This sweet tempered giant requires foods that are suitable for their larger mouth size and their increased physiological needs. Owning a large breed dog comes with large responsibilities, especially when it comes to food.
So what's the best dog food for Newfoundlands? In many cases, choosing a dog food formulated for large breeds may be the best thing for your pooch.
We'll discuss large breeds' nutritional needs, health problems and dietary fixes and suggest some top picks in this guide.
Our Top Picks
Wellness CORE Whitefish, Herring & Salmon Recipe
American Journey Large Breed Adult Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free
Best Senior Formula
Wellness Complete Health Senior Deboned Chicken & Barley Recipe
Best Puppy Food
Merrick Grain Free Real Texas Beef + Sweet Potato Puppy Food
Quick breed overview
Newfoundland dogs are gentle giants that date back to Newfoundland, Canada in the 1700s. They have a long history as a working breed, first as fishing dogs and later as retrieving dogs, guard dogs, and pack dogs.
Their beginnings as sturdy dogs working by the Atlantic Ocean is where this breed gets their love of water!
While some dog breeds have some webbing between their toes to help them swim, the Newfoundland dog has toes that are completely webbed.
Affectionately known as Newfie, this breed is big, cuddly, and they get along great with children, other animals, and other people.
Despite their size, they can do well in smaller spaces since they are conscious of furniture but they will need to get outside for some daily exercise.
Newfoundlands are great at obedience and water trials, and love going on adventures with their families.
When looking at Newfoundland pictures you will notice that they are a massive dog with a large, broad head. They have a wide muzzle that is short and square.
They have a unique double coat. The outer coat is flat, oily, and slightly wavy. This is to repel the water and keep them warm and comfortable even in the icy waters. The under coat is thick and also oily. This is to stop any water that got through the outer coat and to help them stay warm.
Daily brushing of this thick coat with a hard brush is necessary. They shed heavily twice a year in the spring and in the fall.
Avoid bathing unless absolutely necessary, since this will shed the oils that protect them. You may dry shampoo occasionally.
What diet to feed a Newfoundland?
Newfoundlands require higher amounts of taurine than most other dog breeds. This amino acid is required to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system and prevent heart disease. A diet rich with this nutrient is thus important. It can be found in meats like chicken or beef.
In addition to taurine, Newfoundlands should also be fed a diet rich in calcium, phosphorus, iodine, omega 3 fatty acids and arginine.
These minerals can be found in fish, so owners should look for premium dog food brands that have fish as one of the main ingredients. Aside from healthy proteins, a Newfie’s food should also contain a good supply of fruits and vegetables for a complete diet.
How much to feed a Newfoundland dog?
Owners should always establish a feeding routine with their dogs and try to stick to it so they know their dogs are always getting proper nutrition.
As a large breed dog, Newfoundlands can be fed twice a day (once in the morning and once in the evening) and have healthy snacks throughout the day. Dogs should always have a bowl of clean, fresh water available at home.
When deciding how much to feed a dog, owners should always start by following the instructions on their dog’s food label. Since Newfies are such a hefty breed, owners will need to feed them about 3 - 5 cups of dry dog food per day.
Newfoundland puppies require a lot more food and calories while they are growing into the giant dogs they will become, but only eat about as much as a Labrador when they are fully grown. They are happy to lie around the house, but should be given regular exercise.
Newfoundlands Health Problems and Dietary Fixes
Sub-Aortic Stenosis occurs when there is a narrowing in the space underneath the aortic valve that can restrict or block blood flow through the heart.
This illness can be moderate, needing no treatment, to severe, needing medication or surgery.
Hip and elbow dysplasia
Hip and elbow dysplasia are common genetic diseases in dogs where the ball and socket joint of the hip or elbow is malformed, leading to degeneration of those joints. Symptoms include difficulty moving and reluctance to run, jump, or take stairs.
Owners can help avoid these problems by feeding their dogs food that contains chondroitin and glucosamine for better joint health.
Gastric torsion or bloat is a problem that occurs when a dog’s stomach dilates and then twists, causing issues like damage to the cardiovascular system and decreased absorption of nutrients in the blood stream.
Gastric torsion is more common in large dogs like Newfies, but owners can try to avoid it by not overfeeding or exercising their dogs them too soon after eating.
Best Dog Food for Newfoundlands
First Five Listed Ingredients: Chicken meal, oatmeal, brown rice, dried beet pulp, chicken fat.
Large dogs' bodies need larger amounts of high quality nutrients that are as easily digestible as possible. What they don't need are additional filler ingredients that might contribute to excess weight gain. The Dr Gary's formula offers protein sourced from chicken and menhaden fish, as well as additional Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids from ingredients such as sunflower oil and flaxseed.
This food even offers a natural source of glucosamine, which helps support joint health in large dogs, via naturally sourced green-lipped sea mussels and is fortified with additional vitamins and minerals including Vitamin A, Vitamin C, ion, zinc and taurine.
This is a great choice for larger pups with food sensitivities as it contains no corn, wheat or soy while still providing the fiber needed for a healthy digestive system. It can also be a great step food for dogs who start out on D. Gary's Holistic Puppy Diet once they reach adulthood.
