Although there are many types of mastiffs, they all share one thing: they are big, friendly and affectionate dogs. Many mastiffs are gentle, docile giants. Some also take on traditional guard dog duties. Mastiffs are an important part of many families.
Mastiffs, like all dogs, need specialized nutrition to support their bones and muscles. Mastiffs are couch potatoes who love to lie in one spot all day. However, they still need special nutrition. Because of their large, sedentary nature, they require low-protein food with the right nutrients to support healthy joints and digestion.
It can be hard to choose the right food for your mastiff. This is due to the different nutritional needs of the different mastiff breeds. The Tibetan Mastiff, which is large and long-haired, could benefit from dog food that supports its fluffy coat. However, the English Mastiff, which is massive and heavy, needs to be more focused on bone and joint health.
We’ll show you the best dog food for mastiffs, regardless of your mastiff.
What is the best dog food for a mastiff?
Although your preference for dog food will vary depending on the type of mastiff, the foods that we have chosen should be the same regardless. Here is a quick overview.
Our top pick: Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Dog FoodMost budget-friendly: Iams ProActiveHealth Large Breed FoodBest Skin and Coat : American Journey Large Dog RecipesBest Holistic: Taste Of the Wild with Ancient GrainsBest Adult Food : A Puppy AboveBest Dietary Restrictions : Hill’s Science Large Breed Dog FoodBest All Natural Kibble: Nutro Ultra Large Dog Food
Things to Know About Mastiffs
The AKC recognizes four types of mastiffs: the English Mastiff (or Old English Mastiff or just Mastiff), Bullmastiff and Tibetan Mastiff. The Tibetan Mastiff is the smallest, weighing in at 70 pounds. The English Mastiff is the largest, weighing in at over 200 pounds. Zorba, an English Mastiff, was the heaviest dog on the planet. He also had the longest tail from nose to tail. He weighed in at over 330 pounds and measured more than 8 feet long.
Another interesting fact about mastiffs: The Neapolitan Mastiff holds the record for having the largest litter of puppies ever. They were so numerous that C-section was necessary to deliver them all. The famous Neapolitan Mastiff Tia gave birth to 24 puppies.
Mastiffs love to live large, and that is evident. Mastiffs, like many giant-breed dogs are slow to mature. Mastiffs can take up to two years to reach their full weight and size. It is vital that they get adequate nutrition throughout this period. If they don’t take in enough or too many nutrients as they grow up, it can lead to problems with their bones and muscles later in life.
The nutritional needs of mastiffs are the same as any large breed dog. Mastiffs are often stoic, loving couch potatoes and not exercise fiends. You may consider incorporating this into your dog’s diet.
Mastiffs have different nutritional needs than adults. Mastiff puppies should be fed a special large- or giant-breed puppy food during their first two years. This will provide them with the proper nutrition to grow properly.
Once your mastiff is at their maximum size, you should ensure that they get enough protein, fat, and other nutrients in their diet to keep them healthy.
Many pet foods advertise 18-22% protein in dry foods, while wet foods are closer to 5%. This is fine for adult dogs but it’s not recommended for giant breeds like mastiffs. They should eat kibble with at least 30% protein and 8% in wet food. Protein is vital for your puppy’s energy and growth.
As they age, your mastiff’s protein requirements will decrease. However, it is possible to feed them more protein if you exercise regularly. 25 percent is a safer option for adult mastiffs.
Calcium and phosphorus
Your giant breed puppy should be able to eat calcium and phosphorus as they grow. This doesn’t mean they should be fed more! Many giant breed puppies can’t regulate how much calcium they take when they are young. This can lead to excessive nutrients that cause bones to grow too fast for their own good.
As they grow, your puppy should be given a 1:3 to 1:3 amount of calcium and/or phosphorus. To ensure that they are getting the right nutrients, you need to be vigilant about what treats you give them. Your mastiff puppy should consume 1.5% calcium (dry).
But calcium and phosphorus don’t have to be the only important minerals for your mastiff’s well-being. The following should be noted:
CopperManganeseVitamin AVitamin DZinc
These minerals should be part of your mastiff’s daily diet. However, excessive amounts can lead to developmental problems.
