Best Dry Puppy Foods


Basset Hound Puppy Waits for FoodWhat’s the best dry puppy food?

The following is a list of The Dog Food Advisor’s best dry dog foods that contain at least one puppy food in their product line.

To qualify, every puppy food must meet AAFCO nutritional profiles for either all life stages or growth.

Within each review, look for products that include the word “puppy” in their names.

Plus many other products are appropriate for all life stages — a category that also includes puppies.

What’s the Best Dry Puppy Food?

After considering dozens of criteria, we determined that the best dry puppy foods should contain:

  • No controversial chemical preservatives
  • No anonymous meat ingredients
  • No artificial coloring agents
  • No generic animal fats
  • Substantial amounts of meat-based protein
  • Reasonable fat-to-protein ratios
  • Modest carbohydrate content

Best Dry Puppy Foods

  • InkedMarie

    A six or seven week old puppy? 🙁

  • We will be getting a 6 wk old Great Dane/ Boxer puppy next week. I would like some advice on what might be the best kind of food for him. Thanks

  • Make sure it’s plain, canned pumpkin, Julie. Not pie filling (with spices, etc.).

    Good luck!

  • Guest

    Holly shmolly! I need him to give to my mum for Mother’s Day!

  • Thank you! I really appreciate the response-will get some canned pumpkin & digestive enzymes today. Thank you!

  • Hi Julie,

    It might just be the stress of the transition to her new home that has her system a bit out of whack. She probably wasn’t eating the same food before you brought her home that you’re feeding her now so she’s made a cold turkey switch. I’d add a spoonful of canned pumpkin to each of her meals and either digestive enzymes or a bit of whole Greek yogurt or some kefir. See what happens with her food after you add those things to it and give her system a little bit of time to settle down.

    If you’re still thinking about switching foods, check out the lists of four and five star foods. A food that I think is really well tolerated is NutriSource, which you should be able to find at Petco. Remember, you don’t have to choose a “puppy food” per se, foods that are labeled “all life stages” are perfect for growth for your little girl.

  • We have a 4 month old terrier mix puppy we brought home last Thurs. Have been feeding her Castor & Pollux Organix Puppy food. She vomited twice on Monday and has had runny stools since. Thought it was due to her running through azalea bushes and chewing on the stems (don’t think she ate any), but now wondering if it’s the puppy food. Looking for suggestions for healthy puppy food for her. We have a PetCo and a Walmart where we live. Thanks!

  • Angie

    Hi Kalani,

    My puppy is flourishing on Orijen puppy food. I would definitely recommend Acana or Orijen. I would slowly transition him slowly for a week or 2 weeks if his stomach needs more time. I gave my dog kefir and canned pumpkin, not the pumpkin pie mix. It’s easy to mistaken the two so make sure it’s purée pumpkin.

    Your puppy can most likely benefit with some probiotic and digestive enzymes. Be sure to bring a stool sample when you see your vet to check for parasites. Congratulations on your new puppy.

    Day 1 & 2 ( 25% new food + 75% old food),
    Day 3 & 4 ( 50% new + 50 % old)
    Day 5 & 6 ( 75% new + 25 % old)
    Day 7: New dog food.

  • I recently acquired a six week old puppy named Pono. The “breeders” and that term is loose… More like irresponsible dog owners, fed Pono adult dog food mixed with water!! WRONG so when I got home I immediately fed Pono some purina puppy chow… Again WRONG. His farts make your nose want to die, and his stools are a puddy mess. Also very stinky. I know his upset stomach could be due to a diet change, BUT now I’m concerned its the purina puppy chow causing this problem. Can anyone suggest a very healthy puppy brand? And some remedies for Pono’s upset stomach? Also, he hasn’t had his shots yet, his first parvo shot is next week.
    And can someone tell me the correct way to transitioning from food brands to not further upset poor Pono?

  • InkedMarie

    Oh my, what an adorable little fluff ball!

  • Hi Kerri,

    Your little guy is quite a cutie! I had one just like him last September ~ well one that looked like him anyway…, mine’s a little monster. My male Golden will be a year old this month and he weighs at least 75 pounds. His body score is excellent, he’s not over-weight. Your little furball could end up a bit bigger than you expect.

    NutriSource is a great food, but I think the calcium level might be a bit too high for your large breed pup. No harm done though since you’re looking at possibly switching anyway, I’d just take a look at some of the foods on the list Hound Dog Mom compiled and posted in the forum area; here’s a link to it: There’s lots of great reading there.

    You want to keep your Calcium level at no more than about 1.3% during growth. After your pup reaches at least 80% of his full grown size (probably by one year for your little guy) Calcium isn’t quite as big a concern. You don’t have to limit yourself to puppy foods. Foods that are labeled “all life stages” are fine for your growing boy. Ideally, you want to find several different foods and regularly rotate them for optimal gut health. Raw is great, but it’s not for everyone. There’s great raw advise in the forum area as well.

    Good luck!

  • Guest

    Have you considered a raw canine diet? Check out the Suggested Raw Food section. Or if no for whatever reason, then go for any of the 5 star kibbles that have a higher protein level and lower fat and carbohydrate level. Alternate between a few different ones from time to time and add full cream organic yoghurt for improved digestion and overall healthier meal.

    Gorgeously cute Golden Retriever pup, by the way!

  • Kerri Carter

    Hello! We have a almost 13 week year old Golden Retriever that we got a little before 6 weeks old. We started out on Purina Healthy Puppy (b/c we didn’t know any better), then switched to NurtiSource grain free lamb about 3 weeks ago. He is about to finish his first large bag and so I’m wondering if we should look into switching to a 5 star since I noticed the NurtiSource is only a 4 star. The vet said he should be about 60-65 lbs once full grown. Thanks for any help!

  • aimee

    I can’t say I ‘ve ever heard that Blue led to any deficiency signs.

    I got a bit “wiggy” over them not wanting to disclose nutritional info and that for a while their puppy food AAFCO statement said the food was formulated for maintenance. However, I don’t know of any actual problems that resulted from feeding Blue food to a large breed but I would feed Pro Plan over Blue.

  • My vet said that Blue causes vitamin and nutritional deficiencies in larger breed dogs. It is adequate for smaller ones though. So obviously, it is lacking somewhere. Also I love Pro Plan, I have never had any issues with it, my female GSD pup is happy, healthy, growing, and loves it! I have always used Pro Plan for my dogs 🙂

  • From what I was told by my pups vet, Blue is causing vitamin and nutritional deficiencies in large breed dogs. I currently have my 16wk old female GSD on it, and always have had my large breed dogs on Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Puppy Formula until they are two and then switch to The Large Breed Adult Formula. It has the Glucosamine for their hips, my dogs LOVE it, and I constantly get asked “did you clear coat your dog?” their coats are beautiful and shiny. Never have I had any issues with their skin, health, stomach upset, or stools. So that is definitely the one that I would go with!!! She is 16wks, and 33lbs. Her dad is 120lbs and her mom is 85lbs. So she is going to be a big girl 🙂

  • I had spoke with my vet as I have a large breed puppy as well. They said that Blue is a good food for SMALLER breed dogs but it was causing vitamin and nutritional deficiencies in larger dogs. I have my female GSD on Pro Plan Large Breed Dog Food, the vet said that was a great food to have her on. It also has glucosamine in it for their bone growth since they are prone to hip problems. She was 6 weeks when I got her and she weighed 8lbs. She is now 16wks and weighs 33lbs. She is growing great, no stomach problems, stool problems or anything else. She loves it!! They also recommend that you keep your large breed dog on puppy food until 2 years of age because that is when they reach adulthood. I have used this food before when I had other large breed dogs and I have never had any issues with it at all.

  • Gean

    my 2 month cockapoo was started on Provico, Hypro by his breeder and he did fine. Need to know another good puppy food for him since the Provico place is 2 hours away. Tried him on Wysong, but he doesn’t eat it all until later and burps and has once or twice spit up. He’s obviously not happy with it and I would like something similar to Provico, Hypro. Please help.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Natalie –

    He is adorable! 🙂

    Any of the 4 or 5 star foods on this site would be a choice for the little guy. If you’re shopping at Walmart my recommendations would be Pure Balance dry, Pure Balance canned, ‘Ol Roy Healthy Mix Tubs, Rachel Ray Zero Grain dry, Variety Pet Foods canned, Natural Life dry, Natural Life canned, Purina One Beyond dry or Fresh Pet refrigerated.

    Petco has a lot more quality options – Avoderm, Castor & Pollux, Halo, Innova, Merrick, Whole Earth Farms, Natural Balance, Nature’s Variety, Pinnacle, Solid Gold and Wellness. Some of these brands even make small breed formulas with smaller kibbles, they might be easier for him to eat.

    Remember a food doesn’t necessarily have to be labeled “puppy” to be appropriate for growth. Check the nutritional adequacy statement on the bag, many quality foods are labeled for “all life stages” versus having separate formulas for adult maintenance and growth. All life stages foods have to meet the same criteria as “puppy” foods. Also – pick a few brands to rotate through and mix some canned food into the dry if possible, it’s healthier than feeding the same dry food day in and day out.

    Good luck!

  • Natalie

    Hey! I just bought a new dog 2 days ago. He is almost 4 months old (Born January 7) and he is a very small. Parents are: Shih Tzu/Poodle and a Maltese. His previous owner gave me a small plastic bag with some dry dog food in it. I’m not sure the brand, but that is what we fed him and still are till its empty. I decided to look up what type of dog food is good for him, though, because when I went to Walmart and Petco, there were a bunch of brands. I looked at the ones that say ‘Puppy’ on it, but they all said good things. I don’t know what is bad and what is good. Have any good recommendations for puppy food for small dogs? I attached a picture of him.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I’m not sure exactly what your budget is but some reasonably priced options to consider that are rated at least 3.5 stars would be: Pro Pac, Kirkland (sold exclusively at Costco), Victor, Diamond Naturals, 4Health (sold exclusively at Tractor Supply), Professional, Whole Earth Farms, Premium Edge, Healthwise, Eagle Pack, Canidae, NutriSource, Chicken Soup, Fromm Classics and Pure Balance (sold exclusively at Walmart). Most of these foods run under $45 for the largest bag (30 lbs. – 40 lbs.). I would recommend picking at least three brands and rotating for variety. If possible, it would also be good to mix in canned food with the dry food. Canned food is a bit more expensive than dry, but some reasonably priced (under $2 per can), good quality canned foods would be: 4Health, Kirkland, Pure Balance, ‘Ol Roy Healthy Mix Tubs, Chicken Soup, Evanger’s Classics, By Nature 95% Meat, Variety Pet Foods, NutriSource, Nutro Max and Natural Life.

