The Schnauzer is an icon dog breed, known for its facial furnishings which look remarkably similar to a mustache. What many people do not realize, however, is that the Schnauzer name actually applies to three separate breeds which come in different sizes – the Miniature Schnauzer, the Standard Schnauzer, and the Giant Schnauzer. You may also come across toy or teacup varieties, but these are not separate breeds – they have just been bred down in size. Schnauzers are technically a terrier-type breed, though they do not exhibit most of the typical terrier qualities. These dogs are friendly and loving by nature and they generally get along well with children when properly trained and socialized.
Schnauzers come in three different sizes, though they all remain very similar in terms of coat, color, and appearance. The Miniature Schnauzer stands 12 to 14 inches tall and weighs 11 to 20 pounds at maturity. The Standard Schnauzer, the middle size, stands 17.5 to 19.5 inches tall and weighs 30 to 50 pounds while the Giant Schnauzer stands 23.5 to 27.5 inches tall and weighs 65 to 90 pounds. Because these three breeds are so different in size, they each have their own unique nutritional needs. The best way to ensure that your Schnauzer’s specific nutritional needs are met is to select a small-breed or large-breed formula (depending on the dog’s size). Keep reading to learn more about the nutritional requirements for Schnauzers and to receive recommendations for quality dog food brands for these lovely dog breeds.
General Nutritional Recommendations for Schnauzers
As you may already know, dogs are largely carnivorous animals, though they do have a limited ability to process carbohydrates. When it comes to your Schnauzer’s general nutritional needs, protein is the most important nutrient and it should come from animal-based sources. Premium proteins include fresh meats, poultry, fish and eggs – these are also called complete proteins because they contain all 10 essential amino acids (the amino acids your dog’s body is not capable of synthesizing on his own. Protein is essential for healthy growth and development in puppies and, in adult dogs, it helps to maintain the dog’s lean muscle mass. When you look at the ingredients list for a dog food product, you want to see a high-quality protein at the top. It also doesn’t hurt to see supplementary proteins listed within the top ten ingredients. Though really, as long as the product contain a minimum of 18% protein for adult dogs and 22% protein for puppies, it will meet your dog’s minimum needs for protein.
After protein, the next most important nutrient for dogs is fat. While you may have been conditioned to think that fat is always bad, it is actually quite valuable for dogs – it is the most concentrated source of protein available to dogs. This is especially important for smaller breeds like the Miniature Schnauzer who need a lot of fat in their diets to support their fast metabolisms. Like protein, fat should come from animal based sources to ensure optimal bioavailability for dogs. Some examples of quality fats include chicken fat and salmon oil – unnamed fats like fish oil or poultry fat are less valuable because it is difficult to determine their quality. You want your dog’s food to include a variety of fat to make sure he gets a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fats as well as other essential fatty acids. This will help to keep your dog’s coat and skin in good condition – it will also boost his immune system health.
While protein and fat are the most important nutrients for dogs, carbohydrates also play a role in complete and balanced nutrition. Dogs have fairly short digestive systems so their ability to digest plant materials is somewhat limited. This means that any carbohydrates in your dog’s diet need to come from digestible sources. Whole grains like brown rice, cracked pearled barley, and oatmeal are all considered digestible carbohydrates, though some dogs do have a sensitivity to grains. Some gluten- and grain-free alternatives to grains include starchy vegetables like sweet potato or potatoes and beans or legumes. Carbohydrates provide your dog with additional energy as well as dietary fiber and key vitamins and minerals. Just be sure that the product doesn’t contain more than 5% fiber because excess fiber in your dog’s diet could actually cause problems.
The remaining ingredients in commercial dog food products usually consist of synthetic supplements and other additives. Synthetic vitamin and mineral supplements help to balance out your dog’s diet, though natural sources for these nutrients (like fresh fruits and vegetables) offer better bioavailability than synthetic sources. If you have to rely on synthetic nutrient supplements, chelated minerals are the way to go. These are minerals that have been chemically bound to protein molecules, making them easier for your dog’s body to digest and absorb. Dried fermentation products are also a valuable supplement because they act as probiotics to support your dog’s digestion. Avoid any product made with corn, wheat, or soy ingredients as well as artificial additives. In the end, you really want to find a product that provides complete and balanced nutrition that comes from wholesome, natural ingredients without any questionable or non-nutritive additives.
