Giant Breed Nutrition

Discuss ways to improve the quality of your dog's life and longevity through proper nutrition; a place for all of your questions and answers about feeding your pooch!

Please keep discussions fun, friendly, and helpful at all times. Non-informative posts criticizing a particular brand or another poster’s choice of food are not allowed in this Forum. References to any brand of food as "junk," "garbage," or other harsh names will be removed.


noblest of the- family; he- stands alone..
Barked: Wed Aug 22, '12 10:19am PST 
Hi! My name is Clyde and I'm an English Mastiff. My profile picture is me at 3 1/2 months old. I am now 8 months old.

My forever dad got me after my previous owner realized they didn't know how to care for a giant breed puppy. They were feeding me regular puppy food and I started showing signs of growth problems because I was growing too fast. My forever dad quickly switched me to an adult dog food until there was a noticible improvement in my development. He then swithched me to Eagle Pack Large & Giant Breed Puppy until I was about 6 months of age. At 6 months of age he switched me to Solid Gold Wolf King and has been closely monitoring my growth. The problems I had as a young pup are no longer visible and I am now ready for what will probably be my last change in food, assuming I like it and there are no adverse side effects.

After much research, my dad has narrowed it down to 2 possibilities: Precise Holistic Complete Large/Giant Breed Adult, and Canidae All Life Stages. Both of these foods are highly recommended, but he insists on only the best for me. I'm such a spoiled dog!

Anyway, what are your thoughts on the before mentioned choices? Which do you think is best for me and why? My owner could sure use your help and I can't wait to find out what my new food will be!

Here's some information on the choices:

http://precisepet.com/dog-formulas/precise-holistic-comp lete/dry/large-breed-adult/

http://www.canidae.com/dogs/all_life_ stages/dry.html

Thanks everyone! I hope to soon make lots of new friends!

Spooky Mulder
Barked: Wed Aug 22, '12 10:04pm PST 

If for no other reason than the company. I don't much care for Canidae, and would rather support a company with a better track record.

Nutritionally, you're probably getting off about the same. Large/giant breed puppies certainly have different nutritional needs vs. other puppies, but as adults there isn't so much of a gap. You'd likely be fine feeding almost any good quality kibble that agrees with your dog.

ETA: As a giant breed, I think you'd be better off sticking with a large/giant breed puppy food (or adult food with appropriate calcium/phos levels) until at LEAST a year, ideally 18 months. He's nowhere near done growing at 8 months. Here's a link to a great threat that covers this topic in detail, by a fellow dogster Mastiff owner:

Large Giant Breed Puppy Nutrition

Edited by author Wed Aug 22, '12 10:08pm PST


noblest of the- family; he- stands alone..
Barked: Thu Aug 23, '12 6:33am PST 
Thanks Mulder! I was leaning towards Precise myself. I'm still a little confused though.

The Guaranteed Analysis for the Precise Holistic Complete Large/Giant Breed Adult and Puppy formulas seem to be pretty close.

The adult formula has a little more protein 25% vs. 23% and the adult formula is also higher in fat 15% vs. 12%. All other levels are the same though. In fact the adult food has 17.86 more calories per cup... so wouldn't that be better for a growing pup? Based on this, I would not have to feed any extra adult food just because he's still a growing puppy.

This is all so confusing! Any help or insite is greatly appreciated! Thanks!!


Spooky Mulder
Barked: Thu Aug 23, '12 9:24am PST 
The thing to worry about most, is the Calcium/Phosphorous in the food. That is what will effect his bone growth, and what you need to be careful not to overdo.

You are right in that the cal/phos in Precise is the same for L/G puppy and adult... and they are both within a good range for cal/phos, so you should be totally fine!

The general rule we go by here, is nothing over 1.5% for calcium, 1% for phosphorous. ALL of Canidae's lines, despite being marketed as "all life stages", are way too high in calcium for a growing large breed.

