The Rottweiler is a feisty and large lump of a breed, but one that is secretly a big softie at heart. At maturity, he will find himself anywhere between 80 and 135 pounds in weight, so it is safe to say that he is a large, and sometimes, giant dog breed. For this reason, he has unique nutritional needs which will determine the food choices you make for him.
Whilst he makes a loving family pet, he is a robust working breed that was traditionally used to herd and protect cattle, and he is now often worked in the personal protection arena, and he needs a lot of energy and protein to keep him sustained. Large breed foods with higher levels of protein are the key to keeping this big boy happy and healthy, and with the first 10 ingredients known to make up 80% of the food, it is super important to look at these ingredients.
After reading this Rottweiler nutrition guide, you’ll understand all you need to know about the Rottweiler and his unique breed needs, what nutrients he needs at each of his life stages, and ultimately which brands are the crème of the crop. So you don’t have to spend hours and hours trawling through hundreds of products, so we’ve made it nice and simple!
At a Glance: Our Favorite Foods for the Rottweiler
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- Rottweiler Puppy Nutrient Needs
- Adult Rottweiler Nutrient Needs
- Senior Rottweiler Nutrient Needs
- Best Food For Rottweiler Puppies
- Best Food For Adult Rottweilers
- Best Food For Senior Rottweilers
- Food For Overweight Rottweilers
- Final Thoughts
Rottweiler Puppy Nutrient Needs
The Rottweiler puppy needs a high-quality dog food that is specifically designed for large breed puppies, because not only do they have a higher number of calories that will help him to achieve full Rottweiler growth, but the calcium, phosphorus vitamin D, and fat levels will provide his growing bones with the strength that they need to be healthy. They will also control how quickly he grows, and this is important for large breeds such as the Rottweiler because if he grows too quickly, he is more likely to develop osteopathic diseases such as Hip Dysplasia, so standard ‘all-breed’ puppy food should be avoided at all costs.
The Rottweiler puppy needs a lot of protein, because not only does protein provide him with the energy and puppy power he needs to grow, but it also ensures that it keeps his muscles lean and strong. The MSD Veterinary Manual recommends that puppy kibbles should provide a minimum protein content of 22%, but larger dogs such as the Rottweiler should look for a minimum protein level of at least 26%. It also recommends that a minimum fat content of 8% is needed too.
Healthy carbohydrates are important because they will provide him with energy whilst keeping him feeling full, which will hopefully lower his snack begging and the chance of him becoming obese. Because Rottweilers are known to suffer from a variety of cardiac concerns, he should never be allowed to become overweight or eat fatty human foods. For this reason, plenty of omega fatty acids should be looked for, such as Salmon oils and flaxseed, as well as the ingredient taurine, which all help to look after his cardiac health, as well as overall coat and bone health.
Other vitamins and minerals will also help to support his developing immune system and keep him fighting fit against diseases, and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and arachidonic acid (ARA) are amino acids that are naturally found in mothers’ milk, and they all support healthy brain development and eye function.
Adult Rottweiler Nutrient Needs
From the age of 18 months, the Rottweiler nears maturity and as such he should be switched to adult food. Again, it is important that the Rottweiler is fed a high-quality nutrition that caters to the unique nutritional needs of a large breed. Sometimes, with larger Rottweilers, many owners find that it is more suitable to feed them a giant dog breed, and this is normally saved for those pooches who exceed 100 pounds and more in weight. With that weight comes bone and joint pressure, so optimum calcium and phosphorus levels are key.
Protein is still an important factor to consider here, but typically he needs less than a puppy Rottie. Whilst the MSD Veterinary Manual recommends that adult dogs need a protein content of at least 18%, a larger, giant or more energetic breed such as the Rottie should be fed a higher protein content of at least 23%.
Ingredients such as fish oil and flaxseed will nourish his thick and dense coat, as well as keep his brain functioning healthily. Again, with the threat of cardiac issues, the ingredient taurine is favorable, and be sure not to feed him too many treats, no matter how much of a good boy he is.
Senior Rottweiler Nutrient Needs
A Rottweiler becomes a senior pooch around the age of 6 or 7, and at this time you should really look to change him to a food designed just for large breed seniors, or those that tick certain ‘large breed’ boxes, which we will talk you through.
As dogs age, they become less active, so it is important to put fewer calories into their bowl to ensure that he doesn’t become overweight. It is also important to ensure that the diet contains less fat as his aging digestive system will struggle to break it down efficiently.