Special Dietary and Nutritional Concerns
Because the Schnauzer comes in three different sizes, you need to be careful about selecting the right kind of dog food for the dog you have. The average adult dog needs about 30 calories per pound of bodyweight to fuel his metabolism. It is important to realize, however, that small-breed dogs have much faster metabolisms than larger dogs so, a Miniature Schnauzer may need closer to 40 or even 50 calories per pound of bodyweight depending on his activity level. This could equate to a range of 440 to 1,000 calories. A Giant Schnauzer weighing about 90 pounds may need anywhere from 20 to 30 calories per pound of bodyweight for a range of 1,800 to 2,700 total calories. Your best bet is to choose a size-specific formula and to follow the feeding recommendations based on your dog’s weight.
Another nutritional concern to consider for Schnauzers is the fact that they are prone to food allergies. All dogs can develop food allergies, but certain breeds like the Schnauzer seem to have a higher risk. Some of the ingredients which are most likely to trigger food allergies include beef, dairy, and wheat, though, though many dogs are also sensitive to other types of grain. If your Schnauzer has a food allergy or sensitivity, you may want to consider a special diet called a Limited Ingredient Diet (LID). These diets are made with a limited number of ingredients and a novel source of protein and carbohydrate to reduce the risk for triggering food allergies. These diets are often made with proteins like duck, rabbit, and venison with carbohydrates like sweet potato, green peas, and tapioca. If you know that your Schnauzer is allergic to a particular grain, it may be enough to simply switch to a grain-free diet.
In addition to making sure that your Schnauzer’s needs for energy are met, you should also consider some nutritional supplements that could be beneficial. Large-breed dogs like the Giant Schnauzer have an increased risk for bone and joint problems, especially as they get older, so a formula that is supplemented with joint-supporting minerals like glucosamine and chondroitin could be very beneficial. For general health and wellness, chelated minerals are always a good addition to dog food for dogs of all sizes. Chelated minerals are simply minerals that have been chemically bound to protein molecules which makes them easier for your dog’s body to digest and absorb. All dogs can also benefit from probiotic supplements like dried fermentation products which can help to regulate and improve your Schnauzer’s digestion.
What is the Best Dog Food for my Schnauzer?
Choosing a high-quality dog food product for your Schnauzer can be tricky because there are so many options out there. You can narrow down your choices, however, by choosing a size-specific product – a small-breed formula for Miniature Schnauzers, a medium breed formula for Standard Schnauzers, and large-breed formula for Giant Schnauzers. Below you will find reviews for several high-quality dog food formulas that could be a good choice for your Schnauzer:
Natural Balance LID Lamb & Rice Small Breed Recipe
Made with premium ingredients in a healthy, balanced formula this Natural Balance LID Lamb & Rice Small Breed Recipe is a great choice for small-breed dogs like the Miniature Schnauzer. This recipe features lamb meal as the primary protein source with both brown rice and white rice as digestible carbohydrates. It offers a balance of essential fatty acids to support your dog’s skin and coat while also providing a concentrated source of energy. This formula is designed to support your dog’s digestive health while also helping him to maintain a healthy body weight. For healthy supplements, it includes an assortment of vitamins as well as several chelated minerals. Overall, this formula will meet your small-breed dog’s nutritional needs and satisfy his cravings for natural flavor.
Merrick Grain-Free LID Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe
For a high-quality, grain-free diet that won’t aggravate your Schnauzer’s allergies or food sensitivities, consider this Merrick Grain-Free LID Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe. This formula features deboned salmon, salmon meal, sweet potatoes, peas, and potatoes as the top 5 ingredients which gives you the confidence to know that your dog’s protein needs are being met. This recipe is supplemented with plenty of healthy vitamins and minerals for nutritional balance, and it is full of natural flavor. Because this recipe is not formulated for dogs of any specific size, it could be a good choice for a Standard Schnauzer who rides the line between medium and large breeds. Just be sure to follow the feeding recommendations on the package to determine how much to feed your Schnauzer based on his bodyweight and activity level.
