Despite their pretty appearance and regal trot, poodles are obedient, lively, intelligent, and loyal, making them great family dogs. Poodles come in three sizes: standard, miniature, and toy.
Each size of poodle has slightly different needs for overall health, but there are some breed-wide similarities as well, including what they need in a dog food. In this article, we’ll explain the poodle’s nutritional and health needs and uncover how to identify the best dog food for poodles.
Getting To Know Your Pup’s Basic Nutritional Needs
When it comes to basic nutritional needs for poodles, it’s important to have an appropriate balance of protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. However, the percentage of each of these varies based on the life stage and size of your poodle.
For example, a poodle puppy typically requires more protein and calories than an adult dog or senior poodle because they need more energy to keep up with a growing body.
Talk to your vet to determine the right nutritional balance for your pup and remember that young poodles may require specific puppy food to support their growth.
Health Considerations for Poodles
In addition to basic nutritional considerations for poodles, there are health conditions and risks to keep in mind when creating a poodle diet. These conditions vary between poodle sizes, so it’s important to understand how dog food impacts each poodle’s health.
Standard poodles are considered a large breed and are typically over 15 inches tall, weigh between 40 and 70 pounds (depending on sex), and have a life expectancy of 10 to 18 years. Standard poodles’ size and bone structure make them specifically susceptible to hip dysplasia and other joint issues. A few other health conditions standard poodles are prone to include:
- Addison’s disease
- Cushing’s disease
- Chronic active hepatitis
Additionally, standard poodles are at higher risk for gastric dilatation and volvulus (bloat), a painful and life-threatening condition. Bloat can be avoided by controlling your pup’s food portions and limiting how much water is in their food.
Miniature and toy poodles, on the other hand, are small breeds, weighing 10-15 pounds and 4-6 pounds, respectively. Though miniature and toy poodles aren’t necessarily at risk for gastric dilatation with bloat, these smaller breeds are at risk for patellar luxation. Patellar luxation occurs when a dog’s kneecap pops out of place or moves from its normal location and may present as a “skipping” gait with sudden hind leg lameness.
If you are concerned your poodle is experiencing a health issue, make an appointment with your veterinarian.
What To Avoid When Feeding Your Poodle
Next, we’re going to cover tips for feeding your poodle, starting with what to avoid, including overfeeding, unidentifiable meats, artificial ingredients, and highly processed ingredients.
Overfeeding a standard poodle can increase the risk of bloat, as it may cause the stomach to expand rapidly, especially when combined with large amounts of water. Additionally, overfeeding can increase a poodle’s risk of obesity, putting them at higher risk for diabetes, hypertension, osteoarthritis, and shorter lifespans.
Unidentified meats in pet food is generally a sign of inconsistent quality. It can also mean the meats are from 4D animals (diseased, disabled, dying, or dead before processing). Meat from 4D animals is often highly processed and contains fillers that may be harder for sensitive stomachs to process. Additionally, these poor-quality meats tend to provide less nutritional value than quality, whole meat sources.
Artificial Sweeteners, Colors, and Preservatives
Artificial ingredients in dog food often limit the nutritional value present and can lead to other digestive and health concerns. Try to avoid artificial sweeteners, preservatives, or colors when choosing dog food. Instead, look for natural ingredients that act as colors (beetroot or blueberry) and non-artificial preservatives (vitamin E, vitamin C, and rosemary oil).
Highly Processed Ingredients
Highly processed ingredients should be avoided when choosing dog food for your poodle as they can interfere with normal digestion and may cause allergies for some pups. Select a dog food with a whole meat base, like chicken or beef, rather than a chicken meal or beef meal.
How To Choose the Best Dog Food for Your Poodle
As a poodle owner, you’re likely wondering which ingredients you should look for in dog food. We recommend looking for high-quality protein, good fats, and carbohydrates from sources that will sustain your pup’s energy, as well as food that meets AAFCO and human grade requirements.
Poodles of any size are very active and need daily exercise to balance their energy levels. They need protein to support this energy, but protein quality is just as important as protein content.
One protein-rich food is not the same as another protein-rich food — it’s important to know where the protein is coming from. Look for foods with whole meat protein sources rather than processed meats and various meals.
Fat and Carbohydrates
Fat and carbs are essential components of a poodle's balanced diet that further support their high activity levels. When choosing a food, be sure to look for healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseed, and fatty fish. The same goes for carbs. Look for foods that include complex carbs like barley, oats, brown rice, and sweet potato.
Meets AAFCO Nutritional Requirements
Next, poodle food should meet the nutritional requirements set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). This designation means that the food meets strict safety and nutritional guidelines, like freedom from adulteration and ingredient process control.
Lastly, look for pet food brands that are human grade. A human grade food designation ensures the dog food was made in an environment approved for human food. Even if dog food is AAFCO-approved, it may still be feed grade and may include additives and meat byproducts that aren’t as nutritious as whole meat ingredients.
Best Food for Poodles: The Honest Kitchen’s Top Picks
With the recommendations above in mind, we recommend checking out human grade dog food options from The Honest Kitchen.
The Honest Kitchen’s food supports the nutritional needs of all dogs and tastes good as well. Hear from other dog parents about their experience with our recipes — you might even find your poodle’s new favorite meal!
Dehydrated Limited Ingredient Fish
First on the list is The Honest Kitchen’s Dehydrated Limited Ingredient Fish dog food. A box of this grain-free food contains wild-caught white fish, pumpkin, coconut, chickpeas, and vitamins like vitamin E, B12, and D. Additionally, the limited ingredient recipe makes it a great choice for pups who may have food allergies or sensitivities.
Whole Grain Beef Clusters
Next up is The Honest Kitchen’s Whole Grain Beef Clusters. This whole-grain dog food is a great kibble alternative for poodles. The first ingredient is beef, followed by oats, beef liver, barley, and eggs, so you can be sure it will pack a punch of healthy protein, fat, and carbs.
All these ingredients — plus veggies like broccoli, pumpkin, and kale — are cold-pressed, roasted, and slowly dehydrated to maintain the nutrients, aroma, and whole-food taste.
Functional Pour Overs: Hip & Joint - Chicken Stew
If you’re looking for an added boost to support your poodle’s hip and joint health, try The Honest Kitchen’s Functional Pour-Overs: Chicken Stew. This nutrient-rich recipe can be used as a tasty topper or treat. It’s also a great way to boost your pup with ingredients to support joint and bone health like chicken bone broth, whole chicken, carrots, butternut squash, fish oil, and turmeric.
99% Meat Protein Boosters
Lastly, if you have a picky eater on your hands or are trying to increase your poodle’s protein intake, check out The Honest Kitchen’s 99% Meat Protein Boosters. These rich, high-protein, grain-free toppers come in beef, chicken, fish, or turkey and duck recipes, and will be sure to have the picky eater licking their bowl while giving them a boost of energy from protein and healthy fats.
Keep Your Poodle Happy and Healthy With The Honest Kitchen
Whether you’re a pet parent to a standard poodle, a toy poodle, or a mixed breed like a Goldendoodle, choosing a food that provides the proper nutrients is key to your pup’s lifelong health. But it can be tough to identify a dog food that has the necessary nutritional components to support a balanced diet with a great taste to satisfy even the pickiest eaters.
Luckily, The Honest Kitchen has a wide variety of recipes, from dry dog foods to wet dog foods, toppers, and supplements to round out your dog’s diet.
Explore The Honest Kitchen’s full dog food collection to find the best recipes for your poodle!
*Health Disclaimer: This post is educational in nature and doesn’t constitute health advice. Please consult your pet's veterinarian or other healthcare professional for specific guidance on this topic.