2. Wellness Core Grain-Free Ocean Formula
As far as grain-free foods go this is one of the best for Newfies. There are some really good ingredients in this formula and the protein content of this food is high.
First Five Listed Ingredients: Whitefish, Herring Meal (source of Glucosamine), Salmon Meal (source of Chondroitin Sulfate), Menhaden Fish Meal, Peas.
Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free: Ocean Formula is a top premium dog food choice for Newfoundland owners. This grain free option is great for dogs with sensitivities and allergies and in particular for this breed - since it's prone to gastric torsion (discussed above). It also features ample sources of omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat.
Whitefish, herring, and salmon are the main sources of protein which gives this formula the vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy, happy dog.
Newfies do very well on Wellness CORE - with huge improvements in allergies, digestion, skin, and coat. Pups also have a burst in energy levels from this kibble and tend to eat less of it because there aren’t fillers and by-products in this brand compared to other popular dog food brands.
Ultimately, this is an excellent and affordable choice of food for your Newfie dog.
First Five Listed Ingredients: Lamb, Lamb Meal, Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, Rice Bran.
Feeding your Newfoundland dog with Natural Balance’s Limited Ingredient Diet is a great way to ensure that he is getting all the right nutrients he needs to lead a healthy, active life. Natural Balance LID selects healthy protein and complex carbs to give giant breeds energy, like lamb and brown rice yet is gentle on the stomach.
Satisfied dog owners say that after switching their dogs to Natural Balance L.I.D. their dogs showed improvements in their allergy symptoms, skin conditions, and digestive problems. Some owners have also noticed that their picky dogs are much happier at meal time after switching to this blend.
Overall, Natural Balance is a popular food brand which is well trusted and used by many dog owners, with this particular blend designed for large jaws and teeth scores very high with other pet parents and our own two pups. We're sure your big furry pal will devour this USA made recipe formulated for large breed adult dogs.
4. American Journey Large Breed Adult Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free
An affordable grain-free dog food that contains none of the common allergen triggers and is rich in healthy fats, proteins and fiber.
First Five Listed Ingredients: Deboned Salmon, Turkey Meal (a source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate), Peas, Chickpeas, Sweet Potatoes
American Journey Large Breed Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food meets the requirement to fuel your Newfie's everyday adventures featuring a larger sized kibble.
One of the things we really like about this formula, though, is that it is rich in proteins with four primary protein sources derived from deboned salmon, chicken meal, turkey meal and menhaden fish meal. As you know fish is an excellent source of both protein and healthy fats. And of course, they provide the optimum omega fatty acids ratio.
Plus it includes Salmon oil and flaxseed which provides Omega 3 fatty acids and helps deal with any allergies your Newfie might have. Finally, it includes fruits and veggies which are good sources of antioxidants and fiber.
Overall, this is a good, high-quality dog food formula rich in lean proteins, limited in carbohydrates using fiber-rich and complex carbs such as chickpeas and sweet potato to provide ample adequate energy levels a Newfoundland needs in order to thrive.
5. Wellness Complete Health Senior
This Wellness Senior kibble features medium sized kibble about the size of a chickpea and is meant to be easy on aging pups teeth and gums.
First Five Listed Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Oatmeal, Ground Barley, Ground Brown Rice
This is without a doubt one of the better producers of pet food and this formula from Wellness Complete for senior dogs is fantastic.
Since Newfies age rather quickly given their comparatively larger size they also have a shorter lifespan than most other breeds. This recipe doesn't use any meat by-products, artificial colors, flavorings, preservatives, corn, wheat or soy. It uses healthy and slow burning high quality grains namely, oatmeal, barley and brown rice.
It uses deboned chicken and chicken meal as the primary source of protein and this good to see - since chicken “meal” is a denser ingredient than regular chicken and higher in animal protein.
We also find plenty of fruits and veggies - in the form of apples, carrots, spinach, tomatoes, potato and blueberries - in addition to a wealth of vitamins and minerals ensuring your older Newfie gets a decent and well-balanced diet.
6. Merrick Grain Free Real Texas Beef + Sweet Potato Puppy Food
This puppy formula starts with real deboned meat (beef) as #1 ingredient and real whole foods like sweet potatoes and peas and more to provide nutrition that's complete and balanced.
First Five Listed Ingredients: Deboned Beef, Turkey Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Whitefish Meal
Merrick is another well-trusted producer of pet food which we like and it's what our own dog eats regularly.
Deboned beef, sweet potatoes and lamb meal are the main ingredients. It's nice to see several sources of protein - and this formula has plenty (70% is animal proteins) aside from the above two - including deboned salmon in addition to added plant proteins.
It's also a grain-free diet which helps prevent bloat keeps calorie intake down especially important for growing puppies. Finally this formula has added glucosamine and chondroitin to avoid common hip/joint issues larger breed dogs often experience as they get older.
All in all we have to say we're extremely impressed with Merrick, and the other formulas in the range are equally as good if you’re looking for higher protein levels for your growing puppy.
Whether your Newfoundland is the picture of health or he suffers from several different health problems, you should be able to find a food to suit him among those listed above. Just be sure to take his specific needs into account before making your selection.
Have you found a food a perfect food for your gentle Newfie? Tell us all about it in the comments below.
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