Best Dog Food for the Scottish Deerhound
The Ultimate Scottish Deerhound Food Buyer’s Guide
The gentle, regal Scottish Deerhound may or may not have been the same breed as the Irish Wolfhound at one time, long ago. According to some sources, the deerhound is the descendant of hounds that belonged to the Picts, rather than the Celts, but this is not conclusive. (And the Picts were simply an older branch of the Celts which settled in Scotland before the Celts made their way to Ireland anyway.) Whatever the case, it’s certain that the Scottish dogs were selectively bred so they could excel at hunting deer. By the 16th and 17th centuries, the dignified, quietly intelligent Scottish Deerhound was indisputably a separate breed from the Irish Wolfhound.
The deerhound has always been highly esteemed and at one time no one below the rank of an earl was allowed to own the dogs. The virtues of the hounds were extolled throughout the Middle Ages such as his courage in the chase and his gentle manner in the home.
Unfortunately, the Scottish Deerhound was so highly prized that their numbers have always been relatively low. As larger prey died out in Scotland, many people began using Greyhounds for hunting instead of the deerhound. In the Highlands, where stag could still be found, clan chieftains kept the deerhounds for themselves to such an extent that the dogs were rarely seen outside the Highlands. Coupled with Scottish losses following the Jacobite Rebellions and the British efforts to destroy the clans, the breed’s numbers were very low by 1769. It was only after 1825, with the efforts of people who loved the breed, that the deerhound was able to be restored. However, World War I also had a terrible effect on the breed due to so many large estates in Scotland and England being broken up and their kennels disbanded. Today the Scottish Deerhound remains a relatively rare breed in both the UK and the United States. It does need to be stated that when Irish Wolfhound numbers were at a low point and that breed was in danger of extinction at the end of the 19th century, crosses with Scottish Deerhounds were used to help save their Irish cousins so the two breeds remain very closely related.
AKC recognized the Scottish Deerhound in 1886. Today the Scottish Deerhound is the 154th most popular breed in the United States. As a boost to the breed, a lovely Scottish Deerhound named Hickory was Best In Show at the Westminster Kennel Club in 2011.
Like his cousin the Irish Wolfhound, the Scottish Deerhound is a sighthound. He uses his keen sense of smell, speed, agility, and strength to bring down prey. His natural prey, the large Scottish deer, often weighs as much as 250 pounds. When in the field the Scottish Deerhound hunts singly or in pairs. Historically, deerhounds have always worked closely with the hunter. They love human companionship and they are not kennel dogs. They are quiet, dignified dogs with great courage. Keen and alert, they are never aggressive, despite their large size.
Today in the United States the Scottish Deerhound is used to hunt wolves, coyotes, and rabbits. In Australia they are also used to hunt kangaroo and wild boar. They make excellent family dogs, provided you have space for them. They are not the dog for everyone, however. They are hounds so they do tend to think for themselves. They are not protection dogs. In fact, they tend to be very friendly, unlike many of the sighthound breeds. They do need plenty of regular exercise and they will eat a lot. In the house these dogs usually have naturally good manners, except for a little counter surfing and stealing food. They are usually couch potatoes at home, especially after puppyhood. But daily exercise is important and they appreciate a chance to run in a safe area. Make sure you don’t let your deerhound run off-leash because their instincts will take over, especially if they see something to chase such as a rabbit, squirrel, cat, or even a small dog. At home you need a fenced yard for this breed.
Scottish Deerhounds are usually good with children. However, you should always supervise small children with deerhounds, especially puppies. Because of their very large size they could accidentally knock a child over.
Most Scottish Deerhounds are pleasant, friendly dogs by nature but it’s still a good idea to socialize puppies so they will be familiar with strange sights, sounds, places, and people. Most Scottish Deerhounds don’t require formal obedience classes because they are so attuned to what their owners expect of them, but you and your dog may enjoy some kinds of training. The breed is both polite and perceptive. However, according to deerhound owners, this breed hates drilling and repeating exercises. Once they learn something, they are ready to move on. As for grooming, the deerhound’s grooming needs are minimal and they don’t shed very much.
A Scottish Deerhound will also expect to be included as part of the family. You can’t leave him outside and forget about him. These dogs are sensitive and they crave human companionship. But they are easy to train compared to many breeds, very dependable, and extremely loyal. Scottish Deerhound owner Sir Walter Scott called the breed “the most perfect creatures of heaven,” and many would agree. On the other hand, we recommend that you read this wonderful page from a Scottish Deerhound breeder about the Scottish Deerhound character to make sure this is the breed for you.
