Best Large Breed Puppy Food

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large breed puppies

Large breed puppies can eat as much as teenagers — and they need as many calories. These dogs are usually active or working dogs, and they need all the nutrition they can get for a healthy life.

That’s why finding the best large breed puppy food is essential for their growth. 

Our top choice is Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Puppy dog food

First, it has all the essential vitamins. These include glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health and taurine for heart health. But, it’s also tasty, so pups will gobble it up and absorb those benefits with ease. 

There are other great recipe options on this list, too — including grain-free options! Here are our favorite large breed puppy foods. 

Our Best Large Breed Puppy Food

  1. Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Puppy (Best Dry Large Breed Puppy Food)
  2. Instinct Raw Boost Large Breed Puppy Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (Best Grain-Free)
  3. Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Puppy Recipe Dry Dog Food (Best With Grain)
  4. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Puppy Grain-Free Canned Dog Food (Best Wet Food)
  5. American Journey Active Life Formula Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food (Best Budget Food)
  6. ORIJEN Puppy Large Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food (Best Premium Food)
  7. Ollie Dog Food (Best Fresh Food)
  8. The Honest Kitchen Food Clusters Whole Grain Puppy Blend Dehydrated Dog Food (Best Dehydrated Food)
  9. Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food (Best for Highly Active Puppy)
  10. Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy Health Dry Dog Food (Best for Sensitive Stomachs) 

10 Best Large Breed Puppy Food Reviewed 

The formulas below follow the AAFCO nutrient profile guidelines. Please consult with your veterinarian about the best diet for your pup. 

Best Dry Food

Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Puppy

Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Puppy Chicken
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas, Ground Brown Rice, Salmon Meal
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 29% Crude Protein, 13% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 367 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High-protein dry puppy food made with glucosamine for joint support

Big puppies can’t eat just any food. They need a large breed friendly puppy formula to keep their growth steady. Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Puppy formula is what they need. 

First, the larger kibble pieces are perfect for bigger jaws and help scrape plaque off of your pup’s teeth once their adult canines come in. This keeps them healthy and clean.

This dry food starts with deboned chicken, chicken meal, and salmon meal. These ingredients contain omega fatty acids — essential for joint support. And salmon oil offers DHA for healthy brain development, which is crucial for puppies. 

Easy-to-digest carbohydrates are essential for pups too. This is why Wellness includes ground brown rice and oats in this formula. These aid in digestion and provide vitamins like zinc for immune system function. 

This formula doesn’t include GMOs, meat by-products, or fillers. It’s also free of artificial colors and preservatives. And, for peace of mind, it’s made in the US

Dog parents appreciate this food for its real animal proteins and healthy fats. But, they do say that the kibble may be too big for puppies under three months. 

Best Grain-Free Food

Instinct Raw Boost Large Breed Puppy Grain-Free Dry Dog FoodLarge Breed Puppies Instinct Raw Boost

Instinct Raw Boost Large Breed Puppy Grain Free Chicken
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas, Egg Product, Tapioca
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 33.5% Crude Protein, 18.5% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 9% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 485 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Grain-free and gluten-free dry puppy food dusted with raw meat 

Puppies aren’t well suited for raw diets. But, that doesn’t mean that they can’t thrive with raw proteins. Instinct Raw Boost Large Breed Puppy offers crunchy kibble that includes freeze-dried raw meats.  

Real deboned chicken, chicken meal, and ocean fish meal make this a high-protein formula. And, this also creates higher levels of calcium and phosphorus. This is perfect for larger dogs who need growth support.

Freeze-dried chicken heart and dehydrated chicken liver add raw meat protein and fats. These include L-carnitine, an essential building block for healthy joints and metabolism support. 

Salmon oil and chicken fat provide DHA for cognitive function. And, they offer a whopping 18% of Crude Fat to keep your pup energized all day long. 

Instinct Raw Boost doesn’t include grain, potato, corn, wheat, and soy. It’s also free of by-product meals, artificial colors, and preservatives.

Puppy parents noticed a massive difference in their dog’s energy when switching to this food. And, many also noted that their pups had shiny coats too.

