These muscular, military-looking fellows were bred as protection dogs, and have a really sleek and athletic appearance. They’re energetic and agile and need plenty of exercise and physical and mental stimulation.
Choosing the best dog food for Dobermans is essential to keep them in prime condition, whether they’re fulfilling the role of guard dog or simply being an affectionate family member.
We’ve reviewed some of the most suitable options on the market in this article, and you’ll be able to compare them at a glance or read some more detailed info on each.
You’ll also learn all you need to know about Dobermans’ common health issues and how each food can help counteract these.
Table of Contents
- 10 Best Dog Food For Dobermans
- 1. Merrick Grain-Free Puppy Food
- 2. Diamond Naturals Adult Dry Dog Food
- 3. American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Dry Dog Food
- 4. Instinct Grain-Free Stew
- 5. Canidae Pure Real Salmon Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food
- 6. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Senior Recipe
- 7. The Honest Kitchen Human-Grade Dehydrated Dog Food
- 8. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Adult Duck Recipe
- 9. Taste of the Wild High Protein Dry Dog Food
- 10. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Trail Treats Grain-Free Biscuits
- 1. Merrick Grain-Free Puppy Food
- Testing Protocol & Criteria Used For Evaluation
- Questions & Answers
10 Best Dog Food For Dobermans
1. Merrick Grain-Free Puppy Food
Best For Doberman Puppies: A good nutritional start
- Specifically geared towards puppies’ nutritional needs
- High-quality protein, carbohydrate and fat sources
- Added amino acids and fatty acids for extra health benefits
- Perfect protein and fat levels for Doberman puppies
- Slightly pricey but not too bad
Merrick dog food contains an abundance of all-natural, super health-promoting ingredients that are guaranteed to give your Doberman puppy a good nutritional start. Filled to the brim with premium quality protein sources, vegetables and fruits for energy, fiber, and antioxidants, and great fat sources, you cannot go wrong feeding your puppy this formula. For healthy, active Doberman puppies, this is a super kibble choice.
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2. Diamond Naturals Adult Dry Dog Food
Best Low Protein: Lower in protein but still packed with nutrients
- Lower in protein but still packed with nutrients appropriate for Dobermans
- The most affordable food on this list
- Contains great additions for Dobermans such as L-carnitine and glucosamine
- Good complex carbohydrates included, as well as healthy grains
- The calorie count is a little low for active Dobes, so you may need to feed them more than usual
Dobermans are susceptible to kidney and liver disease, and if your Dobe has been recommended a low-protein diet by their vet for this reason, Diamond Naturals dog food is a great choice. It’s not excessively low, and if the symptoms persist you may need to move to an even lower one (such as the Blue Buffalo Limited Ingredient further down this list), but this food should alleviate some pressure from the kidneys and liver and still get your pup all the nutrients they need to be their usual active, athletic selves.
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3. American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Dry Dog Food
Best Value For Money: Affordable for its quality
- Quite affordable for its quality
- Great protein and fat counts for the average, active Doberman
- Good calcium/phosphorus ratio and added amino acids
- Dried kelp is added, which helps lessen the chance of hypothyroidism
- Contain chicken products (even non-chicken flavours), so may not be suitable for pups who are sensitive to poultry
- There have been reports of the salmon flavour having a strong odour
Although there are foods on this list that are more affordable than this one, American Journey makes it into our Best Value For Money spot because of their price combined with their quality and their nutrient values. Their ingredients are premium quality, and the protein and fat counts are perfect for Dobermans who get regular exercise. The price is great, at $36 for a 24lb bag, which is a bonus when you’re feeding your big guy a good few cups of this per day.
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4. Instinct Grain-Free Stew
Best Wet Food For Dobermans: No carrageenan
- No carrageenan, which is a good sign of a high-quality canned food
- Quality ingredients, including good protein sources and high-quality complex carbs
- High-calorie, which makes it a great addition to kibble to get your pup’s calorie count up
- Contains chelated minerals for easy digestion
- Easy to overfeed your dog if you aren’t careful with calorie maths!
A wet food can be a great supplement to your dog’s dry kibble to add calories, ease dogs who are fussy about their flavours, or simply feed as a treat. This one is a high-quality, all-natural food that avoids artificial or low-quality ingredients (including carrageenan, a popular non-nutritional thickener). It also comes in various flavours, so your furry friend won’t get bored.
