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Nowadays it is perfectly clear and understood and it has been scientifically confirmed that an excessive intake of proteins and fat during growth of large sized breeds it not just totally detrimental for the health of the growing puppy but advised against by those who know best. In fact, a rapid growth is usually the main cause, if not the only, for craneomandibular osteopathy, hip dysplasia, hypertrophyc osteodystrophia, Osteocondrosis or Osteocondritis dissecans and panosteitis, amongst other growth diseases.
The such diseases, which cause immense distress and pain to the affected dog can also be implemented with random supplementation of the diet with vitamins and minerals, causing an unbalance between the levels of calcium, phosphorous (and magnesium) which is rather prejudicial for the animal.
Fetiche y Mitsouko
It is therefore necessary to abolish for once and for all certain myths such as those that recommend an extra supplementation with a daily intake of milk and other dairy products (cheese, yoghurt, etc.), and or the use of calcium pills; by doing one or the other, on a regular uncontrolled basis, more harm that good will be caused to the growing puppy.
Another myth that needs to be stamped out is that a healthy puppy is a fat puppy. No way! Obesity during growth (and under any other circumstances!) will not benefit your puppy and very much on the contrary will cause it many related problems.
Fetiche y Chinche
I find it very instructive to seek for comparisons with wild wolves, when it comes to rearing puppies. Have you ever seen a wild wolf cub obese? I am totally sure you haven’t. And, does that make them any weaker? By no means! They grow slowly and progressively to become strong and fierce adults. In fact, wolves and wolf cubs eat scarcely and not necessarily every day and yet they are healthy and strong, and most of all, they are agile and capable of doing what they are called to do.
So why should dogs be any different?
Take my word when I tell you that I keep my puppies slim and a little underweight during the first 12 to 18 months. And take my word also when I tell you that all my dogs from 12 months until 7 years fast once a week. And these practices do not make them any weaker than any other dogs on earth… Very much on the contrary! My dogs are capable of running in chase for a rabbit for hours; they can jump up a 1,5 m fence, they can stand on their hindquarters for long, and they are plenty more agile than any average Bullmastiff, for which I am very proud because I am quite sure that if the time came when they were to be asked to perform as their ancestors the Gamekeeper’s Night Dogs, they would do it with flying colours.
Fetiche y Ostras Pedrin de Castro-Castalia
And all this philosophy of mine, which I have assumed many years ago, for which my pups develop only restricted exercise (taking for exercise not just running or jumping, but playing with their littermates, with other dogs or with people, climbing stairs or simply walking around for a while) and are subject to a rational but scarce diet is probably what has made it possible to breed dogs that live to a long age in excellent conditions, that do not suffer from Hip dysplasia or any other disabling/crippling bone condition.
Fetiche y Peggy
I might as well mention that this breed is often considered as being prone to stomach bloat, this being a very serious condition that can cause death if not immediately treated. For this reason, and being aware of the risk, I have chosen to feed my dogs with a high quality dry food diet, combined with the regular intake of fresh raw meat, fish and veggies and big bones. My dogs are fed twice a day, except on fasting day when they only have water available and nothing else.
So far, so good and thus this is what I recommend to all Bullmastiff owners and fanciers.
"The Bullmastiff by Eric Makins"
In the book: PERROS SANOS… DUEÑOS FELICES, I devoted more than one third of its 300+ pages to the subject of Canine Nutrition, because I am personally convinced that an optimal nutrition is key to good health, wellbeing and longevity. If you are familiar with Spanish, I would highly recommend its reading.
(Original text written by Christina of Lima-Netto and Federico Baudin specifically for this web page and protected with Copyright. Not even whole can be reproduced not partially by any way, without Castro-Castalia's express assent in writing).