The Great Pyrenees is a beautiful dog breed that many people dream of one day owning. The sheer size of this breed is a sight to behold! Meanwhile, their protective instincts make a joy to have in a family setting.
Thanks to the rough terrain of the Pyrenees mountains, the Great Pyrenees developed some unique traits conducive to its lifestyle. The breed is known for its immense power and brute strength. Plus, they have a thick double coat of water-resistant fur to keep them comfortable in challenging conditions.
Whether you have a working Great Pyrenees or a simple family companion, the best thing you can do for these dogs provides a top-notch diet.
What the Great Pyrenees eats has a significant influence on its overall health and well-being.
The Great Pyrenees is not like your average Pomeranian or Golden Retriever! They have unique needs to sustain their distinct bodies. As a result, cheap kibble just won't do.
Fortunately, there are some great dog food products out there that will serve your Great Pyrenees well for years to come. Here are some of our favorites!
7 of the Best Dog Foods for Great Pyrenees
1. American Journey Active Life Large Breed Salmon & Brown Rice Recipe
American Journey is a fantastic brand that caters to a wide range of lifestyles. This particular formula is geared towards large active dogs. It contains about 24 percent protein.
Most of that comes from salmon and fish meal. Not only is fish a premium protein source filled with amino acids, but it also provides omega fatty acids to support the skin.
The recipe is free of unnecessary fillers, preservatives, and byproducts. Instead, it has a blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to keep your dog's health in check.
2. Blue Buffalo Large Breed Adult Lamb & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food
Blue Buffalo is no stranger to great food! It's one of the most trusted brands in the business. When you look at the ingredients for this large dog breed formula, it's not hard to see why.
The protein comes from great sources. Plus, byproducts and fillers are nowhere to be found. The best part of this recipe is, arguably, the LifeSource bits.
Blue Buffalo's LifeSource bits are tiny morsels of antioxidant-rich ingredients. The food also contains glucosamine and chondroitin, which are perfect for Great Pyrenees.
3. Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Next up, we have this Pacific Stream recipe from Taste of the Wild. This dog food contains 25 percent protein. That protein content comes from several forms of salmon and ocean fish meal.
This formula is grain-free, which is good for dogs with allergies or sensitive stomachs. It's also nutritionally dense. There are about 360 calories per cup of food.
To support your dog's gut, this kibble also has a strain of proprietary probiotics. They support the intestinal flora to improve digestion and overall wellness.
Best Foods for Great Pyrenees Puppies
4. Now Fresh Grain-Free Large Breed Puppy Recipe
Check out this large breed puppy food from Now Fresh. It's a gluten and grain-free formula that contains nothing but the good stuff!
Deboned turkey, deboned duck, and salmon make up the 28 percent protein content. Meanwhile, a slew of plant-based ingredients adds all the vitamins and nutrients your pup needs to grow!
Some specialty ingredients help move your pup's development right along. The food has taurine for eye and heart health, antioxidants for skin health, and probiotics for gut health!
5. Instinct Raw Boost Large Breed Puppy Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken
Here's another superb large breed puppy food. However, this one is from Instinct. Like many of the brand's recipes, this product contains freeze-dried bits of raw chicken.
Not only do they add tons of enticing flavor to appeal to even the pickiest eaters, but it beefs up the protein content. In total, you're looking at about 33.5 percent crude protein analysis!
Of course, that's not the only good thing about this food. It also has a natural source of DHA for brain and eye development. Plus, it's free of grains, fillers, and unnecessary extras.
Best Foods for Great Pyrenees Seniors
6. Nulo Freestyle Senior Grain-Free Trout & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food
The trout and sweet potato formula from Nulo is a great choice for senior Great Pyrenees. As you can guess, trout is the star of the show as far as protein goes.
The protein content for this food is still high at 30 percent. The higher analysis continues to support your dog's aging muscles even if they don't use them as often.
Beyond that, the formula contains all the good stuff your dog needs to stay healthy in the latter part of its life. That includes glucosamine, chondroitin, L-Carnitine, and probiotics.
7. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Senior
Also from Blue Buffalo is this senior-focused recipe. Like the previous Blue Buffalo formula, this one has the signature LifeSource bits for vitamins and minerals.
More importantly, however, is the food's inclusion of glucosamine and chondroitin. These added minerals support the joints and prevent pain from arthritis.
The recipe also has a good amount of calcium and phosphorus. While usually reserved for puppy foods, they help keep bones and teeth strong while your dog ages. Pair that with the many vitamins and minerals, and your dog has the goods they need to age gracefully.
