We’re just dotty about Dalmatians! The perfect dog for children, Dalmatians are loyal, playful, and affectionate. As Disney royalty, they stand out among all other breeds with their unique white and black spotted coat.
With all the different types of food out there for our canine companions, it can be difficult to find the perfect one. It is even more challenging with Dalmatians as they need some extra consideration in their diet due to their genetically inherited health issues. One issue that may cause concern is their tendency to become overweight. This is because these dogs were originally bred to protect horse carriages from banditry in the 1800s, which often required them to run alongside carriages for hours on end. Without this intense exercise, it’s easy for them to become unhealthy on the wrong food. Secondly, these goofy darlings suffer from a disorder called urate bladder stones. They require a lower pH, low-purine diet with a lower ratio of protein and minimal sodium to keep them healthy.
Bearing all this in mind, we have reviews of the best dog food options out there so you can keep your Dalmatian nourished and active for years to come.
A Quick Look at Our Favorites in 2024
|Ollie Fresh Dog Food Subscription
|Click to Save 50%
|Blue Buffalo Basics Recipe Dry Dog Food
|Royal Canin Dalmatian Dog Food
|Merrick Grain-Free Puppy Dog Food
|Hill's Science Sensitive Stomach & Skin
The 11 Best Dog Foods for Dalmatians
1. Ollie Fresh Lamb Dish Dog Food Subscription – Best Overall
|1804 kcal ME/kg.
Our choice for the best overall dog food for Dalmatians is Ollie Fresh Lamb Dish With Cranberries. It’s ideal for pups with food sensitivities or sensitive stomachs and contains no chicken, corn, wheat, or soy. Ollie’s recipes are all created with the help of veterinary professionals and made with real meat, produce, and grains. They contain no preservatives or artificial ingredients. If you wish you had time to cook for your dog, consider Ollie as the ready-made alternative. Plus, it meets all minimum nutritional standards, and you won’t have to worry about your dog missing out on essential nutrients while they enjoy their fresh food.
Ollie ships food fresh to your door on a pre-set schedule, and the meals can be frozen for up to 6 months. Unfortunately, the company only ships to the 48 states in the continental U.S. International Dalmatian owners, along with those in Alaska and Hawaii, won’t be able to take advantage of Ollie. Fresh food like Ollie is more expensive than traditional canned or dry meals and may not fit everyone’s budget.
Overall, we think Ollie Fresh Dog Food is the best dog food you can find this year!
2. Blue Buffalo Basics LID Turkey & Potato Dog Food – Budget Buy
|394 per cup
Our budget pick is Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Turkey and Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food, and we are confident you will agree that it is the best-priced dog food for Dalmatians. Sometimes less really is more. This delicious formula is made with fewer ingredients and is ideal for dogs with food sensitivities. DHA supports your dog’s growth and development, and this recipe features a single animal protein source, along with pumpkin and easily digestible carbohydrates like potatoes and peas.
In addition to turkey as its first ingredient, this food also contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Also, the food does not contain harmful preservatives such as BHA and BHT.
3. Royal Canin Nutrition Dalmatian Dry Dog Food
|375 per cup
Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Dalmatian Adult Dry Dog Food is another great choice. This brand uses a unique formula made just for Dalmatians, so you know it’s good. With omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins and minerals, this food makes sure your Dalmatian gets all the essential nutrients they need. Dalmatians may be susceptible to protein-based sensitivities, and the protein used in this mix is carefully sourced from eggs and plants. These naturally have a low purine content which reduces the risk of urate bladder stones. Furthermore, the product also contains no chemical preservatives, dyes, or flavors.
The main problem with this food, aside from its higher price, is that it contains quite a bit of corn. Dogs who are sensitive to corn may have digestive issues such as diarrhea or vomiting as a result of eating it.
