WHAT'S THE BEST DOG FOOD FOR A BELGIAN MALINOIS?

Looking for the best dog food for your Belgian Malinois? You’ve come to the right place! Rule number 1: To feed your Malinois well, first you need to know all about them! Diet plays a huge role in your dog's health, so don't skip the research. The Belgian Malinois is a very lively and athletic dog breed with big energy needs! These robust dogs have well-developed muscles and can thus be prone to joint problems. If you're thinking of adopting a Belgian Malinois (or you already have!), here are some tips to help you understand the specific needs of the breed and select the best type of dog food for your furry friend.

Belgian Malinois: Specific Dietary Needs

The Belgian Malinois is a large dog with a powerful, well-proportioned body. This is an athlete who needs dog food suited to its metabolism and size. Every dog breed has specific characteristics, and the Malinois is no exception. These are some of the specific characteristics that you should consider when choosing the right dog food for your Belgian Malinois:

  • Belgian Malinoises have a well-developed musculature: Like many herding dog breeds, the Malinois has powerful muscles that expend a lot of energy, especially with sustained activity. As such, the Belgian Malinois’ dog food needs to meet its energy requirement and provide your pooch with enough energy throughout the day.

  • This dog breed is predisposed to joint problems: Large breed dogs are generally prone to joint problems due to the pressure exerted on their bones by their muscle mass. The Belgian Malinois is subject to hip dysplasia in particular. Your dog’s food will therefore need to have a composition that supports its bones.

  • The Belgian Malinois has a relatively small digestive system: Again, this characteristic is unique to many large dogs. As such, their capacity for digestion is limited. Additionally, the intestine walls are more permeable than in small dogs and, as a result, more water is observed in the intestine and therefore in the faeces. This significant fermentation of bacteria in the intestine can also cause flatulence in dogs, so your Malinois’ dog food will need to be highly digestible.

  • The Belgian Malinois is prone to Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV): Also known as gastric dilation, twisted stomach, or gastric torsion, this is due to excessive pressure in the stomach. This disorder mainly occurs when a dog has eaten too much at once or done too much physical activity before and/or after a meal.

In addition to the specific features related to the breed, it's important to take into account other factors, such as age, weight, physical activity, and any potential or reported diseases. An inadequate diet can cause many problems, such as deficiencies. Your vet or an animal nutrition expert can always help you determine the ideal diet for your dog.

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What Type of Dog Food Should I Give My Belgian Malinois?

Now that you know a little more about the Belgian Malinois, you can begin to think about its ideal dog food. First and foremost, you need to make sure your dog's typical dietary needs are met, in terms of protein, mineral and vitamin requirements, etc. Then, opt for dry dog food adapted to your Belgian Malinois, which will effectively meet the requirements of the breed.

When choosing the ideal dog food for your Belgian Malinois, look for:

  • Dog food that supports your dog’s muscle mass, providing them with an appropriate energy supply: A high level of protein and fat helps to maintain muscle mass while offering a sufficient supply of energy. Please note that animal protein is always recommended as part of a balanced diet for a dog.

  • Dog food that protects your dog’s joints and cartilage: Lots of exercise coupled with heavy muscle mass can lead to joint problems in your dog. The Malinois is particularly susceptible to hip dysplasia.  Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, from quality fish oil, have an anti-inflammatory effect, and glucosamine and chondroitin lubricate the joints and help preserve cartilage. In addition, vitamin D promotes bone mineralisation and stability.

  • Dog food that improves digestion: For dogs like the Belgian Malinois with digestive issues, we recommend you opt for grain-free dog food which has rice as the only source of carbohydrates. Rice is very digestible and helps to maintain intestinal flora. Prebiotics and probiotics are also very effective for strengthening the gut and helping to prevent digestive disorders!

  • Energy-dense dog food and smaller meals: To prevent your Belgian Malinois from suffering from a twisted stomach, we recommend you feed them wet dog food (paté) or homemade dog food instead of dry dog food (kibble). Why? Because these types of dog food have a higher water content, which makes them more digestible and limits bloating of the stomach. On the contrary, dry foods often "swell" after ingestion during the digestion process. Dividing your dog’s daily food ration into a few small meals and making sure they stay hydrated can also help to avoid the risks of gastric dilation.

