Having a large dog is as fulfilling as it is difficult. On one side, your teddy bear is a dream to cuddle with. It also has a wonderful temperament. On the other hand, there are hairs everywhere, and you need to feed it more food than you yourself eat. Nutrition is one of the key aspects of a large dog’s life, as they do tend to eat a lot. Because of this, it is important to find the best large breed dog food available, as well as to know some tips and tricks on how to stay consistent in your dog’s diet.
The most important pitfall to avoid is to think that quantity is all that is important. Your dog doesn’t need a lot of volume, just a lot of energy. Buying off-brand or low-quality large breed dog food can result in your large breed dog still not getting enough nutrients that it needs but filling out on something that they cannot digest.
How to Feed a Large Dog?
As is with everything in life, a little bit of prep work can save you a whole lot of headache. First of all, you will need to consult with your vet about the specific needs of your breed. There might be something special about them that you will either need to look for in your daily food choice or would need to supplement. While some ingredients such as animal protein will be connected to your dog’s weight, others will be connected with the breed.
For instance, compounds such as glucosamine and chondroitin should be given to dogs that are more active to promote joint health. Similarly, we should be feeding muscular dog breeds high-quality dog food that will encourage their metabolism, as it will create more lean muscle and fight off obesity.
Best Large Breed Dog Food on the Market Today
Luckily for pet owners, there are a lot of options when it comes to feeding their large dogs. Modern dog food has quite a bit more calories than before, and it has become an industry standard that premium dog food doesn’t contain any wheat, corn, or soy.
Additionally, most large breed dog food today has enough fruits and vegetables inside as to give your dog a meal containing enough vitamins and minerals to help their health and well-being. One of the most important minerals to look for is calcium, which large dogs should consume throughout their lifetime. More calcium means stronger bones, and those bones will be needed to support your dog’s massive stature.
1. Natural Balance Original Ultra
The ultra-premium formula from Natural Balance is probably the most popular large breed dog food on the market today. This is because it is a good choice for most large breeds, as well as some medium-sized that are just robust. The formula itself is based on chicken, brown rice, and duck meal, and it doesn’t contain any corn-based fillers or additives.
The lack of fillers, in this case, is the most important benefit, as it will give your dog a good amount of protein without stuffing it with useless food. While duck meal may not be something, you would want to see for your little dog, in this case, it is a requirement as it contains enough protein to keep your large dog’s bones firm and healthy.
Finally, this dog food contains a nice blend of antioxidants that will help both with your dog’s metabolism as well as its immune system.
2. Purina Pro Plan Weight Management
The biggest problem that large breed dogs have when it comes to their diet is a constant threat of obesity. As is the problem with human nutrition, eating a lot of junk food will tend to bring unwanted nutrients into the system, forming excess fat without giving additional energy. This lack of energy will make a self-feeding loop, causing the dog to eat more, becoming even fatter. Obesity in dogs is even more troublesome than with humans, as they walk on all fours. From cardiovascular problems to joint pain, all can be traced to those few extra pounds.
Purina made a formula to combat this issue in particular, adding a little bit of dietary fiber to promote faster bowel movements, while still having high-quality chicken protein as the first ingredient.
Additionally, there are omega 3 fatty acids, as well as glucosamine in the formula to help with both the dog’s immune system, as well as any joint and hip problems that they may have.
3. Taste of The Wild Grain Free High Protein
The only thing harder than feeding a massive dog is feeding a massive dog which has allergies. Food allergies are as common in dogs as they are in humans, and we should be constantly aware of them. If your dog suffers from this problem, you will need to find a source of novel protein. This means that you should feed your dog with meat that it hasn’t eaten before.
Taste of the Wild solves this problem by making an excellent large breed dog food that contains all of the vitamins and minerals your dog needs but making roasted bison as the primary ingredient. There is a chance that bison might be something you feed your dog on a regular basis, but in that case, you can always switch to chicken or beef.
Finally, this product is proudly made in the US and follows strict FDA standards, ensuring the safety and quality of the product.
4. Nutro Ultra Adult Large Breed
As to create a perfect blend that will help your dog stay healthy and active, Nutro has opted to make a mix of meats in their formula, mixing chicken, lamb, and salmon. Chicken is the primary ingredient, making this product affordable, but lamb does give it a little bit extra protein, while salmon brings fatty acids in the form of omega 3 and omega 6. While this might be a problematic mix for dogs with sensitive stomachs, it is a perfect formula for completely healthy dogs that need a lot of protein and a lot of fatty acids.
