Best Dog Food for Cane Corso

The Cane Corso is considered to be a giant breed. Breeds of this size usually do better when fed a good quality food that is specially formulated for large/giant breeds.

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The Cane Corso, or Italian Mastiff, was used in warfare by the ancient Romans. Over the centuries they have been kept as guard dogs and for boar hunting. They make a devoted, loving pet today but they do require good socialization from a young age and proper training. This breed can be calm and well-behaved but they are unlikely to ever welcome strangers. You do need to feed the best Cane Corso food possible to provide the nutrition your dog needs.

Cane Corsi (the plural for the breed) often weigh over 100 pounds as adults. Their intimidating appearance is often enough to deter intruders. The breed comes in black, lighter and darker shades of gray, lighter and darker shades of fawn, and red. Brindling is allowed on all of these colors. Learn what foods to feed a Cane Corso below.

Cane Corso Diet & Nutrition

Basic nutrients such as protein, fat, and carbohydrates are necessary for all dogs, along with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Most better quality dog foods use better quality ingredients that provide better nutrition for your dog than cheaper ingredients. The most expensive food isn’t always the best choice, but cheap foods usually have inferior ingredients.

Dog food companies generally consider any dog over 50 pounds to be a “large/giant” breed. Large/giant breed formulas typically have fewer calories than other dog foods to help big dogs stay slim. Many of these breeds are particularly prone to bone and joint problems such as hip dysplasia. Carrying extra weight increases the likelihood that a big dog will have such a problem. Dog food companies also try to formulate nutrients especially for large/giant breeds, such as the calcium and phosphorus ratio. And, large/giant breed foods often include joint supplements such as glucosamine, chondroitin, SAMe, green lip mussels, and other things to help very large dogs avoid problems with arthritis and other joint conditions.

Like all dogs, the Cane Corso can have some health issues but most of them are not related to diet and nutrition. The Corso is one of the breeds that can be prone to bloat since they are a large breed with a deep chest. When it occurs, bloat is a life-threatening condition and you should take your dog to a veterinarian immediately. It is an EMERGENCY. We suggest that you feed your Cane Corso several small meals per day instead of one large meal. A slow feed bowl can also encourage a dog to eat more slowly and not gulp in air when he eats. You can find out more about bloat here.

Cane Corsi seem to be especially prone to allergies which can lead to bacterial skin infections (pyoderma). If you have a Cane Corso you may need to be especially careful about the dog food you feed. If your Corso has a food allergy, we suggest talking to your veterinarian. She may recommend an elimination diet and food trial to try to identify your dog’s triggers. If you think you know your dog’s triggers, you may try to avoid the foods that contain those ingredients. This can work if your dog is allergic to some common allergens. The most common dog food allergens today are: beef, dairy products, chicken, lamb, fish, chicken eggs, corn, wheat, and soy. These are also some of the most common dog food ingredients today so it’s not always easy to avoid them. In some cases you may need to look for a limited ingredient or hypoallergenic dog food. If your Corso has a serious food allergy and you are having trouble finding a food he can eat, talk to your vet about a prescription or veterinary diet.

We also recommend that large/giant breed puppies like Cane Corso puppies eat a large breed puppy food while they are growing. With many Cane Corso puppies, their growth plates can continue to grow until they are three years old. Large/giant breed puppies can grow fast, they can grow at an uneven rate, and they can be gangly at times. Because of their size, weight, and growth, puppies can be subject to some developmental bone problems if they grow too fast. Large/giant breed puppy foods that encourage slow growth can be helpful in avoiding these problems.

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How Much Should You Feed Your Cane Corso?

How much you feed your Cane Corso depends on several factors:

  • How active is your Corso?
  • How much does your dog weigh?
  • How old is your dog?
  • Is your dog spayed/neutered?
  • What food are you feeding
  • What is your dog’s overall health like?

Just like people, different dogs have different metabolic rates. Large/giant dogs like the Cane Corso usually need about 20 calories per pound of body weight per day. This is true even if your dog is only getting lounging around at home. The Cane Corso is a moderately active breed so if he has regular daily exercise – or more — he will need more calories.

After considering your dog’s specific needs you still have to think about the food you’re feeding him. If you’re feeding a premium dog food that usually means you can feed less food than if you’re feeding a lower quality dog food. That’s because better quality foods usually have better quality ingredients. As a result, their nutrients are more bioavailable to your dog. Bioavailability refers to how easily the nutrients can be absorbed and digested by the body. Foods with lower quality ingredients usually have fewer nutrients or their nutrients are not easy for a dog to use. Rawhide, or animal skin, has some protein, fat, and fiber, as well as calories, but it wouldn’t provide a very good diet for your dog. The same is true with some of the ingredients used in lower quality dog foods.

