Poodle Diet & Meal Plan Advice
By Hungry Bark | February 28, 2021
As a breed, poodles are highly intelligent, curious, and friendly. They make great family dogs and can have a rich, abundant life.
Poodles are recognized as the smartest dogs and love being taught tricks and tasks. They are water dogs by nature and love to run, swim and retrieve but are also content relaxing and resting.
Whether a toy, mini, or standard, Poodles can have a long life. So for them to enjoy their life to the fullest, what you feed them should focus on their long-term health and happiness.
Like people, dogs have individual personalities and food preferences, and nutritional needs that differ between breeds and life stages. Not all dogs are alike, and not all meal plans should be the same.
What you feed a mini-poodle will be different from a regular-sized one. For starters, mini-poodles weigh less than 20 pounds making their feeding schedule and portion size different from the 100 pounds of a fully grown standard poodle.
Your poodle’s age, weight, and amount of daily exercise should be a factor in choosing your dog’s food.
Did you know that the most common mistake people make is feeding their pups food without even considering what may be in it?
Would you do that to yourself or your children?
Keep reading as we’ll discuss all the ways you as a pet parent can make and keep your poodle healthy and happy.
The Importance Of Getting Enough Exercise
One of the most important roles we have as pet parents is to provide a safe, engaging place to raise your poodle.
All dogs need proper nutrition, daily exercise, and regular trips to the veterinarian for health checks to lead a long life.
Whether you have a large yard for your poodle to run around and play, or you take them out of your apartment for exercise, to have a happy, healthy life, your poodle needs the right combination of diet and exercise.
In general, poodles should get five minutes of exercise for each month of their age, and adults up to an hour of sustained exercise a day.
Exercise helps with muscular development and maintenance, improves cardiovascular performance, aids with digestion especially constipation, and adds to life expectancy. Additional benefits include enhancing their immune system, improving bone density, and reducing chronic disease risk.
Behavioral issues, shared with all dogs and poodles, can be minimized by getting the right amount of exercise. A tired dog is a happy dog, and a happy dog makes for a well-behaved one, which means happy pet parents.
Before you head out for a run with your poodle, understand your dog’s health and conditioning first. The last thing you want to do is overextend your poodle, or yourself for that matter, and not be able to exercise again. One thing that inactive dogs are susceptible to is injuring the pads of their paws. As dogs run and play, the pads on the bottom of their paws become callous, protecting them from hard, hot, or cold surfaces.
For your pup, exercise has some of the same sleep and mood elevation benefits as it does for people. A dog that exercises regularly will establish a regular sleep pattern and suffer less anxiety and worry than one who doesn’t get enough exercise.
Another added benefit to exercise is it improves your dog’s health and mental function. Exercise will calm your poodle, and the calmer a dog is, the more attentive they become. It is ideal for teaching them.
Exercise also lets your poodle expand their socialization skills and improves the bonding and relationship between you and your pup.
If you need suggestions on exercise ideas, we’ve got a few for you to consider.
Walking: Regardless of breed, dogs love to search and explore their surroundings. Take your poodle out for a leisure stroll, let them sniff around, and use this time to engage with them and teach proper leash behaviors at the same time.
As a low-impact exercise, walking also is a lifetime activity for poodles of all sizes, shapes, and ages. Getting them to understand proper leash behavior is one that takes time, and it is best to start training them as soon as possible.
Hiking: Naturally curious poodles love to explore new surroundings, and taking a hike together is a great bonding experience and offers a change of scenery to your routine. Taking a hike together is a great way to bond with each other, teach your poodle about positive behaviors, and just get some outside time.
Swimming: For older poodles or ones with joint-issues, swimming offers a low-impact aerobic activity that poodles just love. Find a lake, beach, river, pool, or pond and play fetch with your poodle; instinctually, they love to retrieve and swim.
Fetch: As mentioned, your poodle is bred to retrieve and is a water dog by nature. Spend some time teaching skills such as wait and go on command as you toss a ball or other toy for them to sprint and get. Alternate the type of terrain you play with your dog for added fun.
