I show, and breed English mastiffs. There are Hugh different opinions on what to feed!
This is a low energy, exstreamly fast growing, big boned breed.
We are talking about a puppy going from 1-2 lbs. at birth to 25-30 lbs. in 8 weeks, over 150 lbs. by 1 year. Adult average weight for a male is 210-250 lbs. I even have a 20 month old male that’s already 275lbs. He is exception to the rule. Correct exercise is very important even for these guys that grow so fast, low energy, and can get over heated fast.
For more that 8 yrs. I’ve driven myself nuts reading dog food labels. Most dog foods I find are for energetic dogs about 100lbs. Maybe up to 150lbs.
I’m not ready to go raw, it seems you can just as easy give them the wrong ratio of nutrients.
I have 8 mastiffs so cost is some what of an issue but I put there health first. Small pieces of kibble can be a problem with choking even for slow eaters.
I’ve heard there are some ingredients that are considered “hot” foods. “?”
You can have a 200lbs muscular football player or a 200lbs couch potato. Developing muscle without putting to much pressure on fast growing joints is a trick.
With all this in mind slow growth low protein is a must.
Low energy is easy to get over weight.
Dose anyone have any suggestions?pitloveParticipant
Have you asked other Mastiff breeders what they feed? I find the breeding (at least amoung quality breeders) and show world to be very tight knit, so I would assume you talk with other exhibitors and breeders.
I personally prefer products from larger companies that staff nutritionists, do feeding trials and do their own original research.Elise SMember
That’s one of the problems every breeding has their own opinion of what is the “Best feeding program” only based on thier experience. Some people swear by a for but when you really start to read about it’s not something I wasn’t my dog on.There doesn’t seam to be one general train of thought. Are hip/elbows getting better or worse, if better because of diet what are people feeding.
Because of this unusually giant breed with the average life spam of 7-9 yrs. Weve seen huge improvements in the overall health of the breed. With correct health testing, breeding, exercise and yes diet, we’re starting to see these guys life long healthy lives 11-13 yrs.
When I breed a bitch I monitor and control everything about her food from the day she goes into season. Giant breed puppy foods can be just as hard because of to much protein. Some breedersput puppies on senior foods for lower protein, but I don’t believe the puppies are not getting calories and calcium.pitloveParticipant
Breeding is complex and yes everyone will have their own opinion. So will people on the internet.
Breeders who’s goals are betterment of the breed are carefully selecting their breeding stock, importing new bloodlines and adding them to their program and constantly looking for dogs to add to their program without genetic ailments plaguing their breed. Those breeders are the ones that we need to help move away from the belief that pure breds are less healthy than mutts. For example Golden Retriever breeders are working to breed cancer out of their lines. Slowly they are accomplishing this. Nutrition plays a huge role in the health of any individual animal, but so does genetics.
Also as a breeder you have a responsibility to your breed to keep up with current research. That being said, the myth that “high protein” diets affect growth in large and giant breeds was debunked over 20 years ago with a set of excellent studies done on Danes. Dietary calcium and over nutrition, coupled with genetics are now recognized as the leading causes of DODs in growing large breeds. A growing puppy should never be put on a “senior” or adult maintenance diet. This was an old practice before companies developed quality foods geared towards large breed puppies. Now with all of the excellent foods available there is no excuse for having them on such an inappropriate diet.Jennifer BMember
Hello, As the owner of 2 Danes, I could resist signing up and sending a response. I truly appreciate your dilemma as it seems pet food manufacturers and veterinary research seems to think all dogs are under 130 LBS. 🙂 We too have struggled with the same challenge when trying to look for a “Dane” friendly food that is reasonably priced and tbh, I have yet to find many that fit the bill.
Before I get into brands, I thought I would give you my “rules of food thumb” which, is based on science but also personal experience so, I am definitely biased. On the other hand, when I suggest this rule of food thumb to others, it seems to do the trick.
1. In growing Giant’s no more than 1% calcium with an absolute 1.2% max. This is due to their bones and the higher potential for Pano/HOD.
2. Lower Protein is actually better for the big guys as many cannot process (find the food too rich) and end up with chronic GI upset. I generally suggest no more than 25-28% and if you are having issues, 21-22%. Seems low, but it actually has science behind it.
3. No more than a 10% difference in Protein to Fat – so if the food is 22% Protein, it should sit around 12% Fat.
Understanding some may disagree with these theories (I have heard it before) there is a fair bit of science, albeit not a lot, regarding the dietary differences required for Danes, Mastiffs, Irish Wolfhounds, Saints, Newfs etc.
I can share a couple of foods that my Dane and Mastiff owning friends use but I am Canadian so I am not sure if they are available where you live.
1. I am a huge fan of https://www.petcurean.com/ dog foods (I use the GO! LID salmon). They are available in the USA and feature locally sourced proteins etc. They do bring in minerals and some unique proteins from other countries but they were the only brand to help me with my one Dane and their nutritionists will call you personally to discuss your situation if you message them. (the Gather, Now! and Go! lines are pricey though)
2. President’s Choice dog foods (not sure if you can get that in the USA.) However they are super reasonable and many of the mastiff and dane owners I know use their Sensitive Skin and Stomach because they find the “high protein” diets like Orijin and Blue etc are too rich for their guys.
3. Diamond Naturals is one that many of our Dane breeders use and recommend as well. I do know you can get this in the USA if you live there. https://www.diamondpet.com/our-brands/diamond-naturals/large-breed-adult-dog-chicken-rice-formula/
Apologies for the lengthy post but I just wanted to share my insights. Good luck with your search and if you find something, please share! Be well,
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