The Rottweiler, commonly shortened to “Rottie,” is a working class breed that is a descendant of the Mastiff line. The large breed dogs are used for home and personal protection as well as a loving, playful member of the family. Properly trained, the Rottie will be confident, protective and not overly aggressive.
In the 1990s Rottweilers got a bad name due to some media exposure for mishandling. Today, though, much of the scare is over, and these graceful dogs once again retain the hearts of millions. With a ten-year life expectancy and an active nature, the Rottweiler can be a handful. They require constant attention and devoted training, but when accomplished are among the most loyal of all the breeds.
Why Quality Food Matters to Your Rottweiler
All dogs are carnivores, meaning they eat meat first and other foods secondary. For a Rottie, they require a lot more protein than most other dogs. The larger breeds, including Rottweilers, will need a diet high in meat protein and low in grains.
When deciding on a proper diet for your black and tan, meat and meat meal should be the primary ingredients. High-quality food is important to give the dog everything he or she needs to maintain their metabolism, activity level and to fight off illness and infections.
Lower quality foods can substitute grain proteins for meat proteins because they are cheaper to produce. However, for your Rottie, this isn’t a good idea. Everything from the bone structure, to eye health, starts with the diet. A high grain diet won’t give the large dog enough of what their body needs.
Choosing to stick to a high-quality diet is as essential as training. Without proper nutrition, your dog can suffer from a host of illnesses and medical problems that will end up costing you a lot more money and the dog a lot more anguish.
Top Rottweiler Foods: Quick Look
This review will look at the best dog food for each stage of like: puppy, adult, and senior. Here is a brief overview of the best dog foods for your Rottweiler.
- Best Overall Dog Food – Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Beef
- Best Premium Dog Food – Ollie Healthy Turkey Feast
- Best Value Dog Food – Blue Buffalo Life Protection
- Best Dog Food for Seniors – Solid Gold Young at Heart Chicken Recipe
- Best Dog Food for Puppies – American Journey Duck & Sweet Potato
Rottweiler Common Health Issues
There are several health concerns with all dogs, and Rottweilers are no exception. Below is a review of the most common ailments that affect the breed.
Osteochondritis Dessicans is a disease that affects the joints of the Rottie. As they grow, particularly in the early months to the first year, the cartilage doesn’t become a joint before the bones grow into place. OCD affects a lot of Rottweilers, especially those that are bred from puppy mills or unscrupulous breeders.
As the puppy grows, the bones can grow too quickly, the joints become deformed or misaligned and result in the condition. While there isn’t a cure for the problem, nor can it be exhaustively prevented, there are steps you can take to help.
Proper diet and exercise are crucial in the early months up to the first two years. However, you need to be cautious. Rough play as a puppy can aid in the development of the OCD, and improper diet can affect the joint formation and bone growth.
You should make sure the puppy has plenty of exercises but doesn’t play too rough until the joints are fully formed. Because Rottweilers grow fast, this can be a challenge. The proper diet will allow the dog to develop fully and on schedule.
You do have to be careful though. Not enough exercise for fear of playing too hard can lead to the natural laziness of the dog. They easily become over-eaters and lethargic, leading to obesity. This can also cause severe damage to their joints and knees.
Aortic Stenosis is a condition that affects the heart, or more precisely the blood flow to the heart. This is a hereditary condition that is passed down through breeding. If it is in the bloodline, it can be passed to the next generation.
There isn’t a prevention method, however, no matter how well balanced the diet is, or the care taken, it is something the dog is either born with or not. In the case that the dog does have the condition, it isn’t always fatal. While it can lead to a heart attack, not all cases are severe.
Once diagnosed it is essential to keep an eye on the condition. However, most cases don’t cause problems to the adult Rottie. If you are planning to breed, though, the puppies can be born with a worse case and need to be treated.
Entropion and Ectropion
These conditions affect the eyelids of the dog. Entropion is a condition where the eyelid rolls inward causing the lashes to scratch the eyes. This can lead to irritation, cataracts, and even blindness.
Ectropion, then, is when the eyelids roll outward. This condition is less severe but can lead to conjunctivitis. However, ectropion usually corrects itself as the puppy ages. If it does not, surgical correction may be warranted.
