Contents of Article
- What is the Best Dog Food for a Chow Chow?
- What are the Nutritional Needs for Chow Chows?
- What to Look For in a Good Chow Chow Dog Food?
- What are the Different Types of Chow Chow Dog Food?
- Overall Best Dog Food for Chow Chows
- 7 More Highly Rated Dog Foods for Chow Chows
- NomNom Fresh Dog Food
- Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Large Breed Recipe Dry Dog Food
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food
- American Journey Limited Ingredient Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
- Solid Gold Fit & Fabulous Chicken, Sweet Potato & Green Bean Weight Control Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
- Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Mackerel & Lamb Dog Food
- Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Sweet Potato & Venison Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
- Solid Gold Barking at the Moon High Protein Duck, Egg & Pea Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
- Frequently Asked Questions
- The Final Word
Most dog food looks the same, so it’s natural to assume that the contents are interchangeable as well. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Your Chow Chow has specific dietary needs, and the fact is many dog foods simply don’t provide them. Unfortunately, it’s far too common to provide the bare minimum in nutrition while cutting costs through unhealthy fillers.
Chow chows make the perfect pets, thanks to their steadfast loyalty and relaxed demeanor. But they also have a wide variety of health issues that can be exacerbated by these insufficient dog foods. For just a few dollars more, you can get them a healthier option that can help address these issues and provide them the nutrition they need to live a long, happy life.
But how do you know which one to select? There is a wide array of factors to consider when choosing the right food for your dog. That may feel a bit overwhelming, but that’s why we’ve taken the time to create this handy guide. Follow along, and we’ll break down everything you need to know to find the right fit for you, and even reveal our picks for the eight best dog foods for chow chows in 2020.
What is the Best Dog Food for a Chow Chow?
There is a wide variety of factors to consider to determine which is the best dog food for your Chow Chow specifically. But we understand many of you are busy, so we’ll cut to the chase.
- Blue Buffalo Wilderness w/ Red Meat Dry Dog Food
- NomNom Fresh Dog Food
- Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Large Breed Dry Dog Food
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Chicken Dry Dog Food
- American Journey Limited Ingredient Salmon & Sweet Potato Dry Dog Food
- Solid Gold Fit & Fabulous Chicken, Sweet Potato & Green Bean Weight Control Dry Dog Food
- Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Sweet Potato & Venison Dry Dog Food
- Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Mackerel & Lamb Dog Food
- Solid Gold Barking at the Moon High Protein Duck, Egg & Pea Dry Dog Food
There you have it! If you’re interested in more information on your dog’s nutritional needs, what to look for to address each one, and a breakdown of each of those foods, simply read on.
What are the Nutritional Needs for Chow Chows?
Chow chows make wonderful pets thanks to their loyalty, aloof demeanor, highly-trainable nature, and cleanliness. They are also fairly sedentary dogs without much of a need for extra exercise beyond a few walks a day. That makes them perfect companions for city dwellers. It also means that they can be at risk for obesity.
Based on the typical weights of the breed, and their relatively low activity levels, chow chows should eat anywhere from 1,000 to 1,250 calories per day, with a minimum of 18% protein. They are eager eaters, which means they can be at high risk or obesity. So it’s important to ensure that you are not over-feeding your Chow Chow. That can be particularly crucial given the Chow Chow’s naturally stocky build.
They aren’t particularly large dogs, but given their barrel-chested build and hefty weight, they can be particularly prone to degenerative joint problems the way large dogs are. That means if your Chow Chow becomes overweight, that presents not just the first-level health issues of obesity but also the second-level problem of added joint strain.
In addition to these specific dietary concerns, you’ll also have to account for more widespread canine issues like skin irritation, sensitive stomachs, and digestive problems. All of this may sound overwhelming; how do you account for all of these health concerns and give your dog the happy, healthy life it deserves? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Simply read on.
What to Look For in a Good Chow Chow Dog Food?
