Feeding the Weimar

….Or is Pizza on their dietIMG_1019 (Large)

OwyheeStar clients frequently ask us many questions regarding their Weim’s diet. First, lets be clear–there is no one food or choice that works across the board for every Weim (and situation). Secondly, professionals (breeders, vets, trainers, etc.) all have their own ideas. These opinions are widely diverse, and often contradictory. Experience plays into the equation, as does the science behind feeding a dog. A place to begin is to read the label. With that information in hand, it helps to make an educated guess. Even then, things may not work as planned. This is a book-worthy topic that cannot be covered in a few words.

  • What to feed the Weimaraner?

Every brand touts their product as having your pet’s best interest at heart. To some degree that is true, but as well the profit they make is equally important. In recent dog food history, there has been a higher value placed on quality food. A more holistic approach to feeding our pets is popular.

There are three basic feeding approaches: 1. Dry or Moist Dog Food (or a combination of them). 2. The raw food approach. 3. The cooked diet approach. Each of these approaches has merit, but the latter two take a lot of work to get right. If we were to pick an other-than-dog-food approach, it would be the raw food diet. These are options you can explore, but cautiously. Getting the balance in the diet is not easy. Therefore, for our short discussion on this topic, we will be talking about bagged dog food. Some people prefer to mix in canned or packets of food with the dry food, but this is also not part of our discussion.

We are not going to endorse a certain brand of food in this discussion. Cliff recommends feeding your adult Weimaraner bagged food with the following ratio: 12% Fat and 22% Protein. He would like to increase the protein to 24-25%, but usually this means added corn. Overall, we have found many Weims do not tolerate corn, wheat, and even barley. We avoid these ingredients in the dog food we use. Getting a high-quality food that digests well can be challenging. Many a Weimaraner doesn’t tolerate a specific ingredient, or is allergic to grain. In our experience, not every highly touted expensive food labeled holistic worked well.

Changing food should be approached with caution. Mixing the old food with the new and gradually switching is important. Adding some pumpkin to the diet during the switch may help prevent stress diarrhea.

  • Where to feed the Weimaraner?George_0740C

This may seem like an odd question, but the location of their feeding station may prove important. The Weimaraner can be messy with their food, as well as their water. If you live in a temperate climate, you may want to consider feeding them outside on your deck. It makes for easy cleanup, and a direct trip out after the meal. Some people attach dishes to a crate, and the Weim eats in their kennel. Others place dishes in varied locations. Wherever you feed and water the Weimaraner, it is not a bad trick to move the feeding station on occasion. Some Weims are so concrete-thinking they will refuse to eat if the dish is moved a few inches.

Another feeding option is to pack a portion of their meal into a toy. This might be something like Premiere’s squirrel dude, or a rubber Kong toy. Peanut butter can be added to a Kong (an some people freeze the Kong to make the experience last longer.

  • When to feed the Weimaraner?A1_Kristal & Jason Summer 2010

A Weimaraner puppy should have three meals a day–never directly before or after extreme exercise. (Is there any other kind for the Weimaraner?) The adult Weimaraner should receive two meals a day, with the same caution to prevent bloat. Some Weims will nibble at their food, and these have the potential to have access to their food at all times. A self-feeder may be an option. Other Weims will need training and possible a special bowl to prevent them from gulping their food.

  • How much to feed the Weimaraner?17C_Duchess in the Hay Field Sept 2011 (64) (Custom) (Custom)

Adult Weims may require as much as four cups of food a day. Most do not. There are many factors, including the time of the year, the amount of exercise, and your Weim’s age play into the equation. The average eight week old pup is eating somewhere between 1/2 – 3/4 cup of large breed puppy chow three times a day. That will soon change, because they grow quickly.

Many of our Weims only require 2-3 cup of food a day. A person has to be acutely aware of how their dog looks. This is not an exact science. The backbone should have a thin coating of fat, and the ribs should not be too visible. As a young pup grows, they may well look gangly for a certain period of time. Nevertheless, you don’t want them rolly-poly or too thin. Try to hit a happy medium, and work towards fitness. Error on the side of a little too much food, rather than under-feeding a growing pup. (Most people change from three meals a day to two, around one year. Others opt to move to two meals a day as early as six months due their work schedule. Prior to the six month birthday all Weim pups should receive three meals a day.)

  • Why talk about feeding the Weimaraner?Mullin's Hank July 2012 (2)

The Weim’s diet (along with age-appropriate exercise) is a building block in their healthy lifestyle. What to feed is perplexing. Experts disagree. As with humans, each Weimaraner is unique. Keep in mind just because they like a certain food, it doesn’t make that a good food for them. They would opt for hot dogs, steak, pizza, and cookies all day long, and snub the dog food you offer.

