Best Dog Food for Cane Corsos

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Let’s find the best food for Cane Corso dogs.

Large, muscular, and born with a strong desire to work, Cane Corsos are descendants of Canis Pugnax, a breed that served as Roman war dogs during the first century. These mastiff-type dogs have served as hunters, guardians, and warriors for centuries in Italy, but prior to 1988, they were virtually unknown outside of the southern part of the country and considered rare.

The American Kennel Club didn’t recognize the breed until 2010, and since then Cane Corsos have seen a notable rise in popularity, becoming the 40th most popular dog breed in the United States by 2016.

Their intimidating appearance, devotion to family, responsiveness to training, and unusual strength make them popular guard dogs and family protectors.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the unique health needs of the Cane Corso and how these affect their dietary requirements, establishing a criteria for a great food for this breed. Following this framework for choosing the right food for your Cane Corso, you’ll find a list of the seven best foods on the market for this breed.

What makes a great Cane Corso dog food?

Cane Corsos need the same things that all dogs need: a strong nutritional foundation built from richly nourishing, species-appropriate ingredients – ingredients like real high-quality meat and vitamin-packed nutritious vegetables. They need balanced levels of protein, fat, and carbs.

Like every other dog, they benefit from a minimally-processed diet. As foods are processed, they lose their nutritional gusto, necessitating the use of more and more synthetic vitamins and supplements. It’s best for dogs to get these nutrients the natural way- through fresh, wholesome ingredients that have been processed as little as possible.

Cane Corsos, like every other dog, can thrive on a balanced home-cooked or raw diet. If you’re interested in taking this route, here is a selection of recipes that will help you to get started creating a nutritionally complete homemade diet for your dog.

When choosing a commercial food, you should always look for one that’s free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives and seek recipes that feature meat (not byproducts or worse, corn or other filler grains) as the first ingredient.

What are the unique needs of the Cane Corso?

In general, the health demands that make Cane Corsos different from other dogs are the same issues that affect other large breeds.

Orthopedic Health Issues

Because their large bodies place such greater strain on their developing joints and skeletal structure, these dogs are predisposed to orthopedic issues throughout life, demanding diets that both encourage healthy bone growth and nurture joint health as the dog ages.

Particularly common is hip dysplasia, which affects a staggering 39-58% of the Cane Corso population. Elbow dysplasia is similarly prevalent, affecting 16-22% of these dogs. These are developmental joint problems resulting from malformation of the joints. This malformation leads to excessive wear of the joint cartilage and eventually leads to osteoarthritis.

These complications are hereditary, but can be controlled through proper nutrition in puppyhood and beyond.

How can diet help your Cane Corso’s orthopedic health?

As puppies, it’s important to ensure healthy bone development by moderating their growth rate through slight calorie restriction, while providing appropriate levels of calcium and phosphorus. AAFCO recommends the following levels: 1.2 to 1.8% calcium, 1.0 to 1.6% phosphorus, and a calcium-to-phosphorus ratio of 1:1 to 1.8:1. You can calculate the percentages of these minerals in your dog’s food here.

To ensure that your Cane Corso’s joints remain healthy throughout life, choose a food that contains glucosamine and chondroitin along with Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, which can help to reduce inflammation and keep your dog feeling comfortable.

Because obesity is a risk factor for these joint problems as your dog ages, it’s doubly important that you keep your Cane Corso svelte. A satisfying low-glycemic diet with moderate fat and calories can help to keep additional weight off of your dog’s joints.

Bloat (gastric dilatation volvulus)

This life-threatening condition involves the stomach filling with air, a condition that places pressure on other organs and the diaphragm, making it difficult for the dog to breathe. Pressure on the veins prevents blood from returning to the heart. In some cases, this gastric dilatation is followed by a second, even more serious stage – volvulus. Once the stomach fills with air, it can easily rotate on itself, cutting off the blood supply to the stomach and ultimately leading to the rapid decline of the affected dog.

