Best foods for a mini schnauzer

dog and woman at the table full of vegetable

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A healthy, well-balanced Mini Schnauzer diet should consist of lean protein for development and growth, healthy fats for skin and coat, carbohydrates for energy, and fiber for a healthy digestive tract. In addition to healthy foods, this pup needs an array of vitamins and minerals for healthy vision, teeth, and bones. When it comes to dog nutrition, you can never learn too much, which is why we’re going to cover the dog food basics throughout each life stage of the Schnauzer breed; then, finally, we’re going to share some homemade dog food recipes and discuss a few of the premium dog food brands.

While there are myriad choices for what to feed a Miniature Schnauzer, most owners fail to think further than deciding what to serve. Many agonize over whether to serve fresh food or kibble, wet food or dry, grain-free, or whole grain; the choices seem endless. And, of course, whatever you choose to feed should coincide with whatever life stage your Mini Schnauzer is in.

 

How many calories should a mini schnauzer eat per day?

Before getting into the best foods to feed your Mini Schnauzer, it’s essential to know the number of calories your pup needs to keep that little body and brain functioning strong. Starting with the very basics, protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats provide energy in the form of calories. Of course, a dog’s daily caloric needs will depend on several factors: age, environment, activity level, whether she’s lactating or on a kidney-friendly diet – these all play a part in determining how many calories the pup needs. 

The “typical” active Mini Schnauzer that weighs 15lbs will need anywhere from 450–575 Kcal/day. And of course, if she/he lives in a colder than usual climate, you should plan on providing extra calories; the same goes for if dog is pregnant. A six-month-old puppy weighing 5lbs will need at least 400Kcal/day, while a 15lb senior will need just under 400 Kcal/day. 

 

Appropriate weight of a mini schnauzer

Maintaining a healthy weight is paramount to any dog’s health, especially the Mini Schnauzer. Again, this is where quality proteins and healthy fats come into play. One way to do this is to serve the correct amount of food. The Schnauzer Collective recommends serving approximately 47 calories per pound of weight daily as a small pup, then reducing caloric intake to about 28 calories per pound as the dog matures

 

7 Things to Remember when choosing the right dog food:

When choosing which foods to feed your Mini Schnauzer, whether you go with the whole food, fresh diet, or buy a high-end bag at the store, be sure to consider the following:

  • Steer away from animal by-products as much as possible; remember, a good source of protein comes from fish, beef, chicken, turkey, and lamb. 

  • Be sure any carbohydrates listed on the bag are in their whole form: rice, barley, and oatmeal are good choices; stay away from “wheat middlings” and “rice hulls.”

  • Avoid sugars as much as possible, if not completely. Corn syrup and sugar can cause obesity and behavioral issues in dogs. 

  • Stay away from chemicals and dyes, as they have no value nutritionally; this includes artificial flavors and colorings. 

  • Avoid preservatives; go as natural as possible. 

  • Avoid chemical preservatives, such as propylene, ethoxyquin, glycol, propyl gallate, menadione, etc. If you can’t say it, you probably don’t want to feed it! 

  • Choose foods containing Vitamin C and E, Rosemary Extract, etc.

 

How can I improve my puppy’s gut?

Most veterinarians will tell you that a healthy gut equals a healthy Mini Schnauzer. A gut biome imbalance will make it difficult for your pup to absorb the proper nutrients he needs for a healthy immune system. An unhealthy diet can lead to inflammation throughout its body. Studies show that poor gut health can lead to diabetes, anxiety, skin issues, arthritis, food intolerance, and digestive disorders. Fiber, lots of water, and nutrient-dense foods are good for your pup’s digestion. Pumpkin, quinoa, flaxseed, yogurt, and even sauerkraut helps the gut build good bacteria.

 

What should I feed my mini schnauzer?

The Mini Schnauzer diet should come from a healthy balance of protein, healthy fats, carbohydrates, and minerals. The best source of protein for dogs comes from fish, beef, chicken, turkey, or lamb. Good, whole sources of carbohydrates can be found in foods such as oatmeal, barley, and rice. Healthy fats and oils, such as salmon oil, chicken fat, and flaxseed oil, are great for a growing Mini Schnauzer. Let’s break it down further.

