9 Best Belgian Malinois Dog Foods Plus Top Brands for Puppies & Seniors

Belgian Malinois dogs are a gorgeous, smart breed that loves its humans and its work. It’s capable of expending a large amount of energy, and if you aren’t up for the challenge, you could find yourself with a destructive pet.

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Given enough to do to keep its mind and body busy, the Belgian Malinois is a wonderful companion that loves family, play, and learning. They’re herding dogs with lots of muscle, but a lean overall look that’s reminiscent of a more recognizable breed, the German Shepherd. They may be no-frills, but they’re elegant no doubt.

Good food for a Belgian Malinois needs to support abundant energy stores, healthy muscles, and a keen mind. Foods that offer a lot of empty calories may cause the Belgian brain to become foggy and could put this dog at risk of weight gain and fatigue. Densely nutritious foods with plenty of protein and fats are the key here. Just make sure that every single calorie is working in favor of your Belgian.

Let’s take a look at some factors that go into feeding a Belgian Malinois. Cheap kibbles aren’t going to do it. If you aren’t sure what to feed your Belgian, we have our top picks, plus a few things to think about along the way.

What Is The Best Dog Food for a Belgian Malinois?

Understanding A Belgian Malinois’ Diet Requirements

Belgian Malinois dogs are deceptively muscled. They have high energy demands and are traditionally working dogs, spending their days running the farm and herding animals. Foods that don’t have dense nutrition aren’t going to be able to keep up with their high energy demands.

Even if your Belgian isn’t an official working dog, this breed often becomes destructive when not exercised or challenged properly. It’s likely that your Belgian puts out a lot of energy playing sports or running agility courses. You’re pushing your Belgian to be as active as possible, so you don’t come home to a destroyed house.

Let’s take a look at some things you should look for with your Belgian Malinois food and what types of things are best to avoid. Even if you aren’t sure what brand to buy, these guidelines should give you an idea of what to look for.

  • Protein should always be first on the list. Belgians have thick muscle density so protein can help maintain that mass and support the bone structure. Protein also helps your Belgian feel full and sustain energy in more steady amounts.
  • The other part of that equation is fat. While low fat may be suitable for some humans, it isn’t good for working breed dogs. Fats give a dog plenty of energy and support healthy brain functions. Fats also provide protection against energy and may help to support both the joints and the skin. If your Belgian seems lethargic throughout the day, it’s likely that there isn’t a good combination of protein and fats in the recipe.
  • Protein should come from a quality source and preferably be a whole, labeled meat first on the list like deboned chicken. Meat meals are often used to provide more protein per serving, but you must make sure that the meat meals are labeled. For example, “chicken meal” is acceptable, but simply “meat meal” is not.
  • Additional considerations could be whole fruits and vegetables to help provide fiber and critical vitamins. There is some disagreement over whether dogs are actually carnivores or if they’re omnivores, but most dog foods do contain some sort of fruits and vegetables. These ingredients could help regulate your dog’s systems, but don’t discount all-meat diets.
  • Holistic ingredients could help your Belgian round out nutritional requirements. These could be supplements for joint health like glucosamine and chondroitin for supporting healthy joints or omega fatty acids for skin support. Probiotics can help smooth out digestion and also boost the immune system.

Special Considerations for Belgian Malinois

  • Dysplasia
  • Bloat
  • Weight Issues

Belgian Malinois are a hearty breed of dog, but they are prone to a few different conditions you should be aware of. Some can definitely be alleviated with the proper Belgian Malinois food, so let’s take a look at how an excellent Belgian Malinois food could help your Belgian live a long life.

Dysplasia

Dysplasia happens when the joint socket fails to form correctly, causing weakness that could lead to injury. Dogs that grow too quickly and dogs that are hard on their bodies (i.e., working dogs) are more prone to issues with Dysplasia. The most common type is hip dysplasia, but elbow types are possible as well.

Choose food with plenty of protein to support healthy muscle tones. Better muscles can support the skeleton and prevent joints from overextending. Also, foods that contain glucosamine and chondroitin may help condition the joints and possibly reverse mild damage from overuse.

It’s particularly important with puppies that you feed a proper diet. Puppies that eat cheap foods often grow too quickly, stressing their skeletons and setting them up for problems later. Appropriate Belgian Malinois foods help alleviate this future and give your Belgian puppy the building blocks for a good life.

Bloat

Larger dogs are also prone to a condition known as bloat. Bloat is life-threatening because the stomach suddenly distends and twists, causing eventual death if not corrected early. We aren’t sure what triggers it officially, but one theory is that eating smaller, spaced meals can help reduce the risk of bloat.

Densely nutritious Belgian Malinois foods have smaller serving sizes, so your dog is less likely to trigger bloat. You can maintain energy levels and still get the same amount of nutrients but in smaller serving sizes. Also, make sure your dog doesn’t immediately exercise full out just after eating.

Weight Issues

Belgian Malinois dogs that aren’t appropriately exercised are in danger of developing weight issues. They require a lot of protein and fats, but those can be detrimental if your dog is just laying around all day. Alternately, your dog could remain chronically underweight if the food you’ve chosen is nutrient deficient for their needs.

Premium Belgian Malinois food with plenty of dense nutrition helps regulate weight in both directions. Along with proper exercise, maintaining weight with a good diet is one easy way to help prolong the life of your Belgian Malinois.

Working dogs have high energy needs, but you need to make sure that your food is supporting proper weight on both ends of the spectrum. Adjust portion sizes accordingly along with the guidance of your veterinarian.

Belgian Malinois Feeding Chart

Feeding your Belgian doesn’t have to be hard, but the activity levels could cause you to alter your feeding portions based on the serving size of your food and your veterinarian’s advice. Make sure to follow it carefully.

Puppies and seniors will have different needs, and depending on your Belgian’s final size, your vet may have recommendations as well. Other factors could be pregnant or lactating dogs or an injury that interferes with the average activity level.

Feeding recommendations will change throughout your dog’s life, but here is what to expect for the average Belgian.

  • Puppies: This breed needs carefully controlled growth to maintain a healthy skeleton. Your veterinarian will probably change portion sizes frequently throughout the puppy years, and you should always choose a Belgian Malinois food specifically for large breed puppies when you can manage it.
  • Adults: The average adult can eat anywhere from three to four cups of food a day divided into several meals depending on a variety of factors. These include the serving size of your chosen food and any mitigating factors such as pregnancy or injury. Be sure to keep your veterinarian in the loop any time you decide to change foods.
  • Seniors: Seniors will receive similar amounts of food as they did when they were younger, but if weight is an issue, your vet may alter portion sizes to help. Weight control formulas can be good ways to help reduce overall weight without sacrificing energy or protein for healthy muscle.

Make sure you don’t leave food laying around because these dogs may overeat to compensate for any losses of energy throughout the day. It’s challenging to regulate portion sizes when you free feed and few dogs benefit from this style of feeding. The best idea is to divide up meals to two or three meals and remove the remaining food after half an hour or so if your Belgian hasn’t eaten the entire portion size.

Best Belgian Malinois Food

Our picks are based on premium ingredients and should help your Belgian feel energetic and spry throughout the day. They’re free of ingredients we mentioned to avoid, and a few are still quite affordable considering the investment in premium ingredients. Let’s take a look.
Here are our top 15 picks:

Best Overall – Ziwipeak Lamb Recipe

Ziwipeak is a unique, meat-based formula that contains plenty of proteins and good fats to help your Belgian maintain energy and muscle tone. It uses a unique air-drying process that safely reduces the ingredients to a shelf stable food without sacrificing nutrients to high heat. It’s a more significant investment, but the serving sizes are smaller than cheap kibbles, and you’ll likely save money in the long run not having to go to the vet as often.

The recipe is 96% meat, and the air-drying process removes harmful bacteria while creating food that’s as close to raw food as possible. If you’ve struggled to find the time to prepare raw foods, it could be an excellent alternative option for you. The ingredients are whole lamb and lamb organs for protein, plus good fats to support mental health, skin health, and a healthy coat.

