Strong, energetic, intelligent and fearless, the Doberman Pinscher is a loyal canine companion that requires and deserves good, delicious, nutrient dense foods. This breed is prone to certain health problems if the owner is not very careful with his or her pet’s lifestyle, so the importance of good dog food choice cannot be overstated.
To keep your Dobermann healthy and happy, you need to provide him with all the nutrients he needs, including protein, healthy fats and carbs, vitamins and minerals. To help you do that, we’ve compared and tested dozens of different canine foods, coming up with the list of the best dog foods for Dobermans. Take a look and pick the right product for your regal canine pet.
Best Dog Food for Dobermans Buying Guide & FAQ
Like humans, dogs require proper nutrition to be healthy and happy. But Dobermans in particular, the very active and muscular breed that they are, require special nutrition, with a balanced ratio of protein, fat and carbohydrates. All nine dog foods we reviewed above check the right boxes and then some, so it should be easy to pick the right dog food for your Doberman. And if it isn’t, this buying guide should be able to help.
Here, we cover everything you need to know in order to pick the best dog food for Dobermans. We also answer some of the commonly asked questions, in the hope the answers further assist you in your purchase. So read on, inform yourself, and get your Doberman the food he deserves.
Characteristics of a Reliable Doberman Dog Food
To get the best dog food for your Doberman, it’s crucial to know what to look for. So what does a good Doberman food look like?
First of all, you want to look for dog foods consisting of real, natural, nutritious ingredients, such as real meat, healthy fats, fish, whole grains if your pup can tolerate them, and some fruits and veggies for a complete nutritional profile, including vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It’s good when the food is also fortified with additional vitamins and minerals, such as with vitamins D3, A, C, B, zinc, calcium, magnesium, manganese and others.
Good food for Dobermans should have real meat listed as its first ingredient. This can be whole meat, such as beef or chicken, or meat meal, as both of these have plenty of protein and important amino acids.
- Healthy fats
Healthy fats should always be a part of a good dog diet. Look for ingredients such as salmon oil (excellent for the Doberman’s coat!), coconut oil, flaxseed oil, avocados, but also chicken fat and beef fat. Basically, your Doberman, whether a puppy or an adult dog, needs a hefty amount of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to be healthy.
Fish is always a nice addition to a dog’s diet. Rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids and packed with protein, fish will boost your Doberman’s health and improve the look of his coat. Fish ingredients to look for are whole salmon, smoked salmon, herring, walleye and other shorter-lived species that contain minimal amounts of heavy metals.
- Whole grains
If your Doberman can tolerate grains, make sure you include some in his diet, as they are rich in fiber and excellent for digestion. Look for brown rice, oats, millet, barley and other healthy whole grains.
- Fruits and veggies
A reliable Doberman dog food should also include some fruits and veggies. Plants contain fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and can reduce your dog’s risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. Some things to look for: sweet potatoes, peas, carrots, tomatoes, zucchini, blueberries, raspberries, apples…
Nutritional Needs of Dobermans
As mentioned, Dobermans are energetic and can grow up to be really big canines, and as such, their calorie intake should be slightly higher than the intake of a typical dog. Of course, this entirely depends on the size and weight of your Doberman, as well as his activity levels, but generally speaking, Dobermans should eat calorie-dense diets.
And then there are Doberman’s health problems to consider. Because they’re prone to bloat, allergies, kidney disease, Wobbler’s syndrome, hypoglycemia and hypothyroidism among other things, it’s important to feed give them only high-quality foods that will support their immune systems and wellbeing, and not add to potential underlying health issues.
Dobermans need lots of protein, but then again, not too much. Because they’re quite energetic and active, they tend to thrive on high protein dog foods – for adult dogs, that’s anywhere between 15% – 30% of protein, while for puppies, it’s between 22% to 32%. And the more your dog is active, the more protein she needs.
However, and this is a big however, Dobermans are also prone to kidney disease. As you know, eating too much protein worsens the condition, so it’s important not to go overboard with meat and other protein-rich foods. To be sure you’re feeding your Doberman the right amount of protein, it’s best to talk to your vet.
Like most canines, Dobermans too require quite a bit of fat in their diet. Granted, they don’t have long hair so you may not be able to see how a lack of healthy fats affects the look of their coat immediately. Nevertheless, their coats are prone to drying out, so it’s important they have enough of good fats in their diet, omega -3 and omega-6 fatty acids included.
Because they’re prone to hypoglycemia and hypothyroidism, it’s vital to feed your Doberman good, complex carbohydrates. As we already mentioned, whole grains are an excellent choice if your dog is not sensitive to grains, but even if she is, slow-burning fruits and veggies can take their place. In fact, even if your Doberman is eating dog food rich in healthy, whole grains, it’s always a good idea to look for vegetables and fruits as ingredients as well.