So I still think you are getting off better with the Precise!
Calculate your calories based on what you think your dog needs. Personally, I always prefer the higher calorie food (when given an option), because it means I'm getting more bang for my buck and that I don't have to feed as much of it.

noblest of the- family; he- stands alone..
Barked: Thu Aug 23, '12 9:38am PST 
Thanks again Mulder! We are going to give the Precise Holistic Large/Giant Breed Adult formula a try. Well post a few updates over the next couple months so others can see how this food is working for us. puppy

noblest of the- family; he- stands alone..
Barked: Wed Aug 29, '12 10:03am PST 
Help! I'm confused and can't make heads or tails of this. My dad posted on another forum with concerns of me being underweight. After seeing my most recent picture, the forum members all recommended that he increase my food by 1/2 a cup at each feeding. This would bring me up to 7 cups of food a day!

He just spoke to a vet though who supposedly specializes in giant breed nutrition since my stools, while being well formed, are very soft. This is what the vet had to say:

"The goal is to feed him to the point that his stools remain firm. Obviously, this will be different for most every dog because they are all individuals. The more you feed that he does not use will be passed as stool and they will be less and less firm the more you feed. Ultimately what happens over time is the dog does not gain weight as he should."

Keep in mind this vet was aware that I get a monthly shot of Ivermectin to prevent worms and other parasites... which ruled that out as a possible cause of the soft stools.

Rather than increasing my food from 6 to 7 cups a day, she is actually recommending that I decrease my food to 5 cups a day. That just seems counter intuitive to me. *woof* frown

Does anyone else have any thoughts on this? My dad just wants to make sure he's doing what is best for me.

I'm triple- superior MAD- now!
Barked: Wed Aug 29, '12 1:19pm PST 
If the stool is soft there is no point in feeding more food per meal. You could feed an additional meal if your pup is actually skinny. Underweight doesn't matter, what matters is the body condition. A slow maturing giant breed pup is far better off later in life. Even pups should have waists/tucks and you should be able to feel the ribs.

Sassy was at the other end of her life but if I just fed more she pooped it right out and if I added meals she was able to put on some weight.

noblest of the- family; he- stands alone..
Barked: Thu Aug 30, '12 10:40am PST 
Thanks Maxwell! After talking with our own vet, here's our plan. We will decrease Clyde's food from 6 cups to 5 cups a day, split between 2 feedings. Since Clyde loves the new food so much, it also works well as a training treat... at least for now. This means he gets an extra 1/4 cup a day during his daily training session. This totals 5.25 cups a day.

Since the new food is higher in calories than the old food (417.96 Kcal ME/cup vs. 364 Kcal ME/cup), he's still getting 10 calories more per day... even though we're feeding less. Once his stool firms back up, then we will assess his body condition score and make adjustments as necessary. The vet still does not want him gaining too much weight too fast due to his early development issues. Also, we are cutting his daily walk back from 1.5 miles per day to .75 miles per day.

I'll update again in a few weeks and let you know how this plan is working for us. Thanks for all your input and advice! It is MUCH appreciated!!
Bam-Bam, CGC

Lil' Rubble
Barked: Tue Sep 11, '12 10:44am PST 
Hi Clyde wave

I'm a Mastiff too and my mom has done TONS of research on large/giant breed nutrition, and even worked as a nutrition consultant for a spell!

Mom says not to worry about being underweight. For us big guys, it's always best to be slightly underweight than an ounce overweight. Even I could probably easily put on 20 more lbs and not be considered obese, but mom figures why bother? It's healthier for me to be leaner. Unfortunately, most of the time for us big guys, the bigger we are, the sooner we die frown

Mom also says that based on your most recent picture, your bone structure is not such that you should carry more weight than what you're carrying. Some Mastiffs have super thick bones and have the structure to be 200+ lbs and others are happy sitting around 150-180. It really depends. At my heaviest, I was around 210, now I probably sit around 190, though mom hasn't weighed me recently.

Precise is okay, but if you're choosing that based off of just what the Great Dane Lady says (mom says lots of ppl find out about Precise through her), please know she's not without her biases. There are plenty of other excellent options. Mom feeds my sister Reyna (also a Mastiff) and I raw, but she likes Fromm Large Breed Puppy, Orijen/Acana, and a few others. Mom likes the small companies rather than those who have their foods made in other plants.

If you have any questions about Mastiffs or nutrition, please feel free to pawmail us!

Canis Angelicus
Barked: Tue Sep 11, '12 10:58am PST 
I also wanted to say hi from another Mastiff owner. Like Bam Bam I too am a raw feeder, but I agree with what Bam Bam said, it really is better for our big guys not too be too heavy. Oscar is two years old and just under 200 lbs now.