Dalmatian feeding may seem like a daunting task, but with the right guidance, it will be an enjoyable experience for owners of this wonderful breed.
The amount of food for Dalmatians primarily depends on their age and body size. However, factors like activity level and gender must also be taken into account to determine how much and what type of food they should take.
Read this guide all the way to the end to learn more about how to feed your Dalmatian properly.
To assist you in choosing your Dalmatian’s daily diet, this article will also discuss some food items that your dog can and cannot eat.
Dalmatian Feeding Chart by Age: How Much to Feed Your Dalmatian?
The Dalmatian requires a relatively large serving portion due to its activity level and body size. Generally, Dalmatian puppies need around 2 ⅓ to 4 ½ cups of food per day, while adults require about 2 ⅓ to 4 ¾ cups. Meanwhile, seniors need around 3 to 3 ½ cups daily.
However, keep in mind that aside from age, this range is also dependent on the body mass and activity level of your dog.
The succeeding sections will discuss the feeding chart for the puppy, adult, and senior Dalmatians.
Dalmatian Puppy Feeding Chart (2 to 12 months)
Dalmatian puppies that are less than a month get their nutrients through breastfeeding. The first form of milk from nursing dogs, called colostrum, is vital for development as it is full of antibodies and growth hormones.
However, after this period, pet parents can wean their puppies to provide more sources of nutrition besides breast milk. In weaning a month-old puppy, you can immediately start with age-appropriate dog food.
You can use the table below as your reference to determine how much to feed your Dalmatian puppy:
|Daily Food Quantity
|2.38 – 2.63
|947 – 1046
|2.88 – 3.38
|1145 – 1344
|4 – 5 months
|3.13 – 3.63
|1245 – 1444
|6 – 9 months
|3.13 – 4.50
|1245 – 1790
|10 – 11 months
|2.25 – 3.63
|895 – 1444
|2.25 – 3.25
|895 – 1293
As you can see, once they turn two months old, Dalmatian pups need more than two cups of dry kibbles. As more bodily changes take place in them from their fourth to the ninth month, this serving size increases even more.
Along with an increased activity level, these bodily changes also justify the high protein and fat requirements of Dalmatian pups. Proteins and fats are crucial for the development of their muscle, skin, coat, and immune system.
Bear in mind that all details stated above are based on dry food that is perfectly formulated for Dalmatian puppies. If you opt to feed your Dalmatian with generic dog food, these numbers may vary slightly.
Adult Dalmatian Feeding Chart (1 to 6 years)
Although most Dalmatians reach their maximum adult size by 16 months of age, 12-month-old Dalmatians are already considered adults. During this period, adult Dalmatians need to have larger food quantities per day.
However, each adult Dalmatian will still have varying serving sizes depending on their age, weight, activity level, sex, and whether or not they are spayed or neutered.
Specifically, large male Dalmatians require more calories in their diet. This is also true for intact and active Dalmatians. Note that a higher calorie requirement means a larger serving size.
To get a better understanding of the specific dietary requirements of an adult Dalmatian, check out the table below:
|Daily Food Quantity
|1 – 6 years
|2.38 – 4.75
|909 – 1814
As you’ve noticed in the table above, the protein needs of adult Dalmatians are lower than those of Dalmatian puppies. This is because many foods with high protein percentages may also have high purine levels.
Most adult Dalmatians are genetically unable to fully convert the purine in their diet into allantoin. Instead, the purine molecules are simply converted by their bodies into uric acid, which may eventually result in urinary stones.
Relatively lower protein percentage in adult Dalmatians’ diet decreases their risk of developing urinary stones and increases.
Senior Dalmatian Feeding Chart (7 years and above)
Due to the lesser activity level of senior Dalmatians, they require fewer calories. Reducing the calorie intake of senior dogs minimizes their risk of obesity, cancer, osteoarthritis, and immune issues.
Hence, senior Dalmatians with low-calorie diets would also have a longer lifespan. Dog foods which have prebiotic fibers are ideal for senior Dalmatians as these fibers are known to have low calories.
The senior Dalmatian’s daily food requirements are shown in the table below:
|Daily Food Quantity
|7 years and above
|3.10 – 3.57
|1206 – 1389
|15.5 – 32%
|10 – 12%
As shown in the table, there is a high difference in the range of protein requirements for senior Dalmatians. This is because not all dog foods for senior Dalmatians are formulated the same.
Whether you choose a dog food with 15.5% or 32% protein concentration, it will be totally fine for your senior Dalmatian, as long as it has low purine levels and it satisfies your dog’s nutritional needs.
