Category Archives: Pitbull Health & Nutrition

Pitbull Health Concerns

We’ve all heard the phrase before: “it’s genetic.” We use the term to describe traits, illnesses, or disorders that we have inherited from our parents, grandparents, great grandparents, etc… Unfortunately, genetics don’t just affect humans, and there are a number of conditions that your pit bull might develop as a result of his breeding. Though most responsible breeders try to avoid breeding dogs with these conditions and therefore reduce the chances of puppies inheriting them, your pit bull could still be susceptible. This article will discuss the ailments that you should watch out for.

Hip Dysplasia

This is a disorder which can strike any dog, but there are a handful of breeds that seem particularly likely to get it. The pit bull is one of these breeds, so you’ll have to watch for signs that he is developing hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is a condition in which a dog’s hips don’t fit properly in their sockets. This is because the sockets did not form correctly as the dog grew. It can be a very painful condition for the dog, and should be managed with a combination of pain medication, anti-inflammatories, and low-impact exercise. Your vet can help you create a plan to manage your pit bull’s hip dysplasia, should he develop it. Watch for signs such as limping, widely spaced hips, clicking sounds in the joints, hopping instead of running, pain in the rear legs, and difficulty going up and down stairs or taking walks.

Patellar Luxation

This complicated sounding condition is similar to hip dysplasia, but it involves the knees instead of the hips. The patella, the flat bone at the front of the knee, does not stay in place. This dislocation can be very painful, and surgery to realign the knee is usually the recommended treatment. It’s important that dogs with patellar luxation maintain a healthy weight, as overweight dogs can experience the problem more frequently and with more pain. The deformities are usually present when the dog is born, but the condition might not become a problem until later in his life. Unfortunately, patellar luxation is genetic and unpreventable if a dog has the deformities. Bow-leggedness, lameness, reluctance to walk, run, or jump, and abnormal gait can be signs of patellar luxation.

Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is a skin condition which primarily results from allergies. Dogs can be allergic to pollen, dust, and mold – essentially any allergen that you might also be susceptible to. “Bully” breeds such as pit bulls can have severe allergies. In this case, the allergies cause itching, runny eyes, and itchy throat. More severe cases of atopic dermatitis can cause skin infections and lesions as well as ear infections. In many cases, dogs will make the problem worse by excessive scratching and biting, which can cause sores and hair loss. If your pit bull has atopic dermatits, your vet will try to determine what he is allergic to. Medication (including anti-histamines), frequent bathing with hypoallergenic shampoo, and a diet that includes healthy fatty acids (to help suppress the allergy) are the usual treatments for atopic dermatitis.

Deafness

Just like humans, dogs can be deaf and it is a common problem among pit bulls and other bully breeds. Dogs can be deaf in either one ear or both. Deafness presents its own unique challenges because training a dog that can’t hear can be very difficult. If you choose to adopt a deaf pit bull, make sure you are prepared to exercise great patience and caution as you try to train your dog. Unfortunately, deaf dogs are at higher risk of injury or death because they can’t hear sounds such as traffic or your frantic commands. They can also be more likely to show aggression. This is mostly due to the fact that without their hearing they are easily startled or have a hard time interpreting threatening situations. Hearing loss is, sadly, irreversible.

Tumors

Dogs can get any type of cancer, but pit bulls are particularly susceptible to a type of tumor known as a mast cell tumor. Mast cell tumors are essentially a form of skin cancer. They can grow very quickly and can have a variety of forms, so if you notice any growths or lumps on your pit bull, it’s best to take him to see a vet. Your vet can test the growth to see if it’s a malignant, cancerous tumor or if it is simply a fat deposit or another harmless growth.

Compulsive Tail-Chasing

Yes, this is a fun game to play with many dogs, and it’s always good for a laugh. But for some pit bulls, the desire to chase the tail becomes a compulsion. A pit bull that suffers from this psychological disorder will often spend the vast majority of his time chasing his tail. It can interfere with his ability to walk, sleep, eat, or play. Dogs that suffer from compulsive tail-chasing often develop the condition as a puppy, but severe or recurring stressors can also spark the compulsion. Treatment includes behavior modification in order to desensitize the dog to the cause of his stress. Anti-depressant medications have also been effective in treating compulsive tail-chasing. Fortunately, as long as the disorder is properly managed, most tail-chasers can live normal, balanced lives.

