The Best Dog Food for Chow Chow (Top 9 Dog Food Brands in 2021)

Edited by: Mike Powell
Reviewed by: Abby Texas

Last Update:

Quick Picks

Best Overall for Chow Chows: Merrick Backcountry Dry Dog Food
“This grain-free dry dog food contains healthy fats that keep your Chow Chow energetic throughout the day and includes a natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin to promote healthy joints.”

Best Value for the MoneyBlue Buffalo Wilderness Large Breed Dog Food
“This protein-dense formula contains everything your dog needs—rich beef, probiotics, healthy fats, and quality sources of fiber. Dogs with skin and joint problems will thrive on this nutritionally available formula.”

Best for Immunity BoostHonest Kitchen Whole Grain Recipe Dog Food
“This dehydrated dog food is made with organic oats and moderate proteins and fat for the immunity boost your Chow Chow needs. Whole grains are its primary source of carbohydrates, promoting optimal digestion.”

Chow Chows have challenging dietary needs. Keeping their skin and coat in excellent condition is not easy. With that in mind, a quality dry dog food can help maintain lustrous fur, an ideal weight, and muscle tone. 

In this guide, you’ll learn more about this breed’s nutritional requirements, common health conditions, and the best dog food for Chow Chows.

Product Name
Best Food for Poodles Overall
Best for Senior Poodles
Our ranking
Ranked #1
Ranked #2
Ranked #3
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Orijen Dry Dog Food for All ages, Original, Grain Free, High Protein, Fresh & Raw Animal Ingredients, 25lb, Blue, 25 Pound (Pack of 1), 400 Ounce
Diamond Naturals Senior Real Meat Recipe Natural Dry Dog Food With Real Cage Free Chicken, 35Lb
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Puppy Small Breed Dry Dog Food, Chicken and Oatmeal 15-Lb
Our grade
Our Rating 92/100
Our Rating 91/100
Our Rating 89/100
Feature 1
Loaded with joint-fortifying supplement, glucosamine and chondroitin to help prevent hip dysplasia
Highest amount of glucosamine in a dog food, ideal for aging poodles
Wholesome ingredients combined with LifeSource Bits to improve immune system health
Feature 2
Significant amount of DHA and EPA with added probiotics for digestive health
Highly digestible ingredients combined with a proprietary probiotic
High levels of Omega fatty acids to nourish skin and maintain shiny coat
Best Food for Poodles Overall
Our ranking
Ranked #1
Thumbnail
Orijen Dry Dog Food for All ages, Original, Grain Free, High Protein, Fresh & Raw Animal Ingredients, 25lb, Blue, 25 Pound (Pack of 1), 400 Ounce
Our grade
Our Rating 92/100
Feature 1
Loaded with joint-fortifying supplement, glucosamine and chondroitin to help prevent hip dysplasia
Feature 2
Significant amount of DHA and EPA with added probiotics for digestive health
Buy Now Button
Custom Button
Best for Senior Poodles
Our ranking
Ranked #2
Thumbnail
Diamond Naturals Senior Real Meat Recipe Natural Dry Dog Food With Real Cage Free Chicken, 35Lb
Our grade
Our Rating 91/100
Feature 1
Highest amount of glucosamine in a dog food, ideal for aging poodles
Feature 2
Highly digestible ingredients combined with a proprietary probiotic
Buy Now Button
Custom Button
Best Immune System Boost
Our ranking
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Puppy Small Breed Dry Dog Food, Chicken and Oatmeal 15-Lb
Our grade
Our Rating 89/100
Feature 1
Wholesome ingredients combined with LifeSource Bits to improve immune system health
Feature 2
High levels of Omega fatty acids to nourish skin and maintain shiny coat
Buy Now Button
Custom Button
Sources researched
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Sources researched
Customer reviews
12,322
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
11
Hours spent testing
Products tested
9
Products tested

The Value of Quality Nutrition for Your Chow Chow

Because Chow Chows aren’t particularly athletic nor energetic, they can become prone to obesity. As such, providing your dog with a diet that packs a nutritional punch can keep muscle from converting into excess bulk. 

