Gentle giants, guard dogs, masters of herding, confident; all of these are terms we use to refer to Rottweilers. These big, loving creatures are often misunderstood by those who don’t know them or have met only a bad seed, but they are genuinely some of the sweetest and most loyal dogs around.


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Aside from their gentle but firm attitudes, Rottweilers are most well known for their appearance. They have incredibly muscular bodies, and males can grow up to 27” tall. Female Rotties aren’t far behind; they can become up to 25” tall. These dogs are truly massive, which is just one of the reasons for feeding them the right diet matters.

These dogs are prone to allergies and obesity if they eat the wrong foods, which means you’ll need to ensure you have your veterinarian involved in food decisions as your Rottweiler grows. We all want our dogs to be healthy and happy, which means paying attention to signs of an allergy and working to find the best foods to overcome those allergens as soon as possible.

In addition to allergies and obesity, making the right decision about what to feed your Rottie can mean the difference between a short and painful life or a long and pleasant one. Rottweilers are prone to suffer from hip and joint issues as well as heart problems and other unfortunate diseases and defects.

Finding the right food can help to promote healthy muscles, a healthy heart, and an overall energetic and well-nourished dog. Food is probably one of the most important decisions you’ll make for your Rottweiler, which is why we’ve researched the best dog foods for this breed. We want to give you all the tools to help keep your furry best friend healthy for years to come.


Key Nutritional Needs of a Rottweiler Diet

Ask any fitness buff, and they’ll tell you that to have strong muscles, you need protein. Although protein comes from many sources both in plant and animal forms, dogs need animal protein to thrive. Because of their size and muscle structure, this is especially true for Rottweilers. Additionally, Rottweilers come naturally by potentially dangerous health issues that diet can affect.

Protein

You’ll want food with a whole protein as the number one ingredient. Although dogs are often considered omnivores, they require animal protein as their primary source of energy. Protein is especially vital for Rotties to keep their muscles strong and their energy up to par. You’ll want your Rottweiler’s food to have at least 22% protein.

Avoiding animal meals and byproducts when you’re looking at the protein in your dog’s food is essential. Whole proteins are not only more effective at keeping Rottweilers healthy, but they also ensure that you’re not accidentally feeding your dog an allergen. Try to avoid foods that don’t outright list their ingredients.

Omega-3s and Fish Oil

Not only are Omega-3 fatty acids essential for dogs since they don’t produce these fatty acids naturally, but they will also help to keep your Rottweiler’s heart going strong. Cardiac issues are fairly common in this breed, so feeding them salmon and other fish is a good idea.

Micronutrients

Glucosamine and Chondroitin are essential to help with the joint and hip issues Rottweilers owners know too well. These two substances help to build and maintain strong bone and joint structures. Additionally, calcium is an essential part of a Rottweiler’s daily diet.

No Fillers

Things like corn, soy, and wheat are fillers that you want to avoid in your Rottweiler’s food. These ingredients don’t add nutritional value for your furbaby, and they can end up causing harm instead. They may cause your dog to gain excess weight and can also trigger allergic reactions, which are already common in Rotties.

Some Rottweilers also react negatively to legumes like peas and beans, so you may want to consider a pea-free or legume-free food. Always make sure you talk to your vet before you assume your dog has allergies since sometimes symptoms of colitis or irritable bowel disorder will mimic allergy problems in dogs.

Fiber

Providing food for your dog that contains between 3 and 5% fiber is vital to their health. Fiber helps to keep things regular and support their energy levels. Since Rottweilers are prone to irritable bowels and colitis, fiber is especially important in their food. Look for non-legume fiber sources, though, since those can cause allergy issues.

Special Dietary and Nutritional Considerations of Rottweilers

Rottweiler’s dietary requirements are specific because of their large, muscular bodies and their health issues. These dogs are huge, and because of their size, they require lots of protein and plenty of micronutrients to help their muscles and bones stay strong. They are also prone to stomach and GI issues, heart defects, and bloat, which all require special dietary considerations.

