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Parenting a giant breed puppy is undoubtedly a great experience. What is it that attracts owners to these wonderful breeds? Are they always familiar with the challenges it involves?

More about this in a minute.

A decision to get a giant breed puppy requires a great deal of responsibility. Such owners will take some time to pick up a couple of valuable tips. The size of canines from this group is often misleading.  Many people get the impression of them being ferocious and possibly aggressive. However, the vast majority is rather gentle and sensitive. What is more, sometimes they can be pretty fragile.

Giant breeds are prone to several health issues. Bone, hip, and elbow diseases present the greatest threats to your furry friend’s wellbeing. Hence, an appropriate diet is what owners should pay particular attention to. Our guide of best giant breed puppy food will be of great assistance in this endeavor.

Our Top 7 Puppy Food For Giant Breeds Review

IMAGEPRODUCTINGREDIENTS 
Best Overall

Small Product image of Blue Buffalo Wilderness Large Breed Puppy
Blue Buffalo Wilderness
Best Overall
Deboned Chicken
Pea Protein
Chicken Meal
Tapioca Starch
Peas
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Strong Bones

Small Product image of Eagle Pack Large & Giant Breed
Eagle Pack
Strong Bones
Lamb Meal
Oatmeal
Rice
Dehulled Barley
Ground Brown Rice
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Brain Development

Small Product image of Precise Holistic Complete Large & Giant Breed Puppy
Precise Holistic Complete
Brain Development
Chicken
Oatmeal
Ground Brown Rice
Chicken Meal
Lamb Meal
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Sensitive Stomach

Small Product image of Nutro Large Breed Puppy
Nutro
Sensitive Stomach
Chicken
Chicken Meal
Whole Grain Sorghum
Split Peas
Brewers Rice
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Heart Health

Small Product image of Wellness Large breed puppy
Wellness
Heart Health
Deboned Chicken
Peas
Ground Brown Rice
Chicken Meal
Salmon Meal
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Digestive Health

Small Product image of Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy Health
Holistic Select
Digestive Health
Lamb Meal
Barley
Chicken Meal
Oatmeal
Brown Rice
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Optimal Nutrition

Small Product image of Horizon Complete Large Breed Puppy
Horizon Complete
Optimal Nutrition
Chicken Meal
Whole Grain Barley
Whole Grain Rye
Chicken
Whole Grain Oats
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Blue Buffalo Wilderness - Best Overall

First Five Ingredients:

  • Deboned Chicken
  • Pea Protein
  • Chicken Meal
  • Tapioca Starch
  • Peas

Do not take any chances and offer your giant breed puppy nothing but the best. Your new furry companion will feel all the benefits of this specially designed blend.  

This formula abundant in protein will ensure healthy growth of your baby pup. Optimal levels of minerals support the proper development of skeletal systems. Your baby pet’s brain will be supported by high levels of DHA. Animal protein comes from chicken, one of the favorite tastes. In combination with several berries it will strengthen the body defense systems.

Controlled levels of calcium and phosphorus result in properly developed bones. This food eliminates grains which typically cause allergies in pups. Rich in essential omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, it will help the skin and coat gain a glossy, healthy look.

Poultry protein sustains the growth of lean body muscles. Savory and appetizing, this top quality formula will easily become your canine’s favorite.

Eagle Pack - Best For Strong Bones

First Five Ingredients:

  • Lamb Meal
  • Oatmeal
  • Rice
  • Dehulled Barley
  • Ground Brown Rice

Before your pup reaches its expected size, it is crucial to provide it with proper nutrition. Eagle Pack is a food formula which takes into account all the factors important for proper development. It balances all the necessary ingredients with efficiency and care.

An adequate ratio of basic nutrients will sustain health, rather than excessive growth. This blend focuses on strong immunity as well. It supplies useful antioxidants, which will eliminate body toxins. It ensures sufficient levels of omega fatty acids, which have multiple functions. Your puppy will crave this delicious food formula for many reasons.

First of all, it will ensure a well-balanced intake of vital ingredients. It will cater to the daily requirements of your large baby pup. In addition to protein, the balance of elements such s fat, carbs, omega fatty acids, and antioxidants is also optimal. Glucosamine hydrochloride is present in this formula, too. It is responsible for healthy joints and strong bones. These are main concerns when the growth of giant breed puppies is in question.

