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Best Grain Free Dog Food Brands for Large Dogs in 2023

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It’s not uncommon for large dogs to have grain allergies. Some symptoms of such sensitivities in our canine friends include vomiting, diarrhea, acid reflux, gas, constipation, and more. If you think your dog may have a difficult time with grains, grain-free dog foods are available!

At A Glance: Our Top 5 Picks for Grain Free Dog Food Brands for Large Dogs:

Grain-free diets can help reduce or eliminate allergy-related symptoms while supplying a complete and balanced diet. This guide explores the best grain-free dog food brands for large dogs on the market in 2023.

Keep in mind that we always suggest seeking help from your veterinarian if you think there may be an immediate health issue at hand.

Best Grain Free Dog Food Brands for Large Dogs

IMAGEPRODUCTFEATURESPRICE
Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog FoodTaste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food• Real buffalo is the first ingredient
• ​Omega fatty acids support your dog’s healthy skin and coat
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Merrick Grain-Free Dry Dog FoodMerrick Grain-Free Dry Dog Food• Contains glucosamine and chondroitin for hip and joint support
• Offered in three bag sizes
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Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain-Free Dog FoodBlue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain-Free Dog Food• Made with healthy carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes and peas
• Free of artificial flavors and preservatives
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Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Dog FoodNatural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Dog Food• Single animal protein source helps with digestion
• Sweet potatoes are high in dietary fiber to aid in digestion
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Diamond Naturals Skin & Coat Real Meat Grain-Free Dog FoodDiamond Naturals Skin & Coat Real Meat Grain-Free Dog Food• Optimal for all life stages
• Wild caught salmon is highly digestible
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Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free Large Breed Dog FoodWellness Core Natural Grain-Free Large Breed Dog Food• High protein formula for active large breed dogs
• ​No meat byproducts or fillers
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Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Large Breed Dog FoodNature’s Recipe Grain-Free Large Breed Dog Food• Cost-effective
• ​The large breed formula is best for dogs over 50lbs
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Purina Pro Plan Savor Grain-Free Shredded Blend Dry Dog FoodPurina Pro Plan Savor Grain-Free Shredded Blend Dry Dog Food• Dual texture blend for an extra tasty meal
• The first ingredient is real high-quality turkey
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Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Dry Dog FoodNutro Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Dry Dog Food• Made with non-GMO ingredients
• ​Helps nourish sensitive skin
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Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Best Grain Free Dog Food Brands for Large Dogs

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This grain-free food is packed with premium meats to give your dog quality, balanced meals. Taste of the Wild is highly rated among other pet parents.

Notable Qualities and Features

  • Real buffalo is the first ingredient.
  • Omega fatty acids support your dog’s healthy skin and coat.
  • Formulated for probiotic support to ensure healthy digestion.
  • Made in the USA.

Top Ingredients: Buffalo, lamb meal, chicken meal, sweet potatoes, peas, potatoes, canola oil, egg product, roasted bison, roasted venison, beef, natural flavor, tomato pomace, potato protein, pea protein.

User Review: “The reviews on this dog food were all very positive so I tried this one. She loves it. That’s all I wanted. I’m very satisfied with this food and will continue to use it for my picky Lucy.” 

Bottom Line: Taste of the Wild grain-free dog food is an excellent choice for your large breed pup. It’s a premium food that is full of flavorful nutrition that your furry friend is sure to enjoy. Taste of the Wild is high protein, and offers your dog a blend of superfoods to enhance their physical health. 

Merrick Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Best Grain Free Dog Food Brands for Large Dogs

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Merrick grain-free dog food is made with the finest ingredients, and it comes in a variety of protein flavors to meet the needs of your large dog.

Notable Qualities and Features:

  • Quality meat is the first ingredient in each Merrick grain-free dry dog food recipe.
  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin for hip and joint support.
  • Made in the USA
  • Offered in three bag sizes

Top Ingredients: Deboned Beef, Lamb Meal, Salmon Meal, Peas, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Potato Protein, Pea Protein, Pork Fat, Natural Flavor, Beef Liver, Beef Stock

User Review: “We tried this food after a friend left a bag behind when visiting for the weekend. My rescue Shepard/Lab/Hound mix loves the taste and I have noticed that her odor has changed in a good way!”

Bottom Line: Merrick dog food is made in small batches to ensure your pup is always getting the freshest, most nutritional meal possible. The premium quality of this large breed dog food is reflected in the cost, but it is worth it for a deliciously balanced diet.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain-Free Dog Food

Best Grain Free Dog Food Brands for Large Dogs

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Your large dog’s craving for meat will be truly satisfied with this grain-free food from Blue Buffalo. The recipe was formulated to build, support and maintain your pup’s lean muscle mass.