  • Firs time puppy owner :)

    Hello dog lovers,

    I am a first time puppy owner and am trying to figure out what would be the best food to get my new puppy zoey in the Phx, Az area! She will be 7 weeks old when my fiance and I get her. Her mom is a lab/terrier and the dad is a pomeranian/poodle, we expect her to be like her mom (around 60 lbs, since they look alike). What is a good puppy/adult dog food to give her?? We both just graduated college, so nothing crazy expensive!Right now she is getting purina puppy from her breeder.


  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Holly –

    Try supplementing with digestive enzymes and probiotics.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Sheltie Love –

    Congrats on the new pup! 🙂 Any of the 4 or 5 star rated food would be a big upgrade from Pro Plan. I’d suggest finding at least three 4 or 5 star foods that are in your budget and available to you and rotating – variety is better than sticking with only one food. I’ve never used Trader Joe’s but Dr. Mike has rated it 3.5 stars – it’s not a horrible food, looks slightly better than Pro Plan and it’s probably cheaper. When possible, top the dry food with a high quality canned food, fresh healthy leftovers or raw food.

  • Sheltie love

    Hello! I have a six month old sheltie I just adopted. She has been on purina Pro Plan chicken and rice puppy food and doing great. I was looking at trader joes dog food or another option. Any recommendations? Thanks!!

  • Holly

    I have a 5 month old sib husky with horrible gas getting worse daily, we are using blue seal puppy formula and was great from 10 weeks on up until recently, any suggestions?

  • Pattyvaughn

    I completely agree with what HDM said, and just want to add that puppies don’t need to have their food adjusted just because they have grown. Go by their body condition when making that judgement. You don’t want to have your puppy get fat and start having issues from growing too fast.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Kimberly –

    Sometimes if a dog is getting overfed it can get loose stools. If his weight was fine on the smaller portion you may want to scale things back a bit and see if the diarrhea clears up. Another option would be to try adding a spoonful of plain canned pumpkin to each feeding and/or supplementing with a probiotic and digestive enzyme supplement. Additional fiber, probiotics and enzymes can often help firm things up.

    With that said – many people have been complaining about their pets developing diarrhea on Blue products and there is speculation that something is going on with the food. A friend of mine had a golden puppy that got horrible diarrhea on the food. If you want to try another food any of the 4 or 5 star foods on this site would be comparable in quality. Fine one within your budget and try it out – if you can pick a few different foods and rotate this is even better. Good luck!

  • I have a 6 month old pit/hound mix and was wondering what you would recommend feeding him for puppy food? We adopted him from the shelter a month ago and he was doing great on the blue buffalo food, but now just seems to have diarrhea since we upped the amount of food that he is eating since he is growing rapidly (already 31lbs).

  • Pattyvaughn

    Look here for some really important info about feeding large and giant breeds and a list of foods that are recommended for large and giant puppies.

  • Pattyvaughn

    My favorites are Brothers Complete, Orijen, and Natures Variety Instinct.

  • Pug mom

    Does anyone have any recommendation for what dry food is best for 8 week old Pug puppies?

  • tank

    hello i have a 9 week old presa canario pup ive been feeding him blue buffalo wilderness but its not a large breed puppy food i was thinking of switching to orijen large breed puppy is there a specific brand that you would recommend for this breed? also the guy at the pet store told me its not good to feed a dog a food with more than 36 percent protein is this true?

  • DaneLover

    I have a Great Dane pup, 7 months old (85lbs) and she has been on Iams dry puppy food chicken flavor large breed. Since the rating of Iams isnt that good what would you people suggest as a better replacement. Iams is too pricey for what it offers the dogs. My supplier does offer Diamond brand. (I live in Ohio)

  • Brinny

    Yes, Patty, you are correct. I forgot to include that. Thanks 🙂

  • Granma316

    WHat is your opinion on Natures Variety Praire Puppy Chicken meal and brown rice medley? I have been transitioning my 11 week old Shih Tzu male puppy from Canine Puppy to this brand.. I know of the brown rice issue but it is not a major factor to me at this point..He seems to be doing fine on it…stools are soft and formed ..Is this a good product? My vet was ok to try it but wasn’t familiar with this brand as she uses Royal Canine..She said to use the puppy food and not the Instinct yet. Thanks!

  • LabsRawesome

    Awesome! Fromm is a good choice! 🙂

  • Chris2590

    I decided to try FROMM as the first food to start my new addition on. I went to a local store and talked with some vets in the area and decided on that brand. The great part of this store is that if my new puppy does not like it, they will take it back and let us try something else out free of charge. Thanks you dog community for the help! I am very excited and cannot wait to bring him home!

  • Pattyvaughn

    2 flavors of Earthborn are good for large breed pups, Coastal Catch and Meadow Feast(at least that’s what I think it’s called).

  • Brinny

    Looking at the spreadsheet HDM has made, Earthborn Holistic would be a pretty good choice or even Wellness Core: Puppy if you are wanting a dry kibble. Those are the two I am thinking of switching to. My Border Collie mix is 40+lbs at 6 months old and I feed him about 2 1/2 to 3 cups a day of Blue Buffalo (Although I will be switching his food soon). He is lean and fit, but he also is an extremely active dog as he herds and plays all day long.

  • jessica

    hi, I have two, 3 month old Chihuahua puppies that I just started on precise holistic complete puppy food (puppy, for small & medium) and long story short, I was just wondering if anyone else has switched to this food and their puppy got “runny poo”? .. I understand it might just take a few days for them to get use to it, but I was just wondering if anyone else had the same problem?


  • Brinny

    I would use Earthborn Holistic; either the Meadow Feast or Coastal Catch would be appropriate for a large breed pup (with the calcium level) like yours. It is very reasonably priced, and you can order it online at sites such as!

  • LabsRawesome

    Hi Chris, congrats on the new puppy! Whatever you do, please don’t put him on Purina pro plan. Purina products are just nasty, and full of UN-necessary low grade carbs and fillers. Please feed your pup a high quality species appropriate diet. Hound Dog Mom has replied to you with a great list of foods. Check out her list. 🙂

  • aimee

    Hi Chris2590,

    Congratulations on the new addition! I’m a sucker for black labs. My current lab I raised on Pro Plan Large Breed Puppy and am/was very pleased with her development.

    HDM gave good advice regarding the rec. Ca levels for large breed growth. (Blue Buffalo would not disclose the actual ca levels in their foods so I choose not not use them.)

    There is lots of good info in the forum thread that HDM linked to.

    I prefer to feed foods that have gone through feeding trials during the growth period which is why I choose Purina.

    Enjoy your new baby!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Chris2590 –

    The important thing when feeding a large breed puppy is to make sure the food has appropriate levels of calcium (3.5 g. per 1,000 kcal. or less) as excess calcium can contribute to the development of orthopedic conditions such as hip and elbow dysplasia. Just because a food says “Large Breed Puppy” does not mean it’s appropriate for a large breed puppy and just because a food doesn’t say large breed puppy doesn’t mean it’s not appropriate for a large breed puppy. From what I’ve seen many foods labeled for large breed puppies are excessive in calcium. Of the three brands you mentioned I would go with Fromm, if I recall correctly the calcium levels are acceptable. Here’s a link to the large breed puppy forum. In the forum there are links to some articles and a list of appropriate grain-free foods if you decide to go the grain-free route. Good luck!

  • Chris2590

    I am picking up my new Black Labrador Retriever this
    Saturday and have to switch him over from a food that I cannot get since the area is quite far away and the breeder uses a special type from a farm and feed store. I have been doing tons of research and cannot find one I really like. I am a recent college grad and do not want to spend tons and tons of $ on dog food but want to get him something that is very good. I have looked into many different names brands and ways to feed him. I am debating between FROMM, Purina Pro-Plan, Blue Buffalo and some grain free ideas. I need some help and thoughts relatively soon. I would appreciate the help and guidance. He is goingto be about 75 to 100 lbs., a big boy, and I have read that the way to go would also be a large breed puppy formula. Thanks for any input and help. There is just so much information out there to sort through!!!!! Thanks very much in advance!

  • GSD Mom

    Re: Back To Basics Grain Free Pork

    Hi, I have a German Shepherd 1 yr 3 months, he was being fed Firstmate Lamb Grain Free – I did not know that Potato would mess up his system, just 3 months back he started allergies then hotspots then more allergies, I have been at the vets for 3 months now….then I came across something the “nzymes website” that explained it all to me + his breeder told me switch foods immediately, now I have him on “Back To Basics Grain Free Pork” wish someone had told me about this when he was a pup. GSD’s are so sensitive to foods and really need high quality food to thrive. Now he has energy I see his ear-infection has cleared up too. So, yes I recommend this !

  • jnbuglady

    Hello, I have a little Doxie who has severe allergies, as well as liver problems, so we watch his protein content, we feed him science diet I/D, per our vet, as well as science diet kibble, does anyone have any suggestions for food for him, to help with his allergies. The only thing that ever helped him was a short bout of prednisone, but because of his health issues he cannot be on that for long, Thank you so much for any help. Bitseys mom

  • If you plan on keeping the food she’s on then try adding a TB of pumpkin puree, or for 5-10 # dog you can also give 1/8 to 1/4 tsp ground psyllium or coconut fiber with meals and maybe a slight reduction in her feeding volume.

  • Sheri61

    I have a 14 week old cavachon who the breeder had on Pro Pac performance Puppy. She has loose stools and tends to scoot on her bottom a lot. Vet recommended a food with a higher fiber content. Any suggestions? She’s about 5 pounds.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Purina Puppy is grouped in with other Purina foods in the same line. They are mostly grain and a lot of dogs have problems with grains. If you have a Tractor Supply near you, they have about the best prices on grain free foods.

  • RalphPierre

    Wow! What a fast reply! And this early on a Saturday morning, what a LIFE you must have!
    He does have a musty smell, but no one has mentioned ‘corn chip’ odor. (my sense of smell has been damaged in an industrial incident)
    I have been feeding him Purina Puppy dry and throwing in some Blue Buffalo that was a gift from my Sister who has dogs with skin problems. I just started to give him Krill oil, and it seems to work better than the fish oil, but he doesn’t like it.
    I’m going to stop with the Purina, it doesn’t even show up on your ratings chart.
    I’ll read up on the link you sent and study that.
    I shall also try the Coconut oil…I never even thought of that.
    Darn…this dog is so much trouble I’m gonna trade him for a Cat!
    Thank you for your help,

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi RalphPierre –

    What food is he currently eating? Does he have a musty or “corn chip” smell to him?

