Best Dog Food for Belgian Malinois in 2022

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belgian malinois dog

This is our review of the best dog food for Belgian Malinois in 2022.

The Belgian Malinois is a working and herding breed that thrives with regular exercise. These dogs are squarely built and well-muscled, but aren’t considered bulky. Instead, they have lean muscles to perform obedience training and make excellent guard dogs. 

However, even though they are a medium-sized breed, they need food full of protein and healthy fats. 

Ziwi Peak Grain-Free dog food is my top choice for these active dogs.

It offers a whopping 35% protein for muscle maintenance, and provides a raw diet option for a pup that thrives on real meats. 

There are many other formulas too, if this one doesn’t suit your canine. From a puppy recipe for steady growth to food made specifically for eye support, you’ll be able to meet any of your Belgian Malinois nutrition needs.

Our Best Dog Food for Belgian Malinois

  1. Ziwi Peak Grain-Free Air-Dried Dog Food (Best for Adult Belgian Malinois)
  2. Instinct Raw Boost Large Breed Puppy Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (Best for Belgian Malinois Puppies)
  3. Merrick Grain-Free Senior Dry Dog Food (Best for Senior Belgian Malinois)
  4. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Dry Dog Food (Best for Active Belgian Malinois)
  5. Zignature Lamb Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (Best for Food Sensitivities)
  6. Purina Beyond Ground Entrée Grain-Free Canned Dog Food (Best Wet Food for Belgian Malinois)
  7. My Ollie Fresh Food (Best Fresh Dog Food)
  8. American Journey Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (Best Budget Dog Food)
  9. Solid Gold Fit & Fabulous Weight Control Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (Best for Weight Loss)
  10. Nutro Ultra Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food (Best for Eye Health)

10 Best Dog Foods for Belgian Malinois Reviewed 

The dog food formulas listed below follow the AAFCO nutrient profile guidelines. If you plan on switching your dog’s food, consult your veterinarian for the best practices and how to transition them slowly. 


Best for Adults

Ziwi Peak Grain-Free Air-Dried Dog Food

Ziwi Peak Lamb Grain-Free Air-Dried
  • First 5 Ingredients: Lamb, Lamb Heart, Lamb Tripe, Lamb Liver, Lamb Kidney
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 35% Crude Protein, 33% Crude Fat, 2% Crude Fiber, 14% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 318 kcal/scoop
  • Key Feature: Non-GMO raw dog food that’s air-dried for convenience

A raw diet can be beneficial for Belgian Malinois. These stocky and active dogs are close to their wolf ancestors and need the energy and nutrients to keep them going all day.

But, raw food can be inconvenient for busy dog owners or for those that don’t know much about pet nutrition. 

That’s where Ziwi Peak Air-Dried dog food comes in — they use a twin-stage air-drying process to preserve the ingredients naturally. This also eliminates pathogenic bacteria without having to cook the food and lose nutrients. Plus, you don’t even have to rehydrate the food!

The lamb formula starts with a single-protein source of fresh lamb meat, organs, and bones. This provides 35% protein as well as taurine for heart health

Green mussels then add a natural source of chondroitin and glucosamine to support joint health. Last but not least, dried kelp is high in antioxidants and zinc for a healthy immune system. 

Even though Ziwi Peak doesn’t have any preservatives, it’s shelf-stable and can last in your pantry for up to a year. It’s also grain-free, made without added carbs, and doesn’t include any fillers. 

All the meats in this food are ethically and sustainably sourced without added hormones or antibiotics.


Best for Puppies

Instinct Raw Boost Large Breed Puppy Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Instinct Raw Boost Large Breed Puppy Grain Free Chicken
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas, Egg Product, Tapioca
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 33.5% Crude Protein, 18.5% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 9% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 485 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High-calorie and high-fat puppy food made for large breeds

Belgian Malinois puppies need plenty of healthy fats and protein, so — even though they’re not considered a large breed — it’s vital to get food for large breed puppies. This will help encourage healthy growth and lean muscles without forcing their growth. 

