What Is The Best Dog Food for a Medium-Sized Breed?
The Ultimate Medium-Sized Breed Food Buyer’s Guide
Some of the most popular dogs in the United States and Canada are medium in size. Breeds such as Cocker Spaniels, the Brittany, Whippets, the lovable, wrinkled Bulldog, Corgis, and many others are the perfect size between Toy dogs and larger dogs that require more room. Beagles, Basset Hounds, Border Collies and others would also qualify as medium-sized dogs.
By most standards, dogs that weigh between about 20 and 50 pounds as adults are usually considered to be medium-sized, though this can vary. You can also find a lot of dogs of this size in shelters. As you can see, medium-sized dogs come in a lot of different shapes – tall, short, round, slim, long and low. They also have different activity levels.
Fortunately, we can help you select some of the best foods for your medium-sized dog no matter what he looks like.
Disclosure: Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which will direct you to our partner sites. If you purchase the pet foods we recommend through those links, we may earn a small commission – at no extra cost to you.
Full List of 42 Medium Breed Dogs
American Water Spaniel
Australian Cattle Dog
Cardigan Welsh Corgi
English Cocker Spaniel
English Springer Spaniel
Glen of Imaal Terrier
Kerry Blue Terrier
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen
Polish Lowland Sheepdog
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Treeing Tennessee Brindle
Welsh Springer Spaniel
Quick Look : Top 4 Best Dog Foods for Medium Sized Dogs
|Victor Yukon River Salmon & Sweet Potato Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Read Reviews Where To Buy
|Merrick’s Grain-Free Real Buffalo and Sweet Potato Recipe
Read Reviews Where To Buy
Medium-Sized Breed Diet & Nutrition
As already mentioned, medium-sized dogs are usually considered to be dogs that are between 20 and 50 pounds as adults. This will include some breeds that fall exactly within this range but it can also include some individual dogs that are larger or smaller than ordinary for their breed. For example, you might have a Pug, the largest of the Toy breeds, that is bigger than normal. Pugs typically don’t weigh more than 20 pounds but you could have a Pug that is a little larger than normal. Likewise, English Setters are usually considered to be large dogs, weighing 55-75 pounds. But it is possible to have a small female English Setter that weighs 45-50 pounds. Individuals of any breed that falls within these ranges might do better if they are fed a food for medium-sized dogs.
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 medium-sized dog weighing 30 pounds requires an average daily caloric intake of 922 calories. 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, for example, consume more calories than adult dogs and so do young adult dogs. A young puppy that is expected to grow to be a medium-sized adult weighing 33 pounds, currently weighing 10 pounds, needs an estimated 990 calories per day. Your dog’s activity level and other factors will make a big difference in how many calories to feed. Some medium-sized breeds will need more calories than other breeds, even though their weight may be equal. A Whippet will burn more energy than a Bulldog.
Puppies from medium-sized breeds should not require special feeding. They can eat good quality puppy foods and all life stage adult dog foods. You should make sure their puppy food is a good quality food, as you would with an adult dog. Some people prefer to feed a puppy food until their puppy has achieved about 90 percent of his adult size and then switch to feeding an adult food. It’s a good idea to keep medium-sized puppies slim instead of letting them become overweight so pay attention to calories and fat percentages in dog foods. We do not recommend adding supplements to a puppy’s diet if you are feeding an AAFCO-approved dog or puppy food. Adding supplements to a puppy’s diet can upset the nutritional balance of the food you are feeding and lead to excesses in the diet. This can lead to health problems later in life.
Feeding Your Medium-Sized Breed
Dogs can usually eat most good quality dog foods. However, they do require good quality nutrition. You should avoid cheaper quality dog foods. Your dog’s health depends on the nutrition you provide so cutting corners is not recommended.
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. Most adult dogs do well eating two meals per day. Medium-sized puppies can usually eat three meals per day until they are old enough to start eating on an adult schedule.
