Nutrition Category IconDog Food

Best Dog Foods For Dalmatian: Puppies, Adults & Seniors

Looking for the best dog food for your Dalmatian puppy, adult, or senior? We compare our favorites by analyzing cost, ingredients, brand reputation, and more!

Emma Braby Picture

Last Updated: August 31, 2022 | 14 min read

Dalmatian puppy eats dry food from a bowl

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The Dalmatian is an iconic pooch. He is best known for his beautiful coat that evil Cruella de Vil desperately wanted in the Disney film ‘101 Dalmatians’. And if you don’t know what we’re talking about, make it your next movie night! You won’t be disappointed. But let’s get back to business.

He is a large and energetic dog that needs fueling. And just like vehicles, dogs need the right type of fuel. Otherwise, they become nutritionally deficient. So what is the best dog food for Dalmatians?

Let’s walk through each of his life stages, what nutrients are most important in each, and the best ingredients to look out for — it’s crucial for you to look past labels and understand the packaging yourself. Plus, we recommend five of the best dog foods for the Dalmatian at each life stage. This guide is a must-read for all Dal moms and dads out there, and we make it super simple for you.

At A Glance: Our Favorite Foods For Dalmatians

Blue Buffalo Large Breed Puppy Life Source
Our Rating

Best For Puppies

Blue Buffalo Large Breed Puppy

View at Chewy.com
The Farmer's Dog Food Products (3 flavors)
Our Rating

Best For Adults

The Farmer’s Dog

View at TheFarmersDog.com
Our Rating

Best For Seniors

Nutro Large Breed Senior

View at Chewy.com

Note: Clicking the above links take you to Chewy.com, where you can get additional product information and customer reviews. If you make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Dalmatian Puppy Nutrient Needs

Group of Dalmatian puppies eating all together, isolated on white
At maturity, this breed is a large dog, tipping the scales around 70 pounds.

From the age of six weeks old, a Dalmatian pup needs to be weaned off his mother’s milk. Meaning that by the time he comes to you, he’ll be ready for dog food. Be sure to pick a puppy food specifically made for large breed dogs. These foods help to control rapid bone growth during puppyhood through optimized levels of calcium and phosphorus, which can decrease the chances of him developing skeletal problems in adulthood.

Puppyhood is arguably the most critical life stage when it comes to nutrition. Feeding him a high-quality puppy dog food sets the foundations for a healthy lifestyle and body. Growing puppies need higher energy and fats as these fuel their growth. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA) are particularly important because they support healthy cognitive and eyesight developments as well as nourishing that beautiful coat of his. Fish, fish oils, meat meals, and eggs are great sources of these.

In addition to healthy fats, puppies also need higher levels of protein compared to adulthood. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) recommends that puppies need a minimum protein content of 22%. For the muscular Dalmatian, a protein content of 25% or above is desirable. Protein is full of amino acids, which are the building blocks for all living things. A top sign of high-quality dog food is one that lists meat as the first ingredient.

Adult Dalmatian Nutrient Needs

Dalmatian dog eating food from the hands of a girl
Adulthood is about a well-balanced diet, which a high-quality dog food can provide.

Between the ages of 12 and 15 months, you’ll need to switch your Dalmatian from puppy to adult food. He won’t be fully mature until around two years old, but he has done most of his growing by this point. Adult food should contain optimized nutrients and a higher level of glucosamine which supports his joints. Glucosamine is found in meat meals, green-lipped mussels, and added supplements.

A well-balanced diet for adults dogs should include meat, protein, healthy carbs, fiber, omega fats, vitamins, and minerals. AAFCO states that adult dogs need a lower protein content of at least 18%. Again, we’d suggest aiming for higher protein content for a muscular pooch like the Dalmatian.

If you know that your Dalmatian is intolerant of certain ingredients, choose something else. It might sound obvious, but many owners assume that terrible gas is part of the doggy-owning course. But it might just be because he is intolerant of a common ingredient such as chicken. High-quality brands have a range of flavors, so there is something for every pooch. Probiotic ingredients, such as ‘dried lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product,’ are ideal for sensitive stomachs. They promote healthy bacteria in their gut and assist with digestion.