For both cases, it is an inherited trait, so if the parents had either, the puppy most likely will, too. Entropion should be corrected with surgery as there is no other cure.
Rottweilers are one of the breeds that has a common occurrence of cancer. The most common types are lymphoma and bone cancer. While there isn’t a known remedy, cure or prevention method established, many feel that the diet and environment have some preventative abilities.
A well balanced and nourishing diet is crucial for any animal, including humans, but in Rottweilers, it is a must. Because of their size, the diet is one of the most important factors in their overall health, next to exercise.
Regular check-ups and screenings should be done, and selective breeding options should be considered when purchasing your puppy.
What to Look for In Quality Dog Food for Rottweilers
The first line of defense to ensure proper nutrition for your Rottweiler is you. Because dogs can’t read, it is important for you to examine the ingredient list of any food before you purchase. But what should you be looking for?
Meat and Meat Meal
The primary ingredient on a food label is always listed first. This is the requirement and is followed by every manufacturer. However, all ingredients, listed in order of amount, are pre-processed weights. This is something to keep in mind. Chicken, for example, is a great protein to have but is also high in water content, which evaporates during processing.
Meat should always be the first ingredient, whether it is chicken, turkey, beef or pork. Fish and seafood are also used but should be avoided as the primary ingredient.
If you see meat meal listed, such as chicken meal or beef meal, this is completely acceptable. Meat meal is the result of grinding the muscle meat and bone into a meal consistency before adding to the recipe. While it sounds a little gross, it isn’t harmful in any way. A lot of protein and vitamins come from the meat meal that the Rotties need.
Wheat and Grains
While not ideal, wheat grains are used to add to the number of proteins in the food. Most dogs won’t fare too well in the long run with a high-grain diet. Rotties are among this group. Not only are they designed to eat meat, but they also crave it. Feeding a Rottweiler an all grain diet is bad for their growth, teeth, and overall health.
Some grains are okay, wheat, as we have mentioned as well as rice and some beans. There are some you should avoid as well, which we will cover in a moment. When it comes to the grains, you need to check the label and make sure that the primary ingredient isn’t a grain (corn is common).
However, you also need to ensure that the majority of proteins come from meat and not grain. While the amounts aren’t listed, it is easy to spot. If the second through eighth ingredients is a grain, then you can most likely be sure that the meat protein is minimal and grain protein is high.
Vegetables are going to provide your Rottie with most of the vitamins and minerals they need to sustain a healthy lifestyle and active metabolism. Potatoes and sweet potatoes are highly common and found in almost every high-quality recipe.
You will also find fruits and berries in a lot of premium foods. Berries are rich in antioxidants and help promote a healthy coat, liver and digestive tract.
Ingredients to Avoid in Your Rottweilers Dog Food
While there are plenty of ingredients to be sure to include, there are even more to avoid. Here are the most common ingredients found in dog food that you shouldn’t allow your dog to have.
the word byproduct on a food label is a fancy way of saying “inedible.” The fact is, meat byproduct is a fast, cheap and easy way to add protein to dog food. The byproduct, however, is not consumable by humans. It is graded for canine consumption though, but it shouldn’t be.
The byproduct is slough from the meat processing procedure. It is called a 4-D food because it contains meat properties from Dead, Dying, Diseased and Deformed meat sources. Expired meat products, road kill, extraneous pieces left over from butchering and other waste procedures all go into making byproduct.
Chicken and beef are the most common byproducts found in dog food. If you ever see a label with byproduct, you should put it down and walk away. The only thing worse than chicken byproduct or beef byproduct is meat byproduct.
By having “meat byproduct” on the label, they don’t have to note where it was sourced or from what animal. This means that diseased animals, expired animals and chemicals can (and most likely are) in the food.
Colors and Dyes
You should always avoid food coloring and dyes when you see them on the label. Most notable are Blue 2, Red 40, Yellow 4 and 5 and even 4-MIE. Dyes and colors can cause allergic reactions in dogs, hypertensive, aggressiveness and other irritations and symptoms.
It is best to avoid any artificial colorings or additives at all.
For some reason, the FDA has demanded that human foods do not contain certain chemicals. BHT and BHA are included on this list along with Ethoxyquin. All three are illegal to use in foods consumed by humans. However, they are allowed in foods consumed by canines.
