Looking for the best dog food for your Belgian Malinois? Exercise is the key to happiness with this breed, but without the right nutrition, none of this is possible. So, for your Mal to be a happy bunny, you need to find him the proper nutrition. But what nutrients does he need? Do his needs change as he gets older? And what separates a good quality kibble from a poor one?
Here in this Belgian Malinois nutrition guide, we will answer all your questions and more. Using all of these answers, we have also hand picked what we feel are the best dog foods for the Belgian Malinois. And after reading this guide, you’ll know exactly what to put in his bowl. He is a hardworking muscular canine who needs top-quality nutrition to fuel his 40 to 80-pound body.
But because not every Mal is the same, we have found options for every Mal and every budget. So, whether he is a canine colleague of yours, or he is a family pet, we’ve got you both covered. So, let’s jump straight in.
From the day that he is born, he is a hardworking and active pup. His energetic body and intelligent mind need high-quality fuel. Budget store kibbles aren’t going to cut it with the Mal. Instead, choose the best kibble that you can afford to ensure that your puppy gets all the developmental power that he needs to set the foundations of a healthy life.
According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AFFCO), all puppies need a protein content of at least 22%. A Mal ideally needs at least 24% protein to keep his large muscle mass fueled. The first ingredient should always be real meat protein, and all meat ingredients should be named too so that you know what your Mal is eating.
So that he can fight disease and illnesses, his immune system needs vitamins and minerals. Look for fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as supplements, in the ingredient list. Prebiotic fibers and probiotic ingredients such as dried bacillus acidophilus fermentation product promote friendly bacteria in his gut. They will assist his digestive system resulting in healthy stools.
Despite having a bad rep, omega fatty acids are essential for healthy development and overall wellness. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA) are also crucial for cognitive function and eye development. They are naturally found in mothers’ milk, and high-quality kibbles will contain them too. Look for ingredients such as meat meals, fish oils, eggs, and flaxseed.
Adult Belgian Malinois Nutrient Needs
At one year old, you will need to transition to an adult formula. If he did well on his puppy kibble, the adult version is sometimes a great place to start. Alternatively, you could look for a different formula. Just be sure to transition him slowly. A high-quality kibble that provides a well-balanced diet is the focus of his adult diet. Because the Belgian Malinois is an active breed, it’s always a good idea to double-check your dog’s calorie needs with an online calorie calculator or another tool.
As a hardworking pooch, protein is the star of the nutrition show. In adulthood, AAFCO states that he needs a minimum protein content of 18%. This will keep his large muscle mass healthy and energized. Meats and meat meals are ideal here. Look for kibbles rich in omega fatty acids, prebiotic fiber, probiotic ingredients, vitamins, and minerals for overall wellness.
Senior Belgian Malinois Nutrient Needs
As he reaches eight years, you will need to think about switching him to a senior kibble. All dogs are different, and if he is still working as hard as he was in adulthood, you might want to leave it another year or so. Essentially, senior kibbles are lower in protein, fats, and energy simply because seniors don’t need as much as they did.
High-quality kibbles will still provide a well-balanced diet, but with a few differences. He’ll need extra glucosamine and chondroitin for his joints, and meat meals are a fantastic natural source. He will also need additional vitamins and minerals for his weakening immune system and probiotics to assist his aging digestive tract.
Best Dog Food for Belgian Malinois Puppies
A Belgian Malinois puppy should be weaned off their mother’s milk by the time they are around 6 weeks of age. Once this happens, it’s time to have them start eating a nutritious dry kibble. This is likely going to be the food that they eat for the first year of their life. The Mal is known to have a more sensitive stomach, so keep that in mind when considering your puppy’s first food. Limited ingredient formulas, poultry-free formulas, or pea-free dog food formulas may work well during puppyhood if your Mal has a sensitive stomach. Let’s take a look at our favorite foods for Belgian Malinois puppies.
Wellness Core is their high protein range, and this formula goes a bit further with raw pieces of freeze-dried turkey bites. Deboned chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, and turkey hearts are the high-quality meats used. Not only will he receive a variety of amino acids for his large muscle mass, but it’s full of taste that your Mal pup will go crazy for. This is suitable for large breeds.