Mastiffs should be careful about fat. Your mastiff requires healthy fats, just like humans. However, excess fats can lead to obesity and other health problems.
Your mastiff may only need between 10-14% fat in its puppy years (3%-4% in wet diets), but it can get slightly more during its adult years.
Mastiffs are ill with various diseases and medical conditions
Mastiffs, like all dogs, can be affected by medical conditions closely linked to their diet. These conditions can prove fatal for mastiff owners. Below are some examples.
DOD and Mastiff Puppy Nutrition
DOD, also known as Developmental Orthopedic Disease, is a medical term that describes the importance of puppy nutrition in giant breed dogs. DOD is more than one disease. It can also be caused by poor nutrition during the growth stages of giant-breed and large-breed dogs.
DOD can cover many bone-related conditions such as:
Elbow and hip dysplasia, conditions where the hip or elbow grinds against or dislocates from its socket because of developmental issuesOsteochondrosis, a condition that affects the cartilaginous areas in your dog’s bonesPanosteitis, or “growing pains,” bone soreness that resolves when the dog reaches its full sizeHypertrophic Osteodystrophy, a condition that can cause bone inflammation, necrosis, or failed bone development in your dog’s joints
Your goal is to provide your mastiff puppy with the exact nutrients it requires – in the best possible quantities. Too much nutrition can lead to your puppy’s bones developing incorrectly or too fast, and too little can cause them grow too slow (and can also cause malformations).
What makes mastiff puppy food different than food for smaller dogs? The most important difference is that giant breed puppy foods usually have lower levels of certain nutrients. You should be aware that fat, vitamin D and phosphorous are the four essential nutrients. Protein can also play a part.
Your mastiff puppy should not overeat. Overeating can cause obesity in large and giant breed dogs. Bloat is a serious medical condition that can be fatal for giant breed dogs with deep chests such as mastiffs.
How to Protect Your Mastiff from Bloat
Bloat can be a sudden, severe medical condition that can affect any dog. However, it is more common in larger breeds. Bloat can occur suddenly without any obvious cause. However, there are some things that can increase the likelihood of your mastiff developing it.
Let’s first define bloat. Bloat (or gastric volvulus) is when your dog’s stomach becomes larger than usual. This can cause pain in your dog and can also put pressure on their other organs like their heart or lungs. It can even cause stomach damage in extreme cases.
This is obviously dangerous as it could affect your dog’s ability for breathing. It can also cause pressure to your dog’s heart, which can lead to decreased blood flow.
Sometimes your dog’s stomach may invert during bloat. If this happens, surgery is the only option. Bloat can be deadly and requires immediate medical attention.
Bloat can be caused by a variety of factors. These are some of the things that can increase your dog’s chances of developing bloat.
Raised food bowlsRunning/playing within an hour of a mealEating too fastLarge dishesOvereating or drinkingStressA family history that has caused bloat
There are many things you can do to reduce the risk of each of these risk factors. If your mastiff is currently fed from raised food bowls, it’s time to stop using them. It is also easy to let your dog rest for at least an hour after every meal.
Slow-eating bowls are a great option for mastiffs who eat too quickly. These dishes can be made so that your mastiff will eat small portions. It is possible to slow down your mastiff by giving them more small meals than large ones.
Mastiffs are gentle, calm giants. Stress is usually caused by an external factor. If your mastiff is anxious enough to put them at danger, it’s worth asking your vet for a solution.
Finally, although there is nothing you can do about a history of bloat in your dogs’ bloodlines, you can be vigilant and take preventive measures. Knowing the likelihood of your dog developing the condition will help you prepare to fight it and be more aware of warning signs.
Obesity in Mastiffs – Prevention is Key
Although your mastiff’s risk for obesity is different depending on the breed, it can still cause serious health problems in large dogs. Obesity can often exacerbate any bone or joint problems your mastiff may be experiencing.
This is how it works: When your mastiff gains weight, more strain will be placed on their bones and joints. This can lead to more problems over time. The best way to prevent this is to get your mastiff to a healthy weight.
How can you keep your dog healthy? One, they need to be fed a healthy, balanced diet. It is also important to limit the amount of food that they eat. Finally, exercising can help them lose weight.
One exception is mastiffs with a preexisting condition that could contribute to weight gain. You may have to be more vigilant if your mastiff is suffering from one of these conditions.
