What Is The Best Dog Food for a Newfoundland?
The Ultimate Newfoundland Food Buyer’s Guide
The giant Newfoundland originated in the Newfoundland area of Canada. Like the Labrador Retriever, the breed is originally descended from dogs that were already present in the area when colonists arrived. There is speculation that Portuguese fisherman probably brought dogs to the area in the early 16th century.
Two kinds of native dogs resulted: the Greater Newfoundland – a very large, heavy, mastiff-style dog with a long coat, which became the Newfoundland we know today; and the Lesser Newfoundland – an active, medium-sized dog with a smooth coat which became the St. John’s dog. The St. John’s dog would go on to become the foundation of the Labrador Retriever and most of the other modern retrieving breeds. Both the greater and lesser Newfoundlands were used as water dogs. They helped fishermen haul in nets filled with fish. The greater Newfoundland was also used as a cart dog to help haul things.
Because of their love for water, Newfoundlands have a well-deserved reputation as water rescue dogs. The breed makes a very good pet and they are good with children. They are considered to be a “nanny” dog. They have been used as pets for autistic children in some cases and they make good therapy dogs. Newfoundlands are sweet dogs and usually have a particularly calm, patient temperament. They are strong but gentle dogs. Owners report that the breed is easy to train if the training is begun early. They are normally good with other pets. Newfs are are giant breed so they do require space. Not every home can accommodate them. They also drool a lot. But if you have room for a giant breed, Newfies come highly recommended. The breed was recognized by the AKC in 1886. The Newfoundland has remained steady in popularity in the U.S. in recent years. They are currently the 38th most popular breed in the country, according to the AKC.
Quick Look : Top 5 Best Dog Foods for Newfoundlands
Diet & Nutrition
The Newfoundland can be seen in several colors, including black, brown, gray, and black-and-white (known as “Landseer”). Adult male dogs are about 28 inches tall while adult females are about 26 inches tall. An adult male can weigh between 130-150 pounds. An adult female will normally weigh between 100-120 pounds. You should expect a Newfoundland to be large with a heavy coat. They should also have heavy bones and good muscles. They are moderately active dogs.
According to the National Research Council of the National Academies, an active adult Newfoundland weighing 130 pounds requires an average daily caloric intake of 2685 kcal. Dogs that have been spayed/neutered, or that are older, may need slightly fewer calories. Some dogs may need more calories depending on their level of activity and their individual metabolism. Growing puppies consume more calories than adult dogs and so do young adult dogs. A young Newf puppy (6 months) weighing 88 pounds needs an estimated 2227 kcal per day. You always need to adjust your dog’s food intake based on his activity level and other factors.
Since Newfoundlands are a giant breed it is particularly important to feed puppies a food that is formulated for slow growth. Giant breeds can be prone to musculoskeltal problems such as hip dysplasia unless puppies are fed food that helps them grow slowly. The calcium and phosphorus ratio (and amounts) in the food also need to be properly formulated. You can find this in good quality all life stage foods but we recommend large breed puppy foods for giant breed puppies.
You may also wish to feed food that is formulated for giant breeds to your adult Newfoundland. These foods can be formulated for the needs of a giant breed. They can also contain supplements that may be beneficial for giant breeds.
Feeding Your Newfoundland
According to the club, Newfoundland puppies eat a lot during the period when they are growing rapidly (between 3 and 18 months). However, once the dog has reached maturity, they eat comparatively small amounts of food. The club says that the amounts suggested on dog food labels is usually excessive (we find this to be true for many breeds).
Any changes to your Newfoundland’s diet should be made gradually, especially when he is a puppy. NCA recommends that young puppies eat three meals per day. After the puppy is 5-6 months old, the puppy can eat two meals per day. Puppies should stay lean. Carrying too much weight can be harmful for any giant breed puppy while he is growing and lead to serious health problems. You should be able to feel – but not see – a puppy’s ribs.
Your Newfoundland’s feeding requirements will depend on his size and activity. The NCA recommends feeding an adult Newf two small meals per day instead of one large meal. Do not free feed your Newfoundland and remove any leftover food after the meal.