Diets with unspecified proteins, fillers, unhealthy fats, and too many carbohydrates can exacerbate existing health conditions in your pet. Ensure that you feed your dog according to its required caloric intake—not more or less. Combined with regular exercise, you can expect to keep your dog at a healthy weight. 

Not to mention, Chow Chows have thick, full manes that can easily hide underlying skin issues. Fortunately, you can maintain your dog’s signature look by incorporating omega fatty acids into their daily meals. Ingredients such as fish and flaxseed are excellent sources of omega fats that can keep the skin in coat in perfect condition.

Avoid artificial dyes and coloring, as these can cause significant irritation in the skin. 

Remember that Chow Chows are also prone to eye disease, making fruits and vegetables a vital component of their daily diet. Whole-grown greens can provide excellent support for eye health and give your dog’s immune system a much-needed boost. 


Common Chow Chow Health Concerns 

Despite being a hardy breed, Chow Chows have a unique body shape, lethargic personality, and thick coat that may cascade into other health problems. Below are a few conditions you can expect to see in a Chow Chow. 

1. Bloat. Like most large breed dogs, Chow Chows are susceptible to bloat, which causes the stomach to distend and twist. Dividing meals into smaller portions can prevent gas build-up and improve digestion. You’ll also want to stay away from dog foods with high fat content. If your pet has trouble digesting dry food, consider incorporating a wet food topper. 

2. Obesity. This stocky, muscular breed is not naturally athletic and can gain weight easily. Keep in mind that their thick fur can hide physical indicators of weight gain, so prioritizing a nutritious, low-calorie diet and regular exercise is imperative. 

3. Hip Dysplasia. Chow Chows have awkwardly shaped joints that, combined with a stocky build, can easily dislocate. During heavy activity, the hip joint can pop out of its socket, causing unbearable pain for your pet. Introducing healthy fats and ingredients such as glucosamine and chondroitin can cushion the joints, alleviate pain, and speed up recovery. 

4. Allergies and Skin Conditions. You never know what that thick mane is hiding—it could be allergies. Your pet might also be prone to a sensitive digestive tract that reacts badly to specific proteins. You can help eliminate food allergies by incorporating limited-ingredient dog foods into your pet’s diet and meals rich in probiotics. 

5. Entropion. Because of their thick fur and abnormally small eyes, Chow Chows often develop entropion, which causes the eyelids to turn inwards. This condition is painful and can lead to potential blindness. You can prevent it by incorporating a meticulous weight management program and prioritizing ingredients that promote excellent eye health.


How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Chow Chow Dogs

Remember, not every high-quality dog food that is perfect for one breed will be suitable for your Chow Chow. When curating the appropriate diet plan for your dog, below are a few things to consider. 

1. Prioritize Whole Proteins

All dogs require high-quality meat to thrive. As such, whole-grown lean meats should be the primary component of your Chow Chow’s diet with protein levels between 22% and 26%. Make sure these proteins are first on the ingredients list and specified—beware of labels such as “chicken-flavored” or “meat protein.” 

Contrary to popular belief, meat meals can be an excellent addition to your dog’s diet. Lamb meal, for instance, is better concentrated than their fresh counterparts and pack more protein overall. 

Also keep in mind that your Chow’s double coat is made from 65% to 95% protein—all the more you should prioritize high-quality meat. 

2. Pick the Right Carbohydrates

Not all carbohydrates are bad. In fact, they are an excellent energy source for active Chows. When found in fiber, they can improve digestive function and enhance waste elimination. 

However, you should note that Chow Chows tend to eat quickly—but that doesn’t mean eliminating carbohydrates altogether. Low-glycemic carbs can help combat weight gain. Consider complex carbohydrates such as barley or brown rice, which are easily digestible and prevent weight fluctuations.   

3. Choose Grain-Inclusive Dog Foods

Grain-free doesn’t always mean better. In most cases, grain-free diets remove essential ingredients such as beans and brown rice, which benefit Chows with digestive problems and stomach sensitivities. 

