What Is The Best Dog Food for a Vizsla?
The Vizsla is an all-around hunting dog that originated in Hungary. The breed is described as versatile and robust, but lightly built. Early Vizslas were kept for centuries by the landed aristocracy and jealousy guarded. The breed likely contributed to the development of the Weimaraner, German Shorthaired Pointer, and other continental gundog breeds. Today the Vizsla is still an excellent hunting companion but they also make a wonderful family dog. The breed is known for being loyal, gentle, affectionate, and smart. They normally get along very well with children. Like many sporting dogs, Vizslas love to be with people. They can be sensitive dogs so they do not do well with harsh training. This is a very active, energetic breed so they require plenty of daily exercise. Since Vizslas are very intelligent, they do need training and mental stimulation. If you leave a Vizsla home along with nothing to do, he is likely to become bored and destructive. This is a breed that does not do well as a kennel dog. Vizslas often excel in obedience, agility, rally, water sports (Vizslas love to swim), and in other dog sports because of their athleticism and intelligence. Vizslas are the 33rd most popular breed in the U.S. today.
Quick Look : Top 4 Best Dog Foods for Viszlas
Vizslas are easy to recognize as a lean, athletic rust-gold dog. The coat is short, smooth, and dense. The breed has no undercoat which means these dogs have very little protection in cold weather. Although they do shed, Vizslas are considered a low-maintenance breed in terms of grooming. This is a medium-large breed. The ideal male is 22 to 24 inches at the highest point over the shoulder blades. The ideal female is 21 to 23 inches. Males usually weigh 45-66 pounds; females usually weigh 40-55 pounds.
According to the National Research Council of the National Academies, an active adult Vizsla weighing 55 pounds requires an average daily caloric intake of 1409 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. For example, if you hunt with your Vizsla (55-lb dog doing light field work), you might need to feed him somewhere around 1565 kcal per day. Growing puppies consume more calories than adult dogs and so do young adult dogs. A young Vizsla puppy (4-12 months) weighing 35 pounds needs an estimated 1115 kcal per day. You always need to adjust your dog’s food intake based on his activity level and other factors.
Since Vizslas are a medium-large dog, you can feed them either a food for medium-sized dogs or for large breeds. Most dog foods for medium-sized dogs are simply not labeled for any special size. Hip dysplasia is rare in the breed but it can occur. If your puppy or dog comes from bloodlines that any hip dysplasia, you should probably consider feeding a large breed food since these foods are usually formulated with ingredients to address bone and joint problems. If you decide to buy a large breed adult dog food, look for ingredients such as glucosamine, chondroitin, green-lipped mussels, SAM-e, and MSM, or purchase some of these supplements separately. They are easy to find online or at drugstores or big box stores.
You can choose a puppy food that is made for all puppies or a large breed puppy food. Most breeders recommend feeding this food until your puppy reaches about 90 percent of his adult size which is usually 10-12 months of age for this breed. Some breeders, instead, recommend a puppy food for the first few months and then suggest switching to an adult food by the time the puppy is about six months of age. You should talk to your breeder about the food they recommend for their puppies since they usually have experience with how their puppies grow and develop.
Feeding Your Vizsla
According to owners and breeders, Vizslas are a breed that is prone to food allergies and skin problems. This is something you may have to take into consideration at some point in your dog’s life. If you have a dog that is a high risk for food allergies you can try to avoid some of the most common food triggers for dogs. The most common food triggers: beef, dairy products, chicken, lamb, fish, chicken eggs, corn, wheat, and soy. Symptoms of food allergies include itching and scratching which leads to redness, hair loss, damaged skin, and skin infections. Dogs can also have food sensitivities which result in diarrhea, vomiting, flatulence, and a generally upset stomach. If you suspect that your dog has a food allergy or sensitivity, it’s best if you work with your veterinarian to address it unless the cause is completely obvious.
Note that the foods mentioned above are not the only things that can trigger food allergies in dogs. They are simply the most common. This list changes over time as dog food ingredients change. The more the dog population is exposed to certain ingredients, the more some dogs will develop allergies to them. None of these ingredients are “bad.” They are just common, so more dogs have developed allergies to them.
Vizslas can also have non-food allergies so if your dog shows allergy symptoms, it’s not always a good idea to assume that your dog is having a reaction to his food. Sometimes he may be having some other kind of allergic reaction. See your vet.
