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Best Puppy Food for Large Breeds in 2023 – Expert Review of Healthy & Nutritious Products

There are few joys in life compared to bringing home a new puppy. Large breed pups in particular are cute in so many unique ways. Every little part of a large breed pup seems to be ridiculously lovable, like the oversized paws that they haven’t yet grown into. Then there are the floppy ears that haven’t decided whether they want to stand up or lie flat. There are the lanky, wobbly legs and the often knobby little puppy knees. And you simply cannot discount the wonder that is the puppy scruff behind the ears and around some of their necks.

As pet parents, we want our pups to grow strong and healthy and an important way to help them do so is to ensure they have a healthy, wholesome diet. Here, we present a researched list of the best puppy food for large breeds. We did the research so you don’t have to and instead can spend just a few minutes choosing which large breed puppy food to try first before going back to the important things in life, like scratching that scruff behind your puppy’s ears!

Best Puppy Food for Large Breeds

1. JustFoodForDogs – Best Large Breed Puppy Food

2. We Feed Raw – Best Raw Food

3. Purina – Best Dry Food

4. Iams – Best Veterinarian-Recommended

5. Blue Buffalo – Natural Ingredients

Reviews of the Best Large Breed Puppy Food Choices

1. JustFoodForDogs – Best Large Breed Puppy Food


  • High in calcium and phosphorus for healthy puppy growth
  • Nutritionally balanced dog food for large breed puppies
  • Certified in AAFCO feeding trials to exceed Dog Nutrient Profile standards



The Chicken & White Rice puppy food from JustFoodForDogs starts off our list of the top large breed puppy food choices on a strong note. It is one of an elite number of dog foods that have not only met, but exceeded the standards set forth by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). AAFCO is an industry organization focused on ensuring that nutrient standards are met in pet feed, including both dry dog food and wet dog food.

JustFoodForDogs scores high marks with its Chicken & White Rice formula, the most popular recipe in the brand’s repertoire. The brand uses long-grain rice harvested in the USA. This digestion-friendly grain contains B complex vitamins, which enrich the health of red blood cells in dogs, especially large breed puppies. Long-grain rice is also a key ingredient in this dog food for large breeds because of how many essential minerals it contains. These minerals provide a strong basis for growing immune systems and support bones in their pivotal growth stages.

The Chicken & White Rice large breed puppy dog food contains thigh meat from chickens, which is often of understated nutritional value, as it provides high-quality protein as well as a solid punch of vitamins and minerals. This is of excellent value to a growing pup, especially for large breed puppies, whose bodies are growing fast in a lot of big ways. The B vitamins and high-quality protein in chicken thigh meat provide the building blocks of strong metabolisms and healthy growth.

This gluten-free dog food has no preservatives and its main, named ingredients are rounded out by spinach, apples, carrots, fish oil, chicken gizzards and liver, and the JustFoodForDogs proprietary nutrient blend.

The extended list of ingredients assists puppies with developing vision, sound hormones, and healthy immune systems. They also assist with good hydration and the development of good blood clotting. Digestion, healthy joints, brain development and healthy skin and coats all benefit from the rich list of ingredients in this best dog food for large breed puppies.

Sizes, Promotions, and Discounts

The JustFoodForDogs Chicken & White Rice dog food comes in three box sizes:

  • The small box of 7.8 lbs contains 7 packages of 18 oz each
  • The medium box of 23.6 lbs contains 21 packages of 18 ounces
  • And the large box comes in at 31.5 lbs and contains 7 larger packages of 72 oz, each

Signing up for the auto-ship services comes with perks, including recurring deliveries of your choosing, anywhere from every week to every eight weeks. It also includes free shipping and a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. The first auto-ship order gives you a full 35 percent off, with five percent off all subsequent orders, as well.

The Final Word

JustFoodForDogs leads our list with a nutritious, industry-recognized dog food that is great for dogs of all ages and breeds, but especially for large breed puppies who need a solid foundation upon which to grow big and strong.