Dilated cardiomyopathy: Is it worth the risk?
Consider the possibility of exotic pet foods causing dilated cardiac disease. DCM isn’t necessarily fatal but it can cause heart failure if it progresses.
DCM is an important part of large-breed dogs, like mastiffs, that have larger hearts. DCM has been linked to certain “boutique” and non-growny dog food diets in recent years. Although veterinary scientists and researchers continue to investigate the connection between DCM, special diets and DCM, it’s important to note that your mastiff could be at greater risk if you choose an exotic or grain-free diet.
It’s impossible to know if your dog will get the disease if they aren’t on these diets, or if it will increase their risk of getting it in the future. But you need to consider this before making any decisions.
Raw Food Diaries and Home-Cooked Dog Food
Dog owners are now embracing homemade and raw dog food as a way to give their mastiffs the best diet possible. Raw food and home diets can be very beneficial for your pet, especially if you have allergies or have other medical issues. However, it is best to consult your veterinarian or a nutritionist before trying this.
It is important to ensure that your mastiff receives the right nutrients in homemade pet food. Your mastiff may have developmental or growth problems if you don’t achieve the right ratios.
However, raw or human-grade food is perfectly acceptable for your pet. If done correctly, they can actually be very beneficial for your mastiff friend. It is important to follow the correct diet or your pet could suffer unintentional pain.
Fear not if you are looking for the best raw or human-grade diets for your pet but don’t have the energy or time to consult with a vet. This guide will look at several mail-order dog food companies that can provide proven diets for your mastiff.
How Often Do I Need to Feed My Mastiff?
Your Mastiff’s age will determine how much food you feed them. This can be different for adult and puppy dogs, as they have different nutritional needs. A puppy can be fed up 4 times per day. It requires more protein and energy as it grows.
An adult Mastiff can consume approximately 1.2kg or 2.6 lbs per day. You shouldn’t give all of this to your dog at once. To ensure that your dog doesn’t get too much, make sure you divide the amount into two meals per day.
The Overall Best Dog Food for Mastiffs
Our 2023 Picks: Best Mastiff Dog Food
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula for Large Breed Dogs
Three life stages for large dogs: puppy, adult, and seniorGrain-free or grain-inclusive (depending on formulation)Price:$1.76/lbCHECK PRICE
The Farmer’s Dog
Ideal for weight loss
Iams ProActive Health Large Breed Dog Food
Low price, excellent nutritional balance. Also covers all life stages.
Precise portions based on breed, age, and sizeHuman-grade wet food, delivered to your doorPrice:VariesCHECK PRICE
American Journey Large Breed Recipes
Grain-free or grain-inclusive kibbleHigh-protein, limited-ingredient formulationsDesigned for large dogsPrice:$1.79/lbCHECK PRICE
Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Recipes
Three life stages: puppy, adult, and adult 7+High-quality dry kibble that’s also appropriate for weight controlPrice:$1.41/lbCHECK PRICE
Wet food for humans in beef, turkey and pork. High-protein formulations
Enjoy the Wild with Ancient Grains
Delicious, natural food made with high-quality ingredients.
A Puppy Above
Natural, human-grade wet feed available in beef, turkey, chicken, and porkVery high-protein formulationsPrice:VariesCHECK PRICE
Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Dog Food
Limited-ingredient veterinary diets designed for dogs with medical conditionsAvailable in a dry and wet kibble (large dog formulas are only dry kibble)Price:$1.57/lbCHECK PRICE
Nutro Ultra Large Breed Dog Food
Ultra-clean, natural dog food with no GMOs, artificial colors, artificial flavors, or preservativesAvailable in large breed puppy and large breed adultPrice:$1.98/lbCHECK PRICE
Let’s now get some background information about the nutritional needs of mastiffs.
Our Top Pick – Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula for Large Breed Dogs
Blue Buffalo’s Life Protection Formula for Large Dogs has the following key features:
There are three life stages for large dogs: adult, puppy, and senior.
It’s easy to see why Blue Buffalo made our top 10. Blue Buffalo is a brand that you are likely to have heard of if you own a pet. Blue Buffalo was one of the first brands to offer holistic, natural pet food – you can even argue that they started the trend.