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Quick Look : Top 4 Best Dog Foods for Scottish Deerhounds
Scottish Deerhound Diet & Nutrition
The breed standard for the Scottish Deerhound calls for males to be 30-32 inches tall and weigh 85 to 110 pounds. Females are 28 inches and up. They weigh 75 to 95 pounds. (Note that some dogs will weight more. You can see a discussion of heights, weights, ages, and proportions here.) They are one of the tallest sighthounds. Per the Scottish Deerhound Club of America, male dogs have been getting larger in the United States but female Scottish Deerhounds appear to be staying within the breed standard. The breed’s rough coat protects them in the harsh terrain where they were called upon to hunt in the Scottish Highlands. Otherwise, they are similar in body type to a Greyhound, though larger and more heavily boned. They are not as fast as a Greyhound on a straight, smooth surface but on rough, heavy ground, the Scottish Deerhound excels.
As with most puppies, Scottish Deerhound pups are very active and they can be destructive if they don’t have a good outlet for their energy. Scottish Deerhound puppies need plenty of room to run and play while they are growing. Walks or short play periods are not enough for these puppies to fully develop their bones and muscles. They need lengthy romps and runs, preferably with another deerhound or sighthound as a playmate. Their play can be rough so small dogs can sometimes be accidentally injured if they try to play and keep up with a deerhound. Keep in mind that since the Scottish Deerhound is a giant breed, they grow for a long time. Puppyhood can last quite a while.
Scottish Deerhounds excel at lure coursing (something you may wish to consider pursuing with your deerhound). They are often not as proficient at agility or rally but some owners and their dogs still enjoy these sports. If your dog is involved in one of these pursuits you should take this into account when figuring how many calories he needs in his diet.
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 Scottish Deerhound dog weighing 95 pounds requires an average daily caloric intake of 2122 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 Scottish Deerhound (95 pounds) on the weekends, engaging in moderate activity, you may need to feed 3537 kcal or more. Growing puppies consume more calories than adult dogs and so do young adult dogs. A Scottish Deerhound puppy weighing 60 pounds can easily eat 1671 kcal/day.
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 Scottish Deerhound puppies and 5 percent of the diet for adults.
As with many sighthounds and large breeds, Scottish Deerhounds 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, Scottish Deerhounds do not have a lot of body fat.
According to the Scottish Deerhound Club of America:
There’s nothing more controversial than feeding a growing giant breed puppy, but one thing to remember is that over-nutrition can be even more detrimental to proper development than under-nutrition. It hasn’t been so many years ago that bone developmental diseases, specifically osteochondrosis, “Wobblers disease” and panosteitis, were much more common in Deerhounds than they are today, and those diseases are directly related to feeding too much calcium and protein to a growing dog. There is probably a genetic tendency for these diseases to manifest themselves, but the fact remains that optimum nutrition does not mean more of everything is better.
We recommend feeding Scottish Deerhound puppies a large breed puppy food*. In large breeds like the Scottish Deerhound, 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 Scottish Deerhound
While some people like to feed their Scottish Deerhound 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.
Most sources recommend feeding the Scottish Deerhound foods with low to moderate protein percentages and low to moderate fat percentages. 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. Scottish Deerhounds 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 Scottish Deerhounds 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, Scottish Deerhounds 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, is believed to 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 for adult dogs. Then put it away. This should give your dog time to eat. We recommend feeding adult Scottish Deerhounds several small meals per day throughout their lives. Scottish Deerhound puppies can be picky eaters, however, so the Scottish Deerhound Club of America does suggest leaving a bowl of kibble sitting out for pups so they can nibble during the day, along with providing 3-4 small meals per day while they are growing.
Large, deep-chested breeds like the Scottish Deerhound 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.
As with all puppies, it’s better for them to be slim instead of roly-poly. Fat puppies often end up with bone and joint problems later in life. Keep your Scottish Deerhound lean throughout his life. This isn’t usually hard to do, especially with puppies. These puppies are very active and, as mentioned, they can be picky eaters. Like other sighthound breeds, the Scottish Deerhound may seem thin to people unfamiliar with the breed (though this is mitigated somewhat in the case of the deerhound because of the harsh coat which can hide his outline). Ignore comments from people who don’t know the breed. Sighthounds are supposed to be slim. More than half of the dogs in the U.S. today are overweight or obese. Most dog owners are not good judges of how a healthy dog should look.
Scottish Deerhound Health
As a giant sighthound, the Scottish Deerhound can be prone to some health problems.
As with many other large, deep-chested breeds, bloat and torsion (also called gastric dilatation volvulus or GDV) can occur in some Scottish Deerhound. In this condition the stomach fills with gas or 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. (Some cases involve the spleen torsioning.) This is a life-threatening situation. Immediate veterinary help is needed. Symptoms can include restlessness, getting up and down, pacing, vomiting (sometimes foamy vomit), trying to vomit unsuccessfully, and/or a swollen or hard stomach. If you notice any of these symptoms with your Scottish Deerhound you need to take him/her to the veterinarian without delay! Make sure you have an emergency plan in place so you know where to go even if it’s the middle of the night.