Find out more about the large breed puppy food from JustFoodForDogs

2. We Feed Raw – Best Raw Food for Large Breed Puppies


  • Personalized, biologically appropriate nutrition
  • Conveniently delivered to your door, pre-portioned, and ready to thaw & serve
  • USDA human-grade meats


  • Shipping only available to the 48 contiguous US states


What’s the one thing that might give you pause about feeding your dog raw food (or any type of wet food, for that matter): it can be a pain in the behind! To feed a dog just some basic wet food, there are hurdles: packaging, storing, portioning, mess, and dishes.

There are packages to open and reseal or else you may need to empty the food into something that will store it the rest of the portion for another time. But first, you have to measure out exactly how much to feed your pet before you have to then go and wash the things you used to measure. It’s a lot to fold into an already busy daily schedule

This is where We Feed Raw comes in. It is one of those unicorn brands, which seems like a strange thing to say about a dog food brand until you take a peek under the surface to see just how wonderful things are. We Feed Raw eliminates every single one of these hurdles and makes the process of feeding your pup raw dog food that is biologically appropriate.

We Feed Raw is shipped to your door every 12 weeks in pre-portioned, pre-packed containers, making the entire process as simple as removing from the freezer or refrigerator, thawing it out, and serving it raw to your pup. Your puppy will love the six flavor choices, including:

  • Beef
  • Venison
  • Duck
  • Turkey
  • Lamb
  • Chicken

Portions are determined through a questionnaire you fill out when applying for your initial trial box of food, during which you answer questions about your large breed puppy so the system can assign the appropriate amount of food for your growing pup on a daily basis.

Convenience is one thing, proper portioning is another, and biologically appropriate formulations are a superb cherry on top, but We Feed Raw goes even further, with top-notch ingredients. In fact, We Feed Raw is AAFCO certified and includes not only human-grade meat proteins across every flavor option, but also adds a USA-sourced vitamin and mineral mix to boost the nutritional value of its large breed dog food for your growing puppy.

And since this is a recurring service, We Feed Raw is smart enough to know that sometimes changes or adjustments are needed, so they will email you a few days before your next order processes so you have time to make changes. You can add or remove flavors, increase portions for growing puppies, or adjust in any other way–even cancel, as there are no commitments required. It’s all very flexible while being of excellent nutritional value for your puppy.

Sizes, Promotions, and Discounts

The We Feed Raw website offers 20 percent off your first meal plan order just for signing up for the We Feed Raw mailing list. Sizes vary based on the questionnaire you fill out, as sizes are related to the portions that are appropriate for your dog’s physical stature and age.

The Final Word

We Feed Raw is a strong competitor on our list of best dog food options for large breed puppies with a convenient, intuitive program that works well for large breed puppies and their owners alike. Your pup gets great nutrition in a biologically appropriate way and you get the convenience of pre-portioned and packaged food that is served straight from the refrigerator, with no prep or mess. It’s a win-win-win scenario for puppy food!

Find out more about the large breed puppy food from We Feed Raw

3. Purina – Best Dry Food for Large Breed Puppies


  • High protein formula for growing pups
  • Formulated specifically for large breed puppies
  • No artificial colors or flavors


  • Contains poultry by-product meal, which, while nutrient-rich, can be difficult for some dogs to digest


Purina Pro Plan’s dry dog food is formulated for large breed puppies who will reach 50 pounds or more at maturity, and is high in protein. Its formulation is specific to large breeds with the understanding that large breed puppies have a longer growth period in their lives as their bodies grow and develop over a longer period of time than smaller breeds.

Purina Pro Plan supports large breed puppy growth in a variety of ways. Real chicken is the first and most prevalent ingredient, providing a strong base of protein. Glucosamine helps puppy cartilage and joints to develop strong and healthy. Fish oil contains omega fatty acids and DHA to support both vision and the development of a healthy brain.

Antioxidants are included to support immune health and a variety of minerals are added to ensure your pup has strong structural growth and development in sturdy areas like their skeleton and teeth.

This option is a dry dog food (contains rice, whole grain wheat and corn), which means it’s a bit easier to store and serve, but that also means there is less moisture content, so always ensure that your dog has plenty of clean, fresh water available to wash it all down. Dry doesn’t mean bad though, as Purina Pro Plan is still among the best dog food options, especially in terms of wide availability.

