Adrienne is a certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, former veterinarian assistant, and author of "Brain Training for Dogs."
When choosing the best food for a Rottweiler, one must keep into consideration several factors, such as this breed's age, size, and it's unique, distinctive traits.
Therefore, more and more professionals in the nutritional field are recognizing that not all dog breeds are created equal and that dogs may thrive on a breed-specific diet.
With dogs coming in so many different shapes and sizes, this makes perfect sense, especially when considering medical problems certain dog breeds are prone to.
In this guide, you'll find several pointers as to what Rottweilers need nutrition-wise and what to look for in a good food for this breed. No specific recommendations can be made considering that every dog is unique, and therefore, what one Rottweiler may thrive one, may prove to be not suitable for another one.
Basic Rottweiler Nutrition
Nutrition plays an enormous role in how well a Rottweiler dog feels. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, good nutrition has the power to enhance a dog's quality and quantity of life, playing a primary role in providing optimal animal care. Nutrition is so important, that the wrong type of diet can cause catastrophic effects possibly even leading dogs to become malnourished and sickly.
Fortunately, nowadays, most dog pet food companies adhere to certain guidelines to ensure dogs receive a complete and balanced food. It is ultimately the pet food's company responsibility to formulate dog foods that meet the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) standards.
Rottweilers are large dogs often weighing anywhere between 85 and 100 pounds or more. This breed is sexually dimorphic, meaning that there are several differences between male and female dogs. Male Rottweilers are usually larger and weigh considerably more than females.
Their imposing sizes, which are so cherished by many, are often what makes them particularly prone to a variety of medical problems that can be prevented with the right type of dog food along with other additional precautions.
Rottweiler dogs grow quite rapidly and the wrong type of food given in the wrong amount, can have crippling effects on a puppy's delicate developing joints. Knowledge is therefore power when it comes to choosing the best dog food for Rottweilers at different life stages.
To Each Their Own
While there are a variety of dog foods on the market, as mentioned, no specific brands of foods can be recommended as each dog may react differently. Just like people, some Rottweilers may thrive on a specific food while others may not.
For example some Rottweilers may have sensitive stomachs while others may have food allergies. We find that it's unethical recommending any specific foods for the simple fact that there are always so many variances and individual factors between dogs and this is something that should be exclusively left to the experts in the field (board-certified nutritionists).
The following guidelines are therefore quite general, keeping into consideration this breed's needs and unique features. Dogs owners should therefore conduct research and possibly consult with a board-certified veterinarian specializing in nutrition if looking for specific recommendations.
Best Dog Food for Rottweiler Puppies
Rottweiler puppies are lively creatures who love activity and need mental stimulation. However, not many people know that Rottweiler puppies are prone to rapid growth, and growing too rapidly may prove deleterious on their developing joints.
Rottweiler puppies go through intensive growth spurts until they reach the age of 18 months. It's therefore important to avoid too much vigorous exercise as a Rottweiler puppy is growing since excessive strain on the puppy's developing skeletal system can lead to problems.
In particular, a Rottweiler puppy's "growth plates," soft areas of developing cartilage found by the ends of the long bones growth plates, are vulnerable to injuries. It's therefore important to avoid jogging the puppy on hard asphalt or other high impact activities such as jumping to catch a Frisbee or sports like agility or fly ball, until the growth plates are closed.
So, what should one look for when considering the best diet for the Rottweiler puppies? There are several important things to consider. the following are some general guidelines to look for when searching for a good dog food for Rottweiler puppies.
What to Look for in Food for Rottweiler Puppies
- Look for a diet purposely crafted for large, growing puppies. These dog foods particularly focus on providing the right amounts of nutrients, with balanced ratios of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D. These ratios are very important, and this is why many veterinary nutritionists warn about the potential dangers of feeding a homemade diet to growing large, breed puppies.
- As Rottweiler puppies grow, they are developing muscle so it's a good idea to look for a food that is crafted for optimal muscle growth. L-carnitine is known for promoting good muscle development.
- Think that omega fatty acids are only good for senior dogs? Think again! Rottweiler puppies may benefit from fatty acids along with chondroitin and glucosamine. These important ingredients are particularly helpful during their growth.
- Rottweiler puppies require a strong immune system so to grow into strong and healthy youngsters. Look for a dog food that is rich in antioxidants and vitamins. Because Rottweiler puppies are prone to parvo, it's important to ensure they receive all their booster shots as recommended by a vet.
- Rottweiler puppies may have delicate digestive systems when they are young and this can cause them to become easy targets for episodes of diarrhea or soft stools. A dog food that offers highly digestible proteins and pre-biotics and probiotics is a plus as these can help balance their intestinal flora.
- Avoid free-choice feeding or overfeeding Rottweiler puppies, and specifically avoid high-energy foods. “An optimal diet for a large-breed puppy is one that is designed specifically to meet the nutrient requirements for growth of large breeds, contains an appropriately controlled caloric density needed by these puppies to avoid rapid growth, and has the proper calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D content, as well as calcium:phosphorus ratio,” explains Dr. Dana Hutchinson, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist.
An Expert's Insight
“For large-breed puppies, overnutrition or rapid growth—with weight more than height—along with excess calcium and genetics are the primary risk factors for developmental orthopedic diseases."
— Dana Hutchinson, veterinary nutritionist.
Best Dog Food for Adult Rottweilers
When we look at adult Rottweilers we are often impressed by their sheer size and powerful looks with strong muscles and an overall majestic appearance. Those muscles though aren't there just for beauty, they sustain and help stabilize the joints, which is very important in large dog breeds that are prone to orthopedic problems.