    Itching can be due to a variety of factors – dry skin, yeast, allergies/intolerances (environmental or food related).

    If he has a musty/corn chip smell the problem could be yeast. Here’s some information on yeast from Dr. Becker – read it over and if you think this could be the issue follow Dr. Becker’s guidelines of transitioning him to a high protein/low carbohydrate species-appropriate diet, supplementing with probiotics and disinfecting his yeasty areas daily.

    If the issue is due to a food intolerance I’d suggest looking for a food without chicken, beef, corn, wheat, soy or eggs (these are the most common canine allergens). The only sure way to diagnose a food allergy or intolerance is to perform an elimination diet – but often just eliminating common allergens proves successful without all the hassle of an elimination diet.

    You could try adding some coconut oil in addition to the fish oil. Coconut oil is rich in Medium Chain Triglycerides which are great for the skin and coat. Coconut oil, due to its natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, would also help with yeast if it turns out that’s his issue.

  • RalphPierre

    HELP! I have a 6 Mo old Rat Terrier, and he scratches and itches and licks so much he annoys people. I feed him a high quality puppy food, and give him fish oil supplements, but it only helps a little bit. The itch is not localized, but seems to be all over. Vet says his skin is generally healthy, but a little ‘dry’. I don’t see any flakes, hair loss, or fleas. I think it might be diet related, but I just cannot buy every kind of food available to find out which one is good. There are just too many of them, and I have a limited budget.
    What kind of dry puppy food is targeted at reducing itchy, scratchy, licking dogs?

  • LabsRawesome

    No, that is not complete and balanced. Find a website or book, with balanced recipes.


    I have a 4 mth old shoorkie, weighing 4 lbs. He started on raw then wouldn’t touch it. Tried Orijen for puppies…liked that for a few days, then no good either. I add a bit of water to make a gravy and he’ll eat now maybe once a week. So, I cook organic chicken, broccoli, green beans and kale. That he loves, but I don’t think he’s getting everything he needs. Is he?? Should I add something? Can anyone help, as I just want him to be his healthiest. Oh, sometimes he’ll eat a scrambled, with kale. Thanks so much!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I love NV (I used to feed it and my dog did very well on it) and, although I’ve never used it, I’ve heard great things about Annamet as well. Why not rotate between the two brands so your dog can get a variety of quality foods?

  • InkedMarie

    Annamaet is a very good food, company hasn’t had any recalls. I would definitely feed it over NV. If you call the company (Annamaet), there’s a good chance you’ll talk to the owner!

  • SM

    Morning guys. What have you heard about Annamaet Grain Free dog food? I went to buy Natures variety and was told this was cheaper and just as good. Your thoughts please. SM

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Lesley –

    If you head over to the forum area there’s a whole topic area dedicated to large breed puppy nutrition, including a list of recommended 4 and 5 star grain-free foods. The important thing when feeding a large breed puppy, in order to decrease the chances of developmental orthopedic disease, is to control portion size (don’t let the dog get overweight) and to feed a food with no more than 3.5 g. calcium per 1,000 kcal. (roughly 1.2% calcium or less).

  • Hi , I have a German / Lab pup ( 3mnths today) , so which above average food would you suggest ? Any advice would help .. please and thank you 😀

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Chris2590 –

    As far as specific recommendations, I believe a variety of minimally processed foods is best. My newest pup (now 10 months old) has been on a homemade raw diet since she came home at 8 weeks old. My previous pup (now 2 years old) ate a combination of high protein grain-free dehydrated foods and canned foods until she was 8 months old, then I switched her to raw. If you want to feed kibble that’s fine, but I’d suggest picking at least two or three different brands with different protein sources that have at least 30% protein and rotating after every one or two bags. Top the kibble with more species-appropriate foods such as commercial raw, fresh cooked, high quality canned foods or re-hydrated freeze-dried/dehydrated foods. Healthy “people foods” are a great addition to kibble as well – any leftover lean meat or low glycemic veggies from your own dinner, tinned sardines, eggs, plain yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.

  • Chris2590

    Thank you very much that article and many links were very helpful. We get to pick him up in two weekends. Do you have anymore brand name suggestions for his food? or recommendations?

  • Jessicak

    When you switch to a good food loose stools are common for the first week or two. Many dogs can develope anal gland issues because the stool can be very small and not express them naturally. Also, loose stools usually means your over feeding. The recommended guidelines are usually at the highest, you need to adjust by treats, activity, ect..

    I personally feed raw and add a scoop of canned pumpkin on the side. Giving your dog full pieces of vegetables and fruit does no good unless you break them down or mash them. A dogs digestive system is very short and can’t break down the cell walls.

  • DL56

    If its personal take it else where. I am here to find good food for my pet, not read your snipes/

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi connie –

    Dogs do not need grains. Grains are not a natural food for dogs. Most dogs tend to do best on “species-appropriate” foods – high moisture content, high levels of animal-derived protein, moderate levels of animal-derived fat, low levels of carbohydrates, no grains or high glycemic starches. You’re on the right track by feeding a grain-free food however, despite being grain-free, Natural Balance’s LID grain-free foods are very low in protein and fat and high in carbohydrates (fillers). I agree with your vet in that your puppy needs to be on a food appropriate for growth – Natural Balance is way too low in protein and fat for a puppy (I’d say it’s even way too low in fat and protein for an adult as well…). I’d suggest checking out the 4 and 5 star grain-free foods on this site. I’d go with a formula that has at least 30% protein and that’s approved for all life stages – you can feed it to all your dogs. As an even better option you can pick a few 4 or 5 star foods your dogs like and rotate brands and experiment with species-appropriate “toppers” (i.e. high quality canned food, raw food, fresh foods, etc.).

  • connie mlynarski

    I have a 3.5 month old Chihuahua puppy. She contracted Parvo last month but is fine now. The vet has had her Hills I/D formula, and I’ve slowly been adding Natural Balance Sweet Potato/Venison as all my other dogs eat this. He said he would prefer her to be on a straight puppy formula for more nutrient value. I am not a fan of dog foods with grains, but as I read, alot has been stated that she needs grains. Is it going to harm her if she continues on the Natural Balance? Can anyone give me some advice on what I would want to switch her to? HELP!!!

  • Pattyvaughn

    If it were correct info, that would be a good thing. Keep looking.

  • Eddie

    This actually helped me out today as I was looking for information on TOTW. Thanks Delgada.

  • jTimmyP

    Hey all-

    I have a 3-month old lab mix who is going to be a big boy. He weighed in at 37 pounds at his checkup yesterday! I’ve been feeding him Innova Large Breed Puppy. The food has recently been recalled because of Salmonella. While this isn’t in itself a concern for me (my dog has displayed no signs of the disease and the vet yesterday told me he didn’t think this was a big deal), I am concerned that I’m not going to be able to buy any more Innova for a while.

    So, I’d like to switch him to a different food while I have some of the Innova left to transition him. I don’t mind ordering online, and I’m not particularly concerned with price. I have spent time looking at HDM’s spreadsheet and am a bit overwhelmed. What food do you guys recommend, and how much do you feed your dogs? The Innova currently recommends ~5 cups a day!

    Thanks, Tim

  • Pattyvaughn

    Gas production is a digestive issue. Adding probiotics and digestive enzymes resolves this issue in many dogs. Some only need the extra help temporarily until their own system becomes healthier.

  • Shawna

    Boston Terriers are known for bad gas too. But even the ones that came into rescue with odor issues 🙂 got better on a better diet and probiotics. Oddly, it would help with their snoring issues too.

  • InkedMarie

    I asked two people I know who have had more than one Dane and both said Danes do not naturally produce a lot of gas. All dogs are different

  • I’m assuming your pup might be somewhere in the neighborhood of eight weeks ~ could a puppy that age really have a chicken allergy?

  • Pattyvaughn

    If there is any chance of a yeast infection, oatmeal shampoo is not recommended as it may feed the yeast.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Bud –

    Congrats on the new pup. Here’s a link to the large and giant breed puppy nutrition forum, there you’ll find links to some articles concerning large/giant breed puppy nutrition and a list of 4 and 5 star grain-free foods appropriate for large and giant breed puppies.

  • Dog lover/owner of 55 years

    If the food you are feeding has no wheat or corn, her skin could be dry because of lack of oil… I always put a teaspoon of olive oil in my puppies’ food and it helped, move for an adult dog. You also don’t say if you have bathed your puppy… shampoos can cause itchy dry skin. Use an oatmeal based shampoo or body wash.. like Aveeno. I am feeding my Golden Retriever puppy the Nature’s recipe lamb and rice puppy food as well, and haven’t noticed any problems.

  • Bud

    I am in need of some help I am getting my new Great Dane puppy in a few days….now I just lost my 1st Danes a couple months ago and was feeding her Nutro and she always did great but after a little research I now see it wasn’t all that great. So I have been looking at all the info I can and now have a question …..what would be a good food to start him out on …mind you that my breeder think he may have an allergy to chicken…don’t know why…just a couple ones to narrow the search please…I can get just about any food close by…thanks

  • Dog lover/owner for 55 years

    LMAO I have had several Great Danes over the years and it didn’t matter what we fed them.. Great Danes naturally produce a lot of gas. Their silent ones were deadly! Remember that dogs in the wild were strictly meat eaters.. the only vegetable matter they got in their diets was whatever was contained in the stomachs of their prey. Meat produces compact firm stools, veggies and fruits bulk it up and soften it, a good thing to remember if your dog eats something hard that they shouldn’t. If it’s small enough, the vet will suggest giving pumpkin etc to loosen their stool to produce a faster bowel movement.

  • SO WHAT!? I just brought a new puppy into my home last night and her post helped me! Don’t you have anything better to do than criticize others????

  • Annette Clayton

    This could still help someone in the future.