Sizes, Promotions, and Discounts

A four percent discount on the overall price was available on at the time of publishing, and the auto-ship service offers another five percent off if you sign up for that as well.

Purina Pro Plan comes in 18, 34, and 47-pound bags of this dry dog food for large breed puppies.

The Final Word

Purina is one of the best dog foods on our list because it is high in protein and formulated for large breed dogs and their specific growth rate. With all of the key nutrients needed for growing pups, it’s a solid choice for your large breed puppy.

Find out more about the large breed puppy food from Purina

4. Iams – Best Veterinarian-Recommended Large Breed Puppy Food


  • Chicken as first ingredient
  • 22 crucial nutrients
  • Omega-3 DHA for healthy brain development


  • Also contains chicken by-product meal, which some dogs have trouble processing


Iams ProActive Health’s dog food is specifically formulated for large breed puppies. Leading the ingredients list is real, premium-sourced chicken, providing a healthy, stalwart dose of protein on which to build the rest. This high-quality protein base builds muscles and provides energy to always-wiggling puppies who seem to have energy to spare until they pass out into adorable puppy dreams.

ProActive Health is a dry dog food that includes a whopping 22 key nutrients, modeled after the goodness found in a puppy’s mother’s milk. Wholesome grains are included to help provide long-lasting energy founded on natural ingredients rather than short-term sources. Beet pulp aids in puppy’s healthy digestion, as her body learns to receive and process all the new and different sources of nutrition.

Also featured are omega-3 fatty acids from an excellent source: DHA. DHA is also something a puppy usually gets from her mother before weaning off of milk and it’s pivotal that puppies receive a supply of this brain-developing nutrient from their diet, so this rich source is a big plus.

Iams prides itself on avoiding artificial flavors and preservatives. This is important because artificial flavors and preservatives are thought to cause allergies, make them worse, or potentially even be sources of cancer cell growth. Iams ProActive Health for puppies is also rich in antioxidants to support immune health and development.

Sizes, Promotions, and Discounts

Iams ProActive can be found at a five percent discount when signing up for recurring auto-ship orders on and is available in the following sizes for your large breed puppy:

  • 15-lb bag
  • 30.6-lb bag
  • Bundle of two 30.6-lb bags

The Final Word

Iams ProActive dry food makes our list due to its specialization for large breed dogs and its designation as a veterinarian-recommended brand.

Find out more about the large breed puppy food from Iams

5. Blue Buffalo – Best Natural Ingredient Large Breed Puppy Food


  • Puppy-sized kibble with tartar control built-in for healthy teeth
  • Premium protein plus L-Carnitine for excellent muscle development
  • No chicken or poultry by-product meal


  • Contains small amounts of garlic, which could be annoying to some puppy digestive tracts


Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula rounds out our list of large breed puppy foods. This Blue Buffalo line features a Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe of its dry dog food. The chicken ingredient is a strong source of protein for growing pups and Blue Buffalo’s proprietary LifeSource Bits are an excellent addition.

LifeSource Bits are Blue Buffalo’s not-so-secret ingredient to promote healthy puppy growth, created by veterinarians and nutritionists. LifeSource Bits blend vitamins with antioxidants and minerals to support all life stages of a dog’s health.

For puppies, in particular, these bits help with:

  • Strong muscle growth
  • Healthy brain development
  • Good eye development
  • A strong immune system
  • Healthy skin and a shiny coat
  • Strong bone development

The Life Protection Formula also includes DHA and ARA to promote both brain and eye growth and development even further, along with phosphorus, calcium, and other vitamins for bone, tooth, and overall skeletal goodness.

One minor downside to this option is the inclusion of garlic as an ingredient. While garlic is not particularly good for dogs and can even be downright detrimental in larger amounts, the good news is that there are only trace amounts of it in this formula. Blue Buffalo is a reputable brand and is not likely to include ingredients that are outright hurtful to dogs.

Sizes, Promotions, and Discounts

Save 10 percent off the retail price at as of the time of publishing and sign up for auto-ship for free one- to three-day shipping and five percent off every subsequent auto-ship order.

Sizes of Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula include 15-lb bags, 30-lb bags, and 34-lb bags, and the formula also comes in a version for senior dogs as well.