Bear in mind that before you switch to a senior diet for your Dalmatian, it is important to consult your trusted veterinarian, so you’ll be able to plan a good meal and provide proper supplements for your senior dog.
Dalmatian Feeding Frequency: How Often Should You Feed Your Dalmatian?
The feeding frequency of the Dalmatian depends on its age. Essentially, Dalmatian puppies need to be fed at least three to four times a day. Meanwhile, adult Dalmatians can be fed twice a day, while seniors can thrive on once-a-day feeding.
Bear in mind that this may still vary depending on the amount of food that you’re giving per meal.
For example, some pet parents who opt to have smaller serving sizes per meal feed their adult Dalmatians three times a day.
Below is a table that summarizes the feeding frequency for Dalmatians:
|0 – 12 weeks
|Three to four times a day
|2 – 12 months
|Three times a day
|1 – 6 years
|Twice a day
|7 years and above
|Once or twice a day
As shown in the table, younger Dalmatians need to be fed more frequently than older ones. This is because Dalmatian pups are just transitioning from breast milk to solid food, which requires smaller, more frequent meals.
Aside from that, smaller but more frequent meals are easier to digest, keeping the energy level of your Dalmatian pup consistent all throughout the day.
Optimal Feeding Times for Dalmatians
There is no strict time for feeding Dalmatians. However, it is advisable to feed Dalmatian puppies three times: during breakfast, lunch, and dinner. As adults, Dalmatians are usually fed in the morning and evening, while seniors are fed once either in the morning or evening.
Generally, the best time to feed your dog is around 7 a.m., with the final meal being optimal at 5 p.m. to give your dog enough time to digest its food. However, this may still vary for some pet parents.
Further, a maximum of a 12-hour gap between meals is suggested to avoid hyperacidity. Hence, if your Dalmatian eats twice a day and you start feeding it at 7 a.m., the next meal should be no later than 7 p.m.
To give you a more detailed schedule for feeding your Dalmatian, see the table below:
|Optimal Feeding Times
|0 – 12 weeks
|7:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m.
|2 – 12 months
|7:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m.
|1 – 6 years
|7:00 a.m., 7:00 p.m.
|7 years and above
|7:00 a.m. or 7:00 p.m. if fed once a day;
7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. if fed twice a day.
Based on the table above, the feeding frequency for Dalmatian puppies has a 4-hour interval between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. This interval increases to 6 hours for young Dalmatians and 12 hours for adults and seniors.
Note that this schedule can still change depending on your daily routine. But after you establish a feeding schedule, always adhere to it and feed your Dalmatian every day at the same time.
If you’re worried that your dog will get urinary stones or if it has a history of getting them, you can feed it a late single meal per day. In fact, this feeding strategy is found to produce the lowest urinary precipitates in Dalmatians.
Best Dog Foods for Dalmatians
Essentially, excellent dog food for Dalmatians must meet the dog’s daily nutritional demands. In addition, it must be packed with vitamins and minerals that help in maintaining your Dalmatian’s healthy organs.
However, bear in mind that the nutritional needs of a Dalmatian are not constant all throughout its lifespan. It will vary based on your dog’s age and any health issues that it may have.
Below are among the best dog foods for your Dalmatian:
- Dry Food or Kibble: Although you may feed your Dalmatian with generic dry foods, it is still advised to feed it with kibbles that are specially made for Dalmatians at a certain age. This could prevent them from developing or triggering some diet-related issues such as obesity, pancreatitis, and bladder stones.
- Wet Food: If your Dalmatian does not prefer dry food, you can try to give it canned wet food. Wet foods have a high percentage of moisture, which can keep your Dalmatian hydrated and help to prevent urinary issues. Also, most wet foods have low carbohydrates and calories, making them ideal for overweight, picky, and senior Dalmatians.
- Home-Cooked Food: Home-cooked foods require extra work in terms of preparation. However, this is a great option for picky Dalmatians and those allergic to some food preservatives and additives. You can also easily change the recipe of your home-cooked meals as necessary to meet your Dalmatian’s dietary demands.
- Low-Purine Raw Food: Some dog owners feed their Dalmatians raw foods. Although this may seem to be fine, you must always check if the raw food that you’re giving has low purine content. Some low-purine raw foods include rice, eggs, kidney beans, lentils, whole grain cereals, crayfish, and ox brain.
Aside from these, you may also provide some supplements for your Dalmatian.
Meanwhile, if you have a senior Dalmatian, you can give it some multivitamins and bone supplements.
