The Ultimate Keeshond Food Buyer’s Guide
Friendly and distinctive in appearance, the Keeshond (pronounced kayz-hawnd) is often known as the “Smiling Dutchman.” Like other spitz-type dogs, the handsome Keeshond has a dense double coat and a thick ruff around his neck. He’s also known for the “spectacles” around his eyes and his small, dark triangular ears. In color, the Keeshond is a lovely mix of gray, black, and cream.
Keeshonden were brought to the U.S. in the 1920s – by a breeder from Germany. He called his dogs “Wolfspitz.” AKC accepted the breed for recognition in 1930, but only after insisting that the name of the breed be changed from Wolfspitz to Keeshond. Today the Keeshond is the national dog of Holland.
Keeshond Health Problems
The Keeshond is widely reported to be a very healthy breed. Health research indicates that hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and diabetes sometimes occur in the breed – all of which can be affected by diet and overfeeding. However, none of these issues appears to occur with great frequency in the breed. We recommend that you not to overfeed your Keeshond, especially as a puppy. Being overweight increases the risk of hip dysplasia and arthritis later in life. Patellar luxation, which can occur in the breed, can also be worsened if a dog is overweight. Elbow dysplasia (which includes several different joint/shoulder problems) has been a serious issue but through x-rays/testing and good breeding practices, breeders have been able to cut its incidence in half since 1990.
Diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes) is on the rise in the general canine population. It’s caused by lack of insulin production in the pancreas and is controlled by insulin injections, diet, and glucose monitoring. Research suggests that it can be due to an inherited autosomal recessive gene in the Keeshond. It’s important for diabetic dogs to eat regular meals. Feed the same kind of food at the same time each day. Most experts recommend two meals about 12 hours apart for an adult dog in order to keep the dog’s blood sugar steady. Most experts recommend that the protein in a dog’s diet should be increased if he has diabetes.
We encourage you to read more about how to deal with diabetes in your dog on the Whole-Dog Journal site.
Hypothyroidism refers to low thyroid or autoimmune thyroiditis. This condition is easily treated but it often goes hand in hand with a dog having a weakened immune system, which can predispose a dog to various allergies. There are different kinds of allergies: inhalant, contact, flea bite, and food, interestingly, flea bite and inhalant allergies actually account for more allergic reactions in dogs than food allergies. So, if your Keeshond is having an allergic reaction, with itching, scratching, redness, etc., it may not be due to the food he’s eating. If your dog does have a food allergy, there’s a good chance he’ll develop reactions to more foods/ingredients as he gets older. The most common dog food allergens are beef; dairy; chicken; lamb; fish; corn; wheat; and soy.
If your Kees has diarrhea, vomiting, flatulence, or a gurgly stomach when he eats, this is not a food allergy, but a food sensitivity. Feed your food-sensitive dog with a minimal number ingredient food so there’s less chance of giving him something that could upset his gastrointestinal system.
Other health issues that can occur in the breed include epilepsy and Cushing’s disease. Von Willebrand’s disease (a blood clotting disease) is known in the breed but it is very rare.
The most serious health problem found in the Keeshond is Primary Hyperparathyroidism (PHPT). The parathyroid hormone helps maintain normal calcium concentrations and function in the body. With Primary Hyperparathyroidism (PHPT), the secretion of parathyroid hormone is no longer regulated as it should be which can lead to severe, life-threatening hypercalcemia. This can result in severe organ damage and damage to bones. Left untreated, secondary kidney damage can lead to renal failure and death. An accurate test for the gene that causes PHPT has recently been developed at Cornell University and the Keeshond Club of America urges breeders to take advantage of the test.
The Keeshond Club of America recommends that breeders have the following tests done on their dogs, especially if they are considering the dogs for breeding.
Recommended Dog Food For Keeshonds
Even dogs in the same breed can have different food needs.We’re providing several suggested foods for your Keeshond but you may use a trial and error method to see which food your dog does best on.
When you’re trying a new food, allow several days to transition to the food, mixing in a little of your dog’s old food each day. If your dog shows signs that he doesn’t like the food or doesn’t tolerate it, make adjustments.
