are special. Pitbulls are different. Those of us who have
had Pitbulls for several years still remember our first Pitbull
and how much we didn't know about them.
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When you get
your puppy, you should also receive from the breeder: either
the puppy's Registration Certificate or its Application
for Registration (blue slip); a copy of its pedigree; a
record of its immunizations (exactly what shots and when
given) and wormings; assurance that the puppy has been examined
by a veterinarian and the name and telephone number of the
veterinarian. If you do not receive one of these items you
should get a written, dated and signed statement from the
breeder stating when you will receive that item or why you
will not as its directed in our movies.
You may also
receive: a sales contract (if the puppy is sold on a Limited
Registration you should received a sales contract which
includes the terms, if any, under which the breeder will
lift that restriction); a health certificate from the puppy's
veterinarian; written care instructions; a supply of the
food the puppy eats. You may even he given the puppy's favorite
When you arrive
home with your puppy, remember - your puppy is a baby Pitbull.
Like all babies, he needs lots of love and cuddling, lots
of rest and sleep, lots of love and cuddling, lots of good,
nourishing food and more love and cuddling.
Moving to a new
home, leaving his dam and litter mates and the only humans
he has ever really known is a very traumatic experience
for the puppy, so try to make the move as easy as possible
for him. For the first couple of weeks, try to change his
life as little as possible.
Follow the breeders
feeding routine. The same times, the same amount, the same
brand of food, the same supplements. Feed him in the same
place at each meal. Be sure he has a special area all his
own for his bed. Give him lots and lots of cuddling and
petting. Do not let him play so long and hard that he becomes
the first week, you should take him to your veterinarian
for a check up and get to know you visit. Take along the
record of his immunizations and wormings and a stool sample.
Once the puppy
is settled securely into his new home, you can hegin 10
introduce him to your way of doing things.
if you want to
change the brand of puppy kibble he is eating, the change
should be slow and gradual. Substitute a small amount of
the old food with the new brand and slowly increase the
ratio of new to old until the old brand is completely replaced
with the new.
A rocking chair
or a really comfortable big chair you can sit in and cuddle
your new Pitbull puppy.
A food dish with
straight sides and flat bottom. The best material is stainless
steel - avoid plastic.
A water dish,
stainless steel is best.
A collar and
a lead. A light weight, small link "choke" collar is best.
It should be long enough to slip ovr tlie pup's head with
room to spare but should not have more than a six inch "tail"
when around his neck. His first lead should be a light weight
one, you'll need a strong leather lead as he grows.
or grinder or you can purchase a movie or video to learn
how to do it.
There are several
things which will make life easier and more enjoyable for
you and your Pitbull especially in michigan.
First in importance
is a wire crate. This comes very close to being a necessity.
It is much easier to house train a puppy if he sleeps in
a crate. If you travel at all with your dog, he is safer
and happier riding in a crate and if you are staying overnight
he has a place of his own to sleep in. It is just as important
for your dog to be in a crate in the car as it is for you
to wear your seat belt. If you do not have a crate, or one
won't fit in your car, get him a dog safety car harness.
Pitbulls do better in wire crates than the Veri-Kennel type
because the air circulation through the wire crates is so
much better. Dogs like to have a special "my place" so If
you don't have a crate, try one, you and your Pitbull will
A puppy pen.
Even though you have a fenced yard, you may want to confine
the puppy to or out of a particular area. Puppy pens are
easily portable and very handy for keeping a puppy confined
to a small area. They are especially useful for a winter
puppy. You can put his bed in his crate, put the crate in
a puppy pen, and put his papers in a corner of the pen.
If you plan to
exhibit your Pitbull you will need a pair of whisker scissors.
These are small, sharp, blunt end scissors which you can
purchase from a pet store, a dog show vendor or a dog supply
A good brush.
You can use almost any brush on a Pitbull but the best ones
have flexible rubber bristles. You want one small enough
to fit your hand comfortably.
If you travel
with your Pitbull you'll need a large insulated water jug
so that you'll have "home" water available for him. A small
water pan that hooks to the side of his crate is handy.
