What comes to mind when we think of Dobermans? Most people would probably say guard dog, and they wouldn’t be wrong. Dobermans are known to be excellent guard dogs, and their appearance can be somewhat menacing and intimidating.
There are reasons why Dobermans make excellent guard dogs. Considered among the top five smartest dog breeds in the world, Dobermans are not only very smart, but they are loyal, caring, and protective of their loved ones. All of the things that make them great guard dogs also make them amazing household pets.
Because a Doberman can grow from up to 100lbs or more, they grow quickly, and not having the right nutritional balance as a puppy can mean they may not grow at the proper rate. Whether that means they are growing too slowly or too quickly, the wrong nutritional balance for your Doberman pup can result in the improper development of bones, muscles, and joints.
The Importance of a Balanced Diet
Like most other large breed dogs, a Doberman dog can be more prone to health issues. While some are hereditary, passed down from their parents, and others that are simply known issues with the breed that can be hard to avoid, there are others that you as a parent can help avoid with the right diet.
● Arthritis and Hip Dysplasia
Most dogs are, to an extent, prone to musculoskeletal issues such as hip dysplasia, arthritis, and other joint problems. These issues are much more prevalent in large breed dogs like Dobermans. But that doesn’t mean that there is nothing you as their parent can do about it, and it starts with the right diet as a puppy.
Issues like arthritis and hip dysplasia will usually not show themselves until later in a Doberman’s life but can often be traced back to when they were a puppy. The proper high-protein diet with the right amount of calcium and phosphorus will ensure that your pup is getting what they need and help to avoid complications later in life.
There isn’t a dog breed in the world that is immune to allergies. Dobermans aren’t necessarily more prone to allergies than other breeds, but they are more common than people realize.
While many of the allergies that Dobermans can have can come from their environment (grass, pollen, mold, etc.), some can also be food-based. Common food allergies for a Doberman can include wheat, corn, and soy, but can also include proteins like beef, chicken, and pork. Because a Doberman needs a high-protein diet, and it may not always be possible to avoid some of these ingredients. You can reduce the chances of triggering food allergies with high-quality, limited-ingredient dog food.
● Gastric Dilation
Gastric dilation, commonly known as bloat, is a condition where a dog’s stomach fills with air and then begins to twist, cutting off blood flow and can become life-threatening.
Bloat is a condition that is more common in larger dog breeds, including Dobermans. There is debate about what exactly causes bloat in Dobermans, but one theory is their body shape. With an elongated chest, a Doberman’s stomach is short and, therefore, could be more likely to hold air and fluid.
A high-quality food promotes good digestion, but bloat can also be controlled in puppies by teaching them to slow down when eating and not overfeeding them.
Understanding Your Doberman Puppy’s Nutritional Needs
Anyone with a new puppy understands all too well just how overwhelming it can be trying to find the right food. When bringing pets home for the first time, puppy parents are likely to continue with the same food that the breeder was giving them, but that will quite possibly change. So, what should you look for when trying to find the right food for your Doberman puppy?
● High-Quality Protein
All dogs are carnivores and therefore require protein. Protein is the most important nutrient that any dog needs, even more so when it comes to large breeds like Dobermans.
Good puppy food will have one or more meats listed as the top ingredients. The ingredients listed first are the most prevalent in the food, so you want to make sure that meat like chicken, beef, pork, or fish is one of the first ones on the list. Most foods will combine a single meat with grains, but it’s even better if you can find one with an array of different meats as each meat will provide its blood sugar source of amino acids that help strengthen a puppy’s muscles.
Try to avoid foods that don’t have specific meat listed on the label. If the label doesn’t tell you what kind of meat is in the food, then the source could be questionable at best and possibly be nothing more than filler.
For that same reason, try to avoid foods that say things like chicken byproducts, as, again, the source is questionable. Many foods these days contain byproducts, so it might not be that easy to avoid, but at the very least, you should make sure that it is not one of the top ingredients.
People tend to avoid fat in their diet. For a puppy, fat is an essential energy source. We all know how energetic a growing pup can be, so it’s obvious how important fat in their diet can be.
Quality puppy food will provide a Doberman with all of their fat intake needs from the same meat that provides them with protein, but it doesn’t hurt to have a little extra, and omega fatty acids can be a good source for that. Not only will ingredients like fish oil provide an extra fat boost for energy, but it also helps maintain a strong and healthy coat.
Carbs are another excellent source of energy for your young Doberman. Not only will they provide energy, but carbs also play a role in controlling blood sugar levels.
