Best Dog Food for a Mastiff
The Ultimate Mastiff Food Buyer’s Guide
One of the largest of all breeds, the Mastiff is a member of one of the biggest canine families. The mastiff, or molosser, family of dogs extends back to ancient times. It includes dozens of breeds that share common traits including the Tibetan Mastiff, Bull Mastiff, and Cane Corso.
However, the Mastiff breed is a specific breed that traces back a couple of thousand years to Great Britain. They may have been brought to Britain by the Romans or earlier by other people. In early times the dogs were used for bear baiting, bull baiting, dog fighting, and other blood sports, but they were later favored as guardians. The Mastiff is a natural guardian. They rarely bark and are more likely to hold an intruder until someone arrives or even sit on him instead of attacking. A Mastiff can make a good family dog if you have room and the budget to feed him. They are protective, good-natured, calm, and affectionate dogs.
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Top 3 Best Dog Foods for Mastiffs
Mastiff Diet and Nutrition
According to the standard for the breed, Mastiffs typically stand between 28 and 36 inches is normal. It is not unusual for a Mastiff to weigh between 160 to 230 pounds.
Mastiffs tend to be laid back or even lazy so they do not expend a great deal of energy. Still, they consume a lot of food due to their size. Growing puppies and young adults will use up more energy than mature adults. They require a diet that features good quality protein. According to the National Research Council of the National Academies, an active adult Mastiff weighing 200 pounds requires an average daily caloric intake of 3710 calories. Dogs that have been spayed/neutered, or that are older, may need slightly fewer calories. Some dogs may need more calories depending on their level of activity and their individual metabolism. Growing puppies, for example, consume more calories than adult dogs and so do young adult dogs. A young adult Mastiff puppy weighing 160 pounds needs an estimated 3487 calories per day.
What to Feed a Mastiff
Mastiffs can usually eat most good quality dog foods. However, they do require high-quality nutrition.
We suggest that you measure the amount of food you feed and only leave the food sitting out for about half an hour. This should give your dog time to eat. If you free feed and leave the food sitting out all the time, dogs usually nibble which puts on pounds. Since Mastiffs can be prone to bloating, most dogs do well eating two meals per day. Puppies can usually eat three meals per day until they are old enough to start eating on an adult schedule.
Ingredients To Look For:
Protein and fat are the main ingredients in the diet for a Mastiff, as they are for most dogs. However, not all protein and fat are the same. It’s important that the protein and fat in the dog food comes from good sources if you want your dog to be healthy.
Protein – Look for two or three protein sources in the first five ingredients of your dog’s food. Whole meats like chicken, beef, fish, and lamb, as well as meat meals (concentrated form of meat in which the moisture is removed) are both acceptable sources of protein.
Fat – You should look for named fat sources such as chicken fat. Other named fats also provide needed nutrients such as fish oil which can provide omega-3 fatty acid to help keep the skin and coat healthy. Puppies can benefit from DHA which is Docosahexaenoic acid. This is a specific form of omega-3 fatty acid that helps with brain and eye development. Older dogs seem to benefit from medium chain triglycerides which feature medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs). These have been found to help older dogs feel and act younger. They are often made from a combination of coconut oil and other oils.
Avoid – Food irritants and allergens like corn, soy, wheat, beef, chicken, and dairy as necessary. Instead, opt for a grain-free dog food that uses an alternate source of carbs such as sweet potatoes. It’s also a good idea to stay away from high carb percentages.
Avoiding artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives is also suggested as a way to help keep the immune system stronger.
We are recommending a variety of foods for Mastiffs. Some have grains and some don’t. We have selected foods without corn, wheat, and soy unless otherwise noted. Most of these foods are specifically made for large or giant breeds. You may have to try a couple of foods to find which one is best for your Mastiff. You should also keep in mind that your dog’s diet needs can change as he grows and ages so you may have to change foods to accommodate him.
Best Dog Food for a Mastiff Puppy
As large breed puppies, Mastiff puppies do have some special requirements. They often do well on good quality large breed puppy foods. These foods have slightly less protein than regular brands of puppy food.
Because this is a giant breed, it is important for puppies to grow slowly. Studies have shown that this helps prevent bone and joint problems later in life. It’s also important to pay special attention to the calcium and phosphorus levels in the food. For these reasons, we recommend feeding a good large breed puppy food to Mastiff puppies. This ratio should be very close to the following for large breed dogs: 1.2:1.
Similar to Fromm’s Large Breed Gold Adult formula, this large breed puppy formula contains no corn, wheat, or soy. The food is formulated for puppies who will grow to be over 50 pounds as adult dogs. Protein and fat in the food are moderate, and so are the calories, to help large breed puppies grow slowly. The technical analysis for the food shows the correct calcium to phosphorus ratio for large breed puppies. Fromm Large Breed Puppy Gold formula also has added DHA-rich salmon oil for good brain and eye development in puppies. The USDA-inspected ingredients for the food are delivered fresh each morning.