You don’t have to be paranoid about your pit bull developing a genetic disorder. Most dogs live perfectly healthy lives. As a responsible owner, however, you should keep an eye out for the signs and symptoms of these ailments so that you can get your dog the treatment he needs. Even if your dog does develop an inherited condition, proper care can help make sure his life is comfortable, happy, and long.

Find The Right Diet For a Healthy Pitbull

Of course you want your best friend on four legs to be healthy, so it’s extremely important to make sure that you’re feeding him the right food. There are dozens of different types of commercially prepared dog foods, and choosing the right food for your dog can be confusing if you don’t know what to look for.

Fortunately, there are a few tricks that can help you out. First, you should determine which type of food is best for your dog. If your pit bull is just a puppy, you need to buy him a puppy-specific food until he is about a year old. This will be easier on his teeth and on his digestive system, and will give him higher levels of the nutrients he needs to grow. Adult pit bulls are a mid-size to large breed, so you will probably do best with a large dog food if your dog is full grown. These foods are packed with the protein and nutrients that your dog needs to stay healthy. He won’t get them in a food that is formulated for small breeds. The large kibbles are also better for his teeth, and he won’t be able to swallow his food whole as easily as he might with smaller kibbles. You can try feeding your dog a wet dog food if you like, but they tend to be more fattening, and with a dog the size of a pit bull, you would have to prepare a lot of food to fill him up. Dry dog food would probably be easier on your dog’s waistline and your wallet.

Dogs require a lot of protein in their diet. This is particularly true of relatively active dogs like pit bulls. Before you buy a dog food, look at the list of ingredients on the packaging. Choose a brand that lists a meat, such as chicken, lamb, or beef as the first ingredient. This means that the meat and all of its proteins make up the largest part of the dog food. Ingredients on dog food packages are listed by weight and foods that are largely made up of meat are going to be the healthiest for your dog. Dogs are, for the most part, carnivores. You will see carbohydrates in most dog foods as well. Rice is the most commonly included carbohydrate, which is great, because it’s also much less likely to cause an allergic reaction in dogs than soy or wheat.

Like humans, dogs need vitamins and minerals, so try to find a brand of dog food that provides as many of these as possible. They too, should be listed on the package. If you aren’t sure that the food you have chosen offers enough of the right nutrients, talk to your vet. You can find multi-vitamins that are formulated specifically for dogs and that can help make up for any deficiency in the food. You can also try supplementing your dog’s diet with vegetables, but you should do so only after discussing it with your vet. He can help you come up with a feeding plan that will help fill your dog’s needs without risking weight gain or an unbalanced diet that can cause health problems down the road.

It’s important to make sure that you are feeding your dog the right amount, because over- and underweight dogs can experience decreased energy, increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other health problems. An American pit bull terrier should weigh, on average, between 35-55 pounds, although some individual dogs can have much larger statures, causing them to weigh more. A staffordshire bull terrier (the English version of the pit bull) is smaller, weighing about 24-38 lbs. If your dog is too far outside of his weight range in either direction, you might want to talk to your vet about adjusting his diet and exercise routine.

A good guideline for feeding is to look at the feeding guide on the back of your dog food package. This will tell you how many cups of food you should feed your dog, based on his weight range. Keep in mind that there are other factors to consider as well. If your dog is not active, he can probably eat a bit less than the recommended amount. If he gets a lot of exercise and uses a lot of energy, he might need more than what the package directs. The best way to determine if you need to determine the among you are feeding your dog is to pay attention to what his body shape looks like. If he starts to look too skinny, feed him more. If he starts to look plump around his ribcage and belly, feed him less. This technique may seem primitive, but it is effective. If you still have questions, you can certainly talk to your vet, who will be able to help you make healthy decisions about your dog’s diet.

A proper diet is essential to keeping your pit bull healthy. In many ways, he really is what he eats, and if his diet is well balanced, he will have more energy and a lower risk of illness. Good nutrition will also help to extend his life to its fullest, and he will be your faithful companion for many years to come!

Guide To Pitbull Health Care

Sick dogs are depressed and grumpy dogs, and no dog owner wants to see his usually happy-go-lucky pit bull go down-in-the-dumps. Unfortunately there are many illnesses and diseases that can affect dogs, and since they can’t drive themselves to the doctor, it’s up to their owners to make sure that they get the veterinary care they need. It’s extremely important that you pay attention to your dog’s overall health, and that you deal with illness, injury, or other potential problems before they become serious.

