large breed adult dogs

Flavor Options: Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

Price: $1.71/lb

Pros

  • Protein is the number one ingredient
  • Formulated to keep large dogs fit and trim
  • Essential antioxidants for immunity support
  • With glucosamine & chondroitin for joint health
  • No fillers, by-product meals, and GMOs

Cons

  • Relatively low in fiber

Ingredient Analysis: Chicken is the first ingredient, a great source of high-quality protein. Whole grain brown rice, sorghum, and brewer rice are next, and all of these supply this food with carbs and dietary fiber. Chicken meal provides a great source of glucosamine and chondroitin, necessary for the joint health of large breeds. Vitamins and minerals are supplemented to make this food a source of complete nutrition.

Review: This food averages 4.8 out of 5 stars on Amazon with nearly 3,500 reviews. Happy customers say this is what their vets feed their dogs, they are happy with the quality of the ingredients, and say this is the “best dog food on the market.” Negative reviewers tell about issues this food brought on to their dogs, such as hot spots and vomiting. Many of them suspect they received a bad batch.

Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

Hill's Science Diet Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

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Summary: This adult dog food is specifically formulated for the energy needs of large breed dogs. It includes higher levels of glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health and maintains a dog’s coat with omega-6 fatty acids and vitamin E. It is made in the USA and contains high-quality protein for strong muscles. This food is available in one flavor and two differently sized bags.

Type: Dry dog food

Best for: Large breed adult dogs

Flavor Options: Large Breed Chicken & Barley Recipe

Price: $1.77/lb

Pros

  • With chicken as the first ingredient
  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin
  • Rich in vitamin E and omega fatty acids
  • High-quality protein promotes lean muscles
  • No artificial preservatives and fillers

Cons

  • Relatively low in dietary fiber

Ingredient Analysis: Real chicken is the first ingredient and makes this food an excellent source of high-quality protein. Carbohydrates are supplied by cracked pearled barley, whole grain wheat, and sorghum, while chicken fat is included for fat content. Micronutrients are mostly provided with foods like blueberries, cranberries, and apples, although they are also supplemented to meet a large breed’s nutritional needs.

Review: This food averages a 4.8 out of 5 stars rating on Amazon. Dog owners are excited this pet food supplied all of the necessary nutrients their dog needs while also leaving their coat shiny, and it causes no digestive issues in their pets with sensitive stomachs. Negative reviews only made up 2% of total reviews. The most common complaint was an apparent change in the formula that left dogs unwilling to eat the food or made them sick.

Purina Pro Plan High Protein Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan High Protein Large Breed Dry Dog Food

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Summary: This food is formulated specifically for large breed dogs. It is formulated with glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints and provides 100% complete nutrition. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and high in protein to promote healthy skin and muscles. This grain-inclusive formula provides moderate carbohydrates with high protein to support healthy activity levels. Real chicken is the basis of this formula that is made in the USA. It is available in two different flavors and in a handful of sizes.

Type: Dry dog food

Best for: Large breed adult dogs

Flavor Options: Chicken & Rice; Giant Breed Chicken & Rice Formula

Price: $1.84/lb

Pros

  • Real chicken is the first ingredient
  • High-protein formula for active dogs
  • Rich in omega-3 fatty acids
  • With glucosamine and chondroitin
  • Source of complete nutrition

Cons

  • An unnamed natural flavor is used in this formula and has no specified origin

Ingredient Analysis: Chicken is the first ingredient and is a great source of protein and amino acids. Fish meal, fish oil, and beef fat provide the majority of the fat, although poultry by-product meal is used as well. This is not generally a favorable ingredient found in high-quality dog food. Vitamins and minerals are supplemented where necessary to make this food a source of complete nutrition.

Review: This food rates very highly among customers with an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars with over 4,000 total ratings. Happy consumers say this food did wonders for their dogs with IBD and large dogs with skin allergies. Dissatisfied customers complained about pests in the dog food and the food becoming moldy shortly after opening the bag.

Diamond Naturals Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Diamond Naturals Large Breed Dry Dog Food

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Summary: Featuring high-quality protein from real cage-free chicken, this food is made to build strong muscles in large breed dogs. It contains probiotics for a healthy GI tract and antioxidants for immune system support. Premium ingredients with supplemented vitamins and minerals make this food a source of complete and balanced nutrition that is made in the USA. There are no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, and this food comes in three flavors and three different sizes.

Type: Dry dog food

Best for: Large breed dogs of all life stages

Flavor Options: Puppy Lamb; Chicken; Lamb 

Price: $1.42/lb

Pros

  • Real chicken is the first ingredient
  • Supports healthy weight management
  • Contains probiotics for gut health
  • Superfoods for vitamins and antioxidants
  • No artificial flavors or colors

Cons

  • Relatively low in fiber

Ingredient Analysis: Chicken and chicken meals are the first ingredients, and these provide great sources of natural protein and minerals as well as glucosamine and chondroitin. Brown rice, white rice, and rice bran supply the majority of the carbohydrates and fiber, while chicken fat preserved with mixed tocopherols brings up the crude fat. Micronutrients are mostly provided through the use of whole foods like kelp, blueberries, oranges, and quinoa.

