Irish Setter Nutrition Guide

Irish Setters are incredible family dogs due to their sweet temperament and playful nature. Typically, Irish Setters love to make new friends and have a bold and boisterous personality. They can also be serious athletes when trained and are some of the swiftest dogs out there. 

Irish Setters have their own unique health profiles and dietary needs like all dog breeds. Due to their high energy level, they require a protein-rich diet to fuel their daily activity. 

Ready to learn more about your Irish Setter pup? In today’s guide, we’ll go over their health, breed history, nutrition, and much more: 

  • Irish Setter Breed History
  • Irish Setter Health Problems
  • How Much Exercise Does an Irish Setter Need?
  • What Should I Feed My Irish Setter?
  • How Much Should an Irish Setter Eat?
  • How Many Times a Day Should I Feed My Irish Setter?
  • Irish Setter Puppy Feeding Guide
  • Create a Healthy Meal Plan for Your Irish Setter Today

Irish Setter Breed History

The Irish Setter was created—where else—in Ireland by breeding a combination of English Setters, Gordon Setters, and Spaniels to create an ideal bird dog. They were used for retrieving fowl due to their keen sense of smell and swift retrieval. Today, many Irish Setters still enjoy a friendly game of fetch or hunting with their families. 

Irish Setters are known for excelling in the field, show rings, and have won the Westminster Kennel Club’s Sporting Group competition 11 times! 

Their looks also make them stand out. The rich red coat of the Irish Setter is striking, and the good-natured pups remain popular in the United Kingdom and the United States for both hunting and companionship. 

Irish Setter Health Problems 

Understanding what health issues your Irish Setter is susceptible to leads to more informed decisions about what to feed them. It can also help you decide what kind of lifestyle you should provide to help them avoid as many health problems as possible. 

As always, we recommend consulting your veterinarian for more personalized recommendations.

However, here are some common Irish Setter Health Problems that you should know about: 


  • Gastric Dilation Volvulus (Bloat): Bloat is a serious medical emergency that can kill a dog suddenly. It’s most common in large dogs, and occurs when there is a sudden accumulation of gas in the stomach. This gas leads to the stomach twisting, resulting in the stomach being cut off from blood supply. This can lead to the release of deadly toxins into the system, and death. The causes of bloat are largely unknown, but if your dog suddenly has abdominal distension or is retching, with no signs of nausea or active vomiting, it’s recommended that you immediately take your dog to their vet. Feeding your dog smaller, more frequent meals may help to prevent this condition. 
  • Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism is an endocrine disease that occurs when normal thyroid hormone levels drop, typically due to the thyroid gland shrinking as a dog ages. Fortunately, hypothyroidism is usually manageable through medications. However, it can cause a host of unpleasant side effects, including constipation, lethargy, weight gain, and skin and hair abnormalities. 
  • Hip Dysplasia: Hip Dysplasia is another common condition among large dogs. It’s a genetic disease that occurs when the hip joint bones won’t line up correctly, leading to painful rubbing. Many pet parents are unaware their dog has hip dysplasia until their dog begins limping, walks strangely, or rises unusually slowly. While hip dysplasia may not be preventable, the symptoms can be minimized by helping your Irish Setter maintain a healthy weight. Overweight dogs put more strain on their joints, so keeping your pup at a healthy weight may reduce their risk of developing hip dysplasia and minimize the side effects of this disease. 

How Much Exercise Does an Irish Setter Need?

Exercise plays a key part in keeping your Irish Setter healthy, happy, and entertained. Since they’re athletic, Irish Setters need more exercise than many dog breeds and are ideal for pet parents who want a sporty companion. 

Your Irish Setter should be getting a minimum of one hour of exercise per day. However, many Irish Setters, especially puppies, may need as much as three to four hours of exercise daily. If you have a family, consider splitting up play and walk periods to ensure that your pup gets plenty of exercises and enjoys quality time with everyone since Irish Setters are highly social dogs. 


Ensuring that your Irish Setter gets enough exercise is critical for keeping them at a healthy weight, happy and entertained, and out of mischief. A lack of stimulation may cause some dogs to find other ways to entertain themselves, such as chewing apart furniture. 