As with any dog, you should feed your Vizsla a good quality dog food. Food that is high in animal protein is usually a good choice. However, if you are trying to find a novel or exotic protein for your Vizsla, you may have to settle for a food that has slightly less meat protein. Many of these foods are higher in carbohydrates and fiber – probably due to the high cost of these exotic meats.
Adult Vizslas usually do well eating two meals per day. You can feed Vizsla puppies 3-4 meals when they are very young, then move to three meals per day as they get older. By the time they are about a year old they should be eating two meals per day.
Vizsla Health Problems
As a whole, Vizslas are known for being a very healthy breed. You can find out more information about the health of the breed by visiting the Vizsla Club of America, the AKC parent club for the breed.
The club emphasizes testing for hip dysplasia, thyroid disease, and an eye examination, especially for any dog being considered for breeding. Optional tests that breeders may obtain include tests for elbow dysplasia, cardiac, sebaceous adenitis, and von Willebrand’s disease. The club takes a strong stand against breeding any dogs that have hip dysplasia, epilepsy, PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy), von Willebrand’s Disease, entropian and cranial muscular atrophy. (From a genetic viewpoint, there are pros and cons to this position, depending on the condition. For example, hip dysplasia is a polygenetic trait only believed to be about 40 percent genetic. It is also believed to be influenced by injury, diet/nutrition, weight, and other environmental factors. Other diseases, however, can be solely genetic in nature.)
Vizslas are also prone to some kinds of cancer, especially mast cell tumors. Hypothyroidism is also found in the breed with some frequency. As already mentioned, allergies (including food allergies) and skin problems also appear in the breed.
According to the Vizsla Club of America, the average lifespan of the breed is 9.15 years, though this figure is based on a single health survey.
Ingredients to Look for and Some to Avoid
As with most dogs, when choosing a food for your Vizsla 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 Vizsla 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 Vizsla 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 An Adult Vizsla
Vizslas should be able to eat most good quality dog foods. 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 suggest a variety of foods here for Vizslas. Most of the foods we have selected do not contain corn, wheat, or soy, unless 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 dietary needs can change as he grows and ages so you may have to change foods to suit him.
Since Vizslas are very active dogs, most of the foods we have chosen are higher in calories than average dog foods.
Best Dog Foods for Vizsla Adults
Annamaet Ultra Formula
Annamaet Ultra is an All Life Stage formula that is suitable for all active dogs, from puppies to performance dogs. It has 32 percent crude protein and 20 percent crude fat. The calcium to phosphorus ratio makes it a good fit for growing puppies. It comes in at 480 kcal/cup. The first ingredient is chicken meal, followed by brown rice, and chicken fat preserved with mixed tocopherols in the form of Vitamin E. Annamaet uses algae as a source of omega-3 fatty acid for good skin and coat, and healthy heart development. The food also contains DHA for good brain development. It also features chelated minerals so they are more easily digested. The chicken is raised free of antibiotics. Since this is an All Life Stage food, you can go on feeding it as your puppy gets older and becomes an adult. People who feed this food seem to love it. Whole Dog Journal and other sources give it high marks. Annamaet also has a good 25 percent protein formula if you like a little less protein in your dog’s diet. This formula is also suitable for puppies, including large breed puppies. They also have several grain free formulas.
Earthborn Holistic Primitive Natural
This grain free food is recommended by some Vizsla breeders and owners. It has no grain or gluten and it’s suggested as a high protein, alternative diet. It features blueberries, cranberries and other antioxidants; L-carnitine to support lean muscles; balanced omega-6 and omega-3; and it’s easy to digest. The first five ingredients are: Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Potatoes, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), and Whitefish Meal. The food has 38 percent crude protein, 20 percent crude fat, 2.5 percent crude fiber, and 10 percent moisture per the guaranteed analysis. It has 17.5 percent carbs (as fed basis). It has 445 kcal/cup. This is an all life stage food. We think this is a good food for Vizslas as long as none of the ingredients are problematic for your dog. Earthborn has several other formulas with other proteins if this food sounds interesting. Coastal Catch and Great Plains, in particular, have been recommended by Vizsla owners, but your dog might do well on different 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 Vizslas that need good nutrition for an active lifestyle. Not everyone will like a protein percentage this high but if you do, give this food a try.
