Irish Wolfhounds are showstopping dogs, with their tall frame and unique fur. Originally bred to hunt big game such as wolves, the Wolfhound now is a serene companion with an agreeable personality and calm demeanor.
They’re patient with children and are very loyal to their family. Although they don’t make excellent watchdogs, they do strike a formidable appearance. Feeding one is a commitment with most males averaging around 120 pounds full grown, so be sure you understand what you’re getting into. We’ve got our top picks for best Irish Wolfhound foods, so let’s take a look.
Keep reading to find out about the best food for this breed and to find out the answers to a few burning questions you may have.
What Is The Best Irish Wolfhound Food?
- Merrick Backcountry Infused Large Breed Dog Food
- American Journey Large Breed Salmon And Sweet Potato Recipe
- Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Large Breed Recipe
- NomNomNow Tasty Turkey Fare
- Zignature Zssential Multi-Protein Formula
- Natural Balance Large Breed Lamb Meal and Brown Rice Recipe
Understanding An Irish Wolfhound’s Diet Requirements
There’s a lot of dog to feed here. Maintaining their tall stature while avoiding excess weight gain is going to give them a chance at a long healthy life. Foods that use cheap fillers can pack on pounds and make it very difficult on your Wolfhounds movements and activity levels.
Making sure to feed your Wolfhound a quality, premium Irish Wolfhound food helps keep everything in top shape. While it may be tempting to go for that cheap food because your Wolfhound eats you out of house and home, don’t do it. You’ll end up feeding more because of cheap fillers, and you’ll spend more time in the vet’s office trying to fix digestive problems and skin issues.
Here are a few things to consider when choosing your Irish Wolfhound food.
- The first ingredient should always be whole meat. Labeled meats are the best way to provide digestible protein. “Whole, deboned chicken” is going to work much better than something just called “meat meal.” That protein will help maintain your Irish Wolfhound’s muscle tone and weight.
- Healthy fats will help maintain the health of joints, skin, and brain activity. Fats can also help balance protein and provide energy throughout the day. Make sure your food has plenty of quality fat sources such as fish oil to receive the most benefits.
- Vitamins and minerals that support eye health or a robust immune system are also essential. Fruits and veggies can provide these or vitamin mixes sometimes do the trick. There’s also evidence that dogs can receive everything they need from meat-based diets.
- Avoid cheap fillers and artificial flavors which can mess with digestion and provide only empty calories. Wolfhounds need densely nutritious foods that won’t spike blood sugar or cause unnecessary weight gain.
- If you’re going grain-free, be aware that some foods contain peas and potatoes which could have the potential to increase the risk of an enlarged heart. Be sure to talk to your veterinarian about the risks involved and discuss a plan together.
- Holistic ingredients such as glucosamine and chondroitin can help the skin. Probiotics support a healthy digestive and immune system and things like L-carnitine can protect the heart and encourage a healthy metabolism. These ingredients should never replace natural, wholesome ingredients, so make sure the first ingredient is always a quality protein instead of a vitamin mix or other ingredient.
Special Dietary Considerations For The Irish Wolfhound
- Cardiac Issues
- Anesthesia Sensitivity
- Weight Issues
Irish Wolfhounds are excellent companion dogs, but they do have a few breed specific and size specific issues you should be aware of. The good news is that in many cases, diet can play a role in alleviating those issues.
Barrel-chested dogs are prone to a life-threatening condition of the stomach known as bloat. It’s a dangerous distending of the stomach, and sometimes it twists, causing pain and eventual death if not treated immediately.
Researchers aren’t sure of the specific triggers, but some things you can do reduce the likelihood that your Wolfhound will experience bloat have to do with what and how you feed. Making sure to feed smaller meals more often throughout the day can help along with giving your Wolfhound a densely nutritious food that requires less per serving. Also, avoid rigorous exercise just after a meal.
Dysplasia is a common issue with large breed dogs. The joint fails to form correctly and causes pain and immobility later on as the dog gains weight or experiences challenging and persistent activity such as working or hunting.