What Should I Feed My Irish Setter? 

After learning about how important a healthy diet and exercise is for your Irish Setter pup, you may be asking yourself, “what should I feed my Setter?” 


Athletic dogs need high-quality protein sources and a balanced diet to support their energy, health, and happiness. 


High-quality protein sources, like chicken, lamb, beef, and pork, are critical to supporting your dog’s healthy growth and development. They also provide the necessary nutrients to stimulate amino acid production, which is critical for building and supporting healthy skin, tendons, muscles, hair, nails, and ligaments. In addition, without high-quality protein, your dog may lack the nutrients for healthy hormone production. 


Nutrient-rich ingredients like salmon oil, liver, and flaxseed are also essential for your Irish Setter’s health. For example, the nutrients in salmon oil are great for reducing skin allergies

How Much Should an Irish Setter Eat?

So, how much should my Irish Setter eat every day? Again, we recommend consulting with your pup’s vet.


The following Irish Setter feeding chart can also be used as a guideline for how much to feed them. Consider tracking your Irish Setter’s weight to see if you are providing them with enough food. If your Irish Setter is at a healthy weight, then you’re probably feeding them enough. 


It’s important to note that Irish Setters can vary greatly in size, which is why we have multiple weight categories in the following feeding chart. 


Consider the following guidelines for your Irish Setter: 


WeightFeeding amount per day
Medium Irish Setter (40 to 50 pounds)2 to 3 cups
Large Irish Setter (55 to 70 pounds)3 to 4 cups


*Please note that your dog’s age, life stage, and exercise levels will affect their daily caloric needs. We recommend consulting with your veterinarian to determine your pup’s ideal feeding amount.

How Many Times a Day Should I Feed My Irish Setter?

Typically, Irish Setters should be fed twice a day. This can help keep your dog’s blood sugar and energy levels stable. For minimizing bloat risk, multiple feedings are also recommended. However, we recommend that you consult with your veterinarian for a definitive answer that’s personalized to your pup’s needs. 


Please keep in mind that this will vary depending on your dog’s life stage, size, age, build, activity level, and metabolism. Puppies will likely need to eat much more frequently. 

Irish Setter Puppy Feeding Guide

Irish Setter puppies may need to be fed up to four times per day. Ideally, this food should be spaced evenly throughout the day, which could look like an early morning, noon, early evening, and late-night meal.


Puppies frequently need to eat more than their adult counterparts to help them grow strong and healthy. Some puppies may need as much as two to three times more food than adult Irish Setters during the first six months of their lives to sustain their energy and support their growth. We recommend feeding your puppy at least three times a day, if not four, and up to four cups of food during the first six months. From six months to twelve months old, your puppy will probably need a minimum of three cups of food and can have their feedings reduced to twice daily in most cases. 


As always, we recommend that you consult with your veterinarian to ensure that you are feeding your pup the right amount of food. Your veterinarian can assess your dog and give you a more personalized number that is just right for your Irish Setter puppy. 

Create a Healthy Meal Plan for Your Irish Setter Today

So, how can I ensure that my Irish Setter is receiving the right amount of food and that their food is balanced and made from nutrient-rich ingredients and high-quality protein? 


PetPlate is your dog’s ideal meal plan created and balanced by a veterinary nutritionist. PetPlate meals are custom to your dog’s age, breed, size, and more, making them a great way to ensure that you are never overfeeding or underfeeding your dog. With PetPlate, your dog will always be chowing down on 100% human-grade ingredients, which are kettle-cooked in a USDA-approved kitchen, then delivered right to your door! In addition, we offer meals in four different flavors that your dog is sure to devour. 

Ready to give our customized, nutrient-rich meals a try? Tell us a bit about your Irish Setter, and we’ll create a personalized meal plan for them with the ideal ingredients that will support their long-term health and high energy levels. Our meals are pre-measured, so you never have to worry about overfeeding your dog. Get started today and enjoy convenience and peace of mind knowing that your dog is only eating the best!