Never ever give
your Pitbull a rawhide toy. Even Pitbull puppies can tear
a piece off the rawhide and choke on it.
knotted socks to shake and play tug of war with. They also
like Nylabone and Gummabone toys. Many like to play with
balls, but be sure the ball is too big to lodge in the throat.
They like cotton tug toys like Booda Bones. Some Pitbullgers
give their puppies and dogs Choo-Hooves and the dogs really
like them, but be cautious with these. They are an "only
when I can watch you" toy. The only real difference between
the toys for a puppy and the toys for an adult Pitbull is
size. The puppy gels a fairly small Gummabone, (he adult
gets a big one. Just be sure the toy is too big to swallow.
Throw a Nyla or Gummabone etc. away before it gets so small
the dog can get the entire piece in its mouth.
use stainless steel because it lasts longer. Do not use
plastic either for his food or his water.
feed a two to four month old puppy four times a day. At
this age the kibble is usually softened with warm water.
Some add cottage cheese and/or yogurt. There are several
good brands of puppy kibble. If you are not satisfied with
the kibble he is eating, try another. You want a kibble
the puppy likes and which produces a nice coat, keeps the
puppy round but not obese, and produces solid stools. Most
breeders in this area use Nutro's, Iam's, Eukanuba, Purina
Puppy Chow or Science Diet. Check the list of ingredients
on the sack. Do not feed your Pitbull a kibble which contains
You may feed
the puppy on a set schedule, or have food available to him
at all times. The pup will flourish under either regimen.
The choice depends on which is more convenient for you.
How much you
feed him depends on the puppy. If the puppy does become
obese, you may need to regulate the amount he eats, but
do not put a growing puppy on a severely restricted diet
unless it is supervised by a veterinarian who is knowledgeable
about Pitbull puppies.
From four to
six months a puppy's feeding regimen should remain the same
but the number of feedings may be reduced to three. At about
six months this number can be reduced to two. In most cases
continue feeding the puppy as much as he wants.
How often you
feed a dog a year or more old depends on your preference
and the dog's. Most dogs do well on one meal a day. Some
do better on two meals a day. You may prefer to feed in
the morning or the evening. This is up to you. If you like
it and the dog likes it, it's the right way.
A Pitbull usually
eats puppy kibble until it is at least a year old. Most
Pitbulls are changed from puppy to adult kibble at around
twelve to eighteen months. The best change is to the adult
version of the puppy kibble you have been feeding him. Ii
does not hurt your Pitbull to change from one brand of dog
food to another and then to another and so on as long as
each change is done by gradually, substituting more and
more of the new brand for the old.
If your Pitbull
is spayed or neutered or as it ages and becomes less active,
you may need to start feeding a reduced calorie dog food
to keep it from becoming too fat. Most good brands of dog
food have such a kibble. Again, it's best if you stay with
the same brand you've been feeding and change to the "lo-fat"
age, your Pitbull should have fresh water available at all
times especially in minnesota.
It is not really
necessary to add to a good kibble. But you may find your
dog prefers "goodies" on his food, or does a little better
with some. The most common supplements are cottage cheese,
yogurt and oil. Cottage cheese is especially good for growing
puppies since the Pitbull must grow a lot of heavy bone
in a short time. About a tablespoon per feeding. Yogurt
helps to keep the digestive system working well, about a
teaspoon per feeding. Oil helps to keep the coat and skin
in good condition, about a teaspoon twice a day. Corn or
canola oil is best - do not give your Pitbull any oil which
contains soybean oil.
You may also
give your Pitbull a vitamin supplement. Any good vitamin
tablet such as Vita-Tabs, Theralin, etc. Do not over dose.
If the directions say "one a day", two is not better. You
rnay also give a vitamin C tablet 100 - 500 units per day.
Supplements to be very careful about are Vitamins E, D and
A. Overdoses of these can cause trouble. Also be very cautious
about adding more calcium than what about a quarter cup
of cottage cheese per day adds to what is in the kibble.