Instinct Raw Boost Large Breed Puppy offers a high animal protein dog food. It also includes bites of freeze-dried raw meat for flavor and muscle maintenance.

It starts with cage-free chicken, which offers natural DHA for healthy brain and eye function. Then, egg product provides vitamin D and calcium which aid in healthy bones and tooth health. 

Chicken fat and ground flaxseed include amino acids that help with healthy joints. And, salmon oil provides omega-3 fatty acids for heart health and a luscious coat.

This formula is free from grains, potato, corn, wheat, soy, by-product meal, and artificial colors and preservatives. It’s also made in the US with ethically sourced ingredients. 


Best for Seniors

Merrick Grain-Free Senior Dry Dog Food

Merrick Grain-Free Senior Chicken
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Turkey Meal
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 30% Crude Protein, 12% Crude Fat, 3.5% Crude Fiber, 11% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 370 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High-protein dry dog food with glucosamine for senior Belgian Malinois

Your four-legged friend will need more support as they get older. Their metabolism will slow down, which can cause weight gain, and their aging joints and bones will need healthy fats and protein to keep them in tip-top shape. 

Merrick Grain-Free Senior dog food is the way to go once your Belgian Malinois reaches about 8 years of age.

It’s crafted with whole foods like real deboned chicken, which is the very first ingredient and that provides a high-quality protein source. It also includes L-carnitine to support a healthy metabolism.

Chicken fat and salmon meal provide glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy hips, and include omega fatty acids to support smooth skin. 

On top of this, sweet potatoes, apples, and blueberries provide vitamins and minerals for your senior dog. These include antioxidants to protect their immune system, and B vitamins and manganese to help increase their energy.

This formula is grain-free. It’s also made without corn, wheat, soy, gluten, or artificial preservatives.


Best for Active Dogs

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Chicken & Brown Rice
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 24% Crude Protein, 14% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 377 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High-protein dry kibble with calcium for strong bones 

Raw food can be out of budget for some dog owners. But that doesn’t mean you can’t feed your Belgian Malinois a high-protein diet with plenty of whole foods. 

Blue Buffalo Life Protection formula has 24% protein and 14% fat to fuel even the most active pups.  

The recipe starts with deboned chicken and chicken meal. These ingredients contain a healthy dose of glucosamine for joint and bone health. 

Brown rice, barley, and oatmeal then offer easy-to-digest carbohydrates, and also include prebiotic fiber for smooth digestion and iron for mental clarity.

Blue Buffalo also includes their “LifeSource Bits” — a proprietary blend of antioxidants for an enhanced immune system. A few ingredients include turmeric to reduce inflammation and dried kelp for heart health. 

Calcium and phosphorus are supplemented for strong bones and lean muscles. And, this formula is free of corn, wheat, soy, and poultry by-product meals.


Best for Food Sensitivities

Zignature Lamb Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Zignature Lamb LID Lamb
  • First 5 Ingredients: Lamb, Lamb Meal, Chickpeas, Peas, Sunflower Oil
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 28% Crude Protein, 15% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 393 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Limited ingredient dry dog food for Belgian Malinois with food sensitivities

Like humans, Belgian Malinois are unique creatures with individual needs. While most don’t have to worry about allergies, your dog may need to cut out certain ingredients. 

This food revolves around one novel animal source that is rare for dogs to be sensitive to — farm-raised lamb. It provides 28% of protein and essential fatty acids like chondroitin for joint health, and naturally offers B vitamins and vitamin A for energy and eye health.

Chickpeas and peas offer fiber-rich and low-glycemic carbs for sensitive tummies, which makes it easy for your dog to digest their meal. Zignature also supplements taurine and glucosamine that provide protection for the joints and amino acids for a healthy heart. 

This formula doesn’t include any ingredients that could cause allergic reactions. It’s free of chicken, corn, wheat, soy, and potatoes.


