Best Dog Food for Mastiffs

Magnificent. Colossal. Giant slobber machines. There are many adjectives we could use to describe a Mastiff, but unless you’ve met one, you won’t get it.

Most healthy males stand about 21/2 feet tall to the shoulder and can weigh up to 230 pounds when fully grown. Yeah. They’re big.

With all that size comes an equally large heart. They’re usually quite docile, and very protective of their people. (And cats, other dogs, bunny rabbits — pretty much whatever’s in their pack.)

Their courageous, loveable demeanor has endeared them to families for generations, so we asked devoted Mastiff owners about what they think are the best dog food for Mastiffs.

We love Gentle Giants foods because they are so carefully made specifically by enthusiasts of large-breed dogs. Custom blends including healthy sources of whole proteins, fruits, and veggies that supply antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, and ingredients that promote joint health (very important for large-breed dogs) and probiotics for great gut health. With a few different flavors from which to choose, your Mastiff will stay happy with mealtimes for a long time to come!

The Best Dog Food for English Mastiffs Are:

ProductDetails
1. Gentle Giants Canine Nutrition

  • Comes in chicken, salmon, and beef and bacon flavors
  • Dry kibble formula
  • Can be fed to most life stages
  • Intended for large and giant breed dogs
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2. Eagle Pack Large & Giant Breed

  • Formulated for large and giant breed dogs over 50 pounds
  • Dry kibble formula
  • Intended for adult dogs
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3. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Large Breed

  • Formulated for adult dogs
  • Tailored nutrition for large-breed dogs
  • Dry kibble formula
  • Available in lamb and rice, and chicken recipes
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4. Eukanuba Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

  • Formulated for large-breed dogs over 55 pounds
  • Intended for adult dogs 15 months and older
  • Dry kibble formula
  • Chicken flavor recipe
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5. Wellness Large Breed Complete Health

  • Comes in a grain-free option
  • Dry kibble consistency
  • Chicken and brown rice formula
  • Intended for large-breed dogs
  • Intended for adults dogs
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6. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula

  • Formulated for large-breed dogs
  • Intended for adult dogs
  • Dry kibble formula
  • Chicken and brown rice recipe
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7. Purina Pro Plan Focus

  • Formulated for large-breed dogs 50 pounds and over
  • Intended for adult dogs
  • Dry kibble formula
  • Also comes in a weight-management for large-breeds variety
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8. Iams ProActive Health

  • Formulated for giant-breed dogs over 90 pounds, 2 years and older, or for large-breed dogs over 50 pounds, 1 year and older
  • Dry kibble consistency
  • Chicken flavor
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9. Purina Pro Plan Focus Puppy Large Breed

  • Formulated especially for puppies
  • Chicken and rice formula
  • Intended for large-breed puppies who’ll weigh 50 pounds or more at adulthood
  • Dry kibble consistency
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1. Gentle Giants Canine Nutrition — Best Dog Food for Mastiffs

Interesting story: Gentle Giants foods was founded by Burt Ward, the actor who played Robin in the original 1960’s Batman series!

After opening the Gentle Giants rescue shelter in Norco, CA, Burt and his wife Tracy have been passionate about developing a food tailored to large breed dogs containing wholesome, non-GMO ingredients.

This food contains a blend of quality, farm-raised chicken, oatmeal, rice, and tons of fruits and veggies. You’ll find apples, carrots, cranberries, tomatoes, and blueberries to provide optimal vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in every bite.

It also contains joint-friendly chondroitin and glucosamine — and prebiotics and probiotics work to keep that digestive and immune system healthy!

Specs

  • Comes in chicken, salmon, and beef and bacon flavors
  • Dry kibble formula
  • Can be fed to most life stages
  • Intended for large and giant breed dogs

Pros

  • Prebiotics and probiotics along with natural fibers keep even the most sensitive bellies happy
  • TWELVE non-GMO fruits and veg provide tons of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
  • Taurine helps keep big hearts beating strong for longer
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin support healthy joints
  • Wholesome, quality sources of protein help keep your big buddy fueled and healthy

Cons

  • Some owners reported shedding and dull coat after feeding this food to their dogs.
  • Some doggies had stomach problems after eating this food.
  • Some Mastiffs turned up their noses and walked out.