There is a big difference between the basic carbohydrates that many cheaper foods use and complex carbohydrates found in more expensive foods, and it’s important to understand the difference to ensure you are providing your Doberman puppy with what they need.
While ingredients like corn, wheat, and soy will provide your puppy with carbs, they are carbs that will be quickly absorbed and used up, resulting in energy crashes between meals. These ingredients are also ones that a Doberman is more likely to be allergic to. Try to avoid the cheaper foods that use these ingredients as their source of carbohydrates.
Instead, try and find a food that provides your puppy with complex carbohydrates like oats, beans, or sweet potatoes. Your puppy will absorb these carbs more slowly throughout the day and therefore have a more controlled supply of energy and better-balanced sugar levels.
● Calcium and Phosphorus
The biggest difference between a food formulated specifically for a puppy and one for an adult dog is the addition of calcium and phosphorus. Both calcium and phosphorus are the key in a developing puppy’s teeth and bones, which may not be something that you have to specifically look for in food as all puppy formulated food contain both calcium and phosphorus. These ingredients are the biggest difference between puppy formulas and those made for an adult dog.
● Fruits and Vegetables
As mentioned, protein is key to providing the nutrients your puppy needs, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore fruits and vegetables. They can be an excellent source of both antioxidants and vitamins that help build and maintain a healthy immune system.
Quality puppy food will include some fruits and vegetables, but you can also add some of your own. Adding things like fresh blueberries, spinach, and carrots to your Dobermans meals can help give their immune system an extra boost.
Avoid certain things, like grapes, onions, and garlic, as they can cause toxicity issues in the long run.
With that said, here are some of the fruits and vegetables beneficial to your pup:
- Sweet Potato
The Right Feeding Schedule for Your Growing Doberman Puppy
Just as important as the ingredients in your Doberman’s food is their feeding schedule. A properly balanced diet doesn’t just mean what you feed them but how you feed them. The right food paired with the right schedule will mean your pup is happy and healthy and will reduce the risk of them becoming overweight, possibly leading to other health problems.
How much you should be feeding your Doberman puppy and how often you should be doing so will be relative to your pup. While they can be quick to delegate what they want, you shouldn’t let them be entirely in charge when it comes to feeding. Dobermans can grow at an almost alarming rate, that’s why it’s important to have the right balance. To help here is a general guideline:
- Never free-feed your puppy. Most puppies do not know when to stop. If left to their own devices when eating, they will, without a doubt, overeat. Free feeding is a quick way to lead to obesity and health problems later in life.
- How much you feed your Doberman is going to change considerably as they grow. It’s important to know that you should spread feedings throughout the day to provide the right balance. Most Doberman puppies are good with being fed 3 or 4 times a day, making the food easier to digest and keeping energy levels up throughout the day.
- From there, the amount of food per meal will vary depending on weight. A puppy that is 2 to 3 months old needs 1 cup to 2 ½ cups per meal, assuming they are eating 3 times a day. This amount is going to increase every couple of months as your puppy continues to grow.
- As mentioned, this schedule is very general and not exact, but it is a good starting point. If they are gobbling down food and looking for more, increase it slightly. On the other hand, if they are walking away from an unfinished bowl, decrease the amount. Of course, you should always go with your veterinarian’s recommendation over these general guidelines. Follow their advice as no one knows your puppy better than they do.
The Best Food for Your Doberman Puppy
As with any puppy, it’s hard to pinpoint the perfect formula for your Doberman. Each puppy is unique, and their needs are all going to be different. To help get you started in the right direction, here the best foods for your Doberman puppy on the market today.
1. Hills Science Diet Large Breed Puppy
As a company that dates back to the 1940s, Hill’s is no stranger to providing quality, healthy food for any pet. Their Science Diet large breed puppy food is specially formulated to meet all the needs of your rapidly growing Doberman.
Containing all-natural ingredients, Hill’s Science Diet uses chicken as a quality source of protein as well as flaxseed and fish oils that produce a higher fat content, providing your puppy with a healthy dose of Omega fatty acids.
The food is also rich in Vitamins E and D and is full of antioxidants that boost a growing puppy’s delicate immune system. Include the fact that it is higher in both calcium and phosphorus than many others, and you’ve got a puppy food that will give your Doberman everything he or she needs to grow up a healthy and happy dog.
What Customers Think: Hill’s Science Diet has one of the highest Amazon Ratings of any puppy food for good reason. Not only does it come highly recommended by many veterinarians, but puppies love its great taste. So much so that Hill’s has a money-back guarantee, and if your pup doesn’t love it, you can return any uneaten portion of a bag for a full refund.