We found very little to suggest that food allergies or food sensitivities were common issues with Newfoundlands, though owners occasionally report an ear infection that might be related to food. Allergies can occur in any breed or kind of dog. If your dog has a food allergy symptoms usually include itching, scratching and sometimes hair loss and sores (from scratching). Skin infections can also occur as a secondary issue after the skin becomes irritated. The most common food allergens for dogs (in order) are: beef, dairy products, chicken, lamb, fish, chicken eggs, corn, wheat, and soy. However, dogs are individuals so if your dog has a food allergy he might be allergic to something else in the food. Dogs can also have food sensitivities. Symptoms of a food sensitivity include vomiting, diarrhea, flatulence, and an upset stomach (gurgling sounds). If your Newfoundland has a food allergy or food sensitivity, it’s a good idea to work with your veterinarian to identify the offending ingredient(s) so you will know what items to avoid in the food you feed.
As with many large/giant breeds, it’s important to watch your Newfoundland’s weight throughout his life. Being overweight or obese is unhealthy for all dogs but it can be a special problem for any breed that is prone to hip and elbow dysplasia.
Obviously we recommend that you feed your Newf a good quality dog food. Food that is high in animal protein is a good choice.
Newfoundlands are one of the breeds most susceptible to bloat. As suggested by the Newfoundland Club of America, feed your adult dog a couple of small meals per day instead of one large meal.
Newfoundland Health Problems
For information on Newfoundland health issues we recommend visiting the web site for the Newfoundland Club of America. The site provides information on common problems, inherited disorders, and research the club is supporting.
As already noted, Newfies are subject to hip and elbow dysplasia. The breed is ranked 10th in elbow dysplasia with 76 percent of dogs receiving a “Normal” rating. They are 25th in hips with 71.9 percent of dogs rated “Normal.” Trends for both ratings have drastically improved since the 1980s when OFA shows records for the breed.
Cruciate ligament rupture, luxating patella, osteochondritis dessican (OCD) and other skeletal issues can also occur in the breed.
A serious urinary disease called cystinuria is more common in Newfoundlands than in other breeds.
Newfoundlands can have some eye problems such as cataracts, cherry eye, entropion, and ectropion. They can also experience problems with their endocrine system such as hypothyroidism, Cushing’s disease, and Addison’s disease.
Subvalvular aortic stenosis (SAS) also occurs in the breed. SAS is a heart defect that affects the heart valves. It can lead to sudden death in some dogs.
Giant breed dogs such as Newfs can also be more prone to heat stroke due to their size. Be careful during times of excessive heat and humidity with these dogs.
Seizures can occur in any dog. There is some belief that they are appearing more often in Newfoundlands but it may be that people are just being more open about discussing them.
Some people report that Newfoundlands can have ear infections. This could be a sign of an allergic reaction (such as a food allergy). It could also be due to water left in the ear which encourages bacteria to grow. If your Newf goes swimming (as they love to do), be sure to thoroughly dry your dog’s ears around the ear canals when he comes out of the water.
You can find links to read about many of these health issues on this page: Some of these issues are very rare.
Ingredients to Look for and Some to Avoid
As with most dogs, when choosing a food for your Newf you should look for a food that has good sources of protein and fat.
Ideally you will select a dog food that features two or three meat proteins in the first several ingredients listed. Both whole meats and meat meals are good sources of protein. Whole meats refer to foods such as whole chicken, beef, fish, and lamb. Some people don’t like meat meals as much as whole meats but they are a concentrated form of the meat in which the moisture has been removed. They contain several times as much protein as a whole meat. Meat meals are usually quite acceptable as one of the first ingredients in a good quality dog food. They are used by many good dog food brands.
Many dog foods today, even some of the most expensive and highly touted, use lots of plant proteins such as lentils and peas. These foods often have high protein percentages on the label. When you read the guaranteed analysis it’s important to consider how much of the protein in the food comes from meat and how much comes from plants. Your dog is able to digest meat protein more easily than plant protein. Meat protein is a much more natural source of protein for your dog than plant protein.