 

Whole Foods to Feed Your Mini Schnauzer

Most veterinarians and dog nutritionists will likely agree that homemade food for your Mini Schnauzer is better than store-bought kibble. The ability to know what you’re putting in your pup’s tummy is just one of the benefits of preparing food in your kitchen; homemade food can offer better nutrition, possibly extending the life of your pup. Remember all the dog food recalled from 2012-2015? Many of these were premium brands, which is why so many Mini Schnauzer owners decided to leave the store-bought brands on the grocery store shelves. 

As discussed previously, canines need a healthy diet consisting of protein, vegetables, and small amounts of healthy fat. Most breeders and dog nutritionists agree that the Mini Schnauzer’s diet should include 20%-25% protein and 10%-15% fat. However, the ratio to use when preparing homemade food can be confusing, so it’s best to sit down with your veterinarian or dog nutritionist to discuss the percentages your Mini Schnauzer needs. 

There’s been recent, widespread controversy over whether a grain-free diet is healthy for dogs, so definitely check with your veterinarian on this one.

 

7 GRAINS to feed yor mini schnauzer (in moderation)

  • Oatmeal
  • Quinoa
  • Pasta
  • Barley
  • Brown Rice
  • White Rice
  • Bulgar

 

10 VEGETABLES to feed yor mini schnauzer (in moderation)

  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Green Beans
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Pumpkin
  • Squash
  • Spinach
  • Sweet Peas
  • Zucchini

 

10 FRUITS you can feed your mini schnauzer (in small amounts)

  • Apples
  • Blueberries
  • Pears (without seeds)
  • Bananas
  • Coconut
  • Cantaloupe
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon (without seeds)

AVOID cherries

*Not all fruits and veggies, meats, grains, and oils are safe to feed your pup, so be sure to ask your veterinarian which foods your pup should not eat and be sure you take any known food allergies into account! 

 

Protein to Feed Your Mini Schnauzer

Best protein sources for your dog:

  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Turkey
  • Lamb
  • Fish
  • Rabbit
  • Eggs

 

As discussed under caloric needs, how much protein you feed your Mini Schnauzer will be specific to him. It’s important to know that not all protein digests the same, and it’s become a tricky game reading and understanding the back of a commercial dog food bag. 

Protein in the form of chicken meat will be easier for your pup to digest than chicken meal, which is why many Mini Schnauzer owners choose to prepare healthy, whole foods from home rather than from a bag or can. There’s more on this to come. 

It’s important to remember there are essential amino acids found in protein that every dog needs, which are: Arginine, Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Tryptophan, Valine.

While it’s relatively easy to locate essential amino acids on a bag of premium dog food, it’s a bit trickier to know how much your dog will get from foods you’ve made yourself.

 

Healthy Oils to Feed Your Mini Schnauzer

Mini schnauzers thrive on a well-balanced diet from a wide variety of sources. So, if you’re going to add anything extra to your Mini Schnauzer’s diet, consider supplementing it with healthy oils containing Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids; these include fish oil, flaxseed oil, krill oil, or coconut oil, in either pill form or from a jar. Please take note that oils coming from a jar are not shelf-stable; meaning, the second you open the jar to the air, you run the risk of the oil becoming rancid. For this reason alone, some pet owners choose oils that come in capsule form. 

Now, it’s important to remember that too much of any of the above can promote weight gain, and a dose too large can lead to pancreatitis, which should be a concern of any Mini Schnauzer owner. Also, take note that too much oil can cause vitamin E deficiency, so be sure you should speak to your veterinarian about the possibility of a vitamin E supplement. Here are some of the basics of common oils:

  • Fish oil: should contain omega-3 fatty acids, EPA, and DHA. It’s a well-known fact that fish oil deters arthritis, promotes a healthy heart, and decreases cancer risk (though no one can know to what extent.) In addition, fish oil containing omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory, and in some pups, fish oil may even help with pain.

  • Flaxseed oil: High in alpha-linolenic Omega-3s, flaxseed oil promotes healthy blood pressure, good kidney function, and since it aids in mobility, it can even help decrease pain and stiffness brought on by arthritis. 

  • Krill Oil: This kind of oil contains EPA and DHA, promoting healthy joints. Krill oils are a derivative of organisms like shrimp, and they are some of the lowest on the food chain (meaning Krill oil contains less mercury and other contaminants.) 

