Compared to other types of breeds, Dalmatians possess a very unique metabolism. They handles purines, the parent substance for the uric acid compounds found in certain meat and vegetable proteins, more like humans and apes than like other dogs. Dalmatians will not thrive on diets high in purines, and some will develop serious, life-threatening health problems or die prematurely as a result of such diets. Dalmatians are not capable of breaking down purines beyond the level of uric acid, whereas other breeds go a step further, converting uric acid to allantoin before excretion.
This trait creates the potential for Dalmatians to form uratic kidney or bladder stones and other diet-related health problems under certain circumstances. However, this breed- specific potential for trouble is not a disease; after all, humans have the same potential. Dalmatians simply have an unusual characteristic that must be taken into account by owners who want their pets to live a long and healthy life.
Few people knew which foods were high in purines, and many Dalmatian owners thought overall protein levels were the problem, rather than the levels of specific proteins that are high in purines. Professionals of all categories, including well-respected breeders, veterinarians, and pet food representatives, routinely recommended (and some still do!) products that are very harmful to a Dalmatian's health. It is no wonder that Dalmatians were not regarded highly by veterinarians. Many dogs had health and temperament problems because they were being systematically and innocently poisoned by their well meaning but misguided owners.
Over the years, studies have been done with all kinds of dog foods, supplements and combinations of ingredients. Researchers have found that several commercially manufactured dry dog foods work well for Dalmatians. For the last several years they have successfully fed dry foods with no supplements. Although it may be hard to find a food that meets the requirements appropriate for a Dalmatian, it can be done as long as you know what you are looking for.
Researchers have concluded that they get excellent results with their adult Dalmatians from a dry kibble which is 19% protein, corn-based and contains a meat component provided by chicken. They offer it twice per day, preparing it by soaking it in warm water for fifteen minutes before feeding. Their dogs have not had diet-related problems of any kind. Also keep in mind that in addition to feeding an appropriate food, they made sure that their dogs always have fresh water available and get plenty of exercise daily.
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