The Final Word

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula has so much upside for growing and developing pups that we were hard-pressed to find any downsides at all. You can feel just as good about this large breed dog food for your puppy as any other on this list. Natural ingredients and the inclusion of Blue Buffalo’s proprietary LifeSource Bits are strong additions propelling Blue Buffalo to the final spot on our list of the best puppy foods for large breeds.

Find out more about the large breed puppy food from Blue Buffalo

How We Picked the Best Large Breed Puppy Food Choices

We made this list of the best puppy food for large breeds by consulting a review panel of dog food researchers. The research was conducted across a wide variety of brands, which were judged on food quality, user reviews, nutrition levels, and specialty to large breed puppies. What remains are the best dog food products for your consideration.

What to Consider When Buying Food for a Large Breed Puppy

On your first trip to the local pet store with your brand new large breed puppy, it feels like all you can see for miles are rows and rows of dog food. This now has become a journey with you and your loyal companion on trying to figure out which of the various large breed puppy foods is the best for your little pupper.

The first thing to know is that there are different nutritional ingredients that can cause health problems if there is too much or too little in dog food. Puppies need calcium to help their bones grow and mature but given too much calcium can lead to irreversible damage to the bones and hip dysplasia.

Puppies need more protein than adult dogs do. Large or giant-breed puppy food should have high protein but again, if too much is consumed can lead to other nutrient imbalances which will have negative impacts on a puppy’s joints and development. It can also begin to lead your pet down the road to developing arthritis later in life.

One specific thing to check for is locating the Nutritional Adequacy Statement on the packaging of the dog food you are thinking about purchasing. This statement guarantees the calcium percentage is accurate and true that is provided in a percentage amount on the nutritional ingredient label.

It is also important to look for dog food that has been tested through AAFCO trials. Having that knowledge means that the food has gone through feeding trials on dogs and they were monitored over a span of time to see if there were any deficiencies in the nutritional content of the food. Having undergone feeding trials also means that not only was their research conducted by a group of scientists but veterinarians were also brought on board for advice, nutritional assessment, and to provide knowledge for what is needed in dog food for large puppies to be healthiest.

How Much Food Should a Puppy Eat?

It is finally the moment that you have brought home your new addition to the family and you suddenly realize you don’t really know how much you are supposed to feed that little barkster. Well, say hello to some basic tips from our review team.

  • 6-10 weeks old – Your puppy should be eating the best dog food for large breeds. Making gruel is also suggested, mixing warm water with the hard puppy dry dog food. Large or giant breed puppies can eat dry food sooner, usually around 10 weeks old. Alongside fresh water, puppies should be fed in 4-meal increments at this stage.
  • 3-6 months old – Your puppy sadly should be outgrowing his little butter ball chunk belly. Puppies should be fed in 3-meal increments and always have fresh water.
  • 6-14 months old – Depending on the breed of a puppy, it is time to transition over to adult dog food. However, it greatly depends on the breed. Large breed puppies will negatively benefit from making the transition too early. Meals should be given to puppies twice daily with access to fresh water.
  • Happy 1st Birthday – After enjoying a puppy party and a pupcake, your puppy is now one year old and eating adult dog food regularly twice a day. Don’t forget to make fresh water available at all times.

When it comes to portion size, there isn’t a “one size fits all” daily serving because each breed of dog has vastly different needs. Dog metabolism varies as well as their nutritional needs. There are also different needs for calorie intake due to simply the size and breed of your puppy. Consult with your veterinarian to establish a feeding plan that can ease your mind as a puppy parent and know a plan has been established to support healthy growth.

How Long Does a Dog Eat Puppy Food?

Don’t you just wish your large breed puppy would stay small forever? Well even though she might be growing quickly doesn’t mean she will be transitioning to large breed dog food right away. Unlike the average time span for smaller breeds, large breed puppies and giant-breed puppies grow at a slower rate so their growth span is longer. That means remaining on the large breed puppy food for a longer amount of time.

Large breed puppies typically do not mature into large dogs until they are about fourteen to twenty-four months old. Having your large breed puppy remain on dog food for large puppies is essential to healthy growth because growing too quickly for large breed puppies can actually cause health issues. If growth is not nurtured at a steady pace it puts large breed puppies at risk for bone development issues and possible deformities.