Amazon Rating: 4.8 Stars
- All-natural ingredients
- Perfectly balanced minerals to promote proper growth
- Added fish oils for better fat intake
- Vet recommended
- Money-back guarantee
- Contains ingredients that Dobermans are more likely to be allergic to
2. Royal Canin Large Breed Puppy Food
The Royal Canin Large Breed Puppy Food is for puppies that grow to be between 56 and 100lbs as adult dogs, and it provides the 28% protein content that is ideal for your growing Doberman.
Royal Canin then optimizes the calcium and phosphorus needed for proper bone and muscle growth, adding to its clinically proven DHA levels to support the development of your puppy’s brain.
With easy-to-chew kibble and a precise number of probiotics, this puppy food is easily digestible, ensuring that your Doberman will get the maximum benefit while being easy on their sometimes-sensitive stomachs.
What Customers Think: Another large breed puppy food that comes highly recommended by veterinarians; customers love the balanced formula that Royal Canin provides.
Puppies can be fussy when it comes to the right dry food, and certain ones can upset their stomachs, but many customers found that switching to Royal Canin’s easy-to-digest formula made their puppies enjoy mealtime more.
Amazon Rating: 4.8 Stars
- Perfect amount of protein levels for a growing Doberman
- Easy to chew and digest formula
- Optimal calcium and phosphorus level
- Use of complex carbohydrates
- Added ingredients to promote a healthy, shiny coat
- Contains corn products
3. Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Puppy Food
Purina is the choice for many breeders because they provide high-quality food that is often much more affordable than comparable brands.
Their Pro Plan Large Breed Puppy food contains everything you would expect from a quality puppy food, including high protein levels from natural chicken, DHA for brain development, omega fatty acids, and calculated calcium levels. The food also contains a healthy level of probiotics to promote healthy digestion.
This food didn’t finish higher on this list because it does contain a lot of corn, which could be considered a filler ingredient in a Doberman diet.
What Customers Think: It is important to note that, because of the added probiotics, some customers found this food to give their Doberman puppy dogs diarrhea, which can be an issue with many foods and doesn’t necessarily reflect the food itself but rather a puppy’s sensitive stomach.
Customers love the fact that they can get high-quality, vet-recommended food for a price that is often much lower than some of the other similar brands on the market today. While many people will shy away from cheaper food, afraid that it will not provide the right nutrition, price does not always reflect quality.
Amazon Rating: 4.7 Stars
- Protein ratio higher than many other puppy foods
- Includes several vitamins and antioxidants
- Infused with probiotics
- Uses DHA and fish oils for good brain and eye development
- Uses many different corn products
4. Blue Buffalo Freedom Large Breed Puppy Grain-Free Formula
Like many other large breed dog foods, Blue Buffalo uses chicken as its main source of protein. It is the top ingredient, and this recipe contains no chicken byproducts.
Blue Buffalo uses only the highest quality all-natural ingredients, enhanced with a precise mixture of vitamins and minerals rich in antioxidants to provide your puppy with the best possible nutrition.
What sets this food apart from others are the small morels called LifeSource Bits. They are mixed in with the kibble and made from natural plant-based ingredients like blueberries, cranberries, and alfalfa, providing the source for those extra vitamins and minerals.
What Customers Think: Because of the high-quality all-natural ingredients that their puppies loved, it was easy for customers to overlook the higher cost. Puppies love the taste so much that they were quick to take to a new food after rejecting several others.
Amazon Rating: 4.7 Stars
- High in protein
- Excellent blend of vitamins and minerals
- LifeSource Bits provide healthy plant-based ingredients
- Vet recommended pet food
- No artificial flavors
- No fillers
- High price
5. Iams Proactive Health Large Breed Puppy Food
Like others on this, Iams uses quality, farm-raised chicken as the first ingredient in their Proactive Health formula to provide your Doberman puppy with the perfect amount of protein that their growing body needs.
Specially formulated for large breed puppies, this food provides everything pet parents would expect from a high-quality food and includes optimal levels of calcium, phosphorus, and DHA omega fatty acids while avoiding any harmful additives.
What Customers Think: Customers love the fact that they are getting high-quality puppy food that comes vet recommended but is still affordable and will not break the bank. Not only is the food easy for young puppies to digest, but they love the great chicken flavor.
Amazon Rating: 4.6 Stars
- Made with farm-raised chicken
- 22 nutritional ingredients similar to those in a mothers milk
- No harmful additives
- Great price
- Some ingredients can be hard on puppies with more sensitive stomachs