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6 Healthiest Food For Large Dog Breeds

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Owning a large breed dog comes with large responsibilities, with their health being the top priority. Large breeds are prone to many health conditions, not often seen in smaller breeds, and they also tend to have a much shorter life span. This is why things like diet are so important for a large dog breed, so in this post, I will be looking at the healthiest foods to give them. 

Every owner wants their dog to live a long, healthy, and active life, and this is all highly dependent on the nutrition that the dog receives, from puppyhood right through to his senior years. Feeding your large breed dog a healthy diet is one of the key factors in keeping him healthy – and with you for as long as possible. This can put a lot of pressure on owners. 

When you look online or down a store’s pet food aisle, you can find several dog foods, all claiming to be the best choice for your large dog breed. There will often be wording to persuade you to accept that this product is the best, but it is important to remember that what is on the front of a dog foods packaging is nowhere near as important as the ingredients listed on the back – here, is where you really need to be looking. 

I have researched the top dog food brands, the less-well-known brands, and the emerging brands to compare their large breed foods. 

At a Glance: Our 6 Healthiest Food For Large Breeds 

My guide is about healthy food for large adult breeds, we have previously reviewed the best large breed foods for puppies, here.  

Commercial Dog Foods – Are They the Right Choice?

Many people avoid buying manufactured, commercial dog foods due to a couple of reasons. Years ago, it is true that the dog food found in pet stores or general stores was not of the greatest standard. When it was discovered just how poor some of the foods were, mass hysteria began. 

Dog owners were bombarded with criticism if they fed their dog’s store-bought food, with apparent nutritionists claiming the products were made with condemned meats, rancid fats, chemicals, and artificial ingredients. The truth today is that dog food is one of the most highly regulated food products in America – it is safe.  

Of course, there are alternatives to store-bought pet foods. The new ‘trend’ of raw feeding is not without criticism, but many owners claim to have seen mass improvements in the overall health of their dogs since starting a raw food diet. The science on this is still, however, relatively new. 

Another option for owners is to consider homemade dog food, this way, you know exactly what you are feeding your dog. But, this can be incredibly time-consuming and very expensive to do in the long term. 

Your veterinarian is the best-placed person to discuss the individual dietary requirements of your dog – however, be cautious if they stock one brand of food in their clinic and recommend this to all! 

The 6 Healthiest Foods for Large Dog Breeds 

IMAGE PRODUCT
Hills Science Diet Dry Large Adult Food
  • No.1 Veterinarian Recommended
  • Made with Natural Ingredients
  • Science Led Nutrition
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Purina Pro Plan Large Breed & Giant Breed Adult Dry Dog Food
  • 1st Ingredient Real Meat
  • Specific Nutrients for Joint Health
  • Live Probiotics
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IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH Adult Large Breed Dry Food
  • 1st Ingredient is Real Chicken
  • Tailored to Support Large Breed Active Dogs
  • Veterinarians Recommend IAMS
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Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Natural Adult Large Breed Food
  • Includes Real Bison
  • Made with Natural Ingredients
  • Antioxidant-Rich Lifesource Bits
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Nature’s Recipe Grain Free Dry Dog Food
  • Real Meat as First Ingredient
  • Easy to Digest Recipe
  • Natural Dog Food with Added Vitamins, Minerals, and Nutrients
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Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Dry Food
  • Made with Non-GMO Ingredients
  • High Quality Protein Source is the #1 Ingredient
  • ‘FEED CLEAN’ Recipe
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1. Hills Science Diet Dry Large Adult Food – Our Top Pick!

Hills Science Diet Dry Large Adult Food
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I feed my own dogs Hills Science Diet Large Adult Food. It is not the cheapest dog food, but the fact that Science leads it is appealing, and from experience, I can say that my dogs have shiny coats, strong teeth, and no digestive problems. 

I feel good about the amount of high-quality protein in the first two ingredients listed – chicken meal or other animal meal, flavor depending). There are also green ingredients and prebiotics that promote good health in dogs. Ratings are consistently high for this dog food, and my dogs certainly never turn their noses up at it! 

This is a well-balanced, nutritionally complete food for adult dogs with wholesome and healthy ingredients. The price point is fair, and the brand does a lot for dogs in need. Hills seem to have a genuine care for animals, as they proudly support shelters – marketing? A gimmick? Maybe. Do they have to do this? No. 

2. Purina Pro Plan Large Breed & Giant Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Large Breed & Giant Breed Adult Dry Dog Food
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Coming in at number two is Purina Pro Plan Large Breed & Giant Breed Adult Dry Dog Food. At Canine Weekly, we have previously written a review guide on the best dog foods by Purina as this is a reputable, responsible brand that consistently produces high-quality, healthy foods for our canine friends. 

Purina has voluntarily recalled three foods previously; small animal feed, wet cat food, and a sheep-specific lamb chow. To date, the brand has never had any issues with dog foods. The Dog Food Advisor states that Purina Pro Plan is ‘above-average kibble’ with named meat and by-product meats being its primary source of animal protein. 

This food is designed for large breeds and giant breeds, over 50lbs, with specialized nutrition to support their needs. Purina has an entire line of large breed food, from puppy to senior, with each formula slightly tweaked to support the ideal body condition of the life stage. 

3. IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH Adult Large Breed Dry Food

IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH Adult Large Breed Dry Food
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At Canine Weekly, I have previously looked into IAMS Proactive Health Food for adult dogs. In this guide, I am including IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH Adult High Protein Large Breed Dry Dog Food – and am aware of the controversy that surrounds it. People are concerned that ingredients are sourced from China, but I have discovered this is never meat content, and only vitamins and minerals are added to the American ingredients in American factories. 

