If you were to look up “High Energy Dog” in the dictionary, you would surely find a picture of the Belgian Malinois.
These highly active intelligent dogs are a favorite of police and rescue departments around the world. They excel at almost everything they try, and they attack life with vigor.
It’s no wonder then that a dog like the Belgian Malinois needs a high-quality dog food rich in protein with the right balance of fat to fuel its relentless zeal for action.
I will discuss the dietary needs of your Malinois further on in the buyers’ guide section, but for those ready to jump right in, let’s get to my top picks.
The 7 Best Dog Foods for Belgian Malinois
|Top Picks||Rating||What We Like About This Product|
|1. Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Lamb Dog Food||4.7||Limited Ingredient Diet, Grain-Free, Pea-Free, Non-GMO, High-Protein, GMO-Free, Natural|
|2. Nutro Ultra Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food||4.7||No Corn No Wheat No Soy, Pea-Free|
|3. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food||4.7||No Corn No Wheat No Soy|
|4. Zignature Lamb Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food||4.7||Grain-Free, No Corn No Wheat No Soy, Low Glycemic, Limited Ingredient Diet, Gluten-Free, Chicken-Free, Natural|
|5. Solid Gold Fit & Fabulous Chicken, Sweet Potato & Green Bean Weight Control Recipe Grain-Free||4.6||Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Weight Control, No Corn No Wheat No Soy, High-Protein|
|6. American Journey Chicken & Brown Rice Protein First Recipe Dry Dog Food||4.5||No Corn No Wheat No Soy|
|7. The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Beef Recipe Dehydrated Dog Food||4.3||Low-Protein, No Corn No Wheat No Soy, Human-Grade, Pea-Free, Non-GMO|
How to Switch Dog Food Without Getting Your Pup Sick
1. Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Lamb Dog Food
Protein (min.) 35% | Fat (min.) 33% | Fiber (max.) 2% | Moisture (max.) 14%
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Lamb, 2. Lamb Heart, 3. Lamb Tripe, 4. Lamb Liver, 5. Lamb Kidney
Ziwi Peak always manages to bring you premium dog food options with pure and fresh ingredients. This Air-Dried Lamb Dog Food is a high calorie, high protein option that is perfect for the highly active Belgian Malinois. This single-source recipe, for instance, has farm-fresh lamb along with tripe, liver, and kidney to give your baby a bowl full of taste and nutrition.
This raw dog food is air dried, which allows the meat to retain more nutrients as well as taste. Also, this process removes harmful bacteria and pathogens that can cause trouble for your baby.
2. Nutro Ultra Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food
Protein (min.) 23% | Fat (min.) 12% | Fiber (max.) 4% | Moisture (max.) 10%
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Whole Brown Rice, 4. Brewers Rice, 5. Rice Bran
Dubbed ‘The Superfood Blend’ by Nutro, this recipe sports lean, healthy proteins along with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fatty oils, which combine to make the perfect diet for a Malinois.
Your Belgian’s muscles are fueled by a trio of lean proteins from chicken, lamb, and salmon with added Amino Acids. Bones and cartilage are cared for with naturally sourced glucosamine and chondroitin, along with antioxidants for a robust immune system. Finally, Sunflower oil cares for the skin and coat of your dog with Taurine for healthy eyes and sharp hearing.
3. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food
Protein (min.) 24% | Fat (min.) 14% | Fiber (max.) 5% | Moisture (max.) 10%
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Brown Rice, 4. Barley, 5. Oatmeal
Since Belgian Malinois is a highly active breed that loves to exercise and play, formulas with a special focus on joint and bone health along with the building blocks for strong muscles are preferred. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula is almost perfect in this regard. LifeSource Bits, a patented blend of antioxidants, this recipe contains glucosamine, calcium, and phosphorus.
Antioxidants in the formula get rid of the free radicals that harm the immune system and can lead to illness. Your friend will love the kibble shape and the delicious chicken flavor of this recipe, an excellent option for picky eaters.
4. Zignature Lamb Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Protein (min.) 28% | Fat (min.) 15% | Fiber (max.) 4% | Moisture (max.) 10%
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Lamb, 2. Lamb Meal, 3. Chickpeas, 4. Peas, 5. Sunflower Oil
Zignature is another premium brand known for its high-quality ingredients and nutritional value. This limited ingredient diet with farm-raised lamb will give your pal a delicious boost of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. Lamb is a single source of protein, which greatly reduces the chance of allergies and sensitivities.