Review: Happy customers rave about this food’s effect on their large dog’s skin issues and digestive issues and give it 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Many compliment the high-quality ingredients and talk about how healthy their dog’s fur, teeth, and bones are. Critical reviews most often complain about the quality of the food itself, noting it seems to have changed. One reviewer even claimed to have had it tested by their vet, and the test returned with results implying the kibble was faked somehow.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Large Breed Dry Dog Food

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Summary: Made with real beef for a high-protein foundation, this formula is made for large-breed adult dogs. It is packed with glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints and omega-3 fatty acids for healthy skin. Antioxidant-rich life source bits provide precise nutrition to support a healthy immune system. The ingredients in this food are all-natural and contain no by-product meal, corn, wheat, or soy. Available in two flavors and one size, this food is high in protein and made with no artificial preservatives.

Type: Dry dog food

Best for: Large breed adult dogs

Flavor Options: Red Meat; Bison

Price: $3.26/lb

Pros

  • Real beef is the first ingredient
  • With BLUE’s signature LifeSource Bits
  • Helps maintain a healthy weight
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health
  • No by-product meal, preservatives, and fillers

Cons

  • A bit pricey

Ingredient Analysis: Real deboned beef and beef meal are the first two ingredients and provide tons of protein, glucosamine, and chondroitin. Peas, pea protein, and fish meal offer carbohydrates, fiber, and fatty acids. Vitamins and minerals are included through the use of kelp, extracts, and supplements that all help to make this food a source of complete nutrition.

Review: Dog owners are impressed with this food and rate it 4.7 out of 5 stars. Their picky eaters, dogs with sensitive skin, and dogs with digestive issues all do well on this food, and their owners are impressed with the quality of the ingredients. The only notable complaints were from people who said their dogs became ill after introducing them to this food.

Purina ONE +Plus Large Breed Formula

Purina ONE +Plus Large Breed Formula

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Summary: This food is formulated specifically for large breed dogs and puppies It uses real chicken as the first ingredient to provide growing dogs with the protein they need. The formula includes DHA for vision and brain development as well as antioxidants for immune system support. The crunchy bits and tender morsels give this food a varied texture that will keep dogs entertained. It is sold in three flavors and one size.

Type: Dry dog food

Best for: Large breed puppies

Flavor Options: Chicken; Large Breed Chicken; Lamb & Rice

Price: $1.47/lb

Pros

  • Real chicken is the first ingredient
  • Crunchy and tender kibble for a unique texture
  • Rich in glucosamine and DHA
  • Contains no artificial flavors or preservatives
  • Very affordable price tag

Cons

  • Contains corn gluten meal and chicken by-product meal

Ingredient Analysis: Real chicken is the first ingredient and gives this food a protein-rich foundation. Rice flour offers carbohydrates, but corn gluten meal and chicken by-product meal are used in this formula. This is not generally ideal for high-quality dog food. Micronutrients are largely supplemented, and it all comes together to make this food a source of complete nutrition.

Review: Most customers were satisfied with this food which is why it is rated 4.7 out of 5 stars. Dog owners say they have been feeding their dogs this food for years without issues, but numerous high-rated reviews complain about the price on Amazon. Complaints mostly involved the lack of quality control as customers have often reported receiving damaged or counterfeit food.

What Should I Look for in Large Breed Dog Food?

When shopping for the best large breed dog food, there are several factors you need to consider. Here is a short overview of those factors:

  • Protein. Protein is the building block of muscle. Adult dogs require less protein than puppies, and an excessive intake of protein can lead to calcium and phosphorus imbalances that can cause a host of issues, from kidney problems to joint and bone issues.
  • Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio. Large breed dog foods will contain lower calcium levels, especially in large breed puppy food formulas. This is to prevent malformation of bones and joints in large breeds that grow at a very rapid pace. Phosphorus works with calcium to grow strong bones and keep them healthy. A typical ratio in large breed puppy food will be 1:1 calcium to phosphorus, while a large breed adult formula will be around 1.3:1.
  • Joint Health. Look for things like manganese, vitamin A, glucosamine, and chondroitin. All of these are required for healthy bones and joints, which large breeds are known to have issues with.
  • Life Stages. Pay attention to what stage of life the food is formulated. Large breed puppies will require different nutrition than large breed adult dogs or senior dogs.

What Ingredients Should You Avoid in Large Breed Dog Food?

The right large breed dog food should be free from the following ingredients:

  • Propylene Glycol. This is literally antifreeze and is used to prevent moisture build-up and bacteria growth in some dog food. This can be cancerous to a dog’s intestines.
  • Corn and Corn Products. Often used to sweeten the taste of dog food, this ingredient can lead to weight gain, diabetes, and altered mental behavior. It is commonly found in low-end dog food due to its inexpensive nature.
  • Artificial Colors. Dyes are sometimes added to kibble to make it more aesthetic. Artificial colors have been linked to hyperactivity and improper biochemical processes.
  • Meets AAFCO Standards. To ensure food is fit for your dog, it is generally a good idea to make sure it reaches AAFCO standards for dog food.

How Many Times do You Feed a Large Breed Dog in a Day?

Large breed dogs need to be fed at least twice a day, about twelve hours apart.

Large dogs are prone to bloating, so it is highly inadvisable to serve substantial meals. It is much better to divide the daily food intake into at least two separate meals.