Your hound will be happiest fit, not fat. A sensible feeding regime of two quality meals a day, combined with regular exercise, should keep your Irish Wolfhound fit and happy.
Adult hounds should be fed twice a day. Because of his long legs, it is better to place his feeding bowl around 18" off the ground. This stops him having to splay his feet and elbows out at an uncomfortable angle to reach down to his bowl. There are many raised feeding stands available in pet shops, but an old kitchen chair or stool can act as a suitable stand.
This method of feeding is also thought to help avoid bloat, or gastric torsion, which can be a real problem with deep-chested breeds such as Irish Wolfhounds. This potentially fatal condition involves the stomach turning over on itself, blocking the passage of food and gas at both ends and ultimately blowing up like an enormous balloon. This condition needs immediate veterinary attention.
There are other precautions you can take to minimize the risk of bloat. One hour before and two hours after every meal, he should be kept quiet and any violent activity forbidden. It is also a good idea only to feed food that does not swell up in the stomach after eating.
To test the consistency of the food, put a handful into a bowl, pour on some hot water and leave for 15/20 minutes. If it has increased in size, then this type of food must be soaked before feeding to your hound. Mixer biscuit and meal is usually OK and when combined with meat, will make a good diet for your hound.
You should also try to encourage your dog to be calm when feeding and not to bolt his food as if he is starving!
If you notice your hound's tummy has swelled, or it feels hard or distended, this could be the first sign of bloat. If your hound also seems uncomfortable, is standing strangely and unable to settle, or vomits a small amount of 'frothy' liquid, then take him to see your vet immediately. Gastric Torsion is an emergency. You cannot treat this yourself with home remedies.
Wolfhounds are prodigious drinkers - a bucket, or large bowl of fresh water should be available at all times. You should make sure that the inside of the bowl is thoroughly cleaned out at least every morning, before refilling. Contaminated water can lead to unexpected infections. Water should also be given at a comfortable height for your hound.
It is important for all dogs to have a place they can call their own. Your Wolfhound's bed should be placed somewhere draught-free and away from hazards.
As he grows in size and weight, his joints must be protected, otherwise he may develop bursas. These unsightly, sometimes painful swellings develop mostly on elbows, but hocks and 'bottoms' can also be affected. Bursas can also develop as a result of a knock. This fluid-filled sac helps protect the affected area and should usually be left to subside on its own unless it becomes infected, at which time you should seek veterinary attention. It can take six months or more before bursas are absorbed back into the body.