Even once you’ve decided to emphasize the quality of the food you provide for your Chow Chow, there are seemingly endless options available. Countless products brand themselves as “healthy” dog food, and your little buddy will devour whatever you put in his bowl, so why worry? The fact is, the perfect healthy meal for one breed might not be as good for another. Chow Chows have specific dietary needs. You must look for:
Whole protein as the first ingredient
Ingredients are listed by volume; many cheaper dog foods may have a filler ingredient like corn or soy as the first ingredient. That can dramatically exacerbate your Chow Chow’s natural vulnerability to certain diseases. The first ingredient should always be a protein, preferably a whole protein rather than a protein by-product.
Vitamins and minerals
Certain blends of natural and supplementary vitamins and minerals can help protect your Chow Chow’s eyes and stave off degeneration, particularly vitamin C and vitamin E. Chow Chows are vulnerable to issues with eyesight, so this might be a priority for you.
Chow Chows can be prone to obesity, and multiple studies indicate that a high-protein diet can be an effective way to get back to a healthy weight while maintaining muscle. However, be sure to consult with your veterinarian before utilizing such a diet, as high-protein foods can exacerbate kidney problems, to which Chow Chows are also vulnerable
Glucosamine and chondroitin
Almost all dogs can be susceptible to hip dysplasia, and Chow Chow’s hefty weight, stocky build, and propensity for obesity heighten that risk. Glucosamine and chondroitin are natural amino acids that promote joint health and cartilage growth.
Omega fatty acids
Most dog breeds can develop irritated skin, dry coats, and dandruff if not adequately cared for. Look for Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids in your dog’s food, as they boost skin health and create a shiny, lustrous coat.
Chow Chows can also suffer from stomach sensitivity and unhealthy digestion. Dog food that contains real fruits and vegetables are a great source of natural fiber that can help promote healthy, regular digestion.
Chow Chows often eat very quickly. A complex carbohydrate like barley or brown rice should be high on the ingredients list—preferably the first ingredient that isn’t meat. They provide another source of protein, and—as opposed to high-glycemic carbs like wheat—can help prevent weight fluctuations. That is important for all dogs, but particularly for Chow Chows, as they can be prone to both obesity and diabetes.
Just as important as what is in your Chow Chow’s food is what isn’t. As we mentioned, you should look to avoid fillers like corn and soy. Protein by-products can cause allergies. Artificial colors may make the food look more appealing to us humans, but they provide nothing beneficial for the dog and can be harmful. You should avoid additives and artificial flavors as well.
What are the Different Types of Chow Chow Dog Food?
Now that you know what ingredients to look for, it’s time to consider the type of food you want. There are several factors to consider here. You’ll need to decide between dry food and wet food, whole-grain vs. grain-free, while also considering low-ingredient anti-allergy varieties and fresh food.
Dry dog food is the most common variety, by far. It is non-perishable so that it can be stored for an extended period of time. The fact that it is crunchy helps satisfy dogs that need to chew. Another bonus of traditional dry dog food is that it can be stored in treats; that’s a great way to keep Chow Chows entertained and occupied while getting some energy out.
Wet food is more flavorful and aromatic, perfect for enticing picky eaters. However, it is more expensive and does not last as long as dry food. Grain-free dog food has also become more prevalent in recent years. That is food that replaces traditional, grain-based carbohydrates with other carbohydrates like sweet potatoes or peas.
Ultimately, there is no inherent benefit to grain-free vs. whole-grain dog foods. Some dogs will respond better to one and some to the other. Ultimately it is a matter of trial and error and preference. Counterintuitively, grain-free dog food can actually be higher in carbs than whole-grain dog food.
From there, you might consider a few specialty options. Low ingredient diet (L.I.D.) dog food is designed for dogs with food allergies. It is made with just one protein and one carbohydrate, reducing potential allergens. Fresh food, meanwhile, is just what it sounds like. It is made with real, fresh ingredients and must be refrigerated.
