What Is The Best Dog Food for a Borzoi?
The Ultimate Borzoi Food Buyer’s Guide
Once known in the West as the Russian Wolfhound, the Borzoi as a breed dates back nearly a thousand years. It’s believed to have originated as a cross between Salukis and a native Russian breed around the year 1260. Borzoi are sighthounds (also called gazehounds), a group that includes Greyhounds, Salukis, Irish Wolfhounds, Scottish Deerhounds, Afghan Hounds, Pharaoh Hounds, Ibizan Hounds, and Whippets. These breeds are known for hunting primarily by sight and using their speed and agility to chase down prey. They have very keen vision to detect motion. They typically have a flexible back, deep chest, large heart, lean body, and efficient respiratory system. Centuries of selective breeding for the best hunters have emphasized these traits. Sighthounds as a type date back at least 5000 years and have been very helpful to humans in hunting activities – essential to feeding people in many cases. Borzoi were used to hunt wolf, fox, and hare.
There are various theories about which breeds were used to develop the Borzoi. According to one story, a Russian duke crossed Arabian Greyhounds with a collie-like Russian breed to produce Borzoi. Another story claims that Asiatic or Eastern Borzoi were crossed with Northern wolf-like dogs. Whatever the origin, it seems clear that following the Napoleonic Wars in the early 19th century, numerous foreign dogs of Greyhound type were imported into Russia and crossed with the native Borzoi. These crosses were done to such an extent that few of the native Borzoi remained in the following generations. Most Borzoi left in Russia in the latter part of the 19th century had been blended with sighthounds from outside the country. Hunting also fell out of favor when Russia liberated the serfs in 1861 and many estates (and kennels) were neglected. During the Russian Revolution many Borzoi were slaughtered because of their association with the Czars and the old Russian aristocracy. As a result there were few of the old type Borzoi left alive in the country by the 1920s. The original Borzoi was nearly extinct. Fortunately, some of the older Borzoi had been exported to England in the early 19th century. The Czars had gifted the British Royal Family with several pairs of Borzoi over the years and these dogs had produced their own lineage in Britain.
The first Borzoi imported to the United States from Russia came in 1890. Although they came from the Imperial Kennels they ultimately proved to be somewhat disappointing. Fortunately, a fancier was able to visit Russia in person in 1903 and, with some luck, visit kennels himself where he found the kind of dogs he was seeking. Bringing them back to the United States, they proved most successful and important to the breed.
The name “Russian Wolfhound” was changed to Borzoi in the United States in 1936. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1891. They are currently the 93rd most popular breed in the United States according to the AKC.
In terms of temperament, the Borzoi is quiet, smart, dignified, and sensitive. They are affectionate, loyal dogs but, like most sighthounds, they tend to be somewhat independent. They are not always easy to train because they may not be interested. They can get bored quickly. They rarely bark and they are not very territorial. You can’t rely on a Borzoi to alert you if there’s an intruder. They are athletic dogs capable of chasing down prey but they also enjoy comfort. Most of the time they are content to be couch potatoes. They can do well with children and small animals, such as cats, if they are raised with them from a young age. They do enjoy running so they should not be exercised off-leash unless the area is enclosed or you might not see your dog again.
Read more about Borzoi intelligence and training here in the Temperament section.
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Borzoi Diet & Nutrition
According to the standard for the breed, male Borzoi stand at least 28 inches tall at the withers; females are at least 26 inches tall at the withers. Male dogs weigh 75 to 105 pounds; females weigh 15 to 20 pounds less. They are a giant breed. The breed varies widely in color. The coat is silky and often has a slight curl or wave. There is feathering on the tail and hindquarters and a frill on the neck.
Despite their athleticism, Borzoi are usually quiet in the home. They are natural coursers, built for speed and endurance so regular exercise is a must. However, when they are not exercising, Borzoi are happy to sleep and rest.
