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29 Jan 2004

LITTLE MONEY, LOTS OF LOVE
Doc,

I recently got a beautiful female Napoleon Mastiff (5 weeks old) from a friend. I am a varsity student and of course I do not have the means to provide my puppy with the best and recommended puppy food eg: Hill's or Eukanuba. (My parents sadly arent interested in pets). Instead I try to get something which agrees with my pocket - Pedigree 's Canned Complete puppy food which she seems to enjoy. Will this suffice for her rapidly growing body? I also need advice on where I can get her innoculated for a lower fee than at a vet. At what age do I start training and how can I get her to learn that the house and car are not places to leave a puddle ?!?!
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Expert
CyberVet
cybervet

01 Jan 0001

Hi "Tight Bridget"
I presume you mean an Neopolitan Mastiff, which is going to be an enormous dog (up to 70kg), as you say. I hope you have lots of space and time to train this dog as they need a "job" to do to be happy and problem-free. Five weeks old is very young to get a puppy and you are going to have to work very hard to socialise her at an early age. I suggest you enrol in puppy classes starting when she is about 8 weeks old. Ask your vet to recommend someone in your area. If you can't manage that then try to get her to meet other puppies and dogs (friendly ones) as much as possible. Training starts as soon as you get your puppy so going to puppy classes will help you with basic commands like "come" and "sit", using treats and lots of praise. Toilet training is similar in that you need to praise her for doing the right thing and ignore the mistakes. She is very young to be expected to hold it in at night or during a car trip, but you could help her by putting her in a large box (open at the top) or cage with her bed in one half and newspaper or a strip of instant lawn on plastic in the other. Also take her outside, or stop the trip, as often as possible to give her an opportunity to relieve herself. Feeding: I can't believe canned food on its own is balanced or cheaper than dry chunks. Work out how much it will cost per day to feed her on the various foods. (The vet may be able to help with this.) You will probably find that the food that looks more expensive is actually cheaper per day because the quality is so good that you feed less. The local supermarket brands of dry puppy food are fine too. I suggest you gradually wean your puppy from the cans to dry chunks, perhaps softening them with a bit of warm water at first. You can add a t-spoon of canned food, grated apple or carrot, meat stock or healthy leftovers if you feel the food is boring or your puppy is not eating well. Cheaper innoculations are usually available at animal welfare places like the SPCA or Animal Anti-Cruelty League, so find out which is closest to you.
Karen Gray-Kilfoil
ANIMAL BEHAVIOURIST
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