Rhodesian Ridgebacks are exceptional canines that were once used for hunting lions. They have great tracking abilities that helped them find the lion, and their courageous demeanor and powerful, agile bodies helped them keep the lion at bay until the hunter could take their shot.
Today, most Rhodesian Ridgebacks are living very different lives as beloved family pets. Caring owners want to ensure they’re providing their pets with proper nutrition and plenty of vitamins and minerals to keep them healthy, but knowing which foods are the best choices for this can be difficult.
To help you, we’ve researched and tested the best foods for Rhodesian Ridgebacks on the market. In total, we’ve written six reviews comparing our favorites. And to streamline the process, we’ve picked out our favorites, which we’ll share with you at the end.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites (2022 Update)
The 6 Best Dog Foods for Rhodesian Ridgebacks
1. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Dry Dog Food – Best Overall
One of the most important nutrients for your Rhodesian Ridgeback to intake is protein, which is why the Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Dry Dog Food contains a minimum of 34% crude protein. Listed as the very first ingredient, the main source of protein in this blend is real deboned chicken. Similarly, many healthy, whole-food ingredients were used to make this food, like sweet potatoes, carrots, and blueberries.
With over 400 calories per cup, this food is packed with energy. This means you won’t need to feed quite as much of it to your dog to meet their caloric needs. In a way, this helps offset the expensive price since you’ll be using less total food each day. Still, it’s not the most cost-effective choice on the market.
Just as important as the quality ingredients used to make this food are the things that were purposefully left out. You won’t find any by-product meal in this blend, for instance. Likewise, there are no artificial flavors or preservatives, so you can rest assured that you’re not inadvertently filling your dog with chemicals and additives that aren’t benefiting them.
2. American Journey Active Life Formula Dry Dog Food – Best Value
The American Journey Active Life Formula Dry Dog Food is priced more reasonably than many similar blends, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in nutrition. In fact, this recipe includes health-boosting nutrients such as glucosamine and chondroitin that help keep your dog’s joints in great shape as they age.
Like all of our favorite dog foods, this one is made with whole-food ingredients that offer your dog superior nutrition. For example, deboned chicken is listed as the very first ingredient. You’ll also find blueberries, sweet potatoes, cranberries, carrots, peas, brown rice, and more listed. Our only complaint is that with just 24% minimum crude protein, there’s not as much protein as we’d like.
This blend is packed with vitamins and minerals to keep your dog in top health. There’s also DHA to support healthy brain function and eye development. The omega fatty acids keep your canine’s coat and skin shiny and healthy. And you’ll notice that there’s no soy, no by-product meal, and no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. In all, we think it’s the best dog food for Rhodesian Ridgebacks for the money.
3. Nulo FreeStyle Grain-Free Puppy Dry Food – Best for Puppies
With a minimum of 33% crude protein, the Nulo FreeStyle Grain-Free Puppy Dry Food is packed with the nutrients that a growing Rhodesian Ridgeback needs. It’s made with natural ingredients and contains a diverse selection of protein sources including turkey, salmon, and trout. Other whole foods used in the recipe include sweet potatoes, yellow peas, carrots, blueberries, apples, and many more.
To support healthy eye and brain development in your growing dog, this food contains DHA. It’s also loaded with omega fatty acids to keep your dog’s coat looking and feeling healthy and exuberant. A variety of other vitamins and minerals also contribute to your canine’s overall well-being.
Many people prefer to feed their dogs a grain-free diet since it’s easier to digest, and this food meets that criteria. But you’re going to pay a premium for all these benefits as this is one of the most expensive foods we tested.
4. True Acre Foods Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Unfortunately, feeding your dog healthy food can be pretty cost-prohibitive. But the True Acre Foods Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is more affordable than other health-focused dog foods, even though it’s still packed with the nutrients that your Rhodesian Ridgeback needs. But you won’t find the same list of whole-food ingredients in this food. Instead, you’ll notice some lower quality ingredients like poultry by-product meal and tapioca starch, which were likely used to keep the price down.
This recipe is grain-free, which is easier for dogs to digest. This makes it an especially great option for dogs with sensitive stomachs or digestive issues. But it’s very low in protein, with a minimum of just 24%. Still, this blend manages to pack in lots of vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids that will benefit your dog.