Higher levels of glucosamine and chondroitin are key because of his weakening joints. Good sources of these can be found in meat and fish meals, as well as extra supplements. Again, the ingredient taurine is beneficial, as is L-carnitine as it helps to stimulate his metabolism, and it is also important to look for plenty of vitamins and minerals to help to boost his aging immune system so he can continue to fight illnesses.
Best Food For Rottweiler Puppies
Rottweilers between the ages of 8 weeks and 12 to 15 months, will need dry kibbles that can meet an aggressive puppy’s growth needs during that timeframe. This is the time when your dog’s nutritional needs are extremely important to meet in order to set their growth and bones on the right path from a young age.
There are a number of different brands that can fulfill your Rottie’s puppy food needs. We’ve done the heavy lifting for you, so let’s dive in and take a look at our five favorite Rottweiler puppy food, as well as a comparison of each brand. You’ll find dog owner favorites, like Nutro or Blue Buffalo, and more.
Science Diet Large Breed Puppy
- Contains glucosamine for joint health.
- Antioxidants for immune system development.
- No artificial colors or flavors.
- Chicken and oats are primary ingredients.
- Made in the United States.
- 394 Calories per cup.
- 24% Protein, 11% Fat, 3% Fiber.
This diet is grain-inclusive, and wholesome oats will provide him with energy to keep him bouncy and full of beans. The first ingredient is Chicken meal, which is the main source of protein and provides his bones with glucosamine that helps to keep them supple and strong. Flaxseed and fish oil will ensure that his coat is nourished from the inside out, and along with the ingredient taurine, his cardiac health will also be well cared for.
We love that this kibble is made by and recommended by canine nutritionists and Veterinarians alike, so you can be sure that your Rottweiler puppy is in good hands with this recipe.
Wellness Core Large Breed Puppy
Deboned Chicken, Chicken, and Turkey meal are found within the first 5 ingredients, which not only provide a high amount of protein but plenty of glucosamine for his joints. Salmon oil also provides DHA for his brain development and eye function, as well as his coat health which was the most common positive comment on the reviews. This kibble is fortified with vitamins and minerals to strengthen his growing immune system, and with superfoods such as banana, spinach and kale his nutritional needs are met, and taurine is also listed high up in the list.
We love that this is one of the grain-free recipes on this list, which is great for those Rottweiler pups who have grain intolerances.
Blue Buffalo Puppy
Deboned Chicken, Chicken meal, and fish meal are the main protein sources in this kibble, and some of the reviews referred to how well their Rottie was developing on this kibble. Fish oil and egg products also provide him with the all-important DHA, ARA, and EPA. Dried kelp provides him with calcium for strong teeth and bones, and blueberries, carrots, and sweet potatoes provide him with a bowl full of vitamins and minerals for his immunity. L-carnitine is listed which stimulates his metabolism, which naturally helps to prevent him from becoming too porky.
We love that this recipe has a mixture of kibble pieces and LifeSource Bits, which are packed full of life-stage nutrients for the large breed puppy, and they are cold-formed to retain their potency.
Nutro Natural Choice Puppy
- Real, high-quality chicken is the ingredient.
- Made with non-GMO ingredients.
- No chicken by-product meal, corn, wheat, or soy.
- Omega-3 fatty acids like DHA supports brain and eye development.
- Natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin.
- Formulated to support healthy joints.
- Supports healthy immunity with essential antioxidants.
- Made in the USA.
Chicken meal is the first listed ingredient, and Nutro guarantees that all of their Chicken ingredients are farm-raised, so if this is an important factor for you this kibble is ethically sourced. This kibble also lists an optimum blend of added supplements for his immunity and overall health. Wholesome oats, brown rice, and chickpeas provide him with plenty of energy and despite having the lowest fiber content, many reviewers commented that this product resolved their large pups’ sensitive stomach issues.
We love that despite being the most affordable kibble on this list, it still provides a lot of protein and even more than some of the more expensive alternatives.
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.
Never mind about the first 5 or 10 ingredients, this kibble lists the first 15 ingredients as high-quality proteins that follow a whole-prey diet. So, not only will he receive a high amount of protein meat, but he will also receive organs and cartilage that are full of nutrients. In addition to the superior quality and supreme ingredients, this recipe was super tasty for those fussier pups, and with the Rottie’s love for food, you can be sure that this will go down a treat. With pumpkin, collard greens, and apples this kibble provides your pup with the antioxidants he needs for a healthy oxidative balance.
We love that this is the most premium kibble on this list, and with leading levels of high-quality protein, your Rottweiler pup is bound to fall in love with this recipe.
