What Is The Best Puppy Food For Large Breed Dogs?

All pups need proper nutrition to grow as happy and healthy dogs. But compared to small or medium pooches, large breeds will have a special requirement. Since they grow faster than most breeds, their bodies are in continuous demand for nutrients and energy. But it’s not just about getting the best puppy food for large breed dogs; it’s also a matter of dodging diet-associated disorders.

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Your pup may fit in your lap right now, but in just a matter of months, you can barely lift them off with one hand. As their physical bodies inflate over the months, it would also bring a host of dietary concerns.

Sure thing, there are tons of options you can find on the store, but not every product guarantees complete nutrition. Here are some of the facts and tips you should know to ensure that your little pooch is headed to a healthy adult life.

The thing with large breed puppies

Large breeds like Retrievers, German Shepherds, Greyhounds, and more require a different diet than smaller dogs due to two important factors. First, they grow faster, and second, they remain puppies for a longer span of time.

Let’s take a Golden Retriever as an example. This cute pooch can be under 10 pounds upon birth and then 70 pounds in just one year. If we are to compare that to humans, our bodies will take about 18 years to achieve such 70-fold surge.

Also, large breeds are still puppies even until they reach 24 months old. In the case of smaller breeds, they can be fed as adults once they are at least 9 months old.

So what do all of these mean? Since large breeds grow at a rapid pace, their bodies have to significantly change in a shorter period. There’s a high risk that it won’t form properly or the dog will be prone to nutritional imbalances.

As you see in this case, proper nutrition is a pressing need. It’s not just about giving the doggo large amounts of protein and calcium. Every food component should work in synergy to consider it as the best large breed puppy food. With that, the best puppy food for large breed dogs is needed.

Large breed puppies undergo a sensitive transition to physical growth. And the daunting part for owners is that the result of haphazard feeding can be an expensive price to pay.

Nutritional needs of large breed puppies

As I’ve established earlier, large breeds should be fed with food specifically formulated for them. They require a wider range of nutrition which is difficult to achieve with homemade meals. Advertisement aside, even the American Kennel Club recommends commercial dog food since it’s tested to have the right balance of nutrients and minerals.

Everything is in line with the standards set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. Also, dog food products are subject to regulations to ensure that it’s safe to ingest.

For the most part, it should be a combination of protein, carbs, fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals that support bone and muscle growth. It’s always best to ask your vet for the right nutrition if you have doubts. But typically, these points would define the best puppy food for large breed dogs:

➕ Added probiotics

Large dog breeds are prone to bloat and a host of intestinal issues. A dog food with added live cultures would be helpful to aid proper digestion. You can always augment the lack of probiotics with supplements, but a dog food already infused with it is much better.

➕ Whole protein

Large breed puppies require whole protein sources like chicken, lamb, salmon, and beef. Since protein will make a large portion of your pup’s food, it should be whole. This means all the amino acids are intact.

➕ Zero by-products

Meat meals are necessary for growing pups but make sure that the ingredients are identified. If it just says “poultry”, there’s a chance that it’s a blend of poultry by-products. Although this has a protein content, it’s not the best large breed puppy food.

➕ Antioxidants

This substance supports the immune system of your puppy. It’s usually found on fruits like blueberries, pumpkin, carrots, and so on. This is a big bonus on the best puppy food for large breed dogs.

These are just some of the usual components to look for if you’re feeding a large breed pup. If you’re afraid of missing out on some key nutrients, I suggest that you ask the help of a veterinarian or an animal nutritionist. They can advise about the proper portions and nutrients to look for based on the health of your pup.

Wet food vs. dry food

Some pup owners decide to get wet food while others like kibble mixed with water. Whatever the choice is, it should always be moist. So generally, dry food is out of the picture at this stage of a dog’s life.

Take note that pups don’t drink as much water as they need. So aside from being easier to chew, wet food also augments the lack of hydration aside from the water bowl you have in place. It also has a richer smell and flavor that attracts puppies to eat.

The only drawback to wet food is the mess and susceptibility to spoilage. You have to refrigerate it after opening the can. Wet food is also messy since pups love to play with their food.

As for the dry food, kibble is definitely easy to store, mess-free, and not prone to spoilage. However, it’s way difficult to chew and your pup won’t get the necessary hydration.

If you’re torn, the best compromise here is combination feeding. You combine portions of both wet and dry food.

Top 2 best large breed puppy food

If you’re looking for both wet and dry puppy food, I listed here one option for each type. So whether you’re into wet, dry, or combination feeding, these picks will serve you and your dog well.

Wellness Core Grain Free Puppy Formula Food

What’s in the bag?

➕ 100% grain-free                        ➕ Chicken and turkey meal

➕ Probiotics and prebiotics        ➕ Omega fatty acids and antioxidants

best puppy food for large breed dogsThis dry dog food formula has premium turkey, chicken, and salmon meat as sources of protein. And since it has the nutritious fish, this dry food is packed with Omega fatty acids necessary for maintaining a shiny coat and a healthy puppy body.

