Also known as the Hungarian Pointer, the Vizsla is one of the smallest sporting dogs and has characteristics of both a pointer and a retriever. Their size and active lifestyle make it slightly more difficult to find the best dog food for Vizsla dogs that will meet their unique nutritional requirements.
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The Vizsla is a medium to large sporting dog, weighing in at 44-60 pounds. They have a longer lifespan than many other similar breeds, going up to 12-14 years. Depending on their activity level, age, weight and overall health condition, your Vizsla will need a food brand that will meet their body's and daily lifestyle's nutritional requirements.
As a veterinarian, I see many pet owners of Vizslas in my practice looking for the right type of nutrition. I typically work with them to gather information about their pet's daily habits and examine the dog's health records. My most commonly vet recommend dog foods for Vizsla dogs are those below.
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When choosing the best dog food for Vizslas, you also need to take the breed's common health concerns into consideration. Vizslas are generally a healthy breed, but may have a few specific health issues or concerns. Some of these conditions may be managed with a specific diet.
The Best Dog Food for Vizsla Health
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.
Vizslas are prone to hypothyroidism, or low thyroid hormone levels, due to an autoimmune condition called Autoimmune Thyroiditis (AT). In this condition, the dog’s body makes antibodies against the thyroid gland.
As a result, the dog does not produce enough thyroid hormone. While this disease is not fully understood in Vizslas, several immune regulatory genes have been identified as contributors to similar conditions in humans.
Diet cannot control hypothyroidism, but it can help to quiet some of the symptoms. Many dogs with hypothyroidism suffer from dry skin and skin infections. Supporting skin health through diet can help to keep skin issues at bay. Hypothyroid dogs also sometimes have issues maintaining a healthy weight.
Natural Balance Low Calorie Food
Natural Balance’s reduced calorie formula will serve two purposes for your hypothyroid Vizsla. Natural Balance includes a high level of skin-supporting omega-3 fatty acids from salmon and flaxseed oil. This tasty formula will help keep the weight off while keeping their copper coat healthy and shiny.
2. Hip Dysplasia
Like other sporting breeds, the Vizsla is prone to developing hip dysplasia. 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 in many.
While there is a genetic component to hip dysplasia, 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 important to feed a large-breed specific puppy food and not over-feed your dog. Keeping them in a lean body condition will prevent too-rapid growth, which can predispose them to developmental orthopedic diseases like hip dysplasia.
The Best Dog Food for Puppy Vizslas
Vizsla puppies are full of energy and seem to be bottomless pits. Take care to monitor their intake, as over-feeding, as mentioned above, can harm their health. Vizslas need to eat a large-breed puppy food for 8-12 months of age.
Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Puppy
When pet owners ask me about a vet recommended dog food for Vizsla breed, I reach for Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Puppy. Veterinarians all over the world trust Hill’s when it comes to consistent, evidence-based nutrition. Their formula is created with the special needs of growing puppies in mind.
Premium brands like Hill’s are very calorie dense and contain less “fillers” – meaning that you will feed less and will have less mess to clean up. Optimal levels of calcium and natural sourced glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate will promote appropriate bone growth for your Vizsla.
NUTRO Wholesome Essentials
The popular NUTRO Wholesome Essentials is another great choice for Vizsla puppies. This Nutro’s large breed puppy formula is tasty and won’t break the bank either.
Thoughtful ingredients geared towards the needs of large breed puppies include natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate for joint support and DHA/EPA for brain development.
The Best Dog Food for Vizsla Adults
You will need to select an adult food that will keep up with your Vizsla! If you live a more sedentary lifestyle, this will need to be taken into account when feeding – and quite differently if your dog is training hard year-round.
Even if your Vizsla is on the smaller side, say less than 50 pounds, it is still a good idea to feed him or her as a large breed dog. They typically weigh less than dogs that are their equivalent height, due to their lean body composition. Their facial structure tends to be large similar to other breeds like the Weimaraner, as well.
Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Weight Management
Vizslas can be quite docile, calm and quiet. If you have one that is a little more of a couch potato, be sure to keep a special eye on their nutrition. If you need to keep your Vizsla on the trim side or if they need to lose weight, be sure to check out Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Weight Management.
This trusted, high-fiber weight management food will help to keep your Vizsla feeling fuller for longer. Ingredients like real chicken provide muscle-supporting high-quality protein and wheat bran provides prebiotics for healthy digestion.
Royal Canin MAXI Joint and Coat Adult
For normal body weight and moderate to high activity levels, I recommend Royal Canin MAXI Joint and Coat Adult as the top choice dog food for Vizslas. Royal Canin has been trusted by dog lovers and veterinarians alike for over 40 years. Their MAXI line of dog foods is designed with your large breed dog’s needs in mind.
Vizslas like to “hoover” their food – often swallowing smaller kibble whole. Digestion begins in the mouth with proper chewing – something that Royal Canin has spent a lot of time researching and developing. The MAXI’s kibble size and shape encourages your dog to chew properly, encouraging optimal digestion and food efficiency.
Diamond Performance Recipe with Meat
If your Vizsla is a hunter or very active, it is necessary to feed a higher protein, higher carbohydrate diet. While many diets are out there, take a moment to investigate what your pup needs. If he is competing in agility, exercising in short bursts – choose a higher carbohydrate, more moderate protein diet.
If your Vizsla is running long distances, opt for a food with higher protein levels, as dogs start to burn protein as fuel after about 30 minutes of prolonged exercise. For dogs in this category, I recommend Diamond Performance Recipe with Meat as the best food for sporting Vizslas.
Kinetic has a range of 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. Kinetic can be found online and through reputable retailers.
The Best Dog Food for Senior Vizslas
Vizslas live longer than other large breeds and can be quite active into their teens. It is best to consider your dog’s health issues when selecting a senior formula. If your senior has dental problems or has lost a few teeth, consider feeding a canned diet. If he is still actively hunting each season, increase his carbohydrate intake during those times.
NUTRO Wholesome Essentials Senior
For your older dog, the NUTRO Wholesome Essentials Senior is an excellent choice. If your Vizsla is a picky eater or suffers from dental disease (as many geriatric dogs do) consider feeding this tasty diet from Nutro.
It is a well-balanced diet for senior Vizslas that aren't very active anymore. It contains all the essential nutrients that an older dog of this breed needs, and it is also quite affordable to feed alone or mix it with another brand.
Royal Canin MAXI 8+ Aging
The well-regarded Royal Canin MAXI 8+ Aging is another excellent choice. Royal Canin is a great choice for active senior Vizslas on the go. Their MAXI line does not disappoint and will support your senior’s joint health and brain health with high levels of glucosamine and antioxidants. Seniors sometimes start to have digestive problems, so easy to digest chicken and brown rice will help keep them regular.
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 a whole-foods source of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.