For all pet parents, a top concern is what to feed their dogs. Mini schnauzer owners, in particular, are concerned about the dietary requirements of their dogs.
I have always believed that there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to feeding dogs. However, there are some general guidelines when it comes to feeding mini schnauzers. For instance, since they are prone to pancreatitis and hyperlipidemia, you should be keeping an eye on the fat content of the food they eat. Protein is another key consideration – you want optimal levels of protein, except of course, if your dog has some medical issues. Freshness and safety, needless to say, are non-negotiables.
Your dog’s appetite is usually one of your main considerations when it comes to choosing food. Some people complain that their mini schnauzers are picky eaters. On the other hand, I have heard some people comment that their mini schnauzers can eat all day. I’ve actually had both picky eaters and gluttons in my pack, although the picky eaters usually end up developing their appetites later on.
Over the years, I’ve found that my adult dogs do well on a combination of home-cooked food and quality kibble. Youngsters get high-grade kibble mixed with fresh cooked meat (chicken/pork/beef) and some vegetables, while seniors get only fresh cooked meat and veggies without kibble.
I can go at length about the fresh meat component of the meal, but for the purposes of this blog, let me share my thoughts and experiences with some kibble brands that my dogs have tried, and that are readily available in the Philippine market. (Note: this is not to be taken as a recommendation, as different dogs have different experiences with dog food. What is great for my dog may not be great for yours.)
Royal Canin – This is my go-to brand. Especially good for picky eaters, dogs seem to find it very palatable. The protein and fat content is optimal for mini schnauzers, and I see that in their healthy looking eyes and shiny coats. Because my dogs compete in conformation shows, good bone and hair texture are very important, and we achieve these with RC. In addition, the dogs have very small, well formed stools without a stinky smell with Royal Canin, which is perfect for indoor dogs like mine. Although a lot of people like the Indoor Dog variant (which is sometimes hard to find), my mini schnauzers do well with the Medium Adult variant (which is easy to get anywhere). For puppies that are being weaned, I find the Mini Starter Mother and Baby very good – the kibble sizes are small enough for their mouths, and it softens when you add warm water, making it easy for young puppies to start the transition to solid food. (Update, Dec 2020: RC has recently released its Mini Schnauzer variant in the Philippines. From what I’ve read, this variant is formulated taking into account the fact that mini schnauzers are prone to urinary stones. I haven’t tried this yet, but I’ve heard good comments from mini schnauzer users.)
Go! Natural (Skin and Coat Care Salmon Recipe/Lamb Recipe) – Another brand that I trust and which mini schnauzers love, it has a good protein-fat ratio ideal for mini schnauzers. It keeps their coats lustrous and shiny. Dogs love its taste, and stools are solid and small. There are both grain-free (the Carnivores line) and grain-added variants, which addresses concerns over deficiencies noted with grain-free diets. My only issue with Go! is that it occasionally goes out of stock, and replenishments can take painfully long.
Acana – One of my trusted brands, Acana is another good brand that I regularly use. I have peace of mind with its protein and fat content, and the lack of fillers. I particularly like Acana Pacifica, which is made from fish, for my schnauzers. We also use Sports and Agility, and the Adult variant. There are two caveats with Acana, though – one, it seems my dogs grow quickly tired of it, so I have to rotate and bring it back. Second, some variants are not always available.
Orijen Six Fish – I start off many young dogs with Orijen – it has very high levels of protein (38%) which I like for their growth phase, although the fat content (20%) is a bit too high for a mini schnauzer, which is why I do not stay long on this. Yet it’s hard to ignore how the dogs get a really nice and healthy coat and how they develop really good and strong bones (of course, this could be genetics too). Dogs love its taste. It’s one of the grain-free diets containing legumes which is controversial these days, so if you’re worried about that, check developments in that space from time to time.
Eukanuba – Still one of the most trusted brands of our family. Over the years, I’ve seen many of our large breed dogs grow beautifully — big boned, muscular, and robust, with beautiful coats, thanks to Eukanuba. Mini schnauzers thrive on it too and love its taste. I’ll be honest—the one reason I shifted away from it is that I couldn’t stand the size and the stink of the dogs’ poop whenever they ate Eukanuba. I know that some dog food reviewers do not rank Eukanuba highly, and I respect their views, but I will also not deny the great results that I have seen with it. (May 2021 update: I had some of my dogs on Eukanuba and surprisingly, their stools are no longer as stinky as it used to be with Eukanuba-fed dogs a few years ago.)
Pedigree – I must admit I haven’t used Pedigree for a decade now, and I haven’t tried them on mini schnauzers, except for Dentastix which keeps the dogs happily occupied. But since it is the most popular and most readily available brand in the country, I had to include it in this. I know a lot of people are wary of grocery brands, but a long time ago, when it was the only dog food in the Philippines, I’ve fed many dogs with Pedigree. My dogs who started on Pedigree are all in their senior years now (aged 12-14) now. None of them ever developed kidney or urinary stones, and they are happily healthy to this day with teeth that remain pearly white and surprisingly clean at their age. Those who have passed away all reached their senior years as well, and were healthy to the end. I do provide them free-flowing water, and they always have meat and other fresh stuff to go with their kibble. One good thing about Pedigree is that it is readily available in all stores.
Holistic (updated Dec 2020) – We recently held an informal survey in a group of around 300 mini schnauzer owners, and Holistic had the most number of users in that survey. Although I have not yet tried Holistic for my dogs, it has been used by many of my good friends who own schnauzers and other breeds, and they are happy with it. Their dogs are healthy and active. I’ve also seen the stools of these dogs, and they’re well-formed, an indicator of a good dog food. One of the great things about Holistic is that is is readily available and is very affordable.
Again, this is my personal take on these brands. What works on my dogs may not work for yours.
See my related post on my top choices for puppy food.