Holistic ingredients provide other essentials to support the immune system. There’s no peas or potatoes and no grains that can interfere with sensitive digestion. It should give your Belgian plenty of energy and focus during the day without adding extra calories or empty fillers.

  • Pros: limited ingredients, meat-based formula using lamb and lamb organs, the unique manufacturing process gets your dog closer to raw
  • Cons: bigger investment, some dogs may not like the texture

Best Value – Nutro Ultra Large Breed Formula

A large breed formula can help your Belgian maintain proper weight and prevent injuries. The ingredients are designed to work together to support your large breed’s unique needs including joint support, weight control, and energy levels.

It uses complete proteins from chicken to provide a healthy and dense source of protein. Named meat meals, including salmon, support that protein density along with providing a source of quality fats. Chicken meal is an excellent source of glucosamine and chondroitin, so you’ll begin building joint health right from a young age with this recipe.

It has no artificial ingredients and no cheap fillers. The recipe contains no peas or potatoes but does use holistic ingredients to support the immune system and digestion. It provides excellent value and has smaller portion sizes than your typical cheap kibble.

It also uses holistic ingredients with vitamins and minerals as well as sunflower oil to support a healthy coat. The recipe uses only farm-raised chicken with no added hormones and overall is a remarkable improvement over a cheap kibble without breaking your wallet.

  • Pros: quality, farm raised chicken, sunflower oil supports coat health, natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin
  • Cons: may not entice some picky dogs, contains meat meals along with whole proteins

Most Popular: Blue Buffalo Adult Life Protection Chicken And Brown Rice Recipe

Blue Buffalo’s recipes were originally created for a specific, Airedale Terrier, Blue. That knowledge built Blue Buffalo into the brand people know and love today. This recipe uses  lean protein source with balanced, low glycemic carbohydrates to provide all day energy while building healthy muscles. Plus, Blue Buffalo’s proprietary blend of vitamins and antioxidants, LifeSource Bits.

Brown Rice is also a great source of fiber along with fruits and veggies. Together, these help regulate digestion and control weight without leaving your dog feeling hungry. Those same fruits and veggies also provide critical vitamins and minerals to support a healthy immune system. Healthy fats strengthen the coat and may help reduce the threat of injury in joints.

The recipe is good for pets who are active but not sporting or working dogs. It’s a highly affordable blend without sacrificing premium ingredients. Plus, the kibble is suitable for a variety of dental conditions.

Pros: lean proteins, balanced carbohydrates, excellent fiber for improving overall digestion.

Cons: uses peas and potatoes in the recipe, some dogs don’t like LifeSource Bits.

Best Super Premium – NomNomNow Tasty Turkey Fare

Cooked foods may be the furthest thing on your list, but what if there were a way to make serving your dog a human grade, cooked meal a whole lot easier? NomNomNow is a unique dog food meal service that creates precisely those types of recipes in their kitchens and sends them right to your door ready to serve.

The Tasty Turkey Fare has only six ingredients and contains complete proteins plus a healthy source of fat for an excellent, balanced meal. The turkey is lean but still supports excellent muscle tone while the oil helps protect the skin and coat. Fresh veggies help provide fiber for digestion and vitamins to support systems like the immune system.

The recipes are all created by a veterinarian, and all contain limited ingredients to help alleviate allergies and provide dense nutrition. You can control your meals from your account, and most delivery options are very convenient. Meals come in pre-portioned sizes and contain all human grade ingredients.

  • Pros: human grade recipes (you could eat yourself), easy to serve and store, arrives right at your house
  • Cons: requires cold storage, delivery may not be convenient in all areas

Best For Allergies: Zignature Lamb Limited Ingredient Formula

Zignature’s meat-based diet is a limited ingredient formula with a novel protein that cuts down on allergic reactions. It uses just a handful of ingredients to reduce the stress on your dog’s immune system and digestion while still providing dense nutrition needed to help rebuild skin and muscle.

Lamb is a single source protein and shouldn’t cause reactions the way poultry or beef sometimes will. It’s tasty and should satisfy most picky puppies. Plus, with healthy fats, your dog may finally feel some relief from chronic itchy skin. Vitamins and minerals support the immune system and the entire recipe may help calm your dog’s digestion once and for all.

