Friday, March 20, 2015

Pibbles Love People (Part 5)

Pibbles Love People (Part 4)

Pibbles Love People (Part 3)

Pibbles Love People (Part 2)

Pibbles Love People (Part 1)

Pitbulls & Parolees

Dog Health – Canine Good Citizen


Sponsored by the Animal Kennel Club (AKC). Dogs may participate no matter pedigree or breed*. It’s administered by local dog clubs, private trainers, and 4H clubs. Rules on what is to be expected can be found at their website (Can also be accessed in the downloads section at

·         Must be well groomed
·         Good manners
·         Must know sit, stay, come, down
·         Allow strangers to approach
·         React appropriately to dogs and distractions
·         Walk nicely on loose leash
·         Sit politely for petting
·         Move through crowd without going wild
·         Calm down after play or praise
·         Sit still for exam by judge

*This is an excellent way for APBT (and their owners) to show off just how wonderful these dogs are.

Disclaimer – In no way am I claiming to be an expert on these topics. These are only informational articles written to help dog owners. It’s recommended that you always do your own research and consult with your veterinarian for more detailed information. 

Dog Health – Poisons & Dangers


·         Rx and non Rx meds       Dietary supplements      Household cleaners       
·         toilet bowl sanitizers      Cosmetics                           Perfumes
·         electric cords                     wires                                     trash cans
·         pest control                        coins                                      some children’s toys
·         pins                                        tacks                                      needles
·         small objects                      string or thread                 some fabric


·         Pesticides            Herbicides           Insecticides        Weed killers       Rodent traps      slug bait
·         Beetle traps       plants                    snakes                  Spiders                 insects                  scorpions
·         Broken fence     loose fence        stray animals      wild animals       broken glass       nails


·         Antifreeze          gasoline               paint                      Car cleaners      
·         fiberglass             cellulose              Paint thinner      insulation           
·         sharp blades      tools                      other gadgets   

Dog Health – Poisonous Foods
·         Chocolate                            onions                  tobacco
·         Raisins                                  grapes                  caffeine              
·         Avocado                              alcohol                  macadamia nuts
·         Baby food                           raw egg                                raw meat
·         Garlic                                     milk                        yeast bread dough

*Some foods listed may not be actually considered poisonous. However some experts don’t recommend them for dogs for varying reasons. When in doubt the best thing to do is seek your vet’s advice. (It’s better to be safe than sorry.)

Dog Health - Poisonous Plants
·         American blue flag                                          Bachelor’s button
·         Barberry                                                              Bog iris
·         Boxwood                                                             Buttercup
·         Cherry pits                                                          Chinese arbor
·         Chokecherry                                                      Climbing lily
·         Crown of thorns                                               Elderberry berries
·         Elephant ear                                                      English ivy
·         False acacia                                                         Fern
·         Foxglove                                                              Hellebore
·         Herb of grace                                                     Holly
·         Horse chestnut                                                 Irish bulbs
·         Japanese yew                                                   Jerusalem cherry
·         Jimson weed                                                     Lily of the valley
·         Marigold                                                              Milkwort
·         Mistletoe berries                                             Monkshood
·         Mullein                                                                 Narcissus
·         Peony                                                                   Persian ivy
·         Rhododendron                                                 Rhubarb
·         Shallon                                                                 Siberian iris
·         Solomon’s seal                                                  Star of Bethlehem
·         Water lily                                                             Wisteria
·         Wood spurge                                                     Yew

Disclaimer – In no way am I claiming to be an expert on these topics. These are only informational articles written to help dog owners. It’s recommended that you always do your own research and consult with your veterinarian for more detailed information. 

