What do I feed my Irish Wolfhounds 





What do I feed my Irish Wolfhounds 


 Irish Wolfhound Diet - Keep it Simple, Keep it Fresh 

 A simple uncomplicated compound feed and raw fresh meaty bones is what we feed my Irish Wolfhounds.  

Raw meaty bones are always a welcome addition to the Bonaforte Irish Wolfhound menu

You may either own or are thinking of owning one of the largest breeds of dog, and therefore you need to be really conscientious with their diet.  They have a lot of growing to do and through diet and nutrition you can actively help keep your Wolfhound as healthy as possible.  Just remember that an Irish Wolfhound puppy gets 10,000% bigger in it’s first year of life.  The better the fuel, the healthier the animal. The pedigree, breeding and rearing of puppies gives them a good foundation in life. This however is just the beginning of what makes the dog; it is the continuation of this good start, the rearing and training which plays a huge role in the final health and wellbeing of your dog. 

We all have own methods and favourite ways of feeding our Wolfies and in sharing mine, I am not saying it is the right way, nor the only way, but it is a diet which I have found suits my Irish Wolfhound puppies and adults alike. You need to take many factors into account: the amount of exercise that you give your dogs, the conditions in which they are reared, and the individual dog.  Above all with changing your dog's diet, you need to take it slowly, have patience and observe. Observe the energy levels of your dog and look for changes, observe their coat, it's shine, it's texture. Observe their overall condition, observe their behaviour  and one of the most important things to observe is their poo!!  Sorry, but yes, this is a very good indication of their health and dietary needs.

"Keep it simple, keep it fresh"  is now the foundation and mantra to keeping my hounds fit and healthy,

I like to vary my dogs’ and puppies’ raw diets  between for example: 

  •  I feed my hounds on hypo-allergenic Salmon and Potato dried kibble. It has been chosen  because the salmon is a natural source for the omega 3 oils, good for heart health, joints and digestion. Salmon is also a good source of vitamins, proteins and essential minerals: iron calcium selenium and phosphorus, vitamins A, B and D; Potato has many excellent properties; they are easy to digest, containing vitamin-C, potassium and vitamin-B6, among others, they help relieve inflammation of intestines and the digestive system. Apart from the vitamins, minerals and roughage, potatoes also contain certain substances called Carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin etc.) which are beneficial for heart and other internal organs.
  • Included are Raw Chicken Wings (never cooked as the bones become too sharp and brittle).  These are especially good for young puppies as it gives them something to chew and gnaw on when teething and helps keep their teeth and gums clean.  Please only feed fresh wings, ones you would eat yourself, and not ones which have gone off. 
  • Raw meaty marrow bones are excellent, as these are known to strengthen the physical action of the stomach and the digestive tract. The Irish Wolfhound becomes very sated with raw meaty bones, it keeps them occupied, calm and supports their natural feeding instincts. 

One of the many reason why I recommend Salmon and Potato for both puppies and adults, is salmon is very beneficial on many levels, especially joint health, it also contains taurine for heart health and lots of other goodies which our hounds benefit from, including collagen.  

Collagen can also be found in raw chicken, raw eggs and raw bones, and it is purportedly good at helping your dog maintain healthy joints and tissues, which can be a particular issue in growing Wolfhounds. Collagen also helps maintain the health of  skin and prevent certain skin allergies.

 At all times monitor poo, you are looking for nicely formed ones!  If your puppy/youngster scours, (diarrhoea) due to an imbalance in the diet, just go back to feeding the Salmon and Potato kibble.  If the scouring is for other reasons seek veterinary advice. 

 Your dog will require access to fresh clean water at all times. 

Overfeeding a puppy during the active, rapid growth period after weaning leads to skeletal problems.

Overfeeding an adult dog will lead to obesity and serious health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

Disclaimer: The above suits my hounds and is based on my experiences, talking to other owners and breeders.


Sound Bites

The Irish Wolfhound Centre

Sound Bites

The Irish Wolfhound Centre

Find a balanced diet  to suit your Irish Wolfhound's natural lifestyle and you  

Like human food, complete dog foods have become a matter of convenience.  

Adding raw food is back to the biology of what your hound eats.

The less unnatural things in the diet the better.  

Behavioural issues can be the result of a poor diet.   

The most common behavioural abnormality is lassitude and prolonged sleeping 

Dogs stomachs have a higher ph 3-4 thus enabling digestion of raw meat and bone matter.  

Raw bones are moist and do not splinter like cooked dry bones.

Dogs are not designed to eat starchy carbs they have no significant amylase enzyme  

Input effects Output and feeding additives, colourings and chemicals has a direct effect on the behaviour of your hound.

Refined carbs turn to sugar when we eat them, and these sugars encourage "bad" gut bacteria, which can lead to allergies and intolerances.  

Raw food helps with constipation, IBS, anal gland issues, anxiety and hyperactivity.

The solidness of "bone poo" helps with anal gland issues

Chewing bones has a calming effect. 

Raw juicy marrow bones sate your hound

Feed a biologically appropriate balanced diet, a simple kibble and  raw bones 

Overfeeding a puppy during the active, rapid growth period after weaning leads to skeletal problems.

Overfeeding  adult dogs leads to obesity and serious health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

Never leave you dog alone with a bone. Raw bones can break vulnerable teeth. Never leave a dog with bones that splinter.