A complex of vitamins and minerals will bolster the immune system efficiently. This American-made formula focuses on the overall wellbeing of your little canine friend.

Precise Holistic Complete - Ideal For Brain Development

First Five Ingredients:

  • Chicken
  • Oatmeal
  • Ground Brown Rice
  • Chicken Meal
  • Lamb Meal

Responsible owners will take care of all the aspects of their little canine’s wellbeing. Precise Holistic Complete is the perfect choice for those with such an approach. It addresses all the necessary segments of your pup’s growth and general development.

The main nutrient, protein, comes from three different animal sources – chicken, lamb, and salmon create a delicious combination. It will result in lean muscles and a strong body. Calorie density of this formula is suited to meet the energy needs of your little canines. It will not result in excessive pounds in your pups.  Its high contents of DHA support the healthy development of the brain.

This formula will sustain smooth digestion. Natural ingredients such as dandelion, peppermint, and chamomile contribute to easy digestion of nutrients. Its probiotic and prebiotic formula has a soothing effect on sensitive tummies. Omega fatty acids feature a range of benefits for the coat and skin.

Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate originate from natural sources, such s chicken cartilage. They maintain the hips and joints healthily and functional. Adequate balance of minerals and vitamins ensure efficient defense and metabolic processes.

It is appetizing and will appeal to your pup’s taste buds.  Pamper your pet to the maximum with this sophisticated, top quality blend.

Nutro - Fit For Pups With Sensitive Stomach

First Five Ingredients:

  • Chicken
  • Chicken Meal
  • Whole Grain Sorghum
  • Split Peas
  • Brewers Rice

Giant breed puppies require specially selected food formulas in order to thrive. It is not uncommon for these pups to develop a number of orthopedic issues. The role of proper nutrition in preventing these is indispensable.

Nutro formula revolves around poultry protein. It also combines other quality components of a well-rounded diet. It carefully determines the levels of fats, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins to produce a sound blend. Its priority is the development of a lean, muscular body and strong skeletal system which supports it. The proper function of hips and joints is another goal it aims at.

Great taste is one of the main features of this rich formula. In addition, it mixes easily digestible ingredients for puppies with stomach sensitivities. Nutro supplies optimal levels of essential amino acids.  Its contents of fibers guarantee smooth digestion. It fuels your canine with the energy it needs on a daily bases. It is free from any artificial ingredients and chemicals that typically trigger allergies in puppies.

With this well-rounded and safe specialized formula, your pup is bound to be content and happy.

Wellness - Best For Heart Health

First Five Ingredients:

  • Deboned Chicken
  • Peas
  • Ground Brown Rice
  • Chicken Meal
  • Salmon Meal

Owners of giant breed puppies are familiar with how significant the role of nutrition is. This is particularly true during the early life stages of your pup. Sound nutrition for this group of canines supports moderate, steady-paced growth. It should also help the bones and hips to form properly. Many food formulas, however, fail to achieve these goals.

Wellness formula optimizes the levels of key nutrients these canines need. It pays a good deal of attention to brain development. Your puppy will be more likely to follow instructions attentively. It will probably be easy to train. This will result from the abundant levels of DHA.

The manufacturers of this blend did not neglect the role of a healthy heart either. They added Taurine to maintain its health and strength. Yucca Schidigera extract present in this mixture reduces the stool odor.

The effort invested in developing this rich formula is bound to yield many positive results.

Holistic Select - Ideal For Digestive Health

First Five Ingredients:

  • Lamb Meal
  • Barley
  • Chicken Meal
  • Oatmeal
  • Brown Rice

Healthy digestion makes the major priority of this sophisticated food blend. Careful selection of best ingredients opens the door to easy, smooth digestive processes. Your pup is likely to feel energized and content. Most importantly, this rich blend will supply all your furry little buddy needs to mature and be happy.

Animal—sourced protein will sustain the development of strong muscles. A powerful combination of enzymes, fibers, and active probiotics promotes healthy digestion. It results in the adequate absorption of necessary nutrients. It will provide your fuzzy little friend with the essential components of a well-balanced diet.

