Feeding a Dalmatian
Because of the Dalmatians inability to process purines (chemical compounds found in protein) some Dals may form uric acid stones (bladder/kidney stones). This is a potentially life threatening condition! Great care must be taken when choosing food and treats. Dalmatians should never be fed foods high in purines such as organ meat, wild game meat, or red meat. Dals should be fed a high quality, moderate level protein diet. The protein source should be lamb or poultry, and the ideal protein percentage should be between 20-24%. Pups require higher levels of protein from the same sources. The source of the protein is much more important than the protein percentage. A poultry protein of 26% is a better choice for an adult Dalmatian than a beef protein of 22%. According to an article by Mary Bowles in the Journal of Veterinary Medicine, October 2008, feeding a diet high in plant protein could actually cause stones!
With any food, quality of ingredients is a major factor in selecting a brand of dog food. We believe good health begins with good nutrition. A healthy immune systems begins with good nutrition. It is important to read labels and compare ingredients. Meat or meat meal (whether it be poultry or lamb) is a much better protein source than meat-by-product (or poultry or lamb-by-product). Just as brown rice is a much better grain source than Brewer's Rice. This information is available in a book by Ann Martin called Foods Pets Die For.
Meal by definition "is a dried and more concentrated form of the mammal, poultry or fish protein from striated muscle. If you feed a high quality kibble diet with “Chicken Meal” as the first ingredient, you know your pet is getting all of the benefits of this highly digestible protein. It is important to make sure the meal is protein specific (Beef Meal, Lamb Meal, and not generic like Meat Meal or By-Product Meal which by definition can contain any species of animal." Taken from the Ingredient Glossary on the Nature's Variety website.
Following are links to many 'popular' dog foods. Read the ingredients and compare to the above quality foods:
Hill's Science Diet
Keeping a Dalmatian hydrated is of utmost importance. We recommend "floating" all Dalmatians' food (even the food of non-stone formers). We use dog dishes bigger than necessary and fill the dish with water after the food has been added.
Another trick to getting Dalmatians to drink more water is to add "treats" to their water. I've heard some people sprinkle parmesan cheese in their water. We have added fruit yogurt (not the sugar-free variety as sugar substitutes can be fatal to dogs) to their water making a diluted smoothie. Our dogs love them and usually drink their water bowls dry.
Another trick we have used is freezing the diluted yogurt smoothie in ice cube trays. They love the frozen treats.