On top of their protein mix, Nutro has also included a blend of 15 fruits and vegetables, as well as mineral and vitamin sources. Everything from coconut, chia seeds, kale, and similar ingredients is on the list.
What isn’t on the list is wheat, soy, corn, or any artificial additives.
5. Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein
The high-protein grain-free formula from Blue Buffalo has really made an effort to check all the boxes when it comes to the best large breed dog food. First of all, it is rich in animal-based protein made from deboned chicken. This promotes the creation of lean muscle that will make your dog active and agile. Then, there is quite a bit of calcium and phosphorous in the mix to make the bones and teeth of your dog nice and strong.
As is expected, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are in the mix. This ensures good immunity. Also, a healthy dose of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids to give your dog good fur and good digestion.
Finally, glucosamine, chondroitin, and EPA are there for good joint health and to ward off arthritis, followed by taurine for a healthy heart.
All in all, Blue Buffalo looks like a checklist of all the ingredients you want in large breed dog food, which is why it deserved a place on this list.
Large Breed Dog Food Buyers Guide
Although it is always difficult to feed a large pet, dog owners should be happy that the current market is filled with products that are specifically made for their colossal canines. Because of this fact, a responsible owner can focus on dog food reviews to find a formula that will promote their dog’s health and general well-being.
One of the lesser points that need to be made is that, while using wet food is in no way bad for most dogs, it costs much more than feeding your dog kibble. It is best for your dog’s diet to be consistent and balanced. But, it should also be appropriate for your budget.
Finally, it is often okay to skip some of the ingredients if you plan to give them to your dog through treats or supplements. After a quick consultation with your vet, you should be more than capable of making the best possible choice for both you and your formidable furball.
Large Dog Nutritional Needs
Although it is a bit counter-intuitive, pet food for large dogs needs less protein per pound than that for medium sized dogs. This is because large breed adult dogs have less muscle compared to their weight than their smaller cousins. While they are still canines and will eat mostly animal-based protein, you shouldn’t be afraid that the formula you are looking at has less meat with the same calorie count.
To ensure your dog’s health, you will need to focus more on amino acids and vitamins such as chondroitin and glucosamine, as well as on probiotics and minerals. Your massive dog has large organs and needs a good variety in their food to stay in top shape, while it is still not recommended to feed it different types of human food as it may cause allergies.
Here is a small breakdown of what you need to look for and in which quantities:
They should always be the first ingredient on the list. This is the most important nutrient for all carnivores, including your large dog. Thankfully, as they don’t need as much protein as smaller breeds, you may use dry kibble without filling it out with freeze-dried dog food or even raw food.
Carbs are a valuable nutrient for your dog’s organs and a vital source of energy when the dog is not exercising. While large dogs can take a bit more carbs in their diet, it is important for these carbs to be appropriate for dogs. Sweet potatoes, rice, or peas are good, but you should always avoid simple cereals like corn, wheat, or soy.
While dietary fiber is an important addition to your dog’s diet, especially as they grow older, it is needed in very limited amounts. A little bit of fiber will help your dog’s digestion and bowel movements, but too much will slow its metabolism and stop it from taking in enough energy from food.
Vitamins and Minerals
After protein, vitamins and minerals are probably the most important part of large breed dog food. Minerals like calcium and phosphorous, as well as vitamins A, C, and D, are essential for your dog’s immune system, bone health, and general fitness.
While most supplements we give our dogs can be found in food, this is a general term for substances that we usually need to provide on top of the regular menu. For large dogs, this includes everything. From glucosamine and MSM for the joints and cartilage, to omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Taurine is also a common supplement, which some people might recognize as the key ingredient in energy drinks. For dogs, it is given in much smaller quantities to promote better heart health.
Having a large dog is a true joy, and it is recommended for anyone who has the means and the space to house and feed such a dog. Their good temperament and calm behavior make them good with kids and very tolerant towards other animals.
Some might think that finding the best large breed dog food for your four-legged friend might be an issue. They are mistaken. The market is actually filled with high-quality products. Feeding your dog good food will make it happy, healthy, and active, giving you’re their bodyweight in love for a long time.
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