They are popular, but that’s not the reason they are our number one. It’s a combination two things: their flexibility and commitment to large breed nutrition. Blue Buffalo not only meets all the nutritional needs of mastiffs but also comes in multiple flavors and formulas.
Mastiffs love high-quality ingredients.
All food is more expensive than wet food, but not as much.
Ten More Mastiff-Friendly Dog Foods
Are you not satisfied with our top-rated pick? Check out these other top-rated picks we have below.
Runner-up – The Farmer’s Dog
The Farmer’s Dog’s key features include:
Wet formulas in four flavors: chicken, beef, chicken and pork. Your pet will receive a customized portion size by mail.
The Farmer’s Dog nearly made it to number one on our list – because of how amazing they are. To make portion control easy, they create human-grade food and package it in single-day pouches. This and its lean formula makes it an excellent choice for mastiffs who need to lose weight.
Although The Farmer’s Dog has been approved for all life stages including large-breed puppies, they do not have any formulas specifically for puppies. This is why they are the runner up on this list.
Ideal for weight loss
Expensive Approved for large breeds but does not offer a large-breed recipe
Iams ProActive Health Large Breed Dog food is the most affordable
The Iams ProActive Health Large-Breed Dog Food has the following key features:
Large dog dry food available in three life stages: adult, puppy, and mature adult (7 years and older). Available in “healthy weight” option.
The popularity of holistic pet foods has made it hard to remember that there are many other options available. Iams is an excellent example, offering a variety of balanced formulations that are specifically tailored for large breeds such as mastiffs.
Although the kibble’s ingredient list isn’t as natural as others, it isn’t the worst. This food is nearly half the price of other brands, so it should be on your list.
Low price, excellent nutritional balance. Also includes a healthy weight option.
Only available in chicken flavor
Ollie’s Best Porions
Ollie’s key features include:
You will receive precise portions according to breed, age and size.
Ollie is our second-place winner in human-grade mail order diets. However, from a functional standpoint, it’s almost identical to The Farmer’s Dog. Ollie offers slightly different recipes, but at a slightly higher price than the former. We like Ollie’s weight loss and sensitive stomach options.
Ollie, however, is a bit more difficult to portion than The Farmer’s Dog. Instead of squeezable packets Ollie sends trays you can portion out using a special scoop. This is a more precise method, but it can also be messy.
Precise portion sizingVarious diet optionsCheaper Than The Farmer’s Dog
Large breeds can be approved by MessyApp, but it doesn’t offer large-breed formulas.
American Journey Large Breed Recipes – Highest Protein
These are the key points to American Journey’s Large Breed Recipes:
Grain-free or gluten-inclusive kibbleHigh protein, low-ingredient formulationsDesigned to be fed to large dogs
American Journey is the best place to feed your mastiff a high-protein, nutritious diet. Chewy.com offers five large dog recipes. Two are grain-free, two are grain-inclusive, and one is for puppies. Although they do not offer a grain-inclusive option, this is still a great selection.
High-quality ingredientsHigh-protein formulas
There is no grain-free option for puppies. Some formulas may have a high level of calcium and phosphorus.
Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Recipes – Best Giant Breed
Purina Pro Large Breed Recipes have the following key features:
There are three life stages: adult, puppy, and adult 7+ High-quality dry kibble suitable for weight control.
For many years Purina has been a reliable producer of high-quality, high-quality kibble. Their Pro Plan line has consistently exceeded expectations. Purina ProPlan is the only brand that has a “giant breed” option. Mastiffs can thrive on large breed and giant-breed formulas, but it’s nice that there is one specifically made for them!
Only true “giant-breed” food option
Only available in chicken or rice flavor
Nom Nom – Best Human Grade
Nom Nom’s key features are:
Wet food of human quality in beef, turkey and pork. High-protein formulations
Nom Nomm is similar to other human-grade pet food-by-mail options, but it seems that the Nom Nomm quality is slightly higher than the others. Nom Nom invites you to make your own dog food – it’s that good!
Sadly, Nom Nom is not as delicious as it looks. It costs almost twice the price of Ollie and The Farmer’s Dog.
Delicious, nutritious food suitable for weight loss.
This product is approved for large dogs and puppies. There are no large dog formulations.
