What’s the best food for large dog breeds?


Find out what dog food is best to help your large or giant dog grow and stay healthy

What’s the best food for large dog breeds?

Quick takeaways about large-breed dog food

  • Larger dogs take longer than smaller breeds to progress from puppy to adulthood.
  • They can also be more prone to orthopaedic and joint problems.
  • Personalised raw food meal plans are a great option for larger dogs as this can give them the right balance of high-quality protein and fat.


Caring for a larger dog takes commitment. They usually need a lot of training and regular grooming – plus they can eat a lot!

But, they also tend to be very loyal and often make for the best cuddlers.

While every dog has different nutritional needs, managing a larger breed’s nutrition is essential to keeping them healthy and happy.

Larger dogs like Golden Retrievers, Dobermans and Great Danes take a little longer than smaller breeds to progress from puppy to adult dog.

They tend to grow up to the age of 2 and they need a high-quality diet, which allows them to develop strong and healthy muscles, bones and joints.

And as they get older, they can be more prone to orthopaedic diseases and joint problems.

These can develop due to excess weight, so it’s a good idea to stick with recommended portion sizes and potentially consider joint supplements as they age.


What’s the best food for large dog breeds?

Larger dogs can eat a range of dog foods – from dry to raw. For kibble, choose a large or giant dog formula.

Raw food is a great option for larger dogs. It’s usually made with natural ingredients like meat, fresh fruit and vegetables, which are highly nutritious and contain all the vitamins and minerals your dog needs.

Plus, it tends to be easier to eat and digest for all dogs, according to lots of our customers.

You might also want to consider a personalised meal plan, so you know your dog is getting their needs met and you never run out of food for them.


How much food does a large dog need?

This depends on lots of factors like age, weight and lifestyle. And as you might already know, a larger breed can mean a large appetite!

We know it can be a minefield working out how much to feed your dog – check out our guide that will help you work out the right amount of raw to feed your dog.

Always check the recommended amounts on the dog food packaging you buy. If the table on the back doesn’t include activity levels, you might want to feed your pooch about 25% more calories on active days.

Don’t follow these rules blindly, though. You need to keep a close eye on your dog’s weight. Too many calories can lead to obesity and orthopaedic problems.

Weighing a giant dog at home is no easy feat. Try at the vet, or there are ways to tell if your dog is overweight without using the scales.

Routinely massage your pooch’s ribs to check there’s no thick layer of fat over them. When your dog is standing, look at their back from above and make sure their chest is wider than their abdomen. Their waist should be well-defined.

If you think your dog is putting on weight, try reducing their meal portions and snacks.


Do I need to feed larger food chunks to my large dog?

Large and giant dog breeds can accidentally inhale food, so they might need to eat larger food chunks. Choose large or giant breed kibble, a personalised raw food meal plan, and larger treats to prevent this.


How much protein and fat do large dogs need?

Large dog breeds need to eat at least 22% quality protein and 8% fat at every meal. Read the packaging of the food you choose to make sure it fits these needs.

Protein is essential for growing and maintaining healthy muscles. However, too much of it can cause an imbalance of calcium and phosphorus. This can have an impact on your pooch’s bone and joint health.

Keeping fat content low helps your dog stay lean and avoid joint stress.

If you want to meet their nutritional needs minus the stress, try our personalised meal plans. Our experts design them around your dog’s breed, age, weight and activity levels.


Why is raw food great for large breeds?

A raw food diet has many benefits, including improved digestion, smaller firm poos and shiny coats.

Raw food meals can be personalised to deliver all the essential nutrients your large pooch needs – without any artificial colourings and preservatives.

Experts – and our customers – have noticed that dogs who eat raw diets tend to stay a healthy weight and have nicer-smelling breath. That’s a big plus, given that giant dogs love to cuddle!


Can I give raw food to a large or giant puppy?

Complete and balanced raw food meals are a great option for large and giant pups.

Feeding puppies younger than 6 months raw food can even reduce their risk of inflammatory bowel disease later in life, according to a study by the University of Helsinki.

Make sure you select a puppy formula or opt for a personalised meal plan. Large and giant puppies need to eat about 3 times more calories and nutrients per kilogram of body weight than adults.

Large dog breeds can keep growing up to 2 years of age, so you need to feed them puppy food until then.

Experts suggest that it's best to add one protein to their diet at a time, allowing their digestive system to get used to each new protein for about a week.


Do large breeds need to drink more water?

Yes, they might need to drink more. Luckily, dogs are good at self-regulating, as long as they have free access to water.

You can calculate your pooch’s daily water intake by multiplying their weight in kilos by 50ml of water. For example, if your dog weighs 50kg, they need to drink around 2.5 litres of water a day.

Buy a large bowl that can fit your dog’s daily water intake and make sure to refill it every day.

Dogs need extra water on active days and when it’s hot.


What are the best raw treats for large dogs?

Give them long-lasting large treats, like beef marrow bone, turkey necks and beef ribs.

For training, choose large snacks, like Natures Menu Superfood Bars, which you can break into large chunks to prevent inhalation.

Remember to account for any treats and snacks in your dog’s daily caloric intake so they stay healthy.

If you give them a marrow bone, for example, weigh it and remove the equivalent amount of food from one of their meals.


Do I need to change food as my large dog gets older?

It can be a good idea to lower your dog’s food intake and swap to a senior option as they get older. Senior food contains lower amounts of protein and fat to help your pooch stay healthy and lean.

With our personalised raw food meal plans, our experts adjust the composition of the meals based on your dog’s age.


Large breed dog food FAQs

How long does it take for a large dog to digest food and poop?

On average, it takes between 8 and 10 hours for a dog to digest a meal and poop.

Don’t be alarmed if your large pooch doesn’t go after 10 hours, though. Larger meals can take as long as 12 hours to be processed.


How many meals a day should I feed a large dog?

2 to 3 equally-sized meals a day. This helps keep their energy levels stable and their bowels healthy.

You might want to wait 1-2 hours after feeding them before you allow them to do any strenuous exercise to an upset stomach.


Do I need to slow-feed my large dog?

If your large pooch is a scoffer, you might need to help them slow down.

You can use a licking mat, a slow-feeding bowl or a stuffable toy. Ice cube trays are excellent DIY licking mats for large and giant dogs, too.

Try our personalised meal plans with high-quality raw ingredients to help keep your dog healthy and happy. You can also chat with an expert via our online chat to find the right food for your small dog.