Dog Health – Chronic Hip Dysplasia

Although the APBT often are adept at hiding their pain symptoms they can be affected by this chronic issue just like any other dog. It happens to be the number one genetic issue in dogs. (No matter the breed or type of dog.) Hip Dysplasia is basically a loose hip joint. What happens is there is abnormal rubbing in the joint surfaces. In time not only can this cause pain due to the inflammation but arthritis as well. Typically signs that there might be a problem are when their gait is altered; they may have issues going down stairs, or even have a lack of interest in playing. Depending on the severity and the dog’s age there a several treatment options. Talk with your vet to determine which one your dog may respond to best. 

Treatment options (milder cases):

·         Weight control – Keeping your dog within the proper weight range may help to decrease or in some fortunate cases end join point completely.

·         Diet – Sometimes genetics is not the cause of the issue. Overfeeding can be a major cause (hence controlling their weight) and too much or too little of supplements such as calcium, carbohydrates, and/or phosphorus. It’s important to have an appropriate diet for your growing dog. It can help reduce risk in both puppies and adult dogs. Discuss options with your vet on what will work best for your dog and their needs.

·         Regular exercise – This is important in all dogs. It helps to maintain strength, tone, and range of motion. A low impact activity like walks on a leash at the speed and distance the dog can handle can help. Be sure that they stop the walk before stiffness or lameness sets in. That would have the reverse effect on what you’re trying to accomplish. Another excellent type of low impact exercising is swimming. Like humans that use swimming as part of their rehabilitation it can have positive effects on dogs. Join your dog during their exercise regimen by dancing. Simply pick up their front legs and step backwards causing them to come forward. Don’t allow them to go backward because it could possible cause pain while the hip is in an extended position. Not only is this fun but it can help strength their gluteal muscles. By doing so it can help reduce arthritis.

·         Joint RX food – There are many dog foods available that focus on helping to improve the function of joints. They are diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

·         Pain reducers – Your vet may prescribe medication to help ease the dog’s discomfort. Since each dog is different they respond differently. Therefore more than one type of medication may have to be tried before finding the one that best suits your dog.

·         Glucosamine/Chondroitin – These supplements are often used by humans to promote joint health. There’s been encouraging evidence that suggests that this also works with dogs.

Treatment options (more severe):

·         Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) – Pain is reduced by electric impulse. Typically these treatments only take about 20-30 minutes.

·         Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) – This device often gives dogs with minor cases relief for up to 2 years. For the more severe cases relief can be found for several months. It uses sound waves.

·         Juvenile Pubic Symphysidesis (JPS) – Most puppies aren’t symptomatic at a very young age. However, if a puppy is diagnosed before they’re 14-16 weeks old this invasive procedure may be tried. It’s typically performed in conjunction with early spay/neuter surgery. A tighter hip joint is created by cauterizing the growing cartilage cells in the lower pelvis area. This procedure can be beneficial to high risk ABPT or loose hipped puppies.

·         Triple Pelvic Osteotomy (TPO) – This treatment is best if performed on young puppies with minimum or no issues with arthritis. Three cuts are made in the pelvic bone. Then it’s repositioned so that the femoral head is secured.

·         Femoral head and neck incision – The femoral head is removed forming a false joint. This procedure is recommended for 50lbs or less.

·         Hip Replacement – This procedure is similar to the one performed on humans. The downside is the cost and long recovery time. However, the now artificial hip is more functional and there’s overall improvement. Depending on the severity of the case the prognosis varies. In cases where the dog was given more conservative treatments for a long time prior the outlook is often good to excellent.

Disclaimer – In no way am I claiming to be an expert on these topics. These are only informational articles written to help dog owners. It’s recommended that you always do your own research and consult with your veterinarian for more detailed information.

American Pit Bull Terrier

There’s no such breed as the ‘pit bull’. This is a general name most common for the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT), American Staffordshire terrier (AmStaff), and the Staffordshire bull terrier (Staffie). However other ‘bully’ type of dogs are sometimes referred to as ‘pit bulls’ such as Bull Terriers,  Boxers, American Bulldog just to name a few.