Rottweilers are not one of the healthiest breeds out there and they are prone to a variety of hereditary and non-hereditary problems.
Rottweilers indeed are often listed as one of the breeds with the most expensive vet bills. According to Embrace Pet Insurance, Rottweilers are prone to hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), cataracts and heart problems and quite a high rate of cancer with bone cancer often affecting Rotties that are spayed and neutered before adulthood.
So to help a Rottweiler thrive from a nutritional standpoint it's important to look for dog foods that offer the following perks.
What to Look for in Food For Adult Rottweilers
- Look for a dog food that helps maintain this breed's muscle mass so that those joints are better stabilized. A good dog food for Rottweilers that should help with muscle mass should contain good levels of high quality protein and L-Carnitine. This latter has been found to increase muscle mass in humans.
- Because Rottweilers are prone to developing heart problems such as dilated cardiomyopathy and sub-aortic stenosis (SAS) which generally shows up first as a slight heart murmur, it's important to provide a dog food that helps keep the heart in good condition. Even though breeders try their best to selectively breed specimens without signs of heart problems, these conditions may sometimes pop up, despite their effort. For heart health, look for a dog food containing eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Taurine is another important supplement that has a reputation for being beneficial for the heart.
- Bloat is a concern among many deep-chested dog breeds. Predisposing factors are eating too fast and to much at once and small kibble which tends to be wolfed down as once (Glickman et al, 1994; Raghavan et al, 2004). Larger sized- kibble can help keep Rottweiler’s teeth in good shape and at the same time prevent them from swallowing a large quantity of air. According to Theyse et al, 1998, benefits are seen when the kibble is larger than 30 mm.
- Obviously, being a large dog, the Rottweiler is prone to several orthopedic problems such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia and torn knee ligaments. The joints of this black and tan beauty are subjected to heavy mechanical strain, either during competitive sports or just running about and playing with his owner. Keeping Rottweilers lean is a wise approach to prevent the extra weight that puts strain on the joints. Look for a dog food that also contains chondroitin and glucosamine.
- Rottweilers are predisposed to cancer. When compared with other dogs, Rottweilers were found to be 4.6 more at risk for developing bone cancer (Langebach et al, 1998). A diet rich in antioxidants such as vitamin E and vitamin C can turn helpful.
Best Dog Food for Senior Rottweilers
The average Rottweiler lifespan is expected to range between 8 and 10 years old. There are countless lucky Rottweiler owners though who are blessed with Rotties who are 12, 13, and even 14 or more in some cases.
In general, a Rottweiler is considered senior starting from 6 to 7 years old. Often, Rottweiler owners start noticing some gray hair around their Rottweiler's muzzles around this time.
Nutritional needs change in senior Rotties compared to the younger counterparts. Increasing age also is a risk factor for the development of several medical conditions. Early detection and good supporting nutrition is key.
What to Look for in Food For Adult Rottweilers
- Protein requirements increase with age and therefore senior Rottweilers do not benefit from protein restriction. "Senior dogs have an increased need for dietary protein. Therefore, healthy older dogs may benefit from diets with an increased protein-to-calorie ratio," remarks veterinary nutritionist Dr. Dorothy P Laflamme.
- As Rottweilers age, they are prone to develop painful joints due to osteoarthritis. A diet enriched with omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA) along with glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate and antioxidants can be therapeutic and allow a reduction in NSAID use, explains veterinary nutritionist Dr. Julie A. Churchill. However, care is needed with overweight Rotties as joint diets may not be suitable for dogs in need of losing weight.
- Weight gain in senior Rotties can have a negative impact on overall healthy and mobility. It's important to feed foods with low-calorie density, increased protein content and increased nutrient calorie:ratio to ensure an adequate intake of essential nutrients while restricting calories, further adds Dr. Churchill.
- Grondalen J and Lingaas F (1991) Arthrosis in the elbow joint of young rapidly growing dogs: a genetic investigation. Journal of Small Animal Practice 32:460-464
- Grondalen J and Grondalen T (1981) Arthrosis in the elbow joint of young rapidly growing dogs. Nordisk Veterinaermedicin 31: 1
- 8. Theyse LFH, Van De Brom WE, Van Sluijs FJ, et al - Small size food particles and age as risk factors for gastric dilatation volvulus in Great Danes. Vet Rec 1998; 143: 48-50
- DVM360, Developmental orthopedic disease in large-breed puppies, retrieved from the web on October 1st, 2016
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2016 Adrienne Farricelli
Rob Simpson on July 26, 2020:
when breeding Rotts in the late 80's-90's I liked pro plan but now you can almost configure your own mix of food to soot what your wanting in the dogs.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on October 03, 2016:
Thanks Suhail, I am trying to find a new dog food for my senior Rotties since the new US based Orijen doesn't seem to be agreeing with them much, so thought to gather all the information I could and thought it might help other Rottweiler owners rather than just keeping it for myself.
Last time I met a Dogo was when we were taking a cruise and had my Rottweiler with me. I had to share the elevator with a dogo, and in comes this lady who is terrified of dogs and tells us "OK, if I survive to make it to the 3rd floor without being mauled by these two beasts, I promise I will try my best to overcome my fear of dogs." Of course,she made it all in one piece and even go to pet our dogs too! Fun trip that was!
Gotta love these dogs.
Thanks for stopping by!
Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent from Mississauga, ON on October 02, 2016:
Although I don't have a Rottweiler and am not a fan of brachycephalic dogs, when I meet them on trail, I do have an urge to pat them. There are a few of Rottweilers and dogo Argentinos that K2 and I meet often on our local trails and we do say hello to each other
I believe this is a very informative article for rotti lovers.