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5. Canidae Pure Real Salmon Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food
Best Limited Ingredient Food: Limits chances of food allergies
- 10 or fewer ingredients limits chances of food allergies and bad reactions
- High in calories which makes it perfect for active Dobermans
- High in fat so your Dobe has plenty to metabolize for energy
- Great complex carb sources, which can be hard to find in a limited ingredient food
- Slightly on the pricey side, but worth it
There’s a misconception that putting your dog on a limited ingredient diet will automatically mean that they’ll be getting less protein and fat in. This food proves that wrong, however, with great levels of both, as well as a high calorie count which is perfect for active, healthy pups who just need some extra help keeping away from food allergies.
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6. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Senior Recipe
Best For Senior Dobermans: Specially formulated with senior dogs in mind
- Specially formulated with senior dogs in mind
- Optimal protein, fat, and calorie counts for older, less active Dobes
- Great Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, including DHA for brain health
- Free from grains and chicken, for easier digestion
- Fairly pricey
- Other flavours may contain hidden chicken ingredients so wouldn’t be suitable for dogs who have a poultry sensitivity
We highly recommend this food for senior Dobermans. The calorie count, protein and fat numbers, and all-natural ingredient list put it right in the zone for healthy nutrition for a less active Dobe. There are no grains or chicken products, which makes it great for dogs who may be sensitive to these two common food allergens. It also contains some useful fatty acids and vitamins and minerals that are perfect for older dogs and assist in keeping their immune systems, joints, and digestive processes going smoothly. It is a little on the pricey side, but it’s worth the buy if you can afford it – you can’t go wrong with the quality of this recipe.
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7. The Honest Kitchen Human-Grade Dehydrated Dog Food
Best For Sensitive Stomachs: For Dobermans who may need a soft diet
- Very easy on both sensitive teeth and sensitive stomachs
- High in calories, so it’s great for Dobermans
- Very simple to prepare
- Great for adding extra moisture to your dog’s daily intake
- Some flavours are slightly lower in protein than is recommended for Dobes
- The prices can vary quite drastically by flavour, and are somewhat high
The Honest Kitchen dehydrated food is one well worth knowing about, and is a fantastic option for Dobermans who may need a soft diet due to either digestive issues or trouble chewing dry kibble. The calorie count is high, meaning your pup’s digestive or tooth troubles won’t need to interrupt their usual energetic lifestyles.
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8. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Adult Duck Recipe
Premium Option: Packed with nutrition
- Great nutrient levels for active Dobermans
- Contains dried kelp to help prevent hypothyroidism
- Good complex carbohydrate sources for long-term energy
- Grain-free for easier digestion
- Somewhat pricey in comparison to others
Blue Buffalo makes great dog foods that are packed with nutrition. This one is great for Dobermans as it has a decent calorie count (416 per cup of kibble), great levels of protein and fat (34% and 15% respectively) and contains the usual ingredients that are helpful for this particular dog breed – a great calcium/phosphorus ratio, glucosamine for healthy joints, and Omega fatty acid levels that are higher than most.
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9. Taste of the Wild High Protein Dry Dog Food
Best Without Glucosamine: High in protein and fats
- High in protein and fats, perfect for Dobermans
- Multiple sources of high-quality protein
- Good levels of Omega fatty acids
- Slightly lower in calories, so might need to feed active Dobes more
- No glucosamine, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing and would suit dogs on glucosamine supplements
Most of the foods we’ve reviewed contain glucosamine, which is great for breeds that tend to suffer from hip, knee, and elbow dysplasia as it just strengthens joints and lowers the chances of accidental dislocation. It’s a really good addition, but seeing a food without it isn’t a train smash. If, however, you would prefer to have that bit of a buffer for your pup’s joints, you can get glucosamine supplements to feed your pup separately.
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10. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Trail Treats Grain-Free Biscuits
Best Treat For Dobermans: Nice protein and fat levels for a treat
- Oven-baked for locked-in nutrition
- A few different flavours are available
- Nice protein and fat levels for a treat
- Made from premium natural ingredients
- If you’re intending to use these to up your pup’s calories, you will either need to feed them quite a few or find something higher calorie
A high-quality, high-protein treat is a good thing to have on hand, whether it’s for using as a training incentive, getting some extra calories into your pup, or simply giving them some extra love during the day. These treats are nutritious and tasty and your Dobe will like the crunch.