About the Great Pyrenees Breed
You don't have to know much about the Great Pyrenees to tell that it's a little different from most common household dog breeds.
For one, these canines are massive! They're heavily built and muscular. However, most of that muscle definition is hidden beneath that thick coat of fur.
On average, males can reach between 27 and 32 inches tall. Females are a bit smaller, reaching heights of 25 to 29 inches.
When it comes to weight, these dogs are no lap puppies! Males can weigh as much as 160 pounds, while females usually max out at around 115 pounds.
Needless to say, you're going to need a lot of premium dog food to support their stocky bodies!
As far as personality goes, Great Pyrenees are pretty independent. They run on instincts, which can make them a little more challenging to train. That said, most already have an ingrained sense of protective loyalty.
These dogs know how to protect livestock and the ones they love. Even if they ignore commands and do their own thing, most Great Pyrenees will not hesitate to jump into action when the moment calls for it!
That independent streak can be a headache sometimes. Most owners will experience the most frustration around feeding time.
Great Pyrenees dogs can be picky eaters! You may have to try different formulas until you find one your pooch likes.
Even then, some will get bored with time! Toppers and treats will come in handy!
Either way, it's important to understand the essentials of a Great Pyrenees diet. If you're going to be changing foods regularly, some inherent knowledge of this breeds dietary requirements is necessary.
Most veterinary experts agree that dogs need in the neighborhood of 25 calories per pound of body weight.
Lifestyle, breed, and overall body condition could make that figure a little more or a little less. However, 25 calories per pound is a good starting point to plan your dog's meals.
As you can guess, Great Pyrenees need a lot of calories to stay healthy! A 100-pound Great Pyrenees needs approximately 2,200 calories every single day! Even growing puppies will need close to 2,000 calories to develop their muscles.
All that said, it's important to plan your dog's meals accordingly.
When compared to other dog breeds, the Great Pyrenees has a slow metabolism. They don't burn through their food quickly like most active dog breeds. As a result, you have to portion meals to prevent weight gain.
Free-feeding is not an option with the Great Pyrenees. They'll continue to eat beyond their means, resulting in significant weight gain. For a dog of this size, weight gain can be a debilitating health issue.
It's best to spread daily caloric intake into two carefully portioned meals. Consult with your vet and make changes as your dog's lifestyle changes. As puppies, Great Pyrenees need more nutritional density. However, the opposite applies as they reach senior status and start to slow down.
Managing this dog's diet is a life-long task that you must stay on top of.
Finding the Perfect Great Pyrenees Dog Food
So, what makes decent dog food for Great Pyrenees? The trick is to analyze the ingredient list. All brands have unique formulas. You can't rely on the marketing alone to ensure that the food meets your dog's health needs.
When you're shopping, keep the following guidelines in mind.
High Quality Proteins
Let's start with the most critical macronutrient: Protein! Protein is an essential building block for muscles. A heavily built breed like the Great Pyrenees needs a lot of it!
More importantly, however, is the quality of the protein.
Cheap protein sources like meat byproducts and butcher shop leftovers are a no-go! Stick to wholesome meats like lamb, chicken, turkey, and more.
A nice variety of protein sources is always preferred. That way, you can provide your dog with a wide range of beneficial amino acids to support the muscles.
The AAFCO (the Association of American Feed Control Officials) recommends that adult dogs consume a diet with no less than 18 percent. For puppies, the minimum is 22 percent.
While 18 percent is the bare minimum, it doesn't hurt to go a little higher. Many recommend giving Great Pyrenees dog food that has somewhere between 22 and 30 percent.
Fat is an essential nutrient for dogs despite the negative connotation it has with humans. But of course, you can't just go buck wild with the fat content!
Great Pyrenees dogs need healthy, controlled fats. Healthy fats like salmon oil or flaxseed oil serve many purposes. Not only do they provide energy and enticing flavor, but healthy fats contain omega fatty acids.
The fatty acids can support the skin and keep that fluffy coat of fur in good condition.
This breed is susceptible to weight gain, so you must be extra vigilant about not going overboard with the fat content.
Adults should consume foods with about five percent fat. Puppies require about eight percent. At any age, it's not a good idea to go beyond 12 percent fat.
Complex Carbohydrates and Fiber Content
Carbohydrates are your dog's primary source of energy. It's best to go with complex carbs like sweet potatoes and whole grains. Complex carbs break down at a much slower rate.
This characteristic prevents the dreaded energy crash and supports this dog breed's already slow metabolism levels.
When searching for dog foods, don't forget to check the fiber content. Many manufacturers use high-fiber carbohydrates to double dip the benefits.