Best Food For Adult Rottweilers
Once your Rottie hits between 12 and 15 months, you’ll want to start the transition to an adult food. You’ll want to do this slowly, as doing it too quickly can make your Rottweiler get an upset stomach. Typically you’ll want to blend the puppy food with the adult food first, and then gradually migrate over completely to the adult food.
Because Rotties are a large breed, you’ll want to make sure you monitor their food intake so that they don’t overeat. Rottweilers are not typically picky eaters, but every dog is different. Their activity levels as adults will slow as they age, so it’s always best to break up feeding into 3-4 different sessions through the day if possible. Let’s look at our five favorite Rottie foods for adult pups.
The Farmer's Dog
- 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.
The Farmer’s Dog offers four grain-free recipes that always offer more fresh-frozen meat than any other ingredient. Depending on the formula, you will get a mix of veggies and meats like sweet potatoes, green beans, or even broccoli among the fresh produce fiber sources. All of these superfoods pack a lot of nutrients, maintaining a robust immune system. Every recipe is AAFCO-certified for all life stages and the meal plan is customized for your unique dog, you can feel confident that your dog’s next meal will meet all of his nutritional needs to keep him healthy and strong.
If you’d prefer to include grains, you can always cook up some rice to mix in. This will not only help your dog’s diet and also spread the food across more meals, saving you money!
We love that these recipes are cooked fresh based on a personalized meal plan for your best friend. Every ingredient is human-grade, so you can be sure that your dog is getting the very best dog food possible.
Wellness Core Large Breed
- Grain-free formula.
- Chicken is the first ingredient.
- Larger kibble size for big dogs.
- Probioitics for gut health.
- No corn, soy, wheat, or wheat-gluten ingredients.
- 342 Calories per cup.
- 34% Protein, 12% Fat, 6% Fiber.
Deboned Chicken, Chicken meal and Turkey meal are the first three ingredients, and with healthy complex carbohydrates such as potatoes, sweet potatoes and peas your Rottie will feel full of energy. The meat meals and ground flaxseed will nourish his skin and coat. There are a lot of listed fruits and vegetables that provide vitamins and minerals, such as kale, blueberries and apples, and with taurine and L-carnitine listed his cardiac and metabolic health will stay healthy. This kibble has the highest fiber content, and this was the most common comment from reviewers, in that kept their pooches digestive tract regular and in turn they pooped firmer stools.
We love that this recipe has the highest protein content, which is important for the muscular Rottie, particularly if he is a working or seriously energetic one.
Purina Pro Large Breed
- Specialized Nutrition for Large and Giant Breed Dogs
- Glucosamine and EPA, an omega-3 fatty acid, for joint health and mobility
- High in protein to promote muscle condition when combined with proper exercise
- 26% Protein and 12% Fat
- Chicken or Salmon is the first ingredient
This formula is made with the unique nutritional needs of giant breeds, and often the Rottweiler falls into this category. It has an optimal ratio of protein to fat, but with the highest number of calories per cup you can be sure that he will get all the energy that he needs. Chicken is the first ingredient on the list, and with that comes the power to maintain his large muscle mass and muscle repair. Glucosamine, omega fatty acids and EPA help to support his heavily laden joints too.
We love that this is a fantastic option for those Rottweilers who lean towards the larger end of the weight scale and are considered to be a giant breed.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain
- High protein dog food features real bison to build and maintain lean muscle mass.
- Grain-free dog food, made with healthy carbohydrates including sweet potatoes and peas.
- A blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals selected by holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists.
- Supports immune system health.
- Contains NO chicken (or poultry) by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives.
Following on from the puppy recommendation, this formula is made with real Bison meat, and it is Chicken and poultry free, which provides a big meaty taste that large breeds love. Deboned Bison, fish meal, and Beef meal are the protein sources, and with that comes a lot of glucosamine and oils to maintain healthy hips, joints, and coat. Taurine and L-carnitine are listed, and with plenty of vitamin supplements, his immune system is strengthened. This recipe still has the LifeSource bits, but this time with optimum adult nutrients, which also add texture and extra taste to his bowl.
We love that this Bison flavored recipe is made with zero Chicken or poultry ingredients, which makes a great option for those Rottie’s who are particularly fussy or have intolerances to these common ingredients.
Best Food For Senior Rottweilers
Once our pup hits around 8 years of age, you’ll want to start considering your pup eat a food that has a food formula specific for seniors. Rottweilers can also have joint and hip issues, so you may want to consider food with glucosamine as an option. It’s also possible your Rottie might have issues being “regular” so a higher fiber food might also be something advised by your vet.
