The name “Mastiff” is given to a group of large dogs bred from a common ancestor known as the Molossus – these dogs are also called Molosser breeds. The dog breed most commonly associated with the Mastiff name is the English Mastiff, a very large breed of dog that follows the Mastiff type. The English Mastiff has a massive build with a large head and a short, close-lying coat. These dogs may look intimidating due to their size, but they are actually very docile and even-tempered. The English Mastiff does very well as a family pet, exhibiting great patience with children as well as fierce devotion to his family. In order to keep your Mastiff healthy you not only need to provide him with enough daily exercise – you also need to make sure he has a healthy diet. Below you will find valuable information about meeting your Mastiff’s nutritional needs as well as some special considerations to make. You will also find recommendations for commercial dog foods for this loving breed.
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Nutritional Needs for Mastiffs
The English Mastiff is a very large breed of dog that stands about 30 inches tall and weighs about 150 to 250 pounds at maturity. The record-holding dog with the highest weight was an English Mastiff weighing 343 pounds. English Mastiffs are massive dogs, having very large, broad skulls with deep chests and short fur. Mastiff breeds like the English Mastiff are consistently ranked among the top 30 dog breeds according to AKC registration statistics, so many people love the breed. Although Mastiffs are very large, they are also a very gentle and docile breed that forms close ties with family and does well with children. English Mastiffs in particular is confident and brave, though still very loyal and even-tempered. The key to keeping your English Mastiff healthy lies in providing him with a high-quality commercial dog food diet that will provide for his protein needs and support his bone and joint health.
For dogs, the primary nutritional concern is protein – it should come from high-quality sources of animal-based proteins like fresh meat and fish instead of plant-based foods. Meat meals are also a valuable addition to commercial dog food diets since they have already been cooked down to a moisture level around 10% – this makes them a highly concentrated source of protein. Second to protein is fat – fat is the most highly concentrated source of energy available to dogs. You should limit your Mastiff’s fat intake however, because too much fat in his diet could lead to obesity – protein is more important to provide energy while also supporting lean muscle mass. After fat, carbohydrates are next on the scale of dietary importance and they should come from wholesome sources like whole-grain oatmeal or brown rice. You can also choose grain-free alternatives like sweet potato and tapioca.
After your Mastiff’s needs for protein, fat and carbohydrate are met you need to think about additional nutrients. A high-quality dog food will contain probiotics to help support your dog’s healthy digestion as well as chelated minerals for maximum absorption of nutrients. Look for a product that is supplemented with glucosamine and chondroitin to support your Mastiff’s bones and joints as well as a product that has a blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Your best bet is to choose a commercial dog food formula specially formulated for large-breed dogs. These formulas contain plenty of high-quality protein to sustain lean muscle mass with moderate levels of fat and carbohydrate. Avoid anything that is too high in fat because the Mastiff does have a tendency toward obesity if you aren’t careful about what and how much you feed him.
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Special Considerations for Mastiffs
Because the English Mastiff is such a large dog, it takes puppies up to two years in order to reach their adult size. It is very important that you keep your English Mastiff puppy from growing too quickly because excess growth could put unnecessary strain on his bones and joints which could increase his risk for developing musculoskeletal issues in the future. To make sure your puppy doesn’t grow too quickly, put him on a commercial dog food diet specially formulated for large-breed dogs. These formulas typically have moderate amounts of protein to maintain lean muscle mass with lower amounts of fat and carbohydrate to prevent excessive growth. Keep your Mastiff puppy on this formula until he reaches about 80% of his adult size and then switch to a large-breed adult formula.
Another special consideration you need to make in feeding your Mastiff is that you want to keep him from eating too quickly or too much. Large-breed dogs have an increased risk for a condition known as gastric dilation volvulus, or bloat – this occurs when they eat too quickly, consume too much at once, or if they drink a lot of water or exercise heavily too soon after eating. When a dog develops bloat, his abdomen fills with air and his stomach could actually twist on its axis, cutting off circulation to the stomach and other vital organs. This condition is very serious and it can even be fatal, so you need to be careful about feeding your Mastiff too much at once. Avoid exercising your dog within 1 hour of feeding and don’t let him drink a lot of water right after a meal.
Top Recommended Dog Foods for Mastiffs
If you need some help in finding the right food for your Mastiff, consider one of the commercial dog food brands discussed below. Be careful when considering a breed-specific formula for your dog – do not just assume that the formula will meet your dog’s needs without evaluating the product for yourself. Consider the ingredients list to make sure that the product is of high-quality before offering it to your dog.
1. Canidae Life Stages Large Breed Adult Formula
The Canidae pet food company is devoted to producing all-natural pet foods for dogs and cats. This company is family owned and operated, stationed in Texas where all of their pet foods are produced. Canidae offers a variety of dry food and wet food products for both dogs and cats including the PURE line of grain-free formulas and the Life Stages line which is formulated for dogs in all life stages. The Canidae Life Stages Large Breed Adult Formula is specially designed to meet the nutritional needs of large-breed dogs like the Mastiff and it is made with duck meal, brown rice, and lentils as the main ingredients. This formula offers guaranteed levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to ensure optimal skin and coat health as well as lower levels of protein and fat than the typical dog food to prevent your Mastiff from gaining too much weight. The Canidae Life Stages Large Breed Adult Formula is loaded with antioxidants and probiotics, plus it is free from wheat, corn, and soy ingredients.
2. Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Large Breed Dog Diet
All of the formulas offers by Dr. Gary’s Best Breed are specially formulated to ensure holistic nutrition for your dog – in fact, they are all developed by a veterinarian. The Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Large Breed Dog formula is made up of nutritionally-dense kibbles, formulated with highly digestible ingredients to ensure maximum nutrient absorption and optimal weight maintenance. This formula contains chicken meal, oatmeal and brown rice as the top three ingredients, supplemented with chicken fat, egg, and fish oil for additional nutrients. The Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Large Breed Dog formula contains both prebiotics and probiotics for healthy digestion and it is supplemented with glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy bones and joints. This formula is made with US-raised, non-GMO grains as well as all-natural, antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. It also contains a precise blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for proper skin and coat health.
3. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Large Breed Adult Chicken Recipe
The Blue Buffalo pet food company is known for producing natural foods for dogs and cats that are made with the finest quality ingredients without the use of artificial flavors, preservatives, and dyes. Blue Buffalo offers four different product lines of dry dog foods – the Life Protection line of natural foods, the Freedom line of grain-free foods, the Basics line of limited ingredient diets, and the Wilderness line of high-protein foods. The Blue Buffalo Wilderness Large Breed Adult Chicken Recipe is a great option for large-breed dogs like the Mastiff because it is incredibly rich in protein and supplemented with glucosamine and chondroitin. This formula is made with deboned chicken, chicken meal, and turkey meal as the top three ingredients followed by tapioca and peas. The Blue Buffalo Wilderness Large Breed Adult Chicken Recipe contains an optimal balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, plus it has Blue Buffalo’s LifeSource Bits which contain a proprietary blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
The English Mastiff is a very large breed of dog, so finding the right diet to support his size and health is very important. If you need help selecting a high-quality commercial diet for your Mastiff, consider one of the top-rated brands discussed above.