Best Dog Foods for Chow Chows
Chow Chows are a heavy breed for their height. For this reason, they can have some of the same bone and joint problems found in large and giant breeds such as hip and elbow dysplasia.
The best dog foods for Chow Chows, especially as growing puppies, can include foods designed for large breed dogs.
Large breed puppy foods can help encourage slower growth and result in fewer bone and joint problems later in life.
The Chow Chow is an ancient breed from northern China that dates back several thousand years.
Today the Chow Chow today is known for its strong loyalty to family. They are affectionate with family members but they can also be quite independent.
Normally quiet and well-behaved, dogs of this breed do need training and good socialization from a young age.
Otherwise they can tend to become stubborn and overly protective at times. They tend to be aloof with strangers or even suspicious.
These dogs are not usually extremely active so they can be kept in an apartment. However, they will require regularly daily exercise.
The breed has a very dense double coat that can be either smooth or rough. The dog’s tongue is blue-black or purple.
Males usually weigh 55-70 pounds; females weigh 45-60 pounds. Chow Chows stand 17-20 inches tall at the shoulder.
Quick Links: Our Top 5 Picks For Best Dog Foods for Chow Chows
- NomNomNow Chicken Chow-Wow Recipe
- Purina Pro Plan Savor® Adult Shredded Blend Salmon & Rice Formula
- Ollie Dog Food Chicken Goodness Recipe
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Dog Food
- Royal Canin Medium Sensitive Digestion Dry Dog Food
We know that you want to feed your Chow Chow a food that will keep him healthy and happy for many years. The best dog foods for Chow Chows are foods that provide the best nutrition, regardless of whether they are popular or not.
We look for foods from companies that invest in nutritional research and testing. We prefer foods that use canine feeding trials to meet AAFCO standards.
We like companies that employ veterinary nutritionists to develop their formulas to make sure their foods are properly balanced and healthy for dogs.
We don’t necessarily look for foods that contain ingredients that humans would eat.
Humans and dogs have different nutritional requirements so something that sounds good to you might not be good for your dog, even if he would love to eat it.
We are also mindful of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warning put out in the summer of 2018 about a possible link between grain free dog foods and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs.
This possible link has been expanded to include foods that contain exotic meat proteins.
Wherever possible, we recommend foods that do contain nutritious grains.
In most cases, grain free dog foods should be reserved for dogs that have had a grain allergy diagnosed by their veterinarian.
Best foods for Chow Chows
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What kind of diet should you feed your Chow Chow?
Most Chow Chows can eat a diet that is similar to what other dogs eat. Dogs, including Chow Chows, have the following nutritional requirements:
All dogs need protein in their diet. The dog food you feed needs to have a minimum of 18 percent protein for maintenance. (They require a minimum of 22 percent for growth and reproduction.) Most good dog foods exceed this percentage.
However, that doesn’t mean that you have to provide your dog with a food that has an enormous protein percentage. There is some debate about whether Chows need higher percentages of protein to help maintain their coat.
We would suggest that feeding a good food with moderate protein that is easy to digest would be the best choice.
As long as the protein is easily available to your Chow’s system, he should have no problem using it to keep his coat looking good.
A protein percentage between 22 and 26 percent is usually a good range for a kibble with grain.
Grain free dog foods often have higher percentages but much of the protein comes from suspect ingredients such as peas, lentils, and legumes which have been associated with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).
Your Chow Chow needs a minimum of 5 percent fat in his diet for maintenance. A minimum of 8 percent fat is required for growth and reproduction.
Virtually every dog food has at least this much fat or more. Fat in the food makes it taste better to your dog so he will be more willing to eat it.
Too much fat in your dog’s diet, however, and he can gain weight too easily.
This can be a particular problem with Chows since they are not the most active dogs. Do pay attention to the fat percentage in the food you choose for your dog.
The best dog foods for Chow Chows will usually have a fat percentage between 12 and 16 percent.
You will not find a listed percentage of carbohydrates required by dogs on most nutritional pages.
This doesn’t mean that dogs don’t need carbs. Carbs are not “empty calories” or filler ingredients, as they have been mislabeled by some sources.
They are a source of energy, fiber, and other things that your dog needs. Your Chow Chow can’t live on protein and fat alone.
Carbs help provide sugar and starches for the brain and other tissues; while some fibers from carbs are essential for the digestive system.
Some of the ingredients that provide carbohydrates in dog foods are also sources of important amino acids.
Your dog also needs fiber in his diet. Fiber usually comes in soluble and insoluble forms.
