Best Large Breed Puppy Food 2023

Timothy Hill

Getting a puppy for the first time can be one of the most joyous and exciting times in a person’s life, but it can also be challenging, confusing and filled with messy situations. When it comes to picky eaters, allergies or sensitive tummies, finding the best large breed puppy food for your growing pooch can be one of the toughest parts of new pet parenthood. It’s essential to feed puppies a healthy diet filled with the nutrients they need to grow into strong, happy adults, but with so many options on the market, it can be hard to know what’s best.

In search of the best large breed puppy food, we spoke to veterinarian Dr. Samantha Morici, DVM and head of veterinary services at Koala Health. Dr. Morici explained that large breed puppies will require a different diet than small breed puppies, and the food you select should reflect those needs. “Large and giant breed puppies have specific nutrient requirements to reduce their risk of developmental orthopedic disease,” said Dr. Morici. “Diets for large and giant breed puppies should be slightly less calorically dense, contain lower levels of calcium and phosphorus, and have a carefully balanced calcium to phosphorus ratio,” she added. Though different dogs might have different dietary requirements or restrictions, Dr. Morici advises looking for the Nutrition Adequacy Statement on a package of dog food, and selecting one that is labeled “complete and balanced” in accordance with the AAFCO requirements.

No matter what type of dietary need your puppy has, make sure to feed them a food that’s appropriate for their age and size. Read on for our favorite large breed puppy food.


First four ingredients: Chicken, rice, corn gluten meal, whole grain corn | Type: Grain-inclusive | Best for: Joint, bone and brain health 

Large breed puppies need food that is filled with nutrients that will help them grow into healthy adults, and this option contains some of the most important ingredients for developing dogs. Specifically, this food contains glucosamine to support joint health and DHA and omega-3 fatty acids to help nourish healthy brain and eye development. “Large breed dogs are prone to developing arthritis as they age, and feeding diets containing chondroitin, glucosamine, and omega 3 fatty acids, like EPA and DHA may support joint health,” said Dr. Morici. This recipe is specifically geared towards puppies who will grow into large dogs, and it contains the necessary ingredients to help them do so. 

The recipe is made without artificial flavorings or colors, and we love that the first ingredient on the list is protein-rich chicken. Calcium and phosphorus help build strong bones and teeth, while omega-6 fatty acids help support a healthy coat. This is a fantastic option for young puppies who don’t have any allergies or sensitivity issues. 


  • Chicken is the first ingredient 
  • Doesn’t contain artificial colors or flavorings
  • Contains important minerals for bone health like calcium and phosphorous 


  • This is not designed for puppies with allergies or sensitive stomachs

First four ingredients: Chicken, rice, corn flour, soybean meal | Type: Grain-inclusive | Best for: Brain development and growing muscles

The pieces of crunchy dry food come in a variety of shapes, colors and textures to keep your dog interested and digging for more. It’s packed with important vitamins and minerals like DHA—which helps support vision and brain development—as well as glucosamine for joint health and omega-6 fatty acids to promote healthy skin and a luxurious coat. This puppy food is specifically geared for large breeds and is designed to help support an appropriate growth rate. “Puppies have a higher metabolic rate and should be fed a puppy food which is more calorically dense than adult food,” said Dr Morici. That’s why we love this option—it’s packed with protein (chicken is listed as the first ingredient) which means it can help your puppy build muscle at a rate that’s appropriate for his or her breed. 

This food is made without any artificial fillers, so it’s a fantastic option for growing puppies. Keep in mind that this food is not specifically designed for puppies with specific dietary restrictions or allergies. 


