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Q&A: What do you feed your Rhodesian Ridgeback?

Updated on June 6, 2012

Ridgebacks are beautiful, powerful, sensitive, loyal and forever HUNGRY dogs! What do you feed your Ridgeback?

Ridgebacks typically act like you've been starving them all their lives. They're always up for a meal! This comes with its benefits: They are enormously food-motivated, and therefore easy to train as pups (at least when it comes to the basics, otherwise Ridgebacks are known to be stubborn and very opinionated, which is why we love them). They are also usually easy to feed, since they'll scarf down practically anything, unlike other, pickier breeds. Just make sure they don't scarf down your brand new Ugg boots when you're not home....

Deciding what kind of diet to feed a Ridgeback comes with a few challenges, though. Some can be prone to skin allergies, some can have recurring ear infections inside those adorable floppy ears. Others need more protein than the next, and you should always tweak their diet to their exercise routine and weight. Still others thrive on supplements like Omega3 fish oils (great shiny coats! you want that ridge to sparkle, afterall). And then there is, of course, the consideration of what is convenient and realistic for the family to feed their Ridgeback. Some families can afford the time and cost of fancier diets while others are looking for the healthiest storebought kibble that a pocketbook can afford.

With so much variation, it's helpful for us all to read stories of successful Ridgeback diets. What do you feed your Ridgeback?

This photo of running, smiling Ridgebacks was taken on the Los Gatos Creek Trail in Los Gatos, CA by local photographer Tiffany O'Brien.

Q: What do you feed your Rhodesian Ridgeback?

Share the full scoop! Do you feed your sweet Ridgeback a kibble diet, raw food, or something else? Which one? Does your Ridgeback have allergies you're trying to clear up (ear infections, itchy skin?). What are his or her favorite treats? Do you feed any supplements?

Is your dog's food on this list?

If the food you give your Ridgeback is on this list, vote it up.

If you feed something else and it's available on Amazon, add it to this list.

If you feed something that's not available on Amazon, skip this part and make sure to let us know what your dog eats in the Answers above. You can add a link to where you buy the food, if possible.

Take the Ridgeback food poll

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    • profile image

      anonymous 2 years ago

    • profile image

      anonymous 2 years ago

      you should not feed dogs avocados. It is on the poison list for dogs.

    • E Andrew Brandon profile image

      Ean Brandon 4 years ago from United States

      I don't have a dog, but if i did it would be a Rhodesian Ridgeback now!

    • seodress profile image

      seodress 4 years ago

      Great one

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      My RR loves vegetables so he gets veg with either mince beef, liver or pigs hearts and he has it demolished in seconds. He also loves fruit but because of the high sugar levels he only gets these as rewards.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      My RR is going in kennels for 10 days soon, I hate putting him in there. But the few times we have , last time he came home he had lost so much weight, what's the best thing to give him to take in there with him, so hopefully he don't lose to much.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Blue Wilderness is all mine can eat! It is not too expensive and sold at PetSmart and PetCo. They don't carry it at Walmart

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      My ridgeback suffers itchy ears a lot , what could that be. ? ???

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Redwitch dog food good quality, dog has never been sick and started on puppy food from breeder free delivery on two bags dog loves it, goes a long way, mixed with goats milk and 1 green mussel capsule a day 500 mg strength for joints dog looks fantastic highly recommend