Notable Qualities and Features:

  • Made with healthy carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes and peas.
  • Contains LifeSource Bits, which are a blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
  • No byproduct meals
  • Free of artificial flavors and preservatives

Top Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal (Source Of Glucosamine), Peas, Pea Protein, Tapioca Starch, Menhaden Fish Meal (Source Of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Dried Tomato Pomace, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Flaxseed (Source Of Omega 6 Fatty Acids)

User Review: “I have a GSD who, like most of his breed, is picky with food. I was worried that the transition to a new food would be difficult but he seems to really love this food so far. It’s been a while since I’ve seen him get so excited about food time so that seems like a good sign!”

Bottom Line: This grain-free dog food features a delightful balance of helpful ingredients to support your large dog’s daily needs. Blue Buffalo is a premium dog food, and the grain-free recipe is available in chicken, duck and salmon. 

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Dog Food

Best Grain Free Dog Food Brands for Large Dogs

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This is an excellent grain-free food for large dogs with allergies or sensitive tummies. The salmon and sweet potato recipe is easily digestible for pups who need extra support. 

Notable Qualities and Features:

  • Single animal protein source helps with digestion.
  • Sweet potatoes are high in dietary fiber to aid in digestion.
  • Limited carbohydrates and no artificial flavors.
  • Crafted with incredible flavor and health benefits.

Top Ingredients: Sweet Potatoes, Salmon, Menhaden Fish Meal, Potato Protein, Canola Oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), Natural Flavor, Dried Potato Products, Salt, Salmon Oil 

User Review: “Since switching to Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Fish Formula about 6 months ago, he has been much more enthusiastic about meal time, immediately dropping down in front of his bowl to chow down.”

Bottom Line: If your large dog has a sensitive stomach or food allergies, Natural Balance L.I.D. grain-free food is a tremendous option. Natural Balance is a top-selling brand that is healthy, tasty and safe!

Diamond Naturals Skin & Coat Real Meat Grain-Free Dog Food

Best Grain Free Dog Food Brands for Large Dogs

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This Diamond Naturals grain-free dog food promotes skin and coat health, while supplying your pup with a delectable, nutrient-rich diet. 

Notable Qualities and Features:

  • Optimal for all life stages.
  • Wild caught salmon is highly digestible. 
  • A blend of superfoods act as natural antioxidants.
  • Loaded with probiotics for digestive support.

Top Ingredients: Salmon, fish meal, potatoes, lentils, peas, pea flour, fava beans, canola oil, dried yeast, flaxseed, tomato pomace, natural flavor, dicalcium phosphate, salt, DL-methionine, choline chloride, taurine, dried chicory root, kale, chia seed, pumpkin, blueberries, oranges

User Review: “Our dog was suffering terribly from skin allergies until we found this food! It is such a relief knowing we have found a food he likes and doesn’t cause any skin issues!”

Bottom Line: Not only is this grain-free food terrific for any large breed dog, but it’s especially helpful for those with skin allergies or coat issues. This powerful diet will keep your dog thriving and promote their skin and coat health along the way.

Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free Large Breed Dog Food

Best Grain Free Dog Food Brands for Large Dogs

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Wellness Core grain-free food is packed with high-quality protein ingredients to offer your large dog a diet that supports whole-body health.

Notable Qualities and Features:

  • High protein formula for active large breed dogs.
  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin for optimal joint health.
  • No meat byproducts or fillers.
  • Made with antioxidants, Omega fatty acids and probiotics.

Top Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Potatoes, Peas, Tomato Pomace, Dried Ground Potatoes, Ground Flaxseed, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Natural Chicken Flavor, Pea Fiber, Potassium Chloride, Spinach, Broccoli, Vitamin E Supplement, Carrots, Parsley, Apples, Blueberries, Kale, Sweet Potatoes

User Review: “My dog is usually a very picky eater. You can imagine my delight when he decided this chow was great – dry out of the bag. He still likes his meat and treats but will clean his bowl of every drop of kibble.”

Bottom Line: Does your dog love to exercise, go on adventures, and stay active? Wellness CORE grain-free could be a fantastic pick for them! Wellness CORE can also be purchased in other varieties.

Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Large Breed Dog Food

Best Grain Free Dog Food Brands for Large Dogs

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Nature’s Recipe is a budget-friendly dog food that contains everything your canine companion needs to live a healthy, active life. 

Notable Qualities and Features:

  • Cost-effective.
  • Real chicken is the #1 ingredient.
  • The large breed formula is best for dogs over 50lbs.
  • Fiber-rich sweet potato and pumpkin support digestive health.

Top Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, garbanzo beans, peas, pea starch, sweet potatoes, poultry fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), pumpkin, natural flavor, dried tomato pomace, salt, potassium chloride, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols),taurine, dl-methionine, choline chloride, minerals

User Review: “My dog was suffering from bad allergies, dry patches and hot spots. We switched to this grain-free formula and have not looked back. She is healthier and happier.”

