Have you racked your brains trying to find the best nutrition for your “gentle giant”? Many pet owners are of the opinion that dog can digest anything you throw at them, right?
Well, can’t agree with such a statement!
Even though their size might seem intimidating, giant dogs are quite mellow and peaceful. They make lovely pets and quickly adapt to a family lifestyle.
But, here is the kicker:
Due to their nutritional requirements, they pose a challenge for many pet parents.
Today, we will compare, side-by-side, the best dog food for giant breeds and help you make the right choice.
Top 7 Giant Breed Dog Food Reviews
Hill's Science - Best Overall
As we already mentioned, extra-large dogs have unique dietary needs. Therefore, Hill’s Science Large Breed Nutrition is the one to assist your pet in proper development. For that reason, is our #1 pick when it comes to dry dog food.
It is formulated for canines over 55 lbs and features natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin, to promote mobility and joint health. High-quality chicken protein meat stimulates weight management and builds lean muscles.
This recipe also contains the blend of omega fatty acids and vitamins necessary for healthy skin and shiny coat. Additionally, plenty of antioxidants will ensure a strong immune system and combat diseases. We should point out that Hill’s Science Large Breed Diet is free from artificial preservatives and additives.
Overall, with this nutrition, the manufacturer managed to combine all essential features one dog recipe should have.
Blue Buffalo Dry Food - Ideal For Healthy Weight
For years, Blue Buffalo brand has been taking extra care in its production process, to ensure canines have a portion of healthy and delicious food. However, their Life Protection Formula offers the best balance of nutrients and proteins, targeting adult and giant breeds.
This recipe is created to promote the health and well-being of your pet while managing his weight. The protein-rich chicken meat in combination with fresh fruits and veggies will help your dog maintain lean muscles for an active lifestyle.
On top of that, your pooch can reap the benefits of antioxidants, omega fatty acids, and glucosamine, all essential for the immune system and joint health.
To conclude, the Blue Buffalo diet will not only assist your pet in weight management, but it will offer him a chance to have a long and healthy life.
Holistic Select - Ideal For Healthy Digestion
According to the company, Holistic Select has a specially designed digestive health support system that helps canines utilize and absorb all nutrients from their food. For this review we will be looking carefully at a couple of ingredients your pet may find beneficial.
As a high-quality protein source, chicken meal contains more than 300% of proteins than chicken has alone. Furthermore, brown rice, oatmeal, and flaxseeds are considered to be healthy sources of carbs, fibers, and omega fatty acids which promote GI tract and elevate symptoms of a sensitive and upset stomach.
Fruits and vegetables such as apples, cranberries, and pumpkin have anti-inflammatory properties and supply your pet’s body with plenty of vitamins and minerals.
In all, the Holistic Select offers a complete and balanced meal necessary for XXL dog breeds and improve their digestion.
Purina Pro Plan Focus - Best Tasting
Purina Pro Plan brand often points out high performance and deliciousness of their meals. While proteins, fats, and fibers play a significant role in any diet, the taste is what attracts canines to try one recipe.
That’s why Purina Pro Plan Focus excels in this task. It is manufactured with high-quality ingredients and formulated for giant breeds.
Real chicken fuels your pet with much-needed energy, while eicosapentaenoic acid promotes mobility and healthy joints. The recipe has a perfect protein-to-fat ratio to keep your pet’s body lean and muscular.
So, what the actual verdict on Purina Grain Free nutrition?
We would say, you are getting the whole package when it comes to this food – rich ingredients, taste, and quality!
Now Fresh - Best For Strong Immunity
Now Fresh is the best large breed grain free dog food, featuring crucial ingredients to support the immune system of your pet. The company claims this product contains 100% fresh turkey, duck, and salmon meat.
Sourced from coconuts and canola oil, omega fatty acids will ensure your canine has a healthy skin and beautiful coat. Not only is this formula protein-rich, but it’s naturally grain-free, made without wheat, corn, or soy.
A wide range of fruits and vegetables, provide your pet with slow-burning energy as well as dietary fiber to stimulate healthy GI tract. With this product, the manufacturers have managed to create a diet with healthiest, highest quality, and least process nutrients.