  • Chicken is the first ingredient
  • Doesn’t contain any fillers


  • This is not designed for puppies with allergies or sensitive stomachs

First four ingredients: Water, pork by-products, chicken by-products, chicken | Type: Grain-inclusive | Best for: Large breed puppies who need digestive and immune support

Dr. Morici recommends Royal Canin because it is specifically designed to accommodate the developmental needs of growing puppies. When selecting a food for your pet, she says “​​The most important factor to consider is that the diet is appropriate for the life stage of your pet.” This wet food from Royal Canin is designed with the appropriate calorie count for growing puppies, and is formulated to help support the energy needs of large breed puppies during their longer growing periods. The brand keeps immune support top of mind, too—this recipe is packed with antioxidants and vitamins to help your puppy build natural defenses and a strong immunity. Wet food also helps provide necessary hydration, and this food is designed to support necessary intestinal flora, which can help ensure healthy, optimal puppy stool. 


  • Vitamin E and antioxidants provide immune support
  • Easy-open pouch means less mess
  • Calorie count is specifically designed to support the energy needs of large puppies during their long growing period


  • This is not designed for puppies with allergies or sensitive stomachs

First four ingredients: Cod, sweet potatoes, potatoes, green beans | Type: Grain-free | Best for: Puppies with sensitive stomachs looking for a protein-rich, fresh food option

Finding puppy food that’s free of any type of chicken or chicken product is surprisingly difficult, so we love that this option from JustFoodForDogs has a transparent label with only a few whole ingredients. The fresh puppy food is made with nutritious ingredients like wild-caught Alaska Pacific cod, sweet potatoes, green beans and broccoli. The complete meal is gluten and grain-free, and it’s free of any artificial colors, flavorings or additives. Thought it’s ideal for large breed puppies, it’s suitable for older dogs as well. The completely balanced meal is packed with natural protein that’s ideal for a puppy’s developing bones and muscles. Sweet potatoes provide a sweet source of vitamin A and fiber, which support health vision and digestive support. Green beans and broccoli are loaded with fiber, and safflower oil is added to provide essential omega-6 fatty acids. 

Keep in mind that this is a fresh, wet puppy food that will need to be refrigerated. For best results, freeze and store the puppy food for up to 18 months. 


  • Gluten and grain-free
  • Made with whole, human-grade ingredients


  • This is fresh puppy food, so it will need to be refrigerated

First four ingredients: Lamb, whole grain brown rice, cracked pearled barley, grain sorghum | Type: Grain-inclusive | Best for: Large or giant breeds who need digestive support

This superfood-packed puppy food is designed with vitamins and minerals that help support healthy growth and development. With a proprietary blend of soluble and insoluble fiber from ingredients like chia seed, pumpkin, dried kelp and coconut, this food is a fantastic option for puppies who need a bit of extra digestive support. Formulated for large and giant breed puppies who need to get the most nutrients out of their food, this blend contains omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, along with antioxidants and probiotics to help support a healthy immune system. The specifically-formulated recipe is designed to support the developmental needs of the largest puppies. 

This recipe is packed with nutrient-dense food rather than fillers, and the first ingredient is pasture-raised lamb. It’s made without corn, wheat or artificial colors or flavorings. Keep in mind that although this is a lamb-based formula, it does contain traces of chicken fat, which could be problematic for dogs with a chicken allergy. 


  • Pasture-raised lamb is the first ingredient 
  • Contains soluble and insoluble fiber for digestive support
  • It’s made without corn, wheat, artificial flavors or colors
  • Designed for large and giant breeds


  • Although this is listed as a chicken-free formula, be mindful that it does contain small amounts of chicken fat

First four ingredients: Chicken, turkey, flounder, whole mackerel | Type: Grain-free | Best for: Puppies with sensitivity to grains who need a high-protein diet

This grain-free food is packed with natural proteins to help your puppy grow into a strong, healthy dog. Made with 85% animal protein, this food keeps a “whole prey” diet in mind. That means it mimics the diet your puppy would eat in the wild, and contains poultry, organs and fish. In fact, the first four ingredients are chicken, turkey, flounder and whole mackerel, so it’s a protein-packed option that supports bone and muscle development. It contains necessary nutrients like omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids as well as glucosamine, DHA and EPA. 

