Best Dog Food for the Irish Wolfhound
The Ultimate Irish Wolfhound Food Buyer’s Guide
The Irish Wolfhound may conjure images of a powerful dog racing alongside Celtic warriors in the distant past, bringing down large game during the hunt. Indeed, these mighty dogs have been known in Ireland dating back at least two thousand years, and possibly much longer. The Romans brought them back to Rome in 391 AD where they were much admired but the dogs were already fixed in Irish myth and legend long before this time. By some accounts the Irish Wolfhound may date back to 7000 BC. While we may think of them coursing after huge game animals, the breed deserves its nickname of the “gentle giant.” They frequently stand nearly three feet tall at the shoulder but they are not the least bit aggressive in the home. They make good family dogs as long as you have plenty of room both indoors and out.
In ancient Ireland the wolfhound was a fierce hunter. They were used for hunting wolves and the Irish elk which was six feet tall at the shoulder. They were linked to nobles and royals, hunting with their masters, sleeping on the hearth, guarding forts and castles, and even fighting in battles. But they were gentle enough to play with the children of the family. They have always been known as the hounds of Ireland.
After the Irish elk died out and the warrior lifestyle disappeared, there wasn’t much need for an enormous dog like the Irish Wolfhound in Ireland. They were a holdover from the past and most Irishmen couldn’t afford to feed a dog of this size. The Irish Wolfhound nearly became extinct in the 19th century until breeders worked to save the breed. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1897. Today the breed is reasonably popular in the U.S. They are currently ranked as the 73rd most popular breed of dog in the country.
Although they are amazing hunters, the Irish Wolfhound does not make a very good protection dog or watchdog. In terms of temperament they are rather easygoing and quiet. They like children and they usually get along well with other pets – though they can be inclined to chase small pets that run away from them. The Irish Wolfhound is a sighthound, like the Greyhound, Saluki, Afghan Hound, and others of that category, and they share the same instinct to chase prey. If you have rabbits or a cat as a pet, the Irish Wolfhound might not be the best pet for you, although a cat that stands his ground might be fine. It helps if a wolfhound puppy is raised with a resident cat and learns to respect him.
The Irish Wolfhound is a breed that is loyal and devoted to their people but they are usually reserved with people they don’t know. But they are not aggressive dogs. Their very large size is often a deterrent to strangers, however. Many people think twice before approaching a dog as large as the Irish Wolfhound.
While the Irish Wolfhound is considered the tallest breed, they are not the heaviest dogs. They are normally quite graceful. But even wolfhound puppies are very big. It’s not unusual for a young wolfhound puppy to weigh 100 pounds. If you have children you should keep this in mind. While Irish Wolfhounds are good with children, it can be easy for these giant dogs to accidentally injure a small child when playing. Make sure that you always supervise any play between children and Irish Wolfhounds. The same is true if an Irish Wolfhound is around an elderly person. They might accidentally bump into a senior and knock them down. So, take the proper precautions, especially with big Irish Wolfhound puppies.
Unlike many of the hound breeds, the Irish Wolfhounds is considered to be fairly easy to train. They can be independent thinkers and don’t always follow commands exactly but Dr. Stanley Coren ranks the breed 41st among dogs in terms of working/obedience intelligence in his book The Intelligence of Dogs. This is very high for a sighthound. (Three sighthound breeds ranked in the last 10 dogs measured – not because they are not intelligent but because they don’t always follow commands.)
At home the Irish Wolfhound is calm, patient, and they love to be with their owners. They like to be with the entire family, not just one person. If you try to keep your wolfhound outdoors, they will let you know, in no uncertain terms, that they are not happy. This is a breed that wants to be with people. They have been next to the family hearth in the home for several thousand years and that’s where they belong.
The breed does require plenty of daily exercise. They are built for speed and endurance so they have to have regular exercise. A large fenced area is best so they can run freely every day. Just taking a daily walk is not enough. Invisible fences are not recommended for this breed. They will often run right through the boundary of an invisible fence if they see something to chase on the other side. Even a small yard is not enough. Honestly, the Irish Wolfhound is the size of a small pony so you have to be realistic about their exercise needs. However, when they are not exercising, they are generally happy to rest and sleep.
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.