    • Health Issues: Because Rottweilers commonly have hip and joint dysplasia, they need micronutrients to keep their bones strong. They also require special diets, typically wheat-free and sometimes also legume-free, to discourage GI problems like colitis. Some Rottweilers do better with probiotics in their food, and all of them need plenty of fiber.
    • Allergies: Rottweilers are prone to develop allergies to certain proteins over time, so it’s good to give these dogs only a single protein source when possible. If you stick to a single protein and your dog becomes allergic, then you can easily find a different source to feed him instead. You should also avoid wheat with these dogs as it’s hard to digest.
    • Activity level: Rottweilers aren’t all the most rambunctious or energetic dogs. Some Rotties are downright lazy or have health issues that slow them down. You’ll want to consider your dog’s energy and activity level when you are feeding them. Lower activity dogs require fewer calories per day than those that are constantly on the move.
    • Nature of the Beast: Rottweilers are as carnivorous as dogs get. They love their meat, and that should be the main source of their protein. Animal protein is easier for Rotties to digest than plant protein. You may want to consider feeding your Rottweiler a partially raw diet to satisfy their innate need for meat and give them added nutrients.
    • Calorie Needs: Rottweilers need a ton of calories each day. Even puppies need more than 2000 calories each day of at least 24% protein to thrive. Adult dogs need up to 3500 calories per day, depending on their level of activity. You should always feed your Rottweiler based on the calories in their food rather than grams or cups of total kibble.
    • Meals Per Day: Rottweilers need to eat smaller meals more times per day to avoid bloat, which is a common condition in this breed. Puppies should be given anywhere from three to six small meals a day, where adult dogs should eat between two and four meals per day. The smaller the meal, the less likely you’ll see your dog suffer from bloat.

Rottweiler Feeding Schedule

How often and how much should I feed my Rottie?

WeightCups of dry food per day
Up to 15 pounds½ to 1 ⅓  cup
16-25 pounds1 ⅔  cup to 2 cups
26-50 pounds2 cups to 3 cups
51-75 pounds3 ¼ cups to 4 cups
More than 75 pounds4 cups to 5 cups

Rottweilers need to eat slowly to avoid bloat, which is a serious and common medical condition in Rotties. To help them avoid bloat, you should encourage them to eat slowly, which means you can either invest in a slow-feeder or feed them only small meals more times each day. You should also make sure fresh; clean water is always available for your Rottie for this reason.

Overall Best Dog Food for Rottweilers

Wellness Complete Health Large Breed Chicken and Brown Rice Dry Dog Food

There are absolutely no fillers in Wellness Complete Health Large Breed dog food. The protein content is high, with the first ingredient being whole chicken, and the fat content is optimal for Rottweiler health and energy.

With 26% protein, 12% fat, and 5% fiber, this is an ideal food for a Rottie. The micronutrient count is as close to perfect as you can get, which means you’ll have fewer worries about your dog’s bone and joint health as they age. This is an excellent food option for dogs that love chicken and owners who want the best possible ingredients for their dogs.

10 More Top-Rated Dog Foods for Rottweilers

NomNom Fresh Food Delivery Service

Key Features:

  • Fresh dog food packets pre-portioned and shipped directly to your door
  • Crude protein, fat, and fiber percentages are on the package
  • Whole animal protein is always the first ingredient
  • Excellent source of micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals

It’s always a good idea to feed your Rottweiler a single animal protein. If your dog develops allergies to the single protein you give them regularly, it’s much easier to find alternatives that way. NomNomNow is an excellent option in this way because you can choose between four animal proteins to stick to for your dog. It’s also fresh food so that you can trust the ingredients.

Pros:

  • Fresh food
  • Pre-portioned
  • Whole animal protein is the base of the meal
  • Well sourced vitamins, minerals, and nutrients in each pack

Cons:

  • Lower protein percentage than most dry foods
  • Pricier option versus traditional foods

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Adult Dry Dog Food

Key Features:

  • No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives and no fillers
  • The first ingredient is real buffalo but contains other whole proteins as well for excellent protein percentage of 32%
  • Contains antioxidants plus omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids
  • Amino acids and K9 probiotics help your dog to utilize and easily digest this food

Protein is the name of the game in Taste of the Wild’s High Prairie Grain-Free food. It’s packed with animal protein from buffalo, bison, venison, and beef to help calm the carnivore in your pup. In addition to the proteins, this food is allergy-friendly with its lack of grains and fillers. Venison is also an allergy-friendly protein.

