I have adopted two English Mastiffs, one is ~3yrs old and the other is 7mos old. Yes, I know that they have some different nutritional requirements, but I also know that #1: They are inseparable, father-son, & totally dedicated to each other; #2: Yes, I know that I can separate them at feeding time, or at any other time, I can train them to do what I tell them to do, etc. but I can also raise happy, well adjusted dogs that do what they are told when obedience is a real requirement, I took in both of them because I can tell from their interactions that while they could be raised separately, they will be happier being together, and I am at that age that while they will have to accept responsibilities as a Certificated Service Dog(s), I can be genuinely happy when they are genuinely happy and unless or until a problem arises (which I shall always be diligent in looking for indicators, I am not oblivious to these matters), I can afford to raise two Mastiffs and my goal is to make their lives as happy, and as stress-free as I can make it consistent with the rules of my house. The eat at the same time, generally out of their own bowls, but they have been known to trade out the bowls that they are eating out of, and they eat far better when they are fed together. I have been using Purina Large Breed Dry Dog Food (which is what I have fed both Blackhawk, whom I just lost, and Othello before him and who my Vet has commented as to how healthy looking they were, and they could maintain proper weight on that diet), 20oz-22oz supplemented with about 0.5lbs of meat b.i.d. Until the youngest is about a year old, I will mix in Puppy Chow to ensure that he is also getting the correct balance of nutrients for a growing puppy, while allowing the adolescent (these large dogs are generally not fully and finally developed until they reach 3.5 to 4.0 yrs old) to partake of the same mixture. My principle guidelines in feeding are to watch the weight and weight gain and growth of the each of my lads, and as long as they appear to be doing well, have great looking coats and show no signs of nutritional deficiencies, in consultation with my Vet I continue to use the same foods in their diet. The meat component will vary from Hot Dogs, which allow good portion control and consistency, are nutritious and if properly selected provide a proper cross-section of meat(s), while being required to meet USDA standards for human food, provide some variety, and are easily kept while we are on the road in the motor home, and not requiring any continual readjustments to new diets at home and away. When we put up a steer in the freezer, I not only set aside beef from it for the lads, but have it packaged in serving size containers for portion control, plus I set aside a portion of it to be prepared into “jerky treats” (I am no longer comfortable with the commercially available jerky treats, + every now and then I can snitch one of theirs when it is time for a treat). Having said all of that, I am never too old, or too stubborn to learn, or to find a new means of feeding the boys if it is to their advantage. Fortunately, while in this economy no one can say that cost is never a factor, but it is not a controlling factor, and if there is a valid reason to convert to other foods or additions to their diets, I am more than willing to change them over, notwithstanding a price or cost increase. Please jump in and share your views, I’m new here and truly interested in having the happiest and healthiest well-behaved and well-trained Mastiffs around.A.SandyMember
What You have is giant breeds lol! The biggest mistake is overfeeding this breed because they suppose to look bulky, but the truth is it’s bad for their hips it puts stress on them.
and please STOP feeding that grocery store junk it will mess your pups up. You can feed a all life stages food for both just feed according to energy level to avoid overweight pets. look in the 4 and 5 star pet foods here at dog food advisor. Try something with no corn, wheat or soy and nothing from china(including treats) Always portion control to prevent from their bones growing too fast and having bowed legs.(believe me I went through that with my dane when he was younger)try buying from a feed store or sometimes hard ware stores have great deals on great food. Avoid vitamin/mineral and calcium supplements that will affect their nutrient absorption. good luck!
pet nutrition expert/advisor
I agree with what Ana said. I have a Great Dane as well so I understand the challenge that feeding a giant breed can be sometimes. I would avoid the hot dogs too. I only use hot dogs (good quality, all meat, all natural) for very special rewards. It’s not something you want to feed all the time.