The first step to keeping your pit bull healthy is to keep his vaccinations updated. Prevention is the best way to fight illness. If you take the necessary steps to make sure that your dog won’t get a disease, then you will never have to deal with the effects of it! Of course, many vaccines are also required by law. The rabies virus is the most obvious example of this, and your dog will need to have a rabies booster every 1 to 3 years throughout his life. Along with rabies, your dog will likely be vaccinated against diseases such as parvovirus (a potentially fatal gastro-intestinal disease to which pit bulls are particularly susceptible), hepatitis, and distemper. Other optional shots that your dog can receive are parainfluenza (which is similar to a flu shot in humans) and bordetella, or kennel cough.

Puppies will be vaccinated against these illnesses early in life. Your vet will give your puppy the initial vaccines at about six weeks of age, and will follow up with a series of booster shots until your puppy is one year old. Keeping your dog up to date on his shots is a great way to prevent him from getting any serious illness that might kill him or negatively impact his quality of life. It’s important to note that some dogs can have allergic reactions to certain vaccines, so you should keep a close eye on your dog the first few times he receives any. If he has trouble breathing or experiences swelling or itching, take him into the vet immediately.Your dog will still have to have the vaccine in the future, but the vet can give him medication to stop allergic reactions from occuring. If you change vets, be sure to let the new doctor know about your pit bull’s allergy!

When you take your pit bull to the vet for his vaccinations, the doctor will give him a checkup that will help detect and prevent any other health problems he might be developing. Standard procedure at any vet’s office is to check the dog’s temperature, range of motion, weight, lungs, heart, ears, mouth, and eyes. This will help him to determine if your dog is developing any health conditions or illness.

You can do some prevention of your own at home as well. You get to know your dog’s body when you play with him, pet him, and groom him. Check his eyes, ears, nose, and mouth regularly for signs of redness or infection. You should always be on the lookout for any changes that might appear. Growths can be a sign of cancer (but aren’t always), and should be seen by a vet immediately. Changes in your dog’s energy level and appetite can also indicate that something is wrong. It’s possible that your dog just has an upset stomach because of something he ate, but if the symptoms persist, you should take him to a vet. If your dog is reliably housetrained but suddenly starts having accidents in the house, don’t assume he is rebelling! Digestive problems can often be signs of illness too, and you might want to consult your vet.

Other symptoms to watch for include fever, cough, nasal discharge, sore or infected ears, skin problems, excessive scratching, or pain. Dogs can get colds, the flu, and allergies, so many of these symptoms might really be minor problems. If your dog’s health really seems to be suffering you should always take him to the vet. Pain and trouble breathing are especially not symptoms to be taken lightly. Pit bulls are resilient, but they can injure themselves. Dogs are also susceptible to conditions such as arthritis and hip dysplasia, which can be painful and require careful management. Asthma, too can affect dogs, but breathing problems can be symptoms of other serious illness. It’s extremely important that you notice and keep an eye on any symptoms your dog might develop so that you can get him the medical attention he needs.

In many cases a dog’s body will heal itself, but there will be times that it needs help. If you are concerned about a symptom your pit bull has developed, then you should probably take him to the vet. Many owners hesitate to make appointments for their dogs because they are afraid of looking paranoid or silly if the problem turns out to be minor. In general, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. A good rule of thumb is to imagine yourself with the same symptom or injury. Would you take yourself to the doctor? If the answer is yes, then you are safe to assume that you should also take your dog to the vet.

There is another major part of healthcare that is worth mentioning. This is heartworm prevention. Heartworm is a disease in which worms, which can be several inches in length, invade your dog’s heart. These worms can cause a variety of problems and can be fatal. It would be wise to keep your pit bull on a monthly heart worm medication, such as Heartgard, throughout his life. (This is especially important during mosquito season, as the disease is passed from infected dogs by mosquitos). You can usually purchase this medication from your vet. If your dog hasn’t been on heartworm medication, it would be a good idea to have your vet do a heartworm test. Don’t panic if your does have heartworm! Most heartworm is treatable through medication, and the good news is that the treatment has a 96% success rate. The other 4% can usually be cured with surgery to remove the worms.

It is stressful to watch your dog go through an illness, and chances are he will, at some point, feel a bit under-the-weather. But if you are diligent in monitoring his health and making sure that he gets the veterinary care he needs, then he will live a full and happy life. Remember that you are responsible for your pit bull’s health, and that catching a problem early is the best way to prevent serious illness or discomfort for your dog later on.