Should Dog Food Differ by Breed?


There has been much marketing done around feeding your dog based on their specific breed.  Let’s face it, if there is an opportunity to sell us something, companies will employ every tactic to get us to buy.  It’s our responsibility as pet owners to separate out truth from advertising agenda and determine what is best for our pets.  

The question then arises, do I really need to look for a breed-specific dog food?  The simple and short answer is no.  A dog’s nutritional needs at any stage in life is very similar to dogs of any other breed in the same life stage.  So whether you are dealing with an English Mastiff or a miniature dachshund, the nutritional needs of both animals will be very close to the same at each stage in their development.

The real difference is in the amount of food your dog will need.  This is almost always based on size and stage of life.  The dietary needs of a Yorkie will likely be very similar to those of a Shih Tzu, while the needs of a Labrador and a Golden Retriever will be similar as well.  

While each different breed of canine does have specific dietary needs and concerns, these issues are well addressed and counted for in many natural dog food brands of high quality.   Almost all of your dog’s nutritional needs, no matter their breed, will be met in high-quality natural dog food that does not contain senseless fillers or harmful ingredients. 

Unfortunately, it can be very tempting to buy “breed specific” dog food.  A great example is a food marketed to owners of miniature dachshunds that claims to help prevent back disease and promote a lean physique.  This can be incredibly persuasive to the owner of a mini doxie that struggles with weight and is in a senior stage of life when back issues usually occur.  However, there simply is no science behind the claim that any particular food is better for this dog than any other. Feeding this dog a high quality, natural dog food in a quantity appropriate for its age, size, and activity level is the best way to prevent weight gain and protect the pet’s overall health like having a soft and mushy stool. If this happens, you’ll want to figure out how to make your dog’s excrement firmer and easier to pick the dog poop up.

What Should I Look for in Natural Dog Food?

Even though breed specific dog food is not proven to actually benefit any specific breed, you still want to make sure the food you are feeding your dog is high quality and as natural as possible.  Too many dog food companies use cheap fillers in their foods that have little to no nutritional value to your dog.  

There are a few general guidelines you should follow when selecting the perfect all natural dog food for your favorite friend.  

·         Look for food grade (USDA) ingredients.  Many companies use cheap “feed grade” ingredients in their dog food.  The rules governing the safety procedures associated with these foods are much lower than the standards for human consumption, and frankly, we aren’t comfortable with them. 

·         Always buy food with ingredients you can read.  You should be able to read the ingredient label on your dog’s food.  There’s no need for any ingredients that you’ve never heard of and can’t pronounce.  These are typically chemical preservatives or food additives that deliver no nutritional value to your animal and, in some cases, can be harmful. 

·         Check the protein source.  If the main ingredient in your dog’s food isn’t a high quality, meat-only product, you should probably switch foods.  The best source of protein for your dog is a meat product like beef or chicken.  

It can be tempting to purchase breed specific dog food for your pet.  The marketing claims the nutritional content of breed specific food will benefit your dog more than a high-quality natural pet food.  There is, however, simply no scientific proof that breed specific food will benefit your pet any more than a good quality dog food made for all breeds.  

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