Why Choose A Large Breed Dog Food
Every dog has unique nutritional needs that should be addressed through their diet. If you have a large dog or a giant dog , you should consider feeding a dog food specifically formulated for large dogs. Here are some considerations when choosing a large breed dog food.
Large dogs need food that is less calorically dense than small dogs. While it may seem counterintuitive, large and giant breed dogs need a dog food that is less concentrated in calories than food specifically formulated for toy and small dogs. Large breed dogs have relatively slower metabolic rates, which means they need fewer calories per kilogram of body weight than small and toy dogs. Large and giant breed dogs also have larger stomachs that require a larger amount of food to feel full. Foods designed specifically for large dogs tend to be lower in calories and fat to help keep large dogs in ideal body condition .
Large dogs need nutrients that support joint health. Large and giant breed dogs can be prone to joint problems, which is why they can benefit from a food designed for large dogs. Large breed diets often contain ingredients that may help support joint health, such as omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil or glucosamine from some meat and poultry ingredients. Omega-3 fatty acids may help manage inflammation, especially in joints, and help your large dog move comfortably.
What You Must Know About Feeding Dogs People Food
My dog can hear me fixing myself a snack from the other end of the house! How about your dog? I swear this dog would eat anything, but all things arent good for him, are they? There are, however, some human foods that are quite beneficial to your big dog, and a healthier option than pre-packaged dog treats.
If you feel as though your big dog is genuinely hungry between meals, consider adding treats to his feeding regime that wont go over the recommended calorie limit or add useless fillers to your dogs diet. With healthy treats like these, you can freely pass out treats for rewarding good behavior too, without worrying too much about upsetting your dogs caloric intake.
Healthy treats for dogs include:
Remember: If you opt to give your big dog a bone, NEVER give him one thats been cooked, it is NOT SAFE! To discover all you need to know about bone safety, please read Can Big Dogs Eat Chicken Bones? right here in the Big Dog Den.
When Do I Switch My Puppy To Adult Dog Food
Large and giant breed dogs will not stop growing for the first year or two, depending on the breed. You can continue feeding a large breed puppy formula until their growth plates have sealed as long as they are not overweight. However, you must work closely with a veterinarian to assess your puppys body condition score. This will ensure that your puppy switches from puppy to adult dog food at the ideal time.
Ashley Gallagher, DVM
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Dog Food For Medium Breeds
Dog food formulated for medium-sized breeds is exactly what youre thinking! Like the porridge Goldilocks ultimately ate, dog food for medium-sized dogs has exactly the right amounts of nutrients and calories for dogs who dont require more or less due to their size, age, or health issues.
DID YOU KNOW? Before dog food was commercially prepared somewhere around 1860, dogs ate the following things:
- Bone Knuckles
Is It Safe To Let My Puppy Eat Whenever She Wants
Free choice is a popular feeding method whereby the food remains in the bowl all day long so a puppy can eatwhenever she wants.
Sadly, many owners of large breed puppies mistakenly believe that this form of uncontrolled eating is the correct way to feed their pets.
But free choice feeding has been shown to cause a puppy to grow too fast and lead to lasting bone damage.
A 1995 study of Great Danes revealed a significant increase in the risk of developing hip dysplasia when the puppies were fed free choice.16
In another study, one group of Labrador Retriever puppies was fed throughout life a restricted calorie diet while a second was fed free choice.17
The restricted calorie group experienced a much lower risk of developing hip dysplasia later in life.
So, be sure to control the amount of food and the way you feed your puppy every day.
Purina Pro Plan Adult Dog Food
Adult Shredded Blend Chicken and Rice is one of 19 dry recipes included in our review of the Purina Pro Plan product line.
- First 5 ingredients: Chicken, rice, whole grain wheat, poultry by-product meal, soybean meal
- AAFCO: All Life Stages
- Options:See all available recipes
Pro Plan Adult Shredded Blend combines a hard kibble with tender, pieces of real, shredded chicken for enhanced flavor and texture.
A classic, grain-inclusive kibble that derives the majority of its animal protein from fresh chicken and poultry by-product meal. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 30% protein, 18% fat and 44% estimated carbs delivering a fat-to-protein ratio of about 62%.
|Live probiotics to support healthy digestion|
|Omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat|
|Highly digestible recipe for optimal nutrient delivery|
|No artificial colors or flavors|
This Purina Pro recipe is recommended by 96% of actual buyers on Chewy.com and is a top pick for large breed adult dogs.
- Options:See all available recipes
Merrick Grain-Free Large Breed recipe is a high-protein formula with sweet potatoes, peas, apples and blueberries. These fruits and vegetables provide antioxidants to help fight disease resistance while the significant protein is included to help larger breed dogs retain lean muscles.
|Grain-free. No corn, wheat or soy|
|60% protein and healthy fats|
|No by-product meals|
- Options:See all available recipes
- Options:See all available recipes
How Much Should You Feed A Large Breed Dog
Generally speaking, large dogs need around 1 ½ cups per 22 lbs daily. To make things easier, some of the leading large dog food brands include feeding recommendations on the packaging.