  • Girls

    I have two toy poodles puppies going on six months. One three pds. & one four pds. they are sisters.They were on nutro @ first & now on nutro ultra. They scratch alot & don’t like their food. 0ne eat her poop. I need food that they like & great if one can help her bad habit. I have tried everything. Please help us!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi chris2590 –

    With large breed puppies you want to be sure they are eating foods with appropriate levels of calcium. Excess calcium fed to large breed puppies during growth has been shown to contribute to developmental orthopedic disease (hip dysplasia, elbow displasia, etc.). Ideally the food should have no more than 3.5 g. calcium per 1,000 kcal. Be careful not to overfeed him – keep him lean while growing – and not to overexercise him while growing (a good rule of thumb is 10 minutes leashed walking per month of age, no forced running or high impact activities until 18 months of age). Genetics play the biggest role in development – so I hope you’re getting your pup from a responsible breeder that had hip and elbow clearances on the parents (this is very important when purchasing a large or giant breed puppy). Looking over Petsmart’s website some foods they sell that I know to have appropriate calcium levels are: Avoderm Revolving Menu Trout and Pea, Avoderm Revolving Menu Turkey, Wellness CORE Puppy and Innova Large Breed Puppy. In the forum area there’s a whole topic area dedicated to large breed puppy nutrition where you’ll find links to several articles in addition to a list of appropriate 4 and 5 star grain-free foods: . Remember – if you can’t get a food locally sites like,,,, and have a huge selection of quality foods and offer free shipping (usually when you spend over $49). Good luck with the new pup!

  • Chris2590

    I am getting a black lab puppy in 4 weeks. I am doing numerous hours researching puppy food and the best kind. I run into these long lists and discussions that are confusing and jam packed with information. I am a recent college graduate and have a decent income level, but do not want to spend an arm and a leg on puppy food. He will get much exercise because I love the outdoors and running. I live in a small town and there is only a few stores that I can choose from including petsmart, farm and fleet, and a few local grain stores. The breeder has a type of food only available at a local store in her town that is very far away from where I will be raising the puppy. I know that there is no correct or right food but could someone be kind enough to help me out? Thank you all very much and I am looking forward to being in the dog owner community.

  • The higher animal protein content of Wilderness, as opposed to their Life Protection Formulas and other foods, makes it a better choice… yeah. Not to mention that a grain-free diet, while it may not be necessary, is a good move. I mean, dogs don’t need grain in their diet, and since they can cause allergy issues you may as well cut them out if you can.

  • Aimee Price

    i switched my 5 month old puppy she is an australian shepherd and she is on blue buffalo wilderness is that a good food for her

  • JellyCat

    I wouldn’t feed that just based on ingredients and that they claim that they made “many exiting discoveries in animal nutrition”. It’s a joke.

  • orijen puppy?

    Fresh boneless chicken*, chicken meal, fresh boneless salmon*, turkey meal, herring meal, russet potato, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), sweet potato, peas, fresh boneless turkey*, fresh whole
    eggs*, fresh chicken liver*, fresh boneless lake whitefish*, fresh boneless walleye*, sun-cured alfalfa, pea fiber, fresh boneless herring*, organic kelp, pumpkin, chicory root, carrots, spinach, turnip greens, apples, cranberries, blueberries, licorice root, angelica root, fenugreek, marigold flowers, sweet fennel, peppermint leaf, chamomile, dandelion, summer savory, rosemary, vitamin A, vitamin D3, vitamin E, niacin, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, selenium yeast, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Enterococcus faecium.

    * DELIVERED FRESH, preservative-free and never frozen.

  • LabsRawesome

    Irishfeck, here is a list made up by Hound Dog Mom. She researched these foods, and found them to be the best for Large breed Pups. ie. calcium levels. She owns Bloodhounds.

  • Irishfeck

    What is the best dry puppy food for an 8 week old German Shepard?

  • I have always used Blue Buffalo for my Shepards, and LOVED it. I highly recomend the Wilderness puppy, it is a 5 star food, and available at PetSmart and PetCo

  • beata

    I just git 9 weeks old standard in size Australian labradoodle puppy. I am looking for the best food for her. Please help me:) . This is our first puppy and don’t know anything about dog food. Thank you.

  • There is a list of large breed puppy foods in the forum section. You can feed the puppy food to both dogs.
    In the third post – a google doc link.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Look for a food approved for “growth” or “all life stages” that has 3.5 g. calcium per 1,000 kcal. or less. Here’s a list of 4 and 5 star grain-free foods that would work:

  • Anne

    Is there a single food good for 5 month old Golden & a 2 1/2 yr old Golden mix?

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Weezer –

    Congrats on the new puppy! 🙂

    You’re correct in your assumption that large breed puppies require special nutrition while they’re growing. My first recommendation is to stop giving vitamins – immediately! This is of the biggest mistakes you can make when feeding a large breed puppy. Commercially balanced dog foods are already supplemented with appropriate levels of vitamins and minerals, some are harmful if given in excess and nutrients like calcium can actually result in developmental orthopedic disease if large quantities are consumed. My second recommendation would be to make sure the food you’re feeding has 3.5 g. calcium per 1,000 kcal. or less. Here is a list of 4 and 5 star grain-free foods approved for growth that have appropriate calcium levels: . Blue Wilderness isn’t on the list – I know I looked into it when I was making the list and I can’t recall exactly what the issue was, either it was already over the recommended level with the stated min or the company refused to disclose the actual levels… If you want to continue Blue I’d suggest contacting the company and asking for the maximum calcium levels and checking to see if they’re appropriate (it’s very important that the calculation is based off the actual or max level and not the min stated on the bag – the actual levels present in the food tend to be much higher than the min). Adding raw meat to the food is great! I personally feed my crew a homemade raw diet. However, if you’re just adding meat and not balanced raw, make sure it accounts for no more than 20% of her total food intake otherwise you risk throwing off the nutritional balance of the kibble. Some other steps you can take to minimize the risk of developmental orthopedic disease (hip displasia, elbow displasia, pano, etc.) are monitoring her portions and keeping her lean (do not overfeed!) and limiting strenuous and high impact activity until she’s 18 – 24 months old (running, jumping, etc.). Also, this isn’t something you can change now, but I hope you got her from a responsible breeder who had hip and elbow clearances on the parents – this is crucial when purchasing a large or giant breed puppy as genetics are the number one determining factor in whether or not a dog develops orthopedic issues. I’d also encourage you to check out the large and giant breed puppy nutrition forum – there are links to a lot of great articles here: .

    Good luck!

  • weezer

    What dry food do you feel is the very best for a giant breed puppy like a great Pyrenees . We just borough a new girl into our family and I have never had this breed before , but with her tremendous rate of growth , I worrie about giving her the support she needs . I’ve been feeding blue Buffalo’s wilderness and also some raw fresh meat, vits.. and carrots ! Help ! Any one have recommendations ? Thanks

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Brinny –

    Sure thing. To calculate calcium the first thing you’ll need to do is contact the company to get the actual calcium levels (if they aren’t given on the website). Most company’s only provide the minimum guaranteed calcium level and the actual level is often much higher, this is why it’s important to base calculations off the actual level. You will also need to know the calories per kilogram.

    So let’s say we’re trying figure the calcium level of a food (in grams per 1,000 kcal.) that has an average level of 1.5% calcium and 3,500 kcal. per kilogram.

    1 kilogram = 1,000 g.

    1,000 g. X 0.015 = 15

    So we know there are 15 g. calcium per kilogram of food.

    Now we need to get the amount of calcium per 1,000 kcal. of food.

    (15 g. ca per kg)/(3,500 kcal. per kg.) = 0.00429 g. ca per kcal.

    (0.00429 g. ca per kcal.) X 1,000 kcal. = 4.29 g. ca. per 1,000 kcal.

  • Brinny

    Could you tell me how to calculate the calcium? I was wondering what the calcium would be in Canidae All Life Stages formula.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Here’s a list of 4 and 5 str grain-free foods appropriate for large breed puppies:

  • Brinny

    Alright, thank you. I will have to research some more foods! I was not expecting him to get as big as he is getting. He hit a huge growth spurt!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    If you’re expecting him to be 60 lbs. or more at maturity you should feed a food appropriate for large breed puppies. However, it’s not as simple as just picking a food that says “Large Breed Puppy” as many foods marketed to large breed puppies are not appropriate. Look for a food with no more than 3.5 g. calcium per 1,000 kcal.

  • Brinny

    I have a Border Collie/German Shepherd mix puppy that is about 5 months old now. He weighs about 40lbs. He is extremely active (he herds our full-grown German Shepherd all day). Should I be feeding him a large breed puppy formula? He is a finicky eater, and so far, Blue Wilderness is the only food he really enjoys eating without any toppers.
    Any suggestions?

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Bitsy –

    Checking out the 4 and 5 star foods would be a good place to start. I’d stick with one approved for “growth” or “all life stages” until she’s a year old. If it’s affordable to you raw, canned, dehydrated and freeze-dried foods are preferable to dry foods. You can feed raw, canned, dehydrated or freeze-dried as her sole diet or use them to “top” dry foods. I’d also recommended rotating brands and protein sources periodically to provide her with a healthy variety.

  • Bitsy

    I have a six month old yorkie, she only weights 2 lb.s ,so I want her to have something really health for her. Any suggestions?

  • Amy

    Oops, the file is “locked”. Any other way to get the information you’re sharing? Thank you.

  • Amy

    Thanks so much!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Amy –

    All of the Back to Basics formulas are too high in calcium for a large breed puppy. Here’s a list of grain-free 4 and 5 star foods with appropriate calcium levels:

  • Amy J, Upstate, NY

    How much calcium is in the Back to Basics puppy food? We used it with our adult dog but I never checked this.
    We are getting a puppy (I haven’t had a puppy for 11 years as we recently lost our lab) I have no idea what to feed him – he’s coming in May and is a goldendoodle. (Please don’t judge, I know he is an expensive mutt 😉

    Thanks for any help.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Here you’ll find information about large breed puppy nutrition and a list of 4 and 5 star grain-free foods appropriate for large breed puppies:

  • JR

    We have a 16 week old female Akita and are needing/wanting to switch her from Eukanuba large puppy to a higher protein grain free dry food…..any Akita owner suggestions? thanks.

  • lovemypups

    Thank you!

  • Marie

    Bots have better spelling usually

  • I can’t help but wonder if this is a real person or a bot. That name posted a few times right together, all saying basically the same thing, and all having very poor spelling and grammar.

  • Dr J

    We feed our puppies and old dogs Orijen with a tripe topping. Yes it is not cheap, but all of our dogs are doing absolutly wonderful on it. The older’s fure has gotten absolutly soft and one of them has stopped licking himself all the time. They also got a lot more active.