Senior Dalmatian Nutrient Needs

Senior Dalmatian taking a break from meal
This spotted breed’s average lifespan is between 11 and 13 years.

Dals are considered a senior pooch at around the age of seven or eight, so you’ll need to transition him to senior dog food. Every dog is different. But telltale signs such as weight gain, less activity, and slower cognitive function indicate that seniority has arrived. Stick to high-quality food that provides him with everything he needs in his golden years.

Senior dog diets should contain fewer fats and protein. This is because his stomach slows down as he ages and cannot digest fats as well as he once did. Plus, he needs much less energy now that he is moving less. Seniors should eat higher levels of prebiotic fiber because they are low in calories and keep them feeling fuller for longer.

Seniors should consume a long list of vitamins and minerals because their immune system needs extra support to fight illness and disease. Look for added supplements, plus fruits and veggies like blueberries, cranberries, carrots, and pumpkin, as well as higher levels of glucosamine and chondroitin. Large and energetic dogs (the Dalmatian is both) need extra joint support in their senior years, so look for those important ingredients we mentioned earlier.


Best Food For Dalmatian Puppies

Here are our favorite dog foods for Dalmatian puppies. Remember, feeding your puppy a large-breed puppy food is super important to give him the best start to life.


Blue Buffalo Large Breed Puppy

Blue Buffalo Large Breed Puppy Food Life Source
  • Real chicken is the first ingredient.
  • DHA for brain support.
  • Contains no by-product meals.
  • No corn, wheat, or soy.
  • High-protein ratio.
  • 411 Calories per cup.
  • 35% Protein, 14% Fat, 6% Fiber.
View at Chewy.com

Blue Buffalo is our top pick for best for puppies. It offers a wide range of kibbles, and the Life Protection range offers complete nutrition. It is a middle-of-the-road product when it comes to protein content on our list. But it exceeds AAFCO recommendations, and some puppies need a kibble that isn’t too rich. So this one is perfect for them. High-quality deboned chicken and chicken meal are the first two ingredients. Fish meal, eggs, and fish oil keep his organs healthy and joints supported.

This is a grain-inclusive list that uses gentle brown rice and oatmeal, which some find easier to digest than corn and wheat. Yucca schidigera is a prebiotic fiber known to reduce gas odor, and probiotic ingredients are found in every bite of kibble. It contains nutrient-dense ingredients such as blueberries and cranberries for his immunity. And dried kelp is rich in calcium for strong bones.

We love that this recipe includes Blue Buffalo’s exclusive LifeSource Bits. These are added bites of kibble that contain superfoods and optimized nutrients that large breed puppies need to develop healthily.


Purina Pro Large Breed Puppy

Purina Pro Puppy Large Breed
  • Budget-friendly dog food.
  • Designed for puppies over 50 pounds.
  • High protein formula for muscle development.
  • DHA for brain development
  • Probioitics for digestive health.
  • 419 Calories per cup.
  • 28% Protein, 13% Fat, 4.75% Fiber.
View at Chewy.com

Purina Pro Plan is well-known in the dog food market. This kibble is a grain-inclusive option that uses rice as the first non-meat ingredient. This provides him with the energy and fiber to grow and maintain a healthy digestive tract. Chicken is the first ingredient, and this, along with fish meal, provides a protein content of 28%, which is plenty for the growing Dalmatian pup.

Fish meal, fish oil, and egg product provide the all-important DHA and ARA that pups need for healthy cognitive development. As well as a healthy and shiny coat, which is what most of the reviews rave about. The formula lists added vitamin and mineral supplements, and it lists live probiotic ingredients too.

We love that this recipe is fortified with added probiotic ingredients, soothing his digestive tract with friendly bacteria, which means less gas and healthier puppy stools.


