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Rottweilers are very large dogs that commonly weigh more than 100 pounds when they’re fully grown, and Rottie puppies grow rapidly until they reach maturity.
Since they grow so fast, these puppies require food that’s formulated specifically for large breed puppies. Furthermore, because Rottweilers are susceptible to several health concerns, special consideration should be given to their nutrition to help alleviate and potentially even prevent such issues from arising.
If you’re searching out the ideal food for your Rottweiler puppy, then you’ll find several options on this list that represent the best choices in multiple categories, including wet foods, dry foods, grain-free foods, and more.
Before we start talking about particular puppy foods that are perfect for Rotties, we’re going to cover some important information about what your growing Rottweiler needs and what you should be looking for in Rottweiler puppy food.
We’re about to discuss all 5 of our top picks, but if you want to jump straight ahead to our recommendations, you can check them all out below.
- Best Overall: Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Puppy Food
- Runner-Up: Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Puppy Food
- Best Budget Food: Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Food
- Best Premium Food: Instinct Raw Boost Large Breed Puppy Food
- Best Grain-Free Food: Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain-Free Natural Puppy Food
Things to Think About When Feeding a Rottweiler Puppy
When browsing through the numerous puppy food options, it’s important to understand a few key facts about Rottweilers and how to feed them. You can’t feed a Rottweiler puppy the same way you’d feed a Shih Tzu, for instance.
In fact, you can’t even feed a Rottie puppy like you’d feed an adult of the same breed. Their dietary needs are quite different.
Common Rottweiler Health Concerns
One of the main considerations you must make when shopping for food for any Rottweiler, especially a puppy, is their vulnerability to certain health problems.
When picking out food for a growing Rottweiler puppy, you’ll want to take all of these issues into account.
Hip and elbow dysplasia are joint problems that occur when the affected area grows improperly. These conditions can result in pain, loss of movement, and even lameness. In some cases, the pain and lack of mobility become so great that the dog must be put down.
Certain compounds such as glucosamine can help to reduce the joint wear associated with such diseases. Glucosamine can even help your Rottweiler’s body to repair damaged cartilage, which can help to reduce the chances of dysplasia later in life.
Chondroitin, another compound with similar effects as glucosamine, can also benefit a growing Rottweiler by helping to prevent the occurrence and worsening of joint conditions like hip and elbow dysplasia. It does this by preventing the destruction of healthy cartilage and improving the building of new cartilage.
There is evidence that glucosamine and chondroitin are even more effective when taken together.
In addition to glucosamine and chondroitin, Rottweiler puppies will benefit from foods containing plenty of omega fatty acids. These fatty acids improve joint health by lubricating joints and reducing inflammation. Moreover, these fatty acids also promote heart health, which is vital for a growing Rottweiler since they’re susceptible to cardiomyopathy and other heart problems.
By picking a puppy food for your Rottweiler that contains substances such as glucosamine, chondroitin, and omega fatty acids, you’ll be offering your puppy protection against common diseases that affect the breed.
Even though many of these conditions affect Rottweilers as they age, puppyhood is a time when owners can set a foundation of good health.
Optimal Growth vs Maximal Growth
While your rottweiler puppy is growing, you should consider the way that you feed them and how that will affect your dog as an adult. It’s common to want your puppy to grow as fast as possible, but this can actually be detrimental to their health.
A maximal growth rate is one where the puppy in question is being fed to grow as fast as possible. This usually requires overfeeding of foods with a high-fat content in order to provide excess calories.
The problem with a maximal growth rate is that it can have negative health consequences for your Rottweiler. Growing at a maximal rate increases your dog’s chance of developing skeletal deformities. Plus, it can reduce your Rottie’s overall life expectancy and increase the possibility of them becoming obese.
Instead, you should aim for an optimal growth rate, which is when your puppy grows at a steady rate while eating enough to reach an optimal size and weight as an adult.
While this means your Rottweiler might not grow to massive sizes and it won’t grow as quickly, feeding your Rottweiler for an optimal growth rate provides the best chance of producing a healthy adult Rottie with reduced vulnerability to health problems common in the breed.
By adjusting your Rottweiler puppy’s total daily intake of food, you can control how fast they’re growing. Increasing your dog’s intake will cause faster growth while reducing their intake can slow their growth down.
Unfortunately, determining exactly how much to feed your Rottweiler puppy can be difficult as it changes for each individual. Certain factors will affect your puppy’s intake needs, such as its size, weight, activity level, and more.
Additionally, you’ll have to consider the caloric density of your puppy’s food, as each food offers a different number of calories per serving.
Because of these variables, you’ll have to pay close attention to your Rottie’s growth so you can tell if you’re feeding them the right amount or not.