Quick Look : Top 4 Best Dog Foods for Irish Wolfhounds
Irish Wolfhound Diet & Nutrition
According to the Irish Wolfhound Club of America, males should be at least 32 inches tall at the shoulder and at least 120 pounds; females should be at least 30 inches and 105 pounds. These minimum height and weights apply only to adult hounds over 18 months of age. Males usually “average” around 34-35 inches and 140-180 pounds, females around 32-34 inches and 115-140 lbs. Standing upright on their back legs, a Wolfhound can stand between 6 and 7 feet tall.
As with most puppies, Irish Wolfhound pups are very active and they can be destructive if they don’t have a good outlet for their energy. Irish Wolfhound puppies need plenty of room to run and play while they are growing. Keep in mind that since the Irish Wolfhound is a giant breed, they grow for a long time. Puppyhood can last quite a while.
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 Irish Wolfhound dog weighing 140 pounds requires an average daily caloric intake of 2839 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 Irish Wolfhound (140 pounds) on the weekends you may need to feed 3154 kcal or more. Growing puppies consume more calories than adult dogs and so do young adult dogs. A young adult Irish Wolfhound dog weighing 100 pounds needs an estimated 2451 calories per day. An Irish Wolfhound puppy that is 8 months old can easily weigh 100 pounds or more. You can see growth charts for Irish Wolfhound puppies here.
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 Irish Wolfhound puppies and 5 percent of the diet for adults.
As with many sighthounds and large breeds, Irish Wolfhound 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, Irish Wolfhound do not have a lot of body fat. If you could look under the Irish Wolfhound’s harsh coat, you could see that they look a lot like a Greyhound.
We do recommend feeding Irish Wolfhound puppies a large breed puppy food*. In large breeds like the Irish Wolfhound, 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 Irish Wolfhound
While some people like to feed their Irish Wolfhound 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 Irish Wolfhound 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. Irish Wolfhound 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 Irish Wolfhounds 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, Irish Wolfhounds 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 Irish Wolfhounds several small meals per day throughout their lives. Irish Wolfhound puppies may need 3-4 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.
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 Irish Wolfhound lean throughout his life. Like other sighthound breeds, the Irish Wolfhound may seem thin to people unfamiliar with the breed (though this is mitigated somewhat in the case of the wolfhound because of his 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.
Irish Wolfhound Health Problems
According to the Irish Wolfhound Club of America, Irish Wolfhounds are usually hardy dogs. They don’t have many health issues that are unique to the breed. However, as puppies their fast growth can make them prone to injuries. They can also suffer from some health issues that are common to other giant breeds, including some that are serious. Because of their stoic nature, it can be hard to tell when your Irish Wolfhound is in pain because they hide their issues. They tend to have a shorter lifespan than many other breeds. In addition, when they do become sick, their medication tends to be very expensive because any prescription that is based on weight will cost more for a giant breed.
Serious health issues that appear in the breed include:
cancer, especially osteosarcoma
heart disease, including dilated cardiomyopathy (often treatable)
bloat and torsion (a.k.a., GDV for gastric dilatation and volvulus), a GI issue which requires immediate emergency care
pneumonia, another serious emergency
liver shunt (a.k.a., PSS or portosystemic shunt), a developmental disorder for which puppies should be screened at 8-10 weeks of age, before going to their new homes
Other issues that can occur in the breed are:
joint issues, especially in rapidly growing puppies
megaesophagus, a gastrointestinal problem, either congenital or acquired
eye disorders, especially progressive retinal atrophy
seizures and other neurological issues
Von Willebrand’s disease, a bleeding disorder
rear-end weakness in older dogs
Bone cancer (osteosarcoma) is the leading cause of death for Irish Wolfhounds in the United States. The average lifespan of the breed is 6 to 10 years. The current average age of death is around 7 years.
The Irish Wolfhound Club of America recommends that breeders have the following tests done on their dogs before they consider breeding them:
Elbow Dysplasia OFA Evaluation
Hip Dysplasia OFA Evaluation – OR PennHIP Evaluation
Cardiac Evaluation Advanced Cardiac Exam. Must include ECG. Min age 24 months.
Serum Bile Acid Test (Optional) The IWCA recommends Bile Acid testing for puppies. Typically a 1-2 hour post-prandial Bile Acid is run at 9-10 weeks of age. If it is elevated, then a repeat test is performed using both fasting and post-prandial samples.
As with many other large, deep-chested breeds, bloat and torsion (also called gastric dilatation volvulus or GDV) can occur in some Irish Wolfhound. 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 Irish Wolfhound, 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.