Best Wet Food

Purina Beyond Ground Entrée Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Purina Beyond Beef Wet
  • First 5 Ingredients: Beef, Beef Broth, Chicken, Liver, Potatoes
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 8% Crude Protein, 6% Crude Fat, 1.5% Crude Fiber, 78% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 450 kcal/can
  • Key Feature: High-protein and grain-free wet food for picky eaters and sensitive tummies

Did you know that wet dog food can actually offer more protein on a dry matter basis than kibble?

If you have a picky Belgian Malinois, you can feel good about feeding them Purina Beyond canned food. It’s high-protein and offers water and broth to prevent dehydration.

It starts with real Texas beef that was pasture-raised for at least 100 days. 

This recipe is grain-free and features potatoes and green beans as easy-to-digest carb sources. These also provide natural fiber for healthy digestion and are great for delicate tummies. 

The limited ingredients allow dogs with wheat allergies to enjoy this formula, too.

It’s made without corn, wheat, soy, or poultry-by-product meal. It doesn’t include any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, and is crafted in Purina’s U.S. facilities. 

Plus, Purina Beyond is examined by pet nutritionists to make sure that they meet the standards of high-quality dog food.


Best Fresh Food

My Ollie Lamb Recipe

Ollie Lamb
  • First 5 Ingredients: Lamb, Butternut Squash, Lamb Liver, Kale, Rice
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 10% Crude Protein, 7% Crude Fat, 2% Crude Fiber, 74% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 1804 kcal/kg
  • Key Feature: Fresh dog food with single-source protein and human-grade ingredients

In recent years, pet owners have wanted better dog food for their furry loved ones. And what’s better than a minimally processed and high-protein recipe made with human-grade ingredients? 

Ollie Customized Dog Food focuses on your dog and its needs, and then creates a customized meal plan just for them. 

To get your pup’s detailed plan — and to choose between the recipes your dog will like — you’ll need to take a 5-minute quiz about them. You’ll answer questions about their weight, potential allergies, activity level, and if they’re spayed or neutered. 

Once you complete the quiz, you’ll be offered different food options, including beef, lamb, chicken, and turkey. You can choose one for your dog, or all four. No matter what, each recipe will have the calories, protein, fat, and vitamins that your Belgian Malinois needs each day. 

After checkout, Ollie ships the food completely fresh and right to your door. Typically, you’ll get a delivery every two weeks to ensure that the food is fresh.

Each shipment also comes with a feeding guide, storage container, and scoop. That way, you know exactly how much to feed your dog each day. 


Best Budget Food

American Journey Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Grain-Free
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Salmon, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Peas, Sweet Potatoes
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 33% Crude Protein, 14% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 390kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Grain-free and budget-friendly dry dog food with real animal proteins

Belgian Malinois need more food than other dogs their size. That’s because they’re higher energy and have muscle tone like larger breeds. Due to this, it’s important to choose a formula that offers exactly what they need for a good value.

American Journey is a high-quality dog food with the same ingredients that other top brands have, but it’s also budget-conscious and wallet-friendly. 

It starts with real deboned salmon. This provides protein as well as the essential amino acids that your dog needs for leaner muscles, and includes omega-3 and omega-6 for healthy fur and joint support. 

Sweet potatoes and chickpeas are included for energy and extra fiber for healthy digestion. And, this formula also supplements probiotics for additional gut support. 

Salmon oil is also added for a healthy dose of DHA, which has been shown to help with brain development and eye health.  

Carrots, dried kelp, and blueberries round out the food, offering antioxidants for immune system support. 

This recipe is free of grain, corn, wheat, and soy.


Best for Weight Loss

Solid Gold Fit & Fabulous Weight Control Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Solid Gold Fit & Fabulous Weight Control Grain-Free Chicken
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Pea Fiber, Potatoes
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 26% Crude Protein, 6.5% Crude Fat, 10% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 320 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Low-fat dry dog food with lean animal proteins for overweight dogs 

Belgian Malinois have high metabolisms and lots of energy, so they aren’t prone to weight gain. Though, if your dog is getting older it’s important to not overfeed them and focus on regular exercise. 

Solid Gold Fit & Fabulous provides a high-protein option while being lower in calories and fat for less active pups. 