4. Merrick Puppy Chicken & Potato Dry Dog Food
|401 per cup
Merrick Grain-Free Puppy Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food contains chicken as the first ingredient. It does not contain corn, wheat, or soy, which may cause digestive problems in Dalmatians. In fact, this kibble is 100% grain-free and is specially formulated for puppy nutrition. It offers a combination of high-quality protein and healthy fats to help your puppy maintain an optimal weight and increase their energy levels. It also contains glucosamine and chondroitin to support healthy hips and joints. Healthy skin and a shiny coat are supported by omega fatty acids.
Although some puppies do not enjoy this flavor, we still consider it to be a good puppy food for Dalmatians.
5. Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin Dog Food
|394 per cup
Another great dog food for Dalmatians is the Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food. The top ingredient in this blend is chicken, which is a lower-purine meat. Additionally, it contains prebiotic fiber that helps support your pet’s digestive system. Omega-6 fatty acids are also present and help with joint pain as well as brain and eye development. Your pet’s immune system will be stronger thanks to the antioxidants in this blend too.
The only downside we found was that it contains peas, and peas are linked to heart problems in dogs when eaten in large amounts. That said, we still believe that this is one of the best dog foods for Dalmatians.
6. Nutro Natural Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food
|319 per cup
Older dogs, including senior Dalmatians, will thrive on Nutro Natural Choice Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food. Aging immune systems will benefit from its high-quality ingredients and antioxidants in high concentration. As with many of our recommended dog food formulations, the first ingredient in this product is chicken. It provides omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to help support cognitive abilities in the long term. Natural fiber also supports a healthy digestive system, while calcium promotes strong bones and joints.
Although we love this product, this flavor is not to every dog’s liking, with some pets point blank refusing to eat it no matter how many times it is offered.
7. Wellness Complete Health Lamb & Barley Dry Dog Food
|417 per cup
Wellness Complete Health Adult Lamb & Barley Recipe Dry Dog Food features lamb as one of the primary ingredients and has a unique large-breed formula. With carefully selected ingredients including premium proteins and whole grains, it provides omega fatty acids, antioxidants, probiotics, and taurine. With this balanced, healthy dog food, you can ensure strong immunity, optimal energy levels, beautiful skin, and a glossy coat while promoting overall health. The food is created without GMOs, meat by-products, fillers, or artificial preservatives, so you can rest assured that your dog is always eating the best food. Furthermore, it contains glucosamine and chondroitin, which promote healthy bones and relieve arthritis pain.
Although the main source of protein in this mix, lamb, is a good choice and a lot lower in purine than say, offal or sardines, it still ranks contains more of this chemical compound than chicken. If your Dalmatian has already developed urate bladder stones you might want to skip this brand.
8. Purina ONE SmartBlend Chicken & Rice Adult Dry Dog Food
|383 per cup
With specially designed nutrition, Dalmatians will receive excellent nourishment. A delicious protein-filled dog food, Purina ONE SmartBlend Chicken & Rice Adult Formula Dry Dog Food offers a satisfying flavor and chicken chunks for an added protein boost. This product also supports strong bones and joints with natural glucosamine. Zinc, selenium, vitamin A, and vitamin E are included in the formulation to keep your dog’s coat healthy and shiny. The new formulation contains prebiotics, which is good; however, some of the changed aspects of the formulation are less popular with dogs and their owners.
Some say the kibble pieces are too large for dogs to chew comfortably, while some say they are too puffed up with air and give their dogs indigestion. Not all doggies have these issues with this food, and if you want to check it out, it comes in a handy trial-sized 8-pound bag, as well as 16.6, 31, and 40-pound sizes.
9. Holistic Select Giant Breed Chicken & Oatmeal Dry Dog Food
|453 per cup
A variety of vegetables are present in Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Adult Health Chicken Meal & Oatmeal Recipe Dry Dog Food, including pumpkin and papaya. Most Dalmatians will thrive on this formula because it contains a wide variety of animal proteins. This product is made in the USA from high-quality ingredients that come from all over the world. Your dog’s skin and coat will be healthier when they consume this food because of the essential omega-3 fatty acids. And to maintain a healthy heart and digestive system, this kibble’s antioxidants, glucosamine, probiotics, and taurine are all essential.