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Testing Protocol & Criteria Used For Evaluation
Criteria 1 – Calorie Count
Choosing a food without paying attention to the calories is kind of like choosing to go on a road trip but not paying attention to the fuel gauge. You need an idea of how many calories your Dobe is burning each day in order to know how much to feed him to avoid both malnutrition and overfeeding and weight gain.
For Dobermans being fed twice a day, a high-calorie food is essential. As these pups need around 2000 calories a day, it’s a great idea to use a dry dog food that has upwards of 400 calories per scoop, and they may need a few scoops in each meal. We’ve tried to include foods here that contain 400 plus calories per cup, unless otherwise specified.
Criteria 2 – Protein Count & Quality
25 to 30% protein is ideal for a healthy, energetic Doberman who is getting regular exercise. Of course, this should come from high-quality, identified sources, like real meat or meat meal.
If your Dobe is one who suffers from kidney or liver disease, he may be prescribed a low protein diet by his vet. In this case, you should be looking for a food with around 20% protein, but still from the same kind of natural sources.
There’s nothing wrong with the addition of plant protein (such as pea protein, potato protein), but an identifiable, named animal protein is definitely needed as the main protein ingredient.
The dog foods we’ve reviewed in this list contain 25% or more protein, except in specific cases that we have mentioned when the food is aimed at dogs on low-protein diets.
Criteria 3 – Complex Carbohydrates
As these pooches can be prone to bouts of low blood sugar, it’s a great idea to feed them a food that contains slow-burning complex carbs to give them sustained energy throughout the day and keep their blood sugar up.
Fruits and vegetables are the best sources, and if you choose to feed your pup something with grains in it, the food should contain fruits and vegetables in addition to the grains. These can be fresh or dried, but the presence of veggies and fruits is a good sign that the quality of the food is acceptable. They’re also a fantastic source of fibre, and will assist in keeping your Dobe’s metabolism running smoothly.
Criteria 4 – Healthy Fats
These powerful pups need plenty of energy to see them through their generally activity-filled days. Fat is an amazing energy source, as it’s easily metabolized and gives your pooch a boost of sustained energy that will help them keep their energy levels stable as the day goes.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that more fat in a food automatically causes weight gain – this is all about how much of that energy your dog burns off as he metabolizes it. If your dog is less active, they’ll need a lower fat count, but a highly energetic dog will need a good amount of it.
The foods we’ve compared here have 12% or more fat in them, although we recommend around 15 for optimal nutrition. We’ve also made sure that that number is made up of great, healthy fat sources.
Criteria 5 – Affordability
Being the parent of a super energetic, working dog is quite a feat. You have to make sure they get enough exercise, they are stimulated throughout the day even when you’re not there, and make sure that they stay as healthy as possible, despite the numerous health conditions that can become a problem.
That’s why choosing a food shouldn’t be a high-stress ordeal, especially when it comes to cost. Sure, there are some foods that are quite a bit more expensive than others, although we can vouch for these being superior quality foods. However, there are some fantastic quality dog foods that are also very reasonably priced, and you shouldn’t automatically discard these based on their price tag (thinking they may be lesser quality).
You totally can feed your hungry Dobe a high-quality, nutritious diet without breaking the bank, and we’ve added this criterion for quick and easy comparison between food prices.
Questions & Answers
What’s the ideal caloric intake for Dobermans?
Dobermans are sort of on the cusp of medium and large breeds, but because of their high energy and naturally active and powerful lifestyles, they need quite a chunk of calories per day.
A highly active adult dog will need around 2100 calories a day, split between a few meals, unless they are a less active dog, in which case they might be comfortable with around 1800. Puppies should be all good with around 1800 calories a day until they’re adults, and seniors (depending on their activity levels) will need from 1300 to 1800.
This is something that depends quite a lot on your particular dog. Health issues, amount of exercise, and your pup’s general disposition will have an effect on how much they can eat healthily without gaining weight. You may need to do some experimenting to find what works best with your guy or girl.
