Dalmatians have existed for hundreds of years and have played a variety of roles in human society.
In the past, they were primarily bred as coach dogs, but in more recent times, they have become exceptionally well-known and cherished due to their appearance in the hit Disney children’s movie 101 Dalmatians.
Dalmatians are easy to spot due to their distinctive white coat with a large number of black spots.
In addition to their distinctive spots, Dalmatians are a very active and energetic dog breed and can trace this energy to the fact they used to run alongside carriages for miles on end.
For more information on the Dalmatian breed and its history, the American Kennel Club has a detailed breakdown.
Common Health Problems for Dalmatians
Sadly, many Dalmatians suffer from a hereditary abnormality of the mechanism that is needed to eliminate waste or excess protein from the body.
This complex abnormality can result in high levels of uric acid in the urine, which, if ignored, can have serious consequences on the health of a Dalmatian.
This high level of uric acid can cause solid, hard urate stones to form in the kidneys and bladder, which can block the drainage of urine from the body.
These blockages can cause severe pain to a dog and increase the risk of them experiencing kidney failure. It is also worth noting that, in extreme cases, Urolithiasis can cause death.
Through the process of cross-breeding with other breeds, there are now Dalmatians that have been bred that no longer suffer from this grave genetic fault, but it is likely that most purebred Dalmatians have a predisposition to it.
One of the most effective ways to prevent Urinary problems in Dalmatians is to limit the quantity of Purines that a Dalmatian would digest.
Purines are a chemical compound found in almost all food but in differing proportions. Therefore a consistent diet of low to medium Purine foods is the most appropriate diet for a Dalmatian and could undoubtedly help prevent urinary issues such as Urolithiasis.
Which foods and ingredients are low in Purines will be discussed in-depth later in this article, and this information will strongly influence the dog food recipes that we suggest.
Hip & Elbow Dysplasia
Hip and Elbow Dysplasia are one of the most common health problems for Dalmatians and other large and medium-breed dogs.
Dysplasia is a Greek word that means abnormal. In this context, this roughly translates to mean that a dog suffering from Dysplasia has an abnormal hip or elbow joint.
There are several causes of dysplasia, including genetics, environmental causes, and inappropriate nutrition.
The most important of these factors is, without a doubt, genetics. The breeding of dogs without hip and joint problems is a proven and effective way to prevent it.
Nutrition is another critical factor in preventing Dysplasia, especially during the high-growth period when the dog is a puppy.
Appropriate nutrition is especially vital for any dog with a genetic background of dysplasia. The best way to reduce the risk of Dysplasia through dietary factors is to provide your puppy with a low-calorie diet.
This lower-calorie diet will stop rapid or overly fast growth. A low-calorie diet can, therefore, make the disease less severe or prevent it altogether.
However, the effect of a low-calorie diet on Dysplasia is disputed by some who say that it has little to no effect.
Dysplasia can most commonly be seen in two distinct groups of dogs. Puppies between the ages of four and twelve months, as we just discussed, and senior dogs who suffer from chronic joint diseases. Nutrition isn’t the only factor that can cause Dysplasia in Younger dogs.
Other factors, such as partial dislocation of the hips, small fractures, or injuries from excessive exercise and playfighting, can occur.
Older dogs, however, get Dysplasia because of arthritis. The consequences of dysplasia in older dogs can be difficulty running or walking or in extreme cases, difficulty or pain with all movement.
Usually, severe cases of this health problem require surgery to rectify. Surgery can usually reduce the severity of Dysplasia and improve the dog’s health and quality of life.
A supplement to our breakdown is this article on Joint Health, Pain, Osteoarthritis, and Other Joint Problems.
Dalmatians have notoriously sensitive skin, and many Dalmatians suffer from severe allergies. As a consequence, it is essential to be cautious when introducing new materials to a Dalmatian’s environment, such as blankets or products like shampoos.
Fleas, Ticks, and Mites can also be a persistent nuisance and aggravators of sensitive skin, especially for those who live in more rural surroundings.
These pests can be combated by medication or by thoroughly grooming your dog, but as many of us are all too aware, it is a constant battle.
Lastly, many dietary allergies can show symptoms in the form of sensitive skin or rashes. It is imperative to keep track of these symptoms and the food your dog has consumed to enable you to identify any possible allergens.
For more information on dietary allergies or sensitivities, check out our Best Hypoallergenic Dog Food Article.