Foods that maintain your Wolfhound’s muscle mass can support the joints better and weight maintenance could reduce stress on those joints. Supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin plus healthy fats also help with pain and joint cushioning. It’s most important to maintain weight and regularly check with your veterinarian.
Wolfhounds could be susceptible to an enlarged heart, so foods that support the heart are critical. Also, it may be best to avoid foods with peas or potatoes in the first three or so ingredients because there may be a link between them and an increased risk of an enlarged heart.
Keep a good relationship with your veterinarian so that you can spot issues with the heart early. Irish Wolfhound foods should have a good blend of proteins and healthy fats to help your Wolfhound feel energetic and more likely to be active throughout the day. This will do a lot to maintain healthy heart functioning.
Sighthounds have issues with anesthesia dosing because of their lower percentage of body fat. A dosage for another type of dog would be very harmful to your sighthound. Make sure you have a veterinarian that will understand your Wolfhound’s unique needs and act accordingly.
Irish Wolfhound Feeding Chart
Irish Wolfhounds are large dogs. They do require a lot of food and a commitment to feeding them the best. Making sure they receive premium nutrition may not be cheap, but you’re going to ensure they live a good healthy life if you do.
A lot will depend on your Wolfhound’s specific life stage and condition. Pregnant Wolfhounds will receive more servings than their nonpregnant counterparts, and something like an injury could reduce serving sizes until regular activity returns. Be prepared to adapt to changes in your Irish Wolfhound food throughout its life and be open to trying new avenues for health.
Wolfhounds only live about eight years, and you want every second of that life. A premium Irish Wolfhound food builds health and wellbeing, so make sure you discuss with your veterinarian the best portion sizes for your Wolfhound’s life stage and weight.
Here’s a general idea of what to expect.
- Puppies: It’s critical to control growth. Rapid growth and weight gain can seriously put stress on the bones and joints, causing a lot of problems later including a shortened life span. Your vet will change recommendations a few times as your Wolfhound grows up.
- Adults: Adults will receive around four cups of food divided up over smaller meals throughout the day. Females may receive slightly less unless they’re pregnant or nursing. Wolfhounds with injuries or who’ve gained too much weight may also receive less.
- Seniors: Older Wolfhounds will receive similar nutrition as when they were younger, but if they’re less active or have gained weight, they may need less food overall. Also, foods that support aging joints, bones, and muscles are critical.
Best Food For Irish Wolfhounds: Our Top 2019 Picks
Our top picks for an Irish Wolfhound food contain dense nutrition with no excess calories or empty fillers. Your Wolfhound has a reduced life expectancy because of the size and breed, so make sure every second is happy and healthy with premium food. Let’s take a look at our top picks plus a few extras for certain life stages and situations.
Best Overall: Merrick Backcountry Infused Large Breed Dog Food
Merrick’s recipe uses real bits of freeze-dried raw meat for a serious protein boost without empty fillers or excess calories. The formula is designed to mimic the ancestral diet and uses a balance of protein and healthy fat for all-day energy.
Fats are also great for keeping the heart in good condition, supporting the joints, and maintaining skin health. Deboned chicken is the first ingredient followed by fruits and vegetables, which contain vitamins and minerals to support things like eye health and healthy bones. Glucosamine and chondroitin help keep joints in top shape.
All Merrick’s ingredients are locally sourced and produced in Merrick’s own facility. Ingredients are sourced from trusted suppliers, and the recipe contains no cheap fillers or artificial ingredients.
- Pros: freeze-dried raw bits, healthy fats, glucosamine and chondroitin
- Cons: raw bits are inconsistent from bag to bag, some picky dogs pick around the kibble
American Journey’s formula is specifically intended to support large breed health. It contains salmon, a healthy, rich protein combined with sweet potato, which is low glycemic energy that won’t cause sugar crashes. Balanced protein and carbs plus healthy fats keep your Wolfhound energetic all day.
Healthy fats also keep the skin in good condition and could help keep the heart, joints, and mind healthier. Vitamins and minerals from fresh vegetables support eye health and strong bones while natural glucosamine and chondroitin support joint health from the beginning.
