8 Best Belgian Malinois Dog Foods in 2020

Did you know that former President Herbert Hoover owned a Belgian Malinois by the name of King Tut while he lived at the White House? These active and intelligent dogs are full of energy and tend to be protective, friendly, and alert. They were originally bred for herding purposes, although they have become popular as personal defense dogs more recently. The Belgian Malinois is hard-working with an incredible amount of stamina.

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These are not dogs that do well with long periods alone or in apartments. They need good periods of exercise and make excellent biking or running companions. They have a high “play drive,” which makes them easy to train through a reward system rather than a harsh training regimen. Belgian Malinois are excellent with children, although they may try to “herd” an unruly posse by nipping at their heels at times.

Because of their high energy level, which lasts well past puppyhood, finding the dog food with the right nutritional balance is essential. The Belgian Malinois is a medium to large dog. Males can weigh up to 65 pounds, while females tend to be smaller, averaging 55 pounds at adulthood.

If they are not exercised adequately, they tend to become overweight. Therefore, food should be given in amounts appropriate both for the age and activity level of the animal. You can check your dog’s weight by placing your hands on its back with your thumbs on the spine, and the fingers spread downward. You should be able to feel the ribs without pressing hard. If you can’t, then more exercise and less food are in order.

The Belgian Malinois is prone to hip hip dysplasia. Although the condition can be hereditary, it can also be caused by rapid growth from a high-calorie diet. Therefore, the caloric intake of your dog is of the utmost importance.
We’ve examined the dog food available on the market today and have come up with a list of the best dog food for your Belgian Malinois canine. We looked at ingredients, protein sources, and vitamin content with your dog’s optimal health in mind.

5 Key Nutritional Needs of a Belgian Malinois Diet

We know that you want your Belgian Malinois to live a long, healthy life, remaining active as long as possible. This desire means you will want to provide a nutritionally balanced diet for your pet at every stage of development. High-quality dog food does this by combining fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and carbohydrates in a way that can be digested easily by canines. Nutritionally balanced dog food will have grains, vegetables, fruits, and meat.

Dogs are omnivores and can get their nutritional needs by eating a combination of plant and animal products. An all-meat or vegetarian diet may not be the best for your pet, however. Any dog food that you choose should meet the requirements set out by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).

When considering the type of dog food to feed your Belgian Malinois, look at the sources listed for:

  • Protein
  • Fatty acids
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fiber
  • Vitamins

Belgian Malinois are active medium-to-large size dogs and should have an adequate intake of protein to remain healthy. AAFCO recommends at least 18 percent protein content for adult dogs. If your Belgian Malinois is on the high side of active, then 20-25 percent protein content would be a reasonable level. Protein derived from meat sources is a better option than soy protein.

Too much protein may cause kidney problems in your pet as its body attempts to rid itself of excess protein. Belgian Malinois puppies can also develop skeletal problems later in life if they are fed too much protein. Too little protein can also be harmful to your pet by negatively affecting normal physiologic processes because of its lack. Finding the right balance is crucial when it comes to protein content.

Special Dietary Considerations for the Belgian Malinois

Fatty acids are found in both plant and animal products. Healthy dogs can digest fatty acids efficiently. Several vitamins require the presence of dietary fats in the form of fatty acids for proper absorption. For example, linoleic acid is an essential fatty acid needed by all animals. Poultry and pork fats are made up of about 15 to 25 percent linoleic acid. Corn and safflower oil are also excellent sources of these essential fatty acids.

Many dog food producers include between 5 and 20 percent fat, a highly active dog may need up to 50 percent essential fatty acid depending on the source. Beef fat, fish oil, and butterfat only have about 5 percent linoleic, making them less than ideal sources for this essential element. Too much fat can cause acute pancreatitis or cardiovascular disease. Too little may cause weight loss, reduced physical ability, and impaired wound healing.

Dogs also need carbohydrates to power their bodily functions and process other nutrients. The carbohydrates found in dog food are typically broken down and absorbed as glucose. Fruits are made up of more than 90 percent carbohydrates. Yellow and green vegetables also have a high quantity of complex carbohydrates as do whole grains and flours.