Wellness Core Large Breed Puppy

Large Breed Wellness Core
  • Grain-free formula.
  • High animal protein concentration.
  • Contains premium all-natural ingredients.
  • Based on an ancestral diet for canines.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 387 Calories per cup.
  • 35% Protein, 14% Fat, 5.5% Fiber.
View at Chewy.com

This is one of our favorite picks because it ticks all the large breed puppy boxes and more. It is a high-protein kibble that provides a 35% protein content. Chicken and chicken meal are the first two ingredients, and turkey meal follows shortly after, packing lots of big meaty tastes that your pup loves.

The meat meal ingredients, along with flaxseed and salmon oil, provide a high omega fatty acid content, which is great for his coat and vision development. Antioxidants such as bananas, spinach, kale, apples, blueberries, and sweet potatoes support his immune system to keep him healthy. Each kibble piece is coated in Wellness’s exclusive acticoat, a probiotic and omega fatty solution with glucosamine and taurine. Perfect for large breed puppy development.

We love that this recipe is a premium pick of ours, and it is a fantastic all-rounder. It is full of antioxidants and superfoods that promote the strong development of his immune system.


Orijen Large Breed Puppy

Orijen Large Breed Puppy
  • High-protein formula.
  • Uses raw and fresh animal ingredients.
  • Made with wild-caught fish.
  • Made with cage-free egs.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 449 Calories per cup.
  • 38% Protein, 16% Fat, 6% Fiber.
View at Amazon.com

Orijen is known for using only the finest quality ingredients, making this our premium pick for large breed pups. The first fifteen ingredients are animal protein, including chicken, turkey, various fish, animal organs, and eggs. Chicken necks and cartilage are also listed, which are both fantastic glucosamine sources that support healthy joints. Raw and freeze-dried meat keeps the meat nutrient-rich and full of big tastes that drive him crazy. The kibble pieces are coated in freeze-dried liver, too, for that extra punch of flavor.

This is a grain-free recipe that uses lentils, beans, and peas as the source of healthy carbs. Pumpkin, collard greens, and dried kelp supply the vitamin goodness that he needs. And probiotic ingredients are guaranteed with every bite. All the meat is ethically sourced, making this a top pick for eco-conscious dog moms and dads out there too.

We love that this recipe is our premium pick for the Dalmatian pup. It follows a whole prey diet which means he’ll eat every nutritious part of the animal, not only the meat. And it offers the highest protein content of 38%.


Hill's Science Diet Puppy Large Breed

Hill's Science Diet Puppy Large Breed
  • Controlled levels of calcium support optimal bone growth for your large breed puppy.
  • Natural DHA from fish oil.
  • Antioxidant and vitamin E and C blend.
  • Made from natural, high-quality ingredients.
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
  • Made in the USA.
View at Chewy.com

Hill’s Science Diet is based on exactly that, science. Canine nutritionists and scientists have studied large breed puppies’ needs and thrown it all into this kibble. This option has the lowest protein content on our list, but again, it exceeds AAFCO guidelines. At 24.5%, sensitive stomachs which cannot digest rich meats should thrive on this gentler diet.

The sole animal protein source is lamb meal, and it is the first ingredient. Lamb is known to be one of the easier meats to digest, and it is full of glucosamine. This is a grain-inclusive diet that mainly uses brown rice. Egg products, flaxseed, and fish oil provide DHA and ARA for his overall development and promote a healthy coat.

We love that this recipe is chicken-free and instead uses lamb meal as the sole ingredient source. Making it a great option for those intolerant of chicken or who find lamb much easier to digest.


Best Food For Adult Dalmatians

When switching your dog from his puppy to adult dog food, it’s important to do so slowly. Many dogs have sensitive stomachs, so always follow the instructions to avoid stomach upset. Here are our best dog foods for Dalmatian adults.