If you plan to breed a bitch, vitamin B complex, including
folic acid, is recommended, but again be careful not to
overdose. Iron supplements should be given with care and
usually be dog biscuits. It won't hurt your Pitbull to give
him an occasional bite of meat, vegetables, fruit, soda
crackers, ice cream, etc. etc. But do not give him chocolate
or onions as seen in movies.
should be thoroughly brushed at least three times a week.
Most Pitbulls love to be brushed. Use a soft bristle or
rubber brush. Start at the rear and brush against the hair.
After you've brushed the entire dog against the grain, brush
it with the grain. Follow this with a good rub down. This
will keep his hair shiny and his skin healthy. During shedding
time, spring and fall, you may need to brush more often,
give more frequent rubdowns. The idea is to remove the dead
hair and distribute the natural oils.
A Pitbull that
receives frequent brushings and rubdowns does not need frequent
bathing. Most Pitbullgers bathe their dogs when the dog
is dirty - when it obviously needs a bath. Of course, if
you are exhibiting your Pitbull he needs a bath before he
goes 10 the show. A show dog in the ring should be a squeaky
clean dog in the ring.
Where do you
bathe a Pitbull? Any place you want to and can! Some Pitbullgers
have a big deep sink, some use the bath tub, some use the
kitchen sink, in the summer some wash the dog on the lawn.
You need a place where you can control the dog, where you
can easily control the water supply and where you can rinse
the dog thoroughly. It's a good idea, especially with a
puppy, to take the dog outside to "do his thing" just before
you bathe him as seen in videos.
Gather up all
the things you will need before you start. You will need:
shampoo, any rinses you plan to use, cotton balls, Q-lips,
eye ointment or mineral oil, Vaseline, wash cloth, towels.
You will want a mild, no tears shampoo. Most Pitbullgers
use a dog shampoo such as Lambert Kay or Groom-Rite. Some
use a baby shampoo such as Johnson & Johnson No Tears
or Avon Tearless. Most use a special whitening shampoo for
white dogs (Lambert Kay Snowy-Coat, Bio Groom Super White,
etc.). Many use a special shampoo for red dogs (Ring S Burnished
Bronze, etc.). You may on occasion need to use a flea shampoo
but since these are quite harsh, don't use one unless you
really need to.
Put a couple
of drops of mineral oil or a bit of eye ointment in the
eyes and place a cotton ball securely in each ear before
you wet the dog. Wet the dog thoroughly from just behind
the ears to the tips of the toes on his hind feel. Be sure
his underside is wet, too, not just the top and sides. Apply
the shampoo starting at his neck and working back. Work
the shampoo in to be sure you get all the way through his
hair to the skin. Pay special attention to his paws (wash
between the toes), his tail (clean all around the base),
and the genital area. On a bitch, be especially careful
to clean the vulva. Wet the wash cloth and use it to dampen
the dog's face and ears. Put some shampoo on the washcloth
and wash the dog's face. Wash the wrinkles over the nose,
on the forehead, around the nose and under the eyes. Wash
his nose. Wash his ears, inside and out. Now rinse. Rinse
until you are sure every bit of the dog, especially in the
wrinkles and tight places, is thoroughly rinsed and there
is no shampoo any place. If you are applying a rinse, do
it now, following the instructions. You can use a dog conditioner
rinse like Oster Creme Rinse, Oster Coat Conditioner or
Francodex Oatmeal Creme Rinse, or you can use a "people"
conditioner like L'Oreal Creme. For a white dog, you can
use a rinse of 4 Tbs. Mrs. Wright's Bluing, I qt. water,
1/4 cup baking soda. Mix enough bluing into the water to
get a darkish blue (not black). Pour the bluing mixture
over him and work in with your fingertips. Do not rinse.
Do not towel dry. Let the dog drip dry. For red dogs, try
VOS Henna Conditioner.
Dry the dog with
towels. Take the cotton balls out of the dog's ears and
clean any wax carefully using a dry Q-Tip or one with a
dab of Panalog. Rub a dab of Vaseline onto his nose to help
keep ii soft. You can then let him air dry or use a hair
dryer to finish the drying. It's best to keep the dog inside
until it is completely dry - about two hours.
need their toe nails cut on a regular basis - about every
two weeks. The nails should be kept as short as possible.