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Ideal Diet for Great Pyrenees – The Ultimate Great Pyrenees Feeding Guide

Written by: Arlene Divina
Arlene Divina, one of the content writers at IHD, loves going on adventures with her adorable fur baby. She now creates informative content for pet parents. Read more
| Published on November 29, 2023

The Great Pyrenees, known for their majestic and gentle demeanor, require a well-balanced diet to maintain their health and vitality. This guide provides pet owners comprehensive information on the ideal diet for Great Pyrenees dogs.

Understanding the Nutritional Needs of Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees are large-breed dogs whose dietary needs differ significantly from those of smaller breeds. They require a balanced diet of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Protein is essential for muscle development and repair, while fats provide energy and support coat health. Carbohydrates offer energy and aid digestion, and a mix of vitamins and minerals ensures overall well-being.

Our 5 Top Foods for Great Pyrenees

The diets were selected by our founder Justin Palmer, a certified canine nutrition expert, specifically with Great Pyrenees in mind:

Food Pros Cons

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  • No filler carbohydrates, mostly animal protein
  • Freeze dried is the closest you can get to homemade/fresh. Retains 95% of nutrient value
  • Single source protein (many to choose from) ideal for dogs with allergies. Available in Chicken or Beef
  • Rich in Omega-3 and probiotics, which retain their value in a freeze dried food.
  • Pricier Option
  • Dog may never go back to kibble after trying!

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  • Multi-meat formula, which exposes your dog to multiple protein sources, which can reduce chance of allergies later in life
  • For a dry dog food, contains VERY high protein (38%). Most kibbles contain less than 25%.
  • Contains fish, providing a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids


  • For a dry dog food, its on the pricier side
  • Uses some legumes for protein, which is less ideal for dogs

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  • For a dry dog food, contains moderately high protein (27%)
  • Quality protein from free-range chicken, eggs, and turkey
  • Added fish oil and probiotics can help skin, coat, and digestion
  • Less protein than options above
  • Uses some grains for protein, which is less ideal for dogs

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  • Human grade ingredients that look fresh and homemade
  • Smells like actual human food!
  • Minimally processed and cooked at temperatures much lower than kibble, retains more nutrients.
  • Many flavor & protein options available
  • Pricey on a per meal basis
  • Your dog may not go back to eating cheaper food!

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  • Canned wet food cooked at lower temperature than kibble and retains more nutrient
  • High quality free-range chicken protein
  • Added antioxidants from Artichokes, Cranberries, Pumpkin, Tomato, Blueberries, Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Parsley that you can actually see in the food
  • When buying wet food, you're paying for water weight
  • More expensive than dry food

Best Dog Food Types for Great Pyrenees

Several types of dog food are suitable for the Great Pyrenees, including dry kibble, wet food, raw diets, and home-cooked meals. Each type has its benefits and drawbacks. Dry kibble is convenient and supports dental health, while wet food can be more palatable and hydrating. When properly balanced, raw diets can provide natural nutrients, though they require careful handling. Home-cooked meals allow for control over ingredients but need to be nutritionally balanced.

Importance of High-Quality Protein Sources

Great Pyrenees need high-quality protein sources in their diet. Ideal protein sources include lean meats like chicken, beef, turkey, and fish. These proteins support muscle maintenance and overall growth. Ensuring protein sources are adequately cooked to prevent health risks is crucial.

Balancing Fats and Carbohydrates

While proteins are vital, balancing fats and carbohydrates is also essential. Healthy fats, such as those found in fish oil, flaxseed, and sure cuts of meat, support skin and coat health. Carbohydrates should come from whole grains, vegetables, and fruits to provide energy and aid digestion.

Essential Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are crucial for a well-rounded diet—calcium and phosphorus support bone health, which is essential for this large breed. Vitamins like A, E, and C boost the immune system and maintain skin health. A balanced commercial dog food typically contains these essential nutrients, but supplements can be considered with veterinary advice.

Special Dietary Considerations for Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees may have specific dietary needs based on age, health status, and activity level. Puppies require more calories and nutrients for growth, while senior dogs may need a diet lower in calories and higher in fiber. Dogs with health issues like allergies or joint problems may require specialized diets.