Main Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Chicken Broth, Oat Groats
Calories: 384 kcal/cup
Mastiff breeders often recommend Canidae for their dogs and puppies. You can feed an All Life Stages food or you can feed a large/giant breed puppy food such as Canidae’s Life Stages Large Breed formula. The food is lower in protein and fat so it helps keep large breed puppies like the Mastiff slim – which can help prevent hip dysplasia later in life.
As a puppy food, Canidae Life Stages Large Breed Puppy formula also contains the proper nutrient levels, including calcium and phosphorus
Main Ingredients: Turkey Meal, Brown Rice, Peas, Oatmeal, Millet
Calories: 376 kcal/cup
Some people prefer to feed puppies a grain-free formula. Orijen Puppy Large is similar to their adult formulas. It is a biologically appropriate dog food that features 80 percent whole prey – chicken, turkey, eggs, fish and 20 percent fruits and vegetables. It is a non-GMO food. The chicken and turkey are cage-free and the fish is wild-caught. This is a low-glycemic dog food to support healthy blood sugar levels. It also provides the correct calcium to phosphorus ratio and natural DHA from fish for good brain development in puppies.
Main Ingredients: Boneless Chicken, Chicken Meal, and Chicken Liver
Calories: 456 kcal/cup
Best Dog Food For A Mastiff Adult
Canidae is a brand recommended by Mastiff breeders. It includes guaranteed levels of probiotic cultures to help with digestion (probiotics are desirable for a breed prone to bloat). The food also has guaranteed levels of antioxidants which help the immune system stay strong and guaranteed levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for a healthy skin and coat.
This food has no wheat, corn, soy, fillers, antibiotics, hormones, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. The protein and fat are also moderate which most people recommend for the Mastiff to keep him at a healthy weight.
Main Ingredients: Chicken, Turkey, Lamb, and Fish
Calories: 468 kcal/cup
If you are specifically looking for a grain-free food for your Mastiff, we like Wellness CORE Grain Free Large Breed. It also includes glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints, antioxidants, omega fatty acids, and probiotics. And it’s naturally gluten-free. The food even comes in a larger kibble size for your large dog.
Main Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, and Turkey Meal
Calories: 346 kcal/cup
Now Fresh Grain Free Large Breed Adult Recipe is made by Petcurean. You may be more familiar with some of the other product lines from this Canadian company, such as Go!, Spike, or Summit. This food for large dogs is made from 100 percent fresh turkey, salmon, duck and 100 percent fresh omega 3 & 6 oils from coconuts and canola. It has no corn, wheat, or soy, and no other grains, gluten, or beef. It uses no rendered meats, no by-products, and no artificial preservatives.
The food does feature New Zealand green mussels and glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints and L-taurine for heart health. These levels should help your Mastiff stay at a prime weight.
Main Ingredients: De-Boned Turkey, Whole Dried Egg, Potatoes, Peas, Potato Flour
Calories: 363 kcal/cup
Best Dog Food For A Mastiff Senior
Your Mastiff may start showing signs of aging by the time he is about seven years old, but it is not unusual for a Mastiff to live to be 10 to 12 years or older. As your Mastiff gets older, it’s a good idea to plan an annual senior check-up with your vet. Many older dogs begin to put on pounds as they become less active. For this reason, most senior dog foods have fewer calories and they can skimp on protein. You should watch your older Mastiff’s weight as he gets older to make sure he doesn’t become overweight. In some cases, you can simply cut back on the portions of his regular dog food to help him stay fit or increase his exercise.
If you decide that your older Mastiff needs a senior dog food, here’s a food we love recommending.
Older dogs can have difficulty metabolizing nutrients, especially protein. Orijen Senior provides plenty of excellent quality protein for your older Mastiff. This food features free-run chicken and turkey, wild-caught fish, and nest-laid eggs. It helps keep older dogs in good muscle even as they become less active. Made of 80 percent meats and fish, the food is low-glycemic and has low carbs to help keep your older dog’s blood sugar steady. The food also contains natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin to keep your Mastiff’s bones and joints healthy.
Main Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Deboned Turkey, Atlantic Flounder, Whole Eggs, Whole Atlantic Mackerel
Calories: 445 kcal/cup
Additional Dietary and Health Considerations
Whether you are getting a new Mastiff puppy or bringing home an older dog, Mastiffs are great companions. However, they can be prone to a number of eye problems as well as structural and joint problems such as hip and elbow dysplasia. Other issues that can appear in the breed include cancer, epilepsy, bloat, heart disease, hypothyroidism, von Willebrand’s Disease (vWD – a bleeding disorder), and Wobblers Syndrome. Some of these disorders can be affected by diet. You can find out more about Mastiff health issues by visiting the Mastiff Club of America’s website.
Keeping your dog fit and keeping him from becoming overweight helps many giant breed dogs from experiencing problems due to structural or joint issues.
Looking for more dog food recommendations for your Mastiff? Head over to the Ultimate Giant Breed Dog Food Buyer’s Guide.