Blue Buffalo Basics Large Breed Adult Lamb & Potato Recipe
If you are looking for a high-quality dog food formulated especially for large-breed dogs like the Giant Schnauzer that also takes into account the risk for food allergies, this Blue Buffalo Basics Large Breed Adult Lamb & Potato Recipe is a great option to consider. This formula features protein-rich lamb as the single source of protein with peas and potatoes as the primary gluten- and grain-free carbohydrates. Because this recipe is made with a limited number of quality ingredients, it will meet your dog’s nutritional requirements without triggering his food allergies or sensitivities. Plus, it is supplemented with omega fatty acids for skin and coat health as well as a precise blend of phosphorus and calcium for strong bones and teeth. This recipe also features Blue Buffalo’s LifeSource Bits which contain a special blend of nutrients to boost your dog’s immune health and to ensure nutritional balance.
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What is the Best Dog Food for Poodle Puppies?
Because the Schnauzer comes in three different sizes, you need to choose a diet that is right for the size you have. This is especially important for puppies because if they do not receive the nutrients they need in the right ratio, they may not grow properly. For Miniature Schnauzers, a puppy formula high in fat is recommended but you may need to moderate the fat content for Standard and Giant Schnauzers to prevent them from growing too quickly. Rapid growth for large-breed puppies can strain the joints which may contribute to musculoskeletal issues later in life. Below you will find reviews for several high-quality dog food formulas that could be a good choice to consider for your Schnauzer puppy:
Nutro Ultra Small Breed Puppy Formula Dry
The Nutro Natural Choice Company is known for producing high-quality products made from fresh, natural ingredients and this Nutro Ultra Small Breed Puppy Formula Dry Food is a great example. This product could be a great choice for your Miniature Schnauzer because it is rich in both protein and fat to support your puppy’s growth and development. This recipe features protein-rich chicken and chicken meal as the top two ingredients with brown rice and brewer’s rice for digestible carbohydrates. There are plenty of omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA to support brain and eye development as well as targeted levels of protein and fat to meet your puppy’s high energy needs. Overall, this recipe offers 28% protein, 18% fat and 5% crude fiber, making it a balanced choice for your Miniature Schnauzer puppy.
NutriSource Small & Medium Breed Puppy Chicken & Rice Formula
The Standard Schnauzer walks the line between being a medium or a small breed, having a weight range of about 30 to 50 pounds. This makes it a little bit tricky to find an ideal product to meet your dog’s nutritional needs, but this NutriSource Small & Medium Breed Puppy Chicken & Rice Formula could be a good option. This recipe contains higher levels of protein and fat than the typical kibble and it comes in smaller bites to make it easier for your puppy to chew. This recipe is made from carefully selected ingredients like chicken meal, brown rice, and oatmeal to provide the optimal nutritional balance for growth and development. This formula offers a whopping 32% crude protein with 21% fat and just 5% crude fiber – you won’t find a better small or medium breed puppy recipe.
Fromm Gold Holistic Large Breed Puppy Formula
The Fromm pet food company is family-owned and operated so you can rest assured that all of their products offer high-quality nutrition made from premium ingredients. This Fromm Gold Holistic Large Breed Puppy Formula is a great example of the quality Fromm has to offer, and it is a great choice for large-breed puppies like Giant Schnauzers. This formula features duck, chicken meal, and chicken as the top three ingredients – ingredients which speak to the high protein content of this recipe. There are also plenty of digestible carbohydrates in the form of oatmeal, pearled barley, and brown rice. The total 14% fat content in this formula comes from quality sources like chicken fat and salmon oil which also guarantees a healthy balance of omega fatty acids to support your puppy’s skin and coat health. There are also probiotic supplements for healthy digestion and antioxidants for immune support.
Schnauzers are beautiful and intelligent dogs that are also fairly healthy in general. In order to maximize your dog’s health and lifespan, however, you need to make sure that his nutritional needs are met. All dogs have the same basic requirements for nutrition, but breeds of different sizes like the Miniature and Giant Schnauzer have slightly different needs in terms of energy. Choosing the right dog food for your pet does not have to be difficult – you can narrow down your options by selecting a size-specific recipe to suit your dog. If you need help knowing where to start shopping, consider one of the top-rated brands of dog food reviewed above.