Feeding the Weimar
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
We 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.
- Other links that shed light on the topic of feeding your household pets:
- Top Ten Companies who make dog food.
- The Pet Food List
- Top Five Pet Food Companies
- Info on the Raw Food Diet
- Trying the Raw Food Diet
- Pros and Cons of Raw Food Diet
- Cooking for your pet
- Top Ten Ingredients
- Cooked Vs. Raw Diet
- Any search you do will bring up countless posts, and many will have conflicting approaches to feeding your pet. Many of these posts are published by food companies who are trying to sell you on their product. Be aware of this trap.