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Hi All.. I just got our RRB from the local council. Max was 4 month old when I got him and I fed him dry food ... did not like it, mixed it with chicken also did not like it then gave him meaty raw bones. He loved it and went from there to chicken necks and mixed dry food with leftovers from our food then rice. He is now not as fussy as he first started. So all good as far as feeding. This dog has changed my life. very smart and fun to be around.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @victoriahaneveer: You should mainly feed them raw meat or fatty foods such as cream cheese, peanut butter and avocado or egg. My RR Kevin was quiet skinny and manky then i got him on a muscle mass meat diet. This is a special diet for Ridgeies. basically you focus on making your dog fat whilst building muscle. This way his coat will smooth en and become softer he will increase in size and add more muscle therefor resembling a perfect breed example of the ridge-back. But be sure to stick to the diet as for ridgbacks are very picky eaters and once given the food it is hard to take them of it. If you have a show dog make them pull weights just to build up the legs and chest, it doesn't have to be fancy an old tire will do. As a quote i learned from Ceaser Millan "Feed your dog their natural food or don't feed it at all" then later he said "Its like you suddenly changing your diet from vegetarian to carnivore. Personally my vet advised me to feed it raw food with cheese or sausage.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Our South African born Ridgeback will be one year old this month and he is 105lbs of pure muscle, love and joy! We expect him to be about 120 full grown. We became frustrated with recurring loose stools and discovered that a tablespoon of canned pumpkin (not the spiced pie stuff) works beautifully. We also knew in our hearts that he was meant to be eating raw food. We feed him Nature's Variety Instinct Raw- about 30% raw frozen nuggets and the rest dry kibble. Since introducing even a small portion of this incredible raw product, our boy is thriving - no longer lethargic, no runny stools, fewer eye boogers, ear stuff, etc. And, he loves it! We also give him Stella & Chewy's and Ziwi Peaks freeze-dried raw food as treats, and will do anything we say for his treats! For sure, ridgebacks cannot eat anything with corn, wheat or soy.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @victoriahaneveer: You should mainly feed them raw meat or fatty foods such as cream cheese, peanut butter and avocado or egg. My RR Kevin was quiet skinny and manky then i got him on a muscle mass meat diet. This is a special diet for Ridgeies. basically you focus on making your dog fat whilst building muscle. This way his coat will smooth en and become softer he will increase in size and add more muscle therefor resembling a perfect breed example of the ridge-back. But be sure to stick to the diet as for ridgbacks are very picky eaters and once given the food it is hard to take them of it. If you have a show dog make them pull weights just to build up the legs and chest, it doesn't have to be fancy an old tire will do. As a quote i learned from Ceaser Millan "Feed your dog their natural food or don't feed it at all" then later he said "Its like you suddenly changing your diet from vegetarian to carnivore. Personally my vet advised me to feed it raw food with cheese or sausage.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      You should mainly feed them raw meat or fatty foods such as cream cheese, peanut butter and avocado or egg. My RR Kevin was quiet skinny and manky then i got him on a muscle mass meat diet. This is a special diet for Ridgeies. basically you focus on making your dog fat whilst building muscle. This way his coat will smooth en and become softer he will increase in size and add more muscle therefor resembling a perfect breed example of the ridge-back. But be sure to stick to the diet as for ridgbacks are very picky eaters and once given the food it is hard to take them of it. If you have a show dog make them pull weights just to build up the legs and chest, it doesn't have to be fancy an old tire will do. As a quote i learned from Ceaser Millan "Feed your dog their natural food or don't feed it at all" then later he said "Its like you suddenly changing your diet from vegetarian to carnivore. Personally my vet advised me to feed it raw food with cheese or sausage.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      You should mainly feed them raw meat or fatty foods such as cream cheese, peanut butter and avocado or egg. My RR Kevin was quiet skinny and manky then i got him on a muscle mass meat diet. This is a special diet for Ridgeies. basically you focus on making your dog fat whilst building muscle. This way his coat will smooth en and become softer he will increase in size and add more muscle therefor resembling a perfect breed example of the ridge-back. But be sure to stick to the diet as for ridgbacks are very picky eaters and once given the food it is hard to take them of it. If you have a show dog make them pull weights just to build up the legs and chest, it doesn't have to be fancy an old tire will do. As a quote i learned from Ceaser Millan "Feed your dog their natural food or don't feed it at all" then later he said "Its like you suddenly changing your diet from vegetarian to carnivore. Personally my vet advised me to feed it raw food with cheese or sausage.

    • chiptuning profile image

      chiptuning 4 years ago

      Our Baxter eats everything... ;-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Blue Buffalo Longevity kibble, Pala-Tech Canine Joint Health Granules, Nutri-Vet Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil, Fortiflora, lots of rawhides, occasional canned tuna. Going on 12 years with one of our RRs, he still thinks he's a puppy.