  • Dr J

    So you believe anything that is writen on a label? Spray can cheese is apprently made with real cheese, but I would not touch it with a 10 foot barge pole…

  • NB is not a good dog food. It may help with a dog suffering from allergies or intolerances, due to it being grain free and limited ingredient, but it has way too much carbs, and not enough animal-based protein.

    Besides, a German Shephard/Lab is a breed that should be fed a food well above average in animal-based protein.

  • my car man

    try natrual balance dry puppy food petco sells it i use it for my dog they have free samples to try go to prtco

  • my car man

    natrual balance is good for graet stolls one is white orange bag cost 1970 cents petco has it says on the bag good for skin and coat easy to digest

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi lovemypups –

    Iams and Purina are both very poor quality foods. I would suggest trying one of the 4 or 5 star foods that are approved for “growth” or “all life stages.” Try supplementing their food with probiotics and digetive enzymes and adding a spoonful of plain canned pumpkin. This should help clear up the diarrhea. Once you get their digestive issues cleared up it would be a good idea to switch foods occasionally and top the dry food with a higher protein more species-appropriate food such as canned, raw or fresh cooked. Good luck!

  • lovemypups

    my English bulldog puppies are 8 weeks old and were on Purina dry puppy food by the seller. I bought them IAMs for puppies and it gave them diarrhea and they didn’t eat much of it after the first 2 days. I put them back on the Purina about a week ago and now that have diarrhea again. What is the best dry puppy food for them now? Thanks!!

  • amefizzle

    I have a 4 month old cockapoo (cockerspaniel/poodle mix) what would be a good brand to get?

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Ron –

    Large and giant breed puppies are prone to developmental orthopedic diseases (hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, pano, etc.) so it’s very important that when purchasing a large/giant breed puppy to purchase from a reputable breeder that has had an OFA or Penn Hip done on the parents, that you don’t overexercise the pup while it’s growing, that you keep the pup lean and that you feed a food with appropriate calcium levels as excess calcium has been linked to growth abnormalities in large breed pups. It is not necessary to feed an adult food and, in fact, I would strongly advise against feeding an adult food. Feed a quality food approved for growth or all life stages that’s low in calcium and control your pup’s portions. Here’s a link to the large/giant breed puppy nutrition forum, here you’ll find links to articles and a list of appropriate 4 and 5 star grain-free foods:

  • rhl672

    can someone please recommend which dry food of the 4 or 5 stars would be best for English Mastiff puppies? We are blessed with 2 crazy 14 week old sisters and have been advised by our vet to feed them adult food to inhibit their growth a little. Any suggestions ?

    Thanks Ron

  • LoveOurShepherds

    THANK YOU for your time. 🙂 I’ll post on the Merrick pages once we give them a try.

  • Pattyvaughn

    She does seem to give some strange replies.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I know you replied to Marie, but who in the world, or out of it, were you talking to????

  • Pattyvaughn

    You answered a post from 2 years ago as if it was posted yesterday. Two years ago.

  • InkedMarie

    (thought I posted but don’t see it): Delgada Jayne, I assume you’re speaking to someone else, not me?

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Didn’t notice you mentioned Whole Earth Farms – Whole Earth Farms is a good food too. It’s very budget friendly considering the quality. I know some individuals that have used it with very good results.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    All of Merrick’s formulas are too high in calcium for a large breed puppy (I’ve checked into it), however at 10 months old your pup is through her rapid growth phase so you don’t need to be concerned with calcium. I normally watch my hound’s calcium levels until they’re 6-8 months old. Merrick Classic is a good food, if you can afford it go for it.

  • InkedMarie

    Delgada Jayne, I believe you’re talking to someone else, not me?

  • LoveOurShepherds

    What do you think of Merrick Classic or WEF, HDM? Looks like we’d feed less, get much better quality, and support a local TX company. 🙂 Should I be concerned about their Calcium levels (I think one review said too high for large breed pups/dogs)?

  • “Fine” usually means “the dog’s tail is wagging and they’re fed. End of discussion.” No thought is put into what is IN the food. Listen, if you’ve been feeding Bil Jac for 20 years, props to you. But, your dog is getting sick constantly and has allergies. I’m not just going to sit here and watch you feed that crap, I’m gonna step in and show you a different and better alternative!

  • If they don’t eat, just leave it for a few minutes and pull it up after a while. Its called tough love. Trust me, they’ll eat when they need to. You’re not starving them, as they are all top notch foods.

  • Puppies need different amounts of proteins and fats than an adult dog. You did no harm by feeding him the all-stages. Now that he’s 18 months, just keep him on the adult formula. Try circulating the flavors, as each has slightly different protein and other important developmental ingredients in it. It all depends on what he needs and how you’re feeling about it. I’ve been feeding TOTW for two years now and I’ve been impressed. Best of luck to you! 😀

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi pinkbully –

    Any of the 4 or 5 star foods that are labeled for “growth” or “all life stages” would be a good choice. If you can do raw, canned or dehydrated that’s better yet. I know English Bulldogs fall on the medium/large breed borderline and I’m not super familiar with the health problems they’re prone to. If they’re prone to developmental orthopedic diseases (such as hip dysplasia) I’d urge you to check out the large breed puppy nutrition forum, there are some articles and a list of foods posted there that will help to minimize growth problems.

  • LoveOurShepherds

    sorry-sending from my phone. 🙂 forgot to mention female puppy is also Belgian mix. We think mixed with Lab. She’s a little below 40 pounds and her siblings, both male and female, are all at least 50 pounds. All three dogs are fixed. I’m thinking the Natural Balance Sy ergy may be a good food for all 3?

  • pinkbully

    What is the best food for my 12 wk old English bulldog?

  • LoveOurShepherds

    we went to a small store today and found Merri k Classic and whole earth farms, nature’s variety prairie and instinct, natural balance synergy and all other varieties, innova, halo, BB, solid gold, wellness reg and core, canyon creek ranch, innova, andnutro natural choice and ultra. Male Belgian mix pup is happy, energetic, and silky; female pup is coarse coated, underweight, was the runt of her litter and had demodetic mange at 5 months. 3 1/2 yr GSD/Husky mix male has seasonal allergies with runny eyes, cough, and itchy paws. Doesn’t lick much otherwise. Thanks for your input! I’d love one food for all, but know we may need two for a while, depending on their tolerances. Guess we’ll be doing the Cat food upgrade next! 😉

  • InkedMarie

    Hi back to you! Report back with a complete list of what you can get locally. Do any of your dogs have any issues? (underweight, overweight, hard to keep weight on, frequent ear infections, any skin/coat issues, paw licking?). This helps us find foods.

  • LoveOurShepherds

    Hi, InkedMarie! I went a little crazy yesterday and created a spreadsheet of the foods that should be available locally and their price per pound; we’re heading out today to try and see what’s in the stores and the suggested feeding portions of each brand. (Didn’t have time to scour their websites yesterday.) We’re leaning towards one food for all the dogs, but know that’s an unlikely possibility–we can hope! 🙂 I live in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex,so we have many pet- and feed-stores. I’m also not opposed to ordering on-line, but it appears with several sites that my local price may be better (if the selection is as good as the website says it is). I’m leaning towards the Eagle Pack, Holistic Select, Nature’s Variety Prairie, Merrick Whole Earth Farms or Natural Balance Synergy–I know that’s not a very short list, but figure we’ll try a variety and anything on the 4-star and 5-star list is better than what they’re eating now! I’m happy for any suggestions. Thanks for your help. 🙂

  • InkedMarie

    I’m just reading this now so I’m not prompt but a couple questions: what is your price point, are you looking for a food for this one pup, both the puppies or all four dogs? Are you interested in ordering online or do you need to buy in person? If you need the latter, can you give us your town and state, so we can better help?

  • LoveOurShepherds

    Makes me sad that we weren’t better educated as to the quality of the myriad dog food ingredients during their “critical growth” periods, but now we know and can move forward smarter consumers! Thanks for your time–love your pics; precious dogs!!!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi LoveOurShepherds –

    Large breed dogs are considered full grown at 18 months of age. However the “critical” (rapid) growth phase in which you would want to be very concerned about calcium levels would generally be from weaning up to 6-8 months – this is the time frame in which puppies can’t regulate passive calcium absorption and are more susceptible to developmental orthopedic diseases. Ideally, I would recommend keeping her on a food that states that it meets AAFCO nutrient requirements for “growth” or “all life stages” for life (these foods are higher quality than “maintenance” formulas and generally contain more protein and less filler) or at the very least keep her on a growth/als formula until she’s 18 months old. I have three dogs – an 8 month old puppy, a 2 year old adult and a 7 year old senior – they all eat a raw diet tailored to the AAFCO’s “growth”/”all life stages” requirement. Prior to starting raw, my oldest dog ate kibble and I always fed him foods labeled for growth or all life stages. I never fed “maintenance” foods.

  • LoveOurShepherds

    Thank you, HDM! I just found the link to your well-researched list of large-breed puppy foods. At what age do I no longer consider her a puppy? (I’ve been told for large breeds, it’s best to feed large-breed puppy food until around 18 months?)

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi LoveOurShepherds –

    For younger puppies in their critical growth phase it’s important to feed a food with controlled calcium levels, however because your girl is already 10 months old I don’t think calcium should be a huge concern. I would just focus on finding a budget-friendly 4 or 5 star food. Some budget friendly options that are at least 3 1/2 stars: Pure Balance (sold at Walmart), Merrick’s Whole Earth Farms, Fromm Classics, Healthwise, NutriSource, Pro Pac, Eagle Pack, Hi-Tek Naturals and Victor. All of these foods generally retail at $45 or less for the largest bag (usually 30-40 lbs.) and none are made by Diamond. If you can’t find any of these foods locally I would check sites such as,,, and – these sites offer free shipping with no weight restrictions when you spend a certain amount of money (usual $49+) and they all offer a large selection of quality foods.

  • LoveOurShepherds

    Hello! I’ve spent several hours today reading about the best dry puppy foods, and I’m still struggling to find a great-quality large-breed puppy food with consistently positive comments. While I realize that each dog digests its foods differently and thrives with different nutrients/exercise levels, etc., I’m seeking a high-quality food for a large foster pup who was the runt of her litter.