IAMS Proactive Health for Large Breeds is free of potentially harmful additives and ingredients, and I like that the kibble size is tailored to large breeds. IAMS is a company that has been around for more than 70 years; although they’ve had ups and downs over the years, the fact that they’re still standing speaks volumes in today’s business world. 

Although I have added this food to my guide, I will be honest that I question the authenticity of the brands claim that veterinarians recommend IAMS, as I have found no recorded names or evidence of this. The good news is that the 1st ingredient is chicken, and this isn’t disputed. The food is formulated to support active dogs and large breeds and promotes strong muscles. 

4. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Natural Adult Large Breed Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Natural Adult Large Breed Food
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Love Them Like Family, Feed Them Like Family’ is the Blue Buffalo slogan. When you see the ingredients in Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe High Protein, Natural Adult Large Breed, that doesn’t seem far-fetched. 

This food is packed with real Bison and a high-protein food with lots of healthy ingredients, including; omega 3 & 6, glucosamine, fatty acids, chondroitin, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. It has actually been created with the support of holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists and includes no by-product meals, soy, preservatives, artificial flavors, or wheat.

There is no disputing that Blue Buffalo produces top-quality food, but this recipe, in particular, is perfect for larger breeds as it is inspired by the diet of wolves who roam the Rocky Mountains. It is a high-protein dog food that is entirely natural. The recipe is specially formulated for larger dogs to help support joint function and their overall mobility. Plus, dogs seem to love the taste! 

5. Nature’s Recipe Grain Free Dry Dog Food 

Nature's Recipe Grain Free Dry Dog Food
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If you are considering a grain-free food due to allergies, I recommend trying Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. Real meat is the first ingredient, flavor-dependent; this could be lamb, chicken, or salmon. The recipe is easy to digest and is nutrient-dense, with added pumpkin and sweet potato – incredibly healthy foods for dogs, to replace the missing grains. 

There is no poultry by-product meal, corn, wheat, soy, preservatives, or artificial flavors, and the only added ingredients are vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Nature’s Recipe has been producing fine quality foods for pets for more than 30 years with formulas such as this that promote healthy bones and teeth, skin and coat condition, support heart health, maintain strong muscles and support a healthy immune system. 

Dog owners rate Nature’s Recipe for larger breeds with sensitive stomachs, as the limited and healthy ingredients seem to positively tame the digestive system. Large breeds are more prone to health problems like bloat, so to try and prevent this before it starts, a healthy dog food like this one would be a good option. 

6. Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Dry Food 

Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Dry Food
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There are so many things to praise with Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Dry Food; it is firstly recommended for large breeds to keep them trim and fit. Chicken is the number one ingredient – and it is actual chicken, not a by-product. 

There are no GMO ingredients in this food, nor will you find soy, wheat, or corn. These are cheaper ingredients that many brands use as fillers, and they have little-to-no nutritional qualities. Large breeds can encounter more problems with their joints than smaller breeds, and this food is formulated specifically to support healthy joints. 

The food is cooked in USA facilities, and natural glucosamine and chondroitin are sourced and included with essential antioxidants. Actual veterinarians feed this food to their large and giant breeds, as I discovered reading online reviews from verified purchasers. 

Feeding a Large Dog Breed 

As an experienced large breed owner, I have some tips that have helped my dogs and me over the years. Firstly, the food needs to be of good quality and specifically for a large dog breed – this will mean there are tailored ingredients to support joints and hips, be easy on the digestive tract and be healthy to reduce weight gain – all things linked to large breeds. 

As well as the type of food you give, it’s important how you give that food. I recommend using raised feeders to reduce a large breed having to stoop or regularly bend, as this can have an adverse effect on already strained limbs. I appreciate that this is controversial but until the evidence strongly suggests otherwise, raised feeders certainly do have their benefits. 

I also buy my dog food online in bulk; this may not be enormously cost-effective, although I’m sure the odd few dollars are saved. But, some of the sacks are so huge that I would struggle to carry them. Home delivery is always a good option, and if you have an Amazon prime account, it is quite often free and the very next day too. 

Some large breeds can have pretty dominant personalities, and how you feed them can help you assert dominance. When my large breeds were young, they were taught to wait before going to their bowl, and I practiced hand-feeding too – there can only be one alpha in a large dog household, and that needs to be the owner. 

Healthiest Food for Large Breeds – My Verdict. 

Of all the foods listed in this guide, there are none I would suggest avoiding. The ingredients are of high quality, natural, and free from potentially harmful components. My large breeds are fed on Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food – Large Adult, and I have experienced no problems with this food – although there are cheaper alternatives with similar nutritional qualities. 

Purina Pro Plan Large Breed & Giant Breed Adult Dry Dog Food is considered an above-average food and supports the overall health of large and giant breeds over 50lbs. The brand has a line of foods to maintain physical health from puppy to senior, and dogs are said to thoroughly enjoy the meaty flavor – due to the high meat content. 

A food I researched thoroughly was IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH Adult High Protein Large Breed Dry Dog Food due to the controversy around it. I am happy with my findings to recommend this food as the good outweighs the bad – in my opinion. It is free from potentially harmful additives and ingredients and is a chicken 1st ingredient, which means that chicken makes up most of the food. I like that the kibble is the right size for large breeds. 

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe High Protein, Natural Adult Large Breed is a top-quality dog food with many healthy ingredients and components, such as omegas 3 & 6 and fatty acids. The brand took advice from animal nutritionists and holistic veterinarians when creating this recipe, and every way food can support a dog’s health has been considered.

For grain-free food, Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food has lots of healthy ingredients, including pumpkin, which on its own has lots of great health benefits for a dog. This is a nutrient-dense food that is good for larger breeds that have more sensitive stomachs. Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Dry Food is used by vets for their large breeds and has many nutritional qualities to support joints and bones.

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