6 Best Irish Wolfhound Dog Foods Plus Top Brands for Puppies & Seniors

The Irish Wolfhound looks like he stepped right out of a Medieval tapestry with his massive size and his commanding appearance. Named for his original purpose, hunting wolves, the Irish Wolfhound is actually surprisingly gentle and makes a wonderful family companion.

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Early ancestors of the modern Irish Wolfhound date all the way back to 400 CE and, over the years, they have been a mainstay in the royal courts of England. Born and bred to hunt wolves, the Irish Wolfhound may have done its job a little too well as, by the 18th century, the number of wolves in Britain and Ireland had decreased to near-extinction. Though the breed almost faded into nothing, it was revived in the 1860s and is now a popular breed in the United States.

The Irish Wolfhound is a giant breed, standing 30 to 35 inches tall and weighing anywhere from 100 to 190 pounds. Unfortunately, their massive size and their susceptibility for health problems contributes to a shockingly short lifespan of just 6 to 8 years. To maximize your Irish Wolfhound’s longevity, be sure to feed him a healthy and high-quality diet.

Keep reading to learn more about your Irish Wolfhound’s dietary requirements and to see our top 15 picks for the best dog food for Irish Wolfhounds.

Understanding an Irish Wolfhound’s Diet Requirements

Dogs like your Irish Wolfhound need a delicate balance of protein and fat in their diets. Protein provides the building block for strong muscles and is the key to maintaining lean muscle mass. Fat is the most highly concentrated source of energy available to dogs, but too much of it can contribute to overgrowth in puppies and obesity in adult dogs. Fats should come from healthy animal sources like chicken fat and salmon oil to ensure bioavailability.

Animal proteins should be the foundation of your Irish Wolfhound’s diet. Good options include meat, poultry, and fish. Lean proteins are preferable to control calories, though fish and seafood provides omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat in addition to protein. Just know that animal proteins are complete proteins which means that they contain all 10 essential amino acids your dog needs.

Dogs have a limited ability to digest plant products, so limit the amount of grains and other carbohydrates in your Irish Wolfhound’s diet. Digestible carbohydrates like whole grains, vegetables, beans, and legumes provide lean energy as well as fiber and important nutrients. Try to keep the fiber content around 3% to 5%.

  • Puppy Irish Wolfhounds Diet– As a puppy, your Irish Wolfhound needs a minimum of 22% protein and 8% fat in his diet. Because these dogs get so big, you need to control your puppy’s growth by feeding him a large-breed puppy recipe with lean protein and low-to-moderate fat content.
  • Adult Irish Wolfhounds Diet – When your Irish Wolfhound reaches his full size, switch him to a large-breed adult recipe that contains 20% to 25% protein with no more than 10% or 12% fat. Too much fat may cause him to grow too large or to become obese, placing extra stress on his joints.
  • Senior Irish Wolfhounds Diet – As your Irish Wolfhound gets older, maintaining a healthy body weight becomes even more important to switch to a healthy weight formula made with plenty of lean protein with low fat to control calories.

In addition to meeting your dog’s basic needs for protein, fat, and carbohydrates, a high-quality dog food for giant breeds will contain natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support. Calcium and phosphorus are also important to support healthy bones and teeth. Other beneficial supplements may include prebiotic fiber and probiotics for healthy digestion, chelated minerals as a biologically valuable mineral supplement, and fresh fruits and veggies for antioxidants.

Special Dietary Considerations for Irish Wolfhounds

The Irish Wolfhound is a wonderful breed, if you have the space to accommodate him. Though he was born and bred to hunt wolves, the modern Irish Wolfhound has only moderate needs for exercise. Unfortunately, he has a high risk for many health problems, some of which are contributing factors to his short lifespan.

Here is a quick list of the health problems to which the Irish Wolfhound may be prone:

  • Anesthesia Sensitivity
  • Bone Cancer
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy
  • Gastric Dilation
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Fibrocartilaginous Embolic Myelopathy
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Osteochondrosis Dissecans
  • Portosystemic Shunt
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Let’s take a closer look at some of these health problems.