Importance of Hydration

Hydration is as important as food for the Great Pyrenees. Fresh, clean water should be available at all times. Some dogs may benefit from wet food or added water in their meals to increase hydration, especially in hot climates or for dogs with urinary tract issues.

Avoiding Foods Harmful to Great Pyrenees

Certain foods are harmful to Great Pyrenees and should be avoided. These include chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, and foods containing xylitol. Limiting table scraps, which can be high in fat and salt is also essential.

Monitoring Weight and Adjusting Portions

Monitoring your Great Pyrenees’ weight is crucial. Overfeeding can lead to obesity, while underfeeding can result in nutritional deficiencies. Adjust portions based on your dog’s activity level, age, and health status. Regular check-ups with a vet can help in maintaining an ideal weight.

Creating a balanced diet for your Great Pyrenees requires understanding their unique nutritional needs. A mix of high-quality proteins, balanced fats and carbohydrates, essential vitamins and minerals, and proper hydration will ensure your pet’s health and happiness. Regular veterinary consultations and monitoring are crucial to adapting their diet as needed. Your Great Pyrenees will thrive with the proper nutrition, showcasing their majestic beauty and gentle nature.


What Health Issues Are Great Pyrenees Prone To, and How Can a Proper Diet Help?

The Great Pyrenees, known for their majestic appearance and gentle temperament, are prone to several health issues. A proper diet is crucial in mitigating these health risks and ensuring a long, healthy life for these gentle giants. This article explores common health concerns in Great Pyrenees and how nutritional management can help.

Understanding the Health Risks in the Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees are prone to specific health issues, primarily due to their large size and genetic factors. These include hip dysplasia, bloat (gastric torsion), bone cancer, and heart conditions. Understanding these risks is the first step toward effective prevention and management.

Hip Dysplasia and Joint Health in Great Pyrenees

Hip dysplasia, a common issue in larger breeds, results from a hip joint malformation, leading to arthritis and pain. Diet plays a crucial role in managing this condition. A diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oil, can help reduce inflammation and joint pain. Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements can also support joint health.

The Threat of Bloat and Dietary Management

Bloat, or gastric torsion, is a life-threatening condition where the stomach twists and fills with gas. Feeding smaller, more frequent meals, rather than one large meal, can help reduce the risk of bloat. It’s also important to avoid vigorous exercise right after eating.

Bone Cancer: Prevention Through Nutrition

Bone cancer, though less common, is a serious concern for Great Pyrenees. A diet low in carcinogenic compounds (found in some processed meats) and rich in antioxidants (found in fruits and vegetables) can help reduce the risk. Avoiding obesity through a balanced diet is also crucial, as excess weight can exacerbate health issues.

Heart Health: The Role of Diet

Great Pyrenees can be prone to heart conditions, such as dilated cardiomyopathy. A diet with adequate levels of taurine, L-carnitine, and amino acids essential for heart health can be beneficial. These nutrients are found in animal-based proteins like meat and fish.

Obesity: A Common Issue in Large Breeds

Obesity can exacerbate many health problems in Great Pyrenees. Maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet, proper portion control, and regular exercise is vital. High-fiber foods can help them feel full and aid in digestion.

The Importance of a Balanced Diet for Overall Health

A balanced diet is crucial for the overall health of the Great Pyrenees. This includes balancing proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Commercial dog foods formulated for large breeds can be a good choice, but reading labels and choosing high-quality products is essential.

Special Dietary Needs of Senior Great Pyrenees

As the Great Pyrenees age, their dietary needs change. Senior dogs may need a diet lower in calories but higher in fiber and supplements like glucosamine for joint health. Regular veterinary check-ups can help determine the specific needs of aging dogs.

Avoiding Harmful Foods and Allergens

Certain foods toxic to dogs, including chocolate, grapes, onions, and garlic, should be avoided. Great Pyrenees can also have food allergies or sensitivities; identifying and avoiding these allergens is essential for their health.

Monitoring and Adjusting the Diet

Regular monitoring and adjustments to the diet are necessary, especially as the dog ages or if health issues arise. Regular veterinary check-ups and consultations with a nutritionist can guide these adjustments.