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 Scottish Deerhound, 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. 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.
Cystinuria involves a specific type of bladder stone – cystine stones. These stones can cause a urinary blockage which results in a life-threatening emergency requiring immediate veteinary care. This condition occurs in dozens of breeds of dogs, along with humans. In deerhounds it occurs predominantly in male dogs. There is a test to screen for this condition but it is not completely reliable. This means that it is always important to observe your dog daily to make sure he is urinating normally. If you notice any sign of a urinary infection you should have your vet check it out right away. If you notice any change in your dog’s behavior or any indication that your dog might have a blockage, call your vet since this could be an emergency situation. There is continuing research on cystinuria in Scottish Deerhounds.
Factor VII deficiency and other bleeding issues
Scottish Deerhounds can have problems with bleeding. This can be discovered when a female begins to bleed after a spay surgery, for example, or following any surgery. Some deerhounds can have a deficiency in one of their clotting factors – Factor VII. This Factor VII deficiency can sometimes lead to bleeding problems in affected dogs. There is a DNA test for the Factor VII deficiency and many breeders test their dogs so they can tell puppy buyers about their Factor VII status. However, this is not always a guarantee. Some deerhounds, including dogs that were Factor VII-normal, have had severe and even fatal bleeding episodes following surgery. These bleeding problems are rare but if your Scottish Deerhound does need surgery you should definitely discuss this issue with your veterinarian so s/he can take precautions. Research is currently being done on bleeding disorders in Scottish Deerhounds.
As with other sighthounds, Scottish Deerhounds have problems with anesthesia. You should use a veterinarian who has experience anesthetizing sighthounds. Make sure you advise your vet that your deerhound can have these issues. Remind him or her that it is easy for a sighthound to overdose with anesthesia.
Again, like other sighthounds, Scottish Deerhounds can have serious, even fatal reactions to some drugs such as antibiotics (especially sulfa drugs), certain dewormers, and some pesticides. Talk to your vet and make sure s/he is aware of this issue. According to the Scottish Deerhound Club of America – if you shouldn’t give it to a Greyhound, don’t give it your deerhound.
Some Scottish Deerhound can be prone to hypothryoidism or low thyroid but it is considered to be rare in the breed. It’s also important to note that the “normal” level in Scottish Deerhounds (along with some other breeds) may be lower than in other breeds. If your dog is exhibiting symptoms of hypothyroidism, a diagnosis should be based on a TSH test.
Cardiomyopathy and other heart problems
Cardiomyopathy can occur in Scottish Deerhounds. In this condition the heart muscle can gradually weaken for reasons that are currently unknown. There is no cure. Make sure that your vet checks your deerhound’s heart as a puppy. Afterwards, your vet should check your dog’s heart at each examination. As your dog gets older, your vet should check his heart more frequently. If your dog shows any sign of exercise intolerance or if he develops a cough, consult your veterinarian. These could be symptoms of cardiomyopathy. Heart disease can often be managed for a long time but your vet has to diagnose it first.
Osteosarcoma (bone cancer) is found in all dogs, including Scottish Deerhounds. It is more common in older deerhounds. You should watch your dog for lumps, bumps, and lameness. If you notice anything new, you should have your veterinarian check it out. This is a potentially deadly disease but there are treatments available, especially if your dog is diagnosed early. You should talk to your veterinarian or a veterinary oncologist about treatment options. There is currently research into osteosarcome in Scottish Deerhounds.
Portosystemic (Liver) Shunt
Liver shunt occurs in puppies when a blood vessel in the liver – which is supposed to close soon after birth – stays open. This condition is occasionally found in Scottish Deerhound puppies (and some other breeds). Many breeders test their litters for this problem before the puppies go to their new homes. In some cases surgery can correct this problem.
Some Scottish Deerhounds appear to develop neck pain that is mild to severe. This pain does not seem to be injury-related. The causes can be due to the dog sleeping with its head hanging off a bed or sofa; or structural problems in the neck vertebra. The cause can also be due to Cervical Vertebral Facet Joint Arthrosis or Steroid-Responsive Meningitis-Arteritis (SRMA). If your dog shows signs of neck pain, talk to your vet so s/he can try to find the cause.
Other issues which can occur in Scottish Deerhounds – but which are not common – include: Addison’s Disease, allergies, chronic/recurrent pneumonia, hemangiosarcoma, idiopathic epilepsy, malignant hyperthermia, panosteitis, and osteochodritis dissecans (OCD).
Obviously, no dog is going to have all of these health problems just as no human being will have all of the health issues that are found in humans. This is simply a list of issues that can occur in Scottish Deerhounds. The SDCA Health & Genetics Committee is devoted working on these issues. We recommend visiting their pages on the club’s web site.