Bottom Line: Many pet parents are on a budget, and Nature’s Recipe provides quality meals at affordable prices. This grain-free food will fuel your furry friend’s lifestyle, whether they prefer outdoor activities or lounging on the couch. 

Purina Pro Plan Savor Grain-Free Shredded Blend Dry Dog Food

Best Grain Free Dog Food Brands for Large Dogs

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Every bag of Purina Pro Plan Savor Grain-Free Shredded Blend dry dog food is filled with crunchy kibble and tender shredded pieces. Mealtime just got more exciting! 

Notable Qualities and Features:

  • Dual texture blend for an extra tasty meal.
  • The first ingredient is real high-quality turkey.
  • Contains probiotic fiber for aiding digestion.
  • Formulated with vitamin A and Omega fatty acids for coat health.

Top Ingredients: Turkey, Chicken Meal, Lentil Flour, Canola Meal, Beef Fat Preserved With Mixed-Tocopherols, Natural Flavor, Cassava Root Flour, Pea Protein, Pea Starch, Dried Egg Product, Chicken, Dried Beet Pulp, Pea Fiber

User Review: “I love this dog food. I have 2 Dachshunds and they kept trying to eat wood chips. I asked the vet and they said they are missing something in their diet. My cousin who works at a vet said to try this food. I have been using it for over a year and it works great.”

Bottom Line: Purina Pro Plan Savor delivers a high protein meal for your large breed dog. Not only is the flavor delicious, but the multiple textures in their food dish will have your dog excited to enjoy meals again.

Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Best Grain Free Dog Food Brands for Large Dogs

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Crafted specifically for large breed dogs, this grain-free food is made using 10 key ingredients, plus natural flavors, vitamins and essential nutrients.

Notable Qualities and Features:

  • Made with non-GMO ingredients.
  • Australian and New Zealand Lamb and sweet potato recipe.
  • Helps nourish sensitive skin
  • No chicken, beef, or dairy protein, no corn, wheat, or soy protein

Top Ingredients: Deboned Lamb, Lamb Meal, Chickpeas, Dried Potatoes, Dried Sweet Potato, Lentils, Potato Starch, Sunflower Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Canola Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Potato Protein

User Review: “I switched her to this food about 3 weeks ago and she is now growing hair on her ears and paws again. I was so happy I cried! She is no longer scratching a licking constantly.”

Bottom Line: We recommend considering this food for large dogs who have grain allergies and may also have sensitive skin. This food has been known to assist with skin itching and inflammation.

What to Look for in a Good Grain-Free Food for Large Dogs

Here are a few things to look for while buying grain-free dog food.

1. Age and Breed Size

Your dog’s physical age and breed must be checked before you buy grain-free food for your pooch. Puppies are in the growing stage of their lives. Hence, their requirements are totally different from grown-up adult dogs. They need more protein, fats, and vitamins than adult dogs.

Besides, the food intake and the nutritional requirements of old or senior dogs are different from dogs who are in their prime. Old and senior dogs only engage in a few exercises.

Besides, they often refuse to go on walks due to joint pain, especially in their hind legs. Hence, they do not need a portion of protein-rich dog food. So, you would like to feed them a different kind of food than you are providing your puppy or your adult dog.

Breed size is another important factor that determines if a specific kind of grain-free dog food is suitable for a dog. This is because dogs are unique animals, and only some types of grain-free diets suit all dogs.

For instance, if you own a Golden Retriever puppy, you need to ensure that the grain-free food you feed this puppy is not high in calories and calcium. 

This is because it has been observed that these puppies can develop bone problems and joint diseases if such a diet is continued for a long.

Therefore, Golden Retriever puppies must be fed only those ready-to-eat foods suitable for them. At the same time, the requirement of a Golden Retriever puppy remains almost the same as that of a Labrador puppy.

So, even if you don’t find dog food specifically for Golden pups, foods intended for Lab pups will work equally well.

To cite another instance, you must have noticed the unique shape and body of an immensely popular dog breed, the Dachshund. They are uniquely shaped dogs with elongated backs.

While this lean and long back may seem like the uniqueness of this dog, this can also lead to frequent back injuries and, in some cases, even paralysis. Therefore, you will find that some dog foods mention that their unique composition will enable your Dachshund to support its lean and elongated back.

Interestingly, some studies claim that there is nothing special in dog foods that can help a Dachshund. Therefore, if you can gauge your dog’s nutritional requirements, it will be easier to decide if a particular dog food is suitable for your dog or not.

So, we recommend you consult your vet first and let your vet know about your dog’s specificities, like its biological age and breed. Besides, a dog’s likes and dislikes should also be considered 

regarding food.

