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What Is The Best Food To Feed A Newfoundland Dog?

What is the best food to feed a Newfoundland dog?

With the recent FDA alert to the possible link of grain-free foods causing DCM, isn’t that the million dollar question these days?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a “one size fits all dog food recommendation” that I or anyone else can give you for your Newfoundland and if someone other than your veterinarian tells you otherwise, I would take that advice with a very small grain of salt. 

One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone asks the general public what dog food they should feed and people start slamming in with what they feed. 

I get it.

It’s a confusing time for dog owners right now and we all want to give our Newfs the best life we possibly can but no one should be able to recommend a diet for your Newfie unless they know a whole lot about your dog. 

dog food for newfoundland

I have been there before. I’ve searched for the best possible food that I could find to give my dogs.

The 5-star food. 

The dehydrated raw.

The grain-free food. 

I’ve just about tried it all over the past 10 years with Sherman and Leroy and you know what? 

I ended up feeding them what they showed me they did best on and not what people told me or what I “thought” they would do best on and then I stuck with it.

That’s why I can’t give you the exact answer that you’re looking for but what I may be able to do is to help to guide you in your search for the best food to feed your Newfoundland dog. 

When searching for a diet to feed your Newfie keep these things in mind

Newfies are known for having skin allergies

Newfoundland dogs are a breed known to suffer from environmental allergies and occasionally food allergies that result in issues with the skin such as repeated hot spots.

If your Newfie suffers from food allergies it’s important to keep in mind that they will usually have other symptoms other than skin issues such as digestion problems and chronic ear infections. 

fresh dog food in a bowl

Newfies are prone to heart issues

Newfoundland dogs are prone to heart conditions. One such condition is DCM (Dilated Cardiomyopathy) 

DCM is genetic in the Newfoundland and past research suggests that Newfs may not process taurine efficiently

Try to stay away from food that contains more vegetable protein than meat protein.

Newfies are prone to obesity

Newfies, just like other giant breeds, are prone to obesity.

Contrary to popular belief, Newfs don’t eat 10 cups of food a day. Most adult Newfoundlands eat about 4-5 cups of food a day broken into 2 meals

Feeding a Newfoundland more than what they need will lead to other health problems such as joint conditions, heart disease, and canine bloat/GDV

A high-quality diet is packed with nutrients and you don’t have to feed more to get the benefits.

Types of Diets commonly fed To Newfoundland Dogs 

Kibble Diet 

A kibble diet is a dog food that is processed and cooked and comes in many different varieties. 

It is supposed to be a balanced diet and meet the nutritional needs of the dog required by law.

Dry dog foods should have required ingredients such as animal protein, grains, cereals, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Raw Diet

A raw diet usually consists of organ meat, muscle meat, whole or ground bone, raw eggs, and dog-friendly vegetables.

A raw diet comes in many different forms such as dehydrated raw, freeze-dried raw, pre-packaged raw, BARF ( biologically appropriate raw food), and PMR (Prey Model Raw).

fresh dog food in a bowl

We highly suggest feeding a raw diet under the eye of someone who is knowledgable in this area such as a clinical nutritionist.

Many Newfoundland owners seek out raw feeding guidelines and holistic care from Kymythy Schultze

Kymythy is a fellow Newfoundland owner and has studied species-appropriate nutrition and holistic modalities for several decades. 

She is a Clinical Nutritionist and Animal Health Instructor and her recommendations are endorsed by health professionals worldwide.

Home Cooked Diet

Home-cooked diets for dogs are exactly what they sound like. A home-cooked meal prepared for a dog. 

A home-cooked diet can consist of many different types of animal protein and vegetables. It is based on the nutritional needs and health issues of the dog. 

Home-cooked diets require dietary supplements such as Balance IT to make sure that the dog’s nutritional needs are being met. 

We recommend feeding a home-cooked diet under the care of a veterinary nutritionist. 

What To Keep In Mind When Searching For The Best Food To Feed A Newfoundland Dog

Always keep in mind that every Newfie is different and what works for one Newf may not work for another. 

Take feeding recommendations given by people over the internet with a grain of salt.

If you ask someone what the best food to feed a Newfoundland dog is be prepared for a zillion answers. 

Be very cautious of those that are pushy about feeding a particular food or a diet without knowing the health history of your dog.

Always keep in mind that you know your Newf the best.

Consider a rotation diet.

With a rotation diet, your dog is getting a mix of proteins and they are not eating the same food over and over again.

It’s speculated that feeding a rotation diet may lessen the chance of a dog developing food intolerances.

Many dog food brands offer lines of dog food that are based on feeding a rotation diet and with a raw diet you are normally using different proteins to balance the dog’s diet. 

What type of food should you feed your Newfoundland puppy?

In general, giant breed puppy foods should be lower in fat, have a good calcium content, an appropriate Calcium/Phosphorous ratio, and provide high-quality protein.

The calcium content should be around 1.5% or 3 grams/1,000 kcal. 

Large and giant breed pups should consume diets that contain at least 30% high-quality protein and 9% fat (dry matter basis)

You can read more information on what type of food to feed a Newfoundland puppy and why in Jennifer Larsen’s article on Feeding Large Breed Puppies.

How To Know If You’re Feeding Your Newfoundland An Appropriate Diet

If your Newfoundland is thriving than you shouldn’t question your current diet plan.

A thriving Newfie will be at a healthy weight, have a good coat, have good digestion, have normal bowel movements, be active, be happy and have minimal health issues. 

If that food isn’t a 5-star food or is frowned upon by others, so be it. 

You’re doing what is best for your Newfoundland and not what is best for everyone else. 

When searching for the best food to feed a Newfoundland dog keep in mind that most Newfie’s will need additional supplements in their lifetime.

These can be joint supplements, probiotics and/or a variety of vitamins and minerals.

It’s always best to speak with your veterinarian or breeder and see what they recommend for your dog’s lifestyle. 

To wrap it up I just want to take a moment to remind the Newfie community to approach this growing concern with dog foods respectfully and without judgment. 

There is so much more to this than what is being reported and guilting someone for what they are feeding is not what is needed right now. 

The choice of diet you choose for your Newfie does not make you a better person or a better advocate for the breed, being supportive of your fellow Newfie owner does. 



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Susie McCormick

Wednesday 19th of August 2020

Thank you very much! This information is very helpful!

Andrea Leeson

Wednesday 5th of August 2020

Thank you!..I am feeding my Newfie puppy what the breeder recommends and Dexter is doing well. He will be going onto adult food soon so your advice takes the ‘fear’ and confusion out of what to do. ?

Ducky's Mom

Thursday 4th of July 2019

Great post, Jen, as always! As Monika said, it's a real conundrum what to feed any breed. I especially like your statement about the guilt-trip issue. We've both been subject to that nonsense over the years. Humans being what they are it won't stop; but it's up to us to toss the whole salt shaker over our shoulders when we're subjected to it.

Linda Haigh

Wednesday 3rd of July 2019

Thanks for the great info, Jen. I have tried it all and I am totally in agreement with doing what is best for your newf. It can be overwhelming and confusing. I have stressed over this for years and I am now feeling more comfortable with my choices. Georgie is thriving, so I guess that is what is most important.

Mona Aaron

Tuesday 2nd of July 2019

I so appreciate this edition of your blog. Too many people try to guilt me into changing a diet that is WORKING for my guy! My vet approved what I feed and really, it is no one else’s business. Thank you, Jen.

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