How Much Should You Feed a Rottweiler?

Rottweilers are fantastic dogs. In addition to being adorable and incredibly loving, they also make wonderful guard dogs. You won’t find a cuter way to keep your family safe, we can guarantee that.

However, one of the things that makes them such formidable animals is also something that makes them expensive to own: their size. These are big dogs, and as such, they love to eat.

It is possible to feed your Rottie too much, and obesity is a big problem with a breed. That can leave you with a serious dilemma on your hands: Do you cut back on their kibble to keep their weight low, or do you feed them enough to make absolutely certain that they don’t walk away from the bowl hungry?

Knowing how much to feed your Rottweiler isn’t an art — there’s actual science to it. In the guide below, we walk you through exactly how much to feed your dog and when to do it.

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How Much to Feed a Rottweiler Puppy — Feeding Chart

Age of Puppy Quantity of Food Per Day Number of Meals Per Day
2 months 2-3 cups 3
3 months 2-3 cups 3
4 months 3-5 cups 2
5-6 months 3-5 cups 2
7-8 months 4-6 cups 2
9-10 months 4-6 cups 2
10-12 months 4-6 cups 2

Source: https://petnutritionalliance.org/

What to Feed My Rottweiler Puppy

Image credit: cynoclub, Shutterstock
Image credit: cynoclub, Shutterstock

Your Rottweiler puppy shouldn’t be fully weaned until they’re 8 weeks old. At that point, you can switch them to the food of your choice. Of course, that’s easier said than done, as there are different schools of thought as to which food is best.

Some experts recommend feeding a raw diet, others recommend kibble, and still others recommend a mix of kibble and wet food. There are pros and cons to each, and quite frankly, you could spend all day comparing the various diets.

Rather than recommend one diet over another, we prefer to look at the puppy’s nutritional needs. As long as those are being met, how they’re being met isn’t as important.

You want to make sure your puppy is getting enough calcium, phosphorus, calcium, fat, fiber, and protein. You can do this with any diet, but the easiest way to ensure that they’re getting the proper nutrition is by feeding them a high-quality kibble (we like Instinct Raw Boost Puppy Recipe).

If you’re going with a raw diet or something else that you prepare yourself, check with your vet first to make sure your plan will give your dog all the nutrients they need. Otherwise, your dog could have a nutritional deficiency that will hamper their ability to grow up healthy and strong.

Avoiding Underfeeding & Overfeeding

large breeds weight chart

Picking the right food is only half the battle — you also need to know how much to feed your dog. The chart above will help, but since every dog is different, it should be looked at as a guide rather than as hard-and-fast rules.

It’s essential to know whether your dog is eating too much or too little. Their ribs will be the best indicators of their overall health.

You should be able to feel them, but they should have padding on them. If they’re sticking out too much, then your dog needs to eat more. Conversely, if you have to dig through fat to get to them, then they need to cut back on their kibble.

The best way to keep your dog’s weight under control is to maintain strict oversight over how much they eat. Don’t allow them to free-feed; instead, carefully measure out each meal so you know exactly how much they’re taking in.

If you’re careful about how much you feed your pup, you shouldn’t have issues with their weight. Still, it’s easy to calibrate their diet to deal with problems in either direction.

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When to Switch From Puppy to Adult Food

Typically, you should switch to an adult food once your dog reaches 18 to 24 months of age. However, large breeds like Rottweilers often develop more slowly, so you might want to wait a few more months after that.

A better way to judge it may be to go by their height and weight. Once they reach roughly 90% of their adult height and weight, you can make the switch.

Don’t do it quickly, though. It takes time to introduce your dog to a new food (assuming you don’t want to deal with puppy diarrhea, that is). Start by adding a little of the new food to the old stuff, then slowly increase the amount of new food over a period of 2 weeks or so.

The adult food should be high in protein, with no cheap fillers or animal by-products. We recommend Merrick Real Texas Beef & Sweet Potato Recipe, but there are many other options out there that will fit the bill.

Rottweiller
Image credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

Why Won’t My Rottweiler Puppy Eat?

There are few things as distressing to a new dog owner as when their beloved pet is refusing to eat. This behavior can be quite normal, but it can also be the sign of something seriously wrong with your pup.

Unfortunately, it can be hard to tell the difference between the two. Some dogs refuse to eat because they don’t have much of an appetite or don’t like their food, while others stop chowing down due to medical issues.

If you suspect that your dog isn’t eating due to being finicky, you can try switching their food or offering them a high-value treat. If it’s a medical issue, it will most likely be accompanied by other symptoms, like lethargy, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Here are just a few illnesses that could cause a loss of appetite:

  • Parvovirus
  • Distemper
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Bloat
  • Ingested foreign body

If the issue lasts longer than a day or two or if it’s accompanied by other symptoms, then you should see your vet to rule out serious medical problems.

How Much to Feed an Adult Rottweiler

Feeding an adult Rottweiler is a little more complicated than feeding a puppy. The proper diet for your dog will depend on a variety of factors, including their activity level, gender, and age.

While it’s impossible to list the feeding requirements for every potential situation, we go over common ones below.

Males vs. Females

Full-grown males are usually larger than their female counterparts, sometimes by as much as 30 pounds. As a result, you may need to feed them a bit more. However, it should be nearly the same, and if you have both male and female dogs, you won’t be faulted for keeping them on the same diet.

