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What should my Schnauzer be eating?

July 11th, 2008, 10:16 AM
I have just come back from my vet, annual shots, and we both agreed that Ebony's coat condition is not right. The vet said it is too oily, and that is why she gets matts so quickly and why I am constantly taking her to the groomer every 2 months. She doesn't itch, thankfully, but her coat is not shiny and healthy looking. She is a salt & pepper, as in grey and white, so it is difficult to see a gloss in her coat (unlike a black haired dog).

Anyway, I have been through various brands of dry food for almost 3 years now, and haven't found a food I am 100% happy with. I see no difference in her coat, whether it is the lowest brand like Caesar to a holistic brand like Technical. There was another brand I tried but found out it had synthetic vit. k in it, so I stopped feeding her that immediately. Wellness she didn't touch and Science diet are not recommended for this breed. I have tried Solid Gold too.

So I have browsed around on the net, to see what other schnauzer owners are feeding their dogs. One is Royal Canine, Schnauzer Breed. Looks like a marketing trick, and it only gets 2 stars at this link
But the owners say their dogs coats improved.

My vet recommended Iams to improve her coat condition. I am very very hestitant. I have heard too much about this brand. It gets a 1-2 star rating too.

Some breeders say schnauzers need grains, low fat. Others say no grain.

So I came across a site that recommends these:
Eagle Pack (4 star)
and Innova (6 star) grain free

How can I improve my dogs coat and get the right food for a schnauzer?

Anyone have a schnauzer and has a beautiful coat and what are you feeding him/her?

July 11th, 2008, 12:54 PM

I don't have a Schnauzer (although I think they are just the cutest!! :D)

May I suggest you look into a brand called Canidae?

I know your dog doesn't have allergies, but I've used it for several fosters of mine that had shabby coats and it really helped.

You will probably get more answers soon..and I'm sure it will be brought up to think about raw feeding.

I do it out of necessity, and my furball has the softest, nicest fur, but I personally think if your dog is perfectly healthy, there are plenty of good, high quality kibble out there you can try first. Or you can supplement with some fresh food as well. You mentioned dry that all you feed her? I bet even adding wet food, of a good brand of course, would help!

I'm glad you aren't taking your vets advice about Iams! I'm not sure about that whole Royal Canin thing with breed specific formulas either. I understand that a chihuaha would have different nutritional needs than say, a Rottweiller, but there shouldn't be that much difference amongst breeds that are similar size. I think you should focus on the size, weight, special needs, and lifestyle of your dog and base off that rather than the breed. There could be two dogs that are the same breed and age that lead totally different lifestyles..

You say you get her professionaly groomed, so it may be the type of shampoo they are using that's the culprit too? Again, every dog is different. I bathe my dog every 2-3 weeks even though you hear it's a no no, but he loves it and he has actually gone and jumped IN the tub if I accidentally let more than 3 weeks go!! He'll look at me like "Umm, MOM I SMELL!!" He's a little prissy ball! :) But he doesn't itch and the skin underneath his hair is pink and healthy..we also groom him ourselves. He's a jack he gets scruffy around the face to where he can't see!!

There's also the option of just adding some supplements, like Omega 3's to her diet...

July 11th, 2008, 12:57 PM
Have you looked at Orijen? I would also reccomend something like Herring Oil or even 100% pure coconut oil...they will help make the coat shiny.. I have a friend that has a Schnodle puppy and she feeds her the Orijen and loves it! Theres lots of info here on food and many people with a wonderful knowledge! I am sure more people will be along to provide some more advice..

Good Luck


July 11th, 2008, 01:15 PM
rivers - I can't respond to schnauzers in particular, but I'm with Winston that Orijen is an excellent food. You're also on the right track with Innova and Eagle Pack (Holistic, not Regular). Definitely stay away from SD, Cesar, Royal Canin or your gut with those ones! lm9012's suggestion of wet food is good too - my dog always eats a mix of both. It's a good way to up your dog's water intake and there is a lot of great nutrition to be found in cans!

Although he's not a schnauzer, my dog gets a lot of compliments on his shiny coat. I crack an egg into his food once a week. The suggestion of herring oil or similar supplement is also a great idea.

lm9012 - you might be interested in this thread about recent changes to the Canidae formula and manufacturing process:

It has been a great food, but now I don't feel so sure about it and switched to Wellness.

July 12th, 2008, 05:31 PM
I haven't seen any schnauzer breeder mentioning Orijen. I know it is an excellent food.
I need the fat content to be just right for the wiry hair and itchy skin of a schnauzer. (not that she has the itches now, but the breed is susceptible to it)

I found another site that recommends Nutro Natural Choice. Gives a good coat and is wheat free.

Any comments on this food?

July 12th, 2008, 07:14 PM
Please read through the recent discussion on Nutro and seriously consider staying away from this food!

Some useful links re: finding a good quality food:

( that you already mentioned is good too...try to look at the 5 and 6 star foods)

July 12th, 2008, 09:22 PM
If your groomer is using a conditioner after the shampoo that might be causing the oil coat.

