The Himalayan Mastiff is an Indian Dog Breed native to Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. They were first created by the Gaddi tribe and hence we lovingly call them the Gaddi Kutta.
The males weigh around 45 – 80 kgs and females at around 35 – 60kgs. They are muscular dogs and the fat layer under their skin helps them fight off the cold.
They thrive under cold temperatures and have no problem trudging through the snow. These dogs are natural herders, which is why the Gaddi tribe kept them to herd sheep. But unlike other herding breeds, like the Border Collies, the Himalayan Mastiff is known to take down snow leopards if at all they come to attack sheep.
They are quite popular around North India, Tibet, China and some parts in the west. But this beautiful dog is not for the faint-hearted and if you want to keep a Himalayan Mastiff you need to feed them the right food.
What Do I Feed My Himalayan Sheepdog?
As big dogs they are prone to hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, luxating patella and obesity. So their diet should support their bone structure without increasing their weight.
Traditionally, Himalayan Mastiffs were taken to hunt game and when they were successful they got a bit of what they hunted. On other days, they would have small amounts of protein and leftovers from the Gaddi tribe.
But if you plan to bring home this majestic breed, we know you want to strive to give them the best nutrition. Here are a few ways to ensure they have an optimum diet.
1. How Much Does A Gaddi Kutta Eat?
Tibetan Mastiffs eat lesser than other dogs its size. But you can expect them to have at least 500 – 700g per meal. Those who own these majestic creatures must make sure that they can meet their dietary needs.
2. Winter Diet
They are well equipped to handle heavy snowfall and can withstand temperatures as low as -10 degrees Celcius. Their diet should provide them with enough calories to manoeuvre through the winter with ease.
If the temperatures are within -10 to 10 degrees around your place you can give red meat like pork and mutton. Red meat is high in calories and has a higher fat content. The fat builds under their skin so that they can stay warm. Pork and mutton also have high levels of iron which will help them stay warm.
It is also important to give them iron-rich vegetables like sweet potato and small amounts of spinach. The fibres in the sweet potato balance the red meat.
Remember that, unlike us, your Himalayan Mastiff cannot eat fried, or sauteed meat and boiled meat often looses its nutritional value so cook it as lightly as possible.
Homecooked dog food cannot give your dog the wholesome nutrition they need so it would be ideal to buy a balanced commercial meal that uses mutton or pork as a primary ingredient. Of course, you don’t have to stick to red meat throughout the winter. You can switch it up to make sure they get rounded and wholesome nutrition.
3. Summer Diet
The Himalayan Mastiff can handle mild dry summers with temperatures going as high as 30 degrees. Their fur sheds heavily during the spring giving them an almost different look in the summers. However, this breed is not suitable for extreme summers and humid temperatures.
As big muscular dogs they do need a good amount of premium quality proteins which is why you shouldn’t stop animal proteins during the summer. Instead, go for light, lean meat during this time of the year. Egg, poultry and fishes are great for the summers.
Fishes are rich in Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and since your Mastiff sheds heavily during the summer, they will love salmon, trout, herring etc in their diet.
Just like winter food, it is ideal to invest in premium quality, balanced dog food that does not contain grains.
Grains add unnecessary bulk in their diet which doesn’t serve them any purpose. Instead, you can give them high fibre, nutritious fruits and vegetables like apples, potatoes etc. Small amounts of curd also work well for their digestive system.
Apart from food, there is another important component nobody ever talks about – water. You need to make sure they have a fresh clean supply of water. This is especially true if you give them dry dog food. Dry products need more moisture to digest and the entire body dries up during the summers. So, this doubles their water needs.
You can use various techniques to encourage your Mastiff to drink their share of water. For instance, if it’s really difficult to get your dog to drink water you can make a chicken broth popsicle. They will love it!
4. Diet For Obese Tibetan Mastiffs
As we said earlier, Tibetan Mastiffs are quick to gain weight. So, you need to be very vigilant of their diet and level of exercise.
The fat in their meals should come from their raw ingredients. Please do not add oil separately unless prescribed by their vet.
Also, avoid all kinds of table scraps. Instead of giving them a high-calorie snack you can give them a few pieces of carrots and apples. Most dogs love apples and we’re sure your Mastiff will love it too.
5. Training Treats
Lastly, Tibetan Mastiffs need a lot of training. They are stubborn dogs and highly independent which is why early training and a firm command is important.
It is also important to give them the right kind of motivation – to help them understand that good things happen to them if they are with you. Some dogs may be motivated with toys and playtime but most dogs are motivated by treats.
So what are the perfect training treats? They are something that is low in calorie and easy to break. If you want to train your dog well, repetitions are important and you don’t want them to become obese and inactive from too many treats.
You will find low-calorie training treats in the market. They are usually cut into small pieces. If you want to make your own training treats you can simply use boiled chicken or boiled turkey. Remember, overcooking the meat will strip it of its nutrients. So, cook it as minimally as possible.
So, these are our simple tips to manage your Himalayan Mastiff’s diet. When they are eating well, it shows quite clearly on their structure. They will have shiny fur, less hair fall and a lot of energy.
If your puppy is lethargic or has brittle skin and heavy hair fall even after having a good diet, please make an appointment with your vet. There is a chance that your dog is allergic to a component in their diet and is hence not responding to it.
Tell us what your Mastiff enjoys to eat? Let’s continue the discussion in the comment section below.