However, there are some instances in which a grain-free diet might be more appropriate for your pet. If they suffer from allergies, eliminating allergy-causing grains can drastically improve their overall health. 

4. Support the Skin and Coat

Omega fatty acids are the key to keeping your Chow’s skin and coat in perfect condition. Ingredients such as fish oil can help relieve dry, itching skin. 

Their anti-inflammatory properties can also improve joint health, increasing mobility and alleviating pain. They can even reduce the severity of future joint problems. Its inflammation reduction properties can also improve heart health, preventing arrhythmias and heart failure. 

Finally, omegas do an excellent job of improving brain health, especially in senior Chows. They prevent cognitive dysfunction and help manage other brain disorders.   

5. Think About the Joints

Because Chow Chows are genetically predisposed to hip dysplasia and obesity, components such as glucosamine and chondroitin can promote joint health and cartilage growth. These elements are also imperative for growing Chow puppies whose bones are still developing. 

6. Feed According to Their Daily Caloric Requirements

Chow Chows in different life stages have varying caloric needs. For instance, a Chow puppy will require feeding three to four times a day and have a caloric requirement of between 1,650 and 1,980 calories.

On the other hand, twice-a-day feeding for Chow adults will typically suffice. The average adult will weigh 50lbs and should consume roughly 1,350 calories daily. 

Finally, a senior Chow can thrive on as little as 1,250 calories daily, as weight gain can put too much stress on the joints and internal organs.


Ingredients to Avoid

Understanding what goes into your dog’s food is more important than you think. Below are a few ingredients you should always avoid when curating the appropriate diet for your Chow Chow. 

1. Meat By-Products

While feed-grade ingredients aren’t always poor-quality, they often have allowances for toxins that can contaminate your dog’s food. These include meat by-products, which are sourced from animal waste and heated at extremely high temperatures that eliminate any nutritional value. 

2. Artificial Ingredients

Artificial ingredients serve any purpose from dyeing your dog’s food to preserving it. However, these ingredients can be detrimental to biochemical processes in the body and cause indigestion. 

3. Corn

Corn is notoriously difficult to digest and is an inadequate method of increasing protein levels in dog food. It also lacks necessary amino acids and is not as bioavailable as other animal sources such as eggs. 

4. Soy

Soy is beneficial to humans—but not to animals. Though soy contains all the necessary amino acids your dog requires, it is incredibly difficult to digest and can cause health issues such as gas and bloat. It is also a common allergen and can exacerbate instances of skin disease.

What is the best dog food for Chow Chow?

  1. Best overall for Chow Chows: Merrick Backcountry Dry Dog Food 
  2. Best value for money: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Large Breed Dog Food
  3. Best for immunity boost: Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Recipe Dog Food 
  4. Best for food allergies: Zignature Limited-Ingredient Dog Food
  5. Best high protein option: Taste of the Wild Prairie Dog Food
  6. Best for weight maintenance: Solid Gold Fit and Fabulous Dog Food
  7. Best for senior Chow Chows: Nutro Natural Choice Senior Dog Food
  8. Best for Chow Chow puppies: Orijen High Protein Dog Food
  9. Best for all life stages: Canidae All Life Stages Large Breed Dog Food

1. Merrick Backcountry Dry Dog Food – Best overall for Chow Chows

Protein-rich and highly-digestible formula is ideal for your large Chow and provides all the benefits of a raw diet

Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Grain Free Dry Dog Food Large Breed Recipe - 20 lb. Bag
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Key Features

  • Freeze-dried raw-coated dog food, high in protein
  • Deboned chicken as its first ingredient
  • Rich in omega fatty acids to promote healthy skin and coat

This top-quality Chow dog food boasts a high protein formulation that features deboned chicken as its primary ingredient. Additional chicken and turkey meals provide an added touch of amino acids to meet all your pet’s wellness needs. 