Best Holistic – Taste of the Wild With Ancient Grains
Taste of the Wild with Ancient Grains is a combination of the following key elements:
High-quality, natural, holistic dry kibble made with exotic ingredients.
Taste of the Wild is a well-known brand that makes holistic dog food. The unique formulas of their dog food stand out, including smoked salmon with quinoa and sorghum. This is the place to go if you are looking for something new to spice up your dog’s diet while still providing good nutrition.
Delicious flavors and many options for formulas.
Large breeds approved, but not available in large breed formulations.
The Best Adult Food – A Puppy Above
These are the key features of A Puppy Above:
Wet feed made from natural, human-grade ingredients. Available in beef, turkey and chicken.
The A Pup Above is slightly different from other mail-order ready foods we have seen so far. Although they offer a variety of options for large dogs, A Puppy Above is not recommended for large-breed puppies.
A Pup Above has very high-protein formulas at a fraction of the cost of Nom Nom. Be aware that A Pup Above ships in resealable bags of three- to seven-pounds and not single-day pouches, trays, or trays.
To save space in your fridge, order bulk high-protein feedShips human-grade feedShips
There are no options for large-breed puppies
Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Dog food is the best for those with dietary restrictions
Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Dog Food has the following key characteristics:
Available in dry or wet kibble. Large dog formulas can only be dry kibble.
Hill’s Science Diet is a dog food that can be recommended by your vet to your pet with certain medical conditions. Hill’s Science Diet is a brand that specializes in high quality foods that vets use for their pets. Hill’s has some options for sensitive stomachs and healthy mobility. However, Hill’s dry dog kibble is quite expensive.
Formulated for pets with medical conditions, such as joint pain or sensitive stomachsLimited-ingredient diets are great for allergic dogsDesigned for large breeds
Limited Editions of Expensive Flavors
Best All-Natural Kibble – Nutro Ultra Large Breed Dog Food
These are the key ingredients of Nutro Ultra Large Breed Dogfood:
Ultra-clean, natural dog food with no GMOs, artificial colors, artificial flavors, or preservativesAvailable in large breed puppy and large breed adult
You normally have to purchase expensive processed food if you want a truly natural kibble. This kibble is different. It’s full of premium proteins and superfoods. The kibble also contains natural, traceable ingredients that are good both for your dog and the environment. Although it is a little more expensive than you might think, you can be sure that your mastiff will enjoy the best dry kibble available.
Environmentally-friendly, clean, and naturalNutritionally balanced for mastiffs and other large breeds, even puppies
Only one flavor available
Most Frequently Asked Questions
This guide will end with some questions about mastiffs and their nutritional needs. We may still be able to answer your questions if you have them below.
Does My Mastiff Need Large Breed Dog Food?
You should have read this entire article. You can get food that is designed for large breed dogs. Large breed dogs require different nutritional needs than small dogs. Although some dog foods claim they meet all the nutritional needs of large breed dogs, many are not balanced enough to be suitable for them.
What is better for my Mastiff, fresh or dry food?
Both fresh and dried foods can provide nutritional balance for your mastiff. However, each type of food has its advantages and disadvantages. Dry dog food can have better results for your dog’s teeth than wet food. If you do not maintain regular dental cleanings for your dog, it can lead to tooth decay and bad breath.
Do I need a limited-ingredient diet for my mastiff?
LIDs (limited-ingredient diets) were created as a way to provide a food solution for dogs suffering from food allergies. Because they are cleaner and more natural, LIDs have become a popular choice for natural dog food in recent years. LIDs may look appealing but they aren’t a superior choice to regular formulations unless your mastiff has one of the above allergies.
Mastiff owners need to be familiar with the nutritional requirements of their gentle giants. Mastiffs can be a bit of an oddity, as they are large and muscular dogs but prefer to relax in the sun than exercise outdoors.
There are many large-breed-friendly foods available today. This makes it easier than ever to make a decision. Blue Buffalo’s Life Protection Formula for Large Dogs has been our choice because of its balanced formula, reliability, and holistic approach. This list may have helped you to find the perfect food for your mastiff dog. However, no matter which type of food you choose, your pet will be content!
What is the best dog food for Mastiffs? Pet Reviews.