Dalmatians – Nutrition and Diet
As we have discussed above, Dalmatians are prone to a number of severe health problems.
Some of these are directly correlated to the Dalmatian’s diet and so providing your Dalmatian with the most appropriate nutrition possible is core to controlling and preventing these conditions to ensure your Dalmatian lives a long and happy life.
However, there are other essential factors beyond common health problems worth considering when planning a Dalmatian’s diet.
Firstly, Dalmatians are classed as medium-large breed dogs, and secondly, Dalmatians are a very active breed.
Larger breed dogs need to be careful with their calorie intake and their consumption of some minerals like calcium and phosphorus when they are puppies in order to prevent health problems such as Dysplasia.
A low-calorie diet can be achieved by limiting or carefully tracking calories in your dog’s food.
While reducing fat isn’t the only way to achieve a low-calorie diet, it is a viable choice and one that is explored by many dog owners.
Dog food recipes that are specifically aimed at large-breed puppies will have the correct balance of minerals.
More active dog breeds need appropriate nutrition to fuel and promote that activity. Appropriate nutrition translates into a satisfactory proportion of protein, of which the majority should be from animal or fish sources.
Protein from animals and fish is superior to plant-based proteins as it contains a complete range of amino acids needed for growth, repair, and maintenance, whereas plant-based protein is missing some amino acids.
Fat intake is another important consideration for Dalmatians, especially the intake of the Omega Fatty Acids, particularly the Omega 3 Fatty Acids.
These are vital in maintaining the Dalmatian’s distinctive coat and fur. In addition, they can provide other health benefits, such as improved cognitive function and long-term cardiovascular benefits.
In addition, the remaining fat in their diet will be the major driving force behind their activity and energy levels.
As mentioned earlier in the article, Dalmatians need to consume dog food ingredients low in Purines to help prevent Urinary issues.
To better understand which ingredients are low in Purines, it might be better first to understand which ingredients are high in Purines.
While researching this topic, we found an excellent document on purine levels in foods, and while this was designed for humans looking to prevent diseases like Gout, it can also be used by dog owners as many of the foods are also found in dog food.
You can check out the Purine table and information document here, and we’d highly recommend taking a quick look at the final table on page 10 for a good overview.
High Purine Ingredients
- Organ Meat – Liver, Kidneys, or Heart
- Seafood – Mackerel & Sardines
- Vegetables – Peas, Lentils & Spinach
- Game Meats – Venison, Pheasant, or Rabbit
- Yeast Extracts such as Brewer’s Yeast
Thankfully, some of the high purine ingredients listed above are quite uncommon and, therefore, easily avoidable, such as Sardines and Venison.
However, others, such as Peas and Organ meat like Liver, may be significantly more difficult to avoid as these are commonplace in many dog food formulas, especially those that are considered premium or high-quality.
The vast majority of grain-free dog food recipes contain Peas and other legumes, like Chickpeas and Lentils, and the variety of grain-free recipes that is completely Pea or Legume free is slim.
However, we have done significant research into this subject, and we therefore highly recommend checking out our Best Dog Food Without Peas article for a detailed breakdown of the best approach to avoid Peas and the best recipes available.
This article could be suitable for dogs who are avoiding Peas as a way to reduce Purine intake or those dogs who have Pea or Legume allergies.
Another interesting inclusion in the list of high-purine foods is Yeast extracts such as Brewers Yeast or Dried Yeast.
While most dog owners wouldn’t know it, these featurely regularly in dog food recipes in minor quantities and are often included for their vitamins, minerals, or other supposed health benefits.
Therefore, if you are keen on limiting purine intake, we’d recommend you closely study the ingredient list to see if yeast-based ingredients feature.
In addition, we’ve done a dedicated article on Brewers Yeast; if you are interested in learning more about why it’s used in dog food, you can find that here – Brewers Yeast In Dog Food.
Low & Medium Purine Ingredients
- Starches – Potatoes & Sweet Potatoes
- Pumpkin & Squash
- Poultry – Chicken & Turkey
- Red Meat – Beef, Pork & Lamb
Thankfully the list of Low and Medium Purine ingredients does give us some hope in our search for low-purine dog food. In particular, the inclusion of Potatoes and Grains.
While we would not often strongly recommend dog food formulas with high quantities of Grains or Potatoes, these may be a necessary evil for a Dalmatian with predisposed urinary issues which can not risk consuming large quantities of legumes.
