great dane & english mastiff puppy nutrition and feeding
giant breed dogs, like english mastiffs and great danes, require some special
attention when it comes to feeding and nutrition. many times great danes and
mastiffs are lumped into the category of "large breed puppies," which grow to 50
lbs. or more. giant breeds like mastiffs and great danes grow to be 100 -250+lbs
at adulthood. proper nutrition plays a huge role in the proper growth and health
of giant breeds, from proper development to prevention of bloat in adults.
there are a few major points on great dane/mastiff puppy feeding and nutrition that all
giant breed owners should be familiar with as they are crucial to proper growth
overfeeding a great dane or mastiff is a big no! this seems to be the
toughest point for new giant breed owners. everyone wants their puppy to be
impressively huge, and there is a misconception that by feeding more, your puppy
will grow to be a larger adult. genetics are genetics - your dog will grow to be
the same size in the end, it's just a matter of how long it takes for them to
get there and how healthy they are in the end.
studies have shown that by feeding giant breed puppies approx 25% less
calories and by feeding the proper
ratios of protein, fat, calcium and phosphorus (all slightly reduced levels
compared to normal puppy food) you can greatly reduce, if not eliminate their chances
of developing certain diseases such as HOD, OCD, Pano, and environmentally
caused hip dysplasia.
when a great dane or mastiff puppy is fed more calories or foods with high
levels of protein and fat (most experts agree that an average of 23% protein and 12% fat are
the ideal levels for growing giant breeds) it can cause their bones to grow
faster than their muscles, which can lead to the painful and disfiguring
diseases listed above. proper feeding allows for more consistent, slower and
weight - so how much should i feed?
a good general rule for great dane and mastiff puppies is you should be able
to see the outline of the last rib or two when looking at their side while
standing. for adults, you should be able to easily feel the ribs, but not see
them other than possibly the last one. if you can see your dog's spine, the dog
is underweight. adjust your feeding
amounts by about 1/2 cup at a time and watch for improvement. if you have to
err, it's always better for a giant breed to be on the lighter side rather than
overweight as extra weight can lead to hip dysplasia and joint problems in giant
no regular puppy food
typical puppy formulas contain too much fat and protein for giant breeds like
great danes and mastiffs, and are not properly balanced for special needs of
giant breeds. look
for a good quality giant breed puppy formula. we like
holistic select giant breed formulas. we also like
solid gold wolf cub formula,
innova large breed puppy and
wellness large breed. you should watch your puppy carefully for any signs
of irregular growth, including bowing or curving of the front legs or toes,
swollen joints or legs, or hip or joint pain, and see your veterinarian promptly
if you suspect problems.
how often to feed
puppies from 7 weeks to 3 months should be fed three-four times per day. we
like to feed three times a day up to 4 months. studies show that more frequent feeding in smaller
amounts can reduce the likelihood of developing bloat, so we feed smaller, more
frequent meals throughout our dogs' life.
you are what you eat
and so is your dog. many commercial pet foods contain junky ingredients. salt, sugar, corn and by-products (the
junk left over after the good meat is used elsewhere) are just as bad for your
pet as they are for you. especially during the crucial growth period, spring for
a super-premium giant breed puppy food to give your pup the best chance at
growing into a healthy adult. giant breed puppy formulas are balanced with the
proper levels of protein, fat, calcium and phosphorus for these fast growing
giant breeds. we feed our giant breed puppies
pack holistic large/giant breed puppy formula. there are links to other
premium brands at the bottom of the page.
some breeders recommend fresh raw bones and raw foods (BARF) as an alternative to processed
foods. if you choose to go this route, make sure you consult a vet that is
familiar with the special needs of giant breed puppies to make sure you're
feeding your puppy the correct ratio of ingredients. although we don't feed
exclusively raw foods, we do like to supplement with them as treats.
as great as some super-premium foods are, they are still processed foods. we
like to give our great danes and mastiffs healthy treats rather than packaged bones in order to add some
fresh ingredients to their diets. some of our favorites are fresh grilled
chicken breast slices, carrots, plain yogurt, green beans, broccoli, peas,
strawberries, apples, oatmeal, blueberries, bananas, green peppers, cucumbers
and celery. in addition, we keep a pack of
nature's variety frozen
raw organic chicken medallions on hand to give as a treat - our dogs love
these, and they contain raw bones which aren't found in most processed foods.
if your dog or puppy isn't used to getting these types of foods, start slowly so
you don't upset their digestive systems - just a bite or two at a time.
take care of their joints
we've had the most success keeping our giant breeds feeling good & playing
like puppies well into adulthood by choosing foods with glucosamine and
condroitin for healthy joints, and by choosing super-premium foods rather than
foods with junky ingredients.
deep-chested breeds, like great danes and mastiffs, are highly susceptible to
bloat (or torsion), a condition where the stomach fills with gas, twists, and
kills the dog if untreated immediately. nutrition and feeding practices play a
huge role in the prevention of bloat. Visit our page on bloat prevention for
premium food links
here are some links to premium dog foods: