Best Food For Mastiffs

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Feeding a Mastiff is a commitment. Before you choose a Mastiff puppy, you should do some research into what it will take to feed your Mastiff correctly and take care of its health needs. An average adult Mastiff can consume around 3500 calories per day, more than that of some humans. The food budget for that is going to be substantial.

Have you ever thought to yourself “I’d love to add a cuddly, friendly boulder to my family?” Yes? Guess what? A Mastiff is your new best friend.

Mastiffs are huge and ancient. They’re known for their docile demeanor but fierce loyalty to their families. Help keep your gentle giant healthy with the right kind of food for its specific needs.

We’ve got our list of best dog foods for mastiffs, so you can get started. Also, we’ve answered a few questions you may have about what your Mastiff needs to stay healthy. Let’s take a look.

Fast Facts

Mastiffs are nearly as old as human civilization. They’re thought to be descended from a breed known as Molossus. Today, Mastiff males can stand up to 30 inches to the shoulder, making this dog a quite shock if you’ve never been around one.

They’re quite a commitment, and that isn’t just to the expense of feeding them. They’re very loyal to their family, but wary of strangers. Early socialization is just as key as proper nutrition so that as they grow older, they have healthy minds and bodies.

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Mastiff Nutrition Requirements

Mastiffs can weigh anywhere between 160 and 230 pounds. Because of this massive size, they aren’t very active, preferring to expend energy only when it’s necessary.

Despite this, they still eat a lot of food. A lot. If you’re considering a Mastiff for your household, you need to understand what you’re getting into.

Adult Mastiffs need around 3500 calories to maintain a healthy weight. That’s right. Probably more calories than you need. That translates to a lot of dog food. Your Mastiff’s calorie needs will change over time with growing puppies needing more calories than adults, and seniors often needing higher quality proteins and less fat.

The best thing you can do is use food specially formulated for large breed dogs. Large breeds need joint support and food that causes less bloating than smaller dogs. You should also work with your dog’s particular stage of life.

Feeding Requirements

Mastiffs are highly susceptible to bloating. Bloating can be dangerous for bigger dogs because it can cause issues with their stomachs (worst case scenario, requiring immediate surgery to correct).

It’s best to divide their meals into three or four smaller ones to prevent them from overeating at once (or too quickly). It’s also helpful to take food back up after 30 minutes so they don’t graze all day. Grazing can make it difficult to figure out how much food your Mastiff is actually getting and puts them at serious risk for obesity.

Thinking in terms of calories can help you get a handle on how much to feed your Mastiff. Not all foods are created equally. Lower quality foods may meet caloric requirements, but not have the right concentration of nutrients, making obesity a likelihood.

It’s important not to feed your growing puppy too much. Too much food can cause growth that’s too fast, putting early stress on the bones and joints. Later on in life, this may come back to haunt you as your older dog develops early bone and joint issues.

Use a dog food calculator to figure out how much food to feed your dog at each stage of its life and be sure to use a large breed specific food.

Recommended Ingredients

Since Mastiffs require a lot of calories, you want to make sure you pack as much real nutrition into those calories as possible.

Protein should be whole, lean proteins. Look for real meat as the first ingredient and not a byproduct or meal (and especially not a grain). Deboned turkey is an excellent source of lean protein, but for dogs with poultry sensitivity, beef or fish may be more appropriate.

Whole grains provide an excellent source of energy for y our Mastiff, provided it doesn’t have any allergies. Rice, barley, and quinoa are outstanding options for complex carbohydrates.

Bull Mastiffs also need calcium support for their bone structure, and probiotics to help them with digestion so they don’t get too bloated. Other helpful ingredients are glucosamine for joint support and Omega fatty acids for skin and coat health.

Potential Health Issues

Weight is a huge issue for Mastiffs because there’s such a fine line between handling their caloric needs and feeding them too much. Excess weight can be detrimental for a Mastiff because of the extra stress on its joints. It also makes it susceptible to chronic conditions like diabetes.

They’re prone to eye issues and most forms of cancer as well. A proper diet can help stave off most of these issues right from the beginning although diet isn’t a miracle. However, even if your Mastiff does develop cancer, it’s treatable with chemotherapy. A dog with proper nutrition has a better chance of recovering, both from cancer and the chemo itself.

