No matter the life stage, finding the best dog food for an English Mastiff can be difficult. While all dog breeds have the same basic nutritional requirements, every breed has their own unique needs that require attention. The Mastiff is one of the largest dogs on the planet. This means he not only needs a lot of food, but he also needs high-quality protein. High-quality protein is important to keep his large muscle mass functioning as it should. His joints also come under a lot of pressure when compared to a smaller breed like a Chihuahua.
We believe, as do many other canine nutritionists and Veterinarians, that dry kibble is the best. It’s the easiest way, to provide him with all of the nutrients that he needs at all life stages. Not only does it provide him with rich meaty protein, but it also includes fiber, vitamins and minerals. All of these ingredients are hard to get from a raw diet alone.
This comprehensive guide to Mastiff nutrition will cover each life-stage. We will run you through what nutrients your Mastiff needs as a puppy, adult, and senior. We also take a look at each food brand we think is the best dog food for mastiffs at every stage of their life.
At a Glance: Our Favorite Foods For Mastiffs
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- 1 Nutrients For Mastiff Puppies
- 2 Nutrients For Adult Mastiffs
- 3 Nutrients For Senior Mastiffs
- 4 Best Food For Mastiff Puppies
- 5 Best Food For Adult Mastiffs
- 6 Best Food For Senior Mastiffs
- 7 Final Thoughts
Nutrients For Mastiff Puppies
Mastiffs are one of the largest dog breeds in the world. They have a lot of growing to do to reach their typical weight of 120 to 230 pounds. Firstly, it’s preferable to avoid all ‘life-stage’ dog food formulas. Puppies have very different nutritional needs compared to an adult or a senior. “All life stage” dog foods can cause your Mastiff to miss out on the crucial nutrients and specific fat and calorie content that he needs for the most important developmental stage of his life.
Stick to giant breed puppy food formulas for your Mastiff puppy. These are designed to suit the accelerated growth rate of giant breeds. These foods will have the optimum calcium and phosphorus levels that Mastiffs need to ensure that his bone health is what it should be. Ignoring this could risk the health issues mentioned above.
Small breed dog foods have higher levels of calcium and phosphorus. Because the nutrients are more concentrated it’s believed to be linked to Developmental Orthopedic Disease in larger breeds. Sticking to kibbles designed for large or giant breeds is crucial for your Mastiff. According to the Research Council of the National Academies, a Mastiff puppy weighing 160 pounds will need around 3490 calories every day. Each of the kibbles below provides guidelines on how much food to feed your Mastiff puppy dependent on his weight.
Nutrients For Adult Mastiffs
Once your Mastiff reaches the age of 12 months you can slowly switch him to adult food. According to the Research Council of the National Academies, an adult Mastiff weighing 200 pounds will need approximately 3700 calories every day. Each of the kibbles below provide guidelines on how many cups of food your adult Mastiff will need each day depending on his weight.
Like our puppy recommendations, it is important to feed him kibbles specifically designed for adult giant breeds. Dogs this size have unique nutritional needs. High-quality protein and energy is very important for the adult Mastiff. While they are a lazier dog breed, they still need enough energy to move their larger bodies. Also important are omega 3 fatty acids for his skin and cardiac system, and fiber for his digestive tract. This is true for all Mastiff purebreds. But it can also hold true for mastiff mixes that are still large breeds, like the Mastador or the American Mastiff which is a mix between an English Mastiff and Anatolian Shepherd.
Nutrients For Senior Mastiffs
As the Mastiff has a shorter lifespan, he is considered to be a senior much earlier than most other breeds. Around the ages of around 6 he will be considered a senior dog. This can vary between dogs, so if you are in any doubt then ask your Veterinarian when you should switch him to senior food.
Senior food contains fewer calories and fat compared to adult or puppy formulas. Older dogs lead a less active lifestyle and do not need as much energy. Seniors require specific nutrients, including extra omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. This comes from ingredients such as salmon oil. Senior foods also typically carry higher concentrates of glucosamine and chondroitin.
