The Doberman Diet

Help your Dobe be all it can be by feeding nutrient-rich meals.

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The Working Dobe
Here we have the true athletes of the dog world. Working dogs are not only under great stress, they are also called upon to exert a huge amount of physical energy. Dobermans training heavily in agility, schutzhund, search and rescue and other demanding endeavors need that extra boost from their food. Dogs exposed to this type of physical and mental pressure often require performance diets. These super-calorie foods may have a protein-to-fat ratio as high as 30-to-20, providing a Dobe with the fuel necessary to go out and do an honest days work.

One difficulty that arises when dealing with a working dog is the fact that many activities are of an on-again, off-again nature. Poling, who works her Dobermans in search and rescue, recommends finding a brand of food that offers similarly formulated puppy, adult and performance diets that can be changed with relative ease according to the dogs current age and training regime. When on a search, my dogs need a higher calorie food than normal to offset the tremendous amount of energy expended. Because the company I chose offers a variety of formulas, I am able to make rapid changes without my Dobes experiencing the digestive difficulties that could occur if I had to change brands.

Like most large breeds, Dobermans are predisposed to a disorder commonly referred to as bloat. When a dog suffers from bloat, its stomach swells up with liquid and gas that it cannot pass naturally. This is frequently accompanied by the twisting of the stomach on its axis, called torsion. If your Doberman ever exhibits symptoms including extreme restlessness, excessive drooling and swelling in the stomachrush it to the veterinarian immediately. Bloat kills within hours.

Though unsure as to the exact cause of bloat, the veterinary community has offered several theories. Among them are digestive problems relating to soy-based foods; the swelling of dry food after ingestion; exercising or drinking too much water within an hour of eating; and a weakness in the ligaments that hold the stomach. Consequently, a soy-free dry food that is soaked until softened is suggested. Dogs should not exercise for an hour prior to or after a meal. Deep-chested breeds, such as the Dobe, are more prone to bloat than other breeds.

Intelligent though it may be, your Doberman cannot go to the store and read the various package labels. Nor will it look in the mirror one day and realize the ol waistline needs trimming down a bit. No, your dog depends on you to take care of such considerations. As long as you manage the little things, such as feeding, training and providing a warm bed, your Doberman will take care of the big things, such as being your companion and devotee par excellent!

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Joyce   billings, Montana

1/3/2013 10:05:18 AM

Good article - thank
you.

I, too am experimenting with food for a new puppy. I use Science Diet Large Size Puppy dry food and am trying to cook some natural food, LF ground beef and boiled whole chicken and liver. So far, so good and the natural food is less expensive and better.

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janet   bethlehem, PA

12/22/2011 4:26:30 AM

good article, thank you

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Quee   Chicago, IL

12/11/2011 7:01:44 AM

To Tammy: Hopefull you've sorted out your Dobie's urination issues by now - if not definitely get him to a vet ASAP for additional testing. My Dobie occasionally pees when she's nervous and being handled by people she doesn't know, but she's never had that problem in the house. Has something changed in your house that makes your Dobie nervous? New people in the house? New room he's sleeping in? Did someone leave your household? Since your dog is on antidepressants I'd definitely suspect something environmental is causing his behavior change - or a neurological issue. You don't mention how old he is - is he approaching geriatric
age?

At any rate - I can't think of anything dietary to do - don't withhold water from him as he needs what he needs, but watch his water intake and if he seems to be thirsting and drinking too much, take him to another vet for a 2nd opinion on the bladder/diabetes question. If it's an environmental/emotional issue, my suggestion is to exercise him 1-2 hours more than what you're doing today. Exercise isn't a cure-all, but it definitely keeps my high-strung Dobie in a good mental state. These dogs generally require a lot of exercise and interaction, and antidepressants and other drugs aren't going to replace their need to exercise and interact with their people on a regular basis.

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Quee   Chicago, IL

12/11/2011 6:52:21 AM

I have a Doberman and feed her Blue Buffalo as well. She's really done well on that food, and I had to go through a few - including Merrick and Natural Balance - before I found one that didn't give her the runs.


Ironically the shelter that I adopted her from (she was a rescue) had her on the Costco house brand, and she did well on that - although she was a bit underweight when I got her, and seemed to have ginormous poops so I suspect she didn't get much nutrition out of
it.

Merrick and Natural Balance were the first foods I tried - with Natural Balance I thought we might have actually gotten a bad batch of food - I had to take her to the vet where she was diagnosed with having extreme gas and being in danger of bloating when she went a week on Natural Balance. To be fair, when I contacted them they were very apologetic and suggested that I try another formula, and sent me coupons for it. But dealing with a lethargic, listless dog suffering from extreme gas pains once was enough for me. She also had extreme diarrhea from the Natural Balance. With Merrick she only had diarrhea, but I live in a big city where I have to pick up after every poop, and trying to pick up liquified poop after every meal was too much for me.


When I put her on the Blue Wilderness within 3 days her tummy was sorted out, and she hasn't had any problems since. After finally getting her tummy straightened out on their dry food, I also transitioned her to half-and half dry and canned Blue buffalo, so that I can vary her meals with the same base dry and different canned. I wet the dry food with a bit of warm water (she loves gravy) and mix in the wet, which has resulted in even better poop consistency and reduced gas.


I know she has seasonal allergies, and I know she definitely has food sensitivities and probably food allergies as well- the Blue Buffalo is well worth the expense as it's sorted out my Dobie's tummy problems, and her coat always looks great - plus you can buy it in bulk online and get a significant discount
(Petango.com).

I think the key is to test out dry foods until you find one that works. When you find a dry that works, stick with that as your Dobie's core food, and work in wet varieties to see if that improves your dog's digestion even more. Mixing the same dry with different wet foods (from the same vendor) gives your dog variety in taste without changing the core ingredients too much, making every meal a treat for your dog.

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