This grain-free option is perfect for puppies who might have an intolerance, allergy or sensitivity to certain grains. Keep in mind that because it’s so rich in natural protein, it might take some young puppies a little while to adjust to the recipe. If you decide to make the switch from your old dog food, be careful to incorporate it slowly into your puppy’s diet. 


  • Made with a “whole prey” diet in mind, this recipe contains poultry, organs and fish
  • Contains 85% premium animal ingredients 
  • Packed with protein to support healthy muscle development


  • This food is packed with natural proteins, so your puppy might need some time to adjust to it. When starting on this food, be careful to incorporate it slowly.

First four ingredients: Corn, chicken by-product meal, wheat, wheat gluten | Type: Grain-inclusive | Best for: Bone and joint support, immune support

Dr. Morici recommends Royal Canin puppy food as one of her favorites because of the specific blend of antioxidants and minerals that help support healthy growth and development. This blend of food is specifically designed for large breed puppies that will grow to weigh between 56 and 100 pounds, so we love that it’s packed with protein and the appropriate level of calories for large puppies. 

The blend contains antioxidants for immune system support, as well as prebiotics to encourage digestive health. Each piece of the kibble is made in a consistent size and shape, which helps younger puppies chew it thoroughly. It contains necessary components like ​​chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine that Dr. Morici says can help support the joint health necessary to prevent arthritis later in life. 


  • Prebiotics offer digestive support
  • Consistent size and shape helps puppies chew thoroughly
  • Antioxidant and mineral blend helps support immune system and healthy growth


  • Contains corn as the first ingredient
  • Isn’t designed for specific-diets or puppies with allergies

First four ingredients: Wild-caught Alaska Pacific cod, sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, cod Type: Gluten- and grain-free | Best for: Puppies with specific allergies or restrictions who would benefit from a homemade diet

For dogs who have super-restrictive diets, it can be tough to find a commercially-made food that accomodates all of their needs. If you find yourself making your pup’s food at home to properly incorporate all of their dietary needs, pick up this DIY nutrient pack from JustFoodForDogs. The do-it-yourself blend is made for people who want to make their own dog food at home without forgoing the necessary vitamins and minerals. 

Each pack contains a vet-formulated blend that’s grain-free, gluten-free and made in accordance with AAFCO regulations. Depending on the recipe you choose, you’ll be able to add in your own ingredients at home to complete a balanced meal. This specific pack contains wild-caught Alaska Pacific cod, sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, green beans and broccoli. Select from different recipes depending on your dog’s allergies, and complete the meal at home without skimping on the vitamins necessary to support their healthy growth and immune system. One bag makes approximately 36 pounds of food.


  • DIY nutrient pack gives you the freedom to create a balanced meal for your puppy at home
  • Gluten and grain-free
  • Free of beef, lamb and poultry


  • This is a nutrient pack that’s designed for families who need to make special dog food at home, so it’s not a complete meal on its own

Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin And Stomach Large Breed Puppy Food

First four ingredients: Salmon, rice, barley, fish meal | Type: Grain-inclusive | Best for: Puppies with sensitive stomachs or a chicken allergy

Puppies with sensitive stomachs need extra care and attention to make sure they get the nutrients they need without any unnecessary discomfort. This formulation from Purina is specifically designed to support puppies with certain digestive needs. The chicken-free formula is made with salmon as the first ingredient, and it’s packed with easily digestible ingredients—like oatmeal—that helps puppies get the nutrients they need in a way that’s gentle on the digestive system.

Vitamin A and omega-6 fatty acids help support healthy skin and coat, while DHA and omega-rich fish oil support early brain and vision development. It’s also packed with antioxidants that help maintain a puppy’s developing immune system. This is a grain-inclusive recipe, and the rice included is easily digestible and can help ease any digestive discomfort. 


  • Salmon is listed as the first ingredient
  • Live probiotics help support digestive health
  • The nutrient-rich formula helps support skin and stomach health


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