Pomegranate and blueberries contribute their beneficial features. Immunity, metabolism and cell growth will be at their highest. Sharp vision and lucid brain will result from abundant levels of DHA fatty acids. This formula enlists several enzymes which will help to break down all the essential nutritive ingredients.

Holistic Select is the right pick for your future giant. A healthy, strong and satisfied one.

Horizon Complete - Best for Optimal Nutrition

First Five Ingredients:

  • Chicken Meal
  • Whole Grain Barley
  • Whole Grain Rye
  • Chicken
  • Whole Grain Oats

It is complete and abundant in nutrients. Its aim is to help your giant breed little buddy thrive. It combines pure, fine quality components for the best effect.

Horizon Complete, as its name suggests, provides well-rounded nutritive care to your baby canine. It meets all the feeding needs of these demanding little rascals. It puts particular emphasis on fiber-rich whole grains.

Chicken protein in this blend sustains proper body development. Whole grains such as rye, barley, and flaxseed build up necessary energy levels. It rules out potential allergens or low quality energy sources.

This formula belongs to the group of ones with a low glycemic index. It is useful for regulating levels of blood sugar. Puppies feeding on this formula are not likely to become obese. It may well be an effective assistant in weight-reduction eating plans.

Designed for all life stages of large breed dogs, this formula will make a wise and safe choice.

Image of Mastiff puppy lying

Health Problems in Giant-Sized Breeds

Deformed Front Legs

The symptoms of this condition are not always easy to spot. Still, front leg deformity affects a number of giant puppies.

Veterinary science experts agree on the possible causes. We must not overlook the role of genetic predisposition. Moreover, factors such as diet, obesity, an early injury and amount of exercise can contribute to this condition.

Front limbs in such puppies are of unequal length. They are often painful, with poor joint mobility. Your little canine may show signs of limping, restricted leg movement, swelling, reduced function, and several others.

Consultation with a qualified vet is necessary to plan and carry out relevant treatment. This is the only way to prevent further damage.

Swollen Carpals

It is not uncommon for large and giant puppies to develop this condition. It is typically the result of a trauma or excessively fast growth. The carpus swells and becomes painful. These lumps are clearly visible and serve as the first signal of some disorder.

It will also reflect on the way your fuzzball walks. Increased instability and twisting of joint may also result from this. Surgical procedures have proved to be the most efficient method of treating carpus hyperextension.

Hip Dysplasia

If you are the owner of a giant breed puppy, hip dysplasia is probably a term that ruins your day. It is one of the skeletal disorders with the highest incidence rate. It develops as a consequence of several factors, including genetic predisposition. Improper nutrition, excessive weight, rapid growth and an inadequate amount of exercise can also enhance it.

In dogs with this condition, the movement of the hip joint is not smooth. Because of speedy bone growth, the ball does not fit properly into the hip cup, or socket.

This is marked by rubbing, friction and grinding. Small fractures form on the bone. Fragments of bone sometimes chip off as well. This can cause a great deal of discomfort to your puppy. Over time, it progresses to become chronic osteoarthritis.

Read more: Food for Dogs with Hip Dysplasia

Developmental Orthopedic Diseases

Developmental Orthopedic Diseases occur in large and giant breed puppies that grow intensively.  It is a wide group of skeletal disorders more likely to develop in Rottweilers, Great Bernards, Retrievers, Great Danes, and Newfoundlands.

First signs of these conditions appear at an early stage of growth. They usually develop more symptoms between 4 and 7 months of age.

Osteochondrosis is one of the most common issues in this group.  The process of endochondral ossification fails to complete successfully. It usually affects the shoulder, elbow, or hock joint.

Joint effusion, lameness and development of osteoarthritis mark this disorder. It is advisable to treat it surgically, for the best effect.

Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy

This disease is most likely to appear in giant breed puppies which grow rapidly. It affects the front legs and can cause a great deal of discomfort.

Your puppy will probably experience pain, swelling of joints, limbs lameness, even fever and loss of appetite. Growth plates of longer, fast-going bones frequently get inflamed.

In some cases, if it gets more severe, it can result in deformed front limbs.

Osteochondritis Dissecans

The incidence of this disease is typical of knees, shoulders, and elbows.  German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Great Danes, Rottweilers, and Saint Bernards are more prone to developing this condition. Its cause is usually traced back to excessive early growth.