Because of the high content of veggies in this food, some people find they need to use wet food or flavor sprays to entice their dogs to eat it.
10. Natural Balance Original Ultra Chicken & Barley Formula Dry Dog Food
|410 per cup
Ensure your Dalmatian is receiving full-body nourishment by feeding them a complete and balanced diet. The Natural Balance Original Ultra Chicken & Barley Formula Dry Dog Food is the perfect food for dogs with gluten intolerance. For maximum health benefits, it includes lean proteins and high-quality ingredients. DHA and EPA levels provide healthy brain function, while manganese and zinc contribute to healthy bones and a stronger immune system. Additionally, the oat fiber aids in digestion and healthy digestion aids in the absorption of all nutrients. This product contains a mixture of dried cranberries, blueberries, and spinach that are all packed with antioxidant nutrients. All in all, this combination of ingredients should support the needs of your Dalmatian through every stage of their life.
One major drawback is that the production of this brand has not always been stable. It can be hard to switch your dog back and forth between brands if the one they are accustomed to is not in stock.
11. American Journey LID Venison & Sweet Potato Dog Food
|325 per cup
Ensure your dog gets balanced nutrition by giving them American Journey Limited Ingredient Venison & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-free Dry Dog Food. Deboned venison is the first ingredient in this recipe, providing your pup with a rich source of animal protein and a satisfying flavor they’re sure to enjoy. Made with easily digestible carbs like peas and sweet potatoes, this grain-free kibble is perfect for dogs with itchy skin or sensitive stomachs. The meals are made with limited ingredients that contain all the nutrition your dog needs, without corn, wheat, soy, poultry by-product meals, artificial colors, preservatives, or flavors that could interfere with their metabolism. With omega-3 from flaxseed and omega-6 from sunflower oil, this formula nurtures your dog’s skin and coat.
Again, this flavor may not be for every palate—some dogs simply refuse to try this kibble.
Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best Dog Food for Dalmatians
As dog owners, we are inundated with a plethora of dog food choices. However, in making the decision to purchase a specific type of dog food, you must consider your Dalmatian’s life stage and genetically inherited health issues. Dalmatians require different levels of protein, fat, and other nutrients in order to maintain their health. They do not have the same nutritional requirements as other dogs. Read on to find out all the information you need on the factors that go into choosing the right type of dog food and its benefits for Dalmatians.
What Is Purine?
Purine is a type of protein found in some red meats, some poultry, game, offal, and yeast products, all of which have very high levels of purine in them. Some Dalmatians may have problems with these purines, so they should be avoided.
Why Do Dalmatians Develop Urinary Stones?
Dalmatians are the only breed born with a defect that affects their urine production. Normally, the uric acid gets processed into allantoin, but in Dalmatians, it instead stays in an insoluble state that the dog has to excrete in their urine and consequently develops into crystals and stones. Dalmatians are more likely to have urate problems if they’re male due to anatomical differences.
What Foods Exacerbate This Issue?
Diets high in animal proteins and low in vegetables and other sources of dietary fiber cause Dalmatians to suffer from urinary stones. Too much protein and purines in their diet result in high levels of calcium and urates in their urine. To reduce the risk of stone formation, it is important to provide them with a diet consisting of a variety of vegetable-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Dalmatians have a low thirst reflex, which also predisposes them to urate crystallization.
When Should I Introduce Low Purine Foods to My Dalmatian?
Complete low-purine foods are available without a prescription. There is a food made specifically for Dalmatians by Royal Canin, which we have reviewed above, that is made with egg protein and is very low in purines. The other prepared foods are made by Hills and other manufacturers. Many owners generally only use these after a vet has diagnosed and treated a stone-forming Dalmatian but it’s your choice as to whether you feed your Dalmatian normal, higher protein, higher purine dog food and wait to see what happens, or whether you feed them more expensive lower purine kibble from puppyhood.