Large breed puppy food is specifically formulated to fit the growing needs of a large breed puppy. Unlike dog food for large dogs, large breed puppy foods should have more calories included. Large breed puppies need high-calorie puppy food because they are very active but also because they are a body in constant motion. They need a very large amount because simply developing and supporting tissue growth results in burning through calories at a high rate of almost half the calories they consume.

What Foods Should Not Be Fed to Large Breed Puppies?

They don’t call them puppy dog eyes without a reason! It is so hard to deny sharing little bites of your human food with your new large breed puppy, but there are some human foods that should never be shared as puppy food alternatives.

There is a wide range of health issues and harm human food can cause to your large breed puppy, ranging from choking to possible death. It is always better to exercise caution and if you are unsure about which foods you can or can’t feed to large breed puppies or giant breed puppies, make an appointment with your vet to better understand the dos and don’ts of human food sharing.

Some unsafe human foods are

  • Grapes and raisins– Extremely toxic to canines, high choking hazard, illnesses range from renal failure to, in extreme cases, death
  • Ice cream– Most dog owners are unaware if their pup is lactose intolerant, and sugar content is much too high
  • Alcohol-Can cause seizures, comas, and be fatal
  • Raw eggs– Unhealthy skin and coat can develop if continuous feeding of raw eggs occurs
  • Cherries– Pits of cherries can become lodged in the intestinal tract and cause a blockage which is dangerous, pits also contain the poison cyanide
  • Avocado- Diarrhea and vomiting can occur due to the toxic-to-dogs ingredient persin
  • Methylxanthines– Found in coffees, chocolates, and caffeine, this is a toxic ingredient for dogs that causes possible tachycardia, vomiting, risk of seizure, can often be fatal
  • Heavily salted foods– Can lead to possible poisoning, causes excess urination, tremors, shaking, high fever, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Xylitol– A sneaky ingredient in more human food items than you would think, certain peanut butter, ketchup, barbeque sauces, baked goods, due to high toxicity levels leads to liver failure and death if consumed by dogs

For the puppy in your life, it is so heartwarming to make memories and build a bond together. As a new pet owner, it’s perfectly understandable to have questions about what is best for your large breed puppy. There is such a wide array of human foods that puppies can’t eat and some that might surprise you. Just remember, if you don’t know, it is okay to ask your veterinarian.

If you are worried that your large breed puppies have accidentally eaten something toxic or dangerous there is an Animal Poison Control Center that is open twenty-four hours a day and three hundred sixty-five days a year to help pet owners.


What is chicken meal in dog food?

Chicken meal is a common ingredient in pet food. Chicken meal is essentially processed chicken meat, combined with other ingredients. While the term “processed” tends to carry a negative context, there are practical and nutritional reasons that chicken meal is actually rather good in dog food. One of the reasons is that chicken meal carries very high protein content. This is mostly because much of the moisture is removed and the chicken is processed finely into a more compact and nutrient-rich format.

Chicken meal provides roughly four to five times as many nutrients as straightforward chicken meat, largely due to differences in moisture levels. In fact, many times real chicken meat cannot be used in foods (like dry dog food) because it would be susceptible to contamination. Much like how the chicken we consume as humans cannot be “left out” without it going bad and becoming contaminated, the same concept is true in dry dog food.

Processing chicken into chicken meal increases both the protein and nutrient content capacity as well as making it more versatile for use in dry dog food that is meant to be served as “kibble” and stored in bags and left in bowls for limited amounts of time.

What is corn gluten meal in dog food?

On the surface, corn gluten meal sounds like a common filler ingredient in dog food, but there are conflicting sources of information on this. However, most agree that it is of decent nutritional value for your pup either way. The meal is the product of wet-milling corn and aids dogs as a protein source and helps with digestion.


There are a wide variety of dog food brands available in an ever-growing market. While many of them claim to provide everything a large breed puppy needs, only a handful actually deliver. This list provides the best options for your growing large breed dogs and serves as an excellent starting point for you to explore what is best for you and your pup.