This hypoallergenic, low glycemic recipe is free of grains and any kind of artificial additives. You will see a visible difference in your baby’s overall energy level and mood. If you want only the best for your Malinois, you don’t have to think twice about this one.
5. Solid Gold Fit & Fabulous Chicken, Sweet Potato & Green Bean Weight Control Recipe Grain-Free
Protein (min.) 26% | Fat (min.) 6.5% | Fiber (max.) 10% | Moisture (max.) 10%
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Sweet Potatoes, 4. Pea Fiber, 5. Potatoes
As its name implies, the mission Solid Gold Fit and Fabulous is to create the gold standard in dog food. This recipe contains sweet potato and chicken and is indeed their finest. This lower-calorie recipe enables your dog to eat a healthy portion without packing on the pounds.
Each bowl of Sold Gold contains the right amounts of calories and nutrients, without ingredients that can lead to weight gain. An excellent option for those Malinois’ that aren’t as active as is typical for the breed.
They will still get all the proteins they need along with essential omega fatty acids to ensure a gorgeous coat and skin. With around twenty superfoods and zero filler ingredients, Solid Gold Fit and Fabulous is also a tummy-friendly option for sensitive dogs.
6. American Journey Chicken & Brown Rice Protein First Recipe Dry Dog Food
Protein (min.) 25% | Fat (min.) 15% | Fiber (max.) 6% | Moisture (max.) 10%
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Brown Rice, 4. Rice Bran, 5. Peas
American Journey is another wonderful meal for your mal. This recipe of chicken and brown rice is a great option for picky eaters. Not only is brown rice a healthy grain full of essential nutrients for your baby, but this formula also contains a blend of powerful antioxidants to make sure your mal can enjoy its meal without any uncomfortable consequences. There is plenty of Omega fatty acids for healthy joints, coat, and skin. Plus, your mal pal gets enough DHA to stay smart and sharp well into its later years.
7. The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Beef Recipe Dehydrated Dog Food
Protein (min.) 22.5% | Fat (min.) 8.5% | Fiber (max.) 5.8% | Moisture (max.) 9.8%
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Dehydrated Beef, 2. Organic Oats, 3. Organic Barley, 4. Organic Flaxseed, 5. Dehydrated Potatoes
While it’s not common for a Belgian Malinois to become overweight, some mals do suffer from obesity. Usually, because of an underlying health problem. Obesity can lead to many other health issues, particularly joint and bone-related. That is when you need a low protein, low-fat diet for your mal.
I have yet to find a low-calorie option better than this whole-grain beef recipe by The Honest Kitchen. This dehydrated dog food is delicious, filling, nutritious, and at the same time, extremely healthy for males on a weight watch.
8. Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Real Lamb & Chickpeas Recipe
Protein (min.) 23% | Fat (min.) 14% | Fiber (max.) 4.5% | Moisture (max.) 11%
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Lamb, 2. Lamb Meal, 3. Sweet Potatoes, 4. Potatoes, 5. Peas
Merrick’s Limited Ingredient Diet is a great recipe with quality proteins from a novel source, i.e., lamb. It is an option for those that may be allergic to poultry-based diets– which is not uncommon in some larger breeds. Aside from novel proteins from a single source, you get easily digestible carbs from non-grain sources such as potatoes.
It is a lightweight LID recipe that is perfect for sensitive tummies and dogs that have a gluten intolerance. Not to mention, you also get a good blend of fatty acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin.
9. Eagle Pack Large & Giant Breed Adult Dry Dog Food
Protein (min.) 25% | Fat (min.) 12% | Fiber (max.) 4% | Moisture (max.) 10%
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Pork Meal, 3. Ground Brown Rice, 4. Oatmeal, 5. Rice
If your Belgian Malinois is larger in size than most, you need a dog food created specifically for its needs. Eagle Pack recipe is perfect for dogs that need more protein and more fats to stay active as well as muscular without risking obesity. Each meal will pack a powerful punch of animal-based proteins, healthy fats, good carbs, and supplementary compounds such as glucosamine that ensure stronger joints and bones for your bigger baby.
What’s more: there is a healthy blend of antioxidants and micronutrients to support your mal’s immune system.
10. Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken
Protein (min.) 37% | Fat (min.) 20% | Fiber (max.) 4% | Moisture (max.) 9%
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Peas, 4. Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), 5. Tapioca
Instinct Raw Boost is a healthy option for Malinois on the BARF diet. It is a delicious, high protein formula that also contains enough fats to keep your baby’s energy levels high all day. This freeze-dried recipe is an excellent option for Belgian Malinois that is extra active and energetic.