These will help to support his wearing joints and bones. For this reason, it is important to stick with giant breed senior formula. While he still needs protein, he needs less of it. Higher levels of antioxidants and vitamins are needed to strengthen his aging immune system. As your Mastiff ages, you’ll likely want to keep him on food that will aid in healthy joint promotion.
Best Food For Mastiff Puppies
We have scoured the market to find the best high-quality natural kibbles for your Mastiff puppy. Not only do all of the recommendations here comply with AAFCO’s guidelines, but they are also highly rated by giant breed dog owners across the world. Giant and large breed puppies have different nutritional needs than smaller breeds or medium-sized breeds, so the food you feed them will differ from the food you’d feed a Boxer or the food you’d feed a Siberian Husky. So, in no particular order, these are the best foods for Mastiff puppies.
Instinct Large Breed Puppy
This recipe has the highest number of calories per cup compared to the other kibbles on this list. It’s perfect for Mastiff puppies who are particularly playful or energetic. The extra sustenance is fantastic to keep them going. It’s packed with a mixture of high-quality protein such as chicken, fish meal, lamb meal and chicken liver. Each of these ingredients are great for his large muscle mass. This Instinct formula contains omega 3 fatty acids from salmon oil to promote a healthy coat. It also includes live probiotics to add healthy digestion.
This formula is boosted with the nutrients that large puppies need. It contains the optimum levels of calcium and phosphorus for his fast-growing bones and joints. This grain-free recipe is great for those puppies with sensitive stomachs as well. It’s also perfect for Mastiff parents who chose not to feed their puppy any grains for personal reasons. This formula does not contain preservatives or additives.
We love that this recipe has freeze-dried raw chicken pieces as well as the crunchy kibble bites. These bits are full of nutrients. They also add flavor and extra texture that your Mastiff will love.
Taste of the Wild Puppy
This recipe is made with no corn, wheat or soy. It contains a moderate amount of protein. This is perfect for canine parents who chose not to feed their Mastiff high amounts of protein. It’s enhanced with probiotics to promote a healthy gut flora, which will keep his stools firm. This can also help to keep his famous flatulence to a minimum. Taste of the Wild’s Large Breed Puppy formula also has added salmon oil and flaxseed. These are both a source of omega 3, which nourishes his skin.
It has added vitamins and minerals to help strengthen his growing immune system. Taurine is also included, which is important for your Mastiff’s cardiac system. It also lists cheese in the ingredient list. This is small enough not to give him too much calcium, but enough that it will keep him satisfied.
We love that this recipe not only has an excellent nutritional profile, but it’s budget-friendly too. It’s also highly rated by large breed dog owners.
Orijen Large Breed Puppy
This premium recipe is made with high-quality ingredients that are fit for a king. It is made with 85% animal protein sources and uses the organs and bones in addition to just meat. This provides the nutrition that your Mastiff’s ancestors would have eaten. It’s also a great source of glucosamine and chondroitin for his growing bones and joints. It’s made with 15% fruit and vegetables, which provides him with the nutrients and vitamins that he needs for his developing immune system. Because of Orijen’s “nature first” stance, they are often compared to other foods like Acana.
Pumpkin, zucchini and spinach provide him with the fiber he needs for a healthy digestive tract. Apples and blueberries provide him with his antioxidants. It is infused with chicken and turkey liver which are notorious and extra tasty. This is a very popular formula with many giant breed dog owners. Whole fish and herring oils provide him with essential omega 3 fatty acids for his skin and heart. This recipe is also grain-free.
We love that this recipe has the highest protein content. This is thanks in large part to the amount of high-quality meats. The first 15 ingredients are protein sources. It makes this premium kibble unparalleled when it comes to meaty goodness. It is also a biologically appropriate recipe, which means that this diet will nourish him just as nature intended.
Blue Buffalo Large Breed Puppy
- Grain-free formula.