Ingredients To Avoid Feeding Your Doberman
Just like there are things you should look for when buying Doberman dog food, there are things you should stay away from. These include:
- Meat by-products
Although strong and energetic, Dobermans are sensitive canines who should only be fed the best foods. Meat by-products are not one of them. These ingredients can sometimes be ok, but sometimes anything but ok – the point is, with meat by-products your never know, so it’s best not to risk. Sometimes the meat can be whole meat (highly unlikely though), but most often than not, it’s just remains from the slaughterhouse, including brains, chicken feet, intestines, blood, etc.
- Artificial preservatives
Although dog food must stay fresh and safe for as long as possible, it’s best to avoid artificial preservatives such as BHT and Ethoxyquin, as these ingredients can irritate sensitive stomachs and immune systems of Dobermans.
- Artificial flavors and colors
Some added flavors can make the dog food more appetizing to your Doberman, but it’s still best to avoid artificial… well, anything. Because they’re prone to quite a few health issues and allergies, Dobes should ideally stick to natural, wholesome foods.
- Low-quality fillers
Whole grains, veggies and fruits are welcome in dog food, but wheat, corn and other gluten fillers? Not really. In fact, it’s wise to avoid these ingredients as they add nothing of value to your Doberman’s diet, except for calories. Not to mention, if your pup has a gluten allergy or just a sensitive stomach, these low-quality fillers can aggravate her symptoms.
Common Doberman Health Problems
Dobermans are a highly energetic dog breed that requires physical exertion every day, but they’re also quite sensitive animals that need proper diet in order to be healthy and well. Still, even if you’re doing everything right, your dog can develop some of the following health problems:
- Dilated Cardiomyopathy
Dilated Cardiomyopathy, or DCM for short, is basically an enlarged heart that progressively becomes weaker. Symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Wobbler’s syndrome
This health problem is a neurological disorder caused by an instability in the intervertebral disk in the dog’s neck area. Symptoms of this disorder, otherwise known as Cervical Vertebral Instability, are:
- Wobbly gait
- Neck pain
- Holding the neck in a flexed arc
- Weakness of the hind legs
- Chronic active hepatitis
This disease affects the liver and makes it unable to metabolize copper, normally found in many whole foods, as well as packaged dog foods. Symptoms include:
- Weight loss
- Fluid retention
Like humans, some large dog breeds are prone to hypothyroidism. Although not gravely dangerous, it’s wise to test your dog for an underactive thyroid, so you can feed him the right foods. Symptoms are:
- Dry skin
- Lethargy and depression
- Cold sensitivity
Dobermans are prone to serious bloating which can be life-threatening if not dealt with immediately. It may occur if the dog is fed heavy, with foods difficult to digest, or if she eats too fast. Exercise right after eating or right before eating doesn’t help either. Symptoms of bloat, also know as Volvulus Syndrome, are:
- Abdominal pain
- Excessive slobber
- Hip Dysplasia
Unfortunately, many Dobermans are prone to hip dysplasia, which a malformation of the hip joint that can lead to pain and weakness. The condition can be both hereditary and acquired through life. Symptoms include:
- Decreased activity
- Difficulty rising
Q: What should I know about Doberman puppies?
A: Like all young pups, Doberman puppies require special care and attention. To put it mildly, they’re lively and rambunctious, so they require daily exercise and play. If they’re not exercised daily, they may become irritated and too mischievous, so make sure you spend some quality time with your puppy every day.
Like adult Dobermans, puppies are also highly intelligent, loyal and trainable, so make a point of spending some time honing their skills and adjusting their temperament to suit your and your family’s needs every or every other day. Don’t forget to provide enough socialization for your Doberman puppy too, who, if not exposed to people and other animals early, can become aggressive or too shy towards and around strangers.
And finally, don’ forget about your puppy’s diet. Dobermans are prone to certain health issues (see above), so it’s vital to give them healthy, nutritious dog food only.
Q: How often should I feed my Doberman?
A: Because they’re prone to bloat, Dobermans should be fed small meals several times throughout the day. If you have a puppy, feed him three times a day, and if you have an adult Doberman, give him two to three (top) meals a day.
Q: How much should I feed my Doberman?
A: The amount of food you should be giving to your Doberman depends on two major factors:
- His age
- His activity levels.
Puppies should be fed three times a day and according to the instructions provided on the label of the product. Of course, it’s always best to talk to your vet, but generally speaking, Dobe puppies who get average physical activity should eat around 25% protein and around 15% healthy fats. As for adult dogs, they should be fed 2-3 times a day, small portions. You can follow the similar guidelines here as well, but the more active a Doberman is, the more protein and fat he can have.