Its raw meat pieces are freeze-dried to increase flavor and eating satisfaction—even the pickiest dogs won’t be able to resist! Furthermore, it contains glucosamine and chondroitin to improve joint health and repair damaged muscles.

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Omega-3 fatty acids improve coat health in Chows suffering from allergies, dry skin, or hair fall. Healthy fats also aid in brain development, while fruits and vegetables provide critical vitamins and minerals. Ingredients like apples, blueberries, and alfalfa enhance your dog’s calcium production and are rich in fibers to aid digestion.  

2. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Large Breed Dog Food – Best value for money

Cost-effective formula features deboned beef as its primary ingredient and contains healthy fats to support coat and joint health

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe High Protein, Natural Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food, Red Meat 22-lb
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Key Features

  • Excellent alternative to raw food diet
  • Contains a natural mix of proteins 
  • Does not contain chicken, by-product meals, corn, wheat, or soy
  • Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids significantly improve coat health

This Blue Buffalo formula features quality protein sources such as deboned beef, lamb, venison, and fish to ensure maximum absorption of nutrients and amino acids. Its added variety of fruits and vegetables include apples, spinach, blueberries, and pumpkin, providing plenty of fiber to aid in digestion. 

If your Chow Chow suffers from a skin condition, this recipe contains omega fats from flaxseed and canola oil, improving shine and fullness. Glucosamine also promotes cartilage growth and fosters healthy joints.

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Rocky Mountain formulas also contain high levels of vitamin E and C, which are perfect for improving eye health. You won’t need to worry about food allergies either—this recipe is free of chicken. 

Finally, your dog will love this food’s lifesource bits, as they contain a blend of holistic vitamins and antioxidants to promote optimal general health.

3. Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Recipe Dog Food – Best for immunity boost

Made with simple garden produce and organic, farm-raised chicken to provide your Chow Chow with optimal immune health

The Honest Kitchen Human Grade Dehydrated Whole Grain Dog Food – Complete Meal or Dog Food Topper – Chicken 2 lb (makes 8 lbs)
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Key Features

  • Dehydrated formula with whole-grain barley for easy digestion
  • High calories and protein to support larger dogs with stocky muscles
  • Does not contain by-products or artificial preservatives

If you value responsibly sourced, organic dog food, this Honest Kitchen recipe can provide everything your Chow Chow needs. It features farm-raised chicken as its primary ingredient and contains a mix of simple garden produce for added vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. 

Unlike other dog foods for Chow Chows, this Honest Kitchen formula is 100% human-grade, containing higher-quality ingredients and meeting many safety standards. It is also higher in calories and protein, ideal for strong-built dogs with increased energy levels and in need of an immune boost.

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This non-GMO formula is also free of artificial additives, by-products, fillers, and poorly processed ingredients. 

Older Chows who have trouble digesting their food will also benefit from its soft-serve texture. Simply add water, stir, and wait for three minutes!

4. Zignature Limited-Ingredient Dog Food – Best for food allergies

Focuses on a single protein source to reduce instances of allergies and contains healthy fats to soothe skin irritation

Zignature Lamb Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food 25lb
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Key Features

  • Limited-ingredient recipe to avoid allergic reactions 
  • Features salmon, chickpeas, and flaxseed
  • Provides hypoallergenic and low-glycemic nutrition
  • Rich in animal protein, omega fatty acids, and essential vitamins

Most dog foods for Chow Chows are grain-containing, which can be beneficial to their digestion and nutritional needs. However, others suffer from food allergies that can be combated through a limited-ingredient diet. 

This Zignature recipe features salmon as its primary protein, which provides healthy fats that also alleviate skin conditions. It does not contain any fillers or artificial additives.

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Instead, it has wholesome peas, chickpeas, and flaxseed, which have anti-inflammatory properties that are good for the heart, brain, and overall immune system. These fiber-rich, low-glycemic carbohydrates help improve digestion and maintain a healthy metabolism.    

This well-rounded formula is also rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, and B12 that help regulate energy and improve nervous system function. Overall, this diet is packed with antioxidants that allow your Chow to maintain an ideal weight and appropriate energy levels.