Dogs also need good sources of fat. You should look for named fat sources such as chicken fat. Other named fats also provide needed nutrients such as fish oil which can provide omega-3 fatty acid to help keep the skin and coat healthy. Puppies can benefit from DHA which is Docosahexaenoic acid. This is a specific form of omega-3 fatty acid that helps with brain and eye development. Older dogs seem to benefit from medium chain triglycerides which feature medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs). These have been found to help older dogs feel and act younger. They are often made from a combination of coconut oil and other oils.
If you want to avoid corn, soy, and wheat in your dog food, your Newfoundland may still be able to eat an alternative grain such as barley or oats. Or you can feed a grain free dog food that uses an alternate source of carbs that is low glycemic such as sweet potatoes. You don’t have to feed a dog food with an excessively high percentage of protein but it’s a good idea to keep the carb percentage low to moderate.
If your Newfie has a food allergy or food sensitivity, you may need to work with your veterinarian to identify the food triggers unless they are very obvious. There are lots of good foods with alternative meat proteins today as well as limited ingredient diets which we will discuss below.
Recommended Dog Food For Newfoundlands
Newfoundlands should be able to eat most good quality dog foods. In our research we have not found any recommended restrictions for the Newfoundland diet other than common sense recommendations for feeding a giant breed. However, if your dog has a food allergy or food sensitivity you will need to try to avoid foods with ingredients that are triggers for your dog.
We are suggesting a variety of foods here for Newfoundlands. We have selected foods without corn, wheat, and soy unless otherwise noted. You may have to try a couple of foods to find which one is best for your dog. You should also keep in mind that your dog’s diet needs can change as he grows and ages so you may have to change foods to suit him.
Best Dog Foods for Newfoundland Adults
Now Fresh Grain Free Large Breed Adult Recipe
Now Fresh Grain Free Large Breed Adult Recipe is made by Petcurean. You may be more familiar with some of the other product lines from this Canadian company, such as Go!, Spike, or Summit. This food for large dogs is made from 100 percent fresh turkey, salmon, duck and 100 percent fresh omega 3 & 6 oils from coconuts and canola. It has no corn, wheat, or soy, and no other grains, gluten, or beef. It uses no rendered meats, no by-products, and no artificial preservatives.
The food does feature New Zealand green mussels and glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints. It has added L-Carnitine for a healthy heart and to help turn fat into lean muscle. It has taurine for good vision and heart function. And it has added pre- and probiotics for better digestion. The first ingredient is deboned turkey. The food contains 363 kcal/cup and has 27 percent crude protein and 13 percent crude fat. These levels should help your Newfie stay at a good weight. We think this food has some good features for a giant breed in terms of bone and joint health and heart health, as well as quality ingredients.
Fromm Large Breed Adult Gold
Designed specifically for large dogs over 50 pounds, Fromm Large Breed Adult Gold is one of our favorite dog foods for large dogs. It contains duck, chicken meal, and chicken as the first three ingredients. Chicken cartilage is added for a natural form of glucosamine to keep joints supple which is important for large dogs like the Newfoundland. The food contains no wheat, corn, or soy that might irritate the digestive system. Fromm Large Breed Adult Gold features moderate protein and fat which may be better for large dogs like the Newfoundland. The food is moderate in terms of calories (378 kcal/cup) which helps your giant dog stay slim.
We also like the fact that Fromm is a family-owned company in Wisconsin and they make their food in small batches fresh every morning. These are good ingredients from a respected company in a formula that should be good for your big dog. Your Newfie should stay healthy and fit with this large breed food.
Victor Yukon River Salmon & Sweet Potato Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
We have heard great things about Victor dog food from lots of people. Victor is made by Mid America Pet Food – a company that co-packs for some other well-known brands. The company is located in Texas and it’s been in business for a long time. They were purchased by an investor last year and Victor dog food is becoming more widely available now. They currently have six highly active and sporting dog formulas; five formulas for normally active dogs; and four grain free formulas. All of their foods are free of corn, wheat, soy, gluten, and grain by-products. They use no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. The Yukon River Salmon formula has 32 percent crude protein, 15 percent crude fat, and 34 percent crude carbs. Seventy-six percent of the protein in the food comes from fish. We think this is a food you might consider for your Newfoundland, or check out one of Victor’s other formulas.