Conclusion: Nurturing Health Through Diet

Their diet can significantly impact the health of the Great Pyrenees. Understanding their specific health risks and how diet can mitigate these is crucial. A balanced diet, tailored to their needs and regularly adjusted, can help prevent and manage health issues, ensuring a long, healthy, and happy life for these majestic dogs.


Frequently Asked Questions About Feeding Great Pyrenees

1. What is the best type of dog food for a Great Pyrenees?

Great Pyrenees thrive on high-quality dog food appropriate for their age (puppy, adult, senior) and size (large breed). Look for foods with a good balance of protein, fats, and carbohydrates, and ensure they are formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles.

2. How much food should I feed my Great Pyrenees daily?

The amount of food for a Great Pyrenees depends on their age, size, activity level, and metabolism. Generally, adult Great Pyrenees need about 3-4 cups of high-quality dry food a day, divided into two meals. However, this can vary, so checking with your vet is essential.

3. Are grain-free diets good for the Great Pyrenees?

Grain-free diets can benefit Great Pyrenees, especially if they have grain allergies or sensitivities. However, ensuring the diet is well-balanced and meets all their nutritional needs is essential. Consult with a veterinarian before switching to a grain-free diet.

4. How often should I feed my Great Pyrenees puppy?

Great Pyrenees puppies should be fed more frequently than adults. It is recommended to provide them three to four times a day up until they are six months old. After six months, you can gradually transition to two meals per day.

5. Can the Great Pyrenees eat raw food diets?

Yes, Great Pyrenees can eat raw food, but ensuring the diet is balanced and safe is crucial. Raw diets should include the right proportions of meat, bones, fruits, and vegetables. Consult a veterinarian or a canine nutritionist to design a suitable raw diet plan.

6. What human foods are safe for the Great Pyrenees?

Many human foods are safe and healthy for Great Pyrenees in moderation. These include lean meats, fruits like apples and blueberries, and vegetables like carrots and green beans. Always avoid toxic foods like chocolate, grapes, onions, and garlic.

7. How can I tell if my Great Pyrenees are overweight?

You can tell if your Great Pyrenees is overweight by feeling around its ribs and spine. Your dog might be overweight if you can’t quickly feel its ribs without pressing hard. Also, look for a lack of a defined waist and a round, barrel-like shape.

8. What supplements should I add to my Great Pyrenees’ diet?

Supplements may be necessary for some Great Pyrenees, especially those with health conditions. Joint accessories include fish oil for skin and coat health, glucosamine for joint health, and probiotics for digestion. Always consult with your vet before adding any accessories.

9. Is it okay for Great Pyrenees to have dairy products?

Some dairy products like plain yogurt and cottage cheese can be okay for Great Pyrenees in small amounts. However, many dogs are lactose intolerant, so it’s essential to start with small portions and watch for adverse reactions like diarrhea or upset stomach.

10. How do I transition my Great Pyrenees to a new food?

To transition your Great Pyrenees to a new food, mix the fresh food with the old one over 7-10 days, gradually increasing the amount of new food while decreasing the old. This helps prevent digestive upset.

11. What are the signs of food allergies in Great Pyrenees?

Signs of food allergies in Great Pyrenees can include itchy skin, chronic ear infections, hair loss, excessive scratching, and gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea and vomiting. If you suspect a food allergy, consult your vet for diagnosis and treatment.

12. Can Great Pyrenees eat a vegetarian diet?

While dogs can technically survive on a well-planned vegetarian diet, it’s not ideal for Great Pyrenees. They are naturally carnivorous, and their diet should primarily consist of high-quality animal protein. Consult with a vet or canine nutritionist for guidance.

13. Should I feed my Great Pyrenees wet or dry food?

Choosing between wet and dry food depends on your dog’s preference and health needs. Dry food is good for dental health, while wet food can be more palatable and hydrating. Some owners choose to mix both for variety and balance.

14. How can I prevent bloat in my Great Pyrenees?

To prevent bloat, feed your Great Pyrenees several small meals throughout the day instead of one large meal. Avoid vigorous exercise right before and after eating, and ensure they eat slowly. Elevated food bowls can also help.

15. What is the importance of water in my Great Pyrenees’ diet?

Water is essential for the health of your Great Pyrenees. Ensure they have constant access to fresh, clean water. Dehydration can lead to serious health issues, especially in large breeds like the Great Pyrenees.

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