Unlike most dog breeds, Dalmatians have a specific diet they need to follow to keep them healthy and happy. The most important part of this specific diet is to keep purines low, without sacrificing too much protein. Dalmatians are particularly sensitive when it comes to food, so care needs to be taken when choosing a dry food (dog biscuits/kibble) and wet food such as meat, fruit and vegetables.
The 3 important factors to consider in a Dalmatian’s diet include:
- Purines – what foods to avoid that contain high purines
- Dry food – which brands contain low purines and also contain healthy ingredients
- Wet food – avoiding canned dog food and making/buying your own healthy alternatives
Dalmatians and Purines
Dalmatians require a low purine diet as they are unable to process purines the way other dog breeds do. If purines are not managed within the Dals diet, this will most likely lead to urinary health issues or worse.
Important to any dog’s development, Dalmatians still require protein in their diet. The problem is many protein rich foods also contain high levels of purines.
Foods to avoid for Dalmatians
Dalmatians should not be fed foods high in purines or foods that may upset their sensitive stomachs and/or cause skin irritations. Below is a list of foods to avoid:
Foods to avoid with all dog breeds
Dalmatians are a breed of dog that need special dietary considerations, however, there are some foods that should be avoided for all dog breeds (some of which might be surprising). This is by no means an exhaustive list, but some consideration should be given to avoid foods which:
- Processed, fatty, oily, sugary or salty foods or confectionary meant for human consumption
- Rotten foods
- Contain cooked bones (like roast chicken, cooked bones splinter in the digestive tract and can cause serious injury to your dog)
- Contain artificial flavors or additives
- Contain Xylitol (a toxic sweetener often found in sugar free or light products)
- Citrus fruits and grapes
- Onion or garlic (rumored to ward off fleas, it is actually toxic to dogs)
High purine foods
- Organ meats – kidneys, liver, brain, heart
- Seafoods – sardines, mackerel, scallops, mussels
- Red meats – beef, lamb
- Game meats – turkey, venison, kangaroo
- Vegetables – cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, peas, mushrooms, kidney beans and legumes
Other foods that may cause digestion or skin issues for Dalmatians
- Raw meat (especially chicken)
- Low quality meats
- The fatty portions of meat or greasy foods
- Rotten foods
- Foods with artificial flavors or additives
- Processed foods meant for human consumption
Kibble – Dalmatian dry food
Dry food is great to add to a dog’s meals for extra nutrition and to help fill the bowl. Dry food helps keep teeth clean and encourages chewing which helps with digestion.
Many brands of dry dog food, especially cheaper brands, contain poorer quality ingredients to make up the bulk of the food, such as ground up portions from the abattoir floor that are not suitable for human consumption.
First, look at dry foods that have high manufacturing standards. Different countries have different governing bodies which enforce manufacturing laws to ensure food products are of good quality. Table of these governing bodies/countries listed below:
For a more in depth look into dry food, click here.
Dalmatian wet food
Wet food is the high quality food used in a dog’s meal such as meat, fruit and vegetables – usually coming from a can bought at the supermarket or pet store. Dalmatian owners should avoid canned dog food, as you can’t choose the ingredients yourself and the common ingredients are often high purine containing meats.
Instead, let’s create our own wet food using good quality ingredients, or use a food service that can help us if time is an issue.
For an excellent food service in the US, click here.
Dalmatians and fresh water
Always keep plenty of fresh water available for a Dalmatian all the time. It’s very important for Dals to drink plenty of water to keep their urine neutral and dilute, helping to prevent urinary stones. To help a Dalmatian drink more water, make sure they get plenty of exercise and add water to their meals.
Dalmatians and Raw Bones:
Despite warnings about large quantities of high purine red meats, it is still important that your Dal is occasionally provided with a raw bone for the sake of their dental health. Considerations when selecting a bone for your Dal are as follows:
How big is your Dalmatian?
Select a bone that is the right size for your dog. If only a puppy, a set of ribs might be better than a giant bone that they cannot get their teeth around. A bone too big for your dog can actually risk damaging or splitting a tooth. Alternatively, an adult dog should not be given a smaller bone that they might be at risk of swallowing whole (as is likely for a food driven dog like the Dalmatian)
How old is your Dalmatian?
Age of your Dalmatian might really have an effect on whether you can trust your Dalmatian to chew on a bone safely, or whether they simply guzzle down anything that they can fit in their mouth. Additionally, puppy teeth are smaller and weaker than adult teeth and this should be considered in the type of bones fed to your Dal. During their teething phase, bones can help pups stay away from your furniture or other belongings. As your Dalmatian ages, bones may be less ideal for an older dog with weaker teeth.
How often should your Dalmatian receive a bone?
Because Dalmatians should be monitored for the level of purine rich foods they are fed, a large number of bones rich in red meat is not ideal. It is important to find a balance between dental health and low purine intake. If there is a large amount of meat left on the bone, consider cutting some off before giving to your Dal. Supplement your Dal’s diet with other hard chewy treats and give a bone every other week.
What is your Dalmatian’s dental hygiene like?
Dental problems in all dogs can be reduced by simply providing dry food (kibble) and regular hard foods to chew on in their diet, and a bone is best. Pet insurance often does not cover dental problems and having to deal with a damaged or rotten tooth can be expensive, so prevention is the best policy
Always monitor your dog whilst eating a bone
Dalmatian’s love food and are known to eat without considering what they are even eating, let alone considering the size of the object. Eating too quickly is a risk and in case your dog chokes you should never leave them alone with a bone.
Dalmatian Friendly Favorite Snacks
Dalmatians are known for their peculiar preference towards foods that other dogs might turn their noses up at if offered. The good news is, Dals have a wider range of healthier treats that they love to be spoiled with. In smaller portions, the following foods will likely make your Dal’s favorite snack list:
- Raw bones (lamb shanks tend to be the best for size and safe chewing)
- Smooth peanut butter (as long as it is free of Xylitol)
- Bananas (not over ripe as they are higher in sugar content)
- Carrots (raw or cooked, but raw encourages cleaner teeth, carrots are a Dal staple)
- Apples (small portions, no core or pips, red rather than green)
- Watermelon (no pips, fresh or a great frozen treat, watermelon is a Dally winner)
- Blueberries (a special treat in small quantities)
- Cheese (plain cheddar rather than tasty)
- Cooked chicken pieces
- Dog friendly foods made into biscuits or dehydrated
Free Dalmatian Recipe: A Spotty Dog’s Chicken Casserole
- Chicken breast or chicken mince
- Brown rice
- Smaller portioned ingredients:
- Sweet potato
- Wholemeal pasta
- Green beans
- Place a large pot ¼ filled with water on to boil
- Select ingredients based on availability and desired amount of food to make
- Peel and dice vegetables into small cubes (the smaller the quicker it will cook)
- Place diced potatoes into pot first, followed shortly after with carrots, then pumpkin
- Allow to boil for 5 minutes
- Add rice and pasta at a 2:1 ratio (more rice than pasta, rice is a good filler food)*
- As water starts to be absorbed, turn down heat and continue to cook, stir regularly to avoid burning/sticking to the pot
- Add chicken
- Add zucchini and green beans
- Continue to cook and stir regularly until chicken is cooked through, most water is absorbed and veggies are soft
*Add more water after addition of rice and pasta if required, it doesn’t matter if the casserole is a bit gluggy, water is important in a Dal’s diet, and they won’t judge your cooking skills!