Ingredients to Look for (and Avoid)
- Real whole meat as the first few ingredients.
- A good animal-based fat (ex.chicken fay, omega-3), promotes healthy coat and skin, as well as brain and eye development in puppies.
- A healthy form of carbs. If certain grains don’t work, opt for rice, oats or barley as the carb component, most dogs can tolerate these.
- Food that has a higher percentage of plant-based protein than meat-based protein. Meat protein is easier to digest for most dogs.
- Although finding food without any meal is almost impossible, try to see if you can find one with more meat than meal.
- Food that’s too expensive for you. There’s no point in buying an excellent food one time, then switching to a cheaper food when the budget is tight. Your dog and his stomach will appreciate the consistency.
- You may want to avoid foods with grains, or common allergens, such as soy, corn and wheat.
Best Dog Foods for Keeshond Adults
Merrick Grain-Free Real Chicken & Sweet Potato Dry Dog Food
If you want a higher protein percentage for your Keeshond, try Merrick Grain-Free foods. The first five ingredients in this food are deboned chicken; chicken meal; turkey meal; sweet potatoes; and potatoes. This is an all life stage food with 460 kcal per cup. It has 70 percent meat ingredients; 30 percent fruits and vegetables; vitamins; and minerals. It contains no corn; wheat; soy; or gluten. Guaranteed analysis indicates 38 percent crude protein; 17 percent crude fat; and 3.5 percent crude fiber. It has added glucosamine; chondroitin; and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. This food has good quality protein and other ingredients ideal for a very active Keeshond.
ACANA Grasslands Regional Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
If your Keeshond is very active (training for agility or rally, for example), we can also recommend Acana foods. Champion Pet Foods’ new kitchen in Kentucky has reformulated some of their dog and cat foods to reflect regional ingredients. The new formula has 33 percent crude protein; 17 percent crude fat; 6 percent crude fiber; and 12 percent moisture. This food has 388 kcal/cup. It has 70 percent meat, game, and fish ingredients. The first five ingredients are deboned lamb; deboned duck; whole eggs; lamb meal; and goat meal. If you’re looking for a good grain-free dog food for your Keeshond that is low in carbohydrates, Acana foods are a good choice.
Fromm Adult Gold Dog Food
For food with a little less protein, we like Fromm Adult Gold. This formula has duck; chicken meal; chicken; brown rice; and pearled barley as the first five ingredients. It has 24 percent crude protein; 16 percent crude fat; 3.5 percent crude fiber; and 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. It does contain oatmeal and potatoes, so if you’re trying to keep the carbs very low you may not choose this food. However, we think the ingredients are good quality and many dogs do well on this food. The Fromm family has been making dog food and products for over 100 years and they have a great reputation.
Best Dog Food For Keeshond puppies
Keeshond puppies can usually begin eating a good puppy food 3-4 times a day, right after weaning. If you have questions about how to feed your puppy, talk to your puppy’s breeder.
Puppy foods should have a calcium to phosphorus ratio of about 1.2 parts calcium to 1 part phosphorus. If you’re feeding your puppy a food that is properly formulated, you should not add any extra calcium, such as milk, cottage cheese, or supplements. Doing so can lead to serious health problems such as OCD (osteochondritis dissecans) and other orthopedic problems.
All life stage dog foods are formulated to be nutritionally adequate for growing puppies. Foods for puppies may have the AAFCO statement that they are approved for “growth and reproduction” Foods labeled “Maintenance” dog food should not be fed to puppies as they are not nutritionally adequate.
Canidae Grain-Free Pure Foundations Puppy Formula
This is one of our favorite foods for all puppies. Canidae Grain-Free Pure Foundations Puppy Formula is a limited ingredient food with nine ingredients plus vitamins; minerals; and probiotics. It’s grain-free with probiotics to help digestion; antioxidants for a healthy immune system, and omega-3 and -6 to support healthy skin and a beautiful coat. The first five ingredients are chicken; menhaden fish meal; lentils; peas; and potatoes. The recipe is supposed to be especially good for puppies with sensitive digestion. The food has 30 percent crude protein; 12 percent crude fat; 4 percent crude fiber; and 10 percent moisture. This food checks in at 520 kcal/cup, so it’s high in calories but active, growing Kees puppies can usually burn them off, and you don’t need to feed a lot of food with these nutrient-dense foods. If your Keeshond puppy does well on this puppy food, Canidae has good adult foods – both grain-free and foods with grains.