In summary, if you are concerned about your pet’s health, you won’t find a better product in the market than Now Fresh Grain Free Recipe.
Precise Holistic Complete - For Balanced Nutrition
A majority of pet parents are beginning to embrace a holistic lifestyle, and this applies to dog food as well. Therefore, this formula is a perfect example of balanced nutrition.
In recent years, we are starting to pay attention to organic nutrition, which not only improves our pet’s health, but protects his body from any toxins. The Holistic Complete formula contains zero chemicals and meat by-products, featuring an ideal blend of ingredients for proper digestion.
Aside from natural components, this product is packed with glucosamine and chondroitin, essential for the growth of your canine’s bones. Each bag has plenty of fruits and veggies, which supply your giant pooch with crucial vitamins and minerals.
In all, utilizing this type of diet will not only improve your dog’s eating habits, but you will significantly prolong his life.
Rachael Ray Nutrish - Best Limited Ingredient
You probably know that Rachael Ray is a celebrity chef when it comes to human food. But, did you know she also managed to build a quite a reputation by formulating dog food meals?
With her recipe, there is no artificial flavors or preservatives, which makes it one of the best limited-ingredient recipes in this industry.
It features a lamb meal as a dominant protein source, combined with plenty of vitamins and minerals to ensure optimal health of your pooch. On top of that, it comes as low priced, without skimping on the ingredients. So, it won’t break your account.
Finally, you can’t go wrong with Rachael Ray’s products and with excellent rating this is one of the best giant dog food brands.
Weight And Dimensions Of Gigantic Canines
When we are defining giant breeds, anyone can see that Tibetan Mastiff or a Newfoundland fall into this category. But, what about the rest of them?
There are various criteria classifying dogs in three main categories (small, medium, large) — however, many consider weight, size, and food labels as a norm for this distinction.
Height is a determining category among breeders, pet owners, and food companies. In this article, if we say a giant breed, then it applies to dogs whose average height is over 26.
Another category which reflects extra-large canines is the weight, over 100 lbs.
Here is the mini-chart to summarize:
- Weight – over 100 lbs
- Height – over 26 inches
List Of Giant Dog Breeds
Some people live by the moto bigger is better, and this applies to their dogs. Despite their massive size, giant breeds are an actually wonderful pets and like to relax all day. They are most suited for suburban area and houses with a lot of space.
Considering they were originally bred to be hunters, physical activity is mandatory.
Here are a couple of breeds you may find interesting:
- Great Dane
- Pakistani Mastiff
- St. Bernard
- Irish Wolfhound
- The Great Pyrenees
- Giant Schnauzer
- Neapolitan Mastiff
- Scottish Deerhound
- Chart Polski
- Spanish Mastiff
- King Shepherd
Common Health Problems For Extra Large Dogs
Hip and elbow dysplasia are the two most common conditions affecting giant breeds. It starts in canines as they grow and results in an inability to move. Eventually, it can lead to joint degeneration, pain, and arthritis. With these two, genetics plays a significant role.
Since we are on the topic, we should mention arthritis as well. Even though it’s associated with senior dogs, arthritis can develop at any moment. It is linked with stiffness in the muscles, pain, limping, and restricted moving.
Giant breeds require a big heart to keep their blood pumping. Therefore, heart condition such as aortic stenosis often happens in large dogs.
This disease modifies the heart’s valve or surrounding arteries which obstructs the blood flow, forcing the dog’s heart to pump more vigorously.
Symptoms may include:
- A cough
- Difficulty in breathing
- Exercise intolerance
- Or no symptoms at all
With severe cases, surgery is required, or beta-blocker drugs. Dogs with a mild case of the illness should avoid hot weather, intense exercise, and stay slim.
Entropion is a painful medical condition which causes the eyelids to roll inwards. Even though it’s not unique to large breeds, it happens more often than with small ones. The symptoms include terry eyes, excessive blinking, and pain.
Another issue that may affect your canine is the ectropion where the eyelids roll outwards, exposing the inner lid’s tissue. Compared to entropion, it’s not as painful, and dogs can live with it comfortably.