My Dane was always slightly overweight on kibble no matter what brand I fed or how much I reduced his portion. The best thing I ever did for his health was switch him to The Honest Kitchen and raw. THK is a dehydrated food. You add water and let it rehydrate before serving it. It would be great for traveling in your motorhome with. You can incorporate some raw food instead of hot dogs if the concept of raw doesn’t bother you. There are a number of high quality raw frozen foods out there. I like Primal and Stella & Chewy’s the best. I started making my own homemade raw food because it was cheaper for me.
If you want to feed kibble, definitely check out the 4 and 5 star rated kibbles on this site. Everybody has their preferences. A few I like and have fed my Dane are: Earthborn Holistic, Annamaet Grain Free, Go! Fit & Free, Acana Regionals (Grain Free), and Orijen. Others I like are Horizon Legacy, Dr. Tim’s, and Victor. I would feed the 7 month old a food from Hound Dog Mom’s list of foods that are appropriate for a large breed puppy: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BwApI_dhlbnFTXhUdi1KazFzSUk/edit All of these foods are 4 or 5 stars and have the appropriate amount of calcium for a growing large breed puppy.
Good luck and have fun with your newly adopted pups!
Thank you for your answers. Yes, I agree that both portion, and intake must be controlled in these larger [OK, Giant] breeds of dogs.
I am curious as to why there is an objection to “Hot Dogs” as the supplemental meat? And this is an honest inquiry, not a challenge or in any manner intended as being disrespectful. I am just a bit surprised that an all meat product of turkey, beef and chicken (I avoid the ones that contain pork, as it is my understanding that pork can be a trifle difficult for a dog to digest). When the steer is headed for the freezer, there is always ground beef (minimal fat content) or the type of chunks of beef that I use in chili or stew. When I come up on them in the supermarket I will pick up chicken breasts or thighs to add to their food, and of course the lads love cheese omelets for their weekend breakfast (they were given raw eggs in their prior home and seemed to thrive on them, but I hate to leave any raw egg product down on the floor for more than just a very few minutes while the cooked eggs remain edible for the better part of any hour. I do have to admit to throwing in an occasional strip of bacon as a treat, but it is not in any way included in their dietary schedule or as meeting any portion of their daily requirements for nutrition.
Actually, on occasion, I will even eat one or two of the hot dogs that I feed to them so I don’t see that there should be a qualitative or a food safety issue, but I assume that there must be something about them about which I am neither aware of, or I would not even consider feeding them to the lads. Trust me on that, both of my kids tell me that if for some reason they are involved in an accident, their last and most important wish is to come back reincarnated as my dog (& they are both >30, college educated, and in good career positions so they are neither deprived,nor underprivileged).
I am in my 47th year of owning and raising Mastiffs, but I still feel the need to seek out better ways of doing so. Now being semi-retired, they are with me virtually 24/7/365, and members of the family and the last thing that I would ever want to do is to raise them in a sub-optimal environment.
Tomorrow is annual inoculation day for my older one, and I shall be using a new, but highly recommended Veterinarian, and I will make a point of having this discussion with him as well, but as with physicians and psychologists, all health care professionals are equally skilled in all ancillary facets of animal health and as with human patients, a wise physician will consult with a dietician in constructing an omnibus treatment team, so I looking forward to integrating all available sources of information, and their recommendations, into our daily routine.
TIA to both of you for your input, and for adding resources to my knowledge base.RescueDaneMomMember
Sorry I don’t have a lot of time to respond during the week. I just moved and started a new job and am still settling in to a routine.
Hot dogs, no matter the quality, are still processed meat. I try to avoid it at all costs. Most of the calories in hot dogs (80%) come from fat. They also have preservatives and a lot of sodium. I use nutritiondata.com to get a general idea of the nutritional profile of different foods. Giving your dogs eggs (raw or cooked) and fresh meats like chicken breast and thighs and beef is the way to go. As far as feeding raw, you shouldn’t be leaving the food down for anywhere near an hour. It only takes my dog 5-10 minutes to eat his food. The general rule of thumb is to let them eat for 15 minutes and then pick up the food. If there is any left, put it in the refrigerator in a covered container. You can feed what is left at the next meal.