Overall Best Dog Food for Chow Chows
|Sneak Peek: Best Dog Foods for Chow Chows|
Now that you know what to look for let’s get right into it. Here are our picks and reviews of the eight best dog foods for Chow Chows in 2020.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe with Red Meat Large Breed Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is the total package, offering just about everything your Chow Chow needs to be as happy and healthy as possible. It starts out with deboned beef as the primary ingredient, and it includes lamb, venison, and fish as well. That combination of proteins fosters maximum absorption of nutrition.
The recipe also features flaxseed, which has Omega-6 fatty acids, and canola oil, which contains Omega-3 fatty acids for skin and coat health. Glucosamine and chondroitin foster healthy joints and cartilage growth, essential for stocky breeds like the Chow Chow. Blue Buffalo Rocky Mountain also includes a Vitamin E supplement and natural sources of Vitamin C, perfect for eye health.
The recipe includes a wide variety of real fruits and veggies (including apples, blueberries, spinach, and pumpkin), so there is plenty of real fiber for improved digestion. A grain-free recipe, the carbohydrates are derived from peas, potatoes, and tapioca starch. There are no meat-byproducts, fillers, or additives. The recipe also doesn’t include chicken, the most common protein allergen for dogs.
The recipe also includes proprietary BLUE lifesource bits, a blend of holistic vitamins and antioxidants for general health. Blue Buffalo Rocky Mountain is not appropriate for dogs on limited ingredient diets, as it has three different protein sources. But otherwise, it wants for little, and it is a well-reviewed product on Chewy. It is rated 4.7 out of 5 stars, and 94% would recommend this product.
7 More Highly Rated Dog Foods for Chow Chows
NomNomNow is a super-premium, fresh dog food, perfect for your Chow Chow. 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!
Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Large Breed Recipe Dry Dog Food uses all-natural ingredients and utilizes a unique approach to pair the convenience of dry dog food with the flavor and appeal of canned food. The food combines traditional dry kibble with real pieces of freeze-dried raw poultry. It’s healthy, convenient, and perfect for picky eaters!
The first ingredient is real deboned chicken; other proteins include lamb, duck, salmon meal, and turkey meal. Healthy poultry fat helps your Chow Chow maintain steady energy throughout the day. Salmon oil contains long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids, to ward off dry, irritated skin and promote a healthy coat. Glucosamine and chondroitin help support your dog’s joints and stave off hip dysplasia.
A grain-free recipe, the carbohydrates come from sweet potatoes and peas. These are low-glycemic carbs, which is essential for Chow Chows. Apples, blueberries, and alfalfa provide calcium, natural vitamins, and fiber for digestion. Blueberries are a rich source of Vitamin C and Vitamin E, essential to protect your dog’s eyesight.
Merrick Backcountry prioritizes natural ingredients and real protein, just like your dog would eat in nature. It is a relatively high-protein recipe (38%), so it isn’t appropriate if your Chow Chow is having kidney problems. It also has four different protein sources and a wide array of carbohydrate sources, so it is a poor choice for dogs with food allergies. But overall, it is an excellent dog food that meets nearly all of the primary needs of a Chow Chow.
Perfect for Chow Chows with digestive issues, Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food is specifically designed for adult dogs. The food itself is tasty and highly digestible, so your dog will keep it down and absorb the most nutrition possible. The recipe also contains prebiotic fiber designed to promote the growth of healthy probiotic bacteria in your pet’s digestive system.
The first ingredient is whole chicken, and it doesn’t contain any other forms of protein to avoid potential allergens. Complex carbohydrates include brewer’s rice, cracked barley, and whole-grain sorghum. There is a comprehensive range of vitamin supplements, in addition to real apples, broccoli, carrots, and cranberries.
The recipe is packed with antioxidants to promote general immune health. Real chicken fat provides steady energy, and flaxseed is a rich source of skin-soothing Omega-6 fatty acids. Hill’s is a veterinarian-recommended brand that is made in the U.S.A. with ingredients sourced from around the world.