- Award-winning Blue Buffalo brand.
- Rich in omega fatty acids.
- Sweet potatoes for carbs & digestion.
- 411 Calories per cup.
- 35% Protein, 14% Fat, 6% Fiber.
This recipe is packed full of real chicken and chicken meal. These are both great budget-friendly sources of protein for his muscle mass and growing bones. It’s also a great source of glucosamine and chondroitin. This formula also contains docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA) which is found in mother’s milk. Both are important for brain development and eye health, which includes retinal health concerns.
This recipe is grain-free for those puppies who have a sensitive stomach. Instead, it uses healthy complex carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes and peas. This helps to keep your Mastiff feeling fuller for longer time periods. It’s also a great solution for Mastiffs with a sensitive stomach. Enhanced with an optimum blend of vitamins and minerals, this food formula is exactly what most giant breed puppies need. It’s a great blend of nutritional ingredients that support the development of your Mastiff’s immune system.
We love that this high protein recipe also has unique LifeSource Bits. These are nutrient-dense kibble pieces that enhance nutrients and meet the needs of giant breed puppies.
Wellness Complete Puppy
- Taurine for Heart Support.
- Grain-inclusive formula.
- DHA for healthy brain development.
- Omega fatty acids for skin and coat.
- Calcium and Phosphorus for bone development.
- 366 Calories per cup.
- 29% Protein, 13% Fat, 5% Fiber.
Wellness Complete focuses on everything, which makes it a kibble complete for all of his needs. The protein sources are listed as deboned chicken, salmon and salmon meal which is vital for his growing muscles and body, and it is also perfect for healthy bone growth. Chicory root extract and sweet potatoes keep him feeling fuller for longer and keeps his gut healthy. Many reviewers love that this kibble has made their large pup’s coat super shiny and healthy, which is due to the added salmon oil and flaxseed.
We love that this recipe has a lot of DHA which is found in his mother’s milk, and it is great for his brain and eye development, and it has the lowest calorie count of this list for those sedentary Mastiff puppies.
Best Food For Adult Mastiffs
Just like our Mastiff puppy recommendations, our favorite adult kibbles are all AAFCO compliant. Each of our favorite adult Mastiff foods are highly rated by other large and giant breed dog owners across the world. This means you can rest easy, knowing that they will be perfect for your adult English Mastiff. As the Mastiff is known for Cystinuria we have included kibbles with a lower protein content for those parents who wish to do so, but ones that still offer him what he needs.
Holistic Select Adult Giant Breed
- Taurine for heart health.
- Probiotics for digestive health.
- Healthy Fiber for digestion.
- Made with healthy fruits and veggies.
- Made in the United States.
- 433 Calories per cup.
- 24% Protein, 14% Fat, 4% Fiber.
This recipe has a moderate protein content. It’s an ideal choice for owners that prefer a moderate protein diet for their Mastiff. Chicken and pork meal are the two main sources of protein. Both of which are full of glucosamine and chondroitin for his heavily laden joints. Oats and pumpkin provide him with fiber. Exotic fruits such as papaya and pomegranates provide him with the antioxidants he needs to fight illnesses.
This recipe is made with grains and includes both prebiotics and probiotics. Both prebiotics and probiotics work together to ensure a healthy gut. They also help reduce flatulence. It also has the highest calorie count per cup, so this also makes the better choice for those Mastiffs who are particularly energetic.
We love that this recipe is tailored to large and extra-large breeds. This is exactly what the Mastiff is, so you can be sure that the nutrients are perfect for what he needs.
Wellness Complete Adult
- Grain-inclusive formula.
- Real chicken is the first ingredient.
- Probiotics for digestive health.
- Helps maintain healthy body weight.
- Hip and joint support.
- 340 Calories per cup.
- 26% Protein, 12% Fat, 5% Fiber.