Allergies can rob a Mastiff of quality of life. Common allergies could be environmental, but many come from food. Typical food allergies include gluten and wheat, corn, soy, and poultry. Also, if your Mastiff has a sensitive stomach, you may want to consider alternatives to beef as well.

Large dogs are susceptible to bloat. We aren’t really sure exactly what causes bloating in dogs, but we do know that the twisted, air-filled stomach begins to block the diaphragm, causing issues with breathing and blood flow to the heart. No one is sure if the stomach twists first or the air forms first, but it’s a life-threatening situation. Although nothing is proven 100% effective, some possible ways to prevent it is to slow down eating and control portion sizes carefully. Also, use probiotics to aid digestion.

A Note About Puppies

Mastiff puppies are some of the slowest growing puppies in the dog world. It can take them up to two years to fully develop. It’s critical that you encourage slow growth by using a food formulated for large breed puppies.

When a mastiff puppy experiences quick growth, the stress on its musculoskeletal framework can cause pain and joint damage. It may not be readily apparent during the puppy phase, but it can prevent your Mastiff from being active later.

We generally recommend puppy-specific food for all breeds, but Mastiff puppies should definitely have a food formulated especially for their needs.

The Best Dog Food For Mastiffs

We have some recommendations for your Mastiff, including some foods suitable for large breed puppies and large breed seniors. Let’s take a look.

Blue Wilderness Diet Large Breed Salmon Formula

Blue Wilderness Diet Large Breed Salmon FormulaBlue took the omnivore diet of wolves and translated that to food that considers the unique needs of dogs. Dogs are omnivores, so Blue use high-quality meat, veggies, and fats to provide nutrients specifically for your Mastiff.

Salmon is a high quality, lean protein source with plenty of good fats to keep your Mastiff’s skin healthy. It includes veggies and fruits for essential vitamins. Mastiffs get calcium support, along with glucosamine and Chondroitin for joint and bone health.

All Blue dog foods include something called LifeSource Bits. These are pockets of essential vitamins and chelated minerals to make the food easier to digest and more nutrient dense.

Pros:

  • LifeSource bits deliver essential vitamins and minerals
  • four sources of protein, perfect for your large dog’s needs
  • Salmon and grain free for sensitive stomachs
  • includes extra calcium

Cons:

  • hard to find in extra-large size bags
  • it can be costly

CANIDAE All Life Stages Multi-Protein Formula Dry Dog Food

CANIDAE All Life Stages Multi-Protein Formula Dry Dog FoodCanidae makes some of the best dog food out there. Our first recommendation isn’t a large breed specific blend, but the formula uses multiple sources of protein to help with your giant baby’s massive protein needs. It uses chicken, lamb, fish, and turkey for a complete and varied protein profile.

It includes veggies for critical vitamins and minerals, plus probiotics to help your Mastiff digest food better. Canidae also uses something they call HealthPLUS solutions, a range of antioxidants, probiotics, and essential fatty acids, added after cooking so they’re at peak performance.

Although it isn’t made for large breeds specifically, it does use a combination blend of protein that’s suitable for a breed like Mastiffs. Your dog will get the calorie requirements fulfilled through a nutrient-dense formula. It’s free from wheat, corn, and soy.

Pros:

  • it’s suitable for many types of breeds, so it’s easier for multi-dog households
  • multi-blend protein formula gives Mastiffs higher quality, denser protein
  • uses premium, natural ingredients without many common food allergens
  • family owned, independent company

Cons:

  • not breed specific
  • somewhat expensive

American Journey Large Breed Salmon And Rice Formula

American Journey Large Breed Salmon And Rice FormulaIf you need a budget option for your Mastiff, American Journey can help shave a few dollars off. It isn’t going to be as cheap as those highly processed grocery store brands, but it will help you stay in a better budget without sacrificing nutrition.

It uses deboned salmon for high quality, lean protein with plenty of healthy fats. Minerals like calcium and phosphorus help support bone health, something Mastiffs need their entire lives. Omega fatty acids help keep skin and coat healthy. Complex, whole carbohydrates give your Mastiff plenty of energy.

It doesn’t include common food allergens such as corn or soy, and it uses salmon instead of poultry and poultry by-product. If your Mastiff suffers from digestive issues, American Journey’s food may be able to ease some of those digestive problems while helping your Mastiff make better use of the food’s nutrients.

The food is manufactured in the United States and uses only naturally sourced ingredients. The bag is just 28 pounds, but the cost equivalent could save you as much as 25% on your budget.