  • Pros: novel protein, limited ingredient formula, healthy fats to soothe skin
  • Cons: expensive, food may be a strange texture for dogs

Best For Sensitive Tummies: Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Lamb and Chickpea Recipe

For dogs with sensitive tummies, a basic diet could help alleviate some of the discomfort. Merrick’s grain free formula uses just a handful of ingredients around a single protein to help cut down on digestive trouble and provide relief from itchy skin.

Lamb is a rich source of protein and chickpeas provide a balanced source of carbohydrates that helps dogs feel full without bloating or gas. Healthy fats protect skin and coat while vitamins and minerals support other systems such as the immune system. It cuts out common irritants to help dogs feel better.

  • Pros: single protein source, limited ingredients, grain free
  • Cons: may not satisfy picky dogs, kibble may be tough for some to chew

3 More Top Rated Belgian Malinois Foods

American Journey Chicken and Brown Rice Protein First Recipe

American Journey uses whole, deboned chicken as the first ingredient for a solid protein source. Brown rice is a balanced carbohydrate that provides fiber and energy all day without spiking your dog’s blood sugar levels. Vitamins and minerals support the immune system and mental activity while healthy fats aid joints and could help heal the skin. Fruits and veggies provide support and build overall health. It’s a good option for general use and for adults that are active but not specifically sporting or working dogs.

Solid Gold Fit And Fabulous Chicken, Sweet Potato, And Green Bean Weight Control Recipe

Solid Gold’s weight control recipe is designed to help dogs who need to shed a few pounds while still receiving the best nutrition. Balanced proteins and low glycemic carbs help your dog feel full during the day while cutting out unnecessary calories and fats. Healthy fats remain and can support skin and joints while fruits and vegetables provide fiber (critical for weight loss) and important vitamins and minerals.

Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Beef Recipe

Honest Kitchen uses a unique dehydrated food formula that allows for easy storage while still providing a raw-like meal. It’s simple to rehydrate and provides human grade ingredients in a healthy blend of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. The recipe uses beef, which is often a crowd-pleasing taste plus fruits and vegetables for vitamins and minerals. It’s a little bit lower in fat than some recipes, so it could be suitable for dogs that need to lose a few pounds or those who tend to stay less active overall.

3 More Recommendations For Puppies

Instinct by Nature’s Variety Large Breed Puppy Formula

Instinct by Nature’s Variety has a unique blend of freeze-dried bits and kibble. It provides the food with an extra burst of protein and helps puppies feel interested in eating because of the unique texture. Plus, it has a smell that most puppies love even if they’re freshly weaned.

It has a blend of labeled meats and fish to provide a balanced protein and fat ratio. The recipe has plenty of carbohydrates for all-day energy and provides vitamins and minerals through fresh fruits and vegetables. Healthy oils improve brain function with guaranteed DHA levels. Plus, natural sources of glucosamine help build health joints early on.

Nutro Large Breed Puppy Pasture Raised Lamb Recipe

Nutro’s wet food is proof that your puppy can have a delicious meal without sacrificing large breed benefits. It’s suitable for feeding alone or as a part of a kibble blend. Quality meats provide excellent sources of protein for growing muscles, and healthy fats support your working puppy’s high energy needs. It’s tasty and healthy.

Nutro never uses artificial ingredients or fillers. The recipe won’t encourage puppies to overeat, and it contains no cheap ingredients that can affect digestion. It’s an excellent source of fatty acids, which are suitable for brain development, and sunflower oil helps the coat grow healthy and shiny.

Nulo Freestyle Grain Free Turkey And Sweet Potato Recipe

Nulo’s puppy recipe uses a grain free formula with lean proteins and low glycemic carbohydrates to help your puppy grow without stressing developing bones and joints. It provides guaranteed DHA and calcium for strong mental development and bones, plus plenty of fiber to condition digestion. Whole fruits and vegetables provide fiber and critical vitamins for a robust immune system and healthy systems. It’s a solid foundation for growing puppies while maintaining proper growth patterns.