A portion of suitable dog food will help your dog to remain healthy and enjoy a fulfilling life. Moreover, inform the vet about any allergy your dog may have or any other relevant health-related information. 

Only after that, decide if some specific grain-free dog food is suitable for your dog or not.

2. Ingredients

The ingredients in grain-free food are also important. The source of these ingredients also plays a vital role in dog foods.

While dogs require proteins in their daily lives, they are derived from various sources, including meat and soybeans. But only some types of proteins are suitable for dogs. Moreover, the source of these proteins is also important.

Besides, dog foods may have a lot of salt and preservatives, added flavors and colors, and other components. These ingredients increase the shelf-life of such grain-free dog foods. But these ingredients are often harmful to dogs and may have side effects.

So, we recommend you contact your vet before deciding on any particular dog food, and let the vet determine if it will suit your dog or not.

3. Calorific Needs

The calorific requirements of your dog depend on its breed, size, and, most importantly, its level of daily activities. For example, some breeds of dogs love to spend time outside and need a rigorous amount of exercise. As a result, these dogs need more calories in their daily diet.

Others are content with a brisk walk, and such dog breeds do not need a large number of calories in their food. In fact, high calorific dog food can make them obese, and they can also begin suffering from other diseases.

Additionally, the calorific requirement is also related to the owners’ lifestyle. Dog owners with a sedentary lifestyle often skip taking their dogs for regular exercise. Such dogs do not require a lot of calories in their food.

Besides, your dog may be pregnant, has just delivered, or is in the lactation period. In this case, its daily nutritional requirements will differ from other dogs.

This is because it needs to feed its babies and ensure their dietary needs. Hence, such dogs need more calories than other ones.

Last, old or senior dogs do not need a calorie-rich diet either. But, this is primarily because they need to engage in more exercises and roam around less.

4. Protein Source

Many dog owners put their pups on a grain-free diet due to allergies and sensitivities. It’s important to note the protein type when picking out the best food.

Chicken can sometimes be difficult for dogs to digest, whereas salmon is easily digestible for dogs with tummy problems. There are several grain-free foods made with salmon rather than traditional proteins for this reason.

5. Additional Health Benefits

Some dog foods contain helpful components such as added probiotics for digestion or glucosamine for hip and joint support. There are higher protein foods for especially active pups, or vitamins to target specific canine health issues.  Look for these benefits on the label of the dog food packaging.

FAQs

What is the most nutritious grain-free dog food?

Some of the most nutritious grain-free dog food is Purina Pro Plan Savor Grain-Free Shredded Blend Dry Dog Food, Diamond Naturals Skin & Coat Real Meat Grain-Free Dog Food, Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Dry Dog Food, and Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free Large Breed Dog Food.

Do vets recommend grain or grain free?

Mostly, vets recommend dog foods that contain grains. While grain-free dog foods are becoming popular gradually, they are widely believed to cause diseases like dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs.

Why do vets not recommend grain-free dog food?

Vets don’t recommend grain-free dog food as such foods have been accused of developing conditions like dilated cardiomyopathy. Besides, despite being grain-free, these foods have a good amount of carbs.
 
Last, avoiding grains can also cut your dog off some proteins, essential fatty acids, and fibers.

Is it better for dog food to be grain free?

Grain-free dog food is only sometimes better for dogs. However, even after being free of grains like wheat, dog foods have a good amount of carbs. Besides, cutting down on grains means your dog will get less protein, fiber, and fatty acids.

Some studies have claimed that grain-free dog food can lead to DCM or dilated cardiomyopathy.

What grains are dogs most allergic to?

Some popular grains often used in dog foods and cause allergic reactions are wheat, barley, rice, buckwheat, millet, rye, oats, amaranth, corn, and quinoa.
 
Although not always, these grains can lead to skin irritation among dogs, and they will scratch their paws and face.

What are the disadvantages of grain-free dog food?

The main disadvantages of grain-free dog foods are that they are unsuitable for inactive or old dogs. Besides, despite being free of grain, they still have a good amount of carbohydrates. In addition, they are comparatively more expensive than traditional dog foods.
 
Last, your dog may also face difficulty adjusting to a new food, which can affect digestion.

Does grain-free dog food cause dogs to poop more?

Yes, grain-free dog food can make you poop more. This is because they can have a high percentage of protein derived from meat. Such proteins are challenging to digest and can cause diarrhea in dogs.

Conclusion

Ultimately when choosing the best food for your large dog, their specific dietary needs should be a priority. A long, healthy life starts with a nutritious and delicious diet. Grain-free dog food can make a substantial difference for pups who have stomach or allergy concerns.

Remember to slowly transition your dog’s food when switching to a different brand. There will help helpful transition guidelines on your dog food’s warning label.

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