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The Dalmatian is a breed of medium-sized dog known for its distinctive white coat marked with dark spots. They used to be hunting and guarding dogs, and in the early days, they even assisted in carriage pulling! They are now sought for as family dogs due to their high intelligence, willing temperament, and fierce loyalty.
Dalmatians differ from other dog breeds in terms of their nutritional intake. Most other breeds thrived on high amounts of proteins and fats; however, Dalmatians need a strict limit on the amount of proteins and fats ingested.
Therefore, after doing extensive research on why Dalmatians have such special dietary requirements, I believe that the Inception Dry Dog Food is the best dog food for Dalmatians in general.
The Inception Dry Dog Food includes healthy whole grains for better digestion, beneficial for Dalmatians, a breed known to have gastrointestinal issues. They are also one of the brands with lower protein and fat content while still providing quality kibbles for your Dalmatian.
However, each Dalmatian is unique, and the needs will differ depending on their circumstances. That’s why I have selected a list of the best dog food for Dalmatians to keep you informed of the possible varieties your Dalmatian may benefit from.
- Best dog food for Dalmatians overall: Inception Dry Dog Food
- Best dog food for Dalmatian puppies: Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Dry Dog Food
- Best dog food for Dalmatian seniors: Canidae Pure Limited Ingredient Senior Dry Dog Food (Grain-Free)
- Best vegetarian dog food for Dalmatians: Natural Balance Vegetarian Dry Dog Food
- Best limited-ingredient dog food for Dalmatians: The Honest Kitchen Limited Ingredient Dehydrated Dog Food (Grain-Free)
- Best wet dog food for Dalmatians: Portland Pet Food Company Human-Grade Dog Food
1. Inception Dry Dog Food
- Key feature: Whole grains are included for easier digestion and vitamins and minerals for immune health support
- First 5 ingredients: Varies depending on flavor (Chicken & Pork | Fish | Chicken | Pork)
- Caloric content: 3650 – 3750 kcal/kg
- Guaranteed analysis: Min 25% protein, Min 15% fats, Max 6% fiber
- Best for: Adult Dalmatians in general
Inception dry dog food is a complete and balanced dog food containing quality meat for proteins and healthy whole grains for carbohydrates and essential minerals. Ingredients such as ground flaxseed are included to boost your Dalmatian’s immune system with a natural source of antioxidants.
The kibbles contain 25% protein and 15% fats, on the high end of the recommended nutrition range for Dalmatians. This is the highest quality dog food we found with such a low nutrition range – most quality dog food contains way higher amounts (30%+ for proteins and 15%+ for fats).
Owners are happy with the quality to price ratio for this brand. Some dogs with digestive issues also handle this dog food well, making it a good choice for the Dalmatian breed with frequent digestive problems.
Some owners mentioned that the smell is different from other kibbles brands and that their dogs give off pungent gas after consumption. Therefore, we recommend starting with a smaller bag and purchasing more only after your Dalmatian receives the food well.
2. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Dry Dog Food
- Key feature: Small-sized kibbles packed with real meat, whole grains, and various fruits and vegetables specially tailored for puppies
- First 5 ingredients: Varies depending on flavor (Chicken & Brown Rice | Lamb & Oatmeal | Chicken)
- Caloric content: 3686 kcal/kg
- Guaranteed analysis: Min 27% protein, Min 16% fats, Max 5% fiber
- Best for: Dalmatian puppies
Blue Buffalo puppy formula offers three different flavors with two types of meat (chicken and lamb), so puppies that are allergic to one of the meats can still benefit from the other.
This brand of puppy food provides at least 27% protein and 16% fat, which is higher than the recommended amount for adult Dalmatians. However, puppies require more nutrients than adults to support and maintain their active growth and development; these nutritional values are considered suitable for Dalmatian puppies.
Generally, many owners reported that switching to this food had led to better skin and bowel health in their puppies. Puppies with food allergies and sensitive stomachs also thrived on this diet.
Reviewers pointed out that a particular batch of dog food had manufacturing defects a few years back. While there hasn’t been any in the recent two years, you might want to keep this in mind and investigate kibbles that you suspect are not the usual formula.
3. Canidae Pure Limited Ingredient Senior Dry Dog Food (Grain-Free)
- Key feature: Limited ingredient and grain-free kibbles for senior dogs with probiotics and antioxidants for healthy digestion and immunity
- First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken meal, Turkey meal, Sweet potatoes, Garbanzo beans
- Caloric content: 3300 kcal/kg
- Guaranteed analysis: Min 28% protein, Min 10% fats, Max 5% fiber
- Best for: Senior Dalmatians
The Canidae Pure Senior Recipe features 9 main ingredients and is grain-free. The carbohydrates come from sweet potatoes, so senior Dalmatians can easily digest them.
This brand of senior food provides at least 28% protein and 10% fat, providing slightly more proteins than recommended for senior Dalmatians. This allows a buffer for the more active seniors that require more proteins to maintain their muscles than the average senior.
Many owners who tried out this food on their senior dogs have stated that their dogs’ digestion improved with healthier stools. Dogs with pancreatitis are also thriving on this food.
