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While the Newfoundland breed (or “Newfies”) was officially recognized by the AKC in 1886, they were virtually unknown as a household pet just 20 years ago. Today, their popularity continues to soar. That said, this breed also requires very specific care, including appropriately adjusted nutrition and special Newfoundland dog food brands.
Most Newfoundland dogs stand 26-28 inches at the shoulder and weigh 100-150 pounds as adults. On average, they live 8-10 years. Despite their larger-than-life size, they are very active dogs. They are also natural nanny dogs, gentle and good with children. Newfies are perfect for active families living in cooler climates, just be ready to dedicate time and effort to managing their long, thick coats through grooming and diet.
As I licensed veterinarian, I've seen firsthand how the popularity of the Newfoundland breed has grown in recent years. I had a chance to work closely with many pet owners who were looking for the best dog food for Newfoundland dogs and needed to do more research on the specific nutritional requirements of this breed.
I've managed to find a number of dog foods that I now often recommend for this breed, depending on their age and overall health condition. Below are five of the best dog food for Newfoundland breed brands that are vet recommended.
When shopping for the best dog food for Newfoundland dogs, you also need to take the breed's common health concerns into consideration. These dogs are generally a healthy breed, but they do have a few specific health issues that they're more susceptible to than other breeds. Some of these conditions may be managed with a specific diet.
The Best Dog Food for Newfoundland Health
Newfoundland is generally a healthy breed. There are few reported breed-associated diseases, but some of the more common ones can be prevented or treated by a proper diet. When it comes to this breed's nutrition for health, I want to mention the two most crucial ones.
Cystinuria in Newfoundland dogs is caused by an autosomal recessive genetic disease. The defect affects the tubules within the kidneys. It involves how the kidney processes dibasic amino acids and cystine. An excess of cystine is secreted by the kidneys, which aggregate and create stones within the urinary tract.
Both male and female Newfies can be affected, but males seem to have cystinuria more often than females. There is a genetic test available through the University of Pennsylvania specifically for Newfoundlands. If you are interested in testing your Newfie puppy or breeding stock, talk to your veterinarian.
Royal Canin Vegetarian
Cystine bladder stones can be somewhat controlled by feeding a special diet. If your dog has been diagnosed with cystinuria, talk to your veterinarian about my recommendation as the best dog food for Newfoundland dogs suffering from this condition is Royal Canin Vegetarian.
Vegetarian diets are not best for most dogs, but in cases like this, they can successfully prevent the formation of cystine stones. Unlike other dog food brands that treat cystinuria, like Hill’s Prescription diet u/d, prescription vegetarian diets can be fed long-term whereas Hill's one cannot.
2. Developmental Orthopedic Diseases
Like many other large and giant breeds, the Newfoundland is prone to developing hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. While there is a genetic component to these issues, nutrition plays a big role in their development.
Hip dysplasia is the abnormal growth of the hips. Over time, the abnormality can cause painful hip arthritis, even in puppies. While selective breeding and screening can help diminish the prevalence of the genes in the breeding population, it is still present.
Elbow dysplasia is a syndrome that can be caused by many different genetic developmental issues in the elbows, leading to painful degenerative joint disease and arthritis. While there is a genetic component to these diseases, there are significant nutritional risk factors that play a part during puppyhood.
These risk factors are rapid growth and excess dietary calcium intake. It is not possible to prevent these issues 100% via diet alone, but feeding an appropriate puppy-specific food and not overfeeding will help.
The Best Dog Food for Newfoundland Puppies
Before switching your dog to any new diet, always consult with a veterinarian. Remember that no article on the internet, including this one, can replace a consultation with a vet.
Newfoundland puppies will try to eat you out of your house and home. Their large appetites are typical but don’t cater to it too much. To be safe, don’t overfeed your baby Newfie and use a recommended breed and age-appropriate puppy food.
Royal Canin GIANT Puppy Food
I recommend Royal Canin GIANT Puppy Food as the best dog food for Newfoundland puppies I recommend Royal Canin’s GIANT line because it is a set of two different ‘stages’ of puppy food for giant breed dogs.
The first is their ‘Giant’ puppy formula, which sports a larger-sized, patented kibble design to help giant puppies optimally chew their food. This food is typically fed until the pup is 8 months old.
Royal Canin Junior GIANT Formula
Newfoundlands, like other giant breeds, mature slowly and have slightly different nutritional requirements after 8 months of age. Royal Canin Junior GIANT Formula is great for pups between 8-24 months of age.
Newfies face aging changes sooner in their lives compared with smaller breeds, so their joints need support earlier. Royal Canin Junior GIANT is fortified with chondroitin and glucosamine to nourish growing cartilage.