Reduced production and release of hormones of T3 and T4 result in hypothyroidism. Since thyroid gland protects your pet’s body affecting the work of other organs, it’s essential to notice the initial signs:
- Unexpected weight gain
- Hair loss
- Mental dullness
- Skin infection
With appropriate therapy and monitored iodine intake, you should be able to keep this condition under control.
Bloat is also known as gastric torsion, and this disease is frequently seen in extra-large dogs, due to their chest shape. Gas builds up in their gut and expands towards their chest. Overeating, or eating too quickly is considered to be one of the main reasons which cause bloat.
However, canines can end up in a life-threatening situation when stomach or bowels twist, obstructing the blood flow. In this case, your pet can die within 30 minutes.
An excessive amount of calories may cause obesity in giant breeds. Given their size, if you don’t pay attention to their diet, gigantic dogs can become massive.
However, pet owners are often careless, thinking the more, the merrier, which is true to some extent. But, too much weight can trigger the number of conditions, which can endanger your pet’s health. For instance, obesity can stress the joint, affect their heart, and increase blood sugar levels.
Read more: Highest Rated Dog Food for Weight Loss
Feeding Guide For Giant-Sized Dogs
Due to their size, extra-large dogs are prone to many health conditions. For that reason, they require a slightly different diet adjusted towards their needs.
For instance, XXL dogs will benefit from foods rich in omega fatty acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin. It will protect their joint and promote bone growth.
Additionally, it would be wise to avoid caloric food, which can lead to obesity. When it comes to puppies, they also have unique food requirements. They should have a moderate and steady growth rate, by providing them top rated puppy food for a large breed.
If you aren’t sure how to proceed further make sure to discuss this issue with your pet. Many commercial recipes have an excellent balance of protein, fats, and minerals, and can be an excellent choice for your pet.
However, in some cases, additional supplementation might be required.
How To Choose A Dog Food
Good Protein Source
Up until recently, it was thought that proteins were responsible for bone abnormalities and disorders in giant breeds. However, it’s not protein, but excess weight and calcium levels which contribute to this condition.
Based on AAFCO recommendations, adult canine requires 18% of the protein in his diet, while growing dog needs at least 22%. Unfortunately, the majority of dog food exceed this percentage. However, there doesn’t seem to any reason to restrict your pet’s diet.
The protein source is up to you and your pooch – whatever he likes.
While giant breeds can eat plenty of proteins, you need to be mindful about their fats intake. Parenting a gigantic dog requires a lot of responsibilities. For that reason, weight management and joint health should remain your priority.
Since they have a slow metabolism, giant breeds don’t need many calories per day. In fact, the best formulas are the ones that help your pet stay slim. Therefore, such a diet has a moderate amount of fat, up to 8%.
As we explained earlier, the more calories your pet consumes, the bigger he will get. While some pet owners think this it’s a good thing to have their dog big and robust, for giant breeds it’s a disadvantage.
An optimal amount of calories would be around 1,600 per day. Try to maintain this amount to avoid further health issues.
Read more: Best Low Calorie Dog Food
Glucosamine and Chondroitin
Supplements, such as chondroitin and glucosamine have numerous health benefits on extra-large dogs. You will find many dog food companies promoting them on the labels.
Supposedly, they should stimulate proper development of bones and healthy joints. However, the science is still not convinced about their effects. One thing is sure, glucosamine and chondroitin will not harm your pooch.
Optimal Amount Of Phosphorus & Vitamin D
Phosphorus and calcium are often linked together and ration 2:1 is ideal for appropriate hormonal balance. Phosphorus deficiency, although rare, happens when an excess of calcium is implemented.
Vitamin D plays a crucial role in phosphorus and calcium metabolism, and canines obtain it through a diet.
Food To Avoid
While some dogs aren’t sensitive to dairy products, others experience diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. Therefore, there are varied options for giving dairy products and milk to canines.
However, let’s focus on lactose, which is a primary ingredient in dairy products. Unfortunately, dogs can’t digest lactose. For that reason, there is no point in feeding your pet with milk, considering it has no nutritious value.