  • Males and females should receive between 4 and 6 cups of kibble per day, served in two different meals. Males may need a bit more than females.
rottweiler unwell
Image Credit: Olexandr Andreiko, Shutterstock

Highly Active vs. Sedentary Dogs

It should come as no surprise that the more active your dog is, the more they’ll need to eat. Also, sedentary dogs will be more prone to obesity, so you may want to watch how much you feed them (or increase their activity level).

  • As a general rule, sedentary dogs only need 2/3 of the calories that active dogs require. They may only need 4 cups of food twice a day, rather than 6 cups for active dogs.

Spayed or Neutered

Getting your dog fixed creates quite a few changes in their bodies, including altering their metabolism. Most spayed or neutered dogs will need less nutrition than their unaltered counterparts.

  • A dog that’s been spayed or neutered will likely only need about 75% as much nutrition as an unaltered dog. They should still stay in the 4-6 cups per day range, served twice a day. Check with your vet to make sure they’re getting the proper amount of nutrition, though.

Pregnant Dogs

Expecting dogs need more nutrition than they normally do toward the end of their pregnancy, but you still need to be careful about overfeeding, as that can lead to obesity after the puppies arrive. However, underfeeding can be disastrous, as it can result in all sorts of health issues, including the loss of the litter.

Their needs will also vary depending on which gestational period they happen to be in at the time.

  • Pregnant dogs have the same nutritional needs as regular dogs until the third trimester, at which point, they’ll need 30-60% more food than they normally do. You may need to feed them 8 cups of food per day in two meals (or even more, depending on the size of the litter).
two rottweilers being affectionate
Image Credit: GingerMary, Shutterstock

Rottweiler Feeding Guide for Seniors

Due to their size and weight issues, many Rottweilers start suffering from joint issues later in life. That’s why it’s important to feed them a kibble that has plenty of glucosamine for joint health, while also being careful not to let them pack on any excess pounds.

Regularity often becomes an issue as well, so fiber content is more important at this stage than any other. Look for a food that has at least 5% fiber, which should help your dog stay regular while also helping them feel full between meals.

Many senior dogs suffer from dental issues during their golden years, so finding a kibble that they can actually chew is important. You’ll also want one that’s high in calcium so their bones and teeth have plenty of support.

Our favorite senior kibble for Rotties is Nulo Freestyle Trout & Sweet Potato Senior Recipe. It has all the nutrients that an aging dog needs, while also helping keep their waistline trim.

You should talk to your vet about how often to feed your senior Rottweiler. Many dogs are fine staying on a twice-a-day formula, but some lose interest in multiple meals as they get older, preferring to just eat once. Also, if your dog is becoming more sedentary, they won’t have the same energy needs that they used to, in which case, reducing the number of meals per day is probably a good idea.

Why Is My Rottweiler Always Hungry?

Many Rottweilers seem more like bottomless pits with legs than dogs, so you may worry that your pet is always walking around starving. The fact of the matter is, many dogs will eat until they’re stuffed, so the fact that they’re still accepting food doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not getting enough to eat.

That’s especially true for high-value treats like dog biscuits or table scraps. It’s rare that a dog will ever turn these down, even if they’ve just eaten, so you may feel like your dog is scrounging for sustenance when in fact, they’re just being gluttonous.

You should base your feeding guidelines on what your vet or the food manufacturer recommends, not on your dog’s appetite. If you feed them until they refuse food, they’ll quickly become overweight, which is horrible for their health.

Free-feeding is generally a bad idea for this reason. Instead of letting your dog eat to their heart’s content, give them portion-controlled meals on a tight schedule. If your dog’s a slow eater, you can pick up their food after a certain time to teach them the importance of eating when food is offered.

Now, if your dog seems to be eating enough food but losing weight, that’s cause for concern. They could have an intestinal parasite or another major health issue, so you should take them to your vet for a checkup right away.

rottweiler dog eating empty food bowl
Image credit: cynoclub, Shutterstock

What Foods Are Bad for Rottweilers?

The Rottweiler diet isn’t so specialized that some foods are bad for them but okay for other dogs; generally speaking, the things that Rottweilers shouldn’t eat are things that all dogs shouldn’t eat.

This includes poisonous foods like grapes, raisins, alcohol, chocolate, marijuana, caffeine, and artificial sweeteners like xylitol. These are all extremely dangerous and should be kept far out of reach of your dog.

There are other ingredients that aren’t toxic, per se, but aren’t really good for your pet either. This includes things commonly found in many low-quality dog foods, like wheat, corn, soy, animal by-products, and artificial colors or flavors.

Rottweilers can be more prone to having food allergies than other breeds, but there’s no way to predict in advance what those allergies might be. Some common culprits include chicken, dairy, eggs, beef, or large amounts of animal fats. If your dog is showing signs of digestive problems, work with your vet to identify the possible culprit in their diet.

Some foods are generally considered hypoallergenic for Rottweilers, meaning they’re both healthy and easy to digest. These foods include fish, venison, rice, barley, and sweet potatoes.

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Conclusion

Rottweilers are wonderful dogs, but if you don’t feed them properly, they can be vulnerable to a host of health issues throughout their lives. It’s important to feed them a healthy, well-balanced food — and it’s important to feed them that food in the right proportions.

A Rottweiler’s dietary needs might shift as they age. Generally speaking, they’ll need fewer calories the older they get, but they’ll still need plenty of essential vitamins and minerals in their diet.

Feeding your Rottweiler properly will help them live longer while also ensuring that they get the maximum enjoyment out of every year that they spend on this planet. Remember, you’re not just feeding your dog — you’re taking care of your best friend.