Tug-of-war: A way for you to bond with your poodle and help them develop their strength and stamina as well. This activity is a great activity to play, especially if you don’t have a half-hour to an hour for a long walk.
Dog parks: Poodles can be aloof and detached from others that they don’t know, but socializing them with other pups at the local dog park helps them learn socialization skills, teaches them to understand hierarchy, which is an instinctual dog trait, as well as the correct way to play with other dogs.
Agility drills: In addition to being one of the smartest breeds, poodles are also one of the more athletic dogs. Setting up an obstacle course with agility drills is an excellent way for you to connect with and train your poodle. It’s an engaging way for them to get the exercise they need.
The Type Of Nutrition Your Poodle Needs
Your poodle is different from every other dog as you are with people. Sure, there are similarities, but there are a few things to consider when it comes to getting the proper nutrition for your poodle.
How Active Is Your Poodle
Active dogs require much more protein, carbohydrates, and fats than one that doesn’t get much exercise. Much like an athlete has higher daily caloric needs than someone working in an office, so too does an active dog have a higher calorie need than a sedentary one.
Is Your Dog Allergic Or Intolerant To Types Of Foods
Dogs that develop allergies tend to be more susceptible to lesser quality ingredients in their food than other dogs. Symptoms of food-borne allergies may be digestive issues and excessive itching, which can lead to skin irritation and infection that causes more itching.
Your Dog’s Age And Weight
Dogs at different stages of life require different amounts of calories and have different nutritional needs. Also, if your dog is over or underweight, the type and amount of food will vary. The goal is to feed 1 ounce of dog food for every poodle pound.
Dry Food Vs. Wet
According to PetMD, studies have shown dry food aids your dog’s dental health and periodontal disease, especially in young to middle-aged dogs. Another benefit of dry food is that it is designed to help digestion, more comfortable on the stomach and intestinal linings, and easier to pass as waste.
Why Your Poodle’s Food Ingredients Are Important
Not every dog food has the same nutritional needs meaning that not all dog food is manufactured the same. Your poodle may have a specific dietary requirement that is unique or may have needs based on age and size.
Dog food is a highly-regulated industry, but there are still corners that some manufacturers take, whether it’s with fillers, substitutes, or additives. High-quality food manufacturers focus on pure ingredients and are usually more transparent regarding the types of ingredients in their food.
As you read and analyze the ingredient list of your pup’s dog food, you should notice a priority on clean protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals without a lot of additives.
Your dog food selection should consider the amount and types of macronutrients listed.
Macronutrients are fats, proteins, and carbohydrates and should make up the largest volume of ingredients listed. Macronutrients are the most used energy sources in your poodle’s diet.
The best food will balance nutritional needs that will support skeletal-muscle growth and enhance immune systems without fillers to “fill” up your pup. Ideally, your poodle needs 2-grams of protein for every pound that they weigh, so look for dog food loaded on pure protein and not “meal” as a significant protein source.
Also, for dogs that develop food allergies and food intolerance, finding a clean food source is crucial to maintain their health.
Food allergies stem from the fillers that many dog food manufacturers may use, additives, and substitutes such as soy or other grains that may upset your pup’s digestive tract.
Food intolerance is a condition that stems from your dog’s body not digesting certain types of proteins. Often ingredient lists that include “meat meal” in their ingredients increase the chance that your pup may develop food intolerance.
Dogs that develop an allergy to a food additive are more susceptible to long-term allergies than dogs that don’t, which is another factor to consider as you read the ingredient list.
Benefits of good nutrition for your poodle include:
- Healthy bones and teeth
- Stronger muscle tone
- Repairs and maintains the skeletal-muscle system
- Improves digestion and waste
- Enhances the immune system
- Increased energy levels
- Better sleep patterns
- Healthier coats
The ingredient list should include natural forms of protein such as chicken or other poultry, fish such as salmon, and red meat for balanced nutrition.
