The food you put inside your dog shows on his outside. Your neapolitan mastiff is no exception. He should be strong and lean with a glossy coat. To help him thrive, feed a varied low-fat diet rich in essential oils.
baby english mastiff image by Joy Fera from Fotolia.com
Neapolitan mastiffs grow to an impressive size -- adult males can weigh up to 150 pounds. Large-breed puppies grow at a slower rate than other dogs; their puppyhood is longer. Due to this, they require less fat than smaller dogs. Fat provides energy, which is essential for quick-growing, high-activity breeds. Your neo is neither quick to grow nor full of energy, so his fat intake should be low. Selecting leaner proteins such as turkey over lamb is an easy way of reducing his fat intake.
If you're feeding your neapolitan mastiff a natural diet, consider tuna, turkey and chicken -- they're great sources of protein. Mix these in with kibble, or even pasta, to ensure your neapolitan mastiff gets plenty of carbs with his protein. Some neapolitan owners favor a raw-foods approach, which emulates the way dogs feed in the wild. If you prefer to feed a commercial dog food, ensure that you select a complete product that is appropriate for large breeds. These have higher protein content.
Although fat is essential for health, excessive fat consumption is particularly bad for your neapolitan mastiff, as he is naturally prone to obesity. Oily fish is a great natural source of fatty acids. If you're feeding a complete commercial food, select a “light” or “weight control” product as these are designed for large breeds and have lower fat content. This is especially useful if your neapolitan mastiff is elderly. Elderly dogs are less active and are therefore more prone to weight gain. Obesity in older dogs is particularly problematic as it can lead to joint problems.
Oily fish, flaxseed and linseed are great sources of essential oils. These oils help keep joints supple, which is essential for large, heavy dogs, especially as they become old.
Bread, pasta and kibble are good sources of carbs for dogs. It’s important that your dog gets a good amount of dry food that provides dental friction. If you’re feeding a raw diet, he’ll get this from bones and feathers. If you’re not feeding a raw diet, he should get this dental scrubbing from kibble -- so kibble should comprise at least half of his carb intake if he’s not eating raw food.
Your neapolitan mastiff should be calm and relaxed before eating. Overexertion prior to feeding time can lead to gastric torsion, a potentially fatal condition common to large breeds whereby gas buildup causes the stomach to twist. Feed him at a regular time each day, making sure he has not exercised in the previous hour. Ensure that he remains calm for at least an hour after feeding, too. Put him on a leash or have him go to his basket or crate if necessary.
Simon Foden has been a freelance writer and editor since 1999. He began his writing career after graduating with a Bachelors of Arts degree in music from Salford University. He has contributed to and written for various magazines including "K9 Magazine" and "Pet Friendly Magazine." He has also written for Dogmagazine.net.