Medium-Sized Breed Health Problems
Since medium-sized dogs include a wide range of breeds, there are a number of health problems that might crop up. Some common health problems that can occur in medium-sized dogs include hip and elbow dysplasia, eye problems such as Progressive Retinal Atrophy, autoimmune thyroiditis, cardiac problems, skin problems and allergies, bloat, and other issues that can be breed-specific. Before getting any dog we encourage you to research the breed and talk to several breeders so you are aware of possible health problems in the breed. Make sure you know what kind of health testing is recommended in the breed so you can ask a breeder questions about their puppies or dogs. Talk to someone with the breed parent club who can answer questions about the breed. And, if you are getting a puppy or dog from a shelter, try to find out what kind of mix it is. Mixes also have health problems that are related to their ancestry. For example, if you are getting a Labradoodle the dog could have health issues from their Labrador and Poodle ancestors.
Depending on the breed and the health issue, diet can sometimes help. For example, breeds that are prone to bloating may benefit from a food for sensitive stomachs. Many dog lovers also 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.
Dogs that might be prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, or other skeletal problems, usually benefit by avoiding obesity. Putting too much weight on the dog’s body puts strain on the bones and joints which can lead to some of these problems, as well as arthritis.
Ingredients to Look for and Some to Avoid
Protein and fat are the main ingredients in the diet for dogs. However, not all proteins and fats 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.
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.
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 medium-sized dog may still be able to eat rice, barley, oats, or some other grain or cereal. Oats and barley, for example, can be good sources of dietary fiber. 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.
Recommended Dog Food For An Adult Medium-Sized Dog
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 recommending a variety of foods for medium-sized dogs. This is especially important since there is such a variety of dogs found among medium-sized dogs. Some of these foods have grains and some don’t. 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 accommodate him.
Best Dog Foods for Medium-Sized Adult Dogs
|Victor Yukon River Salmon & Sweet Potato Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Read Reviews Where To Buy
|Merrick’s Grain-Free Real Buffalo and Sweet Potato Recipe
Read Reviews Where To Buy
Acana is made by Champion Pet Foods, the same company that makes Orijen. Their Regional formulas, like Wild Prairie Regional, are 60 percent meat/fish from local sources. The first five ingredients are deboned chicken, chicken meal, green peas, turkey meal, and chicken liver oil. Acana is made in Champion’s own facilities and the company has an excellent reputation. This particular food has 31 percent crude protein and 17 percent crude fat; with 5 percent crude fiber. Metabolic Energy for ACANA Wild Prairie Dog Food is 3615 kcal/kg (434 kcal per 250ml cup) with 30% of energy from protein, 40% from fat and 30% from fruits and vegetables. It is AAFCO-approved for all life stages. We think this food, or one of the other Acana Regional formulas, would be very good for an active medium-sized dog. Acana is a very expensive food so it might not be feasible if you have multiple dogs, but it is highly recommended by many dog lovers.
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. Mid America is a family-owned and operated company located in east Texas. According to the company, more than 80 percent of the ingredients used in their foods come from a 200-mile radius of their facility. They currently have six highly active and sporting dog formulas; five formulas for normally active dogs; and five 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 medium-sized dog, or check out one of Victor’s other formulas.
Merrick has some great foods for dogs. The first five ingredients in this food are Deboned Buffalo, Chicken Meal, Potatoes, Salmon Meal (source of Omega 3 fatty acids), and Sweet Potatoes. This recipe is an all life stage food with 460 kcal per cup ME (metabolizable energy) on an as fed basis (calculated). It has 70 percent meat and fish 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. It has 38 percent crude protein and 17 percent crude fat. They also use local growers from Texas, where the food is made. Yes, we know that Purina recently purchased Merrick which makes some people nervous. But until we see any sign that the food has changed, we still think this is a great food for your dog. If you have been feeding Merrick and your dogs always loved it, it looks like nothing has changed. We think this is a good food for many dogs.
Lest you think we only like grain free dog foods, we also really like Fromm Family Foods, especially their Gold and Four-Star product lines. Their Adult Gold formula has duck, chicken meal, and chicken as the first three ingredients. It has 24 percent crude protein and 16 percent crude fat with 408 kcal/cup. It is AAFCO-approved for growth and maintenance. The food includes salmon oil – a great source of omega-3 fatty acid for healthy skin and coat; probiotics, and prebiotics. No corn, wheat, or soy. The food is also made at the family’s own facilities in Wisconsin. The Fromm family has been making dog food and dog products for over 100 years and they have a great reputation. This is another good food for medium-sized dogs – and for other dogs.