Merrick Grain Free Real Texas Beef & Sweet Potato Dry Dog Food
We found this food when we were looking at bestsellers on Chewy.com. It looks like people have identified a really nice food from Merrick. The first five ingredients in this food are Deboned Beef, Lamb Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Peas, and Potatoes. This recipe is an all life stage food with 422 kcal per cup ME (metabolizable energy) on an as fed basis (calculated). It has 70 percent meat ingredients, 30 percent vegetables, vitamins, and minerals. It is grain free – no corn, soy, or wheat. No gluten. No poultry by-products, no artificial preservatives. No ingredients from China. It has 38 percent crude protein and 15 percent crude fat, with 3.5 percent crude fiber. It also has glucosamine and chondroitin added, as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Merrick uses local growers from Texas, where the food is made. We think this is good quality protein and other ingredients for dogs in general, including Newfoundlands, that need good nutrition. Not everyone will like a protein percentage this high but if you do, give this food a try. Merrick has lots of other formulas so check out their web site.
*New* ACANA Grasslands Regional Formula Grain Free Dry Dog Food
Exciting news if you like Acana. Champion Pet Foods has completed their new kitchen in Kentucky and they are now reformulating some of their dog and cat foods to reflect what is now “regional” to the Kentucky area. So, it’s still the same award-winning company – and it looks like Orijen will still be made in Alberta, Canada. But Acana will be made in Kentucky. We’ve had a chance to review the Acana dog and cat foods and there are some changes in the meat proteins but the foods still look great. If you visit the Acana web site you can view the old and new formulas to see the changes (we really like being able to compare the formulas). The current (old) Grasslands formula, for example, is heavy on lamb, duck, whitefish, and lentils. The new formula (due any time) will feature goat meal and catfish meal, in addition to the lamb and duck. The current formula has 31 percent crude protein, 17 percent crude fat, 5 percent crude fiber, and 10 percent moisture. The new formula has 33 percent crude protein, 17 percent crude fat, 6 percent crude fiber, and 12 percent moisture. The food has 70 percent animal protein ingredients and 30 percent vegetables, fruits, and botanicals. No grains, potatoes, or tapioca. If you’re looking for a very good grain free dog food for your Newfoundland that is low in carbohydrates, we think that the Acana foods are a good choice.
Best Dog Foods for Newfoundland Puppies
You can feed an all life stage food to Newfoundland puppies but we usually prefer a food that is specifically formulated for large/giant breed puppies. These foods typically have slightly fewer calories than other foods, including other puppy foods. This helps large/giant breed puppies from becoming roly-poly which can lead to future health problems.
Puppy foods should have a calcium to phosphorus ratio of about 1.2 parts calcium to 1 part phosphorus, though there is some slight room for variation such as 1.5:1.2. (Dry Matter Basis) It’s also important that dog and puppy foods do not have an excess (or deficiency) of calcium since this can affect bone growth. It’s particularly important to pay attention to these calcium issues with large/giant breed puppies since they can be prone to skeletal problems later in life. Here are some of the puppy foods we like for Newfoundland puppies.
|Fromm Large Breed Puppy Gold Formula||$1.53/lb|
|Canidae Life Stages Large Breed Dry Dog Food
Read Reviews Where To Buy
|Orijen Puppy Large Breed||$2.97/lb|
Fromm Large Breed Puppy Gold Formula
Similar to Fromm’s Large Breed Gold Adult formula, this large breed puppy formula contains no corn, wheat, or soy. The first three ingredients are duck, chicken meal, and chicken. The food is formulated for puppies who will grow to be over 50 pounds as adult dogs. Protein and fat in the food are moderate, and so are the calories, to help large breed puppies grow slowly. The technical analysis for the food shows the correct calcium to phosphorus ratio for large breed puppies. Fromm Large Breed Puppy Gold formula also has added DHA-rich salmon oil for good brain and eye development in puppies. The USDA-inspected ingredients for the food are delivered fresh each morning. We think this food should help Newfie puppies grow slowly so they can avoid bone and joint problems as they get older.