Still, every dog is different, so we pet owners need to tailor the food to our pets allergies, activity levels, and preferences. Its best to discuss your dogs weight with your veterinarian. You can also check the body condition score to determine whether your dog is overweight or underweight and adjust the food amounts accordingly.
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Changing Your Dogs Food
What we have come to call mans best friend has had a major digestive overhaul throughout the evolutionary process! For more than a century, dogs have grown accustomed to the commercial dog food they eat. Todays dog has a much more sensitive digestive system than dogs had a couple of hundred years ago.
For this reason, when its time to switch your dog from a food formulated for puppies to adult dog food, or if you simply want to change dog food brands, it should be done in a way that is easy on his digestive system. Since diarrhea is one symptom of stomach-upset, a gradual switching of dog foods is as beneficial to you as it is to your dog!
What Do You Need To Look For In Large Breed Dog Food Recipes
The main thing you need to pay attention to when picking out a food for your dog is the amount of protein in it. Dogs eat a mostly carnivorous diet, and protein that comes from real meat should always be the first thing listed on the ingredients list. Other things that tend to help large dog breeds are high amounts of fiber without empty fillers like corn.
Beyond the protein and fiber, check to ensure that the brand added the vitamins glucosamine, taurine, or chondroitin. These vitamins are crucial for joint health. Big dogs are more likely to suffer from arthritis, hip dysplasia, and other painful conditions, and these ingredients help to combat those as your pet ages.
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Best Wet Food: American Journey Grain
When it comes to wet food, you should look for one with several sources of lean animal protein and real meat ingredients, such as beef, lamb, and venison, says James Fuller, founder of the pet nutrition site HonestWhiskers.com. The best large breed dog food options, he explains, have higher protein content to ensure muscle maintenance, as well as development. Thats why he recommends this American Journey formulation. It also has whole-food ingredients that provide dense sources of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, he notes. The organ meat significantly boosts vitamin A content, too. Combined, these qualities will give your pups tons of energy. For a special snack, you can also try making these simple homemade dog treats.
Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Adult Health Chicken Meal & Oatmeal Recipe Dry Dog Food
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Rice, 3. Oatmeal, 4. Dried Plain Beet Pulp, 5. Pumpkin
Holistic Select is a simple formula yet contains all the nutrients a large dog needs to stay healthy and fulfilled. Its mostly made from chicken, oatmeal, and rice, all of which provide your dog with muscle-nourishing proteins and healthy carbs that keep them lean and active. The dog food is further enriched with vitamins, antioxidants, probiotics, and glucosamine, most of which are sourced from natural foods.
These micros ensure that your large breed dogs nutritional requirements are fulfilled and that their body functions properly. Another great feature of the dog food is its larger kibble size that makes it easier for giant breeds to eat.
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Why Adult Dog Food For Large Breeds Is Important
Dog food formulated for large breeds provides nutrients formulated for dogs that will weigh more than 50 pounds. This food will contain ingredients like Glucosamine to support healthy joints. Joint issues are painful for your dog and often occur in larger, heavier adult dog breeds as they age. Some large breed dog foods also contain fiber blends and prebiotics that aid in digestion.
Your large breed dog will not die from eating regular dog food, but he will certainly benefit from the supplements added to large breed dog food formulas!
What Is The Best Dog Food For Large Breed Puppies
The first place to start when choosing a new dog food is their age, and for large breeds, age matters a lot. Bigger dogs age differently than smaller dogs, and that means each life stage works differently and an all-life-stage diet may not be suitable.
We typically consider a dog as a puppy until they reach about 12 months old, but larger breeds have more growing to do, so the puppy stage is elongated. The bigger that dog, usually the longer they are considered a puppy.
Instead of 12 months, some big dogs are still considered puppies until 18 months or longer. Large breed puppy formulas do not require increased protein compared to a regular puppy option but will offer lower fat and calories to prevent excessive weight gain and growth in the early stages of development.
Nutrition is the foundation of your dogs health, and growing puppies require a careful blend of nutrients to support their development. Choosing a good dog food for large breed puppies means you need to find a formula that is both age-appropriate and will support your pups growth and development.
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Best For Weight Control: Hills Prescription Diet Metabolic Dog Food
If your dog has put on a few extra pounds and youre concerned about his health, Dr. Burch recommends changing his diet to one with fewer calories and an extra dose of fiber from fruits and veggies. This Hills Prescription Diet Metabolic formulation will do the trick. It has a proprietary blend of fiber, which helps keep dogs feel full and satisfied long to prevent overeating, she says, noting that the blend includes pea fiber, dried beet pulp, dried tomato pomace, and flaxseed. Its formula also helps to improve a dogs ability to burn fat, which aids in weight loss.
Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Adult Health Chicken Meal & Oatmeal Recipe
Some dog breeds are large, and others are giant. If you have a giant breed like a Great Dane, you might want to look for a recipe formulated specifically for giant breeds like this Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Adult Health Chicken Meal & Oatmeal Recipe. This formula features chicken meal as a concentrated source of lean protein as well as a natural source of joint-supporting glucosamine and chondroitin. It is made with digestible whole-grain carbohydrates and supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables to provide natural sources for key nutrients. This recipe is loaded with natural flavor and contains plenty of fiber as well as probiotics for healthy digestion. It also contains taurine and L-carnitine to support your dogs healthy heart function.
- Pros: Formulated for large and giant breeds, highly digestible, whole-grain carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, glucosamine and chondroitin, supports heart health, complete and balanced
- Cons: May be too high in calories for some dogs
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The Difference Between Small Breed And Large Breed Dog Food
Every dog is different and this needs to be reflected in their diet. Heres a look at some of the key differences between small breed and large breed dog food and the reasons for each.
Every single dog has different nutritional needs, but even broadly speaking, the requirements of small breeds are vastly different to those of large breed dogs. Using our Dog Food Finder Tool to ensure that youre feeding your pet breed-specific foods ensures they will receive the nutrients best suited to them.
Castor & Pollux Organix Grain
If your large-breed dog has trouble maintaining a healthy body weight, it might be time to switch to a weight control formula. This Castor & Pollux Organix Grain-Free Healthy Weight Dry Food may not be specifically designed for large breeds, but it is rich in lean protein and low in fat and calories. This formula features organic free-range chicken as the first ingredient with organic whole grains for digestible carbohydrates. It contains plenty of fiber to support your dogs digestion and to help keep him feeling full despite consuming fewer calories. It is rich in organic fruits and vegetables to provide natural sources of key nutrients and supplemented with vitamins and chelated minerals for balance. Overall, it provides 26% protein to support lean mass with just 10% fat and 357 calories per cup.
- Pros: Rich in lean animal protein, formulated for weight control, highly digestible, organic fruits and vegetables, chelated minerals, low in fat and calories, glucosamine and chondroitin
- Cons: Contains some plant protein , not specifically formulated for large breeds
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Hills Science Diet Dry Dog Food
After the last two entries, its nice to find another kibble that uses real chicken, and Hills Science Diet does just that.
The first ingredient is chicken, and theres also pork fat and chicken meal thrown in for more nutrients. Beyond that, theres beet pulp, flaxseed, and soybean oil for fiber and omega fatty acids.
Unfortunately, in addition to all that good stuff, theres a massive amount of wheat and grain inside, too. While that may not be a problem for some dogs, it can cause digestive issues in others, and it tends to add empty calories, which arent ideal for larger dogs.
They make up for it by adding a variety of vitamins, like biotin, taurine, and vitamin A, but thats not quite enough to overcome the foods other issues.
Hills Science Diet is a quality food, but youre taking a bit of a risk buying it. If youre willing to risk having to spend more time working the Pooper Scooper, its worth a shot.
If you want something other than basic beef or chicken, Diamond Naturals uses lamb meal as its protein source. Wed prefer if it used real lamb, but well take what we can get.
There is some chicken inside specifically chicken fat, which has glucosamine and other important nutrients. Theres also something called egg product, which presumably adds protein .
It has more salt than wed like to see, and the overall protein level is low. Theres a fairly high level of fiber inside, though.
Large Breed Dog Food Vs Regular Dog Food
The vital characteristic of large breed dog food is a rich protein source.
Many large puppies are prone to overgrowth and musculoskeletal issues, so they need a protein-based diet for lean mass and reduced fat. Thats why the first ingredients should include a whole protein of chicken, beef, fish, or pork.
Meat protein supports bone and joint health due to its glucosamine and chondroitin. Also, it contains omega fatty acids to nurture the skin and coat. Some of the five star large breed dog food brands aim for a healthy skeletal system and have low amounts of calcium and phosphorus.
Another ingredient youll frequently see in a large breed formula is fiber. It contributes to healthy weight and digestion. The last characteristic that differentiates large breed dog foods from regular ones is the kibble size. Big dogs have bigger jaws, so their kibbles should be slightly larger.
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Why Are Large Breeds More Prone To Hip Dysplasia
Hip disease in large breeds is caused by at least one of 3 proven factors:
So, since theres nothing you can do to change your puppys genetics
Be sure to avoid feeding too many calories or too much calcium factors that can significantly increase your puppys risk of hip dysplasia.