Science Diet isn’t just the name of the food; it also represents how the recipe was created. The sensitive-stomach formula is backed by decades of scientific research, so you know you’re getting the best. Unfortunately, it does not include any supplements for joint support, so you may have to find those from another source. But this dog food gets excellent reviews overall, receiving 4.7 out of 5 stars from Chewy customers, 97% of whom say they would recommend it.
American Journey Limited Ingredient Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is the best pick for Chow Chows who have food allergies. A limited-ingredient recipe, salmon is the only protein, and sweet potato is the primary source of carbohydrates. Salmon is an uncommon, novel protein as well, which makes it much less likely that your dog will have any issues with it.
There is no corn, soy, or chicken, which are the most common food allergens for dogs. Canola oil, sunflower oil, and flaxseed contain heavy doses of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. If your dog has had itchy skin accompanying their allergies, this is perfect. Three different sources of omega fatty acids provide the maximum in skin relief and coat health.
The recipe is 25% protein, which is an excellent ratio for Chow Chows. Sweet potatoes are a very digestible carbohydrate, so your pup will be sure to absorb the nutrients in the food to the highest degree possible. The recipe is filled with vitamin and mineral supplements, including a Vitamin E supplement for eye support.
With limited ingredients, a novel protein, no fillers, and loads of Omega fatty acids, American Journey Limited Ingredient Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is unmatched for dogs with food allergies and itchy skin. There is no glucosamine or chondroitin for joint support, and there is limited natural fiber. But 93% of Chewy users say they would recommend it, and it received a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Solid Gold Fit & Fabulous Chicken, Sweet Potato & Green Bean Weight Control Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Solid Gold Fit & Fabulous Chicken, Sweet Potato & Green Bean Weight Control Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is ideal dog food for Chow Chows who need to drop a few pounds to get back to a healthy weight. The grain-free, low-fat recipe is designed for weight control. But that’s not all it has to offer.
The first ingredient is healthy whole chicken. Solid Gold uses free-range, cage-free chicken, so ethically-minded customers can shop without concern. Sweet potatoes and green beans are extra digestible, so your dog can get all their required nutrients without over-eating. There is no corn, wheat, soy, meat by-products, or fillers.
The recipe includes live probiotic bacteria for improved digestion and gut health. Fish oil contains Omega fatty acids for skin and coat support, and a proprietary superfood blend is designed for general immune health. Solid Gold Fit & Fabulous also includes healthy, natural chicken fat for steady, sustained energy between meals.
Chow Chows are very vulnerable to obesity. Solid Gold Fit & Fabulous is a perfect recipe to help maintain weight control without resorting to a high protein diet that could exacerbate kidney disease. The recipe does not include critical joint support, but if your Chow Chow maintains a healthy weight, that will help take the strain off their joints. Solid Gold Fit & Fabulous is rated 4.6 out of 5 stars on Chewy, and 91% of customers would recommend it.
Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Mackerel & Lamb Dog Food is the most unique option on the list and one that should not be utilized as a full meal in and of itself. Ziwi is 96% real, air-dried meat, and can be used as a training treat, or combined with rice or kibble to make a meal.
The recipe is made from whole mackerel and whole lamb, along with lamb organs and green mussels, which are a natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin. The meat is loaded with taurine, which is great for canine heart health. The recipe is double air-dried to preserve the food and kill bacteria without resorting to freeze-drying or dehydration, so the food stays as fresh as possible.
Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Mackerel & Lamb Dog Food is packed with important nutrients. On the downside, it’s on the expensive side and can’t be used as a meal on its own. But as a meal-topper, it’s hard to top; it’s rated 4.6 out of 5 stars on Chewy, and 96% would recommend it.
Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Sweet Potato & Venison Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Another limited ingredient diet option, Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Sweet Potato & Venison Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is designed for allergy prevention and flavor. Allergies are often inherited, so uncommon ingredients are ideal. In this case, the first ingredient (and only protein) is venison. The other main ingredient is sweet potato, designed for nutrient absorption.
There is no corn, no soy, no wheat, no animal by-products, and no artificial flavors or colors. Canola oil, salmon oil, and flaxseed provide a rich source of long-chain Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. That will soothe the itchy skin that often accompanies food allergies. It also promotes the growth of a healthy coat.