We have seen many people try the raw food diet, because their Weimaraner was suffering from allergies. The problem went away. For many people,this controversial approach to feeding the Weimaraner might be an answer. For others, it is too much work. A person has to find something that works for both them and the Weimaraner. We have relied on The Dog Food Advisor to find an unbiased assessment. In our experience, the four-star and five-star foods have been good. Sometimes the four-star foods work better for us. We have a different approach. We prefer to add NuVet to the diet, rather than depend upon the dog food company to put in the beneficial additives (vitamins, herbs, and nutrients) . For this reason, we have been using the Diamond Naturals–not to be confused with the regular Diamond brand dog food. They are not the only choice out there, but it works for us. No, this company is not without fault. In truth, only a very small company that makes a limited amount of food is going to have a great chance of avoiding problems. We need a food readily available, and at a reasonable cost. Otherwise, some clients would buy their dog food at the grocery story–and we do not recommend doing that.

A2_Topper's Silver Male_5823CWe are all invested in doing what is best for the beloved Weimaraner. If there is an approach that leads to longevity, that is the one we want to take. In truth, longevity is tied to the luck of the draw (DNA pool lotto results), and a lot of other factors. Diet is one contributing factor, and an important one at that. How and what we feed them is vital to their health. Never grow a puppy fast. They need large breed food, or a diet that doesn’t encourage rapid growth. Rapid growth can lead to joint issues later in life. As we said early on, this is a book-worthy topic. Even then, it is a highly controversial topic with many options. Each person has to make the best possible decision. Remember, each person giving you advice (Vet, breeder, and trainer–as well as your best friend) has their own bias. In the end, you have to weigh the facts and make the best possible choice. We have given you a basic outline that should serve you well in making those decisions.

About OwyheeStar

We are Professional Weimaraner breeders--with forty years experience at raising puppies. For many years, we have focused exclusively on the Weimaraner! If you are considering the Weimaraner, or live with one, we welcome you to sign up to our blog. We sincerely hope you will find the information, the stories, and varied posts insightful (as well as entertaining). To those who live with an OwyheeStar Weimaraner, we send special thanks. We appreciate the photos, the news, and your friendship. Thank you for being a part of the extended OwyheeStar family.

Posted on February 22, 2013, in Information and Education. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Thanks for the link to the squirrel dude – I’m searching for this guy since months (if forgot the name). We tried raw food but after a bad experience with omasum we prefer cooked food ;o)

  2. I think reports and results are mixed. I don’t know about omasum ……..sorry you had a bad experience.

  3. the smell was godawful – my crib was uninhabitable for two days and I refused steadfastly to eat it ;o)

  4. that sounds beyond horrid. It was NOT for you Easy.


    I have a Weimar who is over weight what type of diet should I try and how many times a day should we feed her? She’s about 4yrs. Thank you. Sherri. & Lilly..

  6. It is impossible to give you a simple answer. Overweight–sometimes it is subjective. Our adults eat twice a day–the amount each one gets varies greatly. Once, I helped an OwyheeStar client achieve weight loss with her Weimaraner–her Vet agreed that she could try the green bean diet for dogs. It worked. Anyhow, counseling someone on dog weight loss is too complicated to do without all the facts. We try to help our OwyheeStar clients when they have an issue–but our time is limited. You might search for the green bean diet and see what you think.

  7. Hi! My 3-year-old Weimi (female) eats at about 8am and 6pm, and always runs out to the terrace (no back yard) in the middle of the night to defecate. As one daily meal is not good for Weimis, what can I do? If I take her out at 10-11pm, she will not defecate, but in the morning after breakfast, she will. HELP! Thank you — great site! Kat

  8. I was so worried about my dog after a long period of an aging parent feeding her treats when I wasn’t around. I saw the vet and have been using Science Diet Metabolic Lamb with outstanding results as well as increase in exercise. My mom passed away so am able to dedicate my time to my dogs as they deserve again. Combo of this food and leash free outings in safe environment (as safe as that can be) with my three and all three are doing much better. Note. I’ve had weimaraners exclusively for a good many years – do not breed. Have had two with issues with food sensitivities. I fed salmon and potato grain free prior. I was quite worried how the lamb would work with my current girl who has low tolerance for grains and chicken. This food has been excellent and seamless as far as transition and tolerance. Huge issue is the cost…this is very expensive dog food and is perhaps not realistic or sustainable for me or others long term.

  9. Honestly, if this works for you –great. It is not a food feel good about endorsing.

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