The Hector Kitchen Motto

Every dog is unique, so their diet should be too!

We cannot stress it enough: each dog has their own specific dietary needs. And these recommendations are not the only things to take into account when choosing the best food for your Belgian Malinois.

Their age, weight, activity level, and any potential or reported diseases are equally important factors. No one is better qualified than an animal nutrition specialist to create a suitable diet for your Belgian Malinois.

How Often Should I Feed My Belgian Malinois?

Once you’ve chosen the ideal food for your Belgian Malinois, you'll also need to learn how often to feed them. We recommend that you give them their meals at the same, fixed time each day to avoid possible digestive disorders, such as gas or twisted stomach. The amount of kibble provided should be adapted according to your dog's weight and daily activity level.

Here are some recommendations for how best to feed your Belgian Malinois:

  • Split your dog’s daily food ration into two or three small meals: The idea is to distribute their food throughout the day, so as not to overload their digestive capacities.

  • Give your Belgian Malinois their meals in a quiet place, away from possible sources of distraction: It's important to create a pleasant environment for mealtimes, as this facilitates digestion and promotes a balanced diet.

  • Give them the correct amount of dog food: This will depend on different factors, such as your dog's age, weight, activity level (normal or sustained), and reported illnesses. Your vet or an animal nutritionist specialist can help you determine the appropriate amount of food for your dog.

  • Treats: In addition to their regular food, you can certainly offer your furry friend a healthy dog treat from time to time. Little pieces of fruit or cooked vegetables are a great, natural option! However, be careful with this if your dog is overweight.

  • Forbid certain foods: Of course, some foods are toxic to dogs. Sugar, cold meats, and chocolate are dangerous foods for dogs. Chicken and rabbit bones are also not recommended as part of a healthy and balanced diet.

  • Finally, make sure that your dog has constant access to a water source: Hydration is an integral part of a healthy diet and is essential to the good health of your Belgian Malinois. Make sure you fill your dog’s bowl with fresh water every day. If you want to encourage your pooch to drink more water, try placing ice cubes in their water bowl.

Belgian Malinois: Characteristics of the Breed

A Brief History of the Belgian Malinois

The Belgian Malinois is one of the four varieties of Belgian Shepherd Dog. The Kennel Club recognises the Belgian Shepherd Dog as one breed with four varieties that share the same physical attributes and are alluded only by coat and colour. The Malinois is distinguished from the others by its short hair and fawn-coloured coat.

The origins of the breed date back to the 19th century, to local herding dogs found in the Belgian region of Malines (Mechelen in English). The first breed standard was drafted in 1892, and the current breed standard was established in 1994.

Belgian Malinois Temperament

The Belgian Malinois is a highly intelligent, alert, energetic, and playful dog. These dogs are extremely gentle animals who get very attached to their owners, but can also be friendly towards strangers. However, they can be stubborn, so you will need to start training your Malinois as early as possible. Be careful to never use violence in your dog training; the Belgian Malinois is a sensitive breed that reacts badly to violence of any kind. 

Affectionate and close to its family, the Belgian Malinois gets along wonderfully with children, whom it watches over carefully. In other words, this is the perfect dog! These dynamic and devoted doggies have a very strong protective instinct and will not hesitate to intervene to protect their family, even if it means putting themselves in danger. This versatile dog breed makes formidable guard dogs, as well as working dogs in many other roles, most notably as customs, military, border, and police dogs.

Please note: Belgian Malinoises have an enormous need for both physical and mental activity. They also need company from their owners in order to feel useful and fulfilled. You will need a firm hand and a soft touch to help this dog channel its energy the right way. Being excellent working dogs, the Belgian Malinois’ intelligence and strong character often lead to them being placed in unsuitable homes! Unfortunately, many dogs of this breed end up in animal rescue centres due to their families not being able to take adequate care of them. So, please take the time to learn all about the needs of the breed before deciding to adopt a Malinois.

Belgian Malinois Health Issues

The Belgian Malinois is a robust and resistant dog breed, thankfully not predisposed to too many health issues. However, the breed is subject to hip dysplasia, although the Malinois is less affected by this disease than other large dog breeds.

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