5. VICTOR Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food
Crafted specifically for older dogs, the VICTOR Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food is great for aging Rhodesian Ridgebacks. Because aging dogs need support for their joints, this food contains glucosamine and chondroitin. You’ll also find plenty of other health-boosting nutrients like omega fatty acids, l-carnitine, DHA, and more.
This food has a minimum of 27% crude protein. Not as much as our favorite blends, but still respectable. However, the protein sources they used, while diverse, are not the highest quality. Beef meal is the first ingredient, but further down the list, you’ll also find chicken meal, pork meal, and even blood meal.
Many of the ingredients aren’t whole foods, such as dehydrated alfalfa meal or carrot powder. We’re sure that has something to do with why many of our dogs didn’t show interest in this food. Picky eaters have a high chance of disliking this food.
6. Wellness CORE RawRev Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
When we first looked at the ingredients list for the Wellness CORE RawRev Grain-Free Dry Dog Food, we thought this was going to be one of our favorites. Granted, it’s extremely pricey and costs quite a bit more than competitors. Still, this blend contains a minimum of 36% crude protein from a wide array of sources including duck, lamb, turkey, boar, and rabbit.
The problem is, your dog has almost certainly never eaten some of those ingredients before. It’s possible your dog won’t like them! It’s disappointing, especially with such expensive food, but that was our experience. Many of our dogs didn’t like this food and the picky eaters wouldn’t even touch it.
Despite this, it’s got some great benefits like the glucosamine and chondroitin it contains. It also contains freeze-dried lamb, which is a great way to give your dog some beneficial nutrients. But in our batch, there was almost no freeze-dried lamb to speak of. We expected better, especially since we paid so much!
Buyer’s Guide: Selecting Rhodesian Ridgeback Food
As you can tell, there’s no shortage of options to pick from. But how do you know which food is going to benefit your Rhodesian Ridgeback most? It’s a difficult question, but we’ve narrowed down the most important parts of the equation so that you can make more informed decisions about what’s best for your dog.
Ingredients in Rhodesian Ridgeback Food
Checking the ingredients a dog food is made from is one of the easiest ways you can tell how healthy any dog food is. Just like better ingredients make better pizza, they also make better dog food. The key is knowing what to look for on the ingredients list.
Whole-food ingredients are what you want to see listed. Instead of powders, by-products, starches, and chemicals, you want to see natural ingredients similar to what you would want to be used in any food you were going to eat.
Some examples of ingredients you want to see include:
- Deboned chicken
- Deboned salmon
- Deboned turkey
- Sweet potatoes
Examples of inferior ingredients include:
- Carrot powder
- Poultry meal by-product
- Dehydrated alfalfa meal
- Pea starch
- Soybean meal
- Propylene glycol
- Artificial colors
- Artificial flavors
Protein Sources for Rhodesian Ridgebacks
Protein is vitally important for dogs. They need a diverse assortment of amino acids to help facilitate many bodily processes including muscle building, tissue repair, hair and skin health, and much more.
Just because a food has a high amount of protein doesn’t necessarily make it superior though. Where that protein comes from matters just as much.
First, the protein sources need to be of high quality. Some good examples of quality protein sources include:
- Deboned chicken
- Deboned lamb
- Wild boar
All of these are whole-food versions of the protein source. But you’ll often see them listed in a different form, such as chicken meal or lamb meal. These meals are created from a dry, powder that’s often made from leftover parts of meat not used for human food. They’re not the worst sources of protein, but they’re not as high-quality as the whole-food sources of protein we listed.
Worse than protein meals are protein by-products. You’ll see them listed as chicken by-product, poultry by-product, or something similar. You might even see a meal by-product like poultry meal by-product, for example. These are some of the worst sources of protein and a sign that the manufacturer was cutting corners to save money.
After a quick examination of the ingredients list, you next want to check out a food’s nutritional content. This will tell you a lot about the food, like how much total protein, fat, and fiber it contains. You’ll also find vitamins, minerals, and additional supplements listed here that can tell you a lot about the benefits your dog might receive from that food.
Protein plays several key roles in your dog’s health, and it’s one of the most important nutrients for them to eat. We prefer foods that have a higher protein content, but you want to look for a minimum of at least 24% crude protein.