While human food may not contain these harsh chemicals, our pet’s food can, each one is a known carcinogen and can cause irreparable harm to our bodies. It can do the same to your Rottweiler. Avoid these chemicals at all costs.
Brands to Watch Out For
Several brands use ingredients that our dogs shouldn’t eat. While some will use corn or corn meal, they shouldn’t. It isn’t detrimental to the dog, but it isn’t recommended, either. Below are some brands you should avoid purchasing altogether.
Walmart’s famous dog food brand Ol’ Roy has virtually zero nutritional value. It only works to fill the dog’s belly only to be released sooner than it should. There are no meat ingredients; it does contain byproducts and chemicals.
Any protein is derived from grains only and is rendered useless in their manufacturing process which uses high heat, effectively killing anything good from the ingredients’ nutrition.
Pedigree is a name that has been around for a long time and is well established. However, they don’t use meat or meat meal, opting for byproduct instead. The main issue though, aside from the disgusting 4-D food source, is their main listed ingredient: Corn.
If meat isn’t the main ingredient, you should look elsewhere for your dog’s food. Pedigree rarely has a flavor out that even has meat listed anywhere, let alone first. All protein is derived from grain, and corn is one of the worst protein grains available.
Rottweiler Feeding Chart
Feeding your Rottie will be determined by the age and size of your dog. Puppies need more meals per day with smaller amounts, while adults can get by with one large meal per day. Here is the break down:
Puppies up to 16 weeks old should have three meals per day.
Puppies 16 weeks to 2 years should have two meals per day.
Adults and seniors should eat once per day.
How much per meal, you ask? That depends a lot on your particular Rottie. Rotties are notorious for overeating and will generally eat whatever you give them. This isn’t a good thing, though as it can lead to obesity very fast.
The recommendation is trial and error. Put a good amount in the food bowl and observe the eating. After 20 minutes, if the dog is still eating, remove the bowl. If they have walked away, wait another 20 minutes to see if they return.
If they return and finish, you have the right amount. If they do not return, you gave them too much. Likewise, if they stand and eat in one sitting everything you have given them within five minutes, they may need a little more at the next feeding time.
The goal is to narrow down the amount of food required to have them finish the bowl in about 15 minutes without requiring a return trip or leaving too much behind. Any food left out will be eaten, and if it becomes a habit, they will begin to grow fat.
Best Dog Food for Your Rottweiler
The best dog food for your Rottweiler will depend on the dog’s age or life stage, and if there are any conditions, the diet can help with, such as obesity or joint pain. Here are the best foods you can buy.
Adult – Best Overall – Ziwi Peak Beef Air-Dried Dog Food
Ziwi Peak, straight from New Zealand, offers an all-natural farm sourced dog food free of grain and soy. Each flavor is all natural from that animal (beef, lamb, chicken, etc.) and contains no additives or preservatives.
Ziwi Peak uses a two-stage air drying process that prevents bacteria and maintains nutrients. All meat sources are grass fed (except fowl, of course) and free range. The top five ingredients are (from the beef flavor):
- Beef Heart
- Beef Kidney
- Beef Tripe
- Beef Liver
What Customers Like
- All natural, free-range meat sources from farms in New Zealand.
- No grains or additives to affect digestion.
- Great for adult large breed dogs that need pure proteins.
- Kibble is more crumbs than kibble in recent orders as the recipe has changed.
- Young teeth may have problems with the larger kibble.
Adult – Best Value – Blue Buffalo Life Protection Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Dry Dog Food
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula is a natural dog food catering to larger breeds and adult dogs. The kibble is crunchy and full of nutritional value that Rottie needs. Their formula helps maintain vitality and gives the right nutrients for Rotties between 2 and six years of age.
Essential vitamins and minerals are added, such as calcium or phosphorous. They have also added glucosamine for joint and bone health which Rottweilers need as they age.
The first five ingredients are:
- Deboned Chicken
- Chicken Meal
- Brown Rice
What Customers Like
- The Rotties tend to devour the bowls at feeding time, leaving little waste.
- Added vitamins and minerals that aren’t found in other premium options.
