Of the three poodle types recognized by breed registries -- standard, miniature and toy -- the standard poodle is the original and the largest. These medium-to-large, active dogs were originally bred as water retrievers. They require a diet rich in protein and fats to fuel their energy. A high-quality, palatable diet keeps your poodle healthy and the curly coat lush and soft. Because poodles are prone to some health conditions that can affect their appetite, it is important to carefully monitor a poodle's diet and weight to detect these conditions early if they occur.
An adult standard poodle usually weighs between 45 and 65 pounds. The National Research Council of the National Academies recommends that inactive dogs of this size eat between 989 and 1,272 calories per day. Active poodles, including those who are active in sports or shown professionally, require between 1,353 and 1,740 calories daily. Older, less-active poodles will require fewer calories, especially if they are affected by conditions that can impair their mobility, such as hip dysplasia.
Feed your standard poodle a commercial dog food labeled as meeting Association of American Feed Control Officials standards. Foods meeting those standards provide or exceed all the nutrients required in a complete diet for dogs, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA says dry dog foods that meet AAFCO standards contain at least 18 percent usable protein for adult dogs and 22 percent usable protein for puppies and pregnant or nursing mothers. Digestible proteins provide the essential amino acids your poodle needs.
Many dog food manufacturers formulate high-quality dog foods for various stages of a dog's life. Young poodles will thrive on a dog food labeled for puppies during the first year of life. Such dog foods contain the proper percentages of fats and proteins required for optimum growth. Senior poodles, those 8 years old or older, need less protein and fat and more carbohydrates to help prevent obesity and related health problems.
A good diet for poodles will provide all the proteins, carbohydrates, fats, grains, vegetables, vitamins and minerals they need to thrive. Ingredients must be listed on the dog food package in declining order by weight, according to the FDA. Select a food that lists a whole meat, such as lamb, chicken, turkey or beef, as the first ingredient on the label. After the first ingredient, the food must contain healthy fats like vegetable and fish oils, which supply your poodle with energy and keep your dog's curly, thick coat shiny and soft. Carbohydrate-containing grains, including brown rice, barley and whole oats, are easier to digest than corn, cornmeal, soy or wheat. Fruits and vegetables listed on the label are excellent sources of fiber for your poodle.
For white or cream-colored poodles, avoid foods containing artificial colorings or large quantities of grains and cereals such as wheat or corn. These can stain the fur on your dog's face through contact as the dog eats. It's a good idea to wipe a light-colored poodle's face following a meal.
Gastric Dilation and Volvulus
The standard poodle is a deep-chested breed. Such dogs are more susceptible than others to bloat, also known as gastric dilation and volvulus, according to the Purdue University Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory. Bloat occurs when gases fill the stomach like an inflating balloon. Often the gas-filled stomach rotates cutting off normal escape routes for the gas as well as blood supply to the stomach. This is an emergency condition that can kill a dog, and immediate medical help is essential. Early signs of bloat may include attempts to vomit, excessive drooling, a swollen stomach, lethargy, weakness and collapse. If you suspect that your poodle has bloat, seek the help of a veterinarian without delay.
To help prevent bloat in your standard poodle, divide the daily ration into two or three meals, rather than giving one large meal. According to "Your Poodle's Life: Your Complete Guide to Raising Your Pet from Puppy to Companion," smaller meals spaced through the day also help to maintain an even blood-sugar level in your poodle.
Other factors that may help prevent bloat: Feed your poodle on an established schedule, at approximately the same times every day. Do not feed your poodle immediately before or after strenuous exercise, and don't feed from an elevated dish. Provide a constant supply of good, fresh water at all times. If you do that, your dog will not gulp excessive water during or after a meal.
Keep track of your standard poodle's weight, and feed according to the manufacturer's directions for dog's weight, adjusting according to the dog's individual needs. To determine whether your poodle is overweight or underweight, look at the dog and feel the area of the ribs. If you can see your dog's ribs, your dog is underweight. If you can't feel the ribs without probing through a layer of fat, your poodle is overweight. Adjust the ration accordingly.
Poodles are prone to hip dysplasia, a congenital disorder that causes malformation and degeneration of one or both hip joints. This problem can be worsened if your dog is obese, because the affected joints must carry the extra weight. An obese poodle may benefit from a reduced-calorie dog food that contains more fiber to keep your dog feeling full longer after a meal. Consult your veterinarian before you switch your dog to a new food.
Standard poodles are known to be susceptible to some inherited conditions that can affect appetite and how well your dog is able to thrive. Addison's disease is one such condition, according to the Poodle Club of America. A dog with Addison's disease may suffer loss of appetite, diarrhea and vomiting, leading to weight loss and malnutrition, according to VetInfo. Addison's is more common in females than in males. If you notice that your poodle is no longer eagerly eating well and is losing weight, take the dog to your veterinarian. Tell your veterinarian about any recent dietary changes, as these changes can also cause gastrointestinal upset.
An increase in appetite or thirst with no increase in your poodle's activity level may indicate hypothyroidism or Cushing's disease, also often seen in poodles. Both Cushing's disease and Addison's disease are caused by improper functioning of the adrenal glands. These glands produce cortisol, a hormone that regulates both potassium and sodium in the body. Hypothyroidism is caused by inadequate functioning of the thyroid, which produces the hormones that control metabolism. Consult with your veterinarian to decide whether a special diet should be part of your poodle's treatment for these conditions.