3 More Recommendations For Seniors

Merrick Real Chicken And Sweet Potato Senior Recipe

Merrick’s recipe uses only quality protein with an excellent blend of fats and carbohydrates for healthy brain function and energy all day, even for your senior. The kibble is easy to chew for most seniors, and the recipe is balanced well.

Whole chicken plus salmon meal is a rich source of proteins and fats that can help encourage your senior’s mental acuity as well as support healthy muscle tone. Healthier muscles support the skeleton and may relieve pressure on joints. Glucosamine and chondroitin help the joints heal and may prevent further damage if your Belgian suffers from dysplasia.

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Senior Wet Food

Sometimes seniors have difficulty with kibbles due to jaw issues. Excellent wet food can help provide your senior with plenty of nutrition without adding extra calories or encouraging weight gain. Blue Buffalo’s recipe is great for these types of seniors.

It uses turkey, which is a lean protein source that blends well with balanced carbohydrates and fats. If your senior is picky, this could also help move things along. Whole fruits and vegetables provide vitamins and minerals and help support your senior’s immune system and digestion. Healthy fats help the skin stay healthy, and glucosamine supports aging joints.

Nulo Freestyle Trout And Sweet Potato Senior Recipe

Nulo’s senior recipe uses fish and sweet potato for a low glycemic, healthy protein blend that helps cut down on weight while helping seniors feel energetic all day long. It uses plenty of quality proteins with healthy fats to encourage active brain function and to protect joints. Glucosamine and chondroitin could help ease pain in aging joints while vitamins and minerals help build a robust immune system. It’s perfect for helping seniors maintain nutrition while accounting for loss of activity or joint pain.

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve recommended some great foods, but let’s take a look at a few questions you may have about how to feed your dog the right way. Here are some answers to a few burning questions.

How Do I Feed My Belgian Malinois?

The actual serving size will vary based on a few different factors, but one thing to remember is that it can be dangerous for your Belgian to overeat too quickly. Because bloat is such a risk factor, dividing up portions between two or three smaller meals could help reduce the risk of bloat and keep your Belgian’s energy up throughout the day.

Free feeding isn’t a great idea for most dogs because you can’t get a good idea of how much your Belgian Malinois is eating. It could be too late for you to recognize issues with eating when free feeding, so we recommend taking the food up after a half an hour or so if your Belgian isn’t showing interest in finishing the meal. This teaches the Belgian to eat consistently.

How Often Do I Exercise My Belgian Malinois?

The answer is all the time. Belgians are working dogs, and their exercise requirements are high. It’s recommended to have at least an hour of hard exercise throughout the day and plenty of time to run outside whenever possible.

It’s not just about the physical part. Belgians excel at mental tasks so adding an agility component is a great way to encourage your Belgian’ natural curiosity and satisfy both the physical and mental requirements of your unique working dog.

How Do I Change Foods To A Premium Food?

Even if you’re transitioning to premium food, a sudden change could upset your Belgian’s tummy. It’s important to introduce any new Belgian Malinois food slowly so that your dog has time to adjust.

Begin by adding a small amount to your dog’s current food. Each day add a little bit more new food and reduce the old food until there’s no old food left in each serving. This gives your dog time to get used to both the flavor and the digestion of the new food. You’ll be less likely to have issues this way.

Should Foods Be Grain Free?

There isn’t a whole lot of consistency in the evidence, but if you notice your Belgian has trouble digesting grain, remove it. Otherwise, we wouldn’t worry too much. As long as your ingredients are wholesome and the quality protein is the first ingredient on the list, many dogs do just fine on food with a little bit of grain.

Final Thoughts

Building the foundations of your dog’s health and well-being starts with a great Belgian Malinois food. Make sure that the protein source comes from whole, quality meat and is always labeled. Belgians also benefit from those healthy fats. Otherwise, your primary concern is making sure that your dog gets enough exercise and mental stimulation not to be destructive. Good food maintains the necessary energy to do that and can help keep the mind sharp even into old age.

Your Belgian is a wonderful, loyal companion with regal looks and a certain grace. Support that with premium quality food from one of our recommendations, and you’ll have a companion for life!

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