What are the dietary requirements of Dobermans?
In their prime state of health, these dogs are muscular, athletic, and powerful. They have long, lean muscles that need a good amount of protein to stay strong. The ideal protein count for a Doberman adult is between 25 and 30%, and it’s necessary to be aware that this breed suffers from kidney and liver disease more than some others, so protein count will need to be adjusted down if your dog shows any signs of this.
Carbohydrate content should consist of complex, easily digestible carbs, preferably fruits and vegetables. Gluten-free grains are also acceptable if your pup’s stomach can tolerate them. Healthy fats are essential, and a count of 15% and upwards on dog food labels is great.
Although these are baseline amounts and guidelines for healthy Dobermans, you will need to consider your own dog, their health, exercise, and lifestyle before assuming this is correct for all dogs. If your dog shows any signs or symptoms of being unwell, you might need a trip to the vet to be sure they’re getting all the nutrients they need, and nothing that may be contributing negatively.
What ingredients should I avoid when choosing the best dog food for Dobermans?
Some ingredients just don’t digest well, no matter what dog breed you have or how healthy they are. Grains that contain gluten are one of these ingredients, and include wheat, corn, and soy. These are generally considered to be lower quality “fillers” and can cause digestive upset, so if you want to feed your dog grains, stick to higher quality, gluten-free ones like barley, rice, and oatmeal.
Anything artificial should be avoided – flavours, colours, and preservatives. If you aren’t sure what an ingredient is and if it’s something artificial, do a quick Google search. Mixed tocopherols and citric acid are natural preservatives and are good indications that there aren’t artificial chemical preservatives in the food.
Meat by-products should also be steered clear of. These are all the “off-cuts” that come out of factories – hooves, teeth, beaks, and so on. There’s not much nutritional value in these and they can be hard to digest too. Also, avoid a food that uses vague, general terms such as “meat meal”, “animal fat”, or similar – any brand that isn’t transparent with exactly what type of animal meat products they’re using should be questioned!
These majestic dogs are unfortunately susceptible to some health conditions. Although not all of these are specifically related to food, the quality of food they’re eating can make a huge difference to how their body responds and deals with health problems. Although a great quality food may not eliminate the problems entirely, eating healthy can definitely help alleviate symptoms and improve the quality of your dog’s life.
Hypothyroidism is a common disease in this breed, and you should get your dog tested for it if he or she displays any symptoms. The food they’re eating can help keep their symptoms at bay and improve thyroid function, so if your dog has been diagnosed with having an inactive or less-active thyroid, you’ll need to find a food that works best for that particular health problem.
Chronic hepatitis is a disease of the liver that Dobermans can also be prone to. It’s not really known why, but if your dog shows any symptoms of this, a vet’s trip is definitely in order. Liver disease can be a crippling thing, so your dog will need long-term treatment.
Bloat is a condition that is more food-related than some others on this list. It’s more common in deep-chested dogs, and Dobermans fall into this category. What happens is the dog’s stomach fills with gas or fluid. This can cause a multitude of problems, including the stomach twisting or swelling to the point of becoming blocked. This can then cut off blood flow in veins or put pressure on other organs (including the heart). This is a life-threatening condition, and you should be very aware of it if you’re a Doberman parent. Should your pup show signs, you’ll need to get them to the vet within an hour.
Wobbler Syndrome is a neurological disorder that originates in the neck (cervical spine) and causes a characteristic wobbly gait. Dobermans are prone to slipped discs in this region which can kick-off this disease due to causing spinal compression. It can be a crippling disease, and needs to be addressed with your pup’s vet in order to treat it.
These dogs can also suffer from hip, knee, and elbow dysplasia, which can be alleviated a little by choosing a food with glucosamine and chondroitin, and a good calcium/phosphorus ratio (especially feeding a good calcium count as a puppy). Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is also a condition that can pop up with these guys, and can be managed to a degree by making sure your pup gets enough slow-digesting, complex carbs in their diet.
How often should I feed my Doberman?
Up until 8 weeks old, your dobe should be eating three meals a day. Thereafter, you can go down to two a day, adjusting the amounts you feed to keep them to their calorie goal. When your doberman gets older and less active, they may find it easier to eat smaller portions and so you can feed them three times a day again if necessary.