Many of the health problems to which the Irish Wolfhound is prone can be categorized in groups such as cancers, inherited health problems, musculoskeletal issues and eye problems.

Bone cancer or osteosarcoma is the leading cause of death in Irish Wolfhounds and it is a highly aggressive form of cancer. Treatment is just as aggressive, typically involving limb amputation and chemotherapy. Other musculoskeletal conditions to which the breed is prone include elbow and hip dysplasia, both of which are inherited in many cases. Elbow dysplasia is a malformation of the elbow joint which can lead to inflammation and joint damage. Hip dysplasia is a similar affliction of the hip joint that allows the femoral head to slip in and out of place.

Other health problems to which the Irish Wolfhound is prone include sensitivity to anesthesia, fibrocartilaginous embolic myelopathy, osteochondrosis dissecans, portosystemic shunt, and progressive retinal atrophy. Fibrocartilaginous embolic myelopathy is a condition in which pieces of cartilage obstruct the vessels supplying blood to the spinal cord, causing rear limb paralysis. Osteochondrosis dissecans is another condition related to cartilage problems and frequently occurs in the elbows. Portosystemic shunt is characterized by abnormal blood flow between the liver and body.

In addition to these health problems, most large and giant breeds are prone to gastric dilation or bloat. This is a condition in which the stomach fills with air and twists on its axis, cutting off blood flow and causing a life-threatening condition. It happens when your dog eats too much, eats too fast, or swallows too much air while he is eating. The risk is particularly high in deep-chested breeds and you can reduce your dog’s risk by making sure he eats slowly and by avoiding raised dog bowls.

Irish Wolfhound Feeding Chart

Throughout his life, it should be your priority to help your Irish Wolfhound maintain a healthy body weight. Your puppy needs a protein-rich diet to build strong muscles with controlled fat to prevent him from growing too fast. If he grows too quickly, it could put excess strain on his bones and joints, predisposing him to musculoskeletal issues as an adult. Choose a high-quality puppy food formulated for large breeds to ensure that he gets the right balance of protein and fat as well as optimal levels of calcium, phosphorus, and joint-supporting glucosamine and chondroitin.

When your Irish Wolfhound reaches about 18 to 24 months of age, he should be approaching his full size, so you can switch to a large- or giant-breed adult recipe. Make sure it is rich in lean protein with low fat to control calories. Refer to the feeding instructions on the package to determine how much to feed your dog according to his age and weight. Around 5 or 6 years, you may need to reevaluate your dog’s diet again and switch him to a large-breed senior or healthy weight recipe.

The Best Dog Food for Irish Wolfhounds: Our Top 15 Picks

Now that you have a better understanding of your Irish Wolfhound’s nutritional needs, you’re ready to start shopping for a healthy giant-breed dog food! Remember, the best Irish Wolfhound food will be made from high-quality ingredients including lean protein, healthy animal fats, and digestible carbohydrates. Here are our top 15 picks:

The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Chicken Recipe

Overall Best Food for Irish Wolfhounds: If you can afford to feed your Irish Wolfhound dehydrated food, go for it! This Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Chicken Recipe is dehydrated rather than cooked which means that it retains more of the original nutritional integrity of the raw ingredients. This recipe features free-range chicken as the main ingredient with organic inclusions like barley, flaxseed, oats, and more. Each box rehydrates to 40 pounds of food and offers optimal nutritional balance and easy digestibility. Plus, it provides 24.5% protein and 14% fat which is a decent ratio for your Irish Wolfhound.

