Mastiffs, or molessor dogs, are an incredible group of canines. There are many different types of Mastiffs in the world, from the stout Bull Mastiff to the fancy Dogue de Bourdeaux. Many of them are related and they all have similar nutritional needs, so it's important to find the best dog food for Mastiffs to meet those requirements.
Out of all these breeds, did you know that there is one in particular that is called simply ‘Mastiff’? The Mastiff is also known as an English Mastiff. He is of an ancient breed. In fact, Caesar described encountering Mastiffs upon invading Britain in 55 BC.
These dogs are massive, weighing between 120-230 pounds and standing over 30 inches at the shoulder. Their color and markings make them easily distinguished from other molessor breeds – the black face mask, dark floppy ears and apricot, brindle or fawn body.
Easily trained, easy going and good with children, these gentle giants make a great pet for a wide variety of lifestyles. Mastiff lovers enjoy a longer lifespan than most giant breeds as well – up to 10 years.
Because of their extremely large size and average energy level, these dogs need to eat more calories per day than the average dog. They also have other specific nutritional needs, which I'll discuss more in a minute. For now, here's a look at the best dog food for Mastiffs that I'll be covering in this article:
|Dog Food Brands||Price||Value||Rating|
|Royal Canin Vegetarian||$$$$$||$0.38/oz||5.0/5|
|Hill’s Prescription Diet Urgent Care n/d||$$$$$||$0.40/oz||3.5/5|
|Natural Balance Delectable Delights Pawpaya||$$$$||$0.30/oz||4.3/5|
|Eukanuba Large Breed Puppy Formula||$$||$1.51/lb||4.5/5|
|Royal Canin GIANT Puppy Food||$$$||$2.10/lb||4.6/5|
|Royal Canin GIANT Junior Dog Food||$$$||$2.08/lb||4.4/5|
|Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight||$$||$1.81/lb||4.6/5|
|Royal Canin GIANT Adult Formula||$$||$1.80/lb||4.0/5|
|Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind Senior Large Breed||$$||$1.83/lb||4.5/5|
|Hill’s Prescription Diet Metabolic + Mobility Stew||$$$$$||$0.45/oz||4.4/5|
* Click on the best Mastiff dog food for more information and prices or scroll down below for more details.
The Mastiff is generally a healthy, dog but can occasionally suffer from breed-associated medical problems. A few of these conditions can be helped by proper nutrition. Just remember that you need to consult with your veterinarian or a trained canine nutritionist before switching your dog's diet, especially if he has a health condition.
It's also important to choose the best dog food for Mastiffs based on the life stage that they're in. Puppies have much different nutritional needs than senior dogs. Nutrition is an aspect of canine care that needs to be revisited as your dog ages, and your vet will be able to help you with that.
Best Dog Food for Mastiffs
10 vet recommended brands
How to Feed a Mastiff
Before switching your dog to any new diet, always consult with a veterinarian. Remember that no article on the internet, including this one, can replace a consultation with a vet.
Common health conditions in Mastiffs
The Mastiff is generally a healthy breed, but it is important to be aware of certain issues. The ones noted here may be helped or possibly prevented with the best dog food for Mastiffs.
Male, intact (non-neutered) Mastiffs are prone to developing bladder stones containing cystine. The reason that it seems to mostly affect male dogs is unknown, but neutering appears to provide an effective treatment.
For neutered dogs or females that still suffer, cystine bladder stones can be somewhat controlled by feeding a special diet. If your dog has been diagnosed with cystinuria, I recommend talking to your veterinarian about Royal Canin Vegetarian.
Vegetarian diets can successfully prevent formation of cystine stones. Unlike other best dog food for Mastiffs that treat cystinuria, like Hill’s Prescription diet u/d, prescription vegetarian diets can be fed long-term.
Unfortunately, Mastiffs are over-represented when it comes to the cancer lymphoma. Lymphoma can be somewhat successfully controlled with chemotherapy, but that can also leave patients feeling unwell. Nutritional support is of utmost importance if your Mastiff has been diagnosed with lymphoma.
Talk to your veterinarian or veterinary oncologist about Hill’s Prescription Diet Urgent Care n/d. This diet from Hill’s Science Diet is often recommended for dogs with lymphoma. It is in a highly palatable canned formulation that is easy to feed. It also contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and arginine.
If a prescription diet is not recommended for your dog, it is best to feed a calorie-dense, palatable diet full of antioxidants. In this case, I recommend Natural Balance Delectable Delights Pawpaya Pilaf Stew as the best dog food for Mastiffs.
It is important to keep your dog well-nourished while they fight cancer. Natural Balance has individual stew formulations that are tasty and contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, protein and antioxidants. This particular one contains real papaya, fish, turkey and brown rice.
Veterinary oncologists and holistic veterinarians alike recommend high levels of antioxidants to cancer patients. Even if your Mastiff is already on a cancer diet, talk to your vet about starting Cell Advance 880 by Vetriscience.
Cell Advance 880 is a potent blend of antioxidants that is trusted by veterinarians. It contains 23 powerful free-radical scavengers, including Vitamins A, C, E and B6. Bioflavonoids rutin, hesperidin and quercetin support tissue health and help maintain healthy collagen levels. The capsules are very easy to administer.
Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
Hip and elbow dysplasia can be common in Mastiffs. While there is a genetic component to these issues, nutrition plays a big role in their development. Hip dysplasia is the abnormal growth of the hips. Over time, the abnormality can cause painful hip arthritis, even in puppies.
While selective breeding and screening can help diminish the prevalence of the genes in the breeding population, it is still present. Elbow dysplasia is a syndrome that can be caused by many different genetic developmental issues in the elbows, leading to painful degenerative joint disease and arthritis.
While there is a genetic component to these diseases, there are significant nutritional risk factors that play a part during puppyhood. These risk factors are rapid growth and excess dietary calcium intake. It is not possible to prevent these issues 100% via diet alone but feeding an appropriate puppy-specific food and not overfeeding will help.
Puppyhood is the most important time to pay attention to nutrition. As mentioned above, it is best to not over-feed your Mastiff. This will help prevent developmental orthopedic diseases and obesity.
A large-breed specific puppy food is the best way to go when selecting the best nutrition. When recommending the best dog food for Mastiffs in their puppy stage, I reach for Eukanuba Large Breed Puppy Formula.
Eukanuba is one of the ‘top shelf’ premium lines that is still quite affordable for most mastiff owners. Attention to evidence-based nutrition is a top priority and it shows.
Giant puppies like mastiffs need nutrients like omega-3 fatty acid DHA and chondroitin sulfate for healthy joint development. If your mastiff is picky, don’t despair – Eukanuba boasts at 110% money-back guarantee. It is best to feed a large-breed specific food until your pup is 8-12 months of age.
The premium line from Royal Canin recommends two different ‘stages’ of puppy food for giant breed dogs like the Mastiff. The first is Royal Canin GIANT Puppy Food. It sports a larger sized, patented kibble design to help giant puppies optimally chew their food. This food is typically fed until the pup is 8 months old.
Mastiffs mature slowly and have slightly different nutritional requirements after 8 months of age. I recommend Royal Canin GIANT Junior Dog Food formula as the best dog food for Mastiffs between 8-18 months of age.
Since giant breeds face aging changes sooner in their lives compared with smaller breeds, their joints need support earlier. Royal Canin GIANT Junior is fortified with chondroitin and glucosamine to nourish growing cartilage.
Take care when switching your Mastiff from a puppy food to an adult formula. To reduce the chances of digestive upset, slowly mix the old food with the new over the course of a week. Start with roughly 25% new/75% old on day 1, reach 50%/50% on day 4 and 100% new adult food on day 7.
If you have had a Mastiff before, you are aware that they can become quite lazy as they ease into adulthood. It is important to keep this in mind when selecting the best dog food for Mastiffs.
Low activity levels can translate to unwanted weight gain if you are not careful. Since most Mastiffs are couch potatoes, consider Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight when your pup is 12-18 months of age.
This lower-calorie adult diet is perfect for low-active Mastiffs. High fiber content helps them to feel fuller longer and cuts down on pesky begging behavior. Coconut oil and flaxseed will help give him a shiny, healthy coat and joint-supporting omega-3 fatty acids.
Low-Active and Normal Body Condition Mastiffs
Royal Canin has been a trusted brand for over 40 years. More nutrient-dense foods, like those from Royal Canin, are more efficiently digested, translating to less mess with better formed, smaller bowel movements. I recommend Royal Canin GIANT Adult Formula for Mastiffs in this category.
Royal Canin also takes extra care when balancing calcium levels for ongoing bone and joint support for your giant. Other important ingredients include therapeutic levels of omega-3 fatty acids EPA/DHA from cold-water fish, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate.
Royal Canin also has a very specific and very handy feeding guide based on your giant’s activity level – from low active to very active – providing fuel to ‘go’ and prevents over-feeding. Another benefit of feeding an appropriate amount – more money in your pocket!
Mastiffs are considered senior or geriatric when they reach 5-6 years of age. Many Mastiffs don’t seem to “feel their age” until they are almost at the end. For the dog that is young at heart, consider feeding Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind Senior Large Breed.
Older dogs can begin to have more digestive issues, so selecting a senior-specific food can do them a world of good. Purina’s premium line offers excellent nutrition with high levels of digestive supporting fiber, high quality protein from real meat, and joint support nutrients like glucosamine and omega-3 fatty acids. This senior formula also has fewer calories than many adult foods, helping your dog to maintain a healthy weight.
Senior Mastiffs often have mobility challenges due to degenerative joint disease and arthritis. It is important to support their mobility and comfort as best you can with Hill’s Prescription Diet Metabolic + Mobility Stew.
This diet from Hill’s will help to support your senior’s healthy weight and improve mobility in as little as 21 days. Therapeutic levels of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and real vegetables will tempt the pickiest eater. This canned diet can be paired with Hill’s mobility dry formula if your senior prefers a crunchier texture.
The Doggy Bag – Take Home Message
Mastiffs tend to live the longest, healthiest lives when they are kept in a leaner body condition, receive life-stage-appropriate balanced nutrition and routine veterinary care. Regardless which of the best dog food for Mastiffs you choose for your canine companion, it is important to follow feeding instructions carefully and consult with your veterinarian if you are concerned about your dog’s health or nutrition.
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