Canidae – Life Stages Large Breed Puppy Duck Meal, Brown Rice & Lentils Formula Dry Dog Food
Many breeders recommend Canidae to their puppy owners and feed it themselves. The name of this food is a little confusing. Although it says “Life Stages” it is a large breed puppy food. It’s specially designed for puppies that will grow to be over 50 pounds as adults. Duck meal is high in omega-3 fatty acid which is good for reducing joint inflammation. Lentils are a non-grain, gluten free source of carbs. The food is also lower in protein and fat so it helps keep large breed puppies like the Newfoundland slim – which can help prevent hip dysplasia later in life.
As a puppy food, Canidae Life Stages Large Breed Puppy formula also contains high levels of DHA to help with cognitive development. And the food has no corn, wheat, soy, fillers, antibiotics, hormones, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. These are all things we look for in a good food for Newf puppies.
Orijen Puppy Large
Some people prefer to feed puppies a grain free formula. Orijen Puppy Large is similar to their adult formulas. It is a biologically appropriate dog food that features 80 percent whole prey – chicken, turkey, eggs, fish; and 20 percent fruits and vegetables. It contains zero percent grains and potatoes. It is a non-GMO food. The chicken and turkey are cage-free and the fish is wild-caught. This is a low-glycemic dog food to support healthy blood sugar levels. The first three ingredients are boneless chicken, chicken meal, and chicken liver. The food is fairly moderate in fat (16 percent crude fat) and high in protein (38 percent crude protein). It also provides the correct calcium to phosphorus ratio and natural DHA from fish for good brain development in puppies. Orijen Puppy Large has 456 kcal per 250ml cup (120g). This food has very good quality ingredients. Many dog lovers will like this grain free food for their puppies.
Best Dog Foods for the Senior Newfoundland
Newfoundlands often live to be about 10 years old. As with many giant breeds, their lifespan is not quite as long as some small and medium-sized breeds.
As your dog ages it’s a good idea to plan an annual senior check-up with your vet. Many older dogs begin to put on pounds as they become less active. For this reason, most senior dog foods have fewer calories and they can skimp on protein. You should watch your older dog’s weight as he gets older to make sure he doesn’t become overweight. In some cases you can simply cut back on the portions of his regular dog food to help him stay fit or increase his exercise.
On the other hand, very old dogs often start to have some problems metabolizing nutrients, including protein. It can become hard for them to keep good muscle tone and weight as they age. For this reason, you may wish to avoid many dog foods labeled “senior.” These foods are often formulated for older dogs that have gained weight. Instead, look for a senior dog food that we like which has lots of protein. As long as your older dog doesn’t have any problems with his kidneys or with phosphorus, there is no reason to avoid higher protein levels.
Orijen Senior provides plenty of excellent quality protein for your older Newfie. This food features free-run chicken and turkey, wild-caught fish, and nest-laid eggs. It helps keep older dogs in good muscle even as they become less active. Made of 80 percent meats and fish, the food is low-glycemic and has low carbs to help keep your older dog’s blood sugar steady. The food also contains natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin to keep your Newf’s joints healthy. The food is 38 percent crude protein and 15 percent crude fat. It checks in at 445 kcal per 250ml/120g cup. We think this is a very good food for senior dogs who often need extra protein as they get older. (We know Orijen is expensive but this food really stands out for senior dogs.)
Another senior food we like a lot is Bright Mind 7+ from Purina. Whether you normally like Purina foods or not, we have heard nothing but positive comments about this food, especially for elderly dogs that might be slowing down and starting to withdraw. The food addresses some of the cognitive issues that older dogs can have. Not to mention at $1.83/lb it’s a cheaper option to the always premium pricing of Orijen.
