Many issues can arise from allowing you dog to become obese. Not only will you shorten the lifespan of the dog, up to two years off an already short life. The other health consequences of these extra pounds are just as terrible: overweight Neapolitans put greater stress on their joints, heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys. Over weight dogs are more prone to injury, and are at a higher risk during surgery. Bitches kept over weight that are to be bred have a greater chance of whelping complications then a fit female. But you as the owner and breeder can help your dog’s health, start today and set down that dog treat! Here is a better way to look at it; a full size milk bone has the nutritional value of one snickers candy bar. We can change this obesity epidemic one dog at a time and most likely, get to live a few years longer with our beloved Mastini! With keeping our dogs fit and changing their lifestyle, the average life expectancy for our breed may change for the better.
Now let’s get down to business understanding your Neapolitan's Body Condition. I would like you to take a good look at your dog while it’s standing. Can you see the dog’s waist line? What about your neo’s abdominal tuck? Not quite sure where to look? The tuck is the area behind the ribs before the hips. It should be smaller around than the chest, just like humans. Also you should be able to glide your hands across the ribs and feel them; if you are having to push down to locate then your dog is too heavy. Basically when you feel across your dog, you should be able to locate your animal’s bones. If they are buried and the substance over them is squishy, it is not muscle.
Letting your animal live its life obese is a death sentence, ticking down until something gives. As we all work together to breed healthier Neapolitan Mastiff’s we need to also give these animals’ healthier lives. Exercise and a proper diet are very important to keep our dogs stimulated and healthy. Take your dog for a walk, not only do you bond with your animal but you help it build muscle and lose any unwanted pounds. Start off with small walks paying close attention to your dog’s breathing, you do not want to over work a dog that is not used to exercise. A healthy Mastino can and will thrive on long walks, swimming in lakes or oceans and even jogging. Even my older Neapolitan mastiffs love to go jogging with me and typically will still want to run even after I’m dragging my butt to the door back inside. Just like any athlete, one needs to train to be able to compete.
To me this is what many show dogs are lacking, a job and the muscle tone resulting from being worked. There is no need to add extra weight on an animal because of wanting to show. The added weight actually becomes a hindrance for the dog and can also change the dog’s movement in a negative fashion. Neapolitan Mastiffs were created to slowly develop into a formidable beast. Trying to rush the process will only take away from your dog, not build the animal into a better Neapolitan Mastiff.
How much exactly should you be feeding your Mastino, I’m glad you asked! Below you will find an easy method to calorie count what you should be feeding your Neapolitan Mastiff. First you will need to figure out your dog’s weight in kilos x 30 +70= this is for a low activity dog. For a moderately active dog take the above and x 1.5, highly active x2, nursing bitch x3. Above is flexible depending on the dog, its age and activities planned for the animal. Any treats given to a dog need to also be added to the amount of calories given per day, if you like to give treats make sure to cut down the portions fed!