Bloat has a number of different and unknown causes, but we do know that large, deep-chested dogs like Cane Corsos are at a higher risk than their small-breed cousins such as Boston Terriers and Chihuahas.

How can diet help to prevent your Cane Corso from developing bloat?

Dogs who eat one meal daily are at a considerably higher risk of developing bloat than those who consume multiple meals per day. There’s also a correlation between developing bloat and eating too quickly or exercising immediately after a meal and dogs who eat out of a raised dish are at a higher risk of bloat.

For the most part, preventing this condition through diet is more a matter of controlling how your dog eats than what they eat.

That said, dry food moistened with water and foods that contain fat or oil as one of the first four ingredients are both associated with an increased risk of bloat.

Demodectic Mange

While all normal dogs have a few demodex mites on their skin, some with underdeveloped immune systems may become overwhelmed by a demodex mite infestation, leading to demodectic mange and the patchy or widespread hair loss that goes along with it.

Cane Corsos are particularly common candidates for this condition.

While the exact cause of demodectic mange is unknown, hereditary immune deficiencies are thought to put dogs at risk. This immune deficiency allows the demodex mites to proliferate and wreak havoc on the dog’s coat. As the infestation takes hold, it can further inhibit the immune system and perpetuate the problem.

How can your Cane Corso’s diet help to prevent a demodectic mange outbreak?

Gut health and an effective immune system are intimately and dynamically connected – the GALT (gut associated lymphoid tissue) is the largest immune organ in the body. Diet is your first and most important point of access to your dog’s gut and overall immune health. Foods made with prebiotics and probiotics help to support healthy populations of gut flora, which impacts almost every aspect of your dog’s health, including the immune system.

Best Puppy Foods for Cane Corsos

Cane Corso puppies should consume a food formulated for large breed puppies – these diets are designed to encourage a moderate growth rate and healthy bone development, which is exactly what your Cane Corso needs. Foods designed for adult maintenance or even all life stages don’t always deliver the perfect balance of nutrients and minerals that your rapidly-growing pup requires. Below are our picks for the two best puppy foods for your Cane Corso.

Orijen Grain Free Large Breed Puppy Food Review

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Deboned Turkey, Yellowtail Flounder, Whole Eggs, Whole Atlantic Mackerel

Orijen Grain Free Large Breed Puppy FoodThis food checks all of the necessary boxes for a large breed puppy food.

It delivers the calcium and phosphorus ratios your puppy needs, while offering a rich concentration nourishing of protein and keeping calories relatively low in order to maintain a healthy, slow growth rate.

What sets it apart from other large breed puppy foods, however, is the simple integrity of this food’s ingredients.

Orijen Large Breed Puppy food contains 85% real whole meat, organs, cartilage, and bones along with 15% nourishing fruits and vegetables. To ensure that your Cane Corso puppy feels full, stays slim, and doesn’t experience the blood sugar spikes associated with high-glycemic foods, this recipe contains absolutely no fast carbohydrates like potato and grains.

It’s made without artificial colors, preservatives, or flavors.

Pros

  • Exceptionally rich in fresh meat content
  • Balanced levels of minerals for healthy bone development
  • Calorie limited to encourage a healthy weight
  • Grain-free with no fillers, fast carbs, or artificial ingredients

Cons

  • On the higher end of the price spectrum

Fromm Large Breed Puppy Gold Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

First 5 Ingredients: Duck, Chicken Meal, Chicken, Oatmeal, Pearled Barley

Fromm Large Breed Puppy Gold

Filled with ingredients selected to support your puppy’s overall health, this food is somewhat calorie-limited to encourage healthy, moderate growth.

It has the appropriate calcium to phosphorus ratio to support healthy bone growth.

This ultimately plant-based food is filled with ingredients chosen to support your puppy’s overall health, including probiotics for digestive health, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids for skin and coat health, DHA-rich whole egg for brain and eye health, and a mixture of nourishing fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins and minerals.

It isn’t a grain-free food and does contain some low-value ingredients such as potatoes and barley. These increase the carbohydrate content without offering much nutritionally.

Pros

  • Balanced levels of calcium and phosphorus encourage healthy bone growth
  • Calorie limited to help your puppy grow at a moderate pace
  • Rich in nutritious fruits and vegetables
  • The ingredient list starts with protein-rich meat
  • Made without corn, wheat, or soy
  • Free of artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives

Cons

  • Contains pearled barley, which doesn’t offer much nutritional value for your dog
  • Contains alfalfa meal, which is minimally nutritious

Best Adult Dog Foods for Cane Corsos

While dietary needs vary from individual to individual, these moderately active dogs do best on a diet rich in satisfying animal protein and low in fast carbohydrates. Joint issues tend to develop during adulthood, so it’s important to keep excess weight off while incorporating nourishing ingredients that directly encourage overall joint health.

Wysong Epigen 90 Starch-Free Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog & Cat Food Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

First 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Organic Chicken, Meat Protein Isolate, Chicken Fat, Gelatin

Wysong Epigen 90 Starch-Free Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog & Cat Food

Wysong Epigen represents a uniquely meat-rich kibble, containing 90% organic meat and absolutely no starch. With its concentration of animal protein along with an extraordinary variety of powerful prebiotics, probiotics, phytonutrients, nutraceuticals, and natural antioxidants, this is one of the most nutritionally-packed foods on the market.

Its first ingredient is chicken meal, which is naturally rich in glucosamine and chondroitin, making this food a good choice for dogs who need joint health support.

This food’s ingredient list does raise a couple of concerns. First of all, we notice “meat protein isolate”, which is a generic name that could suggest the use of byproducts.

On Wysong’s website however, we’re told that this ingredient is made solely from pork:  “Meat protein isolate, which is named so due to labeling regulations, is derived exclusively from pork meat. (Current regulations, for some unknown reason, do not permit a more descriptive term.) It is one of the cleanest and most pure sources of protein available.”

This ingredient is used as a nutrient-rich binder in lieu of the starchy ingredients that are typically used.

The second concerning ingredient is chicken fat. Despite being a nutritious ingredient, fats or oils in the first four ingredients of a dog food could increase your Cane Corso’s chances of developing bloat.

The food is completely free of artificial ingredients like colors, flavors, and preservatives.

Pros

  • Contains a rich variety of nutraceutical ingredients designed to enhance your dog’s health
  • Made without starches, making it a highly-satiating food and ideal for weight management
  • Made with 90% biologically-appropriate, easily digested organic meat

Cons

  • The fourth ingredient is chicken fat, which may contribute to your dog’s risk of bloat

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Large Breed Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Potatoes, Peas

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Large Breed

This food is designed for large breed dogs like the Cane Corso and meets their needs in several ways. On the surface, it has a large kibble size that’s perfect for larger mouths. To encourage joint health throughout your dog’s adult life, this food contains glucosamine and chondroitin.

All Wellness CORE foods use grain-free, protein rich recipes infused with botanicals and supplements for optimal health. Unlike some other high-protein foods, Wellness CORE foods avoid excessive fat. They contain probiotics for digestive health, are enriched with antioxidants, and contain Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids for skin and coat health.

Like all other Wellness CORE foods, this is a grain-free, protein-rich recipe that uses botanicals and supplements for the complete health of the dog, including probiotics and prebiotics for improved digestive health and immune support. It’s enriched with antioxidants, along with Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.

Pros

  • Large kibble size is perfect for big dogs
  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health
  • Grain-free with no corn, soy, or wheat
  • Probiotics for digestive health
  • Contains omega fatty acids for skin and coat health
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives

Cons

  • Contains tomato pomace for added fiber – this is a byproduct of tomato processing
  • Contains potatoes, which metabolize quickly and can contribute to weight gain

Ziwi Peak Daily-Dog Venison Cuisine Grain-Free Air-Dried Dog Food Review

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

First 5 Ingredients: Venison – Meat (Includes Up to 3% Finely Ground Bone), Venison – Liver, Lung, Tripe, Heart and Kidney

Ziwi Peak Daily-Dog Venison Cuisine Grain-Free Air-Dried Dog Food

This unconventional air-dried food is made a bit like jerky for dogs and contains 98% venison meat, organs, and bone, plus seafood. It delivers the nutritional integrity and digestibility of raw food and the convenience of dry kibble.