Best Dog Foods for Newfoundlands with Skin Problems/Allergies
Hotspots and occasional ear infections are mentioned as occurring with Newfoundlands but the breed does not seem to have many problems with allergies, at least according to the information we found. Hotspots and ear infections can be related to a weakened immune system. If your dog does have skin problems due to food allergies and he needs to avoid common meat proteins, you can try the following foods.
Any dog suffering from skin problems or food allergies may benefit from Wild Calling!’s Xotic Essentials recipes. Formulas like their rabbit meal recipe use exotic meats that are rare in today’s pet food market so your dog hasn’t eaten them before – less chance of having an allergic reaction. The foods are also highly digestible. Wild Calling! also uses what they call LITe (limited ingredient technology). They don’t use any of the ingredients commonly found in most dog foods such as chicken, grain, gluten, egg, yeast, corn, wheat or soy. If your Newf has a food allergy, he may benefit from Wild Calling! The foods are formulated for rotational feeding and they offer several Xotic Essentials recipes, such as kangaroo and bison, so your dog doesn’t get over-exposed to one kind of meat protein. This is an All Life Stage food. We think that dogs with skin problems and food allergies can definitely benefit from these recipes.
Best Dog Foods for Newfoundlands with Sensitive Stomachs
If your dog has a sensitive stomach it can be an indication of a food sensitivity, which is different from a food allergy. A dog with a food sensitivity will have gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting or diarrhea. Or it could be something more serious.
A dog with a sensitive stomach can often be helped by feeding the right dog food. Sticking to a limited ingredient diet food with as few ingredients as possible can reduce the chance of your dog having a bad reaction to something in the food.
We recommend Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Sweet Potato & Fish Formula Small Breed Bites Dry Dog Food. This food is grain free with limited ingredients. It has good quality, alternative ingredients that are easily digestible for a dog with a sensitive stomach. And it contains no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. The first five ingredients are: Sweet Potatoes, Salmon, Salmon Meal, Canola Oil, and Potato Fiber. It has 21 percent crude protein, 10 percent crude fat, 4.5 percent crude fiber, and 10 percent moisture. It has 380 kcal/cup and it’s an all life stage formula. If your dog can’t eat some of the ingredients in this food, Natural Balance has other recipes that you might check.
Best Dog Foods for Overweight Newfoundlands
If your Newfie becomes overweight, it may be due to overfeeding and not enough exercise. You can help your dog lose weight by cutting back on his portions and encouraging him to get more exercise.
If your Newfoundland needs to lose more than one or two pounds, however, you may need to consider a weight control dog food.
We do not recommend a weight control dog food for a puppy or a very old dog. These foods generally have fewer calories and may have some other differences in nutrients that make them inappropriate for growing puppies or older dogs who need special nutrition.
If you have a Newfoundland who needs to lose weight we recommend Merrick Grain Free Healthy Weight Recipe. We like the fact that this food has 32 percent crude protein. The crude fat percentage is between 8 and 11 percent with 5 percent crude fiber so your dog should not feel like he’s starving. It is AAFCO-approved for a maintenance diet. The food has 3,210 kcal per kilogram or 360 kcal per cup ME (metabolizable energy) on an as fed basis (calculated). It is grain free and made from 55 percent beef and poultry. And it contains no corn, wheat, or soy and no ingredients from China. The first five ingredients in this food are: Deboned Beef, Chicken Meal, Potatoes, Peas, and Sweet Potatoes.
If your dog needs to lose weight, you should proceed slowly. No crash dieting. You should aim for your dog to lose no more than 3 to 5 percent of his body weight per month or about one percent each week. Even a giant breed such as a Newfoundland should only lose a very small amount per week.
Newfies are a beloved breed known for their love of water, their gentle, patient temperament, and their loyalty and courage. There is no way to guess how many people have been saved by a brave Newfoundland throwing himself into the water to keep them from drowning. No one ever described a Newfoundland better than the English poet George Gordon, Lord Byron in his epitaph to his Newfie named Boatswain in 1808:
Epitaph to a Dog
Near this Spot
are deposited the Remains of one
who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferocity,
and all the virtues of Man without his Vices.