That’s just my two cents. As always, I hope it’s helpful in some way. I share the same attitude as you- I am always willing to learn and I welcome those who want to share their knowledge with me.
Thank you. I will look at a lot of the criticisms that you have of the hot dogs, as their nutritional values are always more important than any convenience function. Just brought the boys back from their (Annual in the case of Zeus, 6mos. in the case of Bentley) Vet visit. He was quite complimentary as to their condition, weights and such, which was encouraging, but he was also pretty enthusiastic about their diets (because of their condition) which is something that I want to reconsider given the consensus and commentary. My goal would be to keep them in condition and such while changing over to perhaps better sources of animal protein. Zeus was 232# @38.5″ at the withers, Bentley was 109# @ 28″ at the withers (he was almost exactly 7 mos old on Vet Day). Bentley is the real athlete, but he keeps Zeus active and on his toes. I am hoping to allow Zeus to breed 2x this calendar year, 1x is already booked and I am not that anxious to exceed that pace. Hopefully, there will be some English Mastiff-centric commentary on whether Bentley is making his growth gates, and such. Thank (all of) you for your contributions, and your thoughts on their feeding program. I agree somewhat about the eating schedule, but unfortunately, they were raised on the “grazing theory” and it is difficult for me to have the heart to cause them to be hungry for as long as it takes to change them over without a good reason. Their eating habits are not really their fault, it was how they were conditioned, and it really isn’t inconvenient for me so until Bentley reaches his post-Growth Spurt stage his nutrition and calorie consumption balance are #1 with me, and if it means he gets some extra time to eat, I guess have an “Of Counsel” senior partner will give him the (perhaps unfortunate) opportunity to eat a properly complete and full diet and worry about his food discipline later on, and of course “what is good for the goose, is good for the gander” as they say, so Zeus wins round ! by default. Hopefully, this will be their only consequence of a doting and overly protective pet-parent, as I do believe in discipline (actually had some opportunities to learn from some of the strictest of disciplinarians at the Monestary at New Skeet, so I know better.Shasta220Member
It doesn’t sound like your boys are on good food at all. You have awesome intentions, but the nutritional value just isn’t there.
I really don’t recommend puppy food, especially not ANYTHING under the Purina brand. Look into 4-5 star foods on this site. There are some forums on here with lists of the most affordable ones, as I imagine the food bill to get high.
No no no to hot dogs. They are very very processed, and whatever nutritional values were in them got processed right out. I’d suggest going to your local butcher/grocery store, and buying raw meats/bones like chicken, beef, etc. Those are much better meat sources… And I’d avoid any jerky designed for people too, it has extra salt and often sugar that dogs don’t need. Try making your own jerky by slicing meat and baking it in the oven until it’s chewy. (EDIT: oops, sorry, just saw that you’ll make your own jerky instead of store bought. Good good.)
The other posts have said no over feeding, and I can’t emphasize that enough either. It is especially important that you don’t over feed the puppy, as giant breeds will tend to grow as much as their food intake allows. If they grow more than their body was designed for, it will put horrible stress on their bones/joints, no matter how fit they are as an adult.
Another note on food: it will probably be a bit tough on your wallet when you switch to a premium food, but in reality, the risk is NOT switching. When they’re on quality food, they will need to eat less, much less.
My 90lb APBT mix, Otto, ate 9c of Dog Chow daily, and was still very very lean/fit. When we finally moved him up to a 3-star Nutra Nuggets, he went all the way down to 2c daily with no weight change.
Another miracle story of what food switches will do: we’ve fed our dogs 1-3 star foods for about 10yrs sadly. Our lab had Otitis, and ALWAYS had a disgusting smell to her, as well as hot spots and shedding. She also was acting very lethargic (we figured it was just her age). When we switched her to a quality food, she lost about 5 years of her age in just a few months! She was bouncy, happy, wanted to play fetch, and had ZERO odor to her!
So switching their food will give you amazing benefits, I promise. 😉
- This reply was modified 5 years, 9 months ago by Shasta220.
This existing post is VERY long but should answer most any question on large breed dogs/pups.
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