A: There are so many variables, it’s hard to give a definite answer, but hopefully, I can give you enough information to help you figure this out.
The best way to determine how much your mastiff puppy should be eating would be to ask your veterinarian to calculate how many calories he should be receiving based on your puppy’s age and weight. Most dog foods label how many calories are in each cup of food, so you and your vet can then decide how many cups of food your puppy needs each day. With a giant breed, like a mastiff, you’ll need to be sure to recalculate the totals frequently to make sure you’re keeping up with his growth.
Each dog food brand and type varies in the number of calories and levels of protein and fat, so depending on the food you’re feeding your mastiff, your puppy might require a cup or two more or less than he would if you were feeding a different brand. Most foods come with a recommended feeding chart on the bag. Giant breeds, like mastiffs or great Danes, should never be fed a regular puppy food, so assuming you’re feeding a GIANT breed puppy food (we feed out puppies Eagle Pack Holistic Large & Giant Breed Puppy), check the bag to see the recommended feeding amount based on your puppy’s weight and age. If you want to start out in that range, watch your puppy for the following:
As a general rule, it’s better for giant breed puppies to be on the thin side rather than overweight. This can help prevent several serious bone diseases. You should be able to see the last two ribs and feel the others easily under the skin. If you can see the entire rib cage, your puppy may need to be fed a little more. If you can’t see the last rib or two, cut back a bit.
Overfeeding can cause several bone and joint issues. If you know what to watch for, it’s easy to see the signs and adjust your feeding regimen accordingly. Check for straight bone growth. If your puppy’s toes are starting to turn out, front legs are starting to turn out or look bowed, or the top of his back is drastically unlevel (roached top line), these could be signs of overfeeding or an overage of protein, fat or calcium in your puppy’s diet. Overly knobby joints on the legs or joints that appear to be inflamed are other signs of irregular growth related to diet. If you suspect your puppy may have any of these problems, you should see your vet for a checkup and diet recommendations. If caught early enough, some bone diseases can be repaired and deformed growth may be reversed.
If you’re using a large number of treats to train your puppy, or if you supplement his diet with fresh or raw foods, you may need to adjust the amount of dog food you’re feeding to compensate for the extra calories. In addition, some puppies are more active than others, so a puppy that runs around all day will require more calories than a pup that is kenneled while you’re at work and sleeps more.