5. Taste of the Wild Prairie Dog Food – Best high protein option

Made with real bison and venison to support your Chow Chow’s joints and muscles

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Canine Grain-Free Recipe with Roasted Bison and Venison Adult Dry Dog Food, Made with High Protein from Real Meat and Guaranteed Nutrients 28lb
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Key Features

  • Contains 32% protein from bison and venison
  • Promotes healthy bones, joints, and lean muscles
  • Species-specific canine-strain probiotics to ease the digestive tract
  • Additional vitamins and minerals derived from superfoods

Chow Chows can quickly become overweight, adding unnecessary pressure to their joints and muscles. Fortunately, this high protein formula provides essential amino acids that help repair tissue, cut down recovery time, and support the immune system. 

Not to mention, this grain-free formula features peas and sweet potatoes that make it easier for your dog to digest. Natural antioxidant support from fruits and vegetables can benefit overweight dogs, improve their dental health, and provide an additional source of fiber.

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Species specific canine-strain proprietary probiotics also help your dog digest lean protein sources and prevent runny stool. If your dog has allergies, this food for Chow Chows is free of corn, wheat, soy, and artificial ingredients. 

6. Solid Gold Fit and Fabulous Dog Food – Best for weight maintenance

Low-fat specially formulated dog food for Chow Chows helps your overweight or obese pet lose weight

Solid Gold - Fit & Fabulous - Potato-Free Fresh Caught Wild Alaskan Pollock - Holistic Weight Control Adult Dry Dog Food - 24 lb Bag
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Key Features

  • Low-fat formula features Alaskan pollock as its primary lean protein 
  • Additional probiotics which support gut health
  • Unique blend of superfoods for improved immune function
  • Made without corn, wheat, soy, and artificial preservatives

If your Chow Chow tends to overeat, this dog food contains live probiotic bacteria to improve digestion and gut health. Its low-fat formula contains omega-rich Alaskan pollock to promote healthy joints and a stunning coat.

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It also contains brown rice and pearled barley as an additional source of fiber, vitamin B, and chelated minerals. Dogs with food allergies will take well to this recipe, as it doesn’t contain corn, wheat, soy, and animal by-products.

Its twenty holistic superfood ingredients such as pumpkin, sesame oil, lentils, and broccoli enhance immune health, relieve constipation, and repair cells in the body.

7. Nutro Natural Choice Senior Dog Food – Best for senior Chow Chows

Low-protein formula contains an abundance of healthy oils that keep your dog’s skin and immune system in good shape

NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE Senior Dry Dog Food, Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dog Kibble, 30 lb. Bag
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Key Features

  • Features whole-grown chicken as its primary quality protein
  • Essential antioxidants for a much-needed immune system boost
  • Made without non-GMO ingredients
  • Ideal for senior dogs over the age of 7

Older Chows that require less protein will enjoy this tasty meal that features chicken as its first ingredient. It is manufactured with your senior dog’s dietary needs in mind, containing essential antioxidants to ensure their immune system functions optimally. 

Added calcium supports brittle bones and weakening joints, while natural fibers from brown rice promote healthy digestion. You can also rest assured that this dog food does not contain any GMO ingredients such as by-product meal, corn, wheat, or soy.

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If your dog is teetering on the heavier side, this formula features barley, which has one of the lowest glycemic indexes among the cereal grains. It is an excellent way to keep your dog satisfied without overfilling or causing diarrhea.   

8. Orijen High Protein Dog Food – Best for Chow Chow puppies

Made with 85% whole animal ingredients such as mackerel nourish your puppy with their biological needs

ORIJEN Puppy Dog Food, Grain Free, High Protein, Fresh & Raw Animal Ingredients, 25lb
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Key Features

  • Contains 85% poultry and fish ingredients
  • Rich in essential protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
  • Coated with freeze-dried liver to increase palatability 
  • First five ingredients are fresh and raw ingredients

This high-protein puppy food features free-run chicken and turkey meal, wild-caught fish, and cage-free eggs that will keep your Chow happy and healthy. Its whole-prey approach incorporates beneficial ingredients like bones, organs, and cartilage to promote dental health, a functioning immune system, and healthy hormones during early development. 