*New Formula* 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, 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 good. 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. (Note that the protein percentage now says 31 percent for the new formula so they Acana have revised this percentage again.) No grains, potatoes, or tapioca. If you’re looking for a good grain free dog food for your Vizsla that is low in carbohydrates, we think that the Acana foods are a good choice.
Best Dog Foods for Vizsla Puppies
Vizsla puppies can usually begin eating a puppy food after they are weaned or they can eat a good all life stage food. Some people like to feed a puppy food for a few months and then switch over to an all life stage food when their puppy is a few months old. If you have questions about how to feed your puppy, we recommend talking to your puppy’s breeder. They usually have the most experience with raising Vizsla puppies and can guide you, especially when it comes to avoiding hip dysplasia.
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. It’s also important that dog and puppy foods do not have an excess (or deficiency) of calcium since this can affect bone growth. If you are feeding your puppy a food that is properly formulated, you should not add any extra calcium, such as milk, cottage cheese, or other calcium supplements. Doing so can lead to serious health problems such as OCD (osteochondritis dessecans) – painful bone spurs that may require surgery – and other orthopedic problems.
Here are some of the puppy foods we like for Vizsla puppies. Note that an All Life Stage food can also be fed, as long as the nutrients are appropriate for your puppy.
|Fromm’s Large Breed Puppy Gold Formula
Read Reviews Where To Buy
|Candiae Grain Free Pure Foundations Puppy Formula
Read Reviews Where To Buy
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.
Canidae Grain Free Pure Foundations Puppy Formula
We like this food for puppies. Canidae Grain Free Pure Foundations Puppy Formula is a limited ingredient food with nine ingredients plus vitamins and minerals and probiotics. It’s grain free with probiotics to help digestion; antioxidants for a healthy immune system; and omega 3 and 6 to support healthy skin and a beautiful coat. The first five ingredients are Chicken, menhaden fish meal, lentils, peas, potatoes. The recipe is supposed to be especially good for puppies with sensitive digestion. The food has 30 percent crude protein, 12 percent crude fat, 4 percent crude fiber, and 10 percent moisture. This food checks in at 520 kcal/cup, so it’s high in calories but active, growing Vizsla puppies can usually burn them off. Just remember that you don’t need to feed a lot of food with these very nutrient-dense foods. If your Vizsla puppy does well on this puppy food, Canidae has some good adult foods – both grain free and foods with grains.
Best Dog Foods for the Senior Vizsla
Even Vizslas can begin to slow down as they get older. 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, some 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. Very old dogs can start to look skinny. 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 Dog
Orijen Senior provides plenty of excellent quality protein for your older Vizsla. 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 Vizsla’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.
Best Dog Foods for Vizslas with Skin Problems/Allergies
As mentioned earlier, Vizslas can have some allergies and skin problems. If your dog needs to avoid common proteins, you can try the foods below.
Wild Calling! Xotic Essentials Rabbit Meal RecipeAny 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 Vizsla 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.
Another food that is often recommended for dogs with food allergies and skin problems is Zignature. It comes in proteins such as trout & salmon, kangaroo, turkey, duck, venison, and others. It’s available in dry and canned versions. Foods are potato- and grain-free, and chicken-free. They do not use common bonding agents in their foods which are high in simple carbs and starches. They only use low glycemic carbs such as chickpeas that add extra protein and fiber to the food. They work with Tuffy’s in Minnesota and Performance Pet in South Dakota to manufacture their foods. Many people like Zignature very much. If you have a dog with food allergies, this is a brand that you might consider.
Best Dog Foods for Vizslas 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 lots of other LID recipes that you might check.
If these foods don’t help or if you have other concerns about your dog’s gastrointestinal problems, please see a veterinarian, especially if your dog is losing weight or exhibiting other serious symptoms. It’s always possible that your dog does not have a food sensitivity or a food allergy. Dogs can have many health problems with symptoms that affect their digestion. Let your vet take a look.
Best Dog Foods for Overweight Vizslas
If your Vizsla 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 Vizsla 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 an Vizsla that 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.
Vizslas make wonderful pets but they do best with an active family or individual. They are energetic dogs that need daily exercise. They are smart, sensitive dogs so they should not be left alone in the backyard all day. If they have nothing to do, they are creative enough to get into trouble. If you are looking for a best friend who is willing and able to go hiking and camping with you, join you when you jog, and even take a swim, the Vizsla is perfect. Loving and affectionate, this dog will be happy to curl up next to you at night, too.