As with most puppies, Borzoi pups are very active and they can be destructive if they don’t have a good outlet for their energy. Borzoi puppies need plenty of room to run and play while they are growing. Keep in mind that since the Borzoi is a giant breed, they grow for a long time. Puppyhood can last quite a while. You can see growing Borzoi pups here.
Growing puppies and young adults use a lot of energy. They require a diet that features good quality protein. According to the National Research Council of the National Academies, an active adult Borzoi dog weighing 90 pounds requires an average daily caloric intake of 2038 calories. Dogs that have been spayed/neutered, or that are older, may need fewer calories. Some dogs may need more calories depending on their level of activity and their individual metabolism. If you are coursing with your Borzoi (90 pounds) on the weekends you may need to feed 2265 kcal or more. Growing puppies consume more calories than adult dogs and so do young adult dogs. A young adult Borzoi dog weighing 60 pounds needs an estimated 1671 calories per day.*
*We have a caveat about the calorie information for the Borzoi. The information provided here is based on generic tables for dogs based on their weight. According to our sources, Borzoi actually eat less than you would expect for their size. Puppies eat a lot while they are growing but according to the Borzoi Club of America, you can expect an adult Borzoi to eat about the same amount as an adult Setter or Shepherd.
How much do Borzoi eat? Borzoi are surprisingly small eaters for a giant breed. Puppies consume more food than adults due to their rapid growth. On the whole, an adult Borzoi will eat about the same amount of food as an adult Shepherd or Setter. The quality of the food is of primary importance. In general, strenuous exercise is not recommended before or after feeding time.
Protein is very important for your dog’s diet. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) recommends a minimum of 22 percent protein for growth (puppies) and 18 percent protein for maintenance in adult dogs. Most good quality dog foods will far exceed these percentages. Fat is an important source of energy for dogs and should comprise at least 8 percent of the diet for Borzoi puppies and 5 percent of the diet for adults. At least one close relative of the Borzoi in Russia, the Hortaya Borzoi, is traditionally raised on a diet of oats and table scraps. These dogs are said to be intolerant of kibbles that are highly concentrated as most of our high-quality premium dog foods are. Some people prefer to feed Borzoi a raw diet.
As with many sighthounds and large breeds, Borzoi experience tremendous growth spurts during their first couple of years. Feeding them highly concentrated, high energy foods can be harmful since they can result in skeletal and joint problems and eventual injuries. Since they are designed for speed, like other sighthounds, Borzoi do not have a lot of body fat. They cannot really be compared to other dogs of similar size such as the Bloodhound, Saint Bernard, or Alaskan Malamute. While they are very tall dogs they are decidedly narrow. For this reason you have to be careful when choosing food for a Borzoi. Many typical foods formulated for large and giant breeds may not be suitable for Borzoi.
As with Salukis and other slim, racy breeds, you should not try to make a Borzoi eat more or look “rounded” like other dog breeds. These breeds will always appear thin to people who are unfamiliar with them. If you overfeed them to satisfy people who don’t know any better, you will compromise their health and well-being.
We do recommend feeding Borzoi puppies a large breed puppy food*. In large breeds like the Borzoi, the growth plates for some bones can continue to grow for nearly two years. Feeding a food for slow growth is much better for these bones and helps prevent joint problems. These puppy foods pay special attention to the calcium to phosphorus ratio in the food and keep the protein and calories slightly lower to encourage slow growth. Unfortunately, some popular dog foods that are grain free or very high in protein are not advisable for puppies because their calcium to phosphorus ratio is inappropriate. You can start making the switch to feeding your puppy an adult dog food once he has reached about 90 percent of his adult size.
*All life stage formula dog foods can also be appropriate but you should check the nutritional analysis to make sure the food is suitable for your puppy.
Feeding Your Borzoi
While some people like to feed their Borzoi a raw or homemade diet, you should be able to choose a good commercial dog food for your puppy or dog. The breed can eat many good quality dog foods. However, they do require good quality nutrition. This is really not a breed that can get by on cheaper dog foods.
