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Rottweilers are large dogs who have a few special dietary needs to consider when it comes to choosing the right dog food. There are specific things you can look for in dog foods that can help them with the health problems they are prone to, which I will talk about in this article.
First, here is a sneak peek at my top recommendations of the best dog foods for Rottweilers:
Our 4 top choices of the best dog food for Rottweilers in 2021:
Our Nutrition Rating
Our Overall Rating
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How many calories does my Rottweiler need?
Rottweilers are very large breed dogs who have lots of muscle mass. Due to their strong physique and medium-energy levels, they need a fair amount of calories to keep them going!
An average Rottweiler weighs 110 lb (50 kg). As I wrote in the article about the best dog food for Boxers, females will tend to weigh less than this, so the following calorie calculations* will be a little lower for her.
*Calculated using DogFoodAdvisor's handy calorie calculator. The above calculations are for you to get an idea of a Rottweiler’s caloric needs, but this may not be exactly right for your dog - you should consult with your veterinarian.
Common health problems in Rottweilers and how diet can help
Osteochondritis Dissecans & Hip Dysplasia
Rottweilers are prone to Osteochondritis Dissecans, a condition in which the cartilage in the joint between two bones breaks or develops calcium spurs, meaning it does not protect the bones.
This leads to a painful, swollen joint, and eventually arthritis and lameness. It can occur in the shoulder, hock, knee or elbow joint.
This condition occurs mainly in large breed dogs who are genetically inclined to grow rapidly. Nutrition during puppyhood, however, can play an important part, as overfeeding and free-choice feeding can promote rapid growth.
As large breed dogs are more susceptible to developing skeletal disorders while they're growing, veterinarians strongly encourage feeding your Rottweiler puppy a special puppy food for large breed dogs. This kind of dog food will have the right balance of nutrients and is less likely to lead to overly rapid growth, and, in turn, joint diseases.
Rottweilers are also prone to hip dysplasia, a genetic and, unfortunately, degenerative condition of the joints. It occurs when the thigh bone does not fit properly into the hip socket, causing arthritic joints and even lameness.
With both conditions, your Rottweiler should always be at a healthy weight, as an overweight dog's joints will take more strain.
There are also a few nutrients to look for in dog foods or to give to her in supplement form, which have been proven to promote joint health. These are chondroitin and glucosamine, and Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
Like Boxers, Rottweilers can suffer from food-related allergies, which may manifest as dry, itchy skin or an upset stomach (gas, vomiting, and diarrhea).
Dogs often have allergies to grains, so I advise you to stay away from grains altogether. Some meats can also be a common allergen for dogs. In fact, in a study done on 278 dogs with food allergies, beef was the most common allergen.
If you think your Rottweiler has allergies to a certain meat, but you're not sure exactly what the culprit is, it can be a good idea to go for a "limited ingredient" dog food. These dog foods usually have just one source of protein and don't contain any grains, dairy or preservatives. These can make it easier to determine what ingredient is upsetting her.
Osteosarcoma is a tumor of the bone, which occurs most commonly in large breed dogs. According to the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare, 5 – 12 % Rottweilers suffer from this cancer.
It can occur at any age (but is most common at about 8 years-old) and anywhere in the body. It is very painful and, unfortunately, it is malignant. While it can be treated, there is only a 10% chance of success.
Feeding your Rottweiler a high-quality dog food that is free of toxins (no preservatives or colorings), free of grains, and packed with antioxidants (Vitamin E, C, and A) can help to reduce the risk of cancer.
To give your Rottweiler all those antioxidants she needs to support her immune system and reduce her risk of cancer, look for a dog food that contains a range of fruit and vegetables.
Some dog foods include vitamin and mineral supplements instead, which is okay too, but it is preferable that the food includes healthy whole food sources.
Rottweilers are prone to weight gain. If you overfeed her or give her too little exercise, she will pile on the pounds, and they may be difficult to shed.
Make sure you stick to the calorie restrictions for this breed and exercise her for at least an hour a day.
Any excess weight will put weight on her joints and make her general health decline, leaving her more likely to develop cancers, too.
Finally, this is a very serious and sometimes fatal condition that can occur in large, deep-chested dogs like Rottweilers. It occurs when the stomach fills up with too much gas and becomes swollen.
It can happen when a dog eats too much too quickly, or if she exercises just after eating. Raised dog bowls have also been linked to causing bloat.
Make sure you feed your Rottweiler 2 or 3 meals a day, not all in one sitting, and always let her rest for at least 1 hour after eating.
All adult dogs need a minimum of 18% protein. Since Rottweilers are very large and muscular dogs (but not as high-energy as Boxers), I recommend between 22 - 30% protein, depending on how active she is.
Very active or working Rottweilers (who get more than 1 ½ hour exercise a day) can have up to 35% protein, but I wouldn't recommend more than that. This is because protein is a calorie-dense nutrient, and if your Rottweiler doesn't do enough exercise to burn it all off, she is likely to gain weight.
The protein in her food should be from high-quality sources, so avoid any dog foods that list ingredients like "by-products" or use generic terms like "meat meal."
Most dogs should get 9 - 15 % fat in their diets. They need fat to keep their skin healthy and their coat shiny.
Rottweilers have a double coat that is fairly short, so I recommend between 12 - 15%. Working dogs will need a bit more than this (about 15 - 18%), as fat can also be used as energy. As Rottweilers are prone to obesity, you should avoid dog foods that contain a high-fat content (over 20%).
