FAQ: Care & Feeding
Looking for more information on day to day life with your Dalmatian?
For LUA dogs, you can feed them like any other dog.
For HUA dogs, 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 puppies, large breed foods can help them grow healthy joints.
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 have been associated with 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.
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 Dalmatian need?
Each dog is different. Most Dalmatians 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.
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.
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 Dalmatian?