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2. Eagle Pack Large & Giant Breed

The Eagle Pack brand is committed to feeding large and giant-breed dogs — they’ve even got a large-breed resource guide on their website dedicated especially to education about large-breed dogs and their nutritional needs.

Big doggos need the right balance of fats, carbs, and proteins in their diet to support healthy growth and energy.

Glucosamine helps maintain healthy joints while omega fatty acids and ingredients packed with antioxidants keep your giant baby happy and well-fed.

Produced in the US with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives and zero corn, wheat, and by-products — Eagle Pack is committed to making the best quality food for your dog.

Specs

  • Formulated for large and giant breed dogs over 50 pounds
  • Dry kibble formula
  • Intended for adult dogs

Pros

  • Healthy bones and joints courtesy of glucosamine, phosphorous, and calcium
  • Tailored for the specific dietary needs of giant and large-breed dogs, your Mastiff will appreciate the flavor and generous nutrition in every bite
  • Blended with perfectly proportioned fats, proteins, and carbs — this food is suited to support healthy growth in large-breed dogs
  • Omega fatty acids support healthy skin and a glossy coat
  • A blend of nutritional support packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants support overall health as well as a robust immune system

Cons

  • Some Mastiffs reported upset stomachs after eating this blend.
  • Some didn’t love the flavor
  • Some owners reported upon opening the bag, the food smelled odd and their doggos wouldn’t eat it

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3. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Large Breed

With ingredients sourced from trusted farms and suppliers, Nutro foods are made in the US with natural, non-GMO ingredients.

This food undergoes thorough testing for quality and safety standards, and contains no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. It also contains no corn, wheat, by-products, or soy proteins.

This recipe begins with real lamb and keeps the nutrition comin’ with wholesome rice and a variety of beneficial vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and omega fatty acids.

Specs

  • Formulated for adult dogs
  • Tailored nutrition for large-breed dogs
  • Dry kibble formula
  • Available in lamb and rice, and chicken recipes

Pros

  • Pasture-fed, deboned lamb is the first ingredient
  • Contains all the essential vitamins and minerals your large-breed dog needs for solid nutrition
  • Naturally sourced chondroitin and glucosamine help support healthy joint function
  • Contains omegas 3 and 6 fatty acids for healthy skin and shining, glossy coat

Cons

  • Some Mastiffs said they would prefer a different food
  • Some owners reported skin allergies in their fur babies after they ate this blend.
  • With a recent formula change, some dog owners said the new ingredients gave their dogs gastro issues.

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4. Eukanuba Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

Eukanuba’s large-breed foods contain all the things a big bestie needs to stay healthy and active.

An optimal balance of animal proteins, fats and carbs help promote healthy growth, and chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine support those active joints. Round it out with vitamin packed ingredients, and you’ll have everything he needs in one bowl.

Also, Eukanuba foods contain 3D DentaDefense formula — promoting clean teeth and healthy gums in every crunch. Eukanuba offers a 100% money-back satisfaction guarantee — so if your big fella ain’t likin’ it, they’ll refund your money!.

Specs

  • Formulated for large-breed dogs over 55 pounds
  • Intended for adult dogs 15 months and older
  • Dry kibble formula
  • Chicken flavor recipe

Pros

  • Number one ingredient is chicken
  • Perfectly balanced fats, proteins, and carbs fuel his energy, and promotes optimal lean muscle development for healthy growth
  • Chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine helps maintain optimal joint health
  • Healthy brain development courtesy of vitamin E and DHA

Cons

  • Some owners reported issues with skin and coat health
  • Some Mastiffs didn’t love the flavor
  • Some Mastiffs ended up with digestive problems after eating this food

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5. Wellness Large Breed Complete Health

It takes a team of animal nutrition experts, veterinarians and scientists to create a food for your dog that contains all the nutrition he needs in one spot, and Wellness brands have it down.

Not only are they passionate about pet food, they’re also passionate about the environment, and have created community-based, long-term sustainability initiatives to help preserve our pet’s favorite walking trails and swimming holes.

Wellness large-breed formulas contain all the things he needs to stay happy and healthy — with the added benefit of yucca schidigera extract.

This ingredient comes with the very much appreciated ability to help reduce odor in your doggos stool. With a giant-breed dog like a Mastiff, that makes life a lot more pleasant.