Fatty acids are vital to a Rottweiler’s health and wellbeing, so the fact that this food naturally contains both omega-3s and omega-6s is a bonus. This food does contain peas, though, which could be a no-no depending on your dog’s GI health. Luckily the probiotic included in the formula will probably aid your Rottie in digesting those legumes.

Pros:

  • 32% protein per serving
  • 18% fat with both omega-3s and 6s
  • Whole buffalo protein is the number one ingredient
  • Vitamins and minerals from fruits and veggies, plus a K9 probiotic

Cons:

  • Fiber level is a bit low at only 4%
  • No additional micronutrients for bone and joint health

Nutro Max Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Key Features:

  • Contains naturally sourced glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy bones and joints
  • Whole chicken is the base protein source
  • Contains no byproducts or fillers
  • Sources for all ingredients are easy for you to trace via the information provided on the package

Nutro is all about proper sourcing for their foods. They want customers to feel satisfied with their ingredients so that they are confident in what their dogs are eating. It’s easy to track down the sources of the ingredients on Nutro’s bag, which is a bonus for sourcing-conscious folks.

This food is on the lower end of the protein percentage, which means it’s best for older and less active dogs versus young pups. It does have a nice fat percentage to help your Rottweiler to maintain energy, but not have to worry about obesity issues. Nutro is also committed to never using corn, wheat, or soy in their foods for the sake of allergy prevention.

Pros:

  • The nice fat percentage for Rotties at 13%
  • Micronutrients included from natural sources
  • Single protein source for simple allergy tracking
  • Rosemary and spearmint extracts help keep your dog’s breath smelling good

Cons:

  • Low protein percentage at only 22%
  • Lots of grains with fewer fruits and veggies for a low fiber count

American Natural Premium Legume-Free Triple Protein Recipe with Ancestral Grains Dry Dog Food

Key Features:

  • The only completely legume-free food to make our list
  • Excellent protein, fat, and fiber percentages at 24%, 14%, and 4.5% respectively
  • Non-GMO formula with ancestral grains
  • Contains omega-3s and fish oil

If your Rottweiler struggles with gastrointestinal issues or allergies, then American Natural’s Premium Legume-Free Triple Protein Recipe might be a good option. This recipe also avoids potatoes, peas, artificial colors and flavors, and preservatives to ensure that only the highest quality foods make it to your pup’s bowl.

Deboned chicken and turkey provide protein in this non-GMO dog food. Also, prebiotics and probiotics help to promote healthy digestion and a healthy immune system. 1.42% calcium will help to encourage strong bones and joints in your pup, while fish oils and omega-3s encourage immune and cardiac health.

Pros:

  • Legume-free
  • Ideal protein, fat, and fiber percentages
  • Calcium and phosphorus for bone and joint health
  • Pre and probiotics included

Cons:

  • Several protein sources included, which could be bad for allergies
  • Contains no wheat, but still has several grains

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Wet Canned Puppy Food

Key Features:

  • Excellent protein sources to help your puppy grow strong
  • Herring provides natural DHA
  • Nutritional supplements and botanicals promote overall health and wellbeing
  • Grain-free formula to avoid allergens

Wellness CORE Wet Puppy Food is ideal for your Rottweiler puppy because it contains the vitamins and nutrients that your dog needs to grow big and strong without the fillers, byproducts, or grains found in many dry foods. The added nutrients in this food can help your dog to avoid some of the health issues we commonly see in Rotties like heart and joint problems.

This puppy food doesn’t have as high a protein percentage as some of the dry or adult foods on our list, but you’ll be feeding your puppy much more often than an adult dog, which will make up some of that deficit. The 6.5% crude fat is an ideal amount for Rottweiler pups, which means you’ll be giving your dog plenty of energy along with a nice, soft coat.