Dogs are social animals and the ‘pit bull’ is no different. Neglect and isolation can prevent a dog’s cheerful personality from thriving. They may become aloof, ornery, and timid. An APBT that doesn’t interact with humans may feel threatened and become defensive when in the company of them. Unreasonable harsh discipline can also spark anxiety causing a dog to bite out of fear. Knowing this it’s recommended that only positive reinforcement be used when training or during discipline. It’s important to gain your dog’s trust no matter the breed or type.

Human aggression is rare in the APBT. Some unscrupulous members of society like the ‘bad’ image and status that owning a ‘dangerous’ or ‘vicious’ dog brings. Unfortunately friendly puppies and dogs are often trained by these types of people to show aggressive behavior to others – including humans. This taught behavior goes against the true nature of the ‘pit bull’. However, being people pleasers that will literally do anything for their owners and being the easily trainable dog they are they can and often do become as ‘dangerous’ as their owners train them to be. This and sensationalized stories by the media don’t help the reputation of the dogs.

These beautiful dogs are accused of biting more people than any other type or breed of dog. The truth is accurate records are seldom kept to prove such a theory. In the ‘80s a suburb in Texas concluded that from 1980-1987 out of 1593 dog bites only 30 were caused by ‘pit bulls.’ Of course it’s quite likely that this stat is even lower than that due to the many ‘bully breeds’ that look like the ‘pit bull.’

Though often compact dogs they are strong. Not only are they physically strong but mentally as well. Once their minds are set on something they seem to put their all into it. Another reason these dogs have been exploited and misused through the years. The APBT as a whole generally carries the gameness trait. Over the years and through various breeding sadly this characteristic has been somewhat diluted and usually only seen in certain lines now. Gameness is the willingness to continue its task no matter the stress, pain, or even ultimate death, whether it’s fighting, pulling, hunting, or even defending its human. This has nothing to do with the bravery or viciousness of the dog but more to do with its heart and its determination to keep on no matter what it encounters. The ‘pit bull’ is often known for its do or die attitude. This a trait that its fans and owners often admire and yes sometimes exploits.

Myth – APBT have locking jaws – sometimes even to the death.
Truth – This is simply untrue. They do not have any physical characteristics that would cause such a phenomenon. However, their stubbornness, determination, and tenacity may be the reason they ‘lock’ on and don’t let go.

Myth – All ‘pit bulls’ and ‘bully breeds’ should be banned because they’re all dangerous.
Truth – Any dog type or breed that isn’t properly socialized, bred, or trained has the potential to be a problem in society. Sadly Dobermans, German Shepherds, Rottweiler, and now the ‘pit bull’ are just some of the dogs that are often thought of as dangerous or bad. Banning a specific type of dog doesn’t work because it doesn’t focus on the dog owners and responsible dog ownership instead it focuses only on dog types, breeds, and in most cases stereotypes.


Desire to please
Protect family
Protective toward family
Good with kids
Center of attention
Highly trainable
Play for hours
Loves humans
Discerns when to rough house
High pain tolerance
Doesn’t misdirect aggression
Tolerate of kid’s rough play
Least human aggressive
Competent guardian
Devote life
Discerns when to show affection

Disclaimer – In no way am I claiming to be an expert on these topics. These are only informational articles written to help dog owners. It’s recommended that you always do your own research and consult with your veterinarian for more detailed information.

Reference: The American Pit Bull Terrier –
Cynthia P. Gallagher & Consulting Veterinary Editor – Wayne Hunthausen, D.M.V.,          


Dog Health – Hypothermia & Frostbite

The following are health concerns you should be made aware of. Don’t consider it a full guide on how to manage the situations but to simply provide some tips to remember.


The dog’s cooling system isn’t as efficient as humans making them more susceptible to high temperatures. Paws do release some perspiration however it’s their tongue that’s crucial during the cooling. Their tongues swell to increase the surface area allowing more air to pass over it. Blood vessels within the tongue distribute cool blood throughout the body. Panting rapidly exchanges the hot air for cooler air.

