Sam is now 7 months old. The other day when he went to have his nails done, he weighed in at 92 lbs - that is a 20 lb weight gain in a month, and still looking slim! BTW - that is a 52" diameter dog donut bed he is enjoying.
Sam has been with us now six weeks. He has gained
22 lbs since his pre-flight vet check, yet still has a very defined waist, and easily felt ribs. His vet seems satisfied that he isn't putting weight on too rapidly - a danger in these giant breeds.
He soon won't fit on the floor of the backseat of my Pilot, his favored car riding spot. And at first he couldn't reach the other
dogs' faces and necks, now he easily can, and is giving them a run for their dog chow in the play department. The other night, we had all three dogs going in both directions around the kitchen island, then around the dining table, then jumping over the arm of the sofa.... you dog owners can picture what the furry ones were doing! The day is coming soon where he will tower over the other dogs, and will be able to easily knock them over.
He is already more accurate in his alerts to us in the house. We live in the sticks, with no visible neighbors, so vehicles in the drive are rare. He lets me know when the heating oil folks come, or the landscapers who do monthly maintenance on my plantings and pond. And judging from the greeting when I come into the house, he definitely "gets" that I am his human. I told the boys this one is mine, and they don't get him unless I am gone to work or running errands. So far, so good!
He has a built-in draft stop with his baggy skin. His breed (Spanish mastiff) are flock guardians, so they will always have the loose, baggy skin so that preditors can't bite any vital structure, but will only get a mouthful of skin. It is funny to see it hanging down on the floor behind him... I'll try to get photos of it, and with something for size reference, too. He is a wicked awesome dog, and very smart!
Samson is almost 16 weeks old now. He met his vet
this past week, and got his rabies, and his last distemper shot. He weighed in at 39.5 lbs, up 6.3 lbs from two weeks previously.
Giant breeds have specific nutritional need difference from regular sized dogs - they have a slower growth cycle (2 yrs vs 1 yr), need less fat and protein as puppies to control their growth rate and prevent puppyhood obesity that can lead to joint and bone disorders. They are also susceptible to bloat, or gastric torsion. No one knows what causes the bloat. Genetics certainly play a role, in that the giant breeds are the ones who get it. People have suggested raised feeders, not allowing a lot of water to be
drunk after eating, certain food ingredients, etc. But the upshot is no one really knows. However, now that vets are doing laparoscopic procedures just as human surgeons are, they are making prophylactic gastropexy for these giant dogs. The procedure tacks the stomach to other structures to prevent it from being able to twist. The
risk of torsion goes up with age, and can kill a dog very quickly, so it is a major concern.
Samson starts a couple of private puppy lessons next week, and will do puppy classes for socialization starting later in the month.