FAQ: Care & Feeding
Looking for more information on day to day life with your Dog?
For LUA Dalmatians and Border Terriers, you can feed them like any other dog.
For HUA Dalmatians, you need to feed them foods LOW in PURINE proteins. Often foods with corn or soy as the first ingredient are lower in purines compared to meat-first foods. They need extra water, so add water to EVERY bowl of food. We add 4 parts water to one part food (e.g. 1 cup food gets 4 cups water added).
Generally they don't need high protein diets - normal 18-21% foods are fine. For Dalmatian puppies, large breed foods can help them grow healthy joints.
There is a rare disorder in Border Terriers that responds to a gluten-free diet. This type of diet is not required in unaffected dogs. Diets such as Purina Beyond Chicken & Carrot Canned Food are gluten free if you or your dog require that.
Meadow Brook Dalmatians feeds mainly Purina Pro Plan to LUAs and Kirkland (Costco) Chicken, Rice & Vegetable, or Purina Dog Chow and Pro Plan to HUAs.
It goes without saying that dogs require clean, fresh water available at all times.
What about Raw, Grain-Free, or other non-kibble diets?
Raw foods and grain free diets can be fed, but they have no evidence to support them being "better" than other forms of food.
Some boutique foods with exotic proteins and other grain-free diets (including raw diets) have been associated with dietary/nutritional heart disease. If you want to use an uncommon diet, check with your veterinarian for the lastest information.
If you choose to prepare foods at home, please note that most published recipes are NOT complete and balanced. Work with a boarded veterinary nutritionist (such as the consulting services BalanceIt.com and PetDiets.com or a veterinary college) to help you formulate a nutritionally complete and balanced homemade food.
What about prescription diets?
Prescription diets, such as Hill's U/D or Royal Canin Urinary or RC Dalmatian, may be needed if your HUA dog has started to form urate stones and needs to dissolve them. Only about 10% of HUA dogs ever have clinical illness from stones, so many dogs can be managed without prescription diets.
Prescription diets are rarely needed for many years, unless your pet has a food allergy. Most are used at the end of life for poor organ function, or temporarily during a health issue.
If your veterinarian prescribes a special diet for other reasons - such as illness - this is usually important to help your pet manage the illness. If you're not sure, talk to your vet about your concerns, but usually there's a very good reason for the diet. The specific reasons for being on the diet (such as needed lower phosphorus levels in kidney disease) may be obtainable in more than one way.
If you home-prepare foods, boarded veterinary nutritionists can help you create a home-prepared diet that will be similar to a prescription food. You can obtain a consultation through your local veterinary college or consultation with services such as BalanceIt.com or PetDiets.com.
How much exercise does a dog need?
Each dog is different. Most dogs want human love and affection whenever their human is around.
Most dogs sleep 12-16 hours a day, so they'll sleep 8 hours at night, and much of the workday if you work outside the home.
Most Dalmatians, unlike some intense working breeds, have an "off button" and are happy with evening and weekend attention. An hour of playtime around the house and yard, a long walk, several short (5-15 minute) training sessions throughout an evening, or one training class is enough activity for most Dalmatians, provided they have things to do in their down time. You can give them food in puzzle feeders, provide appropriate chew toys, or they can play with your other dogs, as ways to amuse themselves when you're not available to play.
Border Terriers have a higher energy and drive level. They love to hunt if you have a safe, enclosed area or an on-leash area where they can search for wildlife (e.g. checking the barn for rats). They are excellent for performance as mentally stimulating training games and sports help fulfill their working drive.
If you have the time and energy for a 30-60 minute exercise session (running, swimming, training agility, etc) that can be plenty of high intensity exercise for many dogs. On days you don't have as much time, brain-games of shaping style training can provide a lot mental work in a few minutes at a time.
If you prefer to exercise your dog more, Dalmatians' history of coaching dogs may be perfect for you. As endurance dogs, with gradual training, Dalmatians can run 25-30 miles in a day, so they can happily accompany you if you run marathons, bicycle, ride horses, or enjoy long hikes.
What should I feed my dog?