If your dog isn’t getting enough carbohydrates, its body will draw on its supply of protein to create the energy it needs. If there is an adequate amount of protein in the dog’s diet, this may not be a problem. However, studies have shown that pregnant dogs that were not given enough carbohydrates had difficulty delivering and weak pups.

Dietary Precautions

Active dogs, like the Belgian Malinois, should not be given a diet that is high in fiber. These insoluble carbohydrates do not provide any energy to the dog. Because of the short length of the dog’s intestinal tracts, fibers pass through without leaving any nutritional benefit. High fiber diets also decrease the absorption of other necessary nutrients and produce loose stool and flatulence.

Because the Belgian Malinois tends to develop elbow and hip dysplasia, assuring that your canine pal gets enough of the right vitamins can help. Vitamin D permits your dog’s body to balance calcium and phosphorus for proper bone growth. Too much calcium can cause skeletal malformations.

Other issues that are common in the Belgian Malinois are certain eye conditions such as cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy. Again, specific vitamins can support healthy vision. Vitamin A, the fat-soluble nutrient found in carrots, can promote healthy eyes. Vitamin E deficiencies can lead to eye degeneration, so an adequate amount of this vitamin is recommended for this breed.

6 Special Dietary and Nutritional Considerations of Belgian Malinois

The Belgian Malinois has several heredity issues that you should be aware of, including hip and elbow dysplasia, pannus, and progressive retinal atrophy. Their consistent high energy level must be accounted for as well with more healthy calorie ingestion that other breeds. Unfortunately, if your dog is not exercised adequately, you may find that he or she also tends to put on weight.

Special dietary and nutritional considerations include:

  • High energy level
  • Can become overweight
  • Prone to hip dysplasia
  • Prone to elbow dysplasia
  • Prone to cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy
  • Prone to pannus

The Belgian Malinois is an extremely playful and active dog. Dogs have more mitochondria in their muscles than humans do, so they burn fat rather than stored carbohydrates when they are engaged. If your dog is not as active due to age or time constraints, then a dog food that has about 15 percent fat is fine. However, if your Belgian Malinois is given a high amount of exercise, then the dog food should contain a higher percentage of fat to maintain a healthy weight.

For the same reason, your Belgian Malinois needs more protein in his diet, at least 25 percent. Studies have shown that dogs given plant-based soy protein instead of meat protein sustained more musculoskeletal injuries. Since this breed already has some tendencies towards dysplasia, maintaining a diet high in meat protein is essential.

Along the same lines, too much food can cause your beloved pet to put on the pounds. A high-calorie diet coupled with less than adequate exercise, will not benefit your dog in any way. Be sure to consider the calorie content of treats that you give while training or for rewards when deciding how much to feed your Belgian Malinois.

Additionally, several of the health conditions this breed is prone to can be exacerbated when the animal is overweight. Hip dysplasia when the hip socket is formed abnormally, causing arthritis and lameness in your pet. Canine elbow dysplasia happens when there are abnormalities in the development of the elbow joint. Both conditions are genetic. However, environmental factors, such as diet, can make them worse.

Neither elbow nor hip dysplasia is curable, although they can be treated with medication, surgery, weight control, exercise, and nutritional supplements. Reducing the weight of an overweight canine often eliminates arthritis and joint pain by minimizing the stress on the hip and elbow joints.

Regular exercise helps cartilage to grow while reducing its overall degeneration. The amount of training should be designed to maintain cardiovascular function and muscle tone without causing pain. Exercise also improves the range of motion in the hip and elbow joints.

Benefits of Supplementation on Belgian Malinois Health Conditions

Certain omega-3 fatty acids can help in making your dog more comfortable if he or she develops hip or elbow dysplasia. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) have been shown to decrease inflammation from osteoarthritis. Both of these fatty acids are found in fish oils.

Nutraceuticals such as glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate can also be added to your pet’s diet to help with the conditions. Both of these aid in tissue repair and improve joint health. Vitamin C is yet another nutrient that can be useful in strengthening the joints and contributing to the development of collagen.

Cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) are two other conditions that tend to be genetic. Progressive retinal atrophy occurs when the retina begins to degenerate as a result of the onset of several different genetic diseases. Eventually, it will cause complete blindness.

Cataract formation worsens as your dog ages, if he develops specific ailments such as diabetes, or if he has experienced eye trauma. The eye may appear cloudy, gray or blue, or red and irritated. If the eye lens becomes completely opaque, the result is total blindness.

Cataracts can also appear as a result of a dietary deficiency. Puppies that are fed artificial milk may develop nutritional cataracts. Sometimes this condition improves as the puppies begin to eat a more nutritionally balanced diet.

Pannus is yet another eye condition that the Belgian Malinois breed is prone to. This condition is also known as chronic superficial keratitis and affects the cornea and third eyelids. It begins as a grayish-pink film over the eye and progresses to an opaque layer. This condition can be caused by airborne irritants, high altitudes, or being exposed to large amounts of direct sunlight.

You can reduce the severity of pannus by making sure your dog’s dry dog food doesn’t cause an excessive amount of particular dust when he eats. Additionally, choosing to exercise your pet in the early morning or early evening instead of mid-day when the sun is the brightest will help reduce sun exposure.

Belgian Malinois Feeding Schedule

How often and how much should I feed my Belgian Malinois?

Puppies that are younger than three months should be fed four times a day. When they are between three and six months old, they should be fed three times per day. When your Belgian Malinois reaches six months, two feedings a day is sufficient.

The amount of food recommended should be divided equally between the feedings. If you are mixing canned wet food with kibble, one three-ounce can is the equivalent of about a ¼ of dry dog food.

Feeding Guidelines for a Healthy Adult Belgian Malinois

Weight Cups of dry food per day
Up to 15 pounds ½ to 1 cup
16-25 pounds 1 cup to 1 ¼ cups
26-50 pounds 1 ¼ cups to 2 ¼ cups
51-75 pounds 2 ¼ cups to 3 ¼ cups
More than 75 pounds 3 ¼ cups to 4 cups

Overall Best Dog Food for Belgian Malinois:

Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken & Freeze-Dried Raw Pieces Dry Dog Food

Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken & Freeze-Dried Raw Pieces Dry Dog Food is high in animal protein sources, making it perfect for an active Belgian Malinois dog. It is made with cage-free chicken and has bits of freeze-dried raw meat too. The carrots, cranberries, and blueberries are non-GMO and grown in the U.S. and Europe. There is an additional Vitamin A supplement added to the mix.

It does not have any grain, corn, wheat, potato, or soy ingredients. Nor does it use by-product meal, artificial preservatives or colors. It has been formulated to meet the nutritional levels of the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for all breeds at the maintenance level for all adult life stages. The bag has a resealable closure to maintain freshness.

7 More Top-Rated Dog Foods for Belgian Malinois Dog Food

NomNom Fresh Dog Food

 

Key Features

  • Home delivery
  • Customizable based on the needs of your pet

NomNomNow is a super-premium, fresh dog food, perfect for your golden retriever. This service delivers freshly prepared meals to your door on a weekly basis, and the recipes are customizable based on your dog’s needs. All meals are prepared using whole, restaurant-quality ingredients to ensure the highest quality nutrition for your dog with no freezing or preservatives. NomNomNow is sent to you fresh for storage in your own fridge or freezer. Because the food is prepared fresh with gentle cooking methods, the nutritional integrity is retained for a wholesome meal. NomNomNow boasts the use of only human-grade ingredients which means that the food is prepared in way that would be fit for human consumption, something that many pet owners hold in high regard!

Pros:

  • Fresh food
  • Human-grade ingredients
  • No preservatives or fillers

Cons

  • More expensive than other foods

True Acre Foods Chicken & Vegetable Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Key features:

  • Farm grown fruit and vegetables
  • Fish oil source for fatty acids

True Acre Foods Chicken & Vegetable Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is popular with dogs and owners alike. It contains USA-raised chicken and farm-grown vegetables, including carrots, peas, and cranberries. Since we know that Belgian Malinois are subject to certain eye conditions, Vitamin A found in carrots is an excellent nutrient to support healthy vision.

The omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are derived from flax, canola, and fish oils. The fatty acids from fish oil can decrease inflammation from osteoarthritis, making it a good supplement for your Belgian Malinois. The fish oils in this dog food vary by the season of manufacture. It may come from flounder, pollock, rockfish, or sole.

True Acre Foods Chicken & Vegetable Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food has no wheat or corn, nor does it have any artificial flavors or colors. About 36% of the total protein is derived from legumes, while 38% is from animal sources. This particular dog food does not contain glucosamine. The chickens are hormone-free but not antibiotic-free.

Pros:

  • Grain-free
  • No artificial colors or flavors

Cons:

  • Contains poultry by-products
  • Chicken is not antibiotic-free

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

Key features:

  • Economical
  • Glucosamine for healthy joints
  • Natural preservatives used
  • Blueberries provide Vitamins C and E

If you need a dog food that is more economical for your adult Belgian Malinois, then consider Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food. This dog food is designed for any size dog from one year to eight years of age. It contains meat, whole grains, fruit, and vegetables. Also, it has LifeSource Bits, which are a combination of nutrients enhanced with antioxidants.

Glucosamine is included to improve healthy joints, but chondroitin is not. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food contains blueberries. Blueberries are full of Vitamins E and C. These vitamins are excellent dietary additions for your Belgian Malinois since they are useful in strengthening the joints and contributing to the development of collagen.

The chicken in this particular flavor was not grown using antibiotics or added hormones, making it a healthier option for your dog than commercially raised chicken. The dog food is kept fresh with rosemary oil and uses no artificial preservatives. The bag is resealable to help with freshness. It does not contain soy, wheat, or corn ingredients.

Pros:

  • fulfills the requirements of the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for maintenance feed
  • Resealable bag
  • Blueberries provide Vitamins C and E

Cons:

  • Contains chicken meal
  • Some dogs don’t digest this type of food well

American Natural Premium Original Recipe Dry Dog Food

Key features:

  • Pea-free
  • No corn, wheat or soy ingredients
  • Added probiotics for digestion

If you want a dog food that doesn’t contain peas, then American Natural Premium Original Recipe Dry Dog Food is the one to choose. This dog food has a blend of pork meal, chicken meal, fish meal, and whole eggs, making up the 78% protein content. The complex carbohydrates are from oat flour, brown rice, and barley. Probiotics are added for easier digestion.

American Natural Premium Original Recipe Dry Dog Food contains no corn, wheat, or soy. It also does use artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, nor does it not have legumes, peas, lentils, or potatoes. Neither does it include glucosamine and chondroitin.

Pros:

  • Pea-free
  • No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives

Cons:

  • Some dogs don’t like the flavor
  • Uses animal by-products
  • Not grain-free

Nulo Freestyle Salmon & Peas Recipe Grain-Free Puppy Dry Dog Food

Key features:

  • Protein from real meat sources
  • DHA fatty acids from salmon for eye health
  • Calcium for proper bone development

Your growing Belgian Malinois puppy needs proper nutritional support to avoid elbow and hip dysplasia later in life. Approximately 80% of the proteins come from lamb, turkey, cod, or salmon.

Nulo Freestyle Salmon and Peas Recipe Grain-Free Puppy Dry Dog Food contain low glycemic ingredients and healthy carb alternatives. These compounds reduce the chance of your hungry pup growing too fast, which leads to the onset of hip and elbow dysplasia.

The Belgian Malinois has a risk of cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy arising. The DHA fatty acids from wild-caught salmon work to support healthy eye development, which may reduce the occurrence of these conditions.

Guaranteed calcium levels help with the formation of healthy bones and teeth. Your pup’s coat will shine with a diet rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. This quality dog food company does not use poultry or meat by-products, artificial colors, artificial flavoring, or preservatives. All its ingredients are GMO-free.