It’s a fact that giant breeds and puppies need calcium in their diet. However, many people think since they are big they require more calcium, than average canines, which false.
Too much calcium leads to many health disorders, such as OCD, or other developmental diseases. Experts recommend 1.5% of calcium in dog food.
We would advise you not to add any supplements to your giant dog nutrition, no cottage cheese, yogurt, multivitamins, or other things. His diet needs to be balanced and complete.
However, if you resort to supplementing, then food will lose its purpose. Extra-large canines can be particularly sensitive to certain levels of minerals and vitamins. When you add supplements in their nutrition, you risk disrupting that balance, which can lead to many diseases.
When parent giant breed dogs you should be aware of a couple of feeding habits that may improve, or in some cases endanger their health:
- Pups demand premium nutrition, holistic, all-natural, or organic
- Make sure food is specially formulated for large or giant canines
- You can use “all life stages food” as long it has all necessary nutrients
- Due to a slow metabolism cut down calories
- Limit calcium intake
- Focus on high-quality proteins, such as chicken or turkey
- Pay attention to fat content; it can lead to obesity; this doesn’t include omega fatty acids
- Select recipes appropriate for their health issues
How Much And How Often To Feed
Feeding schedule has a significant impact on your pet’s development! So make sure to have a large breed puppy food comparison before you choose one brand.
Take a look at our chart for giant breeds:
- Eight weeks / up to 4 cups daily, split into three meals
- 12 weeks / up to 5 cups daily, split into two meals
- 16 weeks / up to 6 cups daily, split into two meals
- 20 weeks / up to 7 cups daily, split into two meals
- Six months / up to 8 cups daily, split into two meals
- Nine months / 7-10 cups daily, split into two meals
- 12 months and older / up to 10 cups daily, split into two meals
Tips In Proper Care For Extra Large Breeds
Monitor Weight & Activity
We don’t have to remind you how fast giant breeds grow. Therefore, if you feed them too much, they’ll grow broader and taller. Not only this will cause inconvenience, but it will be bad for their health.
However, portioning their diet, and paying attention to ingredients they consume, may help you solve this issue. Big dogs are bursting with energy, that’s why keeping them busy during the week will manage their weight and improve their mood.
Read more: Best Automatic Ball Throwers for Dogs
Every canine requires veterinary care, not only extra-large dogs. However, they might be more susceptible to diseases, which is why regular checkup is a must.
Things like vaccination, blood tests, and x-rays can’t be performed at home. You need to have a professional looking into your pet, whenever health problem happens. So make sure to choose a vet on time.
Large breed dogs are quite energetic. For that reason, you can support his exercising needs by engaging in various activities. You don’t have to own a huge yard to have fun with your pet.
For instance, if your living space is limited, you can take him for a walk, or find some exciting game you can play inside. Throw a ball around and ask him to retrieve it.
For more sport and activities ideas read our guide and pick the favorite one for you and your furry friend.
Practice Controlled Eating
Controlled eating is one form of training, which many pet parents don’t carry into effect. A lot of them believe into free feeding, which means the dog’s bowl is never empty.
When it comes to extra-large breeds, controlled eating is one of the things that will keep their body healthy. Portioning the diet according to age and health condition can only be beneficial for your canine.
Even when your dog whines, asking for more food, you should stick to a strict timetable.
Feed Low-Calorie Treats
Since giant breeds are pretty strong due to their size, proving an occasional treat during a training session won’t have a significant impact on his health. However, don’t go crazy with treats every day.
Go for low-calorie treats. They have balanced levels or proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Their role is to manage weight and still serve as a motivation.
Raising a giant breed dog is a fantastic experience, and it’s something you’ll cherish for a lifetime. From a young age they require socialization and training, and you’ll be awarded countless times. Every moment you get to spend with him will be a pure joy.
If you want your pet to grow into a strong and healthy dog, then you’ll spare some time and start exploring the best food options. We hope the information we provided here will help you on this quest.
Start with our picks, many canines love them, so why wouldn’t yours?