Dobermans are a naturally active breed. This isn’t a dog that’s meant to lay around the house and soak up the sun. Dobermans thrive mentally and physically when they’re given something to do. Whether you’re putting your Doberman into agility classes or you two love to go for early morning runs, you’ll notice a huge difference in their mentality when they’re well exercised. Athletic dogs require a balanced and good quality diet to keep them properly nourished and fueled, but what does that diet look like?
Dobermans Nutritional Requirements – The Working Dog Diet
When you think of a working dog, cattle dogs might immediately come to mind. Even though Dobermans probably aren’t working livestock, they’re still considered a working breed. They’re powerful and athletic, and as such, they need a diet that fuels the work they’re doing.
Doberman Protein Requirements
Despite their athleticism, Dobermans are genetically prone to a host of health problems. A lot of Dobermans live long, healthy lives without any issues, but there’s still a fairly sizeable number of Dobermans with various issues. As a breed, they’re are more prone to developing kidney disease, so it’s important for you to talk with your veterinarian about their protein intake because excessive protein can cause kidney damage or hurt already fragile kidneys.
Too much protein contributes to or exacerbates kidney disease, but not enough protein is going to lead to a dog with subpar muscle mass and depleted energy. On average, your Doberman should be getting at least 25 percent protein in their food, but this is going to vary depending on their age, health, and activity level.
The protein game can be tricky when you’re trying to feed an athletic dog that’s genetically prone to kidney disorders. There can’t be too much emphasis placed on the importance of discussing protein with your veterinarian to ensure your dog is nourished properly.
How many Carbohydrates to Dobermans Need?
Dobermans are also prone to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), so providing a food containing complex carbohydrates instead of simple carbs is essential.
Simple carbs are quickly digested, provide a fast surge of energy by spiking the blood sugar, and then there’s a rapid energy crash once the carbs are metabolized and blood sugar drops. This isn’t ideal in any dog, but if your Doberman already has issues with their blood sugar, simple carbs are going to dangerously crash their blood glucose. Corn and soy are the carbs found most commonly in commercial dog food, and unfortunately, they’re simple carbs. If these are high on the ingredient list, keep looking.
Higher end brands of dog food use complex carbs to bulk up the recipe’s nutrition and provide quality sources of this nutrient. You’ll usually find complex carbs like sweet potatoes, legumes, brown rice, or whole grains in commercial dog food recipes. Complex carbs are ideal because they burn more slowly than simple carbs, so the energy they provide lasts longer and doesn’t come with a glucose drop.
Common Doberman Health Problems That Are Preventable with Diet
Food won’t necessarily prevent disease no matter how high of quality it is. But a good diet can help minimize the effects of these problems, helping your Doberman is going to lead as long a life as possible.
Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) or Bloat in Dobermans
There’s no way to prevent GDV from occurring. Professionals aren’t even 100 percent sure what causes it, but they have a few ideas.
First, if you have no idea what GDV is, it’s when a dog’s stomach fills up with air and torses (twists) so the air can’t escape. It’s 100 percent fatal if it isn’t treated medically, and whether surgery will save their life is uncertain. Deep-chested breeds are more likely to bloat, and Dobermans are considered deep-chested.
Most vets recommend raised feeding for dogs anatomically prone to bloating. This means putting their food and water dishes at about chest height. Rapid eating is also thought to cause bloat, so if your dog likes to inhale their food, feed smaller, more frequent meals.
It’s also important not to feed your Doberman immediately before or after they’re going to exercise. Avoid giving them a lot of water soon after they’re done running around, too. Your dog can have small amounts of water, but give it at least 30 minutes before letting them have access to a full bowl.
Adjust Your Dobermans Diet incase of Hypothyroidism
Dobermans commonly have hypothyroidism (low thyroid) which leads to weight gain and a dry, brittle coat. There isn’t a type of food that prevents a thyroid problem, but you’ll have to be careful with their diet if they’re diagnosed with a low functioning thyroid or they’ll put on too much weight.
You’ll want to avoid buying dog food with a lot of simple carbs and fillers that are basically devoid of nutrition. Look for foods that contain a lot of ingredients like whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and lean protein. Hypothyroidism doesn’t ever go away, but it’s manageable with medication, exercise, and a good quality food.
Arthritis in Dobermans
Large breeds are affected with arthritis more often than their smaller counterparts. A lot of it is genetics; things like hip and shoulder dsyplasia are found in dogs whose parents have the condition. Other cases stem from poor nutrition during key developmental stages when the dog was a puppy. When you purchase a Doberman from a breeder, ensure your puppy’s parents have been orthopedically cleared of hip and elbow disorders. This greatly reduces your puppy’s chances of developing arthritis.
Next, feed a food that supports healthy, steady growth. Growing too quickly puts undue stress on bones and joints. A good puppy food will have a moderate protein ratio, quality carbs, and good fats. All of these contribute to a growth pattern that produces a healthy musculoskeletal system.
Protein, complex carbs, and essential fatty acids are going to help your Doberman thrive. Not only will these macronutrients support an active lifestyle, they’ll provide optimal bodily functions from puppyhood to well into the senior years.