Specs

  • Comes in a grain-free option
  • Dry kibble consistency
  • Chicken and brown rice formula
  • Intended for large-breed dogs
  • Intended for adults dogs

Pros

  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints
  • Mixed tocopherols support eye health
  • Optimal levels of fats and proteins are formulated for lean muscle growth and weight control
  • Chicken is the #1 ingredient
  • Odor control courtesy of yucca schidigera extract

Cons

  • Some doggos didn’t like it
  • Some owners reported their dogs had allergic symptoms after eating this food
  • Some dogs reported they had to go straight to the yard after eating this food so they wouldn’t get in trouble for having runny poop in the house.

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6. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula

Blue Buffalo Life Protection formulas contain the added benefit of LifeSource Bits. These special bits of kibble provide a supplemental boost of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants from real ingredients like wholesome, real meats, veggies, fruits, and real sources of meat. 

These LifeSource Bits undergo a process called “cold-formation” which limits the food’s exposure to heat.

Prolonged exposure to heat degrades the essential nutrients your dog needs to thrive. Blue Buffalo foods contain no wheat, corn, soy or meat by-product meals.

Specs

  • Formulated for large-breed dogs
  • Intended for adult dogs
  • Dry kibble formula
  • Chicken and brown rice recipe

Pros

  • Contains immune-boosting vitamins, chelated minerals, and antioxidants
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin maintain robust joint health and mobility
  • Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids promote healthy skin and a gorgeous, shiny coat
  • Quality proteins, carbs, and L-Carnitine promote lean muscle growth and support energy
  • Stong teeth and bones courtesy of phosphorus, calcium, and vitamins

Cons

  • Some Mastiff owners reported their dogs lost their kibble after eating this formula. (That’s a lot of kibble…)
  • Some owners said upon opening a fresh bag the food seemed greasy and smelled odd.
  • Some Mastiffs reported their owners weren’t pleased with the price tag.

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7. Purina Pro Plan Focus

Not only does the Purina company make quality pet foods, they show their love for animals by sharing their Purina Farms events with the public.

Think of a year-round summer camp for animals with educational museums for the people who love them, dog-show demonstrations, learning centers, a 20 foot tall multi-level cat house, and areas for farm animal care. The best part? They also host dog and cat adoption events.

Purina Pro Plan Focus blend is made with real chicken, and contains everything your bestie needs for lean muscle growth, optimal energy, and excellent overall health.

Specs

  • Formulated for large-breed dogs 50 pounds and over
  • Intended for adult dogs
  • Dry kibble formula
  • Also comes in a weight-management for large-breeds variety

Pros

  • Contains wheat bran and other forms of natural prebiotic fiber to support digestion and immune health
  • Balanced blend of proteins and fats promote healthy muscle growth and natural weight management
  • Omega fatty acids keep his skin healthy and his coat glossy
  • Glucosamine and EPA support joint and hip health

Cons

  • Some owners were unhappy with the formula’s ingredients.
  • Some big-breed babies had tummy problems after eating this formula.
  • Some dogs went on a hunger strike until their people switched from this food.

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8. Iams ProActive Health

Iams ProActive Health contains chicken and eggs to provide the protein your gentle giant needs for strong muscles, antioxidants for strong immunity, 7 essential nutrients for overall health, and kibble specially designed to reduce tartar and plaque build-up with every crunch.

Iams creates formulas for cats and dogs tailored for their specific needs. Whether your Mastiff needs help with his weight, digestive issues, or just needs a formula suitable for his age — Iams has it covered.

Specs

  • Formulated for giant-breed dogs over 90 pounds, 2 years and older, or for large-breed dogs over 50 pounds, 1 year and older
  • Dry kibble consistency
  • Chicken flavor

Pros

  • Kibble textured specifically for tooth and gum maintenance
  • All-natural ingredients with added vitamins and minerals provide overall robust health support
  • Contains gut-healthy prebiotics for a strong immune system and healthy digestion
  • Protein sourced from chicken and eggs

Cons

  • Some owners reported this food gave their dogs stinky gas. The dogs tried to blame it on the owners as they left the room.
  • Some dogs ended up with runny poo after eating this formula.
  • Some owners said their doggies weren’t interested in the flavor.