Ingredients based on Hungry Bark Superfoods with Salmon Recipe
The nutritional benefits that a dog derives from protein are better energy levels, muscle growth, and maintenance. Protein serves as the building block of all life and provides energy to the brain and body throughout the day.
How To Read The Ingredients Label
We know that selecting the right dog food can be tricky. It is stressful to find the best food for your poodle’s health, but reading all the ingredients can be challenging to figure out.
The right balance of protein, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, and vitamins should all be found in the food label. But how do you know if the food label has the specific nutrition your poodle needs?
The first thing to do is consult with your veterinarian. They can educate you on the types of food ingredients your specific pup needs and how to read the ingredient label.
When reading the ingredient list, check the protein list. If it reads “meat meal,” chances are there are additives that could be harmful. What you would like to see instead is a list of specific sources of protein such as “chicken,” “turkey,” or “salmon.”
Ingredients are listed by weight in the packaging, so look for a listed protein as the first ingredient. The closer you find components to the top of the list, the more it is included in the food product.
Look for vegetables and fruits to be listed by name. Like protein sources, lists that include pure vegetables and fruit sources guarantee that those are in the product and all the nutrients that are contained. Avoid lists with generic labeling and terms. Don’t allow for substitutes, like protein, the vegetables and fruits must be listed by name.
Does your ingredient list include probiotics? Like humans, probiotics aid in digestive health, and studies have shown that balanced gastrointestinal tracts correlate with healthy brain function and more efficient immune systems.
Avoid unnecessary fillers that often appear as “meal” and grains, as well as additives such as MSG that can flare up allergies in your pup.
Other things to look out for and avoid:
Preservatives: Chemical preservatives don’t always need to appear on the ingredient list but can be found as additives to things such as “meat meal.” Keep it natural, and you won’t have any concerns.
Higher grain count: Grains act as a carbohydrate, and they may also serve as a filler. Ingredients with higher than necessary grain quantities may create imbalances in your dog’s diet and may include some types of grains that may cause allergies.
Dry food recipes that contain real meat proteins as the first ingredient, followed by a healthy grain such as brown rice, are likely to include the proper nutrients your poodle needs to thrive.
Additional Fillers: Fillers in dog food are added to bulk up the product but offer little nutritional value. Soy, wheat, corn are good examples and may contribute to malnutrition.
Fillers don’t add much nutrition value but are cheaper than other ingredients, which is why some of the subpar dog food brands would include them.
Selecting The Right Meal Plan For Your Poodle
When selecting the right type of meal plan for your poodle, you want to find an ingredient list that balances macronutrients and serving size as a general rule. For poodles of all sizes, you should feed 1-ounce of food for every pound that your poodle weighs.
Let’s suppose you have a standard-sized poodle that weighs 100 pounds. To determine its portion size, start with the recommended 3 ¾ - 4 ¼ cups per serving and add a ½ cup for every 15 lbs., so in this example, your 100 lb Poodle gets approximately 5 ½ cups per serving.
Ideally, the food label should clarify what is included in the ingredients, such as making claims of being 100% all-natural. Preservatives should consist of terms like tocopherols and some herbs like rosemary.
While some poodles may need to avoid all types of grains, look for limited grain, non-gluten or gluten-free kinds of sources that will help your poodle avoid developing food allergies.
Now that you know what and how much your pup should eat a day, the next step is to find the best type of food source for them.
As we discussed earlier, higher-quality dog food will be much more transparent in their ingredient list, showing the amount and source for each ingredient included.
Also, keep in mind that as your dog ages and experiences different types of foods, their taste buds will change.
If you’re still uncertain about the type of food your poodle needs, the Hungry Bark Custom Meal Planner is a great place to start! In as little as 1-2 minutes, you’ll receive a Custom Meal Plan designed just for your unique dog, taking into account characteristics such as breed, age, weight, and activity level.
Clear labeling of pure food sources with minerals and vitamins is crucial for determining the type of food to give your pup. Balancing their nutritional needs with exercise and training will provide your poodle with the richest, healthiest life possible.