According to sources we found, it’s usually advisable to feed Borzoi foods with low to moderate protein percentages (around ≈ 22 percent) and low fat percentages (around ≈ 9 percent). This is true for both adult dogs and puppies. Many large breed dog foods may meet these requirements but you should be careful to read labels and check percentages. Borzoi often do well eating animal protein sources such as chicken, fish, and eggs. They can eat grains such as pearled barley, oatmeal, and brown rice. Good foods for Borzoi should also have omega fatty acids (3 and 6), glucosamine and chondroitin, prebiotics, probiotics, antioxidants, along with vitamins and minerals. Common vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes (and others); and fruits and berries such as apples, cranberries, and blueberries round out healthy ingredients for their nutrition.
As a breed, Borzoi are particularly susceptible to bloat (discussed below), along with joint problems associated with being a giant breed. This kind of diet, fed in multiple small meals during the day, can help avoid problems.
We suggest that you measure the amount of food you feed and only leave the food sitting out for about half an hour. Then put it away. This should give your dog time to eat. If you free feed and leave the food sitting out all the time dogs usually nibble which puts on pounds. It can also make dogs picky eaters. We recommend feeding adult Borzoi several small meals per day throughout their lives. Borzoi puppies may need 6-7 meals per day while they are growing. Large, deep-chested breeds are at special risk for bloating. Feeding one large meal per day (or even two big meals) can encourage dogs to eat fast, gulping in air which can be a trigger for bloat. Many other ideas about what does and does not contribute to bloat are still in dispute, but everyone seems to agree that multiple small meals spread throughout the day are beneficial.
Borzoi experts caution that you should resist the urge to try to “fatten” your Borzoi by giving him extra food. Borzoi naturally have low body fat. They are supposed to be lean in appearance. Feed your Borzoi an appropriate amount of food and don’t try to make him gain more weight.
According to the Borzoi Club of America, Borzoi are normally very healthy dogs. However, because of their large size they can have some health issues that are common to breeds of similar type.
As with many other large, deep-chested breeds, bloat and torsion (also called gastric dilatation volvulus or GDV) can occur in some Borzoi. In this condition the stomach fills with gas (sometimes fluid). Torsion (twisting) happens when the stomach rotates and twists, closing itself off. At this point the dog’s blood supply to the stomach becomes shut off. This is a life-threatening situation. Immediate veterinary help is needed. In the past, even with immediate treatment, the prognosis for dogs affected by bloat was guarded. However, current research shows that dogs receiving immediate treatment and good post-op care have about a 90 percent rate of recovery. Researchers are still unclear about all of the factors that may cause this condition though it is strongly suggested that at-risk breeds, such as the Borzoi, be fed multiple small meals per day. Food with higher percentages of fat may be a contributing factor, too, since these foods can take longer to digest, keeping the stomach full. It is usually recommended that dogs should not engage in strenuous exercise immediately before or after eating. Most people recommend that dogs don’t fill up on water just before or after eating or exercising. Fearful/nervous dogs also seem to be more at risk for bloating. Dogs that have had close relatives known to bloat may also have a greater risk of bloating, though whether this is due to environmental factors or genetics is not clear.
Dysplasia and joint problems
Borzoi can have hip dysplasia but it is extremely uncommon. They currently rank 179th in the OFA database for hip dysplasia out of about 182 breeds. Most of the sighthounds, such as the Borzoi, rarely have hip dysplasia.
Likewise, elbow dysplasia can occur in Borzoi, but it is very uncommon.
OCD (Osteochondritis Dissecans) is a disease of the cartilage that can affect various joints in a dog. In places where two bones meet there will be a smooth section of cartilage covering them to act as a cushion and protect the bone. If something interrupts this smooth surface, the movement of the joint becomes painful. For dogs with OCD, the cartilage is damaged or has grown abnormally. Instead of covering the bone, it has cracked or separated. This can be a particular problem in large and giant breeds. It occurs most frequently between the ages of 4 and 10 months of age, but it can appear in older dogs. OCD can affect the shoulder, elbow, hock, or knee but the shoulder is the area most commonly affected. Symptoms include lameness in the affected limb. OCD can occur because of trauma but it’s believed to be related to periods of rapid growth so nutrition can play a big role. Slower growth is better for large and giant breeds. Surgery is often indicated to remove the separated flap of cartilage. If OCD occurs in the shoulder, the prognosis is usually good. If the OCD occurs in other joints, it can lead to degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis) in the future.