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9. Purina Pro Plan Focus Puppy Large Breed— Best Food for English Mastiff Puppy

Purina Pro Plan Focus Puppy Large-Breed formula ensures your baby grows up to be a big, strong Mastiff!

Baby doggos grow up fast (like baby humans…) so they’re going to need a food blended specifically to help provide them with all the essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy proteins it takes to fuel a giant-breed-in-training.

Chicken is the first ingredient, delivering plenty of the protein he requires. The addition of DHA from omega-rich fish oils helps support your furbaby’s brain and vision development.

Plus, it contains live probiotics to keep his tummy happy and support his immune health.

Specs

  • Formulated especially for puppies
  • Chicken and rice formula
  • Intended for large-breed puppies who’ll weigh 50 pounds or more at adulthood
  • Dry kibble consistency

Pros

  • Protein-rich recipe lists chicken as it’s first ingredient for building strong muscle.
  • DHA omega fatty acid sourced from fish oil helps your baby’s developing brain and vision health.
  • Live probiotics support and maintain a healthy immune system and strong digestive health.

Cons

  • Some owners were unhappy with a recently abrupt change in the formula.
  • Some Mastiffs didn’t love the flavor
  • Gave some doggies annoyingly itchy skin

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Best Dog Food For English Mastiff— Buying Guide

Mastiffs are sturdy-boned dogs, with lots of muscle and a thick frame. When selecting the best food for your Mastiff, consider the needs of his breed, and more broadly (no pun intended), the needs of giant-breed dogs in general.

Basic Nutritional Requirements Of Large And Giant-Breed Dogs

These special breeds are usually labeled either large or giant-breed based upon their weight at adulthood.

The path to getting there is a short one, though, and one of the hallmarks of these gentle giants is a tendency toward “overgrowth” in puppyhood.

This, in addition to a few other issues that larger breed dogs face are all things to consider when selecting your dog’s nutrition:

  • Make sure to feed him foods with the appropriate protein/fat/carb ratio that will keep him satiated, but not overweight. This ratio also helps keep your pup from growing too fast, putting too much strain on his bones and joints.
  • Choose foods with all-natural, preferably non-GMO ingredients. Quality sources of protein are particularly important, but everything that goes into his food should be rich in nutrients.
  • Choose dog foods without artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, meat by-product, or fillers. This stuff is not only devoid of nutrition, many of these ingredients have been shown to cause allergies in pets. (They should be left out of people food, too.)

Specific Nutritional Needs For Mastiffs

Your Mastiff isn’t just any other giant-breed dog! Some Mastiffs, like the Tibetan and Neapolitan Mastiff’s pedigree can be traced as far back as when humans were writing on cave walls!

The first written records of the English Mastiff date back to 55BCE, and they’ve remained loyal companions ever since.

That kind of history and trust deserves special care when it comes to keeping your Mastiff healthy and well-fed!

  • Choose a food for your Mastiff rich in Omega fatty acids. They need their DHA, and 3 and 6 omegas for lots of health reasons, but especially vision development support, as they’re prone to Progressive Retinal Atrophy, or PRA (we’ll get into this in a bit more detail later in this article).
  • Look for ingredients like chondroitin and glucosamine for joint and bone health. Like other giant-breed dogs, a Mastiff’s weight can create extra stress on those knees and hips so it’s super important to include these in his diet. This is another reason he’ll need optimal amounts of omega fatty acids. Just be sure that the calcium/phosphorus ratio in his food is tailored for giant-breed dogs, too much calcium intake can lead to problems of overgrowth.
  • Foods with ingredients that support healthy digestion are essential for a Mastiff’s health and well-being. Giant-breed, deep-chested dogs like Mastiffs are prone to gastric issues like kidney and bladder stones, and a condition called Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus, or Bloat.
Make sure your giant baby’s food contains gut-healthy ingredients like naturally sourced probiotics and prebiotics. Also, stay mindful of junk fillers in his food. Protein by-products aren’t healthy for your dog’s digestion, look for the best sources of whole, quality proteins you can find.

Breed-Specific Medical Issues

When purchasing a pure-bred Mastiff, make sure your dog has been screened for health conditions.