The recipe is 20% protein, which fulfills your dog’s dietary needs without potentially exacerbating the kidney diseases to which Chow Chows can be vulnerable. Another issue for Chow Chows is degenerative eye conditions. But the Natural Balance L.I.D. food contains Vitamin E and C supplements that help support eye health.
The combination of venison and sweet potato isn’t just designed for allergy relief; it’s also intentionally paired to create the most appealing flavor possible. Dogs that have had food allergies in the past can certainly be picky eaters so this should help your Chow Chow start eating again. Unfortunately, it has no joint support and limited fiber. 94% of Chewy customers would recommend this product, and it was rated 4.6 stars out of 5.
Solid Gold Barking at the Moon High Protein Duck, Egg & Pea Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is great for weight control, but as a high-protein (41%) diet, you should be sure to consult with your veterinarian before using it. The first ingredient is whole duck, and it also derives protein from turkey meal, dried eggs, and ocean fish meal.
A low carb, grain-free recipe, carbohydrates come from potatoes. The recipe also includes a blend of 20 superfoods for immune health. It’s also loaded with Omega fatty acids for skin health and coat support. There is no corn, wheat, soy, or fillers.
The primary concern, of course, is that the recipe is 41% protein, and if your Chow Chow is having any of the kidney issues endemic to the breed, all that protein could exacerbate them. But if you check in with your vet and they give you the okay, Solid Gold Barking at the Moon High Protein Duck, Egg & Pea Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food can be a great way to keep your pup’s weight in check.
Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve covered the core of what you need to know to find the right dog food for your Chow Chow. But there are still a few more questions about which many dog owners are curious. Let’s address them now:
What’s the difference between puppy food and adult dog food?
If you’ve been shopping around for dog food, surely you’ve noticed that some are labeled puppy food, while others are for adults. You may have even noticed some dog foods marketed for seniors. The fact is, just like humans, dogs have different nutritional needs depending on their age.
Puppies, naturally, need a more nutrient-rich food. They require more vitamins, and where adult Chow Chows need a minimum 18% protein in their food, Chow Chow puppies need a minimum of 22%.
There is no hard and fast rule as to when you should transition your dog from puppy food to adult food. All dogs are different, and your vet will help you along the way. But on average, around one year old is the best time to switch.
How Often Should I Feed My Dog
We’ve already mentioned how adult Chow Chows should eat somewhere between 1,000 and 1,250 calories per day. But how should that be distributed? Once more, there is no hard and fast rule here. But there are two rules of thumb that you should try to follow when possible.
First of all, you should never feed your dog its allotted meal for the day in one go. Large breeds like Chow Chows can be prone to bloat if they eat too much too quickly, and that can be a fatal condition if left untreated.
Further, you should try your best to feed your Chow Chow at the same times every day when possible. Most people split the daily allotment in half, with one meal in the morning and one around the time you eat dinner yourself.
What Do I Do if My Dog Doesn’t Like Their Food?
Most Chow Chows will eat whatever food you put in front of them, but it’s also not uncommon to find one that shows a disinterest in eating. That could mean they’re just a picky eater, but it could also be the sign of a food allergy.
Consult with your veterinarian and try other options until you find a fit. The most important thing is to try a novel protein—that is, a protein that your dog has never eaten before—each time you try a new food. Less common meat like salmon, bison, or venison can be great for dogs with food allergens.
The Final Word
You love your Chow Chow, and you want to give it the happiest, healthiest life possible. One of the most critical ways to do so is to provide it with a healthy food that meets all its dietary requirements, without any fillers or additives that will slow it down.
There are many brands competing in the healthy dog food market, and the sheer variety can be confusing and overwhelming. But if you follow along with our handy guide, you’re sure to find the right fit for your dog.
We believe that Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe with Red Meat Large Breed Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is the overall best dog food for Chow Chows in 2020. But depending on your individual dog and its needs, you can’t go wrong with any of the options on our list.