It’s more affordable than some premium foods, but it doesn’t sacrifice ingredients or dense nutrition. It’s made with only good things that will encourage your Wolfhounds health and wellbeing.
- Pros: affordable, rich protein source, low glycemic
- Cons: some picky dogs may not like the taste, only one bag size available
Blue Buffalo is a common sight now even in grocery stores, and this recipe is tailored specifically to your Wolfhound’s large breed needs. It contains LifeSource Bits, a blend of vitamins and antioxidants plus real beef as the first ingredient.
Beef is often a crowd pleaser and should help your Wolfhound eat regularly. It contains lamb and venison for novel proteins that complement the primary protein source, building strong muscles and a great coat.
Healthy fats plus vitamins and minerals support joints and skin while maintaining eye health and proper brain development. It uses only premium ingredients that work together to provide all-day energy without spiking your Wolfhound’s blood sugar or causing crashes.
- Pros: novel yet complementary proteins, steady energy, easy to find in stores and online
- Cons: Some dogs may not like LifeSource Bits, beef sometimes causes allergies
Best Super Premium: NomNomNow Tasty Turkey Fare
NomNomNow’s unique cooked meals use human grade ingredients to provide excellent nutrition for picky or sensitive dogs. The recipes are designed by a veterinarian and contain just six simple ingredients for dense nutrition.
Each week, the company creates meals in its kitchen and sends them straight to your door ready to serve in pre-portioned packs. You’ll never run out of food again and may even see a massive difference in your picky dog.
Lean protein is the first ingredient followed by fresh vegetables for a balanced blend of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Healthy fats help with energy and support skin health. The recipe is designed to improve your Wolfhound’s overall health and get rid of digestive issues.
- Pros: human grade ingredients, delivery for convenience, limited ingredients
- Cons: expensive option, foods need freezing or refrigeration
Best For Allergies: Zignature Zssential Multi-Protein Formula
Zignature specializes in premium, limited ingredient formulas for the most sensitive dogs. Their multi-protein recipe uses complementary proteins, turkey, lamb, and duck, for a complete set of amino acids that will help muscle tone and beautiful skin.
There are only a handful of other ingredients, including green vegetables that offer vitamins and fiber for healthy digestion. It should ease your Wolfhounds digestive issues and possibly help soothe irritated, itchy skin. It’s designed to be completely hypoallergenic and with naturally sourced glucosamine and chondroitin, still maintain your large breed’s joints.
- Pros: joint health, limited ingredients, novel protein combination
- Cons: somewhat expensive, some dogs may not like the texture
Best For Sensitive Tummies: Natural Balance Large Breed Lamb Meal and Brown Rice Recipe
Natural Balance offers another limited ingredient diet designed to maximize protein and minimize digestive issues. It uses lamb meal, a concentrated form of protein that helps build strong muscles and encourage healthy coat growth.
Brown rice is a good source of carbohydrates for all-day energy plus fiber to keep your Wolfhound feeling strong. It uses a blend of vitamins and minerals to support eye health and a robust immune system.
Limited ingredients help your Wolfhound digest a bit easier without all the troubles, and you may notice a big difference in just a short time. It’s also great because it’s tailored to large breeds that still have demanding nutrition requirements while eliminating what doesn’t work.
- Pros: affordable, tailored to large breeds, limited ingredients
- Cons: picky dogs may not enjoy the kibble, no other flavor options for large breeds
3 More Top Rated Irish Wolfhound Foods
Although not explicitly made for large breeds, the quality protein of bison helps build healthy muscles and a strong coat while sweet potato and brown rice provide low glycemic carbohydrates for all-day energy.
Healthy fats soothe the skin and support vigorous brain activity while vitamins and minerals support eye health and a robust immune system. Rich superfoods build an overall balance of wellbeing, and the food uses only holistic approaches to your dog’s overall health.
Nutro offers your Wolfhound a premium protein source from pasture-fed lamb plus rice for a slow release carb and plenty of fiber to help maintain weight. It uses only simple ingredients plus veggies for vitamins and minerals.