If your dog exhibits any of the following symptoms during high temperatures it’s likely they’re suffering from heatstroke. Rapid mouth breathing, heart or pulse rate increased, vomiting, thickened saliva, reddened gums, dazed expression, or moisture accumulating on feet.

For milder cases you can attempt to cool your dog down by removing them from the warm environment and placing them in a cooler one. Provide plenty of fresh cool water. If they still show signs of being unsteady or still have a high temperature you can give them a cool bath or shower. Avoid cold water as it can often cause more harm than good causing the peripheral blood vessels to constrict and slow down the cooling process.

It’s crucial that you seek help immediately if these techniques don’t help as it can be a matter of life or death.


Short coated dogs like the ‘pit bull’ have little to insulate them for long in extreme cold weather especially if there’s no shelter and precipitation. Their bodies will drop below 100 and they shiver and become fatigued.

If your dog is showing signs that they are in trouble due to the extreme cold weather wrap them in something such a blanket, towel, or anything similar. Bring the dog into a warm room and begin rubbing their fur dry with a towel. Blow dryers set to a warm setting may be used as long as it’s not too hot. Gradually raise their body temperatures back up to 100 degrees. You can’t accomplish this by applying hot water bottles or warm packs to their body. Using the lowest setting and keeping a close eye on your dog you can use an electric blanket.

When all techniques have been attempted and the temperatures have not improved or your dog becomes unconscious don’t waste any time, rush to the vet immediately.


In extreme temperatures dog extremities like toes, ears, scrotum, and tails can be affected. The blood supply to the exposed area diminishes and the skin turns pale.

Apply towels that have been soaked in tepid water to the affected area for about 15-20 minutes. Avoid aggravating the sore are by not rubbing or squeezing. When the circulation does return the skin is often swollen, red, and itchy causing a great deal of discomfort or even pain.

If nothing helps its crucial seek help immediately to avoid amputation or death. The vet will most likely prescribe painkillers and antibiotics.

Disclaimer – In no way am I claiming to be an expert on these topics. These are only informational articles written to help dog owners. It’s recommended that you always do your own research and consult with your veterinarian for more detailed information.

Dog Health – APBT For You?


This is just a general overview. It’s important to remember - no matter the breed or type - every dog is an individual. (Just like humans.) Not all dogs will conform to what’s typical. Each dog (and human) should be judged on its own merit. The information collected and shared within these documents merely gives an owner (or potential owner) the basics. Only you know what will or will not work for you and your family. The important thing is to make the best match of dog and owner as possible no matter what type or breed.


·         Has understanding of the APBT
·         Able (and willing) to comply with APBT demands
·         Not concerned about the ‘image’
·         Regular routine
·         Willing to make possibly 15 yr commitment
·         Return dog’s devotion
·         Want companionship
·         APBT fits your lifestyle
·         No major life changes
·         Enjoys exercise that APBT demand (long walks)
·         Understands the APBT reputation (improve it)
·         Someone home most of the time
·         Adult family (with or without children)
·         Older children (14+)*
·         Home can be large, small, even apartment
·         Family can be large or small
·         Country home or city
·         Preferably fenced yard (or secure dog area)

*Some younger children (especially with dog experience) may be suitable for APBT. It largely depends on the child and the dog. As with any children (no matter the age) they should always be supervised with a dog (no matter the breed, type, or age of dog).


·         Wants the ‘tough guy’ image
·         Young person that’ll be too busy for dog
·         Especially too busy as dog gets older
·         Has children after dog is grown*
·         Work and leave dog home alone long hours**

*APBT love children. However, when a new member (baby) is sometimes introduced the dog doesn’t relate to it as a ‘member of the family.’ This can set the dog up to fail. Again, each dog and situation varies.

**Dogs (no matter the breed, type, or age) may not be suitable for your current lifestyle.

Disclaimer – In no way am I claiming to be an expert on these topics. These are only informational articles written to help dog owners. It’s recommended that you always do your own research and consult with your veterinarian for more detailed information.