    She was recently returned to our rescue group because the family couldn’t keep up with her energy-level (Belgian Shepherd mix–gorgeous all-black with soulful eyes!). They had her for 8 months, during which time she was diagnosed and treated for demodetic mange; even with this, they were feeding her RR Nutrish, which she doesn’t care for. She’s 10-months-old, but only 40 pounds and her coat is dry and bristly (her mother was beautiful at 60+ and her brother, who’s our personal pup, is silky and 55+ pounds). We’d prefer to bump both pups up to higher quality food (we’re using Purina–I know, I know: doggy junk food!).

    I live in an urban area and have a moderate price point, but feel leery of Diamond-company products after reading all of the comments on the various food reviews! 😉 With three human kiddos, a full-time job, and four in-house pets/fosters, raw or homemade isn’t possible at this time. Any starting suggestions? Thanks in advance for the prompt and helpful responses!

  • Blue Buffalo has responded to those allegations. Although I’m not a big BB fan I have yet to read or hear anything definitive saying there’s something wrong with their food.

  • ShepherdsRock

    The FDA has yet to announce a recall, but hundreds of people have been experiencing medical problems with their dogs after feeding them various Blue Buffalo products…

  • Oftentimes I don’t think people truly know if their dog is doing “fine” on a food. To them “fine” probably just means the dog seems healthy and hasn’t had any major issues.

    Dogs tend to hide small illnesses anyway.

  • InkedMarie

    Exactly! I get irked when someone feeds a grocery store food and says how good it is. I usually point out that their dogs may do fine on it but that doesn’t make it a good food, ingredient wise.

  • It really bothers me when people bash a good or great dog food because their dog didn’t do well on it. It doesn’t occur to them that their dog is not like every other dog.

    It’s typical selfish thinking that I see day in and day out in the retail world.

  • Pattyvaughn

    But they aren’t appropriate for large breed puppies.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Funny, my stools do just the opposite when I make a meal out of meat. I know, I know, TMI

  • InkedMarie

    You know, I really really wish people would stop posting false statements. I have feed high quality, high protein foods and NO, they do not have soft stool. Maybe YOUR dogs have soft stool on these foods but not all dogs do.
    If you’ve had that experience, please say IME or just type the sentence out. Just because this has been your experience doesn’t mean it is so for all dogs.

  • Cynthia Pharm.D.

    Yes!! If you had the same symptoms, you would change your food, no? Buy the best quality food you can afford; it saves in vet bills down the road. Find something he likes. Healthy pet food stores will have samples from the top manufacturers; see if your dog likes one, get a SMALL bag to start, and switch foods. The usual recommendation is to mix foods for a week, but if your guy is having such a bad reaction to current food, you can probably switch over 3-4 days. You CAN switch over immediately, but may have to wait a few days to decide if it solves the runny stool problem since it is known that sudden food changes will upset dogs’ systems and cause diarrhea. I had a friend whose dogs had TERRIBLE gas, she was giving one can of CHEAP (i.e.Dollar Store) food a day “so the dog would have something other than dry” and when I got her to stop, the gas stopped. Your dog obviously is reacting to the food. Keep trying!

  • Cynthia Pharm.D.

    Oops, it’s Sorry 🙁

  • Cynthia Pharm.D.

    P.S. Orijen has received Dog Food of the Year several times…….

  • Cynthia Pharm.D.

    The psyllium husk makes wet food gummy and slimy and some dogs may not like the texture. I tried it and mine won’t eat it. Lucky you!

  • Cynthia Pharm.D.

    The high quality, i.e. high protein foods WILL give a soft stool. has good ratings. Just give your dog raw carrots, raw apple, cooked pumpkin, or other vegetables/fruits high in fiber to firm up the stool. Some dogs like cooked oatmeal; mine does not. Mine likes raw baby carrots or apple slices as a treat. He also plays with carrots…..Use these for training instead of unhealthy biscuit things! Do not add extra sugar to anything. Just like when YOU eat only high protein food, your stool is soft……I also mix grated carrot or apple or cooked pumpkin in food instead of offering it whole. How much to give? Until stools firm up. Some dogs may only need one or two baby carrots a day, some may need more. Big dogs need full size carrots. Don’t cook the carrots or they develop more sugars. I am a pharmacist that eats healthy/organic, and my dog does too….And people constantly tell me how active & alert my dog is. It’s really true, you are what you eat…..I personally buy Orijen food but any 5 star recommended food will be the “best” for your dog. Just remember to slowly (over a week) mix the old with the new when changing foods. And your dog WILL let you know if they hate a new food, they refuse to eat it until they are starving. If they skip several meals ylu will know they dislike it. So get samples from a healthy pet store (one rarely finds the best stuff at groceries and if they do carry it, they don’t have samples) plus if a grocery like Whole Foods has the food they won’t have samples. Petsense doesn’t have good food, but Petco has some. And see if your dog likes it….a friend of mine was feeding her dog Science Diet (which is actually bad, second highest ingredient was corn meal) and visited; her dog scarfed down the Orijen I had out for mine! Yet mine rejected other high quality dog foods. So get some samples & see what your doggie likes best!

  • NatG

    I love Blue Buffalo products as well as EVO; although, I get Blue Buffalo more often due to the fact that it works excellent and is more accessible (at both Petsmart’s and Petco’s locally).This is the only food I will feed my baby Dalmatian the food just softens the fur and makes my pup all around better. He just looks healthy and performs better (when exercising/training and playing).

  • Bob Dobbs

    Good heavens you folk! You worry about puppy and mature dog formulas? Dogs have evolved by eating anything they can – unlike humans who will eat EVERYTHING! Make sure your dog food is not contaminated with pesticides (impossible), or GMO’s (equally impossible or unlikely). Give your dog the best food you can and give him/her plenty of attention and exercise. Keep them close to your heel (but I’m preaching to the choir, aren’t I?).

  • New lab owner

    My pure bred chocolate lab died at the age of 16 years 6 months. I had her since she was 8 weeks old. She primarily ate Ol Roy dog food for most of her life. She stayed up to date on her shots and heart worm treatments. She was never sick or under weight or unhealthy. Her last couple of years she ate retriever brand from Tractor Supple. I heard so much talk about how bad Old Roy is, yet my Katie seemed to flourish on it.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Hi Lotto
    The best thing for your pup is to pick a few high quality foods that she does well on and rotate between them. This helps keep her gut healthy, which is a huge part of the immune system. Nature’s Variety has a really good line of kibble, too. My personal favorite is Brother’s Complete.
    Of course if you really want the very best….feeding raw is the way to go.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Junho Oh –

    You were smart by not taking your vet’s suggestion, Royal Canin is a mediocre food at best. Most vets promote foods like Royal Canin, Science Diet, Iams, Purina and Eukanuba – none contain quality ingredients. Orijen and EVO are both excellent foods. I wouldn’t narrow yourself down to one. Rotate between both so your dog gets some variety, even try some other comparable 5 star dry foods. Topping the dry food with a quality canned, freeze-dried, dehydrated or raw food or adding healthy leftovers (lean meat, eggs, steamed veggies, etc.) is another easy way to increase the quality of the kibble and make it more species-appropriate (higher protein and moisture content). Dogs need variety just like people do – rotating foods is good for your puppy.

  • Hello all, I really need some help to feed my lil mini- dachshund. she’s now 4 months old and I have trouble to find the best dry food for her. Everyone say different things….. my vet recommended RC and fed her couple days but I figured that the RC is not a great food for her. So after lots of research, it narrows down to Orijen or Evo. I bought 2 small bags already and tried on her and she likes both of it. So, Please recommend me a high quality dry food for her~! thank you…..

  • Lotto

    Hello all, I really need some help to feed my lil mini- dachshund. she’s now 4 months old and I have trouble to find the best dry food for her. Everyone say different things….. my vet recommended RC and fed her couple days but I figured that the RC is not a great food for her. So after lots of research, it narrows down to Orijen or Evo. I bought 2 small bags already and tried on her and she likes both of it. So, Please recommend me a high quality dry food for her~! thank you…..

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Gus2 –

    If he’s on antibiotics definitely get him on a high quality multi-strain probiotic supplement. If you head over to the forum section there’s a list of foods appropriate for large and giant breed puppies and links to several articles:

  • Gus2

    I have a 16 week old Giant Schnauzer who has been eating 4 Health and has done great with it. He started having diarrhea and I took him to the vet. She said that he has an overgrowth of bacteria and started him on antibiotics and wants me to change his puppy food after he is done with the I.D. She suggested Purina one. After checking out this website I wondered if there is a better food. Cost is not a problem but it would be a problem if I have to drive long distances to get the food.

  • TRLA22

    I have an eight month old Scottish Terrier. Could you please suggest the best dry dog food for him. Thank you.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Irene –

    There is no “best” food. I’d recommend picking two or three (or more) 5 star foods that work for your dog and rotating for variety. Topping with a 5 star canned or raw food will increase the quality even more. Sites like and sell quite a few trial sized bags and usually offer free samples, upscale pet boutiques usually have samples as well and most companies will mail you samples if you call or email them and ask – this way you can make sure your dog likes the food and doesn’t have an issue with any of the ingredients before you invest in a big bag.

  • Irene

    I have a 4 month old yorkie and want the best dry food I can give him. Anyone have an idea who has yorkies.

  • Irene

    i have a 4 month old yorkie and just want the best dry food for him anyone have any suggestions.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Shirl –

    A high protein grain-free food is best. However, I wouldn’t feed Taste of the Wild as it’s made by Diamond – the company has frequent recalls and poor quality control. Innova has a good quality grain-free food called “Innova Prime”, also a wonderful grain-free food made by the same company as Innova is EVO. These or most other 5 star grain-free foods would be a great choice for your pup.

  • Shirl

    I have a Jack Russell now six month old….She has been on Nature Choice for Puppies, but thinking of changing her to Innova Puppy, Also heard of Taste of the Wild. Is it better no grain or what? I am so confused now. Thanks!

  • InkedMarie

    What’s “your area”? Sometimes you have to drive a half hour for quality, or shop online, like HDM and Sandy suggested

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Can you shop online? Sites like,,,,,, and offer free shipping when you spend over a certain amount (usually $49) and have a big selection of quality foods. I have to do most of my shopping online, I’m in the middle of nowhere and don’t have any quality pet stores near me.

  • Have you looked online? Alot of online retailers have free shipping when you order a large bag.

  • searching

    None of these are offered in my area!