Dysplasia and joint problems
Irish Wolfhounds can have hip dysplasia but it is extremely uncommon. They currently rank 154th in the OFA database for hip dysplasia. Some 94.7 percent of Irish Wolfhounds tested were rated with normal hips. Most of the sighthounds, such as the Irish Wolfhound, rarely have hip dysplasia.
Likewise, elbow dysplasia can occur in Irish Wolfhound. The breed currently ranks 30th in elbow dysplasia with 87 percent of dogs tested rating normal.
You can see other OFA ratings for the breed here. Note that some of the tests only show that a few dogs have been tested so these findings are not yet significant. Some owners can be overly eager about testing dogs, even with good intentions. For example, there may not be any need to test or submit findings about hearing in the Irish Wolfhound; or about the breed’s dentition, even though a couple of owners have done so. It’s generally more important to pay attention to problems in a breed that many people are reporting and testing for – unless you specifically have reason to suspect a new, emerging problem.
Some Irish Wolfhound can be prone to hypothryoidism or low thyroid. The breed is currently ranked 110th among breeds listed in the OFA database. Some 95.5 percent of Irish Wolfhound tested were normal but this is based on just 66 dogs with submitted results so it would not be a large enough sample to be a meaningful representation of the breed.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
PRA is occasionally found in the breed. The Irish Wolfhound 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 Irish Wolfhound. The Irish Wolfhound Club of America recommends that breeders have their dogs’ hearts tested before breeding. Some 97.4 percent of dogs in the OFA database tested normal based on 584 evaluations.
Degenerative myelopathy (DM) is a progressive 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 Irish Wolfhound Club of America recommends that breeders have dogs tested before breeding.
As with other sighthound breeds, the Irish Wolfhound 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 Irish Wolfhound 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.
Ingredients to Look for and Some to Avoid
Protein and fat are the main ingredients in the diet for an Irish Wolfhound, 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 Irish Wolfhound 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 Irish Wolfhound puppies need slightly lower levels of protein, fat, and calories so they won’t grow too fast.
Recommended Dog Food For Irish Wolfhounds
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 Irish Wolfhound 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? 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 Irish Wolfhounds 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 Irish Wolfhound 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 Irish Wolfhounds. 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 Irish Wolfhound 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 Irish Wolfhound. 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 Irish Wolfhound Puppies
Irish Wolfhound 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 Irish Wolfhound 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 Irish Wolfhounds. 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 Irish Wolfhound 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 Irish Wolfhound 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 Irish Wolfhound puppies.
This large breed puppy formula features lamb meal and oatmeal. It includes probiotics, healthy fiber, and digestive enzymes to help your Irish Wolfhound 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 Irish Wolfhound 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 Irish Wolfhound
All dogs get older and that’s true of your Irish Wolfhound, too. While the Irish Wolfhound may have a shorter lifespan than some breeds, they can still experience mature and senior years. Your Irish Wolfhound may begin to slow down and start acting older by the time he’s 5-6 years old. It’s a good idea to have your Irish Wolfhound checked by a veterinarian at this time. Many vets recommend an annual senior check up at this time. By getting an early start your vet will have a good baseline for your dog’s later health.
Unlike many breeds, Irish Wolfhound don’t usually get too fat. Even as your Irish Wolfhound 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 Irish Wolfhound 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 Irish Wolfhound 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 Irish Wolfhounds since experts recommend feeding this breed lower protein percentages.
Best Dog Foods for the Irish Wolfhound with Skin Problems
While Irish Wolfhound are not especially prone to food allergies, some dogs can have sensitive skin. If your Irish Wolfhound 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 Irish Wolfhounds, 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 Irish Wolfhound 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 Irish Wolfhound 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 Irish Wolfhounds 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 Irish Wolfhound. 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 Irish Wolfhounds
Being overweight or obese isn’t usually a common problem for most Irish Wolfhound, but it can happen. It is usually the result of overfeeding. You can help your Irish Wolfhound lose weight by cutting back on his portions and encouraging him to get more exercise.
If your Irish Wolfhound 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 an Irish Wolfhound 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 Irish Wolfhounds 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 Irish Wolfhound has been around for thousands of years. From their place at the side of Celtic hunters to their modern existence as devoted family dogs, these graceful, powerful, loving dogs have always been admired. While they may look wild and intimidating, they are actually gentle giants, known for loving children and wanting to be part of your family. If you have a chance, try to meet one of these legends from the past. They are big dogs and they do require a lot of room – plus a lot of food – but with the right owner, they make a wonderful pet.