The Farmer's Dog

The Farmer's Dog Food Products (3 flavors)
  • Cooked fresh, flash-frozen, and shipped to you.
  • Personalized meal plans.
  • 4 healthy, vet-designed options: beef, chicken, turkey, or pork.
  • Made with human-grade ingredients (no fillers or preservatives).
  • Manufactured in the United States.
  • Calories and nutritional values vary based on recipe.
View at TheFarmersDog.com

The Farmer’s Dog is our top pick for best dog food for adults. This fresh food contains human-grade ingredients, meaning you could eat it (if you wanted to). All fresh ingredients ensure that your dog’s coat stays shiny and his large muscles are kept strong and healthy. Each meal is customized specifically for your Dalmatian and designed by vets based on your dog’s specific needs. To get more bang for your buck, mix in homecooked rice, which helps get some grains in their diet too.

Prepared in a USDA-certified kitchen, these recipes will please even the most discerning palate. In addition to high-quality meats, your dog enjoys the gentle fibers, such as sweet potatoes and lentils, that encourage digestion and healthy gut flora.

We love that these grain-free meal plans are customized for your dog’s weight, activity level, level of pickiness, and any special dietary needs. It’s an excellent option that guarantees your dog is eating the freshest, highest-quality, well-balanced meal available.


Wellness Core Large Breed

Wellness Core Large Breed Adult
  • Grain-free formula.
  • Glucosamine for joint support.
  • No meat by-products or fillers.
  • Antioxidants for immune health.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 342 Calories per cup.
  • 34% Protein, 12% Fat, 6% Fiber.
View at Chewy.com

This recipe follows our Wellness puppy recommendation. So if your Dalmatian did well on this as a puppy, he should thrive on this as an adult. This is a premium recipe that uses the best ingredients. It is protein-rich that offers a protein content of 34%. It makes it a great option for active large breed adults who need energy and regular muscle maintenance. Deboned chicken, chicken meal, and turkey meal are the first three ingredients.

This recipe is designed to promote lean body mass and a beautiful coat, thanks to healthy omega fats. In addition to the fats, each kibble piece is fortified with probiotics, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, glucosamine, and chondroitin. Together they increase his overall wellness. The kibble pieces are large, which is great for large dogs who like the crunch.

We love that this recipe has the highest glucosamine content on this list, which is important for large breeds and their hardworking joints.


Orijen Original High-Protein Adult

ORIJEN Original Dry Dog Food
  • First four ingredients are all real meat.
  • Contains fresh chicken & turkey.
  • Contains whole fruits and vegetables.
  • Includes natural herbs and roots for antioxidants.
  • Grain-free recipe.
  • 449 Calories per cup.
  • 38% Protein, 18% Fat, 4% Fiber.
View at Chewy.com

This option is not designed specifically for large dogs, but it is a premium recipe that is fantastic for dogs of all sizes. Following our Orijen puppy recommendation, the adult version also uses the finest ingredients. The fat content and calorie count per cup are high, so this option is best saved for energetic Dals. If he is active, this option provides him with all the energy that he needs and more.

The first fifteen ingredients are nutritious animal proteins, providing a protein content of 38%. Chicken necks and cartilage offer glucosamine for his large joints. The meat meals, the fish, and the organs keep his brain alert and vision clear and his coat sleek and smooth. A mixture of probiotic ingredients ensures gut health is supported in digesting this rich formula.

We love that this premium recipe is our top pick for the super energetic Dalmatians or fussier pooches who love big meaty tastes.


Blue Buffalo Large Breed Life Protection Adult

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Large Breed Adult
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin.
  • Essential high-quality protein and L-Carnitine.
  • Calcium, phosphorus, and essential Vitamins.
  • Chelated minerals and antioxidants.
  • No corn, wheat, soy, or chicken (or poultry) by-product meals.
View at Chewy.com

This option also follows our previous Blue Buffalo puppy recommendation. So, if your pup loved the taste of that recipe, he should love the taste of this one too. Again, it provides a complete nutritional package, which is why it is known as the Life Protection range. It provides a protein content of 22%, ideal for those who do not like rich meaty formulas. Thankfully, chicken and chicken meal are still the first two ingredients.