Canidae All Life Stages Chicken, Turkey, Lamb & Fish Meals Formula
This Canidae formula is an all life stages food so you can feed it to dogs of all ages. The first five ingredients are chicken meal; turkey meal; lamb meal; brown rice; and white rice. The food does contain grains (rice, oatmeal, barley) but many dogs that have problems with corn or wheat can eat these grains which provide dietary fiber. It contains no corn; wheat; or soy. The food is naturally preserved and contains pre- and probiotics for healthy digestion, along with antioxidants and omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids for good skin and coat. Guaranteed analysis shows 24 percent crude protein; 14.5 percent crude fat; and 4 percent crude fiber. It has 468 kcal/cup. This is a good food for dogs that do well on moderate protein and fat. Canidae has had a good reputation for many years.
Best Dog Foods for the Senior Keeshond
It’s not unusual for many Keeshonden to live into their teen years. If your older dog is doing well on his regular food, there’s no reason to change. As long as your older dog doesn’t have any problems with his kidneys, or with phosphorus, there is no reason to avoid high protein levels. It’s very important that senior dogs have good quality protein because it’s easier to digest and metabolize than poor-quality protein.
Nulo Freestyle Senior Trout & Sweet Potato Recipe
Nulo has only recently become a nationally-known brand so not everyone is familiar with it. Their foods have 80-84 percent animal-based protein, one of the highest amounts of animal-based protein of any dog food. Nulo is also one of the few companies using probiotics that seem to actually survive the manufacturing process. (Check their site to read more.) Their foods are low carb and low-glycemic. They don’t use corn; wheat; soy; potatoes; tapioca; glutens; genetically modified organisms; poultry; eggs; meat by-products; artificial colors; flavors; or preservatives. This senior dog food contains glucosamine and chondroitin for hip and joint health. It also has L-Carnitine to help your senior dog’s metabolism – in case he’s not quite as fit as he used to be, L-Carnitine helps turn fat into muscle. The first five ingredients in this food are deboned trout; turkey meal; salmon meal; yellow peas; and sweet potato. It has 30 percent crude protein; 12 percent crude fat; and 396 kcal/cup. This food is AAFCO-approved for maintenance. This is probably one of the best senior dog foods available today.
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. The first five ingredients are venison; venison meal; salmon meal; herring meal; and oatmeal. Meat protein comes from grass-fed venison. 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 is 348 kcal/cup. This food is not specifically made for senior dogs but it has good quality protein without extra fat, just what a senior dog needs.
Recommended Wet Foods For Senior Keeshonds
Senior dogs can start having problems eating as they get older. This can be due to dental problems; or because older dogs start to have weakened senses, including a weaker sense of smell and taste. Make your senior dog’s food more appealing to him by adding some tasty toppings or choosing canned dog foods. Most dogs enjoy canned foods. Some of the foods we like include First Mate/Kasiks (they have some foods they recommend for senior dogs) and Weruva/Dogs in the Kitchen. Read the labels and check the nutrients when choosing a canned dog food as protein, fat, and nutrients tend to vary from one recipe to another. If your senior dog has any health problems you may need to be careful about canned foods that contain a lot of fat or that are high in some nutrients.
Below is a list of Products reviewed in this article
- Merrick Grain-Free Real Chicken & Sweet Potato Dry Dog Food
- ACANA Grasslands Regional Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
- Fromm Adult Gold Dog Food
- Canidae Grain-Free Pure Foundations Puppy Formula
- Canidae All Life Stages Chicken, Turkey, Lamb & Fish Meals Formula
- Nulo Freestyle Senior Trout & Sweet Potato Recipe
- Weruva’s Caloric Harmony Venison and Salmon Meal Dinner with Pumpkin