In addition to the above ingredients, salmon oil and flaxseed provide extra omega fats for his sin health and organ development. Bananas, spinach, broccoli, kale, and apples offer antioxidants for healthy immunity. And a variety of dried fermented ingredients assist his gastrointestinal system in digesting the rich meats. Taurine is also listed for his heart health.
We love that this recipe offers the highest protein content thanks to the high-quality meat, including raw ingredients.
American Journey’s puppy formula uses salmon as the primary protein source, with chicken meal and turkey meal taking second and third place. This provides a trio of amino acid selections, omega fats, energy, and glucosamine for his big body needs. And again, big meaty taste. This option has one of the highest fat contents, so you can be sure he has all the puppy growing power he needs.
In addition to the ingredients above, salmon oil and fish meal also provide DHA for his brain and eye development. This kibble is fortified in probiotic ingredients, and alongside dried beet pulp, his digestion is sure to be regular. Sweet potatoes and chickpeas replace grains and provide slow-release energy and extra fiber. Carrots, blueberries, and dried kelp are nutrient-dense too. American Journey is also an excellent dog food for those on a budget. Even with the lower cost, it holds its own compared to other brands like Taste of the Wild.
We love that this recipe offers a high level of omega fatty acids, which is fantastic for his coat health and overall development.
This is one of Blue Buffalo’s higher protein products, and deboned chicken and chicken meal are the first ingredients. Menhaden fish meal, eggs, and fish oil also provide DHA to increase his cognitive function. This is another grain-free option, and peas, tapioca, and sweet potatoes provide healthy carbohydrates and fiber for his extra energy reserves.
This kibble is fortified with six probiotic ingredients for easy digestion. And easy to digest fibers such as dried chicory root and alfalfa help with this function too. Blue Buffalo has added their exclusive LifeSource Bits to this formula, which are packed full of superfoods and optimum nutrients for large breed pups. They also add extra texture to his bowl too.
We love that this recipe has the highest fiber content, meaning if your Mal pup needs firmer stools, this could be the better option for him.
This recipe is based on science and made by scientists. They have studied the needs of large breed pups and come up with this formula. So, you can be sure that your Mal will get everything he needs from this kibble. This is a grain inclusive option which uses gentle brown rice and wheat. Vitamins and mineral supplements are added to this kibble.
Although this recipe has the lowest protein content, many pups do much better on a lower content. But it still exceeds the AAFCO requirements. It uses lamb as the only protein source, which is ideal for sensitive stomachs because it is often easier to digest. Egg and fish oil provide the DHA and ARA, and flaxseed provides the omega for nourished skin and coat. Science Diet is a high-quality brand, even though it’s more expensive than other brands.
We love that this recipe uses gentle lamb as the primary protein source, which is ideal for those who struggle to digest other more common meat proteins.
Purina created this recipe for their Pro food line with large dog puppies in mind. Real chicken is the first ingredient, with rice and corn following to provide energy and fiber. This kibble has a 12% moisture content, meaning that it is softer than some other kibbles. It is also guaranteed with live probiotics to assist in his gut health.
Fish meal, eggs, and fish oil deliver the vital puppy nutrients DHA and ARA for his organ development and cognitive function. They will also keep his skin and coat supple, alongside biotin for strong and shiny hair. This kibble is also fortified with various vitamins and minerals to ensure his immunity has the power to fight disease.
We love that this recipe has the highest calorie content, which is fantastic for the needs of growing pups.
Best Dog Food for Adult Belgian Malinois
Once your Mal hits about 12 to 15 months of age, it’s time to transition to an adult large breed formula. Usually if your puppy has successfully made it through puppyhood with one brand, it’s best to stick with that brand and carry it over into adulthood.
However, if your dog has started having issues with their new adult food, or you are just looking for a switch for budget reasons, there’s several great options when it comes to finding the best dog food for your adult Belgian Malinois. Similar to the German Shepherd’s diet, you want a dog food that will match your Mal’s activity level. Each of the brands listed below will do so. Let’s look at our favorites.