However, a few owners have also reported that their picky dogs disliked this brand of kibbles and refused to eat it. Some owners also said that the kibbles are too small for medium and large-sized dogs (Dalmatians are considered medium-sized dogs).
4. Natural Balance Vegetarian Dry Dog Food
- Key feature: A limited-ingredient vegan formula supporting healthy skin that is a complete and balanced alternative to a meat-based diet
- First 5 ingredients: Brown rice, Oat groats, Barley, Peas, Potato Protein
- Caloric content: 3480 kcal/kg
- Guaranteed analysis: Min 18% protein, Min 8% fats, Max 5% fiber
- Best for: Dalmatians with bladder stones or digestive issues
Nature Balance offers vegetarian dog food for dogs that have trouble processing or are allergic to meat proteins. Their vegetarian formulas are manufactured such that they contain the same essential nutrients found in meat-based diets, except using only vegan ingredients.
This brand of senior food provides 18% proteins and 8% fats, on the lower end of the recommended amount for Dalmatians as it considers the dogs’ digestive capabilities.
Owners said their dogs with health issues thrived on this dog food, and their dogs saw a turn of health for the better. After switching to this brand, dogs with meat allergies also receive this food well and show no signs of allergies.
Some owners reported that the vegan diet is not working out for their dogs. However, do understand that not every breed and dog is suitable for a vegan diet. Please only go vegan if it is what your Dalmatian needs and not what you want for it.
5. The Honest Kitchen Limited Ingredient Dehydrated Dog Food (Grain-Free)
- Key feature: Human-grade, multiple-flavor dog food with limited ingredients that can be used as a topper of a complete meal, easily served by adding water
- First 5 ingredients: Varies depending on flavour (Beef & Chickpea | Chicken & Quinoa | Duck & Sweet Potato | Fish & Coconut | Turkey & Parsnip)
- Caloric content: 3870 – 4550 kcal/kg
- Guaranteed analysis: Min 24-34% protein, Min 7.2-18.5% fats, Max 6-8% fiber
- Best for: Dalmatians with many food allergies
The Honest Kitchen provides human-grade dog food with limited ingredients, making it ideal for Dalmatians with sensitive stomachs or food allergies.
The protein, fats, and caloric content will vary depending on which flavor you purchase and what your Dalmatian likes. In general, their nutrition range is higher than the recommended amount for Dalmatians, so you may want to consider selecting the flavors with lower nutritional values for your dog.
Most owners feedbacked that their dogs with allergies and other health issues thrived on this limited ingredient diet.
A few owners reported that this food brand caused allergies in their dogs. Therefore, please ensure that your Dalmatian is allergic to NONE of the listed ingredients before purchase.
6. Portland Pet Food Company Human-Grade Dog Food
- Key feature: All natural limited-ingredient and human-grade dog food that comes in convenient, ready-to-eat packages for dogs of all ages
- First 5 ingredients: Varies depending on flavor (Rosie’s Beef N’ Rice | Grandma Ada’s Turkey & Yams | Hopkin’s Prok N’ Potato | Tuxedo’s Chicken & Yams | Wally’s Salmon N’ Rice)
- Caloric content: 1120 – 1550 kcal/kg
- Guaranteed analysis: Min 8-13% protein, Min 4-10% fats, Max 1-5% fiber
- Best for: Picky Dalmatians that want tastier food than kibbles
Portland Pet Food Company believes that dogs should eat as well as humans, so they use human-grade ingredients in the dog food they manufacture. Therefore, you can be reassured that your Dalmatian is gulping down quality food with each mouthful.
The protein, fats, and caloric content will vary depending on which flavor you purchase and what your Dalmatian likes. In general, their nutrition range is higher than recommended for Dalmatians, so you may want to consider selecting the flavors with lower nutritional values for your dog.
Owners are happy that their dogs eat the same quality food as them. Many owners also mentioned that their picky dogs received this brand well and are happy and healthy on this diet.
Some owners think that this food is overpriced, so it is up to you to decide whether your budget can support your Dalmatian eating this high-quality food in the long run. Also, reviewers commented that the packaging makes it hard to scoop the food out, so prepare a spoon in advance when serving this food!
Dalmatians’ Dietary Requirements
Dalmatians have some special dietary requirements, so I recommend that new Dalmatian owners who know little about the nutritional needs read this section in detail.
The Dalmatian breed has an inherent metabolic defect (urate urolithiasis), and the risk can be reduced by feeding a low-protein and low-purine food .
Researchers recommend that Dalmatians kept on a commercial dog food diet be fed dry kibbles that have 18-25% crude proteins, with some of the protein content from plants.
Primary animal-based protein sources for dogs include chicken, beef, turkey, and boar. Potatoes and nuts provide plant-based proteins while being low in purine.
Dalmatians have high liver sensitivity, which means that they should not be fed too much high-fat food as this can cause problems for their liver.
However, Dalmatians do still need the essential fatty acids such as Omega-3 and Omega-6 to ensure your Dalmatians’ skin and coat health and prevent health issues such as vision complications or stunted learning ability.