It’s important to pay attention to the calories in your dog’s food, especially if you are changing foods. You may be used to feeding your Cane Corso four cups of one dog food but when you change to a new food, with more calories, if you continue to give your dog four cups he will quickly gain weight. Check the calories on the label to see how many calories the food contains and figure out how much food your dog needs.

How Many Calories Does My Cane Corso Need?

An adult male Cane Corso can weigh up to about 110 pounds; and an adult female Cane Corso can weigh up to about 100 pounds. Based on recommendations from the National Research Council of the National Academies, the group that researches and makes nutritional recommendations for dogs and cats, if your Cane Corso weighs 100 pounds you would need to feed him about 2206 calories per day. If he’s neutered or very inactive, you would need to decrease his calories so he wouldn’t put on extra weight. And, if he’s very active, perhaps walking or jogging a mile or more with you each day, he would need more calories.

These are only suggested calories. You always need to observe your dog to see if he’s gaining or losing weight eating the rations you are feeding. You can adjust the calories you are feeding as necessary. Many people like to put their hands on their dog to see if they can feel the dog’s ribs. Ideally, you should be able to feel the ribs without seeing them. As of 2013-14, dog food companies are supposed to include calories information on food labels, though this info can be hard to find. If you have trouble finding the calories or kcal info, check the company’s web site. It is usually located with the feeding suggestions.

What To Look For In A Good Cane Corso Food

When choosing a good dog food for your Cane Corso, look for the following:

Good Sources of Protein – All dogs need good sources of animal protein in their diet. Meat, fish, poultry, and eggs all qualify as good sources of animal protein. Protein keeps your dog’s skin and coat healthy; repairs cells; and helps build lean muscle. You should look for several sources of animal protein in the first several ingredients of a dog food. Most dog owners like for the first couple of ingredients to be meat proteins unless your dog has a health problem that requires a special diet.

Many dog foods today, including some expensive foods, include a lot of plant protein such as peas and lentils. Some plant protein is acceptable in a food but it’s better if most of the protein comes from an animal source. It’s easier for dogs to absorb nutrients from animal protein than from plant protein. Check foods to see how much plant protein they contain. If they have a lot of plant protein, we suggest looking for a food that has more animal protein.

Whole meats and named meat meals are both good sources of animal protein for your dog. Some people like whole meats such as whole chicken better than a named meat meal like chicken meal. But named meat meals have much more protein than whole meats which are mostly moisture. The moisture has already been removed from meat meals. After the moisture is removed from a whole meat (through cooking), these meats would be placed much lower in the ingredient list. If you really prefer a whole meat as the first ingredient, we suggest looking for a food that has a good named meat meal as the second or third ingredient. That way you know that the food has plenty of meat protein to back up the whole meat.

Good Sources of Fat – Your Cane Corso also needs good sources of fat in his diet. Fat provides essential fatty acids (EFA) and helps distribute the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Your dog absorbs fat from animal sources like fish oil and chicken fat better than from plant oils.

Named Ingredients – Look for named ingredients in your dog’s food and avoid generic ingredients. With generic ingredients you don’t really know what you’re feeding your dog. The ingredient could be something undesirable. The more specific the ingredient is, the better. For example, chicken meal is better than “meat meal.” Chicken fat is better than “animal fat.”

Low to Moderate Carbohydrates – Many dog foods today have more carbohydrates than you would guess. This is true even with some good quality foods. Even many grain free foods use high-carbohydrate ingredients such as potatoes, tapioca, and sweet potatoes to replace grains so they can also be high in carbohydrates.

We suggest that you look for foods that are low to moderate in carbs, whether you feed a grain free or grain-inclusive diet. Dog food companies don’t have to provide carbohydrate information on food labels. To find this information you can do the math yourself when you figure the nutrients for a dog food; contact the company; or check dog food reviews such as those on Pawster.

Avoid Lower Quality Ingredients – Lower quality ingredients can include things such as corn and wheat gluten; meat digest or animal digest; and unnamed meat by-products. Other ingredients are debatable, depending on who you ask.

Avoid Artificial Preservatives, Colors, and Sweeteners – Artificial preservatives and colors/dyes have been linked to various health problems in humans and animals. You should avoid these ingredients in dog foods. Your dog doesn’t need any kind of artificial sweetener. Other sweeteners are sometimes added to dog foods to make the food more palatable to dogs.

AAFCO – AAFCO is the Association of American Feed Control Officials. AAFCO sets voluntary standards for pet food labeling. Look for foods that have met AAFCO’s minimum standards. You can recognize these foods by the nutritional adequacy statements on the label: “X Recipe is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for maintenance.” Foods can also meet AAFCO standards by food trials. Other statements may say that the food is for “All Life Stages;” or for “Growth and Reproduction.”

