Purebreds like the Neapolitan mastiff (nicknamed "Neo" by its fans) tend to have more sensitive stomachs and greater sensitivity in general to a common dog food diet. For this reason, many owners have turned to raw diets to supply the right amounts of vitamins, minerals, and fats for their dog. They prepare their dogs meals every couple of days from raw, human-grade ingredients.
What is a Raw Diet?
Raw diets are favored on the premise that before dog food was mass produced, dogs were fed table scraps, and presumably were no less healthy than dogs today that consume nothing other than kibble. The appeal of the raw diet is that it offers dogs a variety of foods, each providing a necessary ingredient for their overall health and healthy weight. Commercial dry dog food contains a large amount of grain and corn, ingredients that a dog's ancestors would not have chosen in the wild. Raw diets supply dogs not only with meat, but vegetables, fruits, and dairy, as well. The B.A.R.F. diet, or Bones and Raw Food diet, or the Biologically Appropriate Raw Food diet (as well as a few others, depending on whom you ask) includes raw bones as a regular addition to the dog's diet.
Raw Diet for a Neo
Feed your "Neo" mastiff a variety of meat proteins, fruits and vegetables. Some owners prefer to feed their Neos a completely raw diet of 60 percent meat and 40 percent vegetables, while others might include a high quality kibble or pasta, comprising about 40 to 50 percent of their diet. If you choose to feed your dog a raw diet, read about the different types of diets, ask your veterinarian, and implement one that makes sense for your household and your budget. Supply meat protein by feeding raw ground beef, chicken, lamb, even rabbit or venison. Part of feeding a raw diet is providing your dog with a variety of meat proteins and vegetables and fruits. An easy way to do this is to feed your dog what you would feed your family: what is growing in your garden or what is on sale at the supermarket. If you take the time to understand the basics of canine nutrition, you will be able to easily vary your dog's raw diet throughout the year.
Some ingredients to include are: uncooked meaty bones, uncooked muscle, organ meat, raw eggs (shells included), vegetables, fruit, yogurt, cooked cereals, cottage cheese, herbs, enzymes and other supplements. Neos are prone to joint problems later in life, so adding a joint supplement is helpful.
Raw food should be consumed within two or three days. Chill or freeze it right away to avoid bacteria growth. If you like the idea of high quality food, but would rather not feed a raw diet, you can also cook the whole mixture in a roasting pan, like you would a meatloaf.