Therefore, the recommended amount of crude fats in dry kibbles is 8-12%. The fats should come from a mix of animal sources (like chicken and salmon) and (plant sources like flaxseed and cashews).
Whole grains are a good source of complex carbohydrates low in purines, exactly what Dalmatians need. Therefore, unless your Dalmation is allergic or sensitive to grains, it is best to feed it on a whole-grain diet.
If your Dalmatian is unfortunately allergic to grains, some alternative sources of carbohydrates that you can turn to are sweet potatoes and pumpkins.
Common Health Issues In Dalmatians
Dalmatians are prone to various medical conditions, some of which are genetic and some of which can be prevented by taking a few steps to ensure a happy, healthy life.
Listed below are some of the health issues Dalmatians can have.
Food Allergies and Gastrointestinal Problems
Dalmatians are the unfortunate victims of food allergies and gastrointestinal problems. Some allergy symptoms that you can look out for include itchiness, inflamed skin, diarrhea, etc.
If the current diet causes such symptoms, it means that your Dalmatian is most probably allergic to one or more ingredients in its diet. Switch to a formula with lesser ingredients to narrow down the possible ingredients your Dalmatian is allergic to.
After you manage to find a formula that does not cause allergy symptoms in your Dalmatian, you will know the safe ingredients that you can feed it. Sticking to that formula will almost guarantee that your Dalmatian will no longer encounter any allergy issues.
Limited-ingredient formulas like The Honest Kitchen Limited Ingredient Dog Food are an excellent choice to start from if your Dalmatian is currently experiencing an allergy issue with its current food and you are unsure of the cause.
Dalmatians are a breed that is more prone to skin ailments and allergies. This is primarily because they have been crossbred, leading their immune system to be compromised.
A veterinarian or pet dermatologist can prescribe a specific diet and medication to treat Dalmatian skin problems.
Alternatively, feed your Dalmatian dog food that will support and promote coat and skin health to reduce the likelihood of experiencing skin problems.
Bladder stones are common in Dalmatians, whereby stones and crystals form in the dog’s urinary tract, from the kidney to the urethra to the most common location: the bladder.
Dalmatians need a specialized diet low in purines to reduce the chances of this issue developing in them. However, some parts of the animal (such as kidneys and livers) have very high purine levels. You do not know if they are used in the manufacturing process of kibbles when the ingredient only states the animal name.
Therefore, some owners have opted for a vegetarian diet, especially those who own Dalmatians already have bladder stone problems. A good example of a vegetarian diet for dogs is Nature Balance Vegetarian Dry Dog Food.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Feeding Dalmatians
We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions that Dalmatian owners have known to ask.
If you have a question not listed here, you can always contact us, and we will give you a reply.
When should I switch from puppy to adult food?
The Dalmatian is a medium-sized dog breed that used to be hunting and carriage dogs. Generally, adults reach their final growth stage at around 16 months, so it is best to start the switch at this time.
Puppy and adult formulas have different nutritional values, so remember to check out the new recommended serving size on the adult formula.
Also, remember that Dalmatians have frequent gastrointestinal issues. Transit gently from puppy food to adult food so that your Dalmatian can adjust to the different food and nutrition better. A common way to do the transit is as follows:
- Day 1-3: 25% adult formula, 75% puppy formula
- Day 4-6: 50% adult formula, 50% puppy formula
- Day 7-9: 75% adult formula, 25% puppy formula
- Day 10+: 100% adult formula
What foods should I avoid feeding my Dalmatian?
As mentioned earlier, Dalmatians should avoid dog food ingredients high in purines as eating these foods can harm their urinary systems. Therefore, one helpful way to start is determining what foods are rich in Purines.
Purines are usually found in kidney, heart, and liver meats. Wild game, red meat, and certain seafood are also especially rich in purines and should be avoided by Dalmatians.
While most vegetables are low in Purines, there are exceptions, such as beans, mushrooms, and peas.
Steer clear of dog food that uses these listed ingredients to ensure that your Dalmatian can thrive on the food it gets.
Can Dalmatians survive on a vegetarian diet?
Keeper the Dalmatian has a condition that prevents it from breaking down meat proteins. It is now thriving on a vegetarian diet.
Therefore, if you are very concerned about your Dalmatian getting too much proteins and purines from a primarily meat-based diet, you may want to choose a vegetarian diet for it. Our recommended vegetarian formula for Dalmatians is Nature Balance Vegetarian Dry Dog Food.
Dalmatians are medium-sized dogs that make good family members, especially highly active families who frequently exercise. Although they have several common health issues, they could be avoided and prevented with proper care.
We strongly believe that Inception Dry Dog Food is the best dog food for Dalmatians in general. Although the protein and fat content is slightly higher than recommended, it is the most suitable brand in the market for Dalmatians that offers quality dog food closest to the recommended range.
Nevertheless, every Dalmatian is unique. Do evaluate your Dalmatian’s needs before selecting dog food for it, and always consult a veterinarian’s opinion when you are in doubt.