For your dog, protein is responsible for building muscle, repairing body tissues, growing hair, forming new skin cells, assisting in the creation of hormones and enzymes, providing energy, and even bolstering the immune system.
To maintain optimal health, a rhodesian ridgeback diet should consist of about 10-15% fats. If your dog is eating more fat than this, it can easily lead to weight gain and an overweight or obese dog.
Vitamins and Minerals
Just like humans need a diverse array of vitamins and minerals to stay healthy, dogs require the same. A balanced dog food can provide all of these nutrients for your dog, but it’s important to pick one that’s not missing some key nutrient.
So, what vitamins and minerals does your dog need to get from their food?
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
Other Nutrients Rhodesian Ridgebacks Need
Some of our favorite foods contained more than just the necessary vitamins and minerals. These blends often had added supplements that carry additional benefits for your Rhodesian Ridgeback.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin – Because of their size, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are susceptible to joint problems like hip and elbow dysplasia. Glucosamine and chondroitin provide joint support, keeping your dog’s joints healthy as they age, which can help to prevent such conditions. These supplements can actually help to rebuild cartilage and can even be used to help treat and prevent arthritis.
Omega fatty acids – Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids pose many benefits for dogs, such as:
- Reducing inflammation
- Reducing shedding
- Prevent and treat autoimmune disorders
- Maintain healthy skin and coat
Other Factors In Rhodesian Ridgeback Food
Though you can learn a lot from examining the list of ingredients and the nutritional content of any food, they’re only part of the equation. Several other factors should impact your choice, including your dog’s opinion!
Dog Food Price
If price weren’t a factor, everyone would simply feed their dogs the best food possible. But some foods are several times more expensive than others. Even if they offer certain advantages, that doesn’t mean that a less expensive food can’t also be healthy and beneficial for your dog.
Often, you get what you pay for. But that isn’t a hard and fast rule. Just because a food is more expensive doesn’t mean it’s necessarily better. A good idea is to first check the ingredients and nutritional content of the foods you’re comparing and let the price be the tie-breaker if they seem very close in quality.
Dog Food Caloric Density
Rhodesian Ridgebacks aren’t small dogs. Males can often weigh as much as 85 pounds. A dog that size needs about 1,500 calories per day. Depending on the food you’re using, that might be three cups of food or it might be five. The difference is in caloric density.
Caloric density refers to how many calories are in a given amount of food. For dog foods, this is usually a cup. The caloric density of dog foods ranges from about 300 calories per cup to more than 500 calories per cup.
Taste od Dod Food
You can pick out the fanciest food made with all the best ingredients and packed with every beneficial nutrient imaginable, but if your dog doesn’t want to eat it, then it’s not going to do you much good. At the end of the day, the taste test is one of the most important factors when picking any food.
This is especially true if your dog is a picky eater. Some dogs will eat just about anything and this won’t be an issue. But other dogs will turn their noses up at food they don’t like and refuse to eat it.
From experience, we can tell you that it’s frustrating to buy expensive, premium dog food just to have your dogs tell you in no uncertain terms that they don’t want it.
To avoid such a scenario, we suggest purchasing a small amount of food the first time when switching to a new food. That way, if your dog doesn’t like it, you won’t have 40 pounds of it sitting around going to waste!
Conclusion: Best Food for Rhodesian Ridgebacks
Walk into any pet store or browse any online pet shop and you’ll see that there’s no shortage of foods you could offer your Rhodesian Ridgeback. But after reading our reviews, you know that they’re not all created equal. So, which ones should you trust?
For us, the number one choice is the Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Grain-Free dog food. This calorically dense food is packed with a minimum of 34% crude protein, made with healthy, whole-food ingredients and no artificial flavors or preservatives.
If you’re looking for the best value, we suggest the American Journey Active Life Formula Large Breed dog food. It’s made with whole-food ingredients, contains health-boosting nutrients like glucosamine and chondroitin, and still manages to be more affordable than other options.
We think the best food for Rhodesian Ridgeback puppies is the Nulo FreeStyle Grain-Free Puppy Food. It’s got a minimum of 33% crude protein from multiple whole-food sources and the grain-free formula is easy for puppies to digest.
Featured Image Credit: dezy, Shutterstock