It includes natural glucosamine and chondroitin from green-lipped mussels, supporting long-term joint health- a critical concern for large dogs. To fuel your Cane Corso’s burly body and athletic lifestyle, this food is exceptionally rich in protein and high in calories while keeping carbohydrates to an absolute minimum. This means that it’s an optimally satiating, nourishing food that will keep your dog energized for hours while discouraging unwanted fat deposits.

Ziwi Peak Venison Cuisine is particularly exceptional if your dog has food sensitivities or allergies. It has one of the simplest ingredient lists you’ll find on a commercial dog food, featuring a single novel protein and zero common problem ingredients like wheat, corn, and soy.

Pros

  • Made from fresh New Zealand ingredients and nothing from China
  • Free from fillers, byproducts, and artificial ingredients
  • Limited ingredient food is perfect for dogs with allergies and food sensitivities

Cons

  • An expensive brand, especially for large dogs like Cane Corsos

Best Senior Foods for Cane Corsos

As Cane Corsos enter their senior years, they tend to slow down a little bit. Weight gain can be particularly detrimental for these already large dogs, compounding joint problems and leading to severe pain. It’s important that your dog’s food matches their activity levels and metabolism. The best foods for senior Cane Corsos continue to support joint health while discouraging weight gain and offering highly-digestible animal protein.

Orijen Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Review

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Deboned Turkey, Yellowtail Flounder, Whole Eggs, Whole Atlantic Mackerel

Orijen Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog FoodBy using fresh freeze-dried or dehydrated muscle meat, cartilage, bones, and organs, Orijen senior food delivers complete, biologically appropriate nourishment. This food features an impressive 85% animal content – the most biologically available form of protein for dogs. The remaining 15% of this food is comprised of nutritious, low-glycemic fruits and vegetables.

To suit the needs of senior dogs and their decreased metabolism, this food is rich in healthy protein but relatively low in calories. It contains glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health. This recipe is free of anything artificial and doesn’t contain by-products, fillers, or grains.

The inclusion of glucosamine and chondroitin helps to support joint health throughout your dog’s senior years.

Pros

  • Supports a healthy senior weight
  • Unusually rich in real animal protein
  • No fillers, by-products, or artificial ingredients
  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health

Cons

  • On the expensive end of the spectrum

Instinct by Nature’s Variety Raw Boost Senior Dry Dog Food Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

First 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal (source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate), Chickpeas, Peas, Tapioca, Chicken

Instinct by Nature's Variety Raw Boost Senior Dry Dog Food

This food has all of the fundamental characteristics of a good food for senior dogs: it contains glucosamine and chondroitin to keep the the joints in good condition and minimal carbohydrate content to keep weight under control.

Rounding out the nutritional value of this food are chunks of freeze-dried raw meat. Raw meat is packed with enzymes and nutrients that are stripped during high-heat processing. The recipe also receives a nutritional boost with several senior dog-focused additions. The inclusion of natural DHA from chicken eggs helps to support brain and eye health, while L-carnitine helps to burn fat, keeping your senior dog slim and healthy.

While the inclusion of high-protein peas does raise some concerns about the biological availability of this food’s protein content, this recipe is ultimately rich in biologically-available meat protein and delivers plenty of nourishment in a biologically-appropriate form.

Pros

  • Contains nourishing chunks of freeze-dried raw meat
  • Free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
  • Doesn’t contain any corn, soy, or wheat – grain-free
  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin to support continued joint health
  • Contains L-carnitine to discourage fat deposits as your dog ages
  • Supports continued brain and eye health

Cons

  • Contains protein-rich peas – not the most biologically available source of protein for dogs

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