When I am standing ringside at shows I get so many questions about what I feed my guys because their coats are always shiny and their eyes are full of life. What I choose to feed is a very critical choice to me and my guys love meal time. I also ask my puppy owners to follow a similar diet because it was what they started with but what I think does best with the breed for the value for money.
I feed grain-free Canidae PureSea as my main base kibble for the adults and the puppies get Orijen Large Breed Puppy. Orijen can be very difficult to find so the puppies that don’t live with me, I recommend Canidae PureFoundations. I encourage raw feeding as well. We also add in a spoonful of Merrick canned food. I also supplement with Kefir and Coconut Oil. I do need to preface that I am a member of Canidae’s breeder program and that program is one of the best breeder programs I have ever seen.
I do feed partial raw every night for all of my dogs that are currently showing in conformation, service dog work and/or performance. Raw is a great source of readily available nutrients and if I could afford to feed it fully, I would.
Proper nutrition is very important to Hamiltonstovare, any dog for that matter. I have tried a lower quality of food and food with grain and the results were terrible. The first brand that I tried was Bil-Jac at the advice of Alice’s breeder, and Alice hated it and I hated what it did. Alice didn’t lose weight nor did it help her coat. The next brand that I tried was Purina ProPlan Sport 30/20. I was very hopeful with this brand because it is the food that a lot of show people feed. I had already had my dogs on Canidae PureSea at the time but the distributors stopped sending it to my local stores. So I had to change and when I changed to ProPlan the results were terrible. Purina ProPlan Sport 30/20 is not a grain-free food and it shows. For the first time, my dogs started to get yeast rashes. Rolo’s yeast reaction is just now getting under control.
Hamiltonstovare should be fed in a manner that is similar to other cold weather breeds, they require high protein and react badly to grain. Raw feeding is highly encouraged with cold weather breeds. When I supplement with raw feeding, I use raw chicken necks and prepared raw either by Instinct, Primal, Northwest Naturals or Stella & Cheweys. With the raw that I feed, I tend to vary the protein sources on a regular basis. Feeding multiple protein sources can actually prevent the development of food allergies.
When I have a pregnant female, she is fed an appropriate amount of kibble, raw, supplements of coconut oil, kefir, Adams Laboratory’s “Bitch Heat” and a spoonful of low-fat vanilla yogurt. She is also fed that while nursing.
For my puppy owners, I go over some of the basics with them regarding nutrition. I also make sure that they understand how to read a dog food label and make smart choices. If there is an emergency and they cannot find their usual food then they can make choices that won’t upset their diet too much. The general rules of thumb that I use in a pinch are:
1. Is it grain-free?
2. Are the first 3 ingredients meat and not meat by-products?
3. Is the protein percentage over 30%?
4. Is it listed as natural, holistic, organic, etc.?