The fat should be from good sources like chicken fat or fish oils. Fish oils also have the added benefit of providing her with the omega fatty acids she needs for her joints, as well as her coat and skin health.
As I have already suggested, to avoid allergies, as well as decrease her risk of cancer, the carbs you feed her should be in the form of non-grains, such as sweet potatoes.
Also, as Rottweilers are prone to obesity, opt for dog foods that contain a low level of carbohydrates. Most low-carb dog foods contain less than 20% carbohydrates.
#1 Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain-Free Chicken Recipe for Large Breed Adult Dogs
This dog food has the highest popularity and rating on Amazon of all four, with 850 reviews, of which 80% gave 5 stars.
What I love about Blue Buffalo is that they pride themselves on high-quality ingredients. You won't find by-products, preservatives, colorings or any corn, wheat or soy in their foods. Plus, they include "LifeSource Bits," which are small, dark kibbles that have been cold-formed to preserve the nutrients. These include a potent blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
I chose this recipe as it is developed specifically for larger breeds. It contains glucosamine and chondroitin, as well as a good amount of omega oils (from fish and flaxseed oil) to keep your Rottweiler's bones and joints healthy.
It is also grain-free to avoid allergies and tummy upsets; the carbs from potatoes and tapioca starch.
It contains deboned chicken, providing 22% protein, as well as 12% fat from good sources (chicken fat, flaxseed, and fish oil). Both amounts fall on the minimum boundary for Rottweilers, providing just enough for a typical Rottweiler. It also means this food is great for an overweight Rottweiler.
Furthermore, Blue Buffalo includes a nice selection of fruit and vegetables, providing those essential cancer-fighting antioxidants Vitamin A and C. They add some a Vitamin E supplement for good measure, too.
Most popular on Amazon of all four
Specifically developed for large breed dogs
Contains ingredients to promote joint and bone health
Good food for an overweight Rottweiler
Contains a selection of fruit and veg, providing antioxidants
- Not suitable if you want to try a limited ingredient diet
#2 Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Real Chicken Recipe
Merrick is also a good, high-quality dog food that is the priciest of all four, but worth it if you can afford it.
The recipe's protein content is fairly high, at 30%, and the fat content is just over, at 16%. This makes this food unsuitable for overweight Rottweilers.
This is, however, a good food for active Rottweilers and Rottweilers with allergies, as it is a limited ingredient food. The only protein source is derived from chicken, plus it is grain-free. The carbs come in the form of garbanzo beans and tapioca starch.
This recipe also contains glucosamine and chondroitin for bone and joint health, and a dose of omegas on top (from flaxseed oils).
The downside with this recipe is that it doesn't contain any fruit or vegetables, which means there are no whole food vitamin and mineral sources. It does, however, include lots of vitamins and mineral supplements, so your Rottweiler still gets those essential antioxidants to support her immune system and ward off cancer.
Limited ingredients - good for Rottweilers with allergies
Contains ingredients for bone and joint health
Lots of vitamins and minerals
Doesn't contain fruit and veg
Most expensive of all four
#3 Victor Grain-Free Chicken Hero Canine
This recipe is a great choice for highly active or working Rottweilers, as it is the highest in protein of all four, at 33%, and has a fat content that is just over the mark for typical Rottweilers, at 16%.
It is specifically designed for dogs with joint problems, which makes it a great choice for active Rottweilers who are suffering from painful joints. Indeed, it does contain those essential ingredients for bone and joint health (glucosamine and chondroitin), as well as omega oils (from fish and flaxseed).
It is also formulated to aid digestion and support the immune system. There are just two vegetable ingredients (dried carrot and kelp), but a wealth of additional supplements, including Vitamin A, D, and E, so your Rottweiler will get a good fill of antioxidants.
This food is not suitable for a limited ingredient diet, or for dogs with allergies to beef, as it contains beef, chicken, pork and fish meal.
It is, however, free from grains, and the carbs used are USA-sourced peas and potatoes.
Good for highly active/working Rottweilers
Contains ingredients to help with bone and joints health
Contains a wealth of supplements to support joints, immune system, and digestive health
Not suitable for a limited ingredient diet
No fruit or veg
#4 Taste of the Wild Wetlands Canine Formula with Roasted Fowl
Taste of the Wild is another brand I highly recommend for its quality, grain-free dog foods.
This recipe contains 31% protein from duck, chicken, quail and turkey, making it suitable for Rottweilers with allergies to beef, but inappropriate if you want to try a limited ingredient diet.
The fat content is higher than the other dog foods I chose, at 18%, which makes this dog food better for very active Rottweilers, who get more than 1 hour's exercise a day.
This recipe does contain a few fruit and vegetables, providing antioxidants for your Rottweiler's immune system health. They throw in extra Vitamin A and E supplements, too.
While there are no added ingredients to promote joint health, this recipe contains omega oils from ocean fish meal.
If you are looking for a high-quality, low price dog food, I highly recommend Taste of the Wild.
Contains some fruit and veg
Contains Omega Fatty Acids
No added ingredients for bone and joint health
Not suitable for a limited ingredient diet
Victor Hero Canine is very good choice for highly active or working Rottweilers. Lastly, while I don’t recommend it if your Rottweiler has joint problems, Taste of the Wild is the most affordable and gives you good value for money.
Which dog food do you feed your Rottweiler? Would you buy any of the above? Leave a comment below!
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