Generally, feeding guidelines will offer a range of how much food your puppy should be eating at a given weight. This is usually measured in cups of dry dog food, so it’s an imprecise method at best, but should still help you get in the right ballpark. From there, you’ll have to observe your Rottie to get a feel for how their food intake is affecting their growth.
This video shows approximately how much your Rottweiler puppy should be eating at various stages of growth:
At an ideal weight, you’ll be able to feel your Rottie’s ribs, though they shouldn’t be visible.
You can use the body condition score to determine if your puppy is the right weight. To learn about how to assess your Rottie’s body condition score, check out this video.
What to Look for in a Rottweiler Puppy Food
Since we’ve discussed some of the considerations you should be making when picking out food for your Rottweiler puppy, you should have a solid understanding of what your puppy needs. Now, it’s time to go over the key factors to compare between foods to determine which foods are a good choice for your puppy.
An ideal food for a growing Rottweiler will meet all of these criteria, so you should be keeping the following in mind while searching for your puppy’s food.
When your Rottweiler is growing, they have drastically different nutritional requirements than they will later in life. After all, Rottweilers grow at an astounding rate, and their nutrition must support such impressive growth.
Because of the differences in dietary requirements between puppies and adults, juvenile Rottweilers should not be fed an adult dog food formula. It’s quite possible for your Rottweiler puppy to end up with deficiencies when eating adult dog food since adult recipes don’t contain the proper blend of nutrients for a growing puppy.
Instead, you’ll want to look for puppy-specific food. These are always labeled as being for puppies so there’s no confusion. If a bag isn’t labeled as puppy-specific food, then it’s probably for adult dogs and you should skip it.
Large Breed Specific
Similar to age-specific food, your Rottweiler puppy will benefit immensely from eating food that’s formulated for large breed dogs. These blends will contain the proper nutrients for puppies that will eventually become giants, and Rottweilers certainly fall into that category.
Often, these blends will be more calorically dense than foods that are crafted for smaller breeds. This means that your dog will get more calories from each cup of food.
Additionally, large-breed recipes are often made with nutrients that are vital to bigger dogs, including specific vitamins and supplements to prevent health problems common to larger canines like joint problems.
Speaking of joint problems, it’s vital that your Rottweiler puppy is consuming food that will help to prevent the joint and bone problems common to the breed.
As we’ve mentioned, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and arthritis all occur in Rottweilers with some regularity. Feeding your growing Rottie on a recipe that contains supplements to improve joint health can help stave off these diseases later in life, leading to a higher quality of life for your Rottweiler as an adult.
The most common and effective compounds for improving joint health and preventing common joint and bone diseases include glucosamine, chondroitin, and omega fatty acids. You may not find many blends that contain all three, but you should look for foods that contain at least one or more of these helpful compounds.
Appropriate Macronutrient Ratios
One of the main reasons that your Rottie puppy needs puppy food rather than regular adult dog food is the difference between them in terms of macronutrient profiles.
Macronutrients include protein, carbohydrates, and fats, all of which are essential for your Rottweiler to consume. However, your puppy has pretty specific needs to fulfill in each of these categories, which is why adult dog food is a no-go.
A growing puppy requires food that’s 22%-32% protein. This is higher than the needs of an average adult dog since your Rottie puppy still has growing to do.
Fats should be limited to about 10%-25%. Eating too much fat can easily lead to your Rottie becoming overweight, which can eventually cause obesity.
There is no suggested carbohydrate intake for growing puppies, though it’s suggested that a diet consisting of 20% carbohydrates can maximize your puppy’s health.
You can learn a lot about any dog food by taking a look at the nutrition label. This label contains all the pertinent information about the food and what it contains, including all the ingredients used to make the recipe and the amounts of each nutrient that the blend contains.
When looking at the ingredients list, the ingredients listed first are the most important. Ingredients are listed in the order of their prevalence, so the first ingredient is found in the highest amount and the last ingredient on the list will be found in the lowest concentration.
The first five ingredients of any dog food will tell you quite a bit about the overall quality of the food. You want to see whole-food ingredients listed first, especially whole-food proteins from animal sources.
For example, chicken or salmon make great first ingredients. Whole grain brown rice, potatoes, peas, or other whole-food vegetables are also quality ingredients, though you generally want to see an animal-based protein source listed first.
The 5 Best Foods for Rottweiler Puppies
At this point, you should know exactly what you’re looking for in a puppy food for your growing Rottweiler. Luckily, I’ve already searched through the countless products available to find the five best options according to the criteria laid out in the previous section.
To make things easier for you, I’ve even separated them by category, so you can quickly find the recipe that’s right for you and your Rottweiler.
