How Can I Tell If A Dog Food Is Safe For Large Breed Puppies
According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials
The maximum amount of calcium recommended for large breed puppies is 4.5 grams of calcium per every 1000 kcal in the food or 1.8% calcium.12
Keep in mind the calcium content printed on the label does not reveal this amount.
Thats because those figures are based on MINIMUMS which is NOT acceptable.
You want to know the EXACT amount of calcium obtained by actual lab testing
Or the MAXIMUM amount the manufacturer is willing to guarantee to you on the label.
AAFCO now requires13 those calcium standards to be guaranteed in each products Nutritional Adequacy Statement on the packaging.
You should see meets AAFCO nutrient profiles for either growth or all life stages AND the wordsincluding growth of large size dogs .
Since we never know the adult weight of a puppy before its fully grown, we recommend using a more conservative 50 pound definition for large breeds.
All The Dog Food Advisors recommended large breed puppy foods meet these requirements. So, theres no need for you to do any calculations yourself.
Understanding Orthopedic Disease In Large Breed Puppies
Fast-growing large and giant breed dogs tend to have a propensity to develop osteochondrosis, which consists of a group of developmental orthopedic diseases and malformations.
Some of the more popular dog breeds that tend to be inundated with the disease include Rottweilers, Great Danes, Newfoundlands, and the St. Bernard.
Osteochondrosis tends to affect the cartilage, causing growth abnormalities like lame limbs or irregular bone formations.
Epiphyseal cartilage is commonly affected by osteochondrosis in the hock and shoulder blade. The acute inflammatory joint disease typically follows osteochondrosis, when the cartilage is disrupted, and the underlying bone is subjugated to synovial fluid.
Inflammation and cartilage fragments dissipate within the joint, perpetuating the destruction of the joint.
Puppies, in particular, are in danger of osteochondrosis, especially before physical closure.
During the first 12 months of a puppy’s growth, their skeletal system is susceptible to physical and nutritional abnormalities due to the puppy’s increased metabolic activity.
Since larger breed puppies grow much faster to meet the size typical of their breed, there is the potential for osteochondrosis.
Authority Chicken & Rice Formula Adult Dry Dog Food
This is their most basic food, but its also one of their best. It has 26% protein, which is about normal for most kibbles, and that amount is largely due to the chicken and chicken meal inside. Were especially fond of the chicken meal, as it includes important nutrients not found in leaner cuts of meat.
One of those nutrients is glucosamine, which is essential for joint health. Larger dogs will especially benefit from this, but conditions like hip dysplasia dont discriminate, so all animals should get as much glucosamine as possible in their diets.
Brown rice is the primary vegetable, and including it is a mixed bag. Its gentle on stomachs and filled with B vitamins, but its also calorie dense, so were leery about it being so high up on the ingredients roster.
There are other potentially problematic ingredients here too, like corn, corn gluten meal, dried egg product, and vegetable oil. All these offer quite a few empty calories while also potentially upsetting sensitive stomachs.
This formula is very similar to their basic kibble, except they add dried chicken cartilage and a few other ingredients.
The cartilage is important, as its full of glucosamine and chondroitin. Bigger pups put a lot of strain on their skeletal systems, so its important to give their joints all the support you can, and this formula certainly does that.
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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.
Diamond Naturals Real Meat Recipe Premium Dry Dog Food
Diamond Naturals focuses on complete nutrition, with a holistic approach for every flavor.
There are myriad of dry and canned food options from Diamond Naturals, but the Diamond Naturals Premium Dry Dog Food formulated with lamb, rice, and a vegetable formula is a favorite for many puppies.
The dog food is enhanced with probiotics, providing 80 million colony forming units per pound of beneficial bacteria that will support the healthy gastrointestinal tract of your growing puppy.
Probiotics can be particularly beneficial for young dogs.
Our #2 Pick
Diamond Naturals Premium Dry Dog Food
It’s a dry dog food that is designed sans the corn, wheat, and filler, making it one of the best puppy food.
- Probiotics may cause smelly farts.
- High sodium content may be a cause of concern.
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Who Makes Authority Dog Food
Before I get on with my Authority dog food review, lets clarify a few things. The Authority brand of dog food is produced by PetSmart, one of the largest pet store chains in North America. Petsmart was founded in 1986 and has grown to include more than 1,300 retail locations.
You cant find it anywhere except on the Petsmart website, which is the exclusive distributor of the Authority dog food brand in the country.
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.
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How Nutrition Plays A Factor
Factors that can contribute to osteochondrosis and other skeletal abnormalities include overfeeding higher energy and high caloric foods, and free choice feeding where the dog can eat whenever they want without any preset schedule.
Factors also include excessive or imbalanced consumption of calcium.
High caloric foods are associated with increased production of growth hormones, including insulin.
The best large breed puppy food must be nutritionally sound, with the right amounts of micro and macronutrients for optimum bone development.