This is a grain-inclusive option, and it uses wholesome brown rice and gentle oatmeal. Probiotic ingredients are found in every bowl, as are a blend of added vitamin and mineral supplements. Sweet potatoes, carrots, blueberries, and apples provide an extra boost of antioxidants. Dried kelp is listed which is a nutrient-dense ingredient, and it helps to keep bones strong. The LifeSource Bits are still used for optimized large breed adult nutrition.

We love that this recipe has a high fiber content of 6%, making this a great option for forever-hungry Dalmatians who need to maintain their weight.


Hill's Science Diet Large Breed Adult

Hill's Science Diet Adult Large Breed
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin.
  • Omega-6 fatty acids.
  • Antioxidant and vitamin E and C blend.
  • Made from natural, high-quality ingredients without any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
  • Made in the USA.
View at Chewy.com

Hill’s Science Diet has observed large adult breeds’ needs to ensure everything they need is included. This is a grain-inclusive option that uses brown rice and whole-grain wheat as the secondary energy source. The added antioxidant supplements and vitamin C and E work together to increase his immunity strength. Taurine is listed for his heart health, and l-carnitine helps keep him lean by stimulating his metabolism.

This option has the lowest protein content on our list, but at 19%, it still exceeds AAFCO guidelines. The lower protein level makes this a great option for dogs whose digestive system struggles to process lots of meat. And lamb meal could be a great alternative to more common meats.

We love that this recipe is an easy-to-digest formula, thanks to the sole lamb protein source making this an ideal pick for sensitive Dalmatians.


Best Food For Senior Dalmatians

When it comes to transitioning your Dalmatian from adult to senior food, slow and steady wins the race, especially if your Dal has a sensitive tummy. it is more important than ever to monitor your aging dog’s weight as too many pounds can lead to additional health problems. So, please keep your spotty pooch trim and healthy.


Nutro Large Breed Senior

Nutro Large Breed Senior
  • Non-GMO formula.
  • Made with farm-raised chicken.
  • Natural sources of glucosamine & chondroitin.
  • Made with no corn, wheat, or soy.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 306 Calories per cup.
  • 22% Protein, 11% Fat, 4% Fiber.
View at Chewy.com

Although this is not a chicken-free recipe, lamb is the top ingredient making it the most prominent animal protein source. If your Dalmatian prefers lamb, this is the top choice as most other senior foods use chicken as the sole protein ingredient. Plus, it ensures a wider variety of amino acids for muscle maintenance. This is a grain-inclusive option.

This recipe lists superfoods such as chia seed, coconut, pumpkin, kale, and spinach. Meaning that his immunity is kept strong, and added vitamins and minerals add an extra boost too. Fish oil and egg products supply the DHA and ARA needed for continued cognitive function and overall wellness. Vitamin E, biotin, and folic acid ensure that his skin is nourished from the inside out.

We love that this recipe is our lamb-based option. Lamb is gentler to digest, and this is the first ingredient.


Wellness Core Senior

Wellness Core Senior Dog Food
  • Grain-free formula.
  • Animal protein for muscle development.
  • Nutritional boost for senior dogs.
  • No meat by-products.
  • No artificial ingredients.
  • 359 Calories per cup.
  • 32% Protein, 12% Fat, 6.25% Fiber.
View at Chewy.com

This senior pick completes our Wellness Core trio. Although this one is not specifically designed for large breeds, it is just as good as a large breed dog food. It is a premium option that uses the best-quality ingredients. The first two ingredients in this recipe are deboned turkey and chicken meal—both lean and full of glucosamine which is super important in his senior years. Turkey meal and salmon oil add an extra boost too. As well as look after his drying skin and coat.

This is a grain-free option that uses lentils, potatoes, and peas as the slow-energy release source. And a long list of fruits, veggies, and added supplements ensure his weakening immunity is strengthened with vitamins and minerals. Taurine looks after his cardiac system, and probiotics support his aging digestive system.