July 13th, 2008, 12:47 AM
Dogs are dogs so far as digestion and such goes. Unless your dog has a medical condition, you shouldln't need special food - just GOOD food.

A good food should improve coat condition.

July 13th, 2008, 01:17 AM
I found another site that recommends Nutro Natural Choice. Gives a good coat and is wheat free.

Any comments on this food?

I would stay away from Nutro since they were recently taken over by the Mars Corporation which also makes most of the poorest quality brands on the market.

Also there are recent reports of lots of illnesses and some deaths of dogs that were fed Nutro. I will look for the information and repost it here.

July 13th, 2008, 01:24 AM
I can only find the one thread about it but be sure to click on the link to the consumer affairs website.

July 13th, 2008, 09:50 AM
I couldn't upload the food analysis site last night, thats why I asked about Nutro, before having a chance to read about it. I now realise THAT is the food I tried last month that had the Synth. Vit. K in it, and I stopped feeding her it. She didn't like it anyway.

I don't know what the groomer uses on her, but I know when I bath her at home, a conditioner is needed, or else her hair is like straw. I will ask.

It just baffles me, this whole food thing. I found another site, owner has 3 beautiful schnauzers, their coats are shiny and they are healthy, and she feeds them Purina One. Another was the breeder, beautiful coats and show dog winners, feeds them Nutro. Another recommends Chicken Soup for the Dog Lovers Soul.

Do I need to go high end? All I want is a healthier coat, and of course to keep her healthy inside too, as she is. I don't give Ebony wet food with her dry. I usually just give her left over meat and veg from our food.

July 13th, 2008, 11:50 AM
ok, just got back from Pet Value. They don't have Innova.
But they do have RAW. I am seriously considering it. It doesn't look as daunting as I originally thought. It is all prepared and all I have to do is thaw and serve. Sounds easy enough. It should cost me about $5 a week, because she is a small breed.
I am going away, with pooch, for vacation, so I can't take frozen food with me. I will start when I get back.

July 14th, 2008, 12:54 PM

I know it can be a daunting task trying to figure out what food to feed. Everyone has opinions and there's tons of information out there and it can get confusing. In the end, trial by error works best and eventually you will find what works for your little one.

Two years after adopting Albert I still hadn't found a food that he liked! I was feeding high quality stuff but he HATED kibble. He would just let it sit and not eat all day until eventually he was starving, he'd walk up to his bowl looking back at me like I had him walking down a plank or something!! He's very dramatic!

I got him later in life and from the looks of his teeth I think he was fed home food, so I would add a little wet and he'd eat the wet and spit out the kibble!

Unfortunately, it wasn't until he was diagnosed with kidney disease that he finally got the food he loved. It took him getting sick for me to switch to raw/home cooking.

So he's the happiest pup ever now and now my problem is him eating the food so quickly he makes himself throw up sometimes! :shrug:

Good luck with your search and know that this forum is a great resource for any questions you may have! They've helped me out tons!

July 15th, 2008, 09:09 AM
I have a Standard Schnauzer that has a shiny coat, but she is a black dog and sometimes it is easier to see a sheen on black over salt and pepper.

I have been feeding her Evanger's canned dog food in the mornings. Specifically their hand-packed specialty cans, her favorite is Hunk-O-Beef. It really looks like people food, not a processed loaf of minced up meat. To this I add a supplement called Platinum Performance. It has lots of Omega 3 fatty acids in it.

In the evening she gets dry dog food. I have fed her many different types of kibble and I have not noticed the switching affecting her coat. Some kibble gives her horrible gas, so I won't feed her those anymore.

Currently, she is eating Royal Canin. I don't feed her the breed specific Mini Schnauzer formula... only because I don't think it has enough fat in it. SOME mini schnauzers are prone to Pancreatitis and I heard that a diet too high in fat can aggravate this problem. My schnauzer is a standard, not a mini, and she needs FAT! lol I have examined virtually all the different Royal Canin formulas and I go with one that has more fat for my dog.

I have tried grain free foods with her, but they tend to give her diarrhea, but gas. :yuck: So, I stick with some of the brands of dog food that contain grains. The is another product that doesn't read all that good on the ingredient list, but seems to give excellent results. It is Purina Pro Plan for Sensitve Skin and Stomach. I have fed this with success and will likely feed it again in the future.

I think raw is a good way to go if your dog can handle it. I've given her raw sometimes too, but not a strictly raw diet. Best of Luck with your doggie! :D

This is Hershey! Trying to shake with both paws at once!

Hershey looking at a birdie...


August 12th, 2008, 10:41 PM
I own a mini schnauzer and the breeder told me that she should not have a high protein diet. I am feeding Mazy Acana lamb and rice which is 23% protien. On her vet checks she is doing excellent! (skin, coat, weight, overall health) The only problem now is that Acana is switching their formula and coming out soon with a lamb and apple :wall: (I really hate when pet companies change their formula so dramaticly) So I have no idea what the protien count will be.