Some may claim to know the best diet to keep your Giant Breed Irish Wolfhound healthy, strong and fit but from experience I wonder how anyone could possibly know this. What about Allergies? (I will mention them later) What about activity level? Unlike some breeds, Irish Wolfhounds have very varied activity levels. One might much prefer a life on the sofa while another may be happiest chasing rabbits, a pheasant or squirrels at every given opportunity. An adult Irish Wolfhound will also take whatever daily exercise they get without kicking up too much of a fuss, a 40 minute walk, a hillside hike or a busy life on a farm. A healthy diet must reflect the needs of each individual dog and this is the same for a French Bulldog, a Dachshund, a Labrador or a Lurcher.
To begin with any healthy diet must provide a complete balance of the correct Protein, Fiber, Vitamins and Minerals to look out for bones, joints, skin & coat, digestive system, immune system, heart health, teeth, brain function and all the rest! We must take a holistic approach to diet as one deficiency or one build up can affect the whole dog. Raw diets are popular and when done correctly are without doubt a healthy option but getting it right, getting it balanced, getting it complete is what worries most people.
The majority of owners look for a complete, dry dog food. Dry dog food is convenient, easy and available at every budget. Unfortunately you do get what you pay for and lots of dry dog food is packed with cheap ingredients which increases profit for the manufacturer but can leave food lacking in the quality dogs need to be fit, strong and healthy. Genetics and breeding also plays a part in overall health and well-being but when you bring your puppy home it is then up to you. Irish Wolfhound puppies like all giant breed puppies need slow and steady rearing, lower protein, lower calcium, lower phosphorus. The correct levels can be found in our Large & Giant Breed puppy recipes. Irish Wolfhound puppies should be on restricted exercise, of course they need to stretch those extra-long legs but no hillside hiking or chasing around all day as it is too much for their growing bones and joints. There is no reason to over feed an Irish Wolfhound puppy as this can result in skeletal or joint issues. This also applies to French Bulldogs, Dachshunds, Labradors and Lurchers…… all breeds in fact.
You can recognise a better-quality dog food recipe by looking at the top 3 ingredients in the Composition. The very first ingredient listed should be meat or fish with the percentage clearly indicated. Not Cereal, Grains, Meat/Fish Meal or Meat & Animal Derivatives, they are not as nutritious as a protein source that is clearly stated e.g. Salmon or Turkey. You may have also seen that our Grain Free 50/50 Recipes also state a percentage that is Freshly Prepared. Freshly Prepared is a way of preparing fresh meat or fish, this method results in a lower oxidised fat content and retains more digestible proteins, nutrients, vitamins and minerals than e.g. Meat Meal. In our Grain Free 50/50 Recipes the Freshly Prepared meat or fish is then cooked at 90c to retain natural odours and taste, protect nutrients, antioxidants and proteins. Other extruded dog food is cooked at such high temperatures, antioxidants, proteins, natural odours and taste are destroyed.
Although we can usually presume that the higher the meat content – the better the food, you must also be aware of the Protein Level. We like to stick below 30% Protein Level, especially for our Giant Breed Dogs. It is possible to have high meat/fish content and low protein percentage with ingredients such as fish, turkey, duck or chicken. We switch between Protein Sources because research shows that swapping can prevent protein allergies developing (yes it can happen when a dog is fed the same food for a long time). Allergy symptoms such as scratching, ear infections, runny eyes, biting at feet, skin issues, upset tummy are often over-looked when a dog has been on the same diet for quite some time.
Be aware that although Hypoallergenic Recipes avoid the top 5 most common allergens: according to the Pet Food Manufacturers Association these are Wheat, Beef, Pork, Soya and Dairy. Dogs can be allergic to any grain, any meat or fish, sweet potato, potato, fruit or vegetable just like us humans. This is when you will need to take advantage of Single Source Protein recipes. Single Source Protein means just that, if it is a Duck recipe there will be only Duck in it, no Chicken or Beef fat hiding in there.
To Conclude, there is no straight forward answer. What best suits one dog may not suit yours. You need to find the best quality your budget can buy. You need to be aware that not all food available within your budget will be the same quality, manufacturers like to pull the wool over your eyes, so don’t only read the front of the bag, flip it over and read the ingredients. Look for high meat content, real meat and the less the cheap fillers the better.
If you are concerned about allergies forget Hypoallergenic and go with a Single Source Protein Grain Free or a Single Source Protein Rice Recipe. Giant & Large Breed Recipes are designed for Giant & Large Breeds but bog standard Adult Dog Food is also designed for all Adult Dogs and you will be able to find a high meat content with a protein level below 30. Then feed accordingly, if your Irish Wolfhound, French Bulldog, Dachshund, Labrador or Lurcher needs to put a bit of weight on or lose a bit of weight don’t be scared of adding more or feeding less, the feeding guide is only a guide not an exact science. Take advantage of all the recipes available to you and your dog.
Have a look at our new Dog Food Menu Feature which clearly shows which foods fall into which categories.