Being “owned” by a Neapolitan Mastiff is a joy and a big responsibility. From choosing your puppy or dog, to selecting a Veterinarian, and providing a safe environment for your Neo, his health and welfare depend on you. Find out simple and practical advice for many common Neapolitan Mastiff health concerns, symptoms and illnesses as well as breed research studies at the Mastino Health Foundation (www.mastinohealth.org).
BASIC CARE INFORMATION
Commonsense is essential when dealing with all canine.
PUPPY PROOF YOUR HOME
Designate a place in your home that will be a place that your puppy can call his own. You want him to feel comfortable and stable in his new surroundings and remember puppies can be quite destructive in their early years and for many Neapolitans this naughty phase can last nearly until a year of age.
CRATE TRAINING is strongly suggested if you are intending to keep your Neapolitan Mastiff in your house. A crate shouldn’t be thought of (or used) as punishment; instead, it provides him with a safe place of his own where he can get away from a busy household. It is also an essential house breaking tool when raising a puppy. But one must be careful not to leave a puppy in the crate for extended periods of time.This has been known to create problems in the legs and hips. A crate pad or platform bed is suggested to relieve some of the pressure on the joints when lying down and getting up. The crate is also an essential when traveling with your Neapolitan Mastiff.
First place you must go within the first few days of bringing home a Neapolitan Mastiff is to your local Veterinarian to have his overall health assessed. Your choice of a veterinarian should be based on one that has the ability to deal with large dogs. Don't be shy about asking if he is equipped with proper knowledge of the type of anesthesia that might be necessary to use on a brachycephalic breed if surgery is required at some time. An article on basic anesthesia tips can be found on the Mastino Health Foundation page. You will need to bring all of the vaccination records, worming records and any previous health history along to this first exam so that your dog’s new veterinarian can have the full history on your first visit.
Select a top quality food for your dog. Your breeder should provide you with a diet sheet of what your puppy has been eating. As your puppy grows you must steadily increase the food amount accordingly without allowing your puppy to become overweight. A new puppy must be fed regularly, at least three meals a day until six months of age is a good idea and after that giant breeds do best when given two meals a day. It is important to remember for successful potty training your young puppy should be taken outdoors immediately after eating his meal. Neapolitan Mastiffs have a habit of sliming up their water when they drink so any water container will likely need to be changed frequently. Preventing your puppy from consuming large amounts of food or water can help reduce the risk of bloat. If you are unfamiliar with the other risk factors of bloat, or Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus, be sure to ask your veterinarian about this condition at your first exam.
TREATS and TOYS
A good quality dog biscuit as a reward for being a good dog is fine, but overdoing treats can lead to an overweight dog and a poorly balanced diet. Neapolitan Mastiffs can be very destructive when it comes to toys, larger nylabones, rubber kongs and other tougher toys usually last longer. Beware of plush toys, latex toys or rawhides as these toys can pose a hazard when pieces are chewed off and swallowed.
As a puppy you will want to use a flat collar. Leather or nylon. You want to use something safe that does not throw pressure to the trachea and does not apply excessive pressure to the neck. As your puppy grows older and stronger and pulls to hard on the leash you may be required to use a metal collar. A good six foot leather or nylon lead will be sufficient. It is important to find a trainer where you and your dog feel comfortable, ask your veterinarian or other large and giant dog owners in your area for recommendations.
The Neapolitan Mastiff , especially the males, have a rather oily skin; some refer to it as having a musky odor. You will find yourself wanting to bathe him often. Get your pup used to baths from an early age. Make sure if you are going to bathe him that he is on a non skid surface in the tub. Be careful not to spray water down in his ears or in his eyes. There are many quality dog shampoos and coat conditioners on the market. It is better to bathe outdoors, when the weather is warm. Your Neapolitan should then be rough dried with a towel.
A quick daily brush or comb through will keep loose hair from being left around the house or on the furniture. Do not brush or comb too harshly, as the skin is sensitive and it should not be scratched or damaged. Neapolitans shed out each spring, you will need to give your dog a little extra attention at this time.
Hard biscuits to chew on will help to keep unhealthy deposits away. A non- destructible toy such as giant size nylabones or a rubber Kong can help encourage appropriate chewing. Be aware that the giant Nylabones or raw long bones can break teeth, so some supervision may be needed. There are also specially designed canine tooth pastes and brushes available.
Ears must be kept clean and healthy. The best way to clean ears is to use a small piece of cotton and very carefully wipe out the folds of the ear to remove any dust and dirt and any excess wax. If you find that there is an offensive smell, or there is a dry, bloody deposit around the folds of the ear, the dog may have an infection and should see your veterinarian for treatment.
When you buy you Neapolitan Mastiff, the breeder should have provided you with the last time that he was wormed, and the treatment that was used. There are several all in one wormers available today. It is best to take a fecal sample in to your vet to be analyzed. If parasites are found your vet will prescribe the appropriate treatment.
Neapolitan Mastiffs do not need very much exercise when they are young. You will find a puppy will play for a while, then take a rest, or go to sleep, and then start to play again. Training sessions should be confined to short sessions, in and around the house, ten minutes at a time. Never let your Neapolitan Mastiff become exhausted. And remember whether your Neapolitan Mastiff is young or old his favorite form of exercise is to sit down and watch you work.