The Scottish Deerhound Club of America recommends the following health tests for the breed:
Congenital Cardiac Exam by board certified cardiologist, exam must include echocardiography. – OR
Advanced Cardiac Exam – exam must include echocardiography
Factor VII Deficiency DNA test
DNA based test from an accepted lab
Serum Bile Acid test (optional)
Bile-Acid test results from IDEXX, Antech, and Veterinary College Diagnostic Laboratories are accepted. Results from in-house testing done at private veterinary clinics are not accepted. (This is a test for portosystemic (liver) shunt.)
For more health data we recommend reading the club’s 2011 health survey. According to this survey, the average life span for female Scottish Deerhounds born before January 10, 1999 and males born before July 20, 2000 is 9.8 years for females and 8.3 years for males. Some of the males in the survey lived past 11 years and some of the females lived past 12 years – quite respectable for a giant sighthound breed.
As for the leading causes of death in Scottish Deerhounds:
As in the 1995 survey, the two most frequent causes of death were cancer (overwhelmingly osteosarcoma) and heart failure, including sudden death due to arrhythmia and gradual death due to congestive heart failure. It is safe to assume that the large majority of heart failures (sudden and gradual) were a consequence of cardiomyopathy. Also as in 1995, there was a sex difference in these two causes of death. Males were more likely to die of cardiomyopathy, while [females] were more likely to die of osteosarcoma. It is impossible to exaggerate the impact of these two diseases for our breed.
Many Scottish Deerhound owners prefer to feed 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.
Ingredients to Look for and Some to Avoid
Protein and fat are the main ingredients in the diet for a Scottish Deerhound, 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 come 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 Scottish Deerhound 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 Scottish Deerhound puppies need slightly lower levels of protein, fat, and calories so they won’t grow too fast.
Recommended Dog Food For Scottish Deerhounds
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 Scottish Deerhound 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 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? If 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 Scottish Deerhounds 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 Scottish Deerhound Adults
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 the 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 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 Scottish Deerhounds. 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 Scottish Deerhound 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.
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.
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 Scottish Deerhound. 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 Scottish Deerhound Puppies
Scottish Deerhound 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 Scottish Deerhound 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 Scottish Deerhounds. 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 dissecans) and other orthopedic problems.
Here are some of the puppy foods we like for Scottish Deerhound puppies. Remember that an all life stage food can also be fed, as long as the nutrients are appropriate for your puppy.
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 Scottish Deerhound 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 Scottish Deerhound puppies.
This large breed puppy formula features lamb meal and oatmeal. It includes probiotics, healthy fiber, and digestive enzymes to help your Scottish Deerhound 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 Scottish Deerhound 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 Scottish Deerhound
All dogs get older and that’s true of your Scottish Deerhound, too. While the Scottish Deerhound may have a shorter lifespan than some breeds, they can still experience mature and senior years. Your Scottish Deerhound may begin to slow down and start acting older by the time he’s 6 or 7 years old. It’s a good idea to have your Scottish Deerhound checked by a veterinarian at this time. Many vets recommend an annual senior check up. By getting an early start your vet will have a good baseline for your dog’s later health.
Unlike many breeds, Scottish Deerhound don’t usually get too fat. Even as your Scottish Deerhound 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. A senior dog food for an elderly Scottish Deerhound should not have fewer calories or less protein and fat than his regular adult dog food. Instead, we would suggest that you make sure your dog’s food has plenty of good protein that is easy to digest.
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 Scottish Deerhound the very best food possible with excellent sources of protein.
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 Scottish Deerhound since experts recommend feeding this breed lower protein percentages.
Best Dog Foods for the Scottish Deerhound with Skin Problems
While Scottish Deerhound are not especially prone to food allergies, some dogs can have sensitive skin. If your Scottish Deerhound 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 Scottish Deerhounds, in particular, will like the rabbit formula, since that is one of their natural prey animals.
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 Scottish Deerhound to digest and it contains no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
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 probably hasn’t eaten them before – and there is 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 Scottish Deerhound 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 Scottish Deerhounds 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 Scottish Deerhound. 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.
Best Dog Foods for Overweight Scottish Deerhounds
Being overweight or obese isn’t usually a common problem for most Scottish Deerhound, but it can happen. It is usually the result of overfeeding. You can help your Scottish Deerhound lose weight by cutting back on his portions and encouraging him to get more exercise.
If your Scottish Deerhound 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 Scottish Deerhound 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 Scottish Deerhounds 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.
The Scottish Deerhound is an ancient breed that has had many devoted fans over the centuries. It’s easy to understand why. The breed is graceful and striking in appearance, intelligent, sensitive, and gentle, with naturally good manners. Fortunately you don’t have to be a noble to own one these days. If you think this luxury-loving sighthound might be the right breed for you, and you don’t mind a big dog that likes to steal your food (when he’s not sleeping), we encourage you to meet a Scottish Deerhound.