Although budget is always a concern when feeding a dog as large as a Mastiff, proper nutrition can save money in the long run. When you build a healthy foundation, you won’t spend nearly as much money at the vet later dealing with chronic health issues.

However, American Journey should give your Mastiff proper nutrition while helping you better manage your budget.

Pros:

  • slightly more cost efficient
  • salmon formula doesn’t have common food allergens including poultry
  • supports bone and skin health

Cons:

  • the bag is just 28 pounds, so you’ll have to purchase more often.
  • only available through Chewy, no brick and mortar options. (might be a plus for you if you love auto-ship, however)

Eagle Pack Large And Giant Breed Puppy Food

Best Puppy Food For Mastiffs

Eagle Pack Large And Giant Breed Puppy FoodEagle Pack’s puppy food is specifically for the unique needs of large breed puppies. It uses natural ingredients for a nutrient-dense formula without too much fat or protein. It helps your puppy grow more slowly, caring for those sensitive joints and bones in the process.

It uses quality proteins from lamb and chicken with brown rice and oatmeal for complex carbohydrates to supply your growing puppy’s energy needs. A balance of antioxidants, glucosamine, and omega fatty acids provide your Mastiff with building blocks for better health down the road.

The most important aspect of this food is balanced nutrition. It has just 25% protein and 12% fat. Your Mastiff’s diet will change as it gets older, but as a puppy, these lower numbers prevent growth that happens too quickly. Slower growth is gentler on the joints, hips, and back.

It has no artificial additives and doesn’t include potatoes, meaning the glycemic index is lower.  It can help stave off diabetes later in life by controlling the natural sugars in the food.

Pros:

  • formulated for the needs of large and extra large breed puppies
  • lower in protein and fat to encourage slower growth
  • includes minerals and compounds for joint and bone support
  • balanced carbohydrates provide steady energy

Cons:

  • can be expensive
  • lamb meal is the first ingredient instead of whole lamb

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Large Breed Senior Chicken And Rice

Best Senior Dog Food For Mastiffs

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Large Breed Senior Chicken And RiceLife Protection formulas include LifeSource bits designed to offer more complete nutrition for your dog. It uses vital minerals and vitamins added after cooking, so they appear in a more pure form. There’s support for your Mastiff’s specific needs later in life.

This senior formula uses deboned chicken as its first ingredient followed by natural sources of nutrients including veggies and complex carbohydrates. It has added calcium and phosphorus for bone health plus glucosamine for joint support.

It doesn’t use any corn or soy, and none of the protein sources include chicken meal or byproduct. Whole chicken is a source of high quality, lean protein for your senior. It can help keep weight down while support muscle health. It also features just 10% fat, helping your senior stay lean to avoid the inevitable issues of obesity in older age.

Pros:

  • lower fat helps combat obesity as your Mastiff ages and becomes less mobile
  • deboned chicken provides high quality, lean protein sources
  • support for joints, bones, heart health, and other senior concerns

Cons:

  • The bag comes in just 30-pound increments. That might be fine for some large breed dogs, but for your Mastiff, you may be buying food more often than you’d like.
  • could be expensive for you

Extra: Blue Buffalo Senior Canned Food

Blue Buffalo Senior Canned FoodIf your senior dog has gotten picky in its old age, wet food may be an excellent way to help your dog get nutrients. Blue Buffalo’s wet food is an excellent supplement to your senior dog’s nutrition. We recommend mixing the two together or alternating so that your Senior gets the benefit of dry food for dental health.

The cans include deboned turkey (or other meats in other flavors of cans) for quality protein, essential vitamins, and minerals for skin and heart health. It also includes B12, a vitamin crucial for gastrointestinal function.

Final Thoughts

Spending a little more on food for your Mastiff should get you a good quality one, which can save a lot of vet bills in the future by supporting your Mastiff’s weight. Prevention is going to be the best bet here.

If you’re willing to take that on, you should make sure that your food matches your dog’s life stage. Puppies need less fat and protein to discourage quick growth. Adults need steady nutrition without overeating (which can be a feat), and seniors need a good deal of weight control because of their relative inactivity.

Mastiffs are loyal, regal dogs, and this gentle giant should provide a wonderful companion for your family. Make sure your large best friend has the proper foundation of health, so you guys have each other for the longest time possible.

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