    • Pros: Dehydrated to preserve nutritional integrity, free-range chicken as first ingredients, whole-grain carbohydrates, fresh fruits and veggies, chelated minerals, rich in protein with moderate fat
    • Cons: Some dogs dislike the dehydrated texture, no probiotic supplements

Gentle Giants Canine Nutrition Salmon Recipe Dry Food

Most Affordable Food: Formulated specifically for giant breeds, this Gentle Giants Canine Nutrition Salmon Recipe Dry Food is surprisingly affordable but high in quality. It features salmon meal as a concentrated source of protein as well as omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. This recipe contains digestible grain-free carbohydrates like potatoes and peas with salmon oil as a rich source of energy. It contains dried fruits and vegetables to provide natural sources of key nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants with probiotics for digestive support. It is also supplemented with glucosamine and chondroitin to support your Irish Wolfhound’s joints.

  • Pros: Ideal protein and fat ratio for giant breeds, wholesome natural ingredients, digestible carbohydrates, premium animal source of protein, glucosamine and chondroitin, probiotics
  • Cons: supplements aren’t chelated, not a grain-free recipe

Taste of the Wild Sierra Mountain Grain-Free Dry Food

Most Popular Food: When you can’t decide what to feed your Irish Wolfhound, something like this Taste of the Wild Sierra Mountain Grain-Free Dry Food is a good choice. This recipe is popular among dog owners for a good reason – it is made with wholesome natural ingredients and formulated to provide for your dog’s unique nutritional needs. It features real lamb as the first ingredient and a novel source of protein with highly digestible carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and lentils. This recipe contains salmon oil as a rich source of omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat as well as DHA for brain health. It also contains chelated minerals for optimal nutrient absorption and probiotics for healthy digestion.

  • Pros: Novel source of animal protein, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, rich in omega fatty acids, chelated minerals, prebiotics and probiotics
  • Cons: Main source of fat is plant-based (canola oil)

NomNomNow Fresh Food Delivery Service

Super Premium Food: If you want the best of the best for your Irish Wolfhound and money is no problem, you can’t do better than a fresh food company like NomNomNow. This company offers fresh food custom-made for dogs and delivers it right to your door. Simply fill out a profile online with basic information about your dog, choose a recipe from the collection, and you’ll start receiving monthly deliveries. Every recipe is prepared fresh from high-quality ingredients and perfectly portioned for your dog. You can even make adjustments according to your dog’s calorie needs or any special dietary requirements.

  • Pros: Made with the freshest ingredients, custom meals for your dog, delivered fresh to your door, perfectly portioned pouches, automatic shipments
  • Cons: Limited number of recipe options, very expensive to feed, delivery restrictions in some areas

 Nutro Grain-Free LID Lamb & Sweet Potato Large Breed Recipe

Best Food for Irish Wolfhounds with Allergies: If your Irish Wolfhound suffers from food allergies, you need a grain-free recipe made with a limited number of ingredients to reduce the risk of triggering those allergies. This Nutro Grain-Free LID Lamb & Sweet Potato Large Breed Recipe is a great option because it contains just 10 main ingredients, including lamb as a novel source of protein and sweet potatoes for digestible grain-free carbohydrates. This formula contains an ideal blend of omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat as well as supplemental fiber for digestion. It is also formulated for large breeds, so it provides the perfect balance of lean protein and healthy fats for energy.

  • Pros: Made with a limited number of ingredients, single source of lean protein, grain-free carbohydrates, supplemental sources of fiber, chelated minerals, rich in essential fatty acids
  • Cons: Contains some plant protein (potato protein), most fat is plant-based

Castor & Pollux Organix Organic Healthy Weight Recipe

Best Food for Irish Wolfhounds with Sensitive Stomachs: If your Irish Wolfhound has a sensitive stomach, you need to feed him a diet made from high-quality, digestible ingredients. This Castor & Pollux Organix Organic Healthy Weight Recipe is a great idea because it is made with 95% organic ingredients with highly digestible sources for protein and carbohydrates. It features organic, free-range chicken as the main ingredient with other healthy inclusions such as organic oatmeal, organic chickpeas, and organic flaxseed. It is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat with glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support. Plus, it is a healthy weight formula that provides 26% protein with just 10% fat.