The formula helps build strong bones, condition joints, and soothe skin for healthy coat growth. It’s affordable and an excellent option for Wolfhounds who don’t have any big sensitivities or allergies. Natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin build your Wolfhound’s joint health from the very beginning, possibly making the aging process more comfortable.
If your Wolfhound needs help shedding a few pounds, Merrick’s grain free formula could be an excellent way to lose them without sacrificing protein or healthy fats required for skin and joint health.
It uses real fruits and vegetables for critical vitamins plus sweet potato for low glycemic carbohydrates. It won’t spike your Wolfhound’s blood sugar and should help it feel energetic all day without crashes. Glucosamine supports joint health and optimal protein from deboned beef, and chicken meal keeps muscles strong and healthy.
3 More Top Rated Irish Wolfhound Foods For Puppies
This recipe uses real bits of freeze-dried raw meat for a powerful protein boost. It’s tailored to your Wolfhound puppy, building healthy muscles and bones without adding extra weight gain. Guaranteed DHA helps with brain development while calcium and phosphorus support the growing skeleton.
It also begins glucosamine and chondroitin early to help make the strongest joints possible for fewer issues down the road. It’s an excellent option for large breed puppies and should start a condition of health from the very first years.
If your Wolfhound is having trouble with kibble, wet food could be a good option for it. Nutro’s wet food is formulated for a large breed puppy with quality proteins and no excess calories that can accelerate growth dangerously. It has DHA for brain development and vitamins and minerals for healthy bones and eyes. Glucosamine and chondroitin support joint health. It’s suitable to feed alone or as a meal topper to encourage picky puppies, but make sure you account for serving sizes if you’re mixing foods together.
Wellness Core uses only premium ingredients with a healthy protein source to build strong muscles that can support your Irish Wolfhound’s growing frame. It uses deboned chicken plus chicken meal for a natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin.
A balance of healthy carbohydrates that won’t spike blood sugar with quality fats help your puppy build brain health, happy skin, and a shiny coat. Plus, the kibble can condition teeth from the very beginning. Vitamins and minerals support the eyes and provide a robust immune system.
3 More Top Rated Irish Wolfhound Foods For Seniors
Blue Buffalo helps support your aging senior through the golden years with a recipe designed specifically for aging large breeds. It contains natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin plus healthy fats for optimum joint health.
Quality protein from deboned chicken and chicken meal helps keep muscles strong and toned while plenty of vitamins and minerals encourage a robust immune system and brain activity. It also contains L-carnitine for heart health and healthy metabolism.
Nutro’s combination of healthy chicken and brown rice offers your large breed senior protein and carbohydrates that won’t spike blood sugar or cause unnecessary weight gain even when activity levels have slowed.
Natural glucosamine and chondroitin support joint health and vitamins, and minerals from fresh vegetables offer immune system support. It contains healthy fats to soothe aging skin and keep the coat in top shape while encouraging robust brain activity. Good fiber promotes healthy digestion and keeps things regular and comfortable.
A combination of chicken and chicken liver provides rich protein to support your Wolfhound’s aging muscles while whitefish offers a balanced protein and healthy fat mix. Together, these give your senior energy all day and help with conditioning the skin and coat. Plus, healthy fats support good brain activity and encourage joint cushioning. Glucosamine and chondroitin may help reinforce cartilage in the joints while possibly reducing pain from mild joint damage due to aging. The food is suitable for feeding alone or in combination with another kibble to encourage picky seniors to eat. Make sure you account for all the calories if you’re mixing foods together.
Our FAQ And Irish Wolfhound Feeding Guide
Now that you’ve gotten your Irish Wolfhound food sorted out, you may still have some questions you’d like to answer. We’re ready. Let’s look at how to feed your Irish Wolfhound and what to do when some common issues pop up.
How much do I feed my Wolfhound? – Wolfhounds are larger dogs, but you must maintain a proper weight for them to remain healthy throughout their lives. A densely nutritious food won’t have as large of portion sizes as a cheap kibble, and your veterinarian may alter the portion size as needed over time.