We love that this recipe has the highest protein content on our senior list. Meaning that fussier Dals or those who still need muscle power do well on this formula.


Blue Buffalo Large Breed Senior

Blue Buffalo Senior Large Breed Formula
  • Budget-friendly formula.
  • Glucosamine boost for joint health.
  • No corn, wheat, or soy.
  • No chicken by-product meals.
  • L-Carnitine for muscle retention.
  • 344 Calories per cup.
  • 20% Protein, 10% Fat, 7% Fiber.
View at Chewy.com

This option also completes our Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula, and this one is designed specifically for large breeds. So if he loved this product before, this is the best pick for him. The protein content is 20%, and chicken is the first ingredient. Chicken meal and fish oil are also listed, which are rich in glucosamine for his old and probably aching joints.

Wholesome brown rice is listed, making this a grain-inclusive recipe that supplies him with slow-release energy. Prebiotic fiber such as peas and dried chicory root help with regular digestion. And this kibble is also fortified with probiotic ingredients that ensure friendly bacteria thrive in his digestive tract. LifeSource Bits provide seven superfoods needed for his senior health, and l-carnitine helps to keep him lean.

We love that this recipe has the highest fiber content. Meaning that if your senior Dal is constantly scavenging for snacks, this could be the food to keep him feeling fuller for longer.


Victor Senior Healthy Weight

Victor senior
  • Nutrient-dense for aging dogs.
  • Glucosamine boost for joint health.
  • Fortified with vitamins and minerals.
  • L-Carnitine for muscle retention.
  • Formulated for superior digestion.
  • 360 Calories per cup.
  • 27% Protein, 11.5% Fat, 4.5% Fiber.
View at Chewy.com

This recipe is not designed for large breeds specifically, but it ticks all of the large breed boxes, so we recommend it for your Dal. Dalmatians are known for their love of food and often struggle to maintain their weight, and this pick is for these guys. L-carnitine is listed, which helps to keep dogs trim by stimulating the metabolism. Gluten-free grains also help with weight management.

The first ingredient is beef meal, with meals of fish, chicken, and blood following shortly after. Blood meal might sound unappetizing to you, but it is tasty and nutritious for Fido. Seaweed meal is also a nutrient-dense ingredient, and it keeps immunity strong. Many of Victor’s recipes target digestive support, and selenium yeast, prebiotic fiber, and probiotic cultures work together to improve gastrointestinal health.

We love that this recipe has one of the highest glucosamine levels on our senior list, making it ideal for the those who are susceptible to joint issues.


Science Diet Large Breed Senior

Science Diet Large Breed Senior
  • Veterinarian backed brand.
  • Omega fatty acids for skin & coat health.
  • Glucosamine for joint support.
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 353 Calories per cup.
  • 15.5% Protein, 10.5% Fat, 4% FIber.
View at Chewy.com

Hill’s Science Diet has again studied large breed dogs’ needs over the age of six and chucked it all into this kibble. So you can be sure that everything in this food is needed without any fillers. The protein content is low, at 15.5%, but this is precisely what some senior dogs need. Chicken meal is the first ingredient, which is rich in glucosamine.

This is a grain-inclusive recipe that uses barley and rice, which is great for slow-release energy to maintain his blood sugars throughout the day. This option has a low fiber content ideal for those dogs who struggle to process too much fiber. This kibble is fortified in added vitamins and minerals to boost his aging immune system.

We love that this recipe is the best option for Dals who struggle to process meaty recipes, an easy-to-digest option.


Final Thoughts

And that’s all you need to know about the Dalmatian and his nutritional needs. To keep this large and active spotted pup looking and feeling his best, stick to our recommendations above. Not only can you be sure that he loves whatever you pick, but that each and every one of his spots appreciates the good grub. A healthy diet also helps to improve your dog’s lifespan and quality of life, translating to more happy years together with your best friend.

The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety or care advice. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, insurance expert, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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