The protein boost comes from the meat of cage-free chicken and delicious chicken meal. The recipe also contains a blend of probiotics to improve digestion and the immune system of your maligator.
11. Primal Chicken Formula Nuggets Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food
Protein (min.) 37% | Fat (min.) 37% | Fiber (max.) 1% | Moisture (max.) 2%
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Necks, 3. Chicken Gizzards, 4. Organic Kale, 5. Organic Carrots
Primal Chicken Nuggets are another good choice for Belgian Malinois on the raw diet. That’s because they are just as delicious as any treat, but at the same time, as nutritious as any premium dog food out there. These freeze-dried nuggets have chicken proteins along with bones that not only enhance the flavor but also play a vital role in keeping your canine’s teeth healthy and plaque-free.
Bones also add a boost of calcium and phosphorus that are essential for healthy joints and bones. In short, it is a complete meal for the nose to tail health of your furry friend.
12. Stella & Chewy’s Chicken Dinner Patties Freeze-Dried Raw
Protein (min.) 48% | Fat (min.) 28% | Fiber (max.) 5% | Moisture (max.) 5%
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken With Ground Bone, 2. Chicken Liver, 3. Chicken Gizzard, 4. Pumpkin Seed, 5. Organic Cranberries
Stella & Chewy’s Chicken Dinner Patties are another delicious option for a mal on a raw diet. As yummy as any premium dog treat, these are a great choice for picky eaters or dogs that are having trouble with processed to raw transition.
It is a high-protein meal with a single protein source, i.e., free-range chicken. Every other ingredient used in this recipe is certified organic. There is a healthy microorganism culture to take care of your pal’s gut flora.
13. Purina Beneful Originals with Real Beef
Protein (min.) 23% | Fat (min.) 12% | Fiber (max.) 4% | Moisture (max.) 14%
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Beef, 2. Whole Grain Corn, 3. Barley, 4. Rice, 5. Whole Grain Wheat
For those Malinois that don’t drink as much water as you’d like, this food has more than the usual percentage of moisture. So, it is a pocket-friendly alternative to canned foods for dogs who are at risk of dehydrating themselves. This formula is filled with micronutrients that are essential for a dog’s overall health.
With 23 essential vitamins and minerals, you also get a boost of antioxidants. Plus, all the proteins are sourced from organic farm fed beef.
14. Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Adult Deboned Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
Protein (min.) 26% | Fat (min.) 12% | Fiber (max.) 5% | Moisture (max.) 10%
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Ground Brown Rice, 4. Barley, 5. Peas
Your big boy needs a boost of nutrition as well as a flavor they can look forward to for every meal. This one is highly recommended for males at a higher risk of joint or bone-related problems. It has calcium, phosphorus, and nutrients that will keep their bones healthy and strong. It has Yucca Schidigera extract that can dramatically reduce foul odor from your dog’s poop.
Plus, there is plenty of proteins to strengthen your baby’s muscles and keep it active all day. So, what you get is lean muscle mass, a high dose of energy, and plenty of fatty acids for the overall wellbeing of your maligator.
15. Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Large Breed Puppy Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken
Protein (min.) 33.5% | Fat (min.) 18.5% | Fiber (max.) 5% | Moisture (max.) 9%
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Peas, 4. Egg Product, 5. Tapioca
A Belgian Malinois pup is almost hyperactive. They grow fast both in terms of size and smartness. That is why I always recommend feeding them rich raw food meant for large or giant breeds. Instinct Raw Boost is one of the few formulas that perfectly fulfill this criterion. Your little one will get lots of animal proteins sourced from organic, free-range chicken.
Other ingredients such as fish and egg provide nutrients that are essential for the mental and physical development of your baby. What it does not have is grains and all the ingredients that can trigger allergies and sensitivities.
16. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Large Breed Puppy Lamb & Rice Recipe
Protein (min.) 26% | Fat (min.) 15% | Fiber (max.) 3% | Moisture (max.) 10%
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Lamb, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Brewers Rice, 4. Split Peas, 5. Whole Grain Oatmeal
When it comes to the non-raw variety of the best dog foods for Belgian Malinois puppies, Nutro’s Wholesome Essential barely has no competitor. Loaded with lamb proteins and a nutritious, flavorful blend of ingredients, Nutro fulfills the challenging needs of an active, large breed pup.