If you fed your Mastiff puppy the above Wellness recommendation and he loved it, then chances are he is going to love this too. The adult version of this formula is just as high-quality. It offers overall wellness, but focuses on the needs of the large dog. It provides plenty of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to support his overburdened joints. With regards to nutrient levels, it also has the optimum levels of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin A for bone and dental health.
Chicory root extract and carrots help to keep your English Mastiff satiated. Healthy carbohydrates offer him the energy that he needs while controlling the number of calories that he eats. This helps ensure that if your Mastiff is a little lazy, he won’t pile on the pounds. It is also enriched with probiotics for a healthy digestive system.
We love that this recipe is focused on overall wellness. It’s great for his immune system, bone and joint health, skin and coat, digestive health and energy.
Merrick Large Breed Adult
- Grain-free formula.
- Gluten-free formula.
- Contains no corn, soy or wheat.
- No artificial preservatives.
- Made in the United States.
- 372 Calories per cup.
- 31% Protein, 15% Fat, 3.5% Fiber.
The protein content of this recipe is the second highest on this list. It’s another great recipe to consider if you want to feed your Mastiff a high protein kibble. This recipe is made with 60% protein and 40% fruit and vegetables. It’s perfectly balanced with the nutritional needs of giant breeds. Despite this, it has the lowest fiber content on this list. Because Mastiffs are notoriously gassy, this kibble is ideal for those who don’t need additional fiber.
It is enriched with vitamins and minerals such as L-Carnitine which is important for his metabolism. This formula also includes Biotin which is important for skin health. His skin also benefits from plenty of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. The salmon oil and flaxseed also help to keep his joints and bones healthy. This food is popular with many Mastiff owners, specifically for its joint-health focused formula.
We love that this recipe is infused with raw pieces that are tasty, nutritious, and full of protein.
Blue Buffalo Adult Large Breed
- Glucosamine boost for joint health.
- Omega acids for skin and coat health.
- High-quality protein from real chicken.
- Grain-free formula.
- Promotes lean muscle development.
- 377 Calories per cup.
- 32% PRotein, 13% Fat, 7% Fiber.
This recipe is made with deboned chicken and chicken meal. These are both a great source of protein for the Mastiff’s muscle mass and energy. It also includes a nutrient boost, which means his joint needs are also met with plenty of glucosamine and chondroitin. There are plenty of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids which nourish his coat and skin. Taurine is also included to help promote a healthy cardiac system.
This recipe is grain-free for English Mastiffs with sensitive stomachs. To keep your pup full, this formula includes healthy carbohydrates such as carrots and peas. These ingredients also aid his digestive system function. This formula is enhanced with an optimum blend of vitamins and minerals that are found in their unique LifeSource Bits. These nutrient-dense kibbles are included in this formula to provide the optimal amount of nutrients for an Adult Mastiff.
We love that this recipe has the highest protein content for his muscle mass. It also has the highest fiber content to aid with a properly functioning Mastiff digestive tract.
Diamond Naturals Adult
- Made with cage-free chicken.
- Omega fatty acids for skin & coat.
- No corn, wheat, or fillers.
- Nutrient-dense probiotic blend.
- Made in the United States.
- 327 Calories per cup.
- 23% Protein, 13% Fat, 3.5% Fiber.
This kibble is made with lamb meal and egg products. While it offers the lowest protein levels on this list, it still gives him everything that he needs for his strong and muscular frame. Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids such as flaxseed and coconut nourish his skin and coat and improve his overall wellness. Omega 3’s are especially important if your mastiff has a longer coat.
It is full of guaranteed levels of specially formulated strains of K9 Probiotics that live in his digestive system to keep it healthy and working as it should. It also has a lot of superfoods listed in the recipe, such as chia seeds, kale and blueberries. These ingredients provide your Mastiff’s immune system with vitamins and minerals.
We love that this recipe has a lower protein content for those owners who wish to feed their Mastiff a lower-protein kibble. It does not compromise on quality, being made from lamb which is a great alternative to those Mastiffs who do not like the most common protein source, chicken.