Some even have prebiotic fibers, which can do wonders to keep your dog regular. Aim for a fiber content between three and five percent for the Great Pyrenees.
Vitamins and Minerals
Of course, we can't forget about vitamins and nutrients. Your pooch needs a wide array of vitamins and nutrients to stay healthy. Most of it will come from plant-based ingredients.
Dog food manufacturers can add many fruits and vegetables to fortify the formula and give your dog all the goodies they need to stay healthy.
Recipes with more variety are usually the best bet. Also, look out for things like antioxidants for even better health benefits.
Things to Avoid
Not all dog foods are made to the same quality standards. Unfortunately, some brands focus on keeping costs low rather than prioritizing your dog's health.
Here are some things to avoid when finding the perfect Great Pyrenees dog food.
Plant-based protein ingredients aren't inherently bad. However, they should never be the primary source of protein. If a plant-based protein like peas or legumes is listed as one of the first five ingredients, look elsewhere.
They're okay as a supplement to animal meat. But, too much of it can lead to some severe stomach issues. These dogs don't respond well to it.
Early studies are starting to show that diets high in legumes and potatoes lead to canine dilated cardiomyopathy. This condition is more common in larger diets, so it's not a risk you should take with your Great Pyrenees.
Stick to wholesome animal meat for protein!
Corn, wheat, soy, and other unnecessary fillers are things you should avoid at all costs. Those ingredients are not suitable for any dog!
Cheaper brands like to use them to beef up the formula without adding much nutritional content at all. They might as well be empty calories. Not only do they not serve your dog, but some canines have a hard time processing them.
Every ingredient in your pup's food should serve a purpose.
Like empty fillers, additives are useless. There's no need to have artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. Natural alternatives exist. Plus, a well-made formula is enough to entice a dog to eat it. Flavors and colors serve no real purpose!
Chemical-based additives could cause harm, too. Some dogs don't react well to chemical ingredients, leading to a host of issues later on.
Puppy and Senior Requirements
All Great Pyrenees can benefit from premium ingredients and a well-balanced diet. However, there are some subtle differences between life stages.
As a puppy, these dogs go through a massive growth spurt! They can gain around a hundred pounds in a year! To support that change, puppies need slightly more protein and fat. Most require slightly more calories per pound, too.
Furthermore, puppies need food that contains calcium and phosphorous. These two minerals are responsible for strengthening the bones and managing skeletal growth.
Without it, dogs can encounter many health complications.
Seniors can use some bone support, too. However, the main concern with older dogs is joint pain. A large dog breed like the Great Pyrenees is susceptible to a litany of joint problems.
Ingredients like glucosamine and chondroitin will supplement the joint cartilage and reduce pain.
Potential Health Issues
No dog is immune to health complications. That includes the Great Pyrenees. Despite their stoic demeanor, this breed is at risk for many illnesses.
Some are genetic and unavoidable. However, there are other conditions that you can manage or avoid with a proper diet.
Bone and Joint Problems
As mentioned earlier, the Great Pyrenees has a high risk for bone and joint problems. Some of the most common conditions are arthritis, hip dysplasia, and elbow dysplasia.
Arthritis is a relatively common condition that affects many dogs as they age. You can alleviate symptoms by providing glucosamine and chondroitin.
Many recommend providing supplements or enriched dog foods early into adulthood to maintain the joints before becoming a problem.
Dysplasia is typically a product of excessive or rapid growth. It can happen if you feed a growing puppy too much or provide an imbalanced diet with lower-quality ingredients.
The joints don't align properly, causing debilitating pain when your pup walks.
This condition can sometimes be avoided with proper feeding. Consult your vet if you suspect that your pup is at risk for dysplasia.
Weight gain is a genuine problem for the Great Pyrenees. These dogs love to eat! They'll continue to snack on anything that's available to them.
Unfortunately, weight gain is much more than a cosmetic issue with large dog breeds. When a Great Pyrenees dog is obese, it put tons of unnecessary stress on the joints. They can experience severe bone problems, metabolic stress, and more.
Stay on top of feeding frequency and make sure to portion meals accordingly.
Bloat occurs when a dog swallows too much air while eating or becomes active after eating. This isn't a simple case of gas.
The stomach can fill with air and twist. It's a life-threatening problem that requires immediate intervention.
The best way to avoid bloat is to provide smaller, manageable meals. You can also use a slow-feeding bowl to manage their pace. It's important to limit activity for at least 30 minutes after feeding, too.
The Great Pyrenees is a behemoth of a dog that needs a healthy diet to stay in shape! These dogs make fantastic companions and wonderful protectors. .
They do a lot for you and your family. Why not pay them back with a delicious diet that supports their health?