- Does not contain wheat, corn or soy
- Larger kibble can be more difficult for older adults to manage
- Doesn’t mix well with wet food or topper
Adult – Best Super Premium – Ollie Healthy Turkey Feast Fresh Dog Food
Ollie produces an on-demand food for dogs that is human-rated and super premium. They only use a handful of ingredients, and everything is made with fresh ingredients and sourced right from the farm. Each order is custom made and sent directly to you, which is customary of the super premium brands.
They add vitamins and nutrients such as magnesium and vitamin E to help promote overall health and wellness of your dog. For their Healthy Turkey Feast, the first five ingredients are:
- Ground turkey
- Turkey thigh
- Turkey liver
- Turkey heart
What Customers Like
- Fresh produce with no additives or preservatives.
- Easy to order and customize for your particular breed.
- Various recipes to choose from, all with the same healthy ingredients.
- Can be difficult to store for longer periods.
- Rottweilers can be picky and may not eat everything included.
Puppy – Best Dry Food – Nutro MAX Large Breed Puppy Food
Specifically designed with your large Rottie puppy in mind, Nutro delivers an all natural farm raised chicken recipe that can be traced back to its source. All farm-raised chickens are bred and raised right here in the USA and are never altered are fed chemicals.
Each bag of Nutro MAX offers you the essential nutrients your puppy needs to develop strong muscles, durable joints, and active metabolism. Meat protein is the main protein and wheat or corn is never included. The first five ingredients are:
- Chicken Meal
- Whole Grain Oatmeal
- Whole Grain Sorghum
- Chicken Fat
What Customers Like
- All ingredients are natural, and farm raised.
- Includes a specific blend of proteins for large breed puppies.
- Optimal nutrients for health and wellness.
- Does contain peas and some people want to avoid them.
- Kibble may need to be softened with water to be edible by smaller puppies.
Puppy – Best Wet Food – American Journey Duck & Sweet Potato Canned Dog Food
American Journey has created a wet food for all life stages and for large breed puppies like your Rottie, the benefits are quite noticeable. Besides having proteins from a single meat source, the recipes also add amino acids and essential minerals for the heart, coat, and joint health. Because it is designed for all stages, it is more beneficial to large breed puppies who need extra protection while they grow.
American Journey also reduces their ingredient list to help alleviate allergens and ingredients that can cause harm to some breeds. You won’t find any soy, byproducts or wheat here. The first five ingredients (Duck recipe) are:
- Duck Broth
- Sweet Potatoes
- Sunflower Oil
- Dicalcium Phosphate
What Customers Like
- The recipes are varied, so the puppy doesn’t get bored.
- Easy to identify ingredients full of nutrients and added minerals.
- Rotties love the taste and usually end up begging for more.
- No specifically designed formula for each life stage.
- Some recipes are more watered down appearing than they should be.
Senior – Best Dry Food – Solid Gold Young at Heart Chicken Senior Recipe
Solid Gold has only one senior recipe, and there is only one that you need. Your Rottie will devour every morsel and ask for more. The main ingredient is chicken followed by essential fats, calories and protein sources that won’t weigh the old dog down.
Every meal includes heart and healthy joint ingredients that will prolong the health of these areas as well as keep your Rottie vibrant and active. The first five ingredients are:
- Chicken Meal
- Sweet Potatoes
What Customers Like
- The formula is one that the dogs love and seem to crave.
- Very little waste as the dog will eat only what he needs, feeling full and satisfied.
- Vitamins, minerals and rich source proteins keep your large breed senior trim.
- Kibble can be difficult to chew for elderly members.
- Only one flavor to choose from limits variety.
Senior – Best Wet Food – American Journey Limited Ingredient Lamb & Sweet Potato
American Journey appears again because of its simple ingredients and the lack of a specific formula. While some see this as a downside, it is a good thing. Because of the various flavors and choices your dog won’t grow tired of the same old thing, from puppy through adulthood into being a senior, you can stick with one brand the entire time.
The top five ingredients of the Lamb flavor:
- Lamb Broth
- Lamb Liver
- Sweet Potatoes
- Sunflower Oil
What Customers Like
- Wide variety for all stages of life.
- Seniors can easily digest all ingredients.
- Allergen considerations are in the brand.
- When switching to wet food for seniors, can cause diarrhea
- Some seniors refuse to eat certain flavors.