    • victoriahaneveer profile image

      victoriahaneveer 4 years ago

      I don't have one but a friend does and it eats mainly kibble (a heck of a lot of it!)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Hi Daniela I used to give my RR a full boiled egg once a week but when I mentioned it to the vet I was advised not to - apparently some issue with the kidneys. Do look into this.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I feed my 3 year old Blue lamb or fish wet and dry. But she keeps getting irritations between her toes and ears. I was told it was a food allergie and it was the proteins in the chicken and turkey products. So I stick to fish or lamb. An treats are all natural. But still breaks out once in a while not as bad as before not even close. But it still seems to stick around. And yes I've changed her food and it stopped for a while them came back not as bad

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I feed my 4 month old RR 2 chicken breasts raw but warmed up in hot water and cubed(bought frozen from SAMS) , cottage cheese a big cup, cooked rice and vegetables( one bag mixed carrots broccoli cauliflower fresh, also from SAMS) and Honest Chicken ( Embark) , sometimes I vary the veggies, one egg every 3 days, some milk, no breads, corn, potato.I feed him smaler quantities about 3-4 times a day. No kibble yet. He is doing great!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Actually in my experience a good Ridgeback breeder will sell the ridgeless puppies as "pet quality" dogs. Yes, they do not want them bred, but a good breeder would not want them destroyed either. They can sell them as "pet quality" with the stipulation that the dog be altered and not bred.

      They do the same with dogs that are born with imperfect ridges and other "cosmetic" imperfections. We purchased out last purebred ridgeback from a reputable breeder. She had an extra crown(swirl), so she was pet quality. Otherwise she was a beautiful dog. We were on a waitlist for quite a while for her.

      I'm not saying it is not possible that ridgeless puppies are "thrown away". I just don't think it all the common either. A good breeder would have no problem selling them as "pet quality".

      So, yes it is not uncommon for purebred ridgeback to be born w/o a ridge or with an imperfect ridge.

      Back to the original topic. We adopted a puppy from our local shelter about 2 months ago. He is a mix of which me are not 100% sure because he was a stray. His personality, build, and looks scream ridgeback, but I'm fairly certain the ridgeback is mixed with something smaller. He will probably top out at about 50 pounds.

      Currently he is eating Chicken Soup for the Puppy Lovers Soul. He is doing well on it, so I plan to keep feeding that to him until about a year of age. At that point I will have switch him over to adult food and I am considering a change to a grainless food. I will probably try out Taste of the Wild Hi Prairie.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      We have a 3 1/2 month old puppy. He's getting kibble mixed with a scoop of baby formula, and then a mix of rice, cottage cheese and chicken, a little water to stir it all up, and once a day we add a raw egg to that. So far he loves it and no allergies. Healthy beautiful dog. Yay!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      The most wonderful breed...

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Sure. We have one without a ridge and two with ridges. Doesn't matter unless you are going to show or breed. They are the same great, stubborn, smart, funny, and goofy dogs

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      We have a 3 yr old female ridgeback, a wonderful family member. I change her food as she gets bored with it. Nutrish, Iams , natural life, whatever Looks

      good in the store. Sometimes I add boiled chicken, steak or tuna as a special treat. If she ever gets a tummy trouble it's chicken an rice for a week but tha is rare. She is 72 lbs

      Looks beautiful, no allergies and a great coat. A dream dog. Wonderful disposition, I love this breed. I am always w her she is very socialized and I have taught her manners so she is well trained. That's the trick!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Yes my dog is the same way. No ridge. I got him from the shelter as a puppy. I later found out that the breeders do not want the ones without the ridge to be bred and want them destroyed. That is why mine ended up in the shelter. After 30 days he would have been put to sleep. I love him and he is a wonderful dog. They need lots of bones to chew growing up until they are 2 years old and then they slow down on chewing things.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      We have a three month old ridgeback, and she will eat anything and everything, we are feeding her Ultra, a protein, omega three, fruit and veggie blend, we had some potty issues in the beginning, but she seems to be happier and is staying satisfied longer! Wonderful dog, she is great!,,

    • profile image

      Margot_C 4 years ago

      I love dogs and all things dog. We thought about getting a Ridgeback, but settled on their cousin (at least geographically), the Basenji. That barkless thing was just too appealing. One ottoman, 2 pillows, a chair, and a sofa cushion later, there's no going back.