  • Coconut Oil: A healthy alternative to trans-fat, coconut oil tends to be a natural weight loss aid for dogs. It promotes healthy skin and increased energy. It’s also a remedy for bad doggy breath. 

So, how to know if your dog might need one of the above oil supplements? If your pup’s coat tends to be dull, or skin becomes flaky, or if he suffers from inflammation or other major health issues, then talk to a veterinarian about the possibility of adding an oil supplement to his diet.

 

Healthy Fats to Feed Your Mini Schnauzer

Your Mini Schnauzer needs healthy fats to metabolize much-needed essential vitamins, including vitamins A, D, E, and K. Fats are a vital energy source for your Mini Schnauzer, as they help with the absorption and transport of many vitamins (all fat-soluble). In addition, quality fats are important to know about since pancreatitis is known to be a common problem for Mini Schnauzers. Healthy fats also work to maintain healthy skin and coat. So, whether you feed a raw, whole foods diet or store-bought kibble, be sure your pup’s getting enough Omega 3s (flaxseeds and fish oils) and Omega 6s (Salmon, trout, eggs, and sunflower oil). 

 

Water to Give to Your Mini Schnauzer

Fresh and clean water should always be available and within reach of your Mini Schnauzer. Dehydration can be a severe issue for any dog; therefore, be sure to monitor him so you know he’s drinking enough. 

 

Vitamins & Minerals to Give to Your Mini Schnauzer

Almost all commercial kibble comes fortified with exceedingly high levels of Vitamins (A, D, E, and K), whereas if you’re feeding your Mini Schnauzer a fresh, whole food diet, you’re going to want to be sure he/she is getting enough. On the other hand, too much can be dangerous. Minerals work with vitamins and enzymes in your pup’s body to play many roles: fluid balance, enzymatic reactions, muscle and nerve function, formation of bone and cartilage, oxygen in the blood, and much more, which is why your pup must receive a healthy balance of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. 

 

 

What can I cook at home for my mini schnauzer?

Nearly every, if not all, Mini Schnauzers love homecooked meals! There are many options when it comes to foods you can prepare in your kitchen. Tried and true homemade dog food recipes include a combination of beef, fish, chicken, veggies, eggs, legumes, even cottage cheese. It takes only a handful of ingredients to create a healthy meal for your pup; be sure to portion out each component so you know they’re getting the proper mix of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. 

 

  • Can mini schnauzers eat ground beef?

Yes! It’s a good idea to buy meat in bulk from a local butcher if you have space in your freezer to store it in. Rich in Omega-3, beta-carotene, lutein, and vitamin E. Ground beef is a good choice, and you can choose from ground chuck or fresh ground top round or bottom. Many dog owners who feed their pups homemade meals forget there’s more than one way to cook ground beef. You can stir-fry it, boil it, sauté it or make homemade puppy meatballs. 

 

  • Can mini schnauzers eat poultry?

Yes! Dogs love poultry, especially chicken, and they’ll even love it baked! Simply bake a chicken breast in the oven or throw a little ground turkey on a frying pan, browning it for about five minutes. Make it even healthier by sauteing some veggies, such as zucchini, peas, carrots, or spinach. You can mix this in a bowl with brown rice; just be sure you let the food cool after cooking it. 

 

  • Can mini schnauzers eat fish?

Yes! Fish is healthy for dogs, including the mini schnauzer, and it’s a type of food they really enjoy! As pointed out earlier, fish are packed with omega-3 fatty acids that are good for their heart and brain.

Dogs can eat pretty much all kinds of fish. You’ll just want to be careful to avoid the fish high in heavy metals, such as mercury such as albacore tuna, shark, swordfish, southern bluefin tuna, canned salmon. Also, remember you should never feed dogs fish with bones unless you know that the bones are processed enough to be soft and digestible. The great thing about fish is that you can cook it almost any way you like! 

 

  • What snacks & treats are ok for a mini schnauzer?  

Every Mini Schnauzer loves a treat, but many dog treats sitting on the store shelf aren’t the best if you want to keep your pup healthy. So why not try preparing some homemade treats? Your pup will love you for it! Low-fat foods such as yogurt is great as a little additive to dry kibble. 