Pros:

  • Wet food is easier for puppies to digest and chew
  • Protein from whole animal sources
  • Lots of vitamins and minerals included
  • Natural DHA

Cons:

  • Lower protein percentage than many adult foods
  • May need to combine with dry food, which adds cost and reduces convenience

Victor Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food

Key Features:

  • 27% crude protein levels with 78% of that protein from meat sources
  • Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids plus DHA naturally included
  • Glucosamine, chondroitin, and other micronutrients promote joint and bone health in older dogs
  • Excellent source of vitamins and minerals necessary to increase the life expectancy of an older dog

Rottweilers have a relatively short life expectancy as compared to other dog breeds. The average lifespan of a Rottie is only nine to ten years old. To help improve life expectancy and to give these large dogs the nutrients they need to stand tall in their old age; Victor Senior Healthy Weight includes plenty of micronutrients, animal proteins, and vitamins from plants.

Talk to your vet before starting your dog on senior dog food. Some vets may consider a Rottweiler a senior dog by age five, which means you’ll need to start this food before you would start most other breeds on senior foods. Regardless of when you start, the protein and excellent vitamin and mineral blends in this food are perfect for older Rottweilers, no matter how active.

Pros:

  • Vitamins and minerals to promote healthy bones, joints, and heart
  • Protein percentage is high to keep muscles strong
  • The formula encourages a healthy weight and discourages obesity
  • Prebiotics and probiotics included helping with digestion

Cons:

  • May not be an excellent choice for super active seniors
  • Large pieces may be difficult for some senior Rottweilers to chew

Eukanuba Breed Specific Rottweiler Adult Dry Dog Food

Key Features:

  • This food is specifically formulated for active adult Rottweilers
  • 3D DentaDefense system reduces tartar buildup for fewer vet visits
  • L-Carnitine helps to promote healthy weight by naturally burning fat
  • More protein than the traditional large-breed Eukanuba dry dog foods

You can’t get a lot more specific than food made just for Rottweilers. Eukanuba’s adult Rottweiler formula is a great source of protein, fats, and fiber for your Rottie. It also contains all of the vitamins and minerals that help to keep Rottweilers from succumbing to the troublesome diseases and defects that they come naturally by.

This brand is not grain-free, which means that a dog with allergies wouldn’t do well on it, and it doesn’t contain a high enough protein for a super active Rottie. Despite the areas where it lacks, this is a formula that we can tell Eukanuba created with Rottweilers and their various health issues in mind. It’s well-formulated for an average Rottie adult.

Pros:

  • Higher levels of calcium, glucosamine, and chondroitin for bone and joint health
  • Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids included
  • High levels of vitamins and minerals from natural sources
  • Crude fat and fiber levels are ideal for active adult Rotties

Cons:

  • Chicken by-product meal is the primary source of protein versus whole proteins
  • Contains grains, corn, and preservatives

Wellness CORE Large Breed Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Key Features:

  • WellFlex joint health formula to keep Rottweilers in top shape
  • High-quality animal proteins
  • Antioxidants, probiotics, and naturally sourced fatty acids
  • 34% crude protein is one of the highest percentages of all the foods we’ve recommended

No grains and tons of protein is the formula from Wellness CORE Large-Breed. It’s a formula that the folks at Wellness may as well have made specifically for Rottweilers. The micronutrients in the WellFlex formula help to keep Rottweiler’s bones and joints healthy, while the protein, fat, and fiber percentages are ideal for keeping off excess weight and promote energy.

Wellness CORE is known for its excellent vitamin and mineral compounds that keep dog’s immune systems and digestive systems working in top shape, which is especially important for Rottweilers with their tendency to have GI issues like colitis.

Pros:

  • A proprietary blend of vitamins and minerals
  • WellFlex joint health formula
  • 34% protein
  • Fatty acids and DHA promote cardiac health

Cons:

  • On the more expensive side for dry food

Holistic Select Large and Giant Breed Chicken Meal and Oatmeal Recipe Dry Dog Food

Key Features:

  • Taurine and L-Carnitine formula promotes heart health
  • Micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals support bones and joints
  • 24% protein from both grains and animal products
  • Natural pre and probiotics as well as fiber help with digestion and reduce GI issues

Holistic Select is an excellent choice for Rottweilers with sensitive stomachs and GI issues. Many owners claim that their dog’s colitis seems to be completely gone now that they’ve switched to this formula.