One thing that makes Wellness Core the best puppy food for large breed dogs is its grain-free formula. It doesn’t have soy, wheat, or corn that can piss the tummy of your little pooch.

Since this is intended for large breeds that grow fast, this is packed with 36% crude protein and 17% crude fat. All these help sustain the growth spurt of your whelp without jeopardizing the nutrient and mineral components.

This food is also infused with humble amounts of calcium, fiber, Vitamin E, Beta-Carotene, Phosphorus, and more. Overall, this is a champ in nourishing the bones and muscles of your puppy.

Since this is a dry dog food, I highly suggest that you soak the kibble with water to make it soft. You can even crush it to make a pate out of the kibble.

My Husky pup used to have watery poop until I switched him into this food. I mixed it with a little bit of water to soften the kibble. After a month, his poop is firmer and he seems more energetic than before. I love the ingredients and my dog likes the taste very much. I can tell from the enthusiasm during meal time.

Merrick Classic Grain-Free Puppy Plate Food

What’s in the can?

➕ Grain-free pate                                                   ➕ Deboned turkey

➕ Zero artificial colors and preservatives        ➕ Poultry, vegetables

best puppy food for large breed dogsNothing beats the classic Merrick Grain-Free Canned Food when it comes to nutrition. Its main ingredient is turkey infused with duck, chicken, and egg products. Aside from that, it’s also mixed with carrots, apples, sweet potato, and various oils for one-stop nutrition in a single can.

This is formulated for a pup’s first year of life. Since large breeds grow rapidly, the 10.5% crude protein and 5% crude fat will be a nice sustenance for their bodies. This bears balanced and wholesome nutrition for every puppy.

I like it that I can see bits of the veggies like the carrots and sweet potato. This just proves how fresh the pate is. But like any canned food, I suggest that you scrutinize the can very well before buying. A damaged container can compromise the quality of the best puppy food for large breed dogs.

If your pooch is underweight, this wet food will be the perfect regimen to get him in shape. The all-natural ingredients are a big winner in the nutrition department. You can serve this straight from the can or mix it with the Wellness Core kibble.

Compared to other wet foods from leading brands, this is way cheaper but not in a nutrient-stripped kind of way.

Why you should avoid overnutrition

As much as you want your pooch to have it all early in life, you have to prevent the occurrence of overnutrition. This happens when you serve food that’s not formulated for large breeds. Since these doggos are prone to deficiencies, imbalances, and excessive nutrients, you have to get the best large breed puppy food.

It’s a fact that large breeds grow fast, but they shouldn’t grow TOO quickly.

Supplying them with nutrition that’s more than they actually need will make their bodies inflate faster. As their muscles and bones prematurely expand, they are exposed to a higher risk of orthopedic and digestive problems.

Remember that just because large breed puppies grow fast doesn’t mean they need too much calcium and other minerals. In fact, their food should be low in phosphorus, calcium, fat, and Vitamin D. When you succeed in limiting this, you’re saving your doggo from DODs or developmental orthopedic diseases. Pair it with the best puppy food for large breed dogs and you’re golden.

Vets discourage free feeding as this will likely lead to obesity and bone problems. Smaller portions multiple times a day is safer. Still, you have to monitor the dog’s weight to ensure that they aren’t growing too fast. Take note that each large breed will have a unique safe range.

The protein myth

There are so many misconceptions circulating over the web about protein intake. Some say that a high protein intake is linked to the development of hip dysplasia. However, no study has proven this claim. The only risk associated with protein is that too much of it can damage the pup’s kidneys. This is one reason why you have to get the best large breed puppy food.

Actually, the real causes of hip dysplasia are overfeeding, genetics, and excessive dietary calcium. It’s not about the best puppy food for large breed dogs.

Common diseases associated with large dogs’ nutrition

Large dog breed puppies are usually prone to these three health problems associated with their diet:

-Obesity

-Bloat

-Orthopedic problems

About 53% of all dogs in the U.S. are obese.

Since large dog puppies have a bigger ‘container’ for fats, they suffer more when they get obese. The excess weight will tax their joints, thus the development of various orthopedic problems. Obesity is also the culprit to kidney disease, Diabetes II, and high-blood pressure among dogs.

Meanwhile, gastric dilation and volvulus (GDV) or bloat is also a major problem among big doggos. This is usually a dilemma among deep-chested breeds but since large dogs have bigger tummies, they are prone to store too much food and air. As the stomach expands rapidly, the pressure inside the body affects other organs. In fact, this can be lethal in just a matter of hours. In short, it’s not just about the best puppy food for large breed dogs.

Lastly, pups from large breeds may succumb to orthopedic diseases if fed haphazardly. Excessive growth due to improper nutrition can lead to hip dysplasia, osteochondrosis, and arthritis later in life. Of course, you can only do a little about it if it’s hereditary. Still, you can reduce the risk by being mindful of your pup’s food intake.

Always aim for balance and never a surplus. Like what the saying goes, too much of anything is bad for your doggo. The best puppy food for large breed dogs should provide the perfect amount of nutrients and minerals for the right growth pace. Although this is a painstaking stage, it pays a lot when your pooch is already a grown dog.

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