  • Pros: Made with 95% organic ingredients, highly digestible, 26% protein and 10% fat, rich in omega fatty acids, glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health, probiotics for digestion, chelated minerals
  • Cons: Contains some plant protein (pea protein), may be too high in fiber for some dogs

3 more Top Rated (5 Star) Irish Wolfhound Adult Foods

Adirondack 21% Everyday Adult Recipe Dry Food

To ensure that your Irish Wolfhound gets the right balance of protein and fat to sustain a healthy body weight, try this Adirondack 21% Everyday Adult Recipe Dry Food. This recipe contains 21% protein from lean sources as well as digestible carbohydrates like whole grains and vegetables. It features an ideal blend of omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, plus probiotics for healthy digestion.

Canidae All Life Stages Less Active Formula Dry Food

Formulated for all breeds and life stages, this Canidae All Life Stages Less Active Formula Dry Food contains the ideal balance of protein and fat for your Irish Wolfhound. This recipe features four sources of animal protein with digestible carbohydrates like barley, fresh fruit, and vegetables. It contains HealthPLUS solutions as well, a trio of probiotics, antioxidants, and omega fatty acids for complete and balanced nutrition as well as digestibility.

Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Healthy Weight Chicken Recipe

If you want to maximize your Irish Wolfhound’s nutrition while supporting his lean muscle mass, try this Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Healthy Weight Chicken Recipe. This recipe features protein-rich kibble mixed with freeze-dried raw pieces to deliver 33% lean protein with just 11% fat. It also contains fresh fruits and vegetables for nutritional balance with chelated minerals for optimal nutrient absorption.

3 More Top Rated (5 Star) Irish Wolfhound Puppy Foods

Nutro Ultra Large-Breed Puppy Recipe

To get your Irish Wolfhound puppy started on the right foot, try this Nutro Ultra Large-Breed Puppy Recipe. Made with plenty of lean protein, this recipe will help your puppy grow strong muscles while glucosamine and chondroitin support healthy joints. It contains plenty of essential fatty acids for energy and coat support, plus it is free from by-products, fillers, and artificial additives.

Precise Holistic Complete Large & Giant Breed Puppy Formula

Formulated specifically for large and giant breed puppies, this Precise Holistic Complete Large & Giant Breed Puppy Formula is an excellent source of lean protein and digestible carbohydrates. It features real chicken as the number-1 ingredient with lamb and salmon meals for supplemental protein and omega fatty acids. This recipe also contains prebiotics and probiotics for healthy and regular digestion.

Solid Gold Wolf Cub Bison & Oatmeal Large-Breed Puppy Recipe

If you’re looking for an all-natural recipe for your Irish Wolfhound puppy, try this Solid Gold Wolf Cub Bison & Oatmeal Large-Breed Puppy Recipe. This recipe features real bison as a novel source of protein with ocean fish meal for supplemental protein and omega fatty acids. It contains digestible whole-grain carbohydrates like brown rice and oatmeal with fresh fruits and vegetables for nutritional support.

2 More Picks for Senior Irish Wolfhound Foods

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Chicken & Brown Rice Large-Breed Healthy Weight Recipe

To help your senior Irish Wolfhound maintain a healthy body weight, try this Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Chicken & Brown Rice Large-Breed Healthy Weight Recipe. This recipe features deboned chicken as a lean source of protein with digestible whole grains for carbohydrate support. It is also rich in fiber for healthy digestion with a blend of omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat.

Victor Senior Healthy Weight Dry Food Recipe

Though it may not be specifically formulated for large breeds, this Victor Senior Healthy Weight Dry Food Recipe could be a good option for your Irish Wolfhound as he gets older. It contains 25% protein to maintain lean muscle mass with 11.5% fat for energy. It features digestible ingredients like whole grains and chicken meal with probiotics for healthy digestion and natural sources of joint-supporting nutrients.

Our FAQ and Irish Wolfhound Feeding Guide

Not only do you need to pick a high-quality giant-breed dog food for your Irish Wolfhound, but you also need to think about practical things like choosing a dog bowl and keeping your dog’s food fresh. Because you’ll be feeding your Irish Wolfhound anywhere from two to four cups of food per meal, you may need a fairly large dog bowl. Avoid shopping by price alone because the quality of the materials matters. A stainless-steel dog bowl is the best way to go because it is affordable for a bowl that size, durable and difficult to break, and easy to clean. Plus it won’t scratch, leaving room for bacteria to grow.