Best With Grain

Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Puppy Recipe Dry Dog Food

Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Puppy
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 28% Crude Protein, 16% Crude Fat, 3.5% Crude Fiber, 11% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 406 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High protein dry puppy food with grains for digestion support  

Most pups need grains to aid in their digestive functioning. Unless your young dog has food allergies or intolerances, grains are a significant part of their diet. Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Puppy makes feeding them easy and convenient. 

This formula starts with real deboned chicken and chicken meal, which offer 28% of protein — great for growing pups. And, these ingredients contain chondroitin and glucosamine for hip and joint function. 

Brown rice, whole grain barley, and oatmeal provide easy-to-digest carbohydrates and fiber. And, these provide prebiotic fiber and vitamins like potassium for solid bones. Sunflower oil and fish oil offer omega-3 fatty acids to help eye development and promote healthy skin. 

This kibble is also great for both large and giant breed puppies. The size is small enough to keep them from hurting their teeth but big enough to encourage slower eating. 

While this isn’t a grain-free diet, it’s free of wheat, corn, peas, and soy. Merrick crafts and cooks their dog food formulas in Hereford, TX. 

Pup owners say this is the perfect diet to offer your dogs since it includes grains and other high-quality ingredients. 

Best Wet Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Puppy Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Dinner Puppy Grain-Free Canned
  • First 5 Ingredients: Beef, Beef Broth, Turkey, Beef Liver, Potatoes
  • Guaranteed Analysis: (wet matter basis) 10% Crude Protein, 7% Crude Fat, 1.5% Crude Fiber, 78% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 467 kcal/can
  • Key Feature: Chicken-free and grain-free puppy food with DHA and chondroitin

While most pups aren’t considered picky eaters, yours could be. And if that’s the case, wet food can help you from fighting and pleading with your dog to eat up.

Even the pickiest eater couldn’t turn down Blue Buffalo Puppy Grain-Free canned dog food. 

This tasty wet food is made with grain and gluten-free ingredients. It starts with high-quality protein from tender beef, turkey, and beef liver. These offer over 40% Crude Protein (when measured on a dry matter basis).

So this is great for growing large breed pups. These animal proteins also provide glucosamine and chondroitin for firm and supple joints. 

Fish oil provides DHA to support brain, eye, and cognitive development. And potatoes and pea flour replace grains for dogs with super sensitive tummies. 

While this is an excellent choice on its own, large breed puppy owners may want to mix this wet food with kibble. Because the calories are relatively low, it may not be the best choice for active pups on its own, but it can be a food topper to entice them to eat and provide extra protein. 

This grain-free recipe is free of chicken by-product meal, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, and preservatives.

Pet parents hate the texture of this food and admit that it can be messy if you have fast eaters. But, they do love that it doesn’t contain chicken and is suitable for their pups with digestive issues. 

Best Budget Food

American Journey Active Life Formula Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food

American Journey Active Life Large Breed Puppy Salmon
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Salmon, Menhaden Fish Meal, Brown Rice, Peas, Rice Bran
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 25% Crude Protein, 15% Crude Fat, 6% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 345 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Budget-friendly and high-protein large-breed puppy food with ARA for vision development

An active puppy can quickly eat you out of house and home. And since they need more calories, it can be difficult finding economical and good-for-them food. But high-quality doesn’t have to mean premium costs. 

American Journey Active Life Large Breed Puppy formula is the perfect solution for owners on a budget who want to feed their pups nutritious food. 

It starts with real deboned salmon as the first ingredient. This helps support lean muscle growth and includes calcium and phosphorus to promote normal bone development. 

Plus, salmon provides omega fatty acids for a healthy coat and skin and is a natural source of ARA — supporting brain and vision development. 

Brown rice and peas offer fiber-filled and easily-to-digest carbs. Plus, they include vitamins like potassium for solid bones. 

American Journey doesn’t include wheat, corn, soy, chicken, or poultry by-product meals in their food. It’s also free of artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors.

Pet owners do admit that this food is pretty stinky. But many love that it’s easy to seal and convenient to feed their pups.