When small fragments of cartilage break off, they start floating in the joint. The joint itself gets inflamed, while these freely moving bits grow over time. Swelling, nerve irritation and pain are usually present in these puppies. Treatment depends on the severity of the disease and may involve surgery.

Panosteitis

Although it can occur in any dog breed, this disease is more widespread among large and giant breeds.

Long bones in the legs of young puppies get inflamed. It makes walking very difficult and often results in limping. Pain is also present in puppies with this condition. Your pup may feel lethargic, unwilling to eat or develop a fever. Drug treatment is what vets normally apply when dealing with this issue.

Image of grey and black giant breed puppies in the backyard

Considerations in Buying a Food for Giant Breed Puppies

Quality Ingredients

Providing quality nutrition should be one of the owners’ primary tasks. It is responsible for the proper, steady-paced growth of giant breeds. Also, it can prevent the development of common orthopedic diseases in these breeds.

Many pet parents tend to believe that chubby, speedy-growing pups are healthy ones. However, this is actually a very alarming misconception.

Diet of these puppies should revolve around meat protein as the main component.  Its calorie levels need to be under strict control. Amount of minerals is one of the crucial factors and must be adequate.

Traditional all-purpose puppy food is not the best option when giant puppies are in question. Owners should go for those types of foods made for these dogs in particular.

This is the only safe way to take care of your furry friends’ overall wellbeing.

Meat-Sourced Protein

Protein makes the core of sound nutrition of giant breed puppies. It certainly does not exclude other nutrients but is primarily responsible for proper development.

Protein of animal origin supplies adequate levels of a set of amino acids, such as carnitine, taurine, lysine, methionine, and tryptophan. Your puppy can only obtain these from food. They sustain adequate growth and functioning of the body. If supplied properly, they will result in your pup’s lean and strong body.

Meat-protein based diet with a controlled level of minerals and calories is likely to prevent most common skeletal diseases. It will not cause excessive growth and related health problems.

Moderate Calorie Content

Caloric density in food for giant puppies requires attentive monitoring. You need to adjust the intake of calories to meet the requirements of your growing canine depending on its development stage.

If the caloric value of food is high, it is likely to reflect negatively on your pup’s health. Obesity is the most probable outcome of such an inadequate diet. It will in turn trigger certain skeletal issues, too. This is why the proper choice of specialized food formula plays a significant role.

Ideal Protein Content

In the past, the high contents of protein in dog food were blamed for excessive growth. However, experts rejected these claims, as a result of relevant scientific research.

Protein is not responsible for the uncontrolled growth of huge breeds.  On the contrary, it is necessary and beneficial for the positive development of these canines.

Experts on dog nutrition recommend that an ideal amount of protein in giant puppies’ diet should amount to 30%.

Ideal Fat Content

Fats in dog food formulas can either be of plant or animal origin. These include fish oil or a number of seed plant oils. Levels of fat in these blends should not exceed recommended values.

High amounts of this nutrient may be rather harmful. Increased amounts of fat lead to obesity. In general, they deteriorate your pup’s overall health.

It is true that fat improves the taste and texture of dog food formulas. Food is usually smoother and more appetizing because of fats. For breeds that feature intensive growth, recommended contents of fat (dry matter basis) is 9%.

Calcium Levels

Nutrition experts often discuss the role of calcium in a giant canines’ diet. They frequently emphasize the potentially harmful effect of excessive intake of this mineral. Calcium boosts the development of bones in puppies.

In some cases the amounts of calcium increase above the recommended amount. Young puppies’ intestinal system absorbs the entire mineral contained in food. The skeletal system starts growing at an extremely fast pace. In most cases, serious orthopedic issues develop in such pets.

This is why the doses of this mineral require close monitoring. Nutritionists recommend 0.56% as the optimal amount.

Phosphorus Levels

Phosphorus is another mineral whose role we should not neglect. Determining the levels of phosphorus is linked to levels of calcium.

These two go hand in hand in sustaining the proper growth of your baby canine. It is significant to maintain an adequate ratio of these two elements. Sometimes an excessive amount of calcium results in the deficiency and phosphorus. It is usually stated that the proportion of calcium and phosphorus should range between 1:1 to 1.8.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates make the primary source of energy. Early life stages in dogs feature higher requirements when it comes to energy.