Best Overall: Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Puppy Food
- Contains one (1) 30 lb. bag of NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food, Chicken & Brown Rice...
- Made with non-GMO ingredients*; no chicken by-product meal, corn, wheat, or soy*
Until your Rottweiler reaches 18 months of age, the Nutro Natural Choice large breed puppy food blend is one of the best foods for them. This recipe is made with healthy, non-GMO ingredients that are chosen to ensure your puppy’s peak health.
This food is specifically formulated for large breed puppies, which makes it ideal for a growing Rottie. Since it contains ample omega fatty acids, this puppy food can help keep your Rottweiler’s heart and joints healthy while it’s growing, which is essential to prevent potential heart, joint, and bone diseases as your dog ages.
Of course, omega fatty acids aren’t the only beneficial nutrients in this blend. You’ll also find both glucosamine and chondroitin, proving that Nutro kept healthy joints and bones in mind when formulating this recipe.
With 26% minimum crude protein, this food contains just the right amount for a growing puppy. Plus, it’s made up of 14% fats, which is also ideal for a Rottweiler puppy.
Looking at the ingredients, we see several whole foods listed, starting with chicken as the main ingredient. In fact, all of the top-five ingredients are whole foods, which bodes well for the overall quality of this blend.
This puppy food offers complete nutrition for your Rottweiler and contains everything necessary to help them grow into a healthy adult. If you’d like to read user reviews and check the current price on Amazon click here.
What I love about it: It’s got everything a growing Rottweiler puppy needs, including supplements to aid in joint health. This blend is formulated just for large-breed puppies, so it’s a great choice for a Rottie pup.
What I wish it had: Most of the protein in this recipe comes from chicken. It would be great to see a second animal source of protein for a more diverse amino acid profile.
Runner-Up: Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Puppy Food
- One (1) 47 lb. Bag - Purina Pro Plan Brand Large Breed Dry Puppy Food, Chicken & Rice Formula
- Formulated to support an appropriate growth rate for large breed puppies
There’s a lot to like about the Purina Pro Plan food, but it falls a bit short of everything that the Nutro Natural choice offers, which is why it’s our runner-up.
Importantly, you’ll notice that this recipe is formulated specifically for large-breed puppies. It contains 28% crude protein and 13% crude fat, which are ideal amounts for a growing Rottweiler puppy.
When you check out the ingredients list, things still look good. Chicken is listed as the main ingredient, followed by rice. Also in the top five are whole grain corn and poultry by-product meal, the latter being a great source of glucosamine.
While we’re on the subject, this recipe contains ample glucosamine and omega fatty acids, ensuring adequate joint health in your Rottweiler as it ages.
Unfortunately, the Purina Pro Plan recipes are a bit pricey, especially when compared to our top pick that’s more affordable and offers more complete nutrition for a Rottweiler pup. Even so, it’s a great option for a Rottweiler puppy, and you can check the current price on Amazon by clicking here.
What I love about it: Glucosamine and omega fatty acids aid in joint health and the macronutrient ratios are precisely what a Rottweiler puppy needs.
What I wish it had: While it does contain glucosamine and omega fatty acids, chondroitin is absent from this blend.
Best Budget Food: Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Food
- Contains one (1) 30.6 lb. bag of IAMS Smart Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food Chicken
- 1st ingredient is real, farm-raised chicken
Generally, when you’re searching for a budget-priced alternative, you’re going to have to sacrifice something in the quality department. Thankfully, the Iams ProActive Health puppy food breaks this cycle, offering impressive nutrition for your Rottie at an affordable price.
In fact, this puppy food contains pretty much everything you’d want to offer your growing Rottweiler.
For starters, it’s got 27% crude protein and 14% crude fat. These numbers fall right within the suggested guidelines for a growing puppy, ensuring that your Rottweiler is getting precisely the nutrition it needs.
On the nutrition label, you’ll find all of the vital joint-health compounds listed. Omega fatty acids are plentiful, as are glucosamine and chondroitin, which means your Rottweiler’s joints will be protected as your dog rapidly increases in size.
With so many great features already, you might expect to find a sub-par ingredients list. After all, they have to save money somewhere to offer this food so cheap. Instead, you’ll find quality ingredients and several whole foods, starting with chicken and ground whole-grain corn.
Granted, you’ll also find chicken by-product meal, which some consider to be an inferior ingredient. However, it’s a great source of glucosamine, which can improve your dog’s joint health, making it a worthwhile inclusion in a large-breed puppy food.
If you’re looking for the best value in a food that still offers your Rottweiler puppy everything it needs to achieve peak health, then you can’t go wrong with this food. If you’d like to read more reviews and see the latest price on Amazon click here.