Some Borzoi can be prone to hypothyroidism or low thyroid. The breed is currently ranked 26th among breeds listed in the OFA database. Some 78 percent of Borzoi tested were normal. Hypothyroidism is easily treated with a daily pill but it’s important to have your veterinarian diagnose the condition with bloodwork.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
PRA is occasionally found in the breed. The Borzoi Club of America recommends that breeders have their dogs’ eyes checked by a boarded ACVO ophthalmologist annually.
Cardiomyopathy and cardiac arhythmia have both been identified in Borzoi. The Borzoi Club of America recommends that breeders have their dogs’ hearts tested before breeding. Some 95 percent of dogs in the OFA database tested normal.
Degenerative myelopathy (DM) is a degenerative disease of the spinal cord that can occur in older dogs. It causes progressive paralysis. Fortunately, there is now a DNA test for this disease. The Borzoi Club of America recommends that breeders have dogs tested before breeding.
You can check OFA figures for the Borzoi here.
As with other sighthound breeds, Borzoi can be more sensitive to anesthesia than other dogs. You should mention this fact to your veterinarian and make sure that the information is added to your dog’s records.
Like other dogs, some Borzoi can get different kinds of cancer. There is no sure-fire way to prevent cancer but many dog lovers try to protect their dogs by feeding a dog food with more natural ingredients to try to keep their dog’s immune system as strong as possible. Many people recommend feeding a food that is free of some of the most common food irritants such as corn, soy, and wheat. These are not the most common dog food allergens – beef, dairy products, and chicken, for example, lead to more food allergies for dogs than corn, soy, and wheat. But many people like to avoid soy and grains in dog foods. There are many good grain free dog foods today if you want to feed one to your dog.
Avoiding artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives is also suggested as a way to help keep the immune system stronger.
Borzoi typically live 10 to 12 years though some people report dogs that live to be up to 18 years old. Even 10 to 12 years is old compared to some other giant breeds.
Ingredients to Look for and Some to Avoid
Protein and fat are the main ingredients in the diet for a Borzoi, as they are for most dogs. However, not all protein and fat are the same. It’s important that the protein and fat in the dog food comes from good sources if you want your dog to be healthy. For example, both shoe leather and steak contain protein but there’s a big difference in the nutrition they provide.
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. However, whole meats contain normal water moisture. Animals are about 70 percent water, just as humans are. If the water from these meats were removed, they would normally be placed lower on the ingredient list since the dog food label is required to list food by weight before cooking. 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.
Dogs also need good sources of fat. Some vitamins are only fat-soluble and your dog needs them in his diet. But fat, like protein, varies in quality depending on the source. 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 Borzoi may still be able to eat rice, barley, oats, or some other grain or cereal. Or you can feed a grain free dog food that uses an alternate source of carbs 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. And remember that Borzoi puppies need slightly lower levels of protein so they won’t grow too fast
Recommended Dog Foods for Adult Borzoi
Every dog is an individual. Even dogs in the same breed can have different food needs. Some dogs need more calories than others. Some dogs will do better with more protein or fat than other dogs. We are providing several suggested foods for your Borzoi which meet our standards but you may have to use a trial and error method to see which food your dog does best on.
When you are trying a new food, be sure to allow several days to slowly transition to the food, mixing in a little of your dog’s old food each day. Of course, if your dog shows signs that he doesn’t like the food or doesn’t tolerate it, you will have to make adjustments. If your dog eats the food but you don’t like his condition after a few weeks, you can change him back – slowly – to his previous food. It’s best not to go directly to another new food. You can upset your dog’s gastrointestinal system if you keep changing to too many new foods in a short period of time. Once your dog has settled back with his old food, you can once again try a new food. You should allow at least a couple of weeks between foods before trying another new food so you can give your dog’s system a chance to rest and recover. This also gives the new food a fair chance.