The other notable inclusion in this list is that most of the typical meat ingredients, e.g., Chicken, Turkey, and Beef, are all medium-level Purine ingredients.
This fact means that generally speaking, the meat ingredient present in the dog food formula isn’t too important as long as it is not a particular breed of fish or game meat that is in the minority of ingredients that are high purine.
Best Dog Food For An Adult Dalmatian
Purina Beyond Simply Farm-Raised Chicken & Whole Barley Recipe Review
Purina Beyond is a relatively new addition to the dog food market, but being a Purina brand elevates it above other newer brands before you even consider its other appealing traits.
Purina launched Purina Beyond several years ago to compete with several new competitors, like Crave, Pure Balance, and others, that focused on cost-effective nutrition and the use of high-quality ingredients.
You can see an in-depth review and discussion of the brand in our Purina Beyond.
While the brand or the above recipe is not designed for Dalmatians or those looking for a low-purine diet, they are one of the best options out there.
A large portion of Chicken and Chicken Meal makes up the bulk of the recipe and provides a moderate portion of protein and fat, at 24% and 14%.
As we mentioned earlier, poultry meat ingredients, like Chicken, are one of the best low-purine options.
Outside of its Chicken content, the recipe uses grains like Rice, Whole Barley, and Whole Oat Meal to provide the bulk of the plant-based content.
While grains can be controversial, there is no doubt they are low in purines, and they provide a mixture of carbohydrates, plant-based protein, and fiber.
Lastly, the recipe does not contain any organ meat or yeast-based ingredients, meaning it gets almost a perfect score from us for low-purine ingredients.
For those of you who have read some of our other ‘best’ articles, you’ll know that Merrick’s Grain-Free range is one of our favorites.
The majority of the formulas in this range provide excellent nutrition from a range of high-quality ingredients.
Ingredients used within this range include common meat and fish ingredients such as Chicken or Beef, but it also includes less common meats such as Rabbit or Venison.
Sadly due to the higher level of Purines, Dalmatians would not be suited to the less common meats such as Venison or Rabbit.
Their Chicken formula, however, is very suitable for Dalmatians and includes a mix of Chicken and Turkey ingredients.
These ingredients help contribute to a minimum proportion of protein and fat of 32% and 16%.
These poultry ingredients are combined with several plant-based ingredients such as Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, and Peas.
While it is true that we are attempting to avoid Peas, the total quantity of Peas in this formula is not significant and should not be of considerable concern to a Dalmatian owner.
The proportions of Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes, however, are far higher and make up the bulk of the recipe’s satisfactory carbohydrate proportion.
Sweet Potatoes, in particular, are considered the best starch ingredient to be in dog food and can provide a number of micronutrients that traditional white potatoes can not.
Lastly, the recipe contains a small portion of Flaxseed, which is extremely common in dog food recipes and is used to boost the levels of the Omega 3 Fatty Acids, among other health benefits it can provide.
Health Extension Chicken & Brown Rice Review
Health Extension is a family-owned pet food company based in the United States and will be far less known than others mentioned here.
What makes Health Extension stand out is the fact that it has very impressive transparency about the source of its ingredients, including an interactive map for visitors of their site to explore.
This level of transparency is unprecedented in the pet food industry and is something that many brands could learn from.
Health Extension has a moderately sized product range, which includes some very common recipes, like Chicken & Rice, but also some less common ones.
A Chicken & Rice recipe is perfect for a Dalmatian as it is low in purines.
The Health Extensions Chicken and Rice recipe makes use of a mix of Chicken ingredients, including Chicken, Chicken Meal, and Chicken Fat.
While the nutrition of this recipe is not as favorable as others, with a minimum protein proportion of 24%, it’s still suitable for many Dalmatians, especially those that are older and less active.
The recipe’s primary plant-based ingredient is Brown Rice which is preferred to White Rice or cheaper rice-based ingredients.
Health Extensions Chicken & Brown Rice recipe does contain some other meat and non-meat ingredients in notable portions. Examples of these ingredients include Lamb Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal, and Oatmeal.
If the above Chicken & Rice recipe doesn’t appeal to you, but you are interested in other Chicken & Rice recipes, we recommend you check out our article Best Dog Food With Chicken and Rice.