Because your Rottweiler’s metabolism slows, you’ll want to make sure your pup has a lower calorie count or is just fed less food during feeding frequencies. Overeating typically isn’t a problem with Rotties, but you’ll know by adulthood if you need to deal with this issue later on in life as well. Below are our favorite foods for Senior Rotties. Let’s dive in!
Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Senior
- Chicken––a high-quality protein source––as the very first ingredient.
- Made with non-GMO ingredients, no chicken by-product meal, corn, wheat or soy.
- Formulated with essential antioxidants.
- Contains natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin to support healthy joints.
- Great for large breed senior dogs 6 years and older.
The first protein ingredient on this list is Chicken, and with Chicken meal listed as the third, it provides your Rottie with glucosamine for his joints and oils for his skin. Nutro also states that this recipe is crafted to help maintain cognitive health. Dried apples, blueberries, and carrots also provide him with a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, and sweet potato and dried beet pulp will assist in the regularity of his aging digestive system.
We love that this recipe has the lowest calorie count per cup so if you have an elderly Rottweiler that isn’t as active anymore this would make a great option.
Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Adult
- Vet-endorsed brand.
- Glucosamine and chondroitin for joints.
- Antioxidant-rich for immune support.
- Formulated for large and giant breeds.
- Made in the United States.
- 353 Calories per cup.
- 15.5% Protein, 10.5% Fat, 4% Fiber.
This diet is made with larger breeds in mind, and despite having the lowest protein content it still fares well for aging large breeds. It also has a high-fat content, but thanks to the optimized calories and L-carnitine ingredient it means that his metabolism is kept in check and he shouldn’t pile on too many pounds which is important in his senior years. It also has an optimum blend of easy-to-digest ingredients, which the reviewer’s dogs loved, and a balanced set of minerals that will take care of his heart and kidney health.
We love that this recipe is made by Veterinarians and canine nutritionists who have studied the unique needs of larger breeds, so you can be sure your Rottie is in safe hands with this kibble.
Blue Buffalo Large Breed Senior
- Real meat is the first ingredient.
- Glucosamine for joint support.
- No corn, wheat, or soy ingredients.
- Antioxidant-rich for immune health.
- L-Carnitine for muscle development.
- 344 Calories per cup.
- 20% Protein, 10% Fat, 7% Fiber.
Deboned Chicken is the first ingredient listed, and again, with Chicken meal following shortly after you can be sure that his hips, joints, muscles, and skin are supported and nourished. Many reviewers loved that it gave their aging pooch a lot of energy too! Blue Buffalo has mixed in their exclusive LifeSource Bits into this kibble mix, and with a precise blend of nutrients needed for his aging immune system, you can be certain that his immunity is strengthened.
We love that this has the highest fiber content on this list, so not only is his digestive system well looked after, it also ensures that it keeps him feeling fuller for longer without the need for lots of naughty treats.
Food For Overweight Rottweilers
At some point during their lifetime, many Rottweilers will find themselves on the porky side of the weight scales, and if this does happen, you need to take action to get them back to a healthy weight. The best thing you can do, along with daily exercise, is to take some calories out of his bowl and switch him to a weight management food. Extra unnecessary weight is associated with a wide variety of health problems, particularly for larger breeds, so be sure to take it seriously. Here are our top picks for the overweight Rottweiler.
Purina Pro Plan Weight Control
Purina Pro Weight Management
- Made specifically for heavier large breeds.
- Reduced calorie content.
- Probiotics for digestive health.
- Lean proteins for muscle retention.
- Higher fiber content to promote digestion.
- 361 Calories per cup.
- 27% Protein, 9.5% Fat, 5.5% Fiber.
The protein content here is 26%, the fat content is 9% and the calorie count is 374 per cup. Whilst this recipe is slightly higher in fat and calories, Purina has made this with larger breeds in mind. This is a grain-inclusive recipe, but protein is still the first ingredient.
We love that Purina Pro seems to set the bar with many of their offerings. They are one of our favorite brands for other giant breeds like Mastiffs, and also a top food brand for smaller breeds like Yorkies.
The Rottweiler is a huge dog with an equally huge heart, and being such a loyal pooch we owe it to him to feed him the very best nutrition. Follow the advice and recommendations in this guide and both you, and your Rottie, will be pleasantly surprised at how good nutrition can really make a difference to his health and happiness!