Puppies spend most of their time running around and playing. Their energy levels are higher compared to adult canines. Carbohydrates in dog food blends come from grains, rice, and certain vegetables. Treats are also rich in carbohydrates and calories.

Owners should be cautious and control the levels of carbohydrates in their puppies’ diet. This can prevent obesity and related health issues.

Essential Fatty Acids

It sometimes takes only a quick glance to tell whether your pup’s food contains enough essential fatty acids. Healthy skin and shiny, silky coat are the main proof for this.

Essential omega 3 and 6 fatty acids make indispensable components of well-rounded food formulas. In addition to healthy skin, they support the development of cells, better eyesight, and the development of the brain. Feeding your giant breed baby pup with food rich in fatty acids will make it look healthy, active and more easily trainable.

Giant Breed Puppy Feeding Guide

Nutritional Requirements

You should tailor the nutrition of your giant breed baby canine to their specific needs. These requirements change over time. A well-balanced diet should support proper growth and development through different stages.

Sound puppy nutrition does not promote extremely fast growth. On the contrary, its aim is to make it slow and steady. It is true that they are considerably larger compared to other baby pups. However, these breeds do not benefit from huge meals and high-calorie foods.

High levels of carbohydrates, fats, minerals, and calories will do serious damage to your furry little pup. Obesity and speedy growth of bones combine to trigger a wide range of health conditions. It is unwise to offer adult dog food to young, growing giant pups. Lower calorie density will lead to greater amounts of food your canine eats. It will mean an excessive consumption of minerals, as well.

Ideal food blends for these breeds contain an optimal balance of nutrients. This is why owners should choose them rather than traditional, all-purpose puppy formulas.

Feeding Tips

All we ever want is for our baby canine to thrive. To achieve this, we cautiously choose the type of diet.  Catering to nutrition needs and following a set of rules are likely to yield favorable results.

Giant breed puppies differ considerably from their small or medium-sized relatives. Their nutrition needs are specific, too. You should consult your vet and follow manufacturers’ instructions to plan the diet effectively.

Portions of food should be uniform. This way, the distribution of calories will be equal. In the case of a picky eater, a combination of dry and canned foods can be a good solution. Treats should not go above 10% of the total intake of calories.

Nutrition and veterinary experts advise owners to pick those formulas made specifically for giant breeds. This way, owners have to worry less about the adequate balance of nutrients.

How Much and How Often To Feed

The growth of puppies from these groups reaches its maximum pace between 3 and 6 months of age. After that, it slows down a bit and usually ends between 12 and 18 months.

All these stages feature specific nutrition requirements. You should offer food to youngest puppies 3 to 4 times a day. The quantity of food should always be under strict control. Equally measured portions are always the best idea. You should avoid rough estimations of proper amounts.

It is not recommendable to make food available all the time. Limiting the eating time will result in more discipline and better consumption of nutrients. It is important to supply plenty of fresh water at all times, though.

How to Switch To Adult Food

The size of giant breed puppies is often misleading when we talk about their diet. Many owners believe that adult dog formulas are suitable for such young canines. This is one of the greatest mistakes. We should address it with great attention.

Your baby pet will require a larger quantity of food designed for grown-up dogs. This can cause obesity and increase the intake of minerals. The final outcome will result in a pup suffering from serious orthopedic disorders. Specially designed puppy formulas sustain proper development. They reduce the incidence of typical health problems.

You should introduce puppy food blends after the first 6 to 7 weeks of your pet’s life. Experts consider that safe transition to suitable adult formulas should take place between 11 and 12 months of age.

When the time for adult food comes, consult our guide for best dog food for giant breeds available on the market.

Conclusion

There is no doubt – giant breed puppies are difficult to resist. You will adore their power, loyalty, and affection. Although they look strong and tough, these pups can be quiet sensitive. These puppies tend to grow too quickly. They often develop skeletal diseases.

Owners should take proper nutrition seriously. If you overfeed your pup, it usually packs on excessive pounds. Obesity triggers other serious conditions, too. A chubby pup is neither cute nor amusing. Letting a giant breed pup grow excessively is serious mistreatment of your canine.

It is true that you cannot do much when it comes to genetics. Adequate nutrition, however,  is in the hands of owners.

They should keep it in mind at all times.

References:

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