Your Chow puppy won’t be able to get enough of the whisker-licking freeze-dried liver in this recipe. Even the pickiest dogs will take to this formula’s palatability.

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This grain-free diet also eliminates harmful ingredients such as tapioca, gluten, and potato, which also prevent food allergies and digestive sensitivities.  

Blended with antioxidants, your Chow puppy can relish in the benefits of strong muscles, healthy joints, and high energy.

9. Canidae All Life Stages Large Breed Dog Food – Best for all life stages

Specifically formulated to address the nutritional needs of larger dogs and includes a blend of natural supplements

Canidae All Life Stages Large Breed Dry Dog Food, Turkey Meal and Rice, 30lbs
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Key Features

  • Features turkey meal and a nutritionally dense formula
  • Added calcium and phosphorus for stronger bones
  • 100% free of corn, wheat, soy and artificial additives
  • Veterinary-formulated HealthPLUS solutions provide optimal levels of probiotics and omega fats

Whether your Chow is a puppy, adult, or senior, it will benefit from the nutritional value this food has to provide. It is manufactured with premium ingredients such as real meat, fruits, and vegetables to ensure a healthy immune system throughout all life stages.

This formula is also crafted with HealthPLUS solutions, which feature a combination of probiotics, antioxidants, and omega fats to promote optimal skin health and sturdy muscles.

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Ingredients like brown rice provide an additional source of fiber and can soothe your dog’s irritated GI tract. 

It is also free of common allergens such as corn, wheat, soy and preservatives, allowing for seamless digestion and preventing stool-related conditions.


Questions & Answers

Q: How often should I feed my Chow Chow?

A: An active Chow puppy will benefit from three to four meals a day and 1,650 calories in total. An adult can sustain twice-a-day feeding, while you can feed a senior dog just once daily. But generally, how much you feed your Chow Chow in a day will depend on their age and activity level.

Q: Should I feed my Chow wet food?

A: Yes. You can give your Chow canned food sparingly or use it as a topper for their dry food. Too much moisture in your dog’s diet can cause runny stool and disrupt their digestive system. Only increase their intake of canned food if they are dehydrated or have problems with their appetite. 

Q: What is the difference between puppy food and adult food for my Chow Chow?

A: More often than not, your Chow puppy will require a more nutritionally-dense diet to meet their needs during early development. Puppy food also contains more protein and calories to ensure healthy weight gain. However, some dog food is appropriate for pets of all life stages. 

Q: How do I know my Chow Chow has a food allergy?

A: Some dog foods for Chow Chows can cause allergies due to irritants in their formula. The best way to identify what could be causing this allergy is to put your pet on an elimination diet. Alternatively, you can transition them into a limited-ingredient diet with only one source of protein.  

Q: Should my Chow Chow eat grains? 

A: It depends on your dog. Generally, whole-grain diets are better for Chow Chows with digestion issues. However, grains can also cause allergies. Ultimately, whether a grain-free diet is suitable for your dog will depend on their specific needs. You can replace grains with leafy greens that provide ample vitamins and minerals.


Wrapping up on the Best Dog Food for Chow Chows Review

Your Chow Chow might be lethargic or predisposed to certain health conditions, but you can easily prevent this with the right diet. By providing the best dog food for your Chow Chow, you won’t have to worry about occurrences like obesity or hip dysplasia. 

Combined with regular exercise, occasional trips to the vet, and a strict feeding schedule, you can keep your dog in excellent shape for years. If you are adopting a Chow Chow for the first time, this feeding guide can help direct your buying decisions.

Mike Powell

Mike is an avid dog lover and writer. He’s based in Los Angeles, CA where he grew up in a household surrounded by pets. He’s been a dog owner all his life and he uses this extensive experience of having dogs as part of his family to share valuable, practical tips to improve other people’s dog parenting experience.