Most dog food experts recommend that dogs need a diet that is relatively high in protein and moderate in fat. Healthy adult Cane Corsi should be able to eat this kind of diet but keep in mind that every dog is an individual. You should feed your dog the diet that suits him best.

Top 3 Best Foods To Feed An Adult Cane Corso

Eagle Pack Large & Giant Breed Adult

First 5 Ingredients : Chicken Meal, Pork Meal, Ground Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Rice, Dehulled Barley

Eagle Pack Large & Giant Breed Adult

Many Cane Corsi owners will like this food because it contains no corn, wheat, meat or poultry by-products, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. It has moderate protein and and lower fat than some large/giant breed foods, with 340 kcal/cup. This is a good food if your Cane Corso is less active.

Precise Holistic Complete Large & Giant Breed Adult

First 5 Ingredients : Chicken, Chicken Meal, Ground Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Chicken Fat

Precise Holistic Complete Large & Giant Breed Adult

Precise Holistic Complete Large & Giant Breed Adult formula has three different animal proteins plus the calcium and phosphorus levels have been adjusted for large/giant breed adult dogs. The first five ingredients are: chicken, chicken meal, ground brown rice, oatmeal, and chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and ascorbyl palmitate). This food has moderate protein and fat with more calories per cup than some large/giant breed foods (417 kcal/cup). We think this would be a good food for active Cane Corsi.

Wellness Complete Health Large Breed

First 5 Ingredients : Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Ground Brown Rice, Barley, Peas

Wellness Complete Health Large Breed

Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Adult is made specifically for large/giant breed dogs like the Cane Corso. It has moderate protein and low-moderate fat, with 340 kcal/cup. The formula includes glucosamine and chondroitin to help your dog’s joints. It also has probiotics and fiber for digestive health; vitamins and minerals to keep your dog’s immune system healthy; and omega fatty acids for a healthy coat and skin. The first five ingredients are: deboned chicken, chicken meal, ground brown rice, barley, and peas. If your dog can’t eat grains, there is a grain free Wellness Complete Health Large Breed formula, and Wellness CORE makes a large/giant breed formula. It’s very high in protein (34 percent crude protein) but the fat percentage is low-moderate and the calories are only 346 kcal/cup.

Top 4 Best Foods To Feed A Cane Corso Puppy

Precise Large & Giant Breed Puppy

First 5 Ingredients : Chicken, Chicken Meal, Ground Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Lamb Meal

Precise Large & Giant Breed Puppy

Precise Large & Giant Breed Puppy is formulated for puppies that will grow to be more than 50 pounds as adults so Cane Corso puppies more than qualify! While the formula has fewer calories than many puppy foods, it still has 400 kcal/cup, which is plenty of calories for a large/giant breed puppy. These puppies should be encouraged to grow slowly. The food has three kinds of protein to help build solid muscle. It also has optimum calcium and phosphorus levels for large/giant breed puppies. The first five ingredients are: chicken, chicken meal, ground brown rice, oatmeal, and lamb meal.

Wellness Complete Health Large Breed Puppy

First 5 Ingredients : Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas, Ground Brown Rice, Salmon Meal

Wellness Complete Health Large Breed Puppy

This large breed puppy formula features deboned chicken, chicken meal, peas, ground brown rice, and salmon meal as the first five ingredients. It has 29 percent crude protein and 13 percent crude fat, with 367 kcal/cup. It has salmon oil as a natural source of DHA for good brain and eye development. And it has the proper calcium and phosphorus amounts for large/giant breed puppies. Wellness and Wellness CORE have several puppy formulas, including canned foods if you want to add toppers to your Corso puppy’s food.

Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy Health

First 5 Ingredients : Lamb Meal, Ground Brown Rice, Ground White Rice, Chicken Meal, Dried Beet Pulp

Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy Health

DHA supports good brain and eye development and Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy formula provides this supplement to help your Corso puppy. The first five ingredients in the food are: lamb meal, ground brown rice, ground white rice, chicken meal, and dried beet pulp. This formula has moderate calories – 375 kcal/cup. Holistic Select has other kibble and canned foods, including a grain free puppy formula that has higher protein and fat percentages.

We hope this information helps you choose the best food for your Cane Corso. These foods are only suggestions. Every dog is an individual. There are lots of good dog foods that your dog might be able to eat. Use these recommendations as a starting point and if you need more ideas check out our dog food reviews here on Pawster.

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Carlotta Cooper

Carlotta is a long-time contributing editor for the weekly dog show magazine Dog News. She's also the author of The Dog Adoption Bible, the Dog Writers Association of America Award winner for 2013. In addition, she's written Canine Cuisine: 101 Natural Dog Food & Treat Recipes to Make Your Dog Healthy and Happy.

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