Soluble fiber attracts water and turns to gel during digestion, slowing the process.
Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your dog’s stool and can help speed the digestive process.
Many dog foods today have a selection of fibers to encourage good digestion. Most dry dog foods have between 3 and 5.5 percent fiber.
Probiotics and prebiotics
Many dog foods today also contain probiotics and prebiotics. Probiotics are live organisms that are added to foods so they can grow in your dog’s digestive tract.
Once established, they can encourage healthy digestion. In general, the more CFU (colony forming units) of probiotics a food has, the better. CFUs are often measured in the millions.
Prebiotics are a kind of dietary fiber that encourages the growth of good bacteria in your dog’s gut.
An estimated 70 percent of your dog’s immune system is located in his gastrointestinal tract so keeping it healthy is very important. Chicory and inulin are common prebiotics.
Vitamins and Minerals
Most dog foods today also have added vitamins and minerals. These are known as “condiments” in the dog food business.
Vitamins and minerals are normally added back in to dog foods after the cooking process because the high temperatures of cooking the food can strip away many of the nutrients in the food.
What to look for when choosing a food for your Chow Chow
In light of the FDA’s recent warning, we recommend looking for the following when choosing the best dog food for your Chow Chow:
- Look for a kibble that is grain-inclusive;
- Choose a food that has a protein percentage between 22 and 26 percent;
- Look for a food that has moderate fat and fiber;
- Avoid grain free foods and foods with exotic meat proteins unless your dog has been diagnosed with a specific food allergy that requires you to use one of these foods.
Special considerations for feeding a Chow Chow
Chow Chows are considered to be one of the breeds at higher risk for bloat (gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV). This condition can be life-threatening if it’s not treated within a couple of hours.
There are several considerations involved in bloat, including some based on feeding your dog.
- Feeding one large daily meal seems to put dogs at risk.
- Feeding ONLY dry food can be a risk factor.
- If fat is among the first four ingredients in a dog food, the risk goes up greatly.
- If a dog food contains citric acid AND the food is moistened, the risk increases greatly.
By contrast, these things seem to decrease the risk of bloat:
- Feeding a dry food that contains rendered meat-and-bone meal.
- Mixing table food or canned food into dry food.
Encouraging your dog to eat more slowly by using a slow feeder bowl can also help.
Chow Chows are also regarded as dogs that can be prone to allergies. They can sometimes have a sensitive digestive tract which may be due to food sensitivities. Food allergies are usually allergies to proteins. However, even non-meat foods can contain proteins.
Even a potato, for example, contains 7 percent protein.
The most common food allergens for dogs are chicken, beef, dairy, and egg.
There’s nothing “bad” about these ingredients. They are just very common so dogs are frequently exposed to them. That means more dogs will have allergies to them. But a dog can be allergic to anything.
Symptoms of a food allergy include:
- Red skin
- Red, inflamed ears
- Skin infection (from scratching)
A food sensitivity is a little different. Food sensitivities more often affect a dog’s gastrointestinal tract. Your dog may have diarrhea, vomiting, gas, or a rumbly stomach, especially when he eats a particular food.
Whether your dog has a food allergy or a food sensitivity, we suggest that you work with your veterinarian to identify the problem.
You could try a lot of different dog foods to try to figure out what is bothering your dog but this can get very expensive and there’s no guarantee you will succeed.
Doing a food trial with your vet is usually the best way to solve your dog’s problem.
How much should you feed your Chow Chow?
Based on their weight and age, we estimate that a male Chow Chow puppy at three months would weigh about 26 pounds. At this age and weight, your puppy needs about 1339 calories per day.
At six months, a male Chow Chow puppy could weigh about 49 pounds. At this weight and age, your puppy needs about 1435 calories per day.
At a year old, your male Chow Chow could weigh about 68 pounds. This is his adult weight and it shouldn’t change much after this. You can feed him about 1652 calories per day.
Females will weigh a little less so you can adjust their calories down slightly.
If your dog is spayed or neutered, without sexual hormones, his metabolism can be slower.
These dogs can gain weight more easily. Watch your puppy or dog’s weight and adjust his calories as needed.
You can divide your dog’s calories into several feedings per day.
Most people feed young puppies three meals per day. Puppies six months and older usually eat two meals per day, as do adult dogs.
Intelligent, dignified, and devoted, the Chow Chow is a unique breed. Finding the best food for your Chow Chow can take some effort, especially if he has any digestive issues or allergies. We hope the suggestions here are helpful.