If you try a new food and your dog doesn’t seem enthusiastic about it, you might also try another food from the same product line that uses a different kind of meat protein or other ingredients. As long as the guaranteed analysis and nutrient percentages are similar, the food should be similar to the original food you selected.
When you are feeding a new food and your dog is eating it without problems, it’s important for you to assess his physical condition. Is he gaining or losing weight on the new food? Does his coat look shiny and healthy? Are his eyes bright? Does he seem to have good energy or is he more lethargic than usual? And, the big question for any dog lover – what does his poop look like? As most dog lovers know, you can tell a lot about a dog’s health by checking his poop. Does it look normal and firm? Is he having regular bowel movements? Those are good signs. If your dog is having runny poop or diarrhea; or if he is having trouble with his bowel movements, it could be because of the new food. These are all things you should note during the first few weeks of feeding a new food. Even if your dog LOVES the food, if he’s not thriving, you may have to rethink his diet or how much you are feeding him.
We have tried to select foods for Borzoi that have protein that is low to moderate and with low to moderate fat. All of the foods listed are free of corn, wheat, and soy unless otherwise noted.
Best Dog Foods for Borzoi Adults
Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Holistic Large Breed Dry Dog Food
Dr. Gary’s Best Breed is a small, independent company. Foods are made in small batches using a unique, slow-cooking process at low temperatures that is said to make the carbohydrates easier to digest and ensure optimum absorption of the nutrients. The formulas are made using only EU (European Union)-approved ingredients, which sometimes have to meet a higher standard than USDA ingredients. The foods contain no animal by-products, cheap fillers, any kind of gluten, and no artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors. No corn or wheat. Best Breed uses only ethoxyquin-free sources of fish and chicken raised without antibiotics. (All poultry in the U.S. is raised free of added hormones.) The large breed diet is formulated to promote the health of large breed dogs. It’s especially good for dogs with sensitive digestive systems. The first five ingredients in thr large breed formula are: Chicken Meal, Oatmeal, Brown Rice, Dried Beet Pulp, and Chicken Fat [Preserved with Natural Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E)]. It has 25 percent crude protein and 13 percent crude fat, with 456 Kcal/cup. This is an all life stage dog food.
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.
This formula features New Zealand green mussels and glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints which should be beneficial for Borzoi. 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. It contains 363 kcal/cup and has 27 percent crude protein and 13 percent crude fat. These levels should help your Borzoi stay at a good weight. We think this food has some good features for a large breed in terms of bone and joint health and heart health, as well as quality ingredients.
Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Adult Deboned Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
This recipe does include grains, such as brown rice, oatmeal, and barley, but these grains have some health benefits. They are not empty carbs or filler ingredients. Oatmeal and barley provide some good dietary fiber, for example. The first five ingredients in this food are Deboned Chicken, Whitefish, Chicken Meal, Ground Brown Rice, and Oatmeal. The food has 25 percent crude protein, 11 percent crude fat, 5 percent crude fiber, and 11 percent moisture. It also contains added glucosamine and chondroitin which many people consider helpful for large breed dogs who can experience joint problems. The food has 363 kcal per cup.
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 big dogs. 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 Borzoi. The food is moderate in terms of calories (378 kcal/cup) which helps your large 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 large dog.
Best Dog Foods for Borzoi Puppies
Borzoi puppies can usually begin eating a puppy food right after they are weaned or they can eat a good all life stage food. 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 Borzoi puppies and can guide you.
Puppy foods should have a calcium to phosphorus ratio of about 1.2 parts calcium to 1 part phosphorus. It’s also important that dog and puppy foods do not have an excess of calcium since this can affect bone growth. This is especially true for large breed puppies like Borzoi. 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) and other orthopedic problems.