A bowl of Nutro around four to five times a day will make sure that your baby doesn’t miss a milestone. What I love about Nutro is their commitment to quality. Every ingredient they use is natural and can be sourced back to actual suppliers.
17. Nulo Freestyle Trout & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Senior
Protein (min.) 30% | Fat (min.) 12% | Fiber (max.) 5% | Moisture (max.) 10%
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Trout, 2. Turkey Meal, 3. Salmon Meal, 4. Yellow Peas, 5. Sweet Potato
Nulo Freestyle trout recipe is a formula that takes care of the changing needs of your senior Belgian Malinois. It has L-carnitine for your baby’s healthy heart. There is enough glucosamine and chondroitin for better hip and joint support. Plus, there is the right ratio of phosphorus and calcium to supplement aging bones and joints.
18. Merrick Grain-Free Senior Chicken + Sweet Potato Recipe
Protein (min.) 32% | Fat (min.) 12% | Fiber (max.) 3.5% | Moisture (max.) 11%
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Peas, 4. Sweet Potatoes, 5. Potatoes
All those years of running and jumping can take their toll. It is time to switch to dog food that can take better care of your aging buddy. While your dog will get all the micro-ingredients necessary for stronger joints and bones, it also has ingredients to keep its heart and organs healthy. These ingredients include glucosamine, chondroitin, and L-carnitine. It is a grain-free recipe, which is perfect for sensitive stomachs, and will prevent a lot of age-related tummy-troubles as well.
- Reviews of the Wet Dog Foods
- Guide to the Top Small Breed Puppy Foods
- Complete Guide to Grain-Free Puppy Foods
- The Ultimate Guide to Grain Free Dog Foods
Know Your Malinois
Spend a day with a Belgian Malinois, and you know it is not an average dog. It is more active than most dogs, and it loves to play.
That means their dietary needs are going to be above average as well.
A Different Breed
A Belgian Malinois is a muscular dog, which is also highly active. That means it needs a high protein diet to keep those muscles flexing – plus, a fat-rich food to ensure higher energy levels all day. The thing about this unique combo is that you need to be more careful about their nutritional needs. Every calorie matters, and every ingredient can make a difference.
That said, it is best to keep your mal puppies on large breed puppy food because it is well suited to their growth requirements. It has all the calories to keep them playful and active. Your baby will hit all the growth milestones without the risk of malnutrition or obesity.
Daily Calories and Meal Requirement
The number of calories your dog consumes depends mainly on how active your dog is. While Belgian Malinois dogs are usually active, it may not be accurate for every mal. Also, it is not unusual for a mal to lose interest in activities with age. You need to monitor their activity and energy levels and adjust the calories accordingly.
As for daily feeding, divide a puppy’s food in four to six meals a day, but make it three to four meals for adults. If your dog isn’t finishing its food, then you need to reduce the portion size while increasing the number of meals per day.
For overweight mals, it is best to switch formulas rather than reducing the amount of food they eat every day. Reducing the amount of food you feed may cause nutritional deficiency, while unique weight control formulas reduce weight without cutting down proteins and other essential nutrients.
The Good Stuff
Here is a detailed breakdown of essentials to look for in your Belgian Malinois dog food.
Animal Protein – Look for animal-based proteins as the first ingredient on the label. Ideally, the food should have over 35% protein from real meat. By-products and meals are never the best sources of protein. If budget is not a problem, look for novel protein sources such as Bison, Rabbit, or Venison.
Fat – Fat doesn’t sound so good when we talk about the human diet, but dogs have slightly different needs than us. Fat is what converts in energy for dogs. So, for active breeds like Belgian Malinois, look for food with more than 10% fat. Good fats are also essential for better joint mobility and healthy skin.
Greens – By greens, I mean fruits as well as vegetables. You may be surprised to know that the ancestral diet of dogs included lots of fruits and greens. They are the best source of vitamins and minerals and are essential for healthy bones, brain, and vision. Not to mention, they are rich in antioxidants that keep the immune system running.
Probiotics – Many people ask me if they should include probiotic supplements to their dog’s diet. It is a good idea for a dog with an extremely sensitive tummy. Otherwise, dog food with probiotics is enough to keep tummy troubles at bay. Since mals are prone to allergies, it is a good idea to go for a dog food that is good for the gut.