The kibble size is a bit small considering the food is geared toward large and giant breeds, but you can easily offer smaller meals or invest in a slow feeder to reduce the risk of bloat if that’s a concern for your dog. The nutritional value you’ll find in this food to keep your Rottweiler’s stomach, joints, bones, and heart-healthy outweigh any issues with kibble size.

Pros:

  • Great for Rotties with sensitive stomachs
  • Excellent for heart health
  • Good protein percentage for less active adults
  • Bone and joint health formula keeps Rottweilers running

Cons:

  • Protein is slightly under the recommended amount for active adult Rotties
  • Kibble size is small, which could encourage eating too quickly

Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Pacific Catch Recipe

Key Features:

  • Contains kibble and freeze-dried raw protein bites
  • First three ingredients are all animal-based proteins
  • Protein from fish lowers the risk of an allergic response in Rottweilers
  • Fish naturally contain DHA and heart-healthy fats

Rottweilers tend to do well with fish as their main source of protein. It’s rare to see a Rottweiler develop an allergy to fish, and the natural DHA and fatty acids that fish provide can help to discourage heart problems that are common in this breed. We love that Merrick includes raw protein bites with their kibble for added taste, texture, and protein in this dry food.

The freeze-dried fish pieces included in this food are raw fish, which is excellent for the carnivore in your dog. The fish oils help to keep a shiny coat on your Rottie while also keeping their skin healthy and reducing itching. Finally, joint health is a priority with this product, and that’s proven through the micronutrients included.

Pros:

  • Lots of fish oils for healthy skin, coat, and heart
  • 34% crude protein and 16% crude fat
  • Whole animal protein is the base of the meal, including raw pieces
  • Extra-large doses of glucosamine and chondroitin for joint and bone health

Cons:

  • Protein nuggets can quickly become mushy, especially in hot environments
  • Small kibble might encourage Rotties to eat too quickly

Our 2020 Rottweiler Feeding Guide

What kinds of health issues are common in Rottweilers?

Rottweilers come naturally by a variety of health problems, including obesity, hip and elbow dysplasia, cancer, food allergies (especially to grains), bloat, IBD, colitis, hypothyroidism, and subaortic stenosis.

When should my Rottweiler switch from puppy to adult dog food?

Although you should always consult your vet before officially deciding to switch your dog from puppy to adult food, the general consensus is to do so when your Rottweiler reaches 80-90% of her assumed adult weight and size. Generally, your dog will reach her adult size within a year or so of life.

Are there certain foods I should always avoid giving to my Rottie?

You should never give your dog sugar, grapes, raisins, garlic, or onions. You should also avoid giving your Rottweiler table scraps, especially if you’re not sure of all the ingredients because Rotties are so susceptible to allergens. Finally, never give your dog uncooked eggs. Cooked eggs are fine as extra protein.

How should I measure my dog’s food?

Although most people refer to the amount of food they give their dogs in volume, using calories as your measuring device is much better for Rottweilers. These are big dogs that need lots of calories a day to remain strong, so use the information on the bag to help feed them based on calories and not volume.

Is a raw diet okay for my Rottweiler?

Although raw meats and raw diets are trendy because of their ability to preserve more nutrients in food than cooked products, they aren’t always safe. Raw food can contain diseases that cooking would remove. You should always consult with a vet before feeding your dog a raw food diet. Best to mix in the raw pieces with traditional food until you can discuss this with your Rottweiler’s vet.

Conclusion

Many people think dog food is just dog food at the end of the day, and that their specific breed doesn’t need a specific diet, but that’s not true. Rottweilers are prone to some unfortunate health issues that make their diet more important than many other breeds, but all breeds have specific dietary needs that they need you to meet.

Choosing the right food for your Rottie will allow you to have a healthy, happy, and loyal dog for many years to come. All of the foods we’ve recommended here do a great job of promoting protein, healthy fats, and allergy prevention to help keep your dog as healthy as the day you brought him home.

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