The Belgian Malinois is an energetic, intelligent dog breed that thrives on a diet rich in protein and fat. As a herding breed, the Belgian Malinois needs a diet that will fuel their high activity levels and keep their minds engaged. When choosing the best food for your Belgian Malinois, there are a few key factors to consider.
Protein is Essential
Protein should make up at least 25-30% of your Belgian Malinois’s diet. As a large, active breed, they need more protein than a typical lap dog to maintain muscle mass and energy levels. Look for a dog food that lists a high-quality source of protein such as chicken, lamb, fish or egg as the first ingredient.
Some good protein sources to look for include:
Avoid protein sources like corn, wheat or soy which are more difficult for dogs to digest. Your Belgian Malinois will thrive on a meat-based protein diet.
Include Healthy Fats
Fat is another critical nutrient for the high-energy Belgian Malinois. Fat supports joint health, brain development, and energy metabolism and gives your dog a shiny coat. Look for a portion of dog food with at least 15% fat from animal sources like chicken fat, fish oil or flaxseed. Avoid corn or soybean oil.
Some excellent fat sources include:
- Chicken fat
- Salmon oil
- Sardine oil
Consider Your Dog’s Age
Your Belgian Malinois has different nutritional needs depending on their age.
Puppy food has extra calories and nutrients to support growth and development. Look for a puppy formula with at least 22% protein and 8% fat. The first ingredient should be a meat-based protein.
Adult Belgian Malinois need a balance of protein, fat and carbs. Avoid “senior” formulas as these are lower calories. An active adult Belgian Malinois can eat a regular adult formula.
Once your Belgian Malinois reaches around 7 years old, consider a senior formula. These foods have fewer calories, but still maintain protein and fat levels to help maintain muscle mass. Fiber is increased to aid digestion.
Feed a High-Quality Kibble or Wet Food
Dog foods are available in dry kibble, wet canned food or a hybrid mix of both. Any of these options can work well for the Belgian Malinois as long as you choose a high-quality brand. Here are some things to look for:
- AAFCO statement for nutritional adequacy
- Meat-based protein as the first ingredient
- No corn, wheat, soy or by-products
- Specific formulas for puppy, adult or senior dogs
Reputable dog food brands that offer formulas well-suited to the Belgian Malinois include:
- Orijen: Grain-free, high protein kibble made from locally sourced ingredients
- Acana: Grain-free formulas with rich meat proteins
- Taste of the Wild: Grain-free kibble featuring novel proteins like bison and trout
- Merrick: Natural wet and dry foods with deboned meats
- Blue Buffalo Wilderness: Grain-free kibble inspired by ancestral wolf diets
No matter what brand or type of food you choose, pay close attention to your individual dog’s needs. Some trial and error may be needed to find the right formula that keeps your Belgian Malinois satisfied and energized.
Provide Plenty of Fresh Water
Make sure your Belgian Malinois has unlimited access to fresh, clean water at all times. As an active breed, they need to stay hydrated. Use stainless steel or ceramic non-tip bowls and wash weekly. Constant access to water helps your dog properly digest food and prevents bloat.