If purchased from a reputable breeder, he or she will know the dog’s pedigree and information about any genetically predisposed conditions he could have.

Some common medical issues found in Mastiffs include, but aren’t limited to:

Hip dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a common issue for large or giant-breed dogs, and is when the hip joint’s ball and socket don’t fit together or grow properly, causing them to grind together.

Needless to say, this can be painful, and over time can lead to loss of function of the joint.

Bladder or Kidney Stones

Mastiffs should undergo periodic testing of the urine for signs of kidney or bladder stones, as they’re more likely to develop in the breed. Bladder or kidney stones are painful, and can be dangerous.

If you see your Mastiff is straining to urinate, can’t urinate, or has blood in his urine, take him to the emergency vet right away.

Pulmonic stenosis

While they’re prone to a few types of heart disease, deep-chested breeds like the Mastiff are prone to a condition called pulmonic stenosis in particular.

This is a condition where a partial obstruction of blood flow from the heart to the lungs causes the heart to work harder to pump enough blood. When caught early enough, this condition is treatable with surgery.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy, or PRA

This is a group of degenerative diseases that cause photoreceptor cells in the eye to deteriorate over time, eventually leading to blindness.

Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus, or Bloat

Also common in deep-chested breeds like the Mastiff, bloat is a life-threatening condition. In bloat, the stomach suddenly swells and distends, and can twist in the body cavity.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club include:

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Elbow Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Exam
  • Cardiac Exam

How Much Should I Feed My Mastiff?

For the first 18 months of a Mastiff’s life, they grow like weeds. Proper nutrition is important throughout your Mastiff’s life is important, but especially during this time.

Always consult your vet about what kind of food is best for your Mastiff puppy, and again when it’s time for them to start on big boy food.

The following is a loose guide to how much and how often you should be feeding your Mastiff:

  • From 4-8 weeks of age — 3-4 cups a day, divided into 3-4 meals
  • From 8-12 weeks of age — 4-6 cups a day divided into 3-4 meals
  • From 12-16 weeks of age — 6-8 cups per day divided into 3-4 meals
  • From 4 to 6 months of age — 8-10 cups per day divided into 2-3 meals
  • From 6-18 months of age — 8-12 cups per day divided into 2-3 meals

Some Extra Nutritional Advice…

English Mastiff puppies should receive a diet with 12-15% fat content and 25-27% protein. Since they grow so quickly, puppies need more quality protein in their diets than adults in order to support healthy but moderate muscle and skeletal growth.

A fully grown Mastiff needs a balance of 8-10% fat and 21-25% protein for optimal health. Too much protein in a Mastiff’s diet can lead to digestive problems including kidney disease.

Your veterinarian may recommend a vitamin C supplement to help stave off hip dysplasia. Also, it’s widely recommended to keep an eye on your doggos calcium intake, as too much calcium can lead to skeleton disorders.

Other Things To Consider When Getting A Mastiff

Mastiffs are good-natured, sweet guys, and they enjoy their hugs and snuggles as much as the next dog, but they’re also dedicated protectors of their pack.

They’re not quick to trust strangers, so begin working with your Mastiff as early as possible in order to make socialization and training easier. 

Their many health issues can make them a bit of a veterinarian handful, but again, they are so worth it. With an ounce of prevention, many of the conditions a Mastiff can develop can be either avoided all together, or managed easily.

Like with any giant-breed dog, a Mastiff-owner must be ready to buy food by the truckful, and teach him obedience early. (You don’t want to be dragged down the road by a 200 pound dog on a leash!) Having a nice, large house with a big yard is preferable, and plenty of exercise is essential.

Mastiffs require regular grooming. They have a short, but dense coat that requires more attention than some of their other giant-breed counterparts.

A Final Word

Some versions of recorded history say that the first English Mastiff came to America on the Mayflower — but no one knows for sure.

We do know that having an English Mastiff in the house means having at least 200 extra pounds of love, and not a small amount of slobber to go with it. But hey, all that slobber is worth it. I mean, who couldn’t use more love in their house?

When feeding your giant teddy bear, consider feeding him Gentle Giants Canine Nutrition. It’s our top pick for the best dog food for mastiffs — with healthy sources of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, as well as quality sources of protein and probiotics, it has everything he needs to lead a long and healthy life hanging with the fam! 

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