What I love about it: You’re getting everything your Rottweiler needs to thrive at a price that’s much cheaper than many competitors.
What I wish it had: Honestly, at this price, I have no complaints. A more diverse assortment of protein sources wouldn’t hurt, but then the price would probably have to be higher.
Best Premium Food: Instinct Raw Boost Large Breed Puppy Food
- GRAIN FREE PUPPY FOOD WITH FREEZE DRIED RAW CAGE FREE CHICKEN: Instinct Raw Boost dry dog food combines...
- PUPPY DOG FOOD PLUS FREEZE DRIED RAW PIECES: Made with calcium & phosphorus for strong teeth and bones...
As you might expect of premium puppy food, Instinct Raw Boost is one of the pricier options on the market. This is partially due to the inclusion of raw pieces, which are made with phosphorus, calcium, and DHA to promote teeth, bone, brain, and eye development.
This is an entirely grain-free blend, which means it’s easier for sensitive stomachs to digest. It’s also free of artificial colors and preservatives, ensuring your Rottie isn’t consuming chemicals that might not be great for their health.
With 33.5% crude protein, your Rottie pup will have even more than they need. This is slightly higher than the recommended amount of protein for a young pup, but since Rottweilers are so large, the extra protein won’t be a big deal.
Looking past protein, you’ll notice 18.5% of this blend is fat, which falls within the ideal range for a puppy, though it is on the higher side. This makes Instinct Raw Boost a great choice for puppies that aren’t growing quite as fast as they should since the extra fat should help them to gain weight.
Down towards the bottom of the nutrition label we can see that this recipe contains sufficient quantities of omega fatty acids to aid in joint and heart health as your Rottie grows. Unfortunately, there’s no sign of glucosamine or chondroitin. However, there is quite a bit of calcium in here, which will aid in bone and joint health.
Most of the ingredients used to craft this puppy food are whole foods. In the first five ingredients, you’ll find chicken, chicken meal, and peas. Further down the list, you’ll find diverse sources of protein and other whole foods such as menhaden fish meal, freeze-dried chicken liver, lamb meal, carrots, apples, and cranberries, which lets you know that this is truly a premium puppy food.
You can read more reviews and check today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.
What I love about it: It’s hard to beat the high-quality whole-food ingredients used to create this large-breed puppy food.
What I wish it had: I’d love to see glucosamine and/or chondroitin included in this blend, especially at such a high price.
Best Grain-Free Food: Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain-Free Natural Puppy Food
- STARTS WITH REAL CHICKEN: A recipe that starts with real chicken as the first ingredient, this dry dog...
- LARGE BREED PUPPY FOOD: This grain free recipe is made with DHA and ARA to help support your puppy’s...
Today, many puppy parents are turning to grain-free foods since they’re thought to be easier for dogs to digest. These foods contain no wheat, corn, rice, or other grains, substituting non-grain carbohydrates like peas and potatoes instead.
The Blue Buffalo Freedom grain-free puppy food for large breeds is my favorite grain-free recipe for Rottweiler pups because it offers everything that a growing Rottie requires without the need for grains.
For example, this blend contains 26% protein and 15% fat, which are both excellent figures for a Rottweiler pup. There’s also a lot of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids; more than many other blends. This is great for a growing Rottweiler’s joints, but, unfortunately, there’s no glucosamine or chondroitin in this recipe.
You can really tell the high quality of this food when you check out the list of ingredients. The first ingredient is deboned chicken; a whole-food animal protein source that’s great for any Rottweiler pup.
After chicken is chicken meal, which is chicken meat that has been rendered, dried, and ground, so it’s another great source of protein. Then you’ll see potatoes and peas, which are both whole-food non-grain vegetables. Overall, the ingredients are high-quality with a focus on whole foods.
You can learn more about this grain-free puppy food, read other reviews and see the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
What I love about it: If you’re searching for a grain-free option for your Rottweiler, this one fits all of the parameters with quality ingredients and a healthy macronutrient profile.
What I wish it had: The only things missing from this blend are glucosamine and chondroitin to help stave off the onset of joint problems that are common to Rottweilers.
As you can tell, there are quite a few foods that can provide sufficient nutrition for your Rottweiler puppy. The best choices will be large-breed specific and meant for puppies rather than adults. Furthermore, they should contain nutrients that aid in joint health to reduce the chances that your Rottie will experience common health concerns like hip and elbow dysplasia.
Hopefully, you’ve found the ideal food for your Rottweiler on this list. Whichever recipe you choose, all of these are picked because they provide exactly what your growing Rottie needs, so I’m confident you’ll be satisfied with any of them, and your Rottweiler will certainly agree!