Pros:

  • DHA fatty acids from wild-caught, non-GMO salmon
  • No artificial colors, flavorings, or preservatives
  • meets the nutritional levels for growing dogs

Cons:

  • Strong-smelling due to fish content
  • Not appropriate for dogs with a fish allergy

VICTOR Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food

Key features:

  • Chondroitin and glucosamine for joint health
  • L-Carnitine to maintain a healthy weight
  • No corn, wheat, or gluten for easier digestion
  • The protein content is 78% meat-based

Because the Belgian Malinois is susceptible to elbow and hip dysplasia, you will want to choose the diet for your senior dog carefully. Victor Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food includes chondroitin and glucosamine, which support joint health.

It also has L-carnitine, an amino acid compound that is found in chicken, dairy, fish, and red meat. L-carnitine may help your dog’s body convert fat into energy, keeping his weight down as he becomes less active in his golden years.

Victor Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food consists of 78% meat protein, rather than protein from vegetable sources. Each serving contains 25% protein. It contains no wheat, corn or gluten for a more digestible product.

Also, it contains selenium yeast, mineral complexes, prebiotics, and probiotics, all designed to support the health of your favorite friend. Victor Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food meets the standards for AAFCO nutritional profiles for healthy weight dogs.

Pros:

  • Contains chondroitin and glucosamine for joint health
  • Has L-Carnitine to maintain a healthy weight
  • Meets the standards for AAFCO nutritional profiles

Cons:

  • Protein percent per serving is a little high for senior dogs with lower activity levels
  • Weight maintenance ingredients are not necessary for active Belgian Malinois dogs
  • Some dogs might not like the flavor

Stella & Chewy’s Chewy’s Chicken Dinner Patties Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food

Key features:

  • Raw diet meal
  • Freeze-dried chicken protein for easier digestion

If you’d like to transition to a raw diet for your Belgian Malinois, then try Stella & Chewy’s Chewy’s Chicken Dinner Patties Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food. These freeze-dried chicken patties are made from 95% cage-free chickens with their organs and bones for added nutrition. The cranberries, spinach, broccoli, beets, carrots, squash, and blueberries are 100% certified organic.

The patties can be served as they are or rehydrated with water. There are no grains, fillers, gluten, or artificial coloring and preservatives. They are a great source of additional protein, without added hormones or antibiotics, for an active Belgian Malinois when added as a topper to kibble.

Pros:

  • Sustainably sourced ingredients
  • Organic fruits and vegetables

Cons:

  • Should be added to the diet as a topper rather than primary food
  • Expensive

Our 2020 Belgian Malinois Feeding Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

How much protein should the dog food contain for an active Belgian Malinois?

You should look for a dog food that has about 38% protein. For an active Belgian Malinois, this protein should be derived from meat rather than vegetable sources.

How can I tell if my Belgian Malinois is allergic to his dog food?

Allergies typically manifest through skin issues or diarrhea. Corn, rice, and beef are common allergens. An abrupt change in diet may also cause diarrhea or a sensitive stomach. When switching dog brands, do so gradually so that your dog’s stomach can adapt.

Is a raw diet suitable for a Belgian Malinois?

Many breeders recommend feeding Belgian Malinois a raw diet. It is considered an attempt to replicate the ancestral canine diet. If you switch to a raw diet, do so gradually so your dog’s body can adapt to processing this type of food. Begin with chicken or turkey because they are easier to digest than some other types of meat.

Conclusion

Our list of top-rated dog food, both dry and wet, will do much to keep your Belgian Malinois healthy and happy. These friendly and playful dogs don’t grow to become massive canines. However, their high activity level means that you should be sure they are getting the proper amount of nutrients and calories to stay healthy.

Belgian Malinois are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, the severity which can be reduced by having a regular exercise routine and maintaining a proper weight. Eye issues such as cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy are also concerns for pet parents of a Belgian Malinois. Nutritional content, especially Vitamin A, may help delay vision deterioration.

Don’t forget to pay attention to the protein content of the dog food you choose. Look for meat rather than vegetable sources. Organic, hormone, and antibiotic-free, meat choices are the best.

Chelsea Kuhel

Chelsea is the owner of a very huggable Boxer/Pitbull mix named Miles. When time allows she also cares for her 4 other animals, I mean children.

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