How Much?

The Irish Wolfhound Centre

How Much?

The Irish Wolfhound Centre

How much do I feed my Irish Wolfhound puppy or my dog?

Overfeeding adult dogs leads to obesity and serious health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

Overfeeding a puppy during the active, rapid growth period after weaning leads to skeletal problems.

However I can’t give you exact amounts as this varies from dog to dog, and personally I like to feed to appetite, but my rule of thumb is to aim for a little bit left in the bowl, however this said you may have a greedy one, who eats what he sees and becomes the size of a coffee table! It is very important not to have an overweight hound either. Our hounds eat approximately 500grams of Salmon and Potato per day, plus raw meaty bones. (You will need to take into account the calorific values in your feed and the amount of exercise and temper accordingly.

The goal for puppies should be controlled growth – not overgrowth.

Your hound should be lean enough to feel their ribs but not to see them, and during their formative years should have the correct balance of free exercise to create a certain amount of muscle. Over feeding your puppy with far too many calories, and a diet rich in calcium and phosphorus will lead to serious health problems. So much so that rapid growth by over feeding puppy and making him fat could lead to skeletal abnormalities.

Keeping your hound lean and fit is really important to their health. So you have to judge for yourself the amount you feed and what suits your hound.

Free exercise does not mean road walking or lead walking none of which will help build the muscle or conformation required. Allow your under a year hound the luxury of bounding around on your lawn, and when that becomes too small, drive to a park or suitable exercise area where you can let them off the lead to run around, always tailor the excercise to the dog and not to your needs for a long walk. Letting off steam in a youngster should not exceed 30 minutes at a time.

Never allow your dog to go too long without food or not feed enough, that he gets so hungry he bolts his next feed down. We all know too that after a three course meal we would not be able to part take in exercise of any kind, neither should your dog!

You may or may not be able to read your dog, but try and apply common sense to their diet, that we should apply to our own. If you treat your hound with human food s/he will hold out and not eat their food. If you treat your hound with food which is too rich they inevitably can get loose stools.

Feeding your dog the correct nutrition, which is a good kibble, with a healthy balance of exercise, is one of your major contributions to keeping your beloved hound fit and healthy; you could be helping to prevent unnecessary allergies, heart and joint issues and reducing the possibility of bloat.

The Irish Wolfhound can have very sensitive digestion and health, reacting to the wrong foods. Be safe and use a good quality hypo-allergenic kibble and add in healthy extras.

What to avoid

The Irish Wolfhound Centre

What to avoid

The Irish Wolfhound Centre

   A few of guidelines on how to avoid dietary and health issues in sensitive Irish Wolfhounds 

Choose a diet as chemically additive free as you can.  Just like in humans, excessive sugar can lead to health problems such as tooth decay, obesity and diabetes. Be wary of sugar-free alternatives, too. Sugarless sweets with Xylitol may cause liver damage and even death to some dogs.


Similarly  try and avoid using all pulses, including peas, as these can create gas.

Yeast can also cause allergic reactions, so avoid this too.


Avoid too much wheat and corn, as these are not only difficult for some to digest, they are often the ingredients which can cause allergic reactions. An intolerance to rice is also now being seen. 

 A kibble high in grain is very hard to digest and does eventually weaken the digestive system. A high grain based diet is considered by some to be a cause of bloat.

I also avoid feeding meat and fruit together as they digest at different rates in the gut.  Fruit can also ferment in the gut, so leave a few hours between feeding protein and fruit.

Steer clear of any complete foods containing Soya, as this blocks absorption in the gut of valuable minerals; can be hard to digest; promotes flatulence and  if your Irish Wolfhound is sensitive, diarrhoea in will increase.  

Possessive of Food

The Irish Wolfhound Centre

Possessive of Food

The Irish Wolfhound Centre

My Dog is Possessive of his Food

When dogs live as a pack, they have a pecking order, and your puppy for the first weeks of its life will have had the protection of its mother, and her ranking.

When puppy enters your pack, i.e. your family, you must ensure that puppy knows his place in the pack’s (family's) ranking order. Puppy must therefore learn that all humans have a higher ranking than it is.

The last thing you want is for your dog to start playing boss, starting to protect what it considers to belong to him, i.e. “its” food, “its” toy or “its bed. The last thing you want is to be bossed around by a dog who thinks he is in charge.

What steps can you take to prevent this from happening?

  • You eat first - this is exactly what would happen in a pack, the alpha dog/bitch always eats first.
  • Feed your dog at a set time each day - preferably a quiet time.
  • Make your dog wait quietly for their food.
  • Ensuring they are in the sit position.
  • Place food in the bowl.
  • Hold the bowl in front of the dog and place it up to your mouth and pretend to eat.
  • To ensure also that the dog recognises you as the pack leader has eaten, lightly spit in the bowl on the food.
  • Still ensuring your dog is sitting and calm, place the food down on the floor - holding on to the bowl. Do not allowed him to eat until you say so.
  • Remove the food bowl once he has finished and walks away.
  • Do not feed at the food table, this breaks the pack code.

Repeat this until you feel confident that your dog knows that you are in charge.

I hope this helps you understand how your dog thinks, and by understanding, you can help him. He is just acting out his natural instincts, and his mum would not let him get away with such an attitude and neither should you.

Help him re-focus and establish his true order in the family. The family pet.