Best Premium Food

ORIJEN Puppy Large Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food

ORIJEN Puppy Large Grain-Free
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Turkey, Flounder, Whole Mackerel, Chicken Liver
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 38% Crude Protein, 16% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 12% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 451 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High-protein premium dry large-breed puppy food with DHA for brain development

Large breed puppies can grow fast, but it’s essential to give their bones and joints a chance to grow strong and steady. This can help avoid joint disorders.

That’s why dog food with protein and healthy fats is vital. And, for dog owners who want to provide premium food, we’ve got you covered. 

Orijen Puppy Large dry dog food is the perfect high-value option. Their first 12 ingredients are all real animal proteins. 

These include chicken, turkey, flounder, whole mackerel, and more. These provide glucosamine, chondroitin, and omega fatty acids for joint support and help keep your dog’s skin itch-free. 

For healthy fats, chicken liver, chicken fat, and pollock oil are included as well. These offer omega-3 amino acids and taurine for heart health

Whole red lentils and whole pinto beans offer prebiotic fiber for easy digestion. And, they also include vitamins like iron and magnesium for energy production. 

Freeze-dried raw animal bits add extra flavor to entice even picky puppies. And, this kibble has slightly more moisture, making it easy for dogs to chew. 

This formula is grain, gluten, and soy-free. 

Puppy moms and dads love that this food helps their dogs build lean muscle mass and gain weight to support their large frames. 

Best Fresh Food

Ollie Lamb Dog Food

Ollie Lamb
  • First 5 Ingredients: Lamb, Butternut Squash, Lamb Liver, Kale
  • Guaranteed Analysis: (wet matter basis) 10% Crude Protein, 7% Crude Fat, 2% Fiber, 74% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 1804 kcal/kg
  • Key Feature: Human-grade fresh dog food for pup parents who want high-quality ingredients

What if you could offer your dog a fresh and customized dog food with human-grade ingredients, just like you eat? If you’re looking for a formula that fits your pup’s unique needs, give Ollie a try. 

All ingredients are sourced in the US and crafted in Ollie’s New Jersey human-grade kitchen. 

To start, you’ll take Ollie’s online quiz. You’ll answer questions about your dog’s weight, height, potential allergies, and activity level. And, you’ll also want to enter their age so that Ollie can craft a puppy-friendly formulation. 

After filling out the quiz, they will calculate the perfect diet for your pup. Then, you’ll be able to choose between four dog food recipes —lamb, beef, chicken, and turkey. 

While this is fresh food, it’s measured on a wet matter basis. If converted to a dry matter basis, this food contains over 40% Crude Protein and 28% Crude Fat — perfect for highly active large breeds. 

Ollie is shipped fresh every two weeks right to your door. It includes a feeding guide, storage container, and scoop for easy portioning. 

Dog owners love that this food is customized for their pup. And, many love mixing and matching flavors to keep their dogs from getting bored. 

Best Dehydrated Food

The Honest Kitchen Food Clusters Whole Grain Puppy Blend Dehydrated Dog Food

The Honest Kitchen Food Clusters Whole Grain Chicken Puppy
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Oats, Barley, Chicken Liver, Carrots
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 25% Crude Protein, 16% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 12% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 448 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Human-grade dehydrated puppy food made without GMOs

Want a dog food with human-grade ingredients, but need the convenience of kibble? It can be challenging to find a formula that ticks all the boxes, as well as being puppy friendly.

But, The Honest Kitchen Food Clusters Puppy Blend dehydrated dog food is the perfect solution. 

These clusters are made from cage-free chicken and chicken liver that’s been cold-pressed and dehydrated. These provide glucosamine for growing joints to keep them flexible. And, they also offer taurine for heart health. 

Oats, cracked pearled barley, and ground flaxseeds offer essential vitamins and prebiotics for easy digestion. 

And, coconut oil and salmon oil round out the macronutrients by providing essential fatty acids for energy and muscle retention. 

This formula is considered safe for all breeds, including large and giant pups. It’s free of artificial flavors, preservatives, GMOs, poultry by-product meals, and fillers. 