  • Chastity

    thanks! I will give this a try.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Have you tried mixing in canned food? 4Health has some pretty decent quality canned foods that are only $0.99 per can. Canned food is a lot healthier than dry too as it’s higher in moisture and protein. Try mixing a few spoonfuls of canned with warm water to make a gravy and completely coating her kibble.

  • Chastity

    I have a 3 1/2 month old boxer. We have been feeding her 4 Health puppy food but she doesn’t seem to really care for it. I live in southern Iowa and we have a Menards, Tractor Supply, H&S feed store and Orscheln’s. And I don’t want to spend a whole lot of money. Like 30-40$ max?

  • InkedMarie

    I agree with HDM, change to a higher quality food. If you have monetary issues, give us an idea how much you can spend and are you willing to order food online? Also do the salmon oil

  • Natural Balance is listed in the four star ratings on this site.

  • clwar1

    Thank you!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi clwar1 –

    She’s adorable!

    Science Diet is a fairly low quality food which could be causing the flaky skin. A switch to a high quality 4 or 5 star food may solve the problem. I’d also add a drizzle of fish oil for omega 3’s and coconut oil for medium chain triglycerides – both can help improve dry skin and coat (don’t add too much – maybe 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. each). Also, make sure not to bathe her too often – this can dry out the skin and coat. Give the diet change a few weeks, the improvement won’t be immediate.

  • clwar1

    Hi –

    I have a soon to be 5 month old Shar Pei/Boxer mix little girl. We live in Colorado. She is all black however she suffers from dandruff. I brought her to our vet to make sure, and after a quick skin scrapping – dandruff was confirmed.

    Any recommendation on dry food; we got her from a rescue shelter and she has been on Science Diet.

    Thanks –

    Cindy and Peppermint

  • Pattyvaughn

    It’s listed as a 3 star food, so it won’t be on a 5 star list.

  • me

    I do not see VeRUS dog food on here. Any comments?

  • Pattyvaughn

    Here’s the link to Hound Dog Mom’s list of 4 and 5 star foods that are appropriate for large breed puppies.

  • I always recommend Fromm Gold Large Breed Puppy food, as the calcium level on it is in the right range so that a large breed dog doesn’t grow too quickly, which can lead to even more hip/joint issues than larger dogs already have to deal with. Fromm’s grain free foods (Beef Frittata, Surf & Turf, Salmon Tunalini, Game Bird) are all life stages formulas, and would also be good options for you.

    However, Fromm isn’t the easiest to get. You’d have to go to a small holistic pet food store, or order online. Good news is that they offer free samples, which I’m sure they’d be willing to send you.

    Nature’s Variety Instinct Rabbit or Turkey would be good options for you as well, and that one would be easier to get as it’s sold at Petcos.

    Hound Dog Mom created a list of good options for large breed puppies. If you give me your email address I’d be happy to send it to you, as there are more options for your pup.

  • Jamie C.

    Hi I have a 5 month old Siberian husky and right now she is eating Science Diet Large Breed Puppy food, but I want to see if there are any better options out there? I usually shop at Petsmart, but am willing to shop at other places to find the right food. What do you think is the best food for this breed of dog? Thanks!

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  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Dani Dufourd –

    Here’s a link to the large and giant breed puppy nutrition forum:

    If the dog is picky I would mix some canned food in with the dry food.

  • My puppy likes California Natural Chicken and Rice Puppy.  she is a 7 mo old boxer.

  • Dani Dufourd

    I just adopted a husky/shepherd mix. He has been fed food that was donated to the shelter & they gave me a small bag if science diet. I know science diet is bad so I tried giving him holistic select chicken for puppies and he wants nothing to do with it! Whats a good alternative? He’s picky with treats too, he only likes mixed berry holistic treats. He’s 3mo. I live in Colorado.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi LisiePooh –

    It depends on the dog’s chewing style. I’m sure a marrow bone would be perfectly fine for a teething puppy and keep it busy for a long time. For older dogs that are heavy chewers however, I advise avoiding recreational bones (weight bearing bones of large animals – such as marrow bones and knuckle bones) because they’re actually so dense that a determined chewer can break a tooth and/or wear down their teeth over time. I have heavy chewers so they all get raw meaty bones only (completely consumable bones – such as chicken backs, turkey necks, etc.).

  • LisiePooh

    The only freeze-dried food I’ve tried is Stella and Chewy’s. It’s a raw food, made with just raw meats and organic fruits and veggies. I cannot comment on the price (sorry) as it was a gift. But my lab loved it! Have a great time in Mexico with the pups!

  • LisiePooh

    Thank you so much, HDM! I have a lot of research ahead of me! Thanks for pointing me to some great resources.  Good to know about the calcium. I will mix the wet in with the dry; good tip. Do you think marrow bones are a good raw bone? Geez, I feel like such a newbie… 

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi LisiePooh –

    I missed your previous post – but just read it. I see you’re getting a lab. With large breed puppies it’s very important to control the calcium levels of the food and to make sure you don’t overfeed (do not free feed!) in order to help prevent the development of orthopedic issues (such as hip dysplasia). A combination of wet and dry food is preferable to just dry – canned food is much more species-appropriate than dry food. Raw bones are great treats for dogs and really help keep teething puppies busy.

    Here’s a link to the Large and Giant Breed Puppy Nutrition forum – there are a lot of great articles posted here:

    And here is a link to a list of 4 and 5 star grain-free foods appropriate for large breed puppies:

  • Pattyvaughn

    Adding moisture to kibble is a good thing, having it actually incorporated into the food is great.

  • LisiePooh

    Oh, that’s a good point, Doggone!  I’m in rural Vermont (Northeast USA), so I am thinking I may have to order online.  I’m also wondering if I need to do a combo of wet and dry?  Thank you!!

  • Lisa

    Thank you for replying, Hound Dog Mom. I’ve tried Sojos (only 3.5 stars) and The Honest Kitchen (zeal, love, & embark are all 5 star). She liked The Honest Kitchen mixes, and a dried lamb sample we got (I don’t remember the name, since it wasn’t pre-packaged, but the large box of pellets was over $100. They were hard to break up, which had to be done before adding hot water. The other available flavor was venison.)

    I think we can combine the BBW with either the Honest Kitchen mixes, or the canned Evangers, and continue supplementing with raw meat (I freeze it, then give it frozen), eggs, and fresh fruit. The freeze dried meats were very expensive, and she’s eating about 3 cups of dry food a day, plus training treats (freeze dried liver), teething pizzles, and yak milk chews. 

    I didn’t like the smell of the Sojos. It smelled salty, and reminded me of instant ramen (ick). She ate it, though. 

    I’ve got another week here to do personal research to see what she likes the best. 

    Any feedback/hints/suggestions are appreciated.  

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Lisa –

    I’d suggest picking up a pre-mix and buying fresh meat while traveling. It will save space as well since the pre-mix is dehydrated and doesn’t contain meat (you add the meat and water). The Honest Kitchen makes a pre-mix called Preference, Sojo’s makes a couple pre-mixes, there’s Grandma Lucy’s, Dr. Harvey’s and Birkdale Petmix as well.

  • Lisa

    My 5 month old Lab puppy is getting tired of Blue Buffalo Wilderness, so I’ve been “doctoring” it lately with a bit of canned (Evanger’s or Wysong) rabbit, duck, or venison or other treat type bits. I’ve been picking up samples of dry foods (mostly grain free), and even some freeze dried foods. So far, she prefers lower quality dry foods, like Natural Balance and Now. She eats some raw meats (which she loves). Her vet says she’s healthy and at the perfect weight for her age. 
    Does anyone have suggestions for dry or freeze dried foods? We’ll be out of the U.S. for the next 2 months, and need to bring enough food for a growing Lab and my senior sheepdog. If I stick with the BB Wilderness (doctored) and the sheepdog’s Natural Balance, my car will be full of dog food, leaving little room for me & the dogs. 
    The only foods we’ll have access to while traveling are fresh beef and fruits & veggies. The packaged dog foods in Mexico are not fit for consumption. 

  • Doggonefedup.

    I think many people would be more than happy to give you some advice on what to feed your new puppy. It would be a big help if you could just tell us where in the world you are located. A different country or even a different state could change a recommondation as to what is available in your area. My personal preference is Abady’s and Brothers Complete.

  • Hi Melissa,

    Both your son and your pup are beautiful!  What a sweet picture.  : )

    A great source of information for you would be to head over the forum area and check out Hound Dog Mom’s list of suggested foods and some very informative nutrition information as well.  Here’s a link:

    A couple of super important things to remember with large breed puppies is slow, controlled growth – keep him lean.  Excessive growth and weight gain is a major contributor to orthopedic issues including dysplasia and pano.  As well, you need to keep the calcium in check, which is why you’re better off taking a look at HDM’s list.  An all life stages foods with appropriate calcium levels of 1.3% or less would be great for both of your pups.  

    Good luck and congratulations!

  • disney1974

    Hello  I am in search of the best dry food for my 10 week old Great Pyrenees and for my almost 8 year old samoyed. Am looking for No menadine (or vitamin K) Can you point me in the right direction please … I have been looking at Annamaet Grain Free, Orijen large Breed Puppy, Fromm Large Breed Puppy, Performatrin Ultra Grain free, Acana, Earthborne Holistic Vantage Puppy which will be best for both or if we have to separate that would be fine…Dont want yeast issues either , Any other that I did not mention please let me know about…My vet says to keep my puppy on Purina puppy chow..I am taking her off ASAP Horrible crap…Looking forward to hearing from you soon!!!!Thanks so Much! Have a Magical dayMelissa

  • LisiePooh

    HELP!  I was hoping to get some advice. I am picking up my English Lab puppy tomorrow, and I have to say I’m terrified! I haven’t raised a puppy in 12 years (our chocolate lab died last month 🙁 )  Can anyone tell me how much I should be feeding her, and should I be doing a combo of wet and dry? Currently she is on Iams Full Active Health Smart Puppy, I am told, but I would like to get her onto something more superior.

    Various sources seem to give all kinds of disparate answers. Some say leave the food down and let your puppy eat to its hearts content…. I don’t believe that, as when our first lab was a puppy she got into a bag of kibble and ate the entire thing and blew up like a balloon!  

    I just want to do this right, from day one!

    Also, as a side note, what kind of treats are healthy? I see someone mentioned raw bones… 

    Thank you so much in advance!!!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Admittedly I was a little sketched out by their website, but I really enjoyed their customer service on the phone. I had a wonderful conversation with them.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I definitely agree with you there – any homemade diet done incorrectly is potentially disastrous, but I don’t think that a properly balanced raw diet can be improved upon.