With cheaper dog foods, there tends to be an excess amount of calcium. The excess calcium disrupts the healthy development of the dog’s skeleton.
When selecting puppy food, there are two determinants that you need to be aware of:
1- Excess calcium
Excess calcium is linked to kidney disease and urinary stones. It also undermines the dog’s health.
Keep in mind that inefficient levels of calcium in the dog’s diet can also jeopardize its health.
For dry kibble, the calcium content should be between 1 and 2.5 percent.
The calcium also needs to be balanced against phosphorus. Animproper ratio between calcium and phosphorus may lead to nutritional deficiencies.
2- Higher Energy and High-Calorie Foods
Higher Energy and High-Calorie Foods Fed Free Choice even if the food is well-balanced, energy-dense foods when the fed free choice may adversely affect the development of the dog.
Feeding the right amounts on a schedule can help avoid skeletal issues.
How Much Food Should I Feed My Large Breed Puppy
Determining how much to feed your large breed puppy is a processNOT a one-time decision.
Since a large breed puppy consumes more food each day than a smaller breed
And because each dry food contains a different number of calories per cup
Its best to start with the recommended feeding amount printed on the package. Then, adjust that amount to keep your puppy at her ideal weight.
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The 7 Best Large Breed Dog Food 202: Review And Our Top Picks
- Most Science-Based Large Breed Dog Food: Hills Science Diet Large Breed Adult Dry Dog FoodHills Science Diet makes all of its food with science-based evidence and is delicious even for picky eaters.
- Most Affordable Large Breed Dog Food: Diamond Naturals Large Breed Dry Dog FoodPriced at just under $1.50/lb, this is the most affordable large breed formula on the list and is complete and balanced.
- Maintains bone and joint health with a formula tailored to support large breed active dogs
- Promotes healthy digestion and immunity with a tailored blend of wholesome fibers and prebiotics
- IAMS Large Breed Dry Dog Food promotes strong muscles with quality protein sourced from real chicken
Discussion Of The Primary Ingredients
Deboned chicken and chicken meal are the first ingredients on the list for all the chicken and rice puppy formulas, which means they all have plenty of protein. 29% protein is listed in the Puppy Dry food formula, which is essential for a puppys growth.
Brown rice comes in next, which is an excellent source of calories and energy , as well as nutritious B vitamins. Brown rice is also an easily digestible carbohydrate.
The next ingredient listed is corn/ corn gluten meal can be challenging for puppies to digest. Chicken fat is the next ingredient, a great source of dietary fats and omega fatty acids, which are essential for joint protection, brain development, and skin and coat health. Dried beet pulp is also a notable ingredient since it is a rich source of fiber to aid digestion.
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Does Corn Gluten Meal Contain Gluten
Corn gluten meal is a staple in many Authority formulas. For dog owners whose dogs have sensitivities to gluten, this can be concerning. But I will address that worry here.
It may sound surprising, but corn gluten meal is actually gluten-free. The stuff is 60%-70% protein and none of corn gluten meal is gluten. In fact, corn in its natural state does not contain gluten.
So how did corn gluten meal get its name? The story goes that the word gluten got attached to corn because one worker in a wheat gluten processing facility just started calling everything with protein in it as gluten.
Final Verdict On Authority Pet Foods
Ive found Authority formulas as mostly decent alternatives to cheaper brands of dog foods that have loads of fillers. The recipes do not contain soy, wheat, or artificial ingredients. The list of ingredients is often short, and the meat sources are premium.
However, some recipes do contain ingredients that I do not wish to see in dog food. In particular, canola and, most worrying of all, carrageenan. The few Authority pet foods without these ingredients that I have reviewed are quite excellent and can be a match for the more expensive brands.
If you can steer away from those recipes with carrageenan, I feel that your dog will be in good hands with this as part of his regular diet.
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Authority Tender Blends Chicken & Rice Formula
First 5 ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Corn, Brown Rice, Oat Groats
Made of real deboned chicken, you can be assured that your dog is getting a high-quality source of protein. Chicken is also easy to digest and is a top favorite among canines when it comes to flavor.
This Authority Tender Bites recipe has a unique antioxidant blend of selenium, zinc, and vitamin E supplement for a stronger immune system.
Prebiotics and natural fiber help support gut health for better digestion. These work by ensuring better absorption of nutrients.
Since this is a grain-inclusive diet, there are plenty of them to be found here. Brown rice, oat groats, and oatmeal provide the carbs and fiber. Brown rice is especially good, in my opinion, because not only is it full of fiber, but it is also vitamin dense.
The crunchy kibbles that come with the soft bites are specially formulated with Authoritys Ora-Shield. Ora-Shield gives the crunchy kibbles an abrasive texture that helps reduce plaque and tartar buildup.
According to reviews from our volunteer pet owners and their pups, puppers of all ages just love Authority Everyday Health recipe in chicken. The mix of chewy pieces, crunchy kibbles, and veggies provide dogs with different textures that they find delicious.