Each ingredient is cold-pressed and then mixed to form bite-sized clusters. This food only includes components that even you would eat. 

Large breed puppy owners appreciate the transparent manufacturing and locally and regionally sourced ingredients. 

Best for Highly Active Puppy

Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Hill's Science Diet Puppy Large Breed Chicken
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Oats, Whole Grain Sorghum, Corn Gluten Meal
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 24% Crude Protein, 11% Crude Fat, 3% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 448 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High-protein dry large-breed puppy food with antioxidants for immune support

Large breed puppies need optimized nutrition to control proper bone and muscle growth. So, what better option than a large breed formula created and recommended by veterinarians? 

Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Large Breed dog food provides your pup with wholesome ingredients that help control bone growth and maintain lean muscles. 

This formula starts with chicken meal and chicken fat. These provide glucosamine and chondroitin to help support strong muscles and aid in joint health.

Whole grain wheat, whole grain corn, and whole grain oats offer calcium to support optimal bone growth — especially important for large breed puppies. And, they also include vitamin E which can aid in a shiny coat. 

After cooking, the kibble is coated in fish oil and probiotics. These provide DHA for cognitive development and aid in digestion.

This dry food is manufactured in the US. Every ingredient meets the strict US requirements for purity and nutrient content. It’s formulated for puppies up to 1 year of age who will be over 55 lbs when they’re an adult. 

Hill’s Science Diet doesn’t include artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. 

Pet owners all rave about this food and mention that their vets recommended it first. But, some do caution to avoid this food if your large breed puppy has grain or gluten allergies.  

Best for Sensitive Stomachs

Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy Health Dry Dog Food

Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy Health Lamb Meal
  • First 5 Ingredients: Lamb Meal, Chicken Meal, Oatmeal, Brown Rice, Barley
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 25% Crude Protein, 16% Crude Fat, 4.5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 448 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Dry large breed puppy food made with low-glycemic grains and probiotics for large puppies with sensitive stomachs

Does your large breed puppy have a super sensitive tummy? If so, you want to find dog food that doesn’t cause inflammation, gas, loose stools, or discomfort. 

Holistic Select Natural Large and Giant Breed Puppy has larger kibble pieces that include digestive enzymes and active probiotics for easier digestion and a happy pup. 

First, it includes multiple ingredients that support your dog’s overall digestive health. These include oatmeal, barley, and brown rice. These easy-to-digest carbohydrates also have prebiotic fiber and vitamins like magnesium to make nutrient absorption easier. 

For protein and healthy fats, lamb meal, chicken meal, and salmon oil are included. These include omega-3 fatty acids to help your pup achieve healthy skin and coat. And they naturally provide glucosamine and taurine to contribute to a healthy heart.

Antioxidants from the rosemary extract and green tea extract boost your pup’s immune system. And, they also aid in digestion support. 

Plus, live probiotics are sprinkled on the food to make your dog regular and keep them from having tummy aches. 

This formula is made in the US with high-quality ingredients sourced from around the globe — including Canada and New Zealand.

Pet parents don’t recommend this food for pups who have chicken allergies. But, many note that their dogs have firmer stools and don’t have bloat after switching to this formula. 

large breed puppies eating

Large Breed Puppy Dog Food Buying Guide

Ready to get your large puppy the best food for them? Here’s what you need to know.

What’s considered a large breed?

Dogs over 60 pounds and over 15 inches at the shoulder once they reach adulthood are considered large breeds. Of course, this will vary. 

For example, bulldogs are considered medium breeds, although many can weigh 60 pounds. But usually, a large breed puppy follows these guidelines. 

What to Look For When Buying Large Breed Puppy Food?

When buying dog food for your large breed puppy, what should you look for? Here are a few key ingredients. 

High-Quality Protein

Every dog needs high-quality protein — especially growing large breed puppies. And real meat is best because it’s the easiest to absorb. 

So focus on real animal proteins like chicken, beef, pork, fish, lamb, and even bison. 