Here are some of the puppy foods we like for Borzoi puppies. Remember that an all life stage food can also be fed, as long as the nutrients are appropriate for your puppy.
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 Borzoi slim – which can help prevent joint problems 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 Borzoi puppies.
Holistic Select – Large & Giant Breed Puppy Health
This large breed puppy formula features lamb meal and oatmeal. It includes probiotics, healthy fiber, and digestive enzymes to help your Borzoi puppy digest the food better and absorb more nutrition. Other natural ingredients include chicken and fish meals. The first five ingredients in the food are: Lamb Meal, Ground Brown Rice, Ground White Rice, Chicken Meal, and Dried Beet Pulp. The formula supports muscle and bone development to help your Borzoi puppy enjoy good health now and as an adult. The food also features DHA to help your puppy with brain and eye development. Protein and fat are at lower levels desirable for growing large breed puppies. The food has 23 percent crude protein and 12 percent crude fat. And the calcium to phosphorus ratio is appropriate.
Fromm Gold Large Breed Puppy formula and Precise Holistic puppy formulas for large & giant breed puppies are also recommended.
Best Dog Foods for the Senior Borzoi
All dogs get older and that’s true of your Borzoi, too. You can expect dogs of this breed to live to be up to about 12 years of age which is quite a long time for a breed this large. By the time your Borzoi is about 7 years old he may begin to slow down and enter his early senior years. At this time some dogs may start to gain weight for age-related reasons. It’s a good idea to have your Borzoi checked by a veterinarian at this time. Many vets recommend an annual senior check up once your dog starts to age. By getting an early start your vet will have a good baseline for your dog’s later health.
Unlike many breeds, Borzoi don’t usually get too fat. Even as your Borzoi gets older, he probably won’t put on many extra pounds. If he does, you can usually help him lose any extra weight by controlling his portions or increasing his exercise. Senior Borzoi are more likely to begin losing weight as they get older. A senior dog food for an elderly Borzoi should not have fewer calories or less protein and fat than his regular adult dog food. Instead, we would suggest that most aging Borzoi need more protein and possibly more calories as they get older to help them maintain their weight.
It’s very important that senior dogs have good quality protein. Good quality protein is easier to digest and metabolize than poor quality protein. It provides the older dog with more nutrition that he can use. So, plan on giving your older Borzoi the very best food possible with excellent sources of protein.
Now Fresh Large Breed Grain Free Senior Recipe
One food we like for senior dogs is Now Fresh Large Breed Grain Free Senior Recipe. This food is made with 100 percent fresh turkey, salmon, and duck, and it has zero grains, gluten, wheat, beef, corn, or soy. No rendered meats, by-products, or artificial preservatives. It features New Zealand green mussels and glucosamine/chondroitin to support hip and joint health. The first five ingredients are: De-boned turkey, potatoes, peas, whole dried egg, and tapioca. The food has (guaranteed analysis): 25 percent crude protein, 11 percent crude fat, 4.5 percent crude fiber, and 10 percent moisture. ME (Calculated) = 3122 kcal/kg or 328 kcal/cup. This is a maintenance dog food.
Note that we often recommend Orijen Senior for older dogs but the protein percentage may be too high for most Borzoi since experts recommend feeding this breed lower protein percentages.
Best Dog Foods for Borzoi with Skin Problems
While Borzoi are not especially prone to food allergies, their coat is not very thick and they can be light-skinned. Some dogs can have sensitive skin. If your Borzoi is having skin problems or problems with food allergies, you will probably want to avoid foods that contain known food allergens such as beef, dairy products, chicken, lamb, fish, chicken eggs, corn, wheat, and soy. If your dog is having food allergies – which usually manifest as itching, redness, chewing, and hair loss – you will need to identify the trigger for his allergy. You can try to guess the trigger or work with your veterinarian on a food trial and elimination diet for your dog. You may need to find a novel protein for your dog – a protein that he has not eaten previously. Natural Balance has a selection of limited ingredient diets that can be helpful for dogs with food allergies. You might try giving your dog the rabbit formula, kangaroo formula, venison formula, or bison formula. He should be able to eat a meat protein that he has not eaten previously without having an allergic reaction. We think that Borzoi, in particular, will like the rabbit formula, since that is their natural prey.
Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets® Potato & Rabbit Dry Dog Formula
This limited ingredient diet food has limited sources of protein and carbs. It’s also grain free and complete and balanced for puppies, adults, and senior dogs. The food is easy for your Borzoi to digest and it contains no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
Wild Calling! Xotic Essentials Rabbit Meal Recipe
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 Borzoi 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 (thickeners and ingredients to hold the food together) 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 make their foods. Many people like Zignature very much. If you have a dog with food allergies, this is a brand that you might consider. This duck formula is a good example with hypo-allergenic meat first, no corn, wheat, soy, dairy or chicken, chicken eggs or chicken by-products.
Best Dog Foods for Borzoi with Sensitive Stomachs
Many dogs are susceptible to food sensitivities that affect their digestion and excretion. If your dog has a sensitive stomach it can be an indication of a food sensitivity, which is different form 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.
Many people recommend Wellness Simple for dogs with food sensitivities. The formulas feature only five main ingredients to keep things very simple for your Borzoi. Wellness makes formulas that are both grain free and some that have grains such as oatmeal. The food is easy to digest and contains probiotics and prebiotics to help the gastrointestinal system. It also contains omega fatty acids for good skin and coat. Formulas feature duck, salmon, turkey, and lamb. Wellness Simple comes in dry and canned formulas.
We don’t know of a dog food that is made to help prevent bloating, but it’s possible that a food for sensitive stomachs – one that is easy to digest – could be beneficial.
We also recommend Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Sweet Potato & Fish Formula 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, Fish Meal, Potato Protein, Canola Oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols). It has 21 percent crude protein, 10 percent crude fat, 5 percent crude fiber, and 10 percent moisture. It has 350 kcal/cup and it’s a maintenance 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 your dog can’t eat these ingredients, you might try one of the Weruva foods or Acana Singles. Weruva also has lots of foods with pumpkin which can sometimes help a dog with stomach issues.
Best Dog Foods for Overweight Borzoi
Being overweight or obese isn’t usually a common problem for most Borzoi, but it can happen. It is usually the result of overfeeding. You can help your Borzoi lose weight by cutting back on his portions and encouraging him to get more exercise.
If your Borzoi needs to lose more than a few 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 Borzoi who needs to lose weight, we recommend Fromm Gold Weight Management. It can be hard to find a good weight control dog food for a giant breed dog but Fromm is a quality brand with good ingredients. This food has 25 percent crude protein and 10 percent crude fat so it’s not that much different from some of the adult foods we’ve recommended. It has 341 Kcal/cup. Fed in moderation, it should help most overweight Borzoi lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. The first five ingredients are: Turkey Liver, Chicken Meal, Pearled Barley, Oatmeal, and Dried Tomato Pomace.
Fromm also has a grain free weight control formula called Fromm Gold Coast Grain Free Weight Management Dog Food with the same crude protein and fat percentages if you prefer a grain free weight control food for your dog.
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.
Borzoi are a beautiful, intelligent, loyal, affectionate breed. Athletic and graceful, they nevertheless love to relax and snooze in a comfortable home. Although they are very large dogs, they are quiet and sensitive dogs that love to be someone’s personal pet. If you have room for a Borzoi and the time to provide daily exercise – or a large, fenced yard – this is a wonderful breed that you should definitely consider.
Below is a list of Products reviewed in this article
Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Adult Deboned Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
Canidae Life Stages Large Breed Puppy Duck Meal, Brown Rice & Lentils Formula Dry Dog Food
- Orijen Senior
Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets® Potato & Rabbit Dry Dog Formula
- Wellness Simple
- Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Sweet Potato & Fish Formula Dry Dog Food
- Fromm Gold Weight Management
- Fromm Gold Coast Grain Free Weight Management Dog Food