Since you’ll be feeding your dog up to 8 cups of food per day, you’ll go through a bag of food pretty quickly. Even so, you should be aware that dog food starts to lose some of its nutritional value as soon as it is exposed to air. If you have a large enough container, you should put the whole bag in it and keep it sealed air-tight. The inside of the bag is treated to help keep the food fresh, so don’t just pour the food in or you’ll lose that benefit.

And now, here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about feeding a Irish Wolfhound:

How much food should I feed my Irish Wolfhound? – Your dog’s needs for calories will depend on his age and body weight. Generally speaking, however, giant breeds have slow metabolisms and only need about 20 calories per pound of body weight. To determine how much to feed your Irish Wolfhound, choose a high-quality dog food formulated for large or giant breeds and refer to the feeding recommendations according to your dog’s age and weight to determine his daily portion. As an estimate, you’ll be feeding your Irish Wolfhound somewhere between 4 and 8 cups of food per day, depending on the calorie content of the food you choose.

How many times a day should I feed my Irish Wolfhound? – When it comes to feeding large and giant breeds like your Irish Wolfhound, you need to avoid feeding them too much at once to limit their risk for gastric dilation. Most dogs do well with two meals per day, one in the morning and one in the evening. Puppies may need an extra meal during the first six months but be careful not to overfeed them. Take the daily feeding recommendation from the package and divide it into two meals.

What kind of food do Irish Wolfhound eat? – The best dog food for any giant-breed dog is made from high-quality, natural ingredients and formulated to meet his calorie and nutrient needs. If you want the best for your dog, consider dehydrated, freeze-dried, or fresh food for your Irish Wolfhound.  The problem is that any of these foods will be extremely expensive by the time you meet your dog’s daily needs for calories. The best option may be a high-quality dry food made from wholesome natural ingredients and formulated for large and giant breeds like your Irish Wolfhound.

What vegetables are good in a Irish Wolfhound food? – All dog foods contain vitamin and mineral supplements to ensure balanced nutrition, but your dog can still benefit from the inclusion of fresh fruits and vegetables in his diet. These provide natural sources for key nutrients which are always more biologically valuable than synthetic supplements. Here are some of the best vegetables for Irish Wolfhounds:

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumber
  • Green beans
  • Peas
  • Pumpkin
  • Spinach
  • Sweet potato
  • Zucchini

Even if your dog’s food does contain fresh vegetables, it isn’t a bad idea to give him a few bites as a healthy snack. In fact, fresh veggies are a low-calorie snack that work great for giant breeds who need to be on a calorie-controlled diet. Just make sure that the vegetables you choose are safe for dogs to eat and that you clean them well before feeding. You should also feed small amounts to avoid upsetting your dog’s stomach from an overload of fiber.

Do Irish Wolfhounds need grain-free dog food? – Whether or not your Irish Wolfhound needs a grain-free diet depends on the individual dog. Before you decide, you should know that there is a great deal of controversy surrounding the long-term safety of grain-free recipes for dogs. There is some evidence to suggest that a grain-free diet increases the risk for dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs, a condition to which the Irish Wolfhound is already prone. The fact remains, however, that there is no conclusive evidence as of yet, but it may be best to avoid grain-free diets unless your Irish Wolfhound has an allergy or sensitivity to grains.

A Final Word

Now that you know the basics about your Irish Wolfhound’s nutritional needs, you’re ready to start shopping for the best Irish Wolfhound food. Remember to look for a product that is made from high-quality ingredients including lean protein, healthy animal fats, and digestible carbohydrates. A large- or giant-breed recipe is recommended to get the right balance of these nutrients.

If you’re still not sure where to start in choosing the best Irish Wolfhound dog food, try one of our top 15 picks reviewed above!

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