Essential Compounds– Essential nutrients are limited to protein, vitamins, and minerals. There are certain compounds such as glucosamine and chondroitin that ensure not only healthy growth but also prevent common health issues such as hip dysplasia, cardiovascular
What to Avoid?
Unfortunately, there are a lot of low-quality dog foods out there, filled with ingredients that are bound to create trouble for your mal pal. They have ingredients that include fillers, which have zero nutritional value but are also known allergens.
Ingredients to watch out for include:
- Common grains like wheat, soy, corn, and white rice
- By-products and processed meals
- Artificial additives such as flavor and colorings
You should always make it a point to purchase high-quality dog food for your mal. Low-quality foods may come at a lower price, but the long-term impact on your baby’s health can cost you and your mal. No point saving money if you will end up paying it to a vet.
What does Belgian Malinois eat?
A Belgian Malinois is a medium to large-sized breed and requires plenty of meat. Since it is also an active breed, feed it a higher amount of proteins, around 25 to 30% protein. Plus, there should be more than 10 percent fat to ensure adequate energy levels.
How much does Belgian Malinois should eat?
A puppy six to eight weeks needs four to six meals a day. At six months, two to three meals a day. Adults should be fed once or twice a day. All these meals should amount to 1 to 1.5 cups a day. However, you need to adjust the quantity according to your dog’s appetite while keeping an eye on its weight.
How much exercise does Belgian Malinois need?
A herding dog, the Malinois is a highly active and should be exercised at least 20 to 30 minutes, three times a day. In addition to 90 minutes of exercise, your Malinois also needs plenty of mental stimulation to stay in the best mood and health.
Is a raw food diet good for Belgian Malinois?
Raw food can be a healthier option for any dog, especially for an active breed like the mal. The raw diet is close to the natural ancestral diet of dogs. Belgian Malinois tend to like the taste of raw food, and properly prepared, it is safe for them. However, you need to choose only the premium options as low-quality raw food can carry many health risks.
Is Belgian Malinois a large-sized dog?
A Belgian Malinois is a medium-sized dog but considered a large-sized more than often due to its sturdy athletic build. Interestingly, it is often mistaken for a German Shepherd.
Males can grow up to 24 to 26 inches tall. Female adults are usually 22 to 24 inches tall. Females have a narrower, more slender structure compared to males.
At what stage should Belgian Malinois start with adult dog food?
At the age of one year, a puppy starts turning into an adult dog. However, large breeds often take longer. You should switch to adult dog food at the age of 13 to 18 months.
How much should a healthy Belgian Malinois weigh?
An adult male Belgian Malinois weighs typically between 50 and 80 pounds while females can weigh 40 to 60 pounds. However, the optimal weight depends mostly on your dog’s size.
Can Belgian Malinois get obese?
Obesity is not so common in active breeds like a Malinois, but if not exercised or appropriately trained, or when given an unhealthy diet which is not balanced, there are risks of obesity. Obesity is a serious concern since it can cause major heart issues and joint problems in dogs.
What are health issues are common among Belgian Malinois’?
Belgian Malinois are susceptible to health issues like dental problems, obesity, bacterial or viral infections, bloat, epilepsy, and hip, and elbow dysplasia. Retinal atrophy, cataracts, hemangiosarcoma are also among these issues.
Is grain-free dog food good for Belgian Malinois?
According to AKC, grains aren’t exactly bad for your dog. However, grains can cause allergies for a sensitive Belgian Malinois. Some grains are also a source of unhealthy carbs that can increase your dog’s weight. There are much better alternative carb sources out there. That is why a grain-free dog food with greener carbs is a good idea.
Is the Malinois a picky eater?
The Malinois is not known for being a picky eater. However, feeding your mal table scraps can make them picky.
Can Belgian Malinois’ diet affect its temperament?
Just like us, their diet can affect their mood. If you are feeding your baby healthy food with no additives, you set them up for success. Occasional treats of premium quality can improve their mood.
Why is my Belgian Malinois lazy?
The Belgian Malinois is a highly active breed. If your mal is not active, there may be an underlying health issue keeping your baby down. Consult with your veterinarian about possible health issues. And, if needed, switch to a food with a better protein and fat ratio.
How long does Belgian Malinois live?
A healthy Belgian Malinois has an average life span of 12 to 14 years. However, that takes a proper diet and lifestyle. Make sure you are feeding your dog premium dog food and engaging it in a regular workout to ensure a healthy life.