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I love Dobermans. They’re such handsome, regal animals and yet they can be so prone to health problems. For that reason, choosing the best food for your Dobie might be that much more important than it is for other breeds. Also, Dobermans are typically very active, so they need more calories, in general, than other dogs.
A male Doberman will usually weigh in at about 75-100 pounds, and a female will weigh 60-90 pounds. This means that your dog will need substantial servings of food. Usually, you should feed your adult Dobie twice a day, and your puppy 3-4 times a day. A high-protein diet is also usually best for your Doberman. At the bare minimum, protein should make up at least 25% of your dog’s diet, so keep that in mind when you’re evaluating the best Doberman dry dog foods.
More active Dobermans should get even more protein. As a good rule of thumb, make sure that protein is the first ingredient on the list on any bag of dog food that you buy.
The flipside to this is that Dobies can be very prone to kidney disease, and a high-protein diet can be problematic when it comes to dogs with kidney problems. Honestly, I think you’re sort of straddling a line here, so before recommending the best Doberman dog foods, I’d like to make a general recommendation: if your Dobie has any medical issues, talk with your vet about what you should be feeding.
Dobermans also do best on a diet that is fairly high in fat. Usually, this is the case with longer-haired breeds that need substantial fat to keep their coats healthy. Even though Dobermans are short-haired dogs, they can be very prone to dry skin, and this means that the Doberman’s diet has to contain a significant amount of fat.
In terms of carbs, Dobermans can be prone to low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) so they need a good ratio of slow-burning carbs in order to avoid spikes and crashes in their blood sugar. Slow-burning carbs ensure that your dog will be able to maintain a high energy level for longer.
In short, Dobermans, even more so than other breeds, need a high-quality diet. They’re very susceptible to certain health problems, some serious, and some not so serious. A good diet is your first line of defense when it comes to ensuring your Doberman’s good health.
Let’s take a look at some of those health issues.
Health Problems That Could Affect Your Doberman
For such active, robust dogs, Dobermans are extremely prone to a number of health issues. The following are some of the most common.
This is not just a Dobie issue. Many large, deep-chested dogs are susceptible to bloat. It occurs when the dog’s stomach flips over on itself due to being filled with gas. When the gas can’t escape, the dog ends up in horrible pain and can even die.
If your Dobie is prone to bloat, you probably already know that the condition should never be ignored. This is an emergency, and your dog needs to be taken to the vet at once. What you may not know, though, is that bloat can often be prevented by adjusting the way your dog eats. If you give him smaller meals, that will go a long way. Usually, adult dogs are fed twice a day, but with a bloat-prone Doberman, three or four small meals would be better.
Adding a bit of wet food to the dry food can also work to reduce gas. Also, make sure not to exercise your dog too close to mealtime.
If your Dobie has hypothyroidism, that means that his thyroid gland is underactive. He might gain weight very easily, even if he’s quite active. The best Doberman dog foods for this condition will not contain grains or fillers but instead be heavy in meat, fruits and vegetables.
3. Wobbler’s Syndrome
This is pretty much what it sounds like. It’s a condition of the spinal cord that affects your dog’s balance, and might cause him to wobble, stumble, lose his balance and then fall. Usually, it occurs in older Dobies, but prevention starts in puppyhood.
Most puppies should be kept on puppy formula until they are a year old. Dobermans should actually be switched over to adult food at six months. This facilitates weight gain that is steady but not rapid.
Given these special health considerations when it comes to Dobermans, I’m only recommending adult food here. Almost any puppy food will do for the first six months, but in the remaining time, an adult diet is the better course of action.
My 5 Best Doberman Dog Foods
As regular readers know, I am quite content feeding Janice and Leroy store brands, and my veterinarian is fine with this. That said, my Boxers have no health issues and they are not athletic. Dogs that are predisposed to certain health problems, as are Dobermans, may require a more specialized diet. For Dobermans, these are my top choices when it comes to dog food.
1. Merrick Grain Free Real Buffalo + Sweet Potato
I’m recommending Merrick Grain Free Real Buffalo + Sweet Potato dog food with a caveat: if your Doberman has kidney problems, this particular food may be too high in protein. 70% protein is very good for active dogs but not so good for dogs with kidney dysfunction.
The remaining calories in Merrick Grain Free come from vegetables, and there is no wheat, soy or grain. Barring kidney issues, this is a superb formula that is ideal for daily feeding.
2. AvoDerm Natural Chicken Meal and Brown Rice Formula Small Breed Dog Food
What, a small breed formula for a Dobie? Well, yes. I’m recommending AvoDerm Chicken Meal and Brown Rice for Small Dogs simply because if a Doberman is going to develop kidney problems, they will likely occur later on down the road, and this dog food provides just the right amount of protein for all stages of your dog’s life: 26%. There are grains in this formula, so if you’re hell-bent on going grain-free (although I don’t know why you would be, if your dog has no sensitivities to grain), you’ll have to consider another brand. My point is that at just 26% protein, your dog’s kidneys will be protected at all stages of growth.
Just don’t tell your Dobie that he’s getting “small breed” food; you wouldn’t want to hurt his ego! But if he does find out, tell him that this small breed formula is also recommended for Pit Bulls.
3. Newman’s Own Organics Turkey Grain-Free Food for Dogs
If you thought Newman’s Own only made salad dressings and cooking sauces, you’d be wrong. They also make kick-ass dog foods.
I don’t usually recommend wet dog food, but I’m including this because wet food can help to prevent bloat. I wouldn’t suggest that you use Newman’s Own Organics canned food as your dog’s main source of nutrition, but you can mix it in with his regular dry food.
4. Castor & Pollux Organix Grain Free Chicken and Vegetable
Castor & Pollux Organix is another good wet dog food that you can use to mix in with your dog’s dry food. The main ingredient is organic chicken. That’s a good thing. The second ingredient is water. That’s not so good. I’m including this food here, though, because the ingredients are organic and very good for your dog. Besides, I’m assuming that you will only use it as a supplement and not as your dog’s main source of nutrition.
Back to Newman’s again but this time, with a dry food. I wouldn’t normally recommend Newman’s Own Organics as one of the best dry foods for adult dogs because the protein content is a bit low (just 21%). I’m including it here, though, because Dobies that have kidney problems can’t tolerate a lot of protein. I like the fact that it contains only organic ingredients, too, and assuming that your vet approves, I think it is a very good choice if your Doberman’s kidneys aren’t in the finest shape.
Most of the time, I think that dogs, unless they are very athletic, can do quite well on store brand dog food, possibly with the occasional vitamin supplement thrown in for good measure. Stephen, my vet, is in complete agreement with me on this. Some breeds, though, are vulnerable to certain health issues, and the Doberman is a prime example. So, when you’re evaluating the best Doberman dog foods, consider any potential health risks and devise a diet that is most appropriate for his needs.