  • I have to say that my phone conversation with them was unexpectedly simple and straightforward, especially when compared with their almost caricature-ish website.  

  • Doggonefedup.

     I will agree with you to a point. Sometimes even nature needs a little help. Its true nature can and does supply every thing but some times those things aren’t always available to the specific animal causing a deficiency. Since processing is a form of predigesting it will make some foods a dog could not normally digest into something they can finish digesting and can actually end up being better for some dogs than what nature provides. One simple example would be carrots. While I have to agree the prey diet and the barf diet are fantastic for dogs they also have to be done correctly. Get just one thing wrong and it could develop into a major problem. I doubt if more than one in ten people will get it right even if they read a hundred books. (ok maybe a little exaggerating)  So for the remaining nine out of ten people I will stick by my statement. For the one in ten that does get it right I stand corrected. Maybe this time we can agree to disagree.

  • Doggonefedup.

    You have to look past the website and consider the food. Call Abady and talk to them. every body that has tried the food is impressed in a positive way.

  • LabsRawesome

    I think Abady dog food is extremely sketchy. Their website says some really crazy sh!t.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    “In my opinion there absolutely is nothing better. And I am including other barf and prey diets when I say that.”

    I have to STRONGLY disagree with that statement. That’s like saying a well formulated meal replacement bar is better than a real meal. Abady and Brother’s are both good foods but they’re processed foods with starches that don’t belong in a dog’s diet. They’re better than many other processed dog food products, but a grain-free/starch-free, fresh, unprocessed diet with all nutrients derived from whole foods is what nature intended for dogs and what is ideal.

  • Doggonefedup.

    I’ve used Abady for years. I did have to stop using it for awhile because I lost my only source. However, since I found out the factory is less than 20 miles from my house and there is a local distributor I am once again feedinfg Abady to my boyz. The best online outlet for Abady’s is 1800whiskers. I have three GSD’s with the newest being 10wks old. I will be talking to Erika at Abady’s today about opening account and purchasing directly from the factory, since I now have three other people that want it. I use a combination of Abady’s raw, canned, granulated, and kibble. I also use Brothers. In my opinion there absolutely is nothing better. And I am including other barf and prey diets when I say that. I can guarantee you will not find a dry food anywhere that has a higher overall amount of meat protien in it then Abady’s since they don’t use plant based protiens. Every other dry food on the market include plant based protien which weighs less than meat protien. Think about it. Even Origen has high amounts of nonmeat protiens when compared to Abady’s. I think the combination of Brothers and Abadys is about as good as it gets period.  Abady’s granulated is their premium dry food. It looks a lot like sand, and tastes like beef with a little fish. The granulated is calorie dense and should be mixed either with canned or raw and a small amount of water or broth. Sometimes I also added steeped fresh meats. to make steeped meats simply bring some water to a brisk boil turn it off place chucks and pieces of fresh meat into the water and just let it cool. That will kill any surface germs while the inside stays raw. The liquid is reserved as a healthy broth used to add extra moiture to their meals. Also the amount of arsenic that may be found in white rice is so small it isn’t even worth thinking about. Dogs can process arsenic out of their baodies way better than humans and just so you know arsenic is also a natural heartworm preventitive. 

  • Melissaandcrew

    LOL.. I know how you feel-we have a ton too and it drives hubby batty : ) The canned Apex and Vitality do seem identical, with the Apex a more expensive. Maya does well on both, as well as the canned tripe. 

  • Hound Dog Mom has Abady with free shipping.

  • Dave’s Hounds

     I am the same way – but at least I will never run out of food.

  • Dave’s Hounds

     I ordered the same granulated. Shipping at For Dogs Sake wasn’t cheap….

  • HDM and Melissandcrew have both used the granulated. So far, the boxes I purchased haven’t been opened. I told myself this morning, I can’t buy any more dog food until I whittle down my current supply – I have enough on hand to stock my doomsday shelter. I bought maintenance and stress formulas as well.

    The thing I liked about, was that you could buy single cans and they have a huge variety of Abady canned. I bought Apex and Vitality and found the ingredients were virtually identical, but that one cost more than the other. They packed the order really well also, each can was individually wrapped.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Dave –

    I use “State of the Art Maintenance and Stress Formula”

  • Dave’s Hounds

     I ordered from For Dog’s Sake – I was able to buy 24 cans for what i pay for 12 Ziwipeak. I will try the granulated – which do you recommend?

  • I’ve tried the canned, Dave. Mine really like it. The consistency is different that lots of other canned foods I’ve used. It’s not as dense as other canned foods and seems to be more “aromatic” than lots of foods – not in a bad way at all, it’s nice and beefy smelling. I picked up a couple of boxes of two different kinds of the granular and a small bag of kibble while I was at it. Did you by chance order from

  • Dave’s Hounds

    I just ordered 24 cans of Abady – looks great – will see how my dogs like it (not that they ever dislike anything….). Has anyone else tried the canned?

  • InkedMarie

    You’re talking to someone named Bruce, not Patty

  • Pattyvaughn

    Hey Bob,  I’m the one with Border Collies.  We run, do herding, agility, obedience, swim, play, etc.  But I really like the part about get out together:-)

  • Bob K

      Pattyvaughn – Get some good quality shoes and get your dog out with you together, start on basic commands, throw the ball a little.  Unexercised Rotts are problems.  Get the Rottie to puppy school and socialization

  • Pattyvaughn

    The rule of thumb for structured exercise is 5 minutes a day for every month old the dog is, so a 5 month old should not be exercised more than 25 minutes a day.  If you watch how puppies play, they play hard for very short times and then take a nap.  You don’t want to make a puppy do more than what they would do naturally, especially as it affects growth plates, like HDM said no jumping, this also includes climbing, up or down.  Any training you do counts as structured exercise.  BTW exercising a puppy’s mind is the best way to wear it out, train tricks, give it puzzles to solve, etc.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Jbrucew –

    You never want to make a large breed dog under the age of 18 months do any heavy-duty forced activity. Up to 6 months of age I don’t force any exercise on my pups, not even walks – I just let them play and do their own thing. After 6 months I’ll take my pups on short 20-30 minutes leashed walks. Once my dogs are a year old I don’t restrict leashed walks, I’ll start walking them with my adults (a one hour walk morning and evening). But I never forced force any high impact activity on a large breed puppy until after 18 months – that means no taking the dog for a run, no tossing frisbees in the air and having the dog jump to catch it, etc. etc. Any extreme activity before the dog’s bones and joints are fully formed (18 months for large breeds and 24 months for giant breeds) can contribute to orthopedic issues – such as hip and elbow dysplasia.

  • Jbrucew

    Dear Hound Dog Mom…would appreciate very much hearing your advice on the following…5 month Rottie…i’m not clear on recommended exercise routine for this age puppy. Bad knees so I have been treadmilling him at 2.2 mph for 20 mins 3 times a day. Thank you. Bruce

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi memepapa –

    I’d try Abady granular. It’s very high calorie and high fat, great for putting on weight.

  • Memepapa

    I have a 11 week old yorkie that will not gain weight.What can I give her to make her gain

  • Hi Ruth,

    I’m just wondering… are you definitely sold on a dry diet?

    You could make your own raw at home, or use a commercially prepared and balanced raw diet. I use kibble for my dogs morning meal and Darwin’s raw for their evening meal.

    Raw is amazingly digestible and I bet your dog would love it. No matter what you choose, you can always supplement kibble with sardines, fresh lean meats, etc.

  • Ruth

    Thanks for the advice, I’ve spent the last hour going through the ingredients on all of the above. Most of them still contain chicken products but I have narrowed it down to a list of about half a dozen. I’m also concerned about calcium levels which are not listed on this page so I’ll have to look up the foods individually. Betsy, thanks for that link. It’s confirmed most of the ones I was considering. A trainer told me to also be careful of yeast and flax as these can also cause allergies so that’s the next thing to consider.

  • Hi Ruth,

    What I would do is go through the lists of best puppy foods and best dry foods. All of those foods are either four or five star foods. Simply look through the ingredients and try something other than chicken or chicken meal. Turkey is not the same protein as chicken, by the way.

    Because your dog is a large breed, I would be conscious of slow, controlled growth and limit the calcium intake to avoid excessive bone growth (about 1% for dry diets). Most importantly, keep your pup lean during his growth phase.

    This link will take you to the forum area: In the post the third from the top, Hound Dog Mom has put together a list of foods she recommends for large breed puppies, so this might be a good place to start. Just look for one as a protein source other than chicken or chicken meal.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Ruth –

    I can tell you that almost every one of the foods listed above offer at least one formula free of poultry. You just need to go to the product’s websites and check out the ingredients lists.

  • Ruth

    I have a six month old alaskan malamute that seems to be having problems with poultry products. Can anyone recommend a good dry food that does not contain poultry?

  • Simply Nourish small breed puppy is very small kibble.  When the pups are tiny, it helps to moisten the food in warm water, and you can chop it up to make it smaller if they still can’t eat it.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Dayami –

    Most of the 5 star foods are grain-free and they’re all going to be high protein – any of these foods would be a good choice. I now feed raw but when I fed kibble my personal favorites were Orijen and Nature’s Variety Instinct – both high protein and rated 5 stars. I’d recommend picking out 2 or 3 quality foods that your dog likes and rotating for variety and also, if you can, top the dry with canned, dehydrated, raw or fresh cooked (it’ll make it healthier). Good luck with your new pup! 🙂

  • Dayami

    I am looking for a grain free dry food for my American bulldog 5 months puppy. I am looking for the one with the most protein percentage. Can you help?

  • The “where to buy” link at the very bottom of their site works.  And also Nature’s Select Hi-Protein/Puppy food is also small and triangular like the Nutrisource puppy.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    If no stores in your area sell it, you can order it online from, or with free shipping. There’s a store locator on the Nutrisource website:

  • Jwinter13

    Where can you find nutrisource?

  • Kathmike

    Evo has nice small bites.  my dog loves them for training treats

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Cyn –

    There’s a thread in the forums about large breed puppy food. Click “forums” on the top red bar, once in the forums click on “diet and health issues” and the large breed puppy thread is a yellow sticky at the top of the discussions list.

  • Cyn

    Any specifically for large breed puppies?

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