Best Food For Senior Mastiffs
There aren’t many senior kibbles specifically designed for large and extra-large breeds, so here we only have 3 recommendations that we think are perfect for the senior Mastiff. Your senior mastiff will have different nutritional requirements than as an adult or puppy. These gentle giants become more gentle in old age, and slow down even more as they grow. We aren’t in the habit of recommending products that we don’t believe are great for your pup. So, in no particular order, here are our top picks.
Nutro Large Breed Senior
- Healthy fiber aids in digestion.
- No GMO ingredients.
- Made with farm-raised chicken.
- Glucosamine for joint health.
- Made in the United States.
- 306 Calories per cup.
- 22% Protein, 11% Fat, 4% Fiber.
Chicken is the first ingredient on this list, and combining this with chicken meal, you can be sure that it is full of protein and meaty goodness that will keep him interested, as well as glucosamine and chondroitin which are one of the most important ingredients for large senior dogs. It also has fish oil and chicken fat which help to keep the kibbles tasty, as well as nourishing his drying skin.
Split peas and sweet potatoes keep him feeling fuller for longer and aid his digestive system. Apples and blueberries provide his immune system with the antioxidants it needs to keep him fighting fit. It is crafted to maintain his cognitive health with added vitamins and minerals too.
We love that this recipe has the highest protein content for those parents wishing to continue feeding him higher protein, and the least amount of calories for those lazier elderly Mastiffs. If you need a food that’s higher in fiber, NUTRO also offers a high fiber food that you can see here.
Blue Buffalo Large Breed Senior
- Real meat is the first ingredient.
- Glucosamine for joint support.
- No corn, wheat, or soy ingredients.
- Antioxidant-rich for immune health.
- L-Carnitine for muscle development.
- 344 Calories per cup.
- 20% Protein, 10% Fat, 7% Fiber.
Deboned chicken is the first ingredient on this recipe, as well as chicken meal being found in the first 5 ingredients too, so he will still get the protein he needs for his large muscles. He will also get the optimum calcium and glucosamine levels needs to support his joints and overall mobility as he ages.
LifeSource Bits are found in this recipe, which will keep him interested in his food, and offer the perfect blend of antioxidants in the form of cranberries and blueberries. Flaxseed and fish oil keep his skin healthy and replenishes his natural skin oils as they dry out.
We love that this recipe has the highest amount of fiber which makes it a great option for those Mastiffs who suffer with their digestive system.
Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed
- Vet endorsed brand.
- Glucosamine and chondroitin for joints.
- Antioxidant-rich for immune support.
- Formulated for large and giant breeds.
- Made in the United States.
- 353 Calories per cup.
- 15.5% Protein, 10.5% Fat, 4% Fiber.
This recipe is made and recommended by Veterinarians and nutritionists across America, so you can be sure that it is perfectly blended for your large senior’s needs. Chicken meal is the first ingredient which is one of the best sources of glucosamine and chondroitin and will keep his joints mobile and supple for many more years to come.
All of the ingredients listed are easily digestible, such as whole grains and dried beet pulp, which is important for his aging and slowing digestive system. A balanced set of minerals and vitamins support a healthy heart and healthy kidneys, which is key for the Mastiff and his potential Cystinuria.
We love that this recipe has the highest number of calories which makes it a great option for those Mastiffs who are still young at heart, and need that extra bit of energy.
The Mastiff is a gentle giant who loves us unconditionally, so it is only right that we return our love in the form of the very best nutrition. Their unique body mass and quick puppy growth means that they have different nutritional needs compared to most dogs, so be sure to stick to age appropriate food that is specifically designed for larger breeds.
Remember to keep up to date with regular Veterinarian check ups and be sure to discuss any nutritional questions with them. All of our recommendations in this guide are the very best around and they have been tried and tested all over the world, so if you stick with them neither you, or your Mastiff, will be disappointed.