Earthborn Holistic Primitive Natural Review
Earthborn Holistic produces many different types of dog food, including limited-ingredient dog food, wet dog food, and grain-free dog food.
While we have given some of their recipes mixed reviews due to unsatisfactory nutrition and questionable ingredients, their Primitive Natural formula is by far their best due to its fantastic nutritional profile.
The formula contains a considerable proportion of meat and fish ingredients that provide high levels of protein and fat with minimum levels of 32% and 18%, respectively.
Some of these meat and fish ingredients include Chicken, Turkey, and Whitefish. All of these meat and fish ingredients contain moderate levels of Purines and are suitable for Dalmatians attempting low Purine diets.
Sweet Potatoes and Tapioca are the other core ingredients present, and they provide a small proportion of carbohydrates and dietary fiber.
Tapioca is less well-known in the west than Potatoes or Sweet Potatoes but is a similar starch-based ingredient that is seeing increasing use in dog food recipes.
You can learn more about Tapioca in our article Tapioca In Dog Food.
The formula is entirely free of any grains, gluten, or by-products and has a surprisingly high level of the Omega 3 Fatty Acids for a formula that doesn’t focus heavily on fish.
This could mean that the Whitefish present is particularly rich in these fatty acids, or they may be supplemented by another ingredient.
Best Dog Food For A Dalmatian Puppy
Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Puppy Formula Review
While Purina Pro Plan might be controversial in certain circles, there are no doubts about its huge efforts in research and development, especially when it comes to puppy formulas.
They are the world leader in research for pet food recipes and have several facilities across the world. You can learn more about the brand, including why some find it controversial, in our Purina Pro Plan.
As we touched on earlier, dalmatian puppies need to be careful about their mineral intake to ensure that they do not suffer from health issues such as Dysplasia, and Purina Pro Plan is going to ensure they do exactly that.
The recipe has a careful balance of Calcium and Phosphorus that has been carefully researched and tested.
If that wasn’t enough, this recipe is also coincidently very low in purines, which is another added benefit.
Chicken is the primary meat ingredient found and is the first listed ingredient, and it is joined by a smaller portion of Poultry By-Product Meal and Beef Fat.
These meat-based ingredients help to provide a minimum proportion of protein and fat of 28% and 13%.
On the plant-based side, the recipe uses grain ingredients, which, as we mentioned earlier, are very low in purines.
The specific grains used by Purina Pro Plan are Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Whole Grain Corn, and Whole Grain Wheat.
While this particular mix of grain ingredients will raise some eyebrows among those who disagree with their use, they are guaranteed to provide a stable source of carbohydrates and fiber.
Lastly, the recipe also has an absence of any yeast-based ingredients, which is a final perk to solidify its place as an excellent choice for dalmatian puppies.
Farmina N&D Chicken & Pomegranate Puppy Maxi Review
Farmina’s N&D is a premium dog food range that provides excellent nutrition and uses higher-quality ingredients fit for human consumption.
The brand originates in Italy, and they work closely with dozens of independent veterinarians in Italy to provide dietary solutions to pets affected by diseases and health issues.
However, for many dog owners, Farmina formulas may not be affordable, but for those willing to splash out, their Dalmatian puppy’s health may reap the benefits.
Farmina produces two puppy formulas in this range, one designed for mini and medium-breed puppies and another designed for large-breed puppies.
While Dalmatians aren’t officially classed as a large breed of dog, they may benefit from a formula designed for larger breeds.
Alternatively, you may disagree, and you should, therefore, check out their Mini and Medium Breed Formula.
The primary focus of the puppy formulas is on two core meat and fish ingredients: Chicken and Herring.
Both of these ingredients are ideal for a puppy’s diet and provide a plentiful supply of animal-based protein and fat, which, as we’ve discussed, is crucial.
The Herring, in particular, supplies a very satisfactory level of the Omega Fatty Acids, which can help improve the health of your puppy’s skin and coat along with improved cognitive function.
Overall, these poultry and fish ingredients help to contribute to a minimum of 36% protein and 22% fat, which is far above average for a dry puppy food recipe.
In addition to Chicken and Herring, the formulas include Potatoes, which we have discussed as a low-purine ingredient, and a select number of fruit and vegetable ingredients.
Some examples of other fruits and vegetables present in small quantities are Pomegranates, Apples, Carrots, and Spinach.
Many of these ingredients are uncommon additions to dog food and can provide unique vitamins and minerals.