Although these supplements can add to the cost of owning a Dalmatian, they will allow you to provide the best life possible for your dog.
To give you a sample of home-cooked food for your Dalmatian, watch the video tutorial below:
Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Dalmatian
As mentioned in the previous sections, foods with high purine content are among the dietary restrictions in Dalmatians. Recall that purine-rich foods put the Dalmatian at risk for kidney stones.
Meanwhile, pork, chicken, beef, and fish meat are known to have a moderate percentage of purine. Foods with these meats can be consumed by your Dalmatian but in moderation.
Other human foods that cannot be consumed by Dalmatians are chocolates due to their theobromine and caffeine contents, garlic due to its thiosulfate, and macadamia nuts due to an unknown toxic substance.
These components are known to cause digestive upset, anemia, and kidney or liver damage in dogs.
Almonds are not considered poisonous to Dalmatians. However, they cannot be properly digested by them due to their high-fat content. Likewise, cinnamon is not poisonous to dogs, but its oil may irritate their mouth.
How to Transition Your Dalmatian to a New Food
You already know by now that Dalmatians have varying dietary demands and daily food quantities based on their age.
Hence, at some point in your dog’s life, you need to repeatedly introduce a new food to meet its nutritional needs.
Introducing new food to your Dalmatian shouldn’t be done abruptly. Your dog may experience vomiting, diarrhea, and a decreased appetite if you suddenly switch your dog’s diet.
To avoid these unwanted effects, Dalmatian owners must know how to transition their dogs to a new food.
For reference, check out the table below which summarizes the 7-day transitional phase for your dog’s new diet:
|Percentage of Old Food
|Percentage of New Food
|1 – 2
|3 – 4
|5 – 6
Based on the table above, you must first introduce a small portion of the new food to your Dalmatian’s previous diet before making a full switch.
You can gradually increase the proportion of the new food to the old food once your dog has gotten used to it. You may keep doing this until your Dalmatian completely accepts the new food without any issues.
Feeding an Overweight Dalmatian
Dalmatians are among the dog breeds that have a high tendency to overeat. Because of this, some Dalmatians gain extra weight that is not proportionate to their height.
Unfortunately, if no preventive measures are taken, this could worsen and lead to obesity. To avoid this, you must create a proper meal plan for your overweight Dalmatian with the help of your trusted vet.
Ideally, a proper diet for an overweight Dalmatian should contain fewer calories, such as canned wet foods. You can also give your overweight Dalmatian kibbles that are specifically made for weight loss.
Limiting the number of treats your Dalmatian receives and reducing the amount of food it consumes per meal are also effective strategies for reducing your dog’s weight.
However, all of these diet modification techniques will become useless if you won’t stick to them and provide enough daily exercise for your dog.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Is My Dalmatian Not Eating?
There are many possible reasons why your Dalmatian is not eating. It may be due to some medical or dental problems, medications, socio-emotional issues, new feeding times, and meal choices.
You may contact your trusted veterinarian right away if your dog isn’t eating and is instead vomiting or appears to be experiencing diarrhea.
Do Dalmatians Eat a Lot?
Due to their body size and activity level, Dalmatians eat a lot. This is why they also need lots of physical activities to burn all of their reserved calories. Without enough exercise, a Dalmatian will be at a higher risk of being obese.
Can Dalmatians Eat Bones?
Dalmatians can eat meat bones, but only raw and large ones. These bones are packed with some beneficial vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, D, and E, and calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.
However, according to the AKC, you must take these bones away from your dog after 10 to 15 minutes and discard them after 3 to 4 days.
Dried and cooked bones are not good for your Dalmatian as they may easily break into sharp fragments, which may injure or choke your dog.
Can Dalmatians Be Vegetarians?
Although dogs prefer meat, Dalmatians can go well with a vegan diet. In fact, a vegan diet may benefit the Dalmatian as many types of meat have moderate to high purine levels.
However, keep in mind that vegetarian foods may not be able to meet the protein and other nutritional needs of your Dalmatian. You can address this by giving your dog some supplements that a vegan diet cannot provide.
How much to feed your Dalmatian depends on many factors. However, it is primarily dictated by your dog’s age, weight, and activity level. Young and adult Dalmatians need more food and calories than senior Dalmatians do.
Also, compared to adult and senior Dalmatians, pups need smaller but more frequent meals to meet their nutritional demands. Lastly, to avoid urinary stone formation, low-purine diets are highly advised in Dalmatian feeding.
Taking all of these into account, how would you design your daily Dalmatian feeding plan? Feel free to share what you think in the comments!