Large dogs have unique dietary needs in that they need support for lean muscle mass and joint stability from their puppyhood well into their adult years. Read on to find out more about the best types of dog food for your dog!
- Read Is my dog a small, medium or a large breed?
- Read Best dog food for small dogs
- Read Best dog food for medium dogs
What Kind Of Diet Does My Large Dog Need?
Large dogs grow quickly, but take longer to reach their adult size – certain breeds like the Labrador Retriever might grow to 50-70 pounds within their first year of life, but still be considered “puppies” because they’re in a continuing growth phase up to their second year of life.
This unique growth profile comes with specific dietary needs to support lifelong muscle & bone strength, along with joint stability so they’re able to support their own weight. Proteins are the most important nutrient to ensure this, and they should come from a high-quality, animal-based source. When taken in the proper amount, protein will also help prevent obesity in your dog. For large adult dogs, the diet should contain a minimum of 18% protein.
The second most important nutrient for your large dog is fat. Good fat from quality sources, such as chicken fat and salmon oil, will protect his liver, help his overall growth and serve as his energy reservoir throughout the day. Your dog’s diet should contain a minimum of 5% quality fat.
Other important nutrients to look out for are carbohydrates and minerals, specifically calcium, phosphorous, and glucosamine. While there is no specific type of carbohydrate recommended for dogs’ diets, whole grain is a common type of healthy carbohydrate to look out for, or, if your dog is allergic to grains, sweet potatoes is a good alternative. Calcium and phosphorous are important because of their role in bone growth, while glucosamine is important for joint health.
Important note: this article is specifically are for large adult dogs, not for large puppy dogs or large senior dogs. The DOGPWND will be creating separate guides for puppies and senior dogs, and will update this article with links once those are available.
Establish a feeding routine for your dog. He should be fed at roughly the same time every day. If you feed him twice a day, and usually do so at 8am and 6pm, try to make this a regular habit. This will help him establish his own pooping routine. It will help you as well, you’ll spot any irregularities in the routine quicker – such as your dog skipping a meal or not pooping for 1-2 days.
Stick to the same brand and amount of food, unless your veterinarian advises you on a change. Dogs’ digestive systems are quite sensitive and aren’t able to handle change quite so well, possibly resulting in bloating or diarrhea. If you do change his food, do so gradually by mixing in the new with the old and transitioning out the old over time.
Don’t overfeed your dog. If your dog isn’t finishing his food, you may be giving him too much. A good tip is to check his poop, it should be firm and brown. If his poop is firm, but gets softer and light brown towards the end, this is a good sign of overfeeding.
Always have clean water available. Clean his bowls and change the water at least once a day.
Leave your dog alone while he is eating. Your dog is born with the instinct to protect his food, even from you, and he might display some signs of aggression if you try to take away his food. This is completely normal.
Recommended Dog Food Brands For Your Dog
High-quality, commercially-available, dry dog food specifically formulated for large dogs is the best and most convenient food for your dog. This type of dog food will have the right amount of nutrients for your large dog, and will be packed in small, easily digestible pellets.
A good rule of thumb is to avoid the cheaper options for dog food, as these will most probably have lower-quality protein. The type of protein you’re looking for is animal protein, most commonly chicken, beef or duck proteins. This should be stated clearly on the food label, and it should be the first ingredient listed. Also, there should be no “by-product” listed next to it, i.e. “chicken by-product” or “beef by-product.”
Below are the top recommended dog food brands by the DOGPWND for your large dog.
- top 1: Wellness CORE Grain-Free, Original Turkey & Chicken Recipe, Dry Dog Food; premium portein sources including turkey & chicken, combined with vegetables, vitamins & minerals, 100% grain-free, no wheat, corn or soy; $2.42/lb
- top 2: Avoderm Natural Chicken Meal & Brown Rice Formula Dry Dog Food; premium first-ingredient proteins, all-natural, no by-products, grain-free, no artificial flavors or preservatives; $1.49/lb
- top 3: Halo Holistic Dry Dog Food, Chicken & Chicken Liver Recipe; made from whole chicken & chicken liver, with grains, non-GMO vegetables & fruits, no artifical flavors or preservatives; $2.59/lb
- top 4: Precise Pet Holistic Complete Large/Giant Breed Adult Dog Food; with triple proteins and measured calcium & phosphorous; $2.11/lb
- top 5: Blue Life Protection Formula Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Dry Dog Food; from deboned chicken, with whole grains, veggies & fruits, no by-prodcuts, no artificial flavors & preservatives; $1.93/lb
Sources / Other Reading Materials
- Best Dog Food For Large Breeds
- Best Large Breed Dog Food – From Puppies To Seniors
- Best Large Breed Dog Food (Dry)
- Best Dog Food For Big Dogs
- How To Choose The Best Large Breed Puppy Food
- Top 5 Best Healthy Brands To Feed A Large Breed Dog
- Top 10 Best Large Breed Dog Food Brands