In fact, some dogs who only ate wet food previously have been converted by this multi-texture recipe from Authority.
Best for: Adult pups of any dog breed and over 1 year of age
The Kibble Is Especially Crunchy
The company has a special Ora-Shield System that they use to make their kibble especially hard and crunchy.
This is important, as crunchy kibble can help clear away plaque and tartar from your dogs teeth and gums. Since periodontal disease is such a notorious issue for dogs , keeping your pups chompers clean is essential.
However, if you have an older dog with dental problems, this might be too hard for him to eat comfortably.
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Artificial Food Coloring Dyes
Artificial food coloring dyes are unnecessary and potentially harmful ingredients. In general, we not not recommend feeding any pet foods that contain artificial dyes.
In 2010, the CSPI raised serious concerns regarding the safety of many artificial dyes. Most of the studies referenced by the CSPI involved prolonged or excessive consumption. Since most dogs consume the same foods throughout their lives, concerns raised by the CSPI are alarming to say the least.
To read more about Artificial Food Dyes, .
Eukanuba Puppy Dry Dog Food
Eukanuba puppy food provides complete nutrition for your growing large breed puppy, focusing on over 30 of the same nutrients that are found in a mother’s milk, including DHA.
DHA helps to encourage healthy brain development, which can help your dog with cognitive function.
Most sources of DHA come from fish — including salmon, tuna, and sardines.
Before being weaned, most dogs get their DHA from their mothers. Exposure to DHA rich foods especially in the initial stages of a puppy’s development has been linked to improved trainability.
Our #5 Pick
Purina One SmartBlend Natural
Eukanuba Puppy Food has chicken as one of its first ingredients, followed by a myriad of antioxidants and nutrient-dense derivatives like glucosamine.
Eukanuba Puppy Dry Dog Food is formulated with high quality, animal-based protein.
Animal-based protein helps with almost every function in a growing dog’s body.
The protein supplies the amino acids that are required for the dog to help build a healthy coat, healthy teeth, and cognitive function.
It also supports the antibodies that make up the immune system.
The protein found in Eukanuba products make it one of the best large breed puppy foods.
It has been found that dogs that are fed dog food that focuses on actual meat – like Eukanuba Puppy Dry Dog Food have an increase in lean tissue and reduced body fat when compared with dogs that were fed plant-based proteins.
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Before You Go Out Buying Dog Food
Puppies grow fast, but it is vital that large breed puppies grow at the proper rate.
Rapid growth rates can stress developing joints and result in skeletal abnormalities that will affect the dog in its adulthood.
However, underfeeding can force the dog’s metabolism to consume muscle in an attempt to nourish itself, causing muscular issues and malformations.
A bit of foresight needs to be made with selecting the best kibble because larger breeds tend to have a prevalence of developmental orthopedic disease stemming from nutritional imbalances.
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How Do I Know If My Puppy Is A Large Breed
The pet food industry3 defines a large breed puppy as one whose ADULT weight is expected to be more than 70 pounds.
Since its not possible to know your puppys adult weight before shes fully grown
If you expect your dog to weigh over 50 pounds when fully grown then shes considered a large breed puppy.
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When Should I Switch My Puppy To Adult Food
Keep in mind
Adult dog food can contain excessive amounts of calcium which can make it unsafe for a puppy thats still growing.
So its important NOT to switch your puppy to adult food too soon.
With that in mind
The best time to switch your puppy to adult food depends on her breed type.
|18 24 months|
Keep in mind
Its much safer to keep your dog on puppy food too long than to switch to an adult food too soon.
Purina Pro Plan Focus Large Breed Dry Dog Food
Purina’s Pro Plan are made without fillers like wheat, corn, or other forms of grains that are formulated with dog food to give it more weight.
Not only that, but these filler ingredients can cause an allergic reaction to sensitive dogs.
Purina’s Pro Plan is formulated without dyes or artificial colors, making it one of the more affordable and nutritionally sound best large breed puppy food in the market.
Unlike other dog food, Purina is known to be affordable, with the Purina’s Pro Plan Focus Large Breed Dry Food being at an affordable entry price, especially in large breed dogs that are known to have an insatiable appetite.
Our #1 Pick
Purina Pro Plan Focus Large Breed
The chicken and rice flavor is a crowd favorite.It is made with high-quality protein, with actual chicken being one of its first ingredients.
For large breeds, protein is critical to help synthesize nutrients, as well as to support a rapidly growing body.
It’s also made with a natural source of glucosamine, a derivative of glucose that helps to reduce skeletal diseases.
Fish oil in the dog food helps nourish brain and vision development in growing puppies.
- While the chicken and rice flavor are favorites, there are more than 14 dry formulas to choose from, offering an option for even the pickiest of dogs
- Purina Pro Plan Focus is backed by decades of science, and veterinarians recommend it
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