Best Dog Foods for Medium-Sized Puppies
Medium-sized puppies need a good quality food for puppies or a good all life stage food. As with other puppies, the recommended calcium to phosphorus ratio should be about 1.2 parts calcium to 1 part phosphorus, though there is some slight room for variation such as 1.5:1. Most puppy foods should have a calcium to phosphorus ratio in this neighborhood. It’s also important that dog and puppy foods do not have an excess (or deficiency) of calcium since this can affect bone growth.
Here are some of the puppy foods we like for medium-sized puppies.
VeRUS Puppy Advantage is a good holistic food for puppies. The first ingredient is chicken meal followed by easy-to-digest ground oats and ground brown rice. The formula contains DHA for proper brain development, omega-3 fatty acid from fish oils, non-Chinese sourced vitamins and chelated minerals. The food also includes a freeze-dried live probiotic that is unique among dog food manufacturers. The chicken used in their food is cage-free, U.S.-grown and guaranteed to be antiobiotic-free. VeRUS has none of the undesirable ingredients that are sometimes found in pet foods. Any dog lover who may be concerned about chemicals or additives in pet foods should check into VeRUS. Note: VeRUS says that their chicken is hormone-free. ALL poultry raised in the United States is hormone-free. It has been illegal to add hormones to poultry in the United States since the 1950s.
Annamaet Ultra is an All Life Stage formula that is suitable for puppies as well as 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.
Best Dog Foods for the Senior Medium-Sized Dog
It’s not unusual for many medium-sized dogs to live into their teen years. For example, Whippets are one of the breeds with the longest lives and often live to be 12 to 15 years old. Parson Russell and Jack Russell Terriers are also long-lived, medium-sized breeds that can lived to be 15 years. Poodles can also be very long-lived. This means that you will probably need to consider what kind of food to feed your medium-sized dog as he gets 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, 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 medium-sized dog. 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 dog’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.
Another food you may want to consider for older dogs is Weruva’s Caloric Harmony Venison and Salmon Meal Dinner with Pumpkin. This food (and several others in this product line) is potato-free with no corn or wheat, easy to digest, and low-glycemic. It contains pumpkin and oatmeal for healthy gut motility. Meat protein comes from grass-fed venison and the food also features salmon meal and herring meal. The dry matter basis for this food is an estimated 37.8 percent protein;14.4 percent fat; 3.9 percent fiber; and 35 percent carbs. The calorie count (calculated) is Metabolizable Energy (ME) 3320 kcal/kg; 348 kcal/cup. Those look like good figures for senior dogs who need more protein without extra fat.
Best Dog Foods for Medum-Sized Dogs with Skin Problems/Allergies
Skin problems for medium-sized dogs can include food allergies and sensitivities. If your dog is having skin trouble, it’s a good idea to take your dog to the vet and get a diagnosis. This can ultimately save you a lot of money – and help your dog. You don’t want to keep buying expensive dog foods thinking your dog has a food allergy if he really has a problem that’s not food-related.
If your dog’s skin problems are food allergies, here is a food we think might help. It is free of ingredients that commonly result in allergic reactions.
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. 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. (Note that it is no longer possible to buy products containing kangaroo ingredients in California as of January 2015.)
Best Dog Foods for Medium-Sized Dogs with Sensitive Stomachs
Some dogs are susceptible to food sensitivities that affect their digestion and excretion. If your medium-sized 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.
If your medium-sized dog can eat potatoes, we recommend Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Potato & Duck 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.
Best Dog Foods for Overweight Medium-Sized Dogs
If your medium-sized dog 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 dog 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 dog 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.
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.
There are so many different medium-sized dogs of so many breeds, you should have lots of dogs and puppies from which to choose. Whether you are getting a puppy or an adult dog, these dogs make great companions. There are dogs that will curl up beside you and dogs that want to go hiking with you. There are hunting dogs and big lap dogs. Some of these breeds excel at obedience and other dog sports while others just want to be your buddy. If you are looking for a best friend you can certainly find one among the medium-sized dogs! We hope we have provided you with the information you need to feed your new friend the best food possible.
Below is a list of Products reviewed in this article
- ACANA Wild Prairie Regional Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
- Victor Yukon River Salmon & Sweet Potato Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
- Merrick’s Grain-Free Real Buffalo and Sweet Potato Recipe
- Fromm Adult Gold Dog Food