    • alexandradouglas profile image

      Alexandra Douglas 4 years ago from Florida

      I don't have a Rodesian but always considered getting one. I have two boxers and they both have a protein allergy so I have to feed them a fish diet.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      My 13mth old has been raw fed since 3mths old due to huge issues when weaned onto kibble. After advice we were told he must have allergies so went straight into raw meat (bone & meat only) and introduced 20% fruit/veg at 10mths. He put on all the weight needed is now 46kg, 27" to shoulder do going to be a big boy!

      The only issue is that he continues to get ear infections every month and comes up in raised bumps all over his body if he's eaten anything he shouldn't. For example whilst in kennels recently he ate 2 mouthfuls of duck flavoured kibble and within hours was covered in hives all over his head - complete nightmare!

      I would never thought of raw feeding before but all the benefits compared to manufactured food is outstanding and cheaper than I ever imagined. My children still feed him and we have a dedicated freezer in the shed with a work surface, disposable gloves and disinfectant due to the risks of raw meat, especially chicken.

      I would like him to be allergy tested, however if we are careful that he doesn't get him nose into the wrong foods, we shall leave him how he is.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      It's refreshing to see a clutter free and well written lens. I really enjoyed this as I never heard of Ridgebacks before.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have a four year old female ridgeback. She has big time skin allergies so I feed her Royal Canin Vegetable Diet. I also give a fish oil pill with each feeding. She currently has what looks like hives on her back side. I had been giving her a little piece of my toast. I should know better!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Can a ridgeback not have a ridge? My dog is one and has no ridge, except on his butt, he has 2 swirls of hair going the wrong way.

    • ae dc profile image

      ae dc 5 years ago

      I don't know a lot about ridgebacks.. so thanks for this info (i love dogs! i have a lab though :) i guess most foods for dogs generally can be fed to ridgebacks too? heehee

    • beamee profile image

      beamee 5 years ago

      Just love it. hehe

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Our Ridgie, Lacey, just turned 2. At about 18 months, she started getting recurring ear infections. We switched her to grain free food by Brothers Complete (Allergy Turkey & Sweet Potato). What a change! Her ears have cleared up, her coat is shiny and her energy level has increased. We stay grain free on treats also - and like another posted, she gets a scoop of vanilla ice cream on her birthday!

    • profile image

      sameermal 5 years ago

      i love the pic...!

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      ronnel101 5 years ago

      These dogs are muscular, active and very protective. After surfing the net, I found these, hope you like it: hard work grilled pork chops easy appetizers. They are very informative and may be of your interest.

    • profile image

      miaponzo 5 years ago

      I have never seen this type of dog before.. thanks for sharing this dog with us :) About yeast infections.. tea tree or lavender oil straight up would take care of the problem ASAP :)

    • MeganCasey profile image
      Author

      MeganCasey 5 years ago

      I have a 2.5 year old Ridgeback named Luna. She's family. She's awesome. She was fairly easy to feed for the first year of her life. We gave her Canidae kibble, rotating between flavors (chicken, lamb, etc), and adjusted the amount to her as she grew from puppy to adult. We always eyeballed her weight -- if she was looking tubbier than usual, we'd cut back. If she was looking a bit too lean, or if she had a really active hiking day, we'd give her more. We used Zukes treats for training in the early days, and occasionally give her white cheddar cheese. Our breeder told us that would help keep her coat glossy, especially after a bath. Seems to work.

      In the last year, as an Adult, Luna developed a recurring case of yeast infections in her ears. She's not much of a water dog, so it wasn't necessarily caused by water or bathing, and our vet started working with us on nutrition changes to combat the infections. We tried the Honest Kitchen dehydrated raw diets for a while, which Luna loved (of course) and were easy to prepare, but they were a little more expensive than we wanted and the ear infections didn't go away entirely.

      Now we feed her Natural Balance, Grain Free kibble. She's totally grain free when it comes to treats, too. I use some Wellness brand treats, and she still gets some cheese and butternut squash from time to time. We recently started her on Omega3 supplements, just a teaspoon on her kibble once a day. Her ear infections are now gone, she's superhealthy, and her coat has never looked better.

      So for now, that's the diet we'll stick with.

      Oh, and she gets a mini scoop of plain vanilla ice cream on her birthday once a year. :)