The Farmer’s Dog makes a variety of grain-free formulas customized for the needs of different working dogs, making it ideal for the Belgian Malinois. With four different vet-created recipes (turkey, beef, chicken, pork), meat is always the first ingredient, followed by wholesome vegetables. In fact, The Farmer’s Dog looks, smells, and tastes like real food because it’s made with human-grade ingredients.
The protein content and added nutritional supplements ensure a balanced, power-packed meal for performance dogs. Compared to the kibble competition, each Farmer’s Dog recipe contains close to 40% protein, primarily from real meat, not meat meal. This provides the working energy and calories to keep your Mal going. And the added vitamins help keep your pup’s coat looking and feeling lush.
If your dog also enjoys grains in his diet, you can cook up some rice to mix in. This will add more diversity to your Mals’ meal and stretches the meals a little further, saving you money.
We love that The Farmer’s Dog’s customized meal plans offer the optimum protein and nutritional content for working Belgian Malinois dogs.
This recipe has the second-highest protein content on this list, thanks to deboned chicken and chicken starring as the first two ingredients. His DHA is supplied thanks to salmon meal and eggs, as well as other omega fatty acids for his overall health. These ingredients also contribute towards leading market levels of nutrients that his joints need.
Fresh fruit and veggies such as peas, sweet potatoes, apples, and blueberries provide vitamins and minerals for his immunity. This is a grain-free option. Taurine is listed for his cardiac health, and l-carnitine is added to support his metabolism. Four probiotic ingredients are listed, supporting his digestive system, and yucca schidigera extract will reduce stool odor.
We love that this recipe has the highest level of glucosamine and chondroitin, which is excellent in supporting his hardworking joints.
This recipe follows on from the puppy option, and it is almost exactly the same, except it is now aimed at adults. The first two ingredients are deboned salmon and turkey meal, with fish meal following shortly after. So, not only is this recipe full of meaty taste, it takes care of his large muscle mass, energy needs, and higher glucosamine content for your dog’s joints.
This is a grain-free option, and it relies on peas, chickpeas, and sweet potatoes. They also contribute towards the fiber content, which will help to keep his digestive system regular and keep him feeling full too. Nutrient-dense ingredients such as blueberries, dried kelp, and carrots boost his immunity.
We love that this recipe is high in healthy omega fatty acids, thanks to the primary fish protein. This recipe will do wonders for his skin and coat health.
Blue Buffalo created a premium product line that is super popular with salmon lovers. This recipe has high amounts of fish protein, and it follows a wild prey diet that many dogs crave. Because of the fantastic fish taste, it’s an excellent choice for fussy dogs like the Malinois.
This recipe has the second-highest fat and calorie content, which will keep your Mal energized for his whole day ahead. It is a grain-free option that relies on ingredients such as tapioca, beans, and sweat potatoes. This recipe has a higher fiber content and probiotic ingredients, which will help him feeling full and keep his digestive system regular.
We love that this recipe has the highest protein content by far, thanks to the raw, organ, and cartilage ingredients.
This recipe follows on from the puppy formula, so if your Mal did well on this as a pup, he will probably do well on this. Again, it uses lamb meat lamb, which is the first ingredient. Again, this is a low protein content compared to the rest of our recommendations, but some Mals do better on a less-rich option.
This is a grain inclusive option and uses wheat, corn, and sorghum as the main energy sources. It is fortified with vitamin and mineral supplements to support his immunity, and chick fat and flaxseed support the health of his skin and coat. Taurine is added for his heart health, and l-carnitine will support his metabolism.
We love that this recipe is based on the scientific needs of large breed adults.
Best Dog Food for Senior Belgian Malinois
A Belgian Malinois enters their senior years at around 6 or 7 years of age. Once that happens, they’ll need additional support for their aging joints and bones. This means you’ll need food with an increased level of Glucosamine and chondroitin, especially for active dogs. For less active dogs, consider looking at a dry kibble that’s lower in calories. While most Mal’s won’t gain too much weight in their golden years, it’s still something to consider if your pup is less active. Let’s look at our favorite dog foods for Belgian Malinois seniors.
