Recommended Dog Food for Large Breeds

Large dog breeds are susceptible to bone disease and growth problems, frequently attributed to poor quality dog food. They may also be subject to bloat and torsion, caused by stress on the gastrointestinal tract. For these reasons, it is important to feed large dogs good quality food, with the recommended levels of protein, fat and calories. Starting puppies with a good diet from a young age can avoid problems in later life.


A diet consisting of poor quality fat or protein, too much protein or imbalance between fat and protein can cause the dog to grow too fast. Diseases such as Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy, Osteochondritis Dessicans or Panosteitis can then develop. Good quality dog food should contain 22 to 25 percent protein and 15 to 19 percent fat. Protein from meat and bone meal, by-products and corn gluten meal are low quality sources of protein.

Bones & Raw Food

An alternative to brand dog food is the bones and raw food diet, known as BARF. This is not only highly digestible and beneficial for health but is also low cost and has low environmental impact. The diet consists of only natural whole foods, so the dog avoids cooked and processed foods, like the natural diet of canines in the wild.


Large breed puppies need to eat three to four times a day, until the age 6 months when feeding should drop to twice a day. Puppy and growth food have protein levels of 28 to 30 percent, as well as a high amount of calories that assist dogs in growing quickly. However, this is a danger to large breed dogs, as it can lead to growth problems. Veterinarians also recommend that puppies of large breeds do not take any supplements other than vitamin C.


Too low fat content in food can lead to skin disorders and allergies and can also cause weight gain due to hunger. To aid a dog with weight loss, it is better to reduce calories and lower protein levels to 19 to 23 percent. Owners can also supplement dog food with raw meat and vegetables.


Dogs weighing 2 pounds should eat 140 calories a day. Large breed dogs usually weigh between 50 and 70 pounds, meaning they should eat about 1340 to 1963 calories daily, depending on their size.

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