Probiotics found in yogurt (avoid yogurt with corn syrup or Xylitol) will help your Mini Schnauzer’s gut balance. A little chicken or turkey will go a long way for a mid-day snack, as will cottage cheese and mozzarella, just be sure you buy the low-fat kind. 

 

Dry Kibble

Okay, so why include dry kibble? Well, not everyone has time to prepare, cook, and serve nutritious, homemade dog food. With that in mind, there are many things to consider when choosing a store-bought premium dog food brand to trust for your Mini Schnauzer’s tummy.

How do you feed dry kibble?

A Mini Schnauzer weighing 10lbs should eat about ¾ cup of dry kibble, but of course, this is going to change from brand to brand, so be sure to consult a pet nutritionist or vet to find out precisely the right amount of kibble to feed your pup. You can also combine high-quality dry kibble and fresh foods. 

Many Schnauzer owners provide high-quality dry kibble mixed with veggies, like broccoli, and fruit, like berries. You can even throw in some lean protein, like fish or chicken or an egg. Dog nutritionists often tell clients to make large batches of combination foods ahead of time, then refrigerate or freeze the rest to use later. 

You can read more about premium dog food brands towards the end of the article.

Dog Food Labels

First off, it’s essential to know that most states require a minimum amount of nutrients that dog food must contain; this includes the percentages of crude protein, crude fiber, and water. The FDA calls this the “guaranteed analysis,” you can find it on the FDA website. Accordingly, ingredients need to be listed by weight in descending order, and each ingredient needs to be listed individually.

The dog food bag will also list what life stage on each bag: gestation/lactation, growth, maintenance, all life stages. Not only do you need to know the ingredients and what life stage the dog you are feeding falls under, but you also want to check the sell-by or best by date. Dog food that is expired can turn rancid, and it’s important to note that the farther out you get past the sell-by or best-by date, the less nutritional value it will have. 

Dog foods labeled organic must meet USDA requirements for ingredients, the production of the dog food, and its handling. Ingredients must be grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, GMOs, sewage sludge, or ionizing radiation. Any dairy products, eggs, poultry, or meat found in the food must have been raised without any growth hormones or antibiotics.

The grain-free or non-grain-free dog food diet is still out for debate. Unfortunately, there is no clear answer, but what it comes down to is what your veterinarian tells you is best for your Mini Schnauzer. Some dogs do well with high grain content, but some veterinarians contend that grain-free diets can cause a heart disease called cardiomyopathy.

Human-Grade Dog Food

Several companies are following the human-grade dog food trend. Not to say it’s just a trend; it’s just a newer way to advertise a premium dog food that comes prepared with significantly less fat and calories. 

Before selecting and purchasing dry kibble, you need to read the label on the back of the bag. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the first five ingredients listed on the back of the dog food bag are the most important. The AKC website is a good source if you want to go more in-depth over what should be in a bag of store-bought dog food. The first five ingredients are the most important.

 

Top 5 Premium Dog Food Brands for Miniature Schnauzers

Keep in mind many premium dog food brands are sitting on the store shelves, and within each brand, there could be a couple of dozen choices, such as grain-free, whole grains, for seniors, puppies, etc. Veterinarians, dog nutritionists, and Miniature Schnauzer breeders often mention the five below. As always, be sure to check with your veterinarian before starting a new dog brand. 

  • Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition – Miniature Schnauzer Dry Dog Food

It’s hard to go wrong when it comes to the Royal Canin Brand, especially when there’s a bag formulated specifically for Mini Schnauzers. This bag of dog food contains 29% protein and 12% fat, offering your pup precisely what it needs. In addition, it includes omega fatty acids for healthy skin and antioxidants to support the immune system. It also contains ingredients that will aid in maintaining a healthy digestive tract.

  • Hill’s Science Diet Small & Toy Breed Dry Dog Food

Chances are you’ve seen The Hill’s Science Diet brand displayed in veterinarian offices. This specific bag for small breeds includes all-natural ingredients without unhealthy by-products. Your Mini Schnauzer will undoubtedly enjoy the chicken meal, spinach, carrots, and whole grains. 

  • Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Real Chicken Adult Dry Dog Food

Usually listed in every top five premium dog food list, the Merrik brand is trusted by veterinarians, dog nutritionists, and breeders alike. This bag is grain-free and sticks to minimal ingredients. The first ingredient is chicken, then salmon and turkey meal. It also includes quinoa and brown rice, offering essential vitamins and minerals. Your Mini Schnauzer will thank you for her happy tummy, as this food is formulated so that it’s easy to digest. 

  • Nutro Wholesome Essentials Small Breed Senior Farm-Raised Chicken, Brown Rice & Sweet Potato Recipe

This bag is made by the Nutro brand, which seems to be a well-trusted brand, favored among many Mini Schnauzer owners and breeders. Since this is formulated for small breed senior dogs, its ingredients contain antioxidants to help ease common issues encountered in the aging process. It includes lots of omega fatty acids and glucosamine chondroitin to support healthy joints.

  • Eukanuba Adult Small Breed Chicken Dog Food

Eukanuba is another well-liked brand by Mini Schnauzer breeders and dog nutritionists. This specific bag includes carbohydrates and fats geared towards active small breed dogs. The first ingredient is premium chicken, an excellent protein for dogs over 12 months old. Its ingredients include glucosamine chondroitin to support healthy joints, and as in the best quality dog food brands, it contains DHA and vitamin E for a healthy brain. 

 

Regardless of which type of dog food you choose, whether homemade, wet, dry, grain-free, or organic, there are plenty of ways to ensure your Miniature Schnauzer receives the exact nutrition for her needs. 

 

 

Common schnauzer health issues and foods to avoid

Before settling on what type of diet to feed your Mini Schnauzer, be sure to consider any current or potential health conditions, he might have. There are a few health conditions Mini Schnauzers are predisposed to, so having this information can help you decide on what type of diet is best for him. 

  • Calcium Oxalate Urolithiasis is a health condition that significantly increases your dog’s bladder and kidney stone formation risk. If your Mini Schnauzer has this disorder, his veterinarian should tell you what foods and supplements to avoid. Generally, you should NOT give your pup calcium supplements, nor should you feed him foods known to be high in oxalates.

⇒ Foods to avoid: sweet potatoes, rhubarb, green beans, spinach, brown rice, or organ meats. Be sure you have plenty of clean water for him to drink throughout the day.

  • Myotonia Congenita is an inherited neuromuscular disorder that causes the cells in your mini schnauzers muscles to remain contracted after he exercises. Signs to look out for are a hopping gait, swollen tongue, and balance problems.

⇒ You need to consult your veterinarian on which foods you should feed your Mini Schnauzer if he has this condition.

  • Hypothyroidism is a condition by which the thyroid cannot produce enough thyroid hormone to keep the body running optimally. The thyroid’s job is to control metabolism; therefore, without proper treatment, your Mini Schnauzer might suffer from weight gain, skin problems, even hair loss.

⇒ To mitigate this risk, the vet might instruct you to feed your pup foods that promote good thyroid function, including green beans, broccoli, carrots, lettuce, celery, spinach, poultry, fish, and salmon oil. 

  • Pancreatitis is an inflammatory condition that some mini schnauzers come predisposed to. The pancreas is an organ that produces insulin and digestive enzymes. Digestive enzymes work prematurely in this condition, causing the pancreas to become inflamed.

⇒ Your dog’s veterinarian will probably suggest foods that are low in fat and that are easily digestible. 

  • Periodontal Disease is a fairly common problem for Mini Schnauzers with crowded teeth, making them prone to canine periodontal disease, as overcrowding can accumulate pockets of bacteria and plaque buildup between their teeth that will destroy tissue and bone.

⇒ Other than regular brushing and vet cleanings, treats such as carrots and apples will help keep his teeth and gums clean. In addition, some vets say that using coconut oil as toothpaste is good for deterring bacteria. 

 

 

References: akc.org/dog-breeds/miniature-schnauzer; fda.gov/animal-veterinary/animal-health-literacy/pet-food-labels-general; amsc.us/nutrition

Stacy Bryan
Stacy Bryan

Stacy is an avid dog owner who enjoys spending time with her Border-Aussie, Siberian Husky, and German Shepherd dog. Stacy is a freelance writer who splits her time between Northern Idaho and Florida