Fatty Acids 

Dogs get their energy from fats, so they’re crucial for complete and balanced nutrition. The best fats come from unsaturated sources, like salmon or fish oil, coconut oil, meat fats, and flaxseeds or flaxseed oil. 

Sunflower and canola oil can also work but shouldn’t be the main choices. 


Large breed puppies need all the help they can get with their joints. Due to their size, their joints can quickly become stressed supporting them — which can cause future problems. 

Glucosamine is a protein building block that helps stimulate cartilage growth and improve joint function. This can help reduce the likelihood of arthritis and injury in large dogs. 


Phosphorus keeps your large breed puppies bones and teeth in tip-top shape. And since large dogs need their bones to be strong to support their muscles, joints, and mass, phosphorus is essential in their diet. However, it’s crucial to balance phosphorus with calcium and vitamin D


Calcium and phosphorus work together when fed to your large breed puppy. So proper calcium to phosphorus ratio is essential for healthy joints and bones. 

These ratios should be around 1:1 and 1.3, especially for large breeds. This is why a “large breed” dog food is so important since they measure everything out for you. 

Vitamin D 

Vitamin D can also impact skeletal development. A deficiency or too much of it can cause abnormal bone development. Again, this is why large breed puppy food is essential as your dog grows up.


puppy eating from hand

Ingredients to Avoid When Buying Large Breed Puppy Food

Now that you know what to look for in large breed puppy food let’s talk about ingredients to avoid

Meat By-Products

Meat by-products are the rendered parts of animals. These by-products usually contain bones, offal, and undeveloped eggs. 

But the meal quality of these ingredients vary from food to food and may include some not-so-great parts of the animal proteins. Instead, focus on real meat or meat meals, and avoid by-products when you can. 

Artificial Colors and Flavors  

Unlike humans, dogs can’t digest artificial colors and flavors. While small doses are okay every now and then (in treats), daily food shouldn’t contain these ingredients.

They can contain carcinogens that cause health issues like kidney disease or heart failure. 

Unnecessary Fillers 

Fillers like wheat, corn, brewers rice, and soy should be avoided when possible. These fillers are cheaper ingredients that manufacturers use to cut costs. But they don’t offer as much nutrition as wholesome veggies and fruits. 

Rendered Fats

Healthy fats are a part of your dog’s diet. But rendered fats are made from the carcasses of animals and poultry waste. This ingredient has too much cholesterol for your dog’s daily diet — which can cause pancreatitis

Instead, focus on fats like fish oil, coconut oil, or even flaxseeds. 

Large Breed Puppy Feeding Guide 

Do you know large breed puppies eat differently than their smaller counterparts? Here’s what you need to know about feeding large breed puppies. 

How much to feed a large breed puppy?

This will depend on the food you choose for your puppy. But generally, large breed puppies need about 25 calories per pound that they will be when fully grown. 

So if your dog will be 100 pounds in adulthood, they’ll need about 2,500 calories a day. 

How often to feed a large puppy? 

Large breed puppies need food more often than adults. This is to help with their digestion and to give them energy. Aim to feed your pup 3-4 times a day. 

When to switch your dog from puppy food to adult food?

You should switch your large breed puppy to adult food once they’ve reached adulthood. For larger puppies, this will be around 16-18 months. 

If you plan to switch them to adult food sooner, talk to your veterinarian before making the change. 

Our Verdict

Large breed puppies need proper nutrition to grow big, strong, and healthy. Their bodies can have a hard time keeping up if they aren’t on the best diet. 

That’s why I recommend Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Puppy dog food

It has everything a large breed puppy could need. And, it has many raving reviews from pet parents just like you who want to give their big dogs the best of the best. It really is the best large breed puppy food. 

But, you can’t go wrong with any of the best dog food options on this list. They’re all formulated for large puppies. And you can guarantee that they’ll fill your dog’s belly with balanced nutrition. 

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Kim Studdard is a freelance writer for many websites in the pet universe. When she isn't spending time with her family and pets, or saying "Look a dog" everytime she sees one, you'll find her reading a book or traveling the U.S.

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