Your Purebred Puppy, Honest Advice About Dogs and Dog Breeds

Sensible advice for raising your Old English Mastiff puppy so he lives a long healthy life and seldom needs to visit the vet. Learn about the most common health problems and issues in Old English Mastiffs, the best dog food diet for feeding Old English Mastiff puppies and adult dogs, the truth about vaccinations, spaying and neutering, and natural health care.


11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, my best-selling dog health book

Old English Mastiff dog breed

Old English Mastiff Health Problems and Raising an Old English Mastiff Puppy to be Healthy

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2014

Quiz – How Long Will Your Dog Live?
How To Raise a Healthy Dog
Feeding the Best Dog Food
Feeding the 2nd Best Dog Food
Vaccinations: Needed or Not?
Are You Sure Your Vet Is Good?

The most common health problems in Old English Mastiffs:

The Mastiff Club conducted a health survey that included 570 dogs. They report that half of the deceased Mastiffs in their survey died before age 7, and three-quarters died before age 10.

  • The most common cause of death in Mastiffs, by far, is cancer, especially bone cancer (osteosarcoma), and also lymphosarcoma.
  • The second major cause of deaths in Mastiffs is bloat, an emergency gastrointestinal syndrome that can kill in a matter of hours.
  • Finally, heart disease is a serious issue in Mastiffs, especially sub-aortic stenosis, cardiomyopathy, mitral valve disease, and occasionally pulmonic stenosis.

As you might expect from their size, orthopedic problems are extremely common in Mastiffs, especially hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of 8230 Mastiffs and found 19% dysplastic. That's bad, and the true rate is even higher because most of the obviously bad X-rays were not sent in for official evaluation. Of 3800 elbow X-rays, 15% were dysplastic – the 14th worst rate of 82 breeds.

Other common orthopedic diseases in Mastiffs include cruciate ligament rupture, panosteitis, osteochondritis, wobbler's syndrome, and occasionally hypertrophic osteodystrophy.

Epilepsy is a serious concern in Mastiffs, especially since it's so difficult to treat in this breed. Most epileptic Mastiffs die by age three.

Urinary infections are common in Mastiffs, and a serious urinary disease called cystinuria is more common in Mastiffs than in any other breed.

The most serious eye disease in Mastiffs is progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), which can occur as early as 6 months old or as late as 3.5 years old, and which progresses slowly to complete blindness in middle age. A simple DNA test is available for PRA in Mastiffs, so you can find out at any time whether your dog has the disease, carries the disease, or is completely clear of it.

Other eye diseases in Mastiffs include cataracts, eyelid abnormalities (ectropion and entropion), eyelash abnormalities, cherry eye, persistent pupillary membranes, and retinal dysplasia.

Hypothyroidism is common in all giant breeds. According to the Michigan State University Thyroid Database, up to 15% of Mastiffs have low thyroid levels.

Skin problems include allergies (which cause itchy skin), demodectic mange, elbow hygroma, non-tumorous growths (sebaceous cysts), and chronic bacterial infections (including severe pyoderma).

Other health issues in Mastiffs include colitis (inflammatory bowel disease), myasthenia gravis, and blood-clotting disease (von Willebrand's).


Can you prevent health problems from happening to YOUR Old English Mastiff?

Yes, often you can.

  1. Some health problems are genetic, which means inherited from parents. Genetic health issues are common in Old English Mastiffs today because of unwise breeding practices. My book, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, shows you how to find an Old English Mastiff puppy who is genetically healthy.
  2. Other health problems are environmental – caused by the way you raise your dog. My best-selling dog health book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy shows you how to prevent environmental health problems by raising your Old English Mastiff puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways.

Here are my dog health tips for raising a healthy Old English Mastiff puppy or adult dog:

Dog lifespan quiz How Long Will Your Dog Live? – Take This Quiz!
Based on your dog's breed and how you're raising him, this personalized quiz will help you understand how long your dog might live – and most importantly, how you can increase his life expectancy.


Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
Read my advice on daily health care so your Old English Mastiff lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet.


Real homemade dog food The Best Dog Food For Feeding Your Old English Mastiff
The best diet for feeding your Mastiff is real food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, bison, venison, fish....This is not "people food" and I'll tell you why.


Natural dog foods for your Old English Mastiff. The Second-Best Dog Food For Your Old English Mastiff
If you can't feed homemade dog food, here are your next-best choices.


Information on booster shots for your Old English Mastiff. Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your Old English Mastiff puppy really need? Does your adult Mastiff need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed. Find out what many vets aren't telling you.


Information on choosing the best vet for your Old English Mastiff. The Type of Veterinarian I Recommend
Is your veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Learn about the differences between vets who practice conventional, holistic, and alternative veterinary medicine.


Information on spaying your Old English Mastiff. Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female Mastiff.


Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of neutering your male dog.