First, it starts with cage-free chicken and chicken meal. These ingredients offer 26% protein to build muscles and for weight control. 

This formula is grain and gluten-free. Instead, it provides sweet potatoes, peas, and pea fiber for carbohydrates and prebiotics. These are easier on the stomach and can boost the metabolism, helping your dog shed excess weight

Although this food is low in fat in order to encourage weight loss, it does include salmon oil and chicken fat — providing a healthy source of glucosamine and omega fatty acids for healthy joints and brain function. Plus, they make your dog feel satiated, helping to discourage overeating. 

Besides being wheat-free, this food is also free of soy and corn. 


Best for Eye Health

Nutro Ultra Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

Nutro Ultra Large Breed Adult Chicken
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, Rice Bran
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 23% Crude Protein, 12% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 346 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Dry dog food high in antioxidants and taurine for eye health 

Belgian Malinois are more prone to genetic eye conditions than other dogs. Because of this, taking your dog’s eye health seriously is crucial. While you may not be able to completely prevent eye problems, you can help protect them as best you can with certain nutrients. 

Nutro Ultra Holistic Large Breed dog food has a plethora of ingredients for healthy eyes. 

Farm-raised chicken and pasture-fed lamb offer a high protein diet. But, they also contain zinc and vitamin A — two essential vitamins for a healthy cornea

This formula also includes salmon meal, which provides DHA and omega-3s — anti-inflammatory minerals that can boost eyesight function

Sunflower oil and chicken fat then provide both linoleic acid and taurine. These help with healthy skin and to help protect against retinal degeneration.

Nutro Ultra Large Breed is made without artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. It’s also produced in the manufacturer’s own facilities to ensure safety and quality.


belgian malinois adult dog

How to Choose Food for Your Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois may be considered medium-sized dogs, but they need just as much energy as larger breeds. Here’s how to choose the best food for your pooch. 

High Protein

Belgian Malinois are the epitome of “high energy”. To keep with that, yours will need at least 22% protein in their dog food — for muscles as well as their activities.  

Also, focus on animal-based proteins as the main ingredients. Real chicken, salmon, and beef are ideal over by-products and meals, and novel proteins — like bison or venison — can be great for dogs who are allergic to other meat sources. 

Healthy Fats

While some dogs thrive on a low or moderate-fat diet, your Malinois will need plenty of fats in their daily diet. 

First, fats are converted to energy for dogs. Because these pups are natural herding dogs and have endless energy, healthy fats can help them keep up. 

Look for food with around 12% fat, but even up to 15% is okay as well. Also, look at fat sources like fish oil, chicken fat, coconut oil, and flaxseeds — these good fats are building blocks for joint mobility, healthy skin, and brain development.

Complex Carbohydrates

Grains aren’t usually bad for your dog. But, for some sensitive Belgian Malinois, grains can cause allergies and digestive problems. Plus, too many carbs can cause weight gain

Focus on healthier and more complex carbs — oatmeal, quinoa, sweet potatoes, and even peas are great options. 

Fiber

Any dog food that you buy will already have plenty of fiber for your Belgian Malinois. But, it’s important to make sure that they are getting enough without getting too much. 

If you notice constipation or diarrhea, your dog may not be getting enough fiber. You’ll need to consult with your veterinarian for the proper amount of fiber your pup needs.

Vitamins and Minerals

Commercial dog food ensures that the appropriate vitamins and minerals are added to support dogs and their needs. So you shouldn’t need to supplement extra vitamins and minerals. 

If your pup suffers from joint issues, which is common for Belgian Malinois, make sure the food you buy contains salmon or fish oil as a top ingredient. These provide omega fatty acids that can nourish and support joints, and keep them flexible and strong.

Ingredients to Avoid

Unfortunately, there are low-quality dog foods that are filled with fillers and additives. These formulas can make it hard for your dog to absorb nutrients — or cause disorders like cancer in the worst case scenarios. 