How do I feed my Wolfhound? – It’s essential not to free feed your Wolfhound. It’s challenging to maintain proper weight or know how much your Wolfhound is eating every day. Set a timer and allow your Wolfhound to finish food within that time frame. After the time is up, take up any unfinished food until the next meal.
Dividing daily portions into several smaller meals can help reduce the risk of bloat and provide more balanced energy throughout the day for your Wolfhound. It will help regulate blood sugar and keep your Wolfhound feeling full and happy.
What if my Wolfhound is picky? – Pickiness has a few different sources. One could be holding out for better (think, human) food, and another could be discomfort because of allergies or digestive issues.
Your Wolfhound needs to be on a regular feeding schedule to figure out if it’s getting the right amount of food and all the building blocks of good nutrition. Here are a few ways to encourage your Wolfhound to eat.
- Don’t free feed. Many owners of a picky pet have noticed a difference after taking up food. Your Wolfhound doesn’t have a backup plan and soon learns to eat what’s given without delay.
- Remove human food and possibly treats. Until your Wolfhound figures out eating consistently, removing human food and treats to encourage eating is critical. Your Wolfhound has no distractions.
- Use a topper. Wet food or a specific meal topper could encourage your Wolfhound to eat kibble and the rest of the meal. Wet food has a stronger odor and a different texture than just a dry kibble, and that could be all your Wolfhound needs.
- Switch to cooked food. If all else fails and you just can’t get your Wolfhound to eat, changing over to a cooked food diet could work. If you can’t manage it yourself, there are companies designed to make it a lot easier. NomNomNow, for example, will deliver cooked meals to your door. It may be a more significant investment, but because Wolfhounds have shortened lives, it could be a good investment.
How do I change my Wolfhound’s food? – If you’re upgrading foods to a premium one, or you’re changing flavors for a picky Wolfhound, there are a few steps you should follow.
- Begin by adding a little of the new Irish Wolfhound food into your Wolfhound’s current diet.
- Each day add a bit more of the new food and reduce the old food.
- You’re done when it’s all the new food.
This method gives your Wolfhound time to adjust to the new food. Sudden changes can cause digestive upsets and food rejection in some sensitive Wolfhounds or just all around if the food is different enough. Give your Wolfhound’s digestive system time to adjust.
Do I need to switch to gluten-free foods? What about vegetables and fruits? – Gluten-free foods are trendy right now, and for some Wolfhounds, a gluten or grain free food could provide some relief for digestion issues. However, be aware of the links between some ingredients in gluten-free foods (peas and potatoes) and the increased risk of an enlarged heart.
As far as fruits and vegetables, some studies still suggest that dogs thrive on carnivorous, meat-based diets and can receive the bulk of nutrition from meat-based ingredients. However, fruits and vegetables can provide fiber and vitamins, so don’t discount them just yet. Instead, pay close attention to the recipes that help your Wolfhound thrive and stick with them.
What are the signs of bloat? – Bloat is life-threatening and happens so suddenly that you don’t have time to research or think about the symptoms before it’s too late. Here are signs that should send you straight to your emergency vet.
- distended stomach
- pacing back and forth
- trying to vomit but bringing up nothing (or only foamy saliva)
- panicked or distressed behavior
- pawing at the belly
- inability to lie down
- shallow, rapid breathing
- pain response
If you notice any of these symptoms, its best to take your dog to the vet. Large, barrel-chested dogs are especially prone to bloat and once the stomach twists, you won’t have much time to correct the situation. Even if you aren’t entirely sure, but your dog is acting strangely, it’s best to check.
Irish Wolfhounds only live an average of eight years due to their large size, so make all those years as healthy and active as you can. An excellent Irish Wolfhound food may feel like a significant investment, but if your dog has all the foundations of health from the very beginning, you’ll notice a better quality of life and possibly a slightly longer life if things go well.
Committing to feeding a large breed dog is a great option, it’s one that can help your Wolfhound remain happy and healthy throughout life. Even picky Wolfhounds should be able to find something they love without adding extra weight, so make sure you’re giving your companion everything it needs for long healthy life.