This is a choice that only you can make, and obviously, price and convenience are major factors to be considered when weighing up the risks. In practice, most Dalmatians that have not been diagnosed as stone-forming may be able to tolerate some of the lower protein, non-specialized formulations.
It’s Important for Dalmatians to Always Have Access to Clean Water
Whatever food you choose for your Dalmatian, please remember that they should have access to clean water and be allowed to go outdoors so that they can urinate regularly. Dalmatians with a genetic mutation will have a life-long risk of urinary tract stones. These dogs are prone to renal failure, bladder stones, dehydration, and even death from uremia. In order to prevent these serious conditions from developing, these dogs need an increased intake of fluids.
Why Is Low Sodium Dog Food Important for Dalmatians?
Sodium is often added to food to extend its shelf life and to give it flavor. Too much salt is bad for humans and dogs, especially Dalmatians. Low-sodium dog food is an excellent option for dogs with high blood pressure, kidney disease, or heart issues. It helps regulate the amount of sodium within the dog’s body to avoid an overload. When you are selecting dog food for your pet, you may notice “low sodium” options. Dalmatians are susceptible to kidney disease and you should consider low-sodium foods to reduce the risk of your dog developing problems in the future.
What Kinds of Snacks Are Best for Dalmatians?
Pre-made dog snacks and goodies are often made with offal and cheap cuts of meat that are high in purines. Many owners have found that changing a dog’s diet to lower purine food reduces behavioral problems. Dalmatians seem to like simple food best. High-purine dog treats filled with colors, sodium, and additives should be avoided. The following treats are low in purine and make great treats while training your Dalmatian:
What Foods Are Highest in Purines?
The worst offenders when it comes to purine include sardines in oil, calf’s liver, ox spleen, pig’s heart, and brewer’s yeast. It’s safest to avoid most types of offal completely.
Why Is Offal Found In Most “Normal” Dog Food?
Offal is the term for the parts of an animal that is not typically eaten by people. Offal in pet food consists of the minced stomach, lungs, liver, kidneys, heart, spleen, and intestines. It really can be anything from chicken feet to pig brains and is often found in dog food as a way of using up lower-quality ingredients that would otherwise go unused. Offal is generally delicious (to dogs at least) and incredibly cheap and nutritious. However, being so high in purine, offal-based foods are not suitable for Dalmatians. We recommend simpler, single-source protein dog foods for Dalmatians.
How Does Activity Affect a Dalmatian’s Diet?
Due to their high levels of activity, Dalmatians may need joint protection depending on how they use their energy. They may need a higher level of nutrients and energy from their diet if they are participating in sports such as agility or flyball. When stamina is needed for activities such as tracking or obedience trials, use slow-releasing carbohydrates.
Why Are Omega Fatty Acids Important for Dalmatians?
Dalmatians have beautiful coats, so you want to give them a good balance of omega-6 and 3 fatty acids to keep them glossy and sleek.
Why Should I Feed My Dalmatian Simple Food?
Their skin is prone to allergies, and you will normally see hives appearing on their body when they are having a reaction. You should know that most skin allergies are caused by airborne allergens, while only around 10% are caused by food allergies. Food allergies usually cause other symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, gas, and sneezing. It can be much more difficult to identify food allergies, which require investigations into individual ingredients in order to identify the cause so work with your vet to narrow this process down.
In conclusion, there are many different foods that are suitable for feeding a Dalmatian. It is important to consider their parentage, health history, and individual needs when selecting the appropriate diet. The overall best dog food for Dalmatians is the Ollie Fresh Lamb Dish With Cranberries. It’s ideal for pups with food sensitivities or sensitive stomachs and contains no chicken, corn, wheat, or soy. We also really recommend the Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Turkey & Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food because it has a reduced set of ingredients which plays well with the Dalmatian’s propensity to suffer from allergies. Whatever dog food you choose, if you give your Dalmatian excellent nutrition, adequate hydration, and lots of attention, they will reward you with unconditional love for a lifetime!
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Featured Image Credit: artofvisionn, Shutterstock