Some common ingredients to watch out for include artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. When possible, also avoid by-product meats. And, if your dog is sensitive to them, find a food without wheat, soy, or corn.

belgian malinois puppy

Common Belgian Malinois Health Issues 

Belgian Malinois can suffer from a few key health issues. Here’s what you need to know about them. 

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia 

Hip and elbow dysplasia usually affects medium and large dogs. Because of their build and stockier muscles, Belgian Malinois are at risk for both.  

In both hip and elbow dysplasia, the bones and joints don’t fit together correctly. This causes the bones to rub against each other, and in turn causes inflammation to occur. Over time, this creates a loss of joint function and can even cause lameness. 

To try to prevent the symptoms of hip and elbow dysplasia, it’s important to keep your Belgian Malinois at a healthy weight. It’s also important to provide them with dog food that includes glucosamine, chondroitin, and essential fatty acids, which can help protect their joints.

Eye Health

Belgian Malinois are most at risk for Progressive Retinal Atrophy (also called PRA). 

Progressive Retinal Atrophy is the degeneration of rod and cone cells in your dog’s eyes. This can lead to blindness. It is a hereditary condition, isn’t painful, and has no cure. But, your veterinarian can help you change your dog’s lifestyle to fit their needs if they suffer from it. 

While you can’t prevent PRA, your dog’s diet can still include vitamins and minerals that help eye health. A few are vitamins A, C, and E. Ingredients like carrots also provide minerals like beta-carotene, helping to maintain eye health and increase cognitive function.

Daily Calories and Meal Requirement

Belgian Malinois may be medium-sized, but they need plenty of protein and fat, like large-breed dogs. They are a highly active breed, so focus on offering dog food with 25% to 30% protein. Plus, there should be at least 12% or more fat for adequate energy levels.

Your pup will also need around 25–30 calories per pound that they weigh. So the average 55-pound adult will need at least 1,400 calories a day. 

They should eat at least twice a day, so the calories should be split between those meals. If your Belgian Malinois is still in their puppy stage, you’ll need to feed them at least three times a day. 

Our Verdict

Belgian Malinois need food that can keep up with their energy needs and build. The best food for them would be high-protein and high-fat dog food, and should also include real animal proteins and nutrients to help them thrive. 

Ziwi Peak Grain-Free dog food provides the vitamins and minerals your dog needs. It’s also convenient and shelf-stable air-dried dog food.

If your pup has other needs, like a senior formula or lower-calorie dog food, this list can provide those options as well. 

FAQ About Belgian Malinois

Got questions about your Belgian Malinois? Here are the answers you’re looking for! 

How much food should Belgian Malinois eat?

Due to their medium build and need for lean muscles, Belgian Malinois need 2–3 cups of food across 2 meals. Your pup should also be eating around 25 calories per pound that they weigh. Higher protein formulas are best.

Is a raw food diet good for Belgian Malinois?

Belgian Malinois are active dogs, and they need a lot of protein and healthy fats. Because of this, a raw diet can be a great option. But, it’s important to be safe and buy food from a trusted source to prevent foodborne illness.

How much should a healthy Belgian Malinois weigh?

A female adult Belgian Malinois should weigh between 55 and 66 pounds. For males, 64 to 75 pounds max is ideal. 

Is grain-free dog food good for Belgian Malinois?

While Belgian Malinois can eat grains, it’s important for them to be easy to digest and easy on their tummies. If you want to avoid grains altogether, a grain-free diet can be beneficial. 

Is Belgian Malinois a large breed dog?

No. Belgian Malinois are considered a medium breed dog. However, they do need a higher protein and fat diet like larger dogs to keep up with their muscle tone and activity level. 

How much exercise does Belgian Malinois need?

They were bred to be herding dogs, so Belgian Malinois feel best when they can be active throughout the day. An hour or two of moderate exercise can be helpful, but the busier they are mentally and physically, the better. 

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AUTHOR
Kim Studdard is a freelance writer for many websites in the pet universe. When she isn't spending time with her family and pets, or saying "Look a dog" everytime she sees one, you'll find her reading a book or traveling the U.S.

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