While Royal Canin products seem pricey, they are nutrient-dense and puppy parents find that over time, they spend less money than if they are fed a lower-quality diet.
Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Puppy
If you can’t find Royal Canin or it is out of your price range, consider feeding Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Puppy. It is another of the best dog food for Newfoundland puppies that I highly recommend.
Purina Pro Plan is an excellent alternative and Purina’s “premium” line. This large breed formula is good for growing giants and will encourage slow growth and healthy joint growth. This food stands out from the rest as it contains omega-3 essential fatty acids and glucosamine for healthy joint development.
The Best Dog Food for Newfoundland Adults
Newfies mature more slowly than smaller breeds, so their nutrition will need to be supported accordingly. It is typically recommended to switch them to adult food when they reach 18 months of age.
Royal Canin GIANT Adult Formula
Their caloric needs become slightly less at this time, so it is important to pay attention to their weight and body condition. If you have started your pup with Royal Canin, it is a good idea to continue from their puppy and junior formulas onto Royal Canin GIANT Adult Formula.
Giant-appropriate foods, like those from Royal Canin, are more efficiently digested, meaning less mess with better formed, smaller bowel movements. Royal Canin also takes extra care when balancing calcium levels for ongoing bone and joint support for your giant. Other important ingredients in this best dog food for Newfoundland adults include omega-3 fatty acids EPA/DHA from cold-water fish, glucosamine, and chondroitin sulfate.
Eukanuba Large Breed Adult Food
If Royal Canin isn’t available in your area or is out of your price range, check out Eukanuba Large Breed Adult Food. Eukanuba provides great taste and this formula will tempt even the pickiest eaters. It is another “premium” brand made by Iams, but at a slightly lower cost than Royal Canin.
It contains healthy amounts of fiber and prebiotic fiber for optimal digestibility. Recommended joint support nutrients chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine are included. Eukanuba’s 3D Dentadefense kibble design will help to keep your dog’s teeth from accumulating plaque and calculus.
The Best Newfoundland Dog Food for Active Dogs
Newfoundlands are very active dogs that excel in various types of sporting competitions, from water trials to obedience. Most of the time, Newfies won’t be performing sprints, so a high fat, high carbohydrate diet may not be best.
Diamond Performance Recipe
Dogs that engage in long-distance or all-day trials need higher levels of protein, as dogs start to burn protein as fuel after about 30 minutes of prolonged exercise. My recommendation for the best dog food for Newfoundland adults that are extremely active is the Diamond Performance Recipe.
Diamond makes several high-protein and high-carbohydrate foods to fit your dog’s needs. Lower protein levels (26%) is more appropriate for agility dogs, while higher protein (up to 32%) are best for dogs running longer distances. All of their products are extremely energy dense, which means you feed less volume and contributes to better stool management.
If your dog only needs higher protein foods during training or trial season, you can stick with the same brand and feed their lower protein food in the off-season. Diamond can be found online and through reputable retailers.
The Best Dog Food for Senior Newfoundlands
Sadly, your Newfie will be considered a “senior” around 5 years of age. It is best to select the best dog food for Newfoundland dogs that will support their most vulnerable parts – their joints.
Eukanuba Senior Large Breed
You may see that your Newfie is slowing down a bit or seems stiff after he has been sleeping. Talk to your veterinarian and consider starting him on food with high levels of joint support nutrients, such as Eukanuba Senior Large Breed.
Eukanuba does not disappoint with this senior food for giant breed dogs. It contains higher levels of antioxidants for brain aging support and a minimum of 375mg/kg of joint-supporting glucosamine.
If your senior has dental tartar accumulation, this diet may help reduce tartar buildup by up to 46%. Important ingredients like whole grain barley and beet pulp will help keep digestion regular and efficient.
Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets JM
If your senior is having serious issues with their joints, consider talking to your veterinarian about a prescription mobility diet. These are clinically proven to improve mobility, some in as little as 21 days, such as Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets JM.
Purina’s veterinary prescription diets are first-class and can be more affordable than Hill’s or Royal Canin. JM stands out for seniors in that it has a high protein-to-calorie ratio, which helps preserve muscle mass in aging dogs. It contains trout and salmon for high-quality protein and is a whole-foods source of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.
Natural Balance Delectable Delights Pawpaya Pilaf
Sometimes Newfoundland dogs can suffer from the dental disease at an early age. It is perfectly okay to supplement their dry food with quality canned or wet dog food. My recommendation is Natural Balance Delectable Delights Pawpaya Pilaf.
Natural Balance has individual stew formulations that are tasty and contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, protein, and antioxidants. Their stew is packed full of easy-to-chew meat chunks, fruits, vegetables, and creamy gravy. It is balanced for adults and seniors, meaning you can feed it alone or in combination with a quality dry diet.
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