This recipe is not designed with large breed seniors in mind. But it ticks all the large breed boxes, which is why we have chosen it for the Mal. Chicken and chicken meal are the first two ingredients, and salmon meal follows shortly after. This recipe offers the joint-highest protein content, which is ideal for those seniors who are still active and prefer a bigger meaty taste.
Merrick’s Grain-free senior recipe also has the lowest fiber content, which some senior dogs need because too much can cause irregularities with his digestive system. This recipe also lists probiotics, which promotes extra friendly bacteria. Vitamin and mineral supplements will support his immune system, and it is a grain-free formula using sweet potatoes and peas instead.
We love that this recipe has the highest content of glucosamine and chondroitin for the Mal’s aging joints.
For those senior Mals who did well on this recipe as a pup and an adult, should do well on this as a senior. This recipe has the joint-highest protein content thanks to a trio of proteins, meaning it is suited to energetic seniors with active muscles. Like the above product, this product is not specifically for large breeds. But it also has a high glucosamine content, so it ticks the boxes again.
This is a salmon-based recipe that provides many omega fatty acids to keep his skin and fur nourished. This is a grain-free option, and instead uses prebiotic fibers such as sweet potatoes and pumpkin. Nutrient-dense ingredients such as blueberries and microalgae keep his body fighting fit against diseases.
We love that this recipe offers the joint-highest fiber content thanks to prebiotic fibers. Which is excellent at keeping hungry Mals feeling fuller for longer.
Here we have another Blue Buffalo product, but this is from their Life Protection line. This means it concentrates on a well-balanced diet. Deboned chicken is the first ingredient, with chicken meal adding extra meat and glucosamine. It’s also ideal for those Mals who go crazy for chicken flavor. L-carnitine is added to ensure that his metabolism is supported to prevent senior weight gain.
Blue Buffalo’s LifeSource Bits are added to the mix, which are full of seven superfood ingredients to support the needs of the Mal’s aging immune system. In addition to this, taurine is added for his cardiac health and probiotic ingredients to increase friendly bacteria in his digestive tract. Salmon meal and flaxseed keep his drying skin and coat supple and healthy.
We love that this recipe has the lowest calorie count per cup, meaning it is the ideal option for Mals who aren’t that active anymore.
This senior formula uses chicken meat instead of lamb like the previous two options. But as long as he isn’t allergic to chicken, he will do just as well on it. Chicken meal This lean formula is low on calories, low on fats, and lists l-carnitine. This lowers the chances of your senior Mal from putting on too much weight.
It still includes enough omega fatty acids to keep him healthy, thanks to flaxseed, folic acid, vitamin E, and biotin ingredients. Apple, broccoli, carrot, and cranberry provide his immune system with antioxidants. Dried beet pulp keeps his digestive system working in his senior years.
We love that this recipe is based on the scientific needs of senior large breed dogs like the Mal.
This is the senior version of the puppy kibble that we recommended. Real chicken is the first ingredient, and this recipe offers a middle of the road protein content. Egg, fish oil, and fish meal will keep his slowing brain ticking, as well as ensuring his other organs function as they should. Botanical oils such as l-arginine provide efficient fuel for his mind to help him stay sharp and alert.
Glucosamine is supplied through meat meals, which keeps his joints supple. This is a grain inclusive option which many older dogs need to keep their digestive system regulated. This formula is fortified in vitamin and mineral supplements. And each kibble piece is guaranteed to have probiotics to promote friendly bacteria in his gut.
We love that this recipe has the highest fat and calorie content, making this the best option for seniors who are still active in their golden years.
Hopefully, we have made the world of Belgian Malinois nutrition much clearer for you. From what he needs during puppyhood, all the way through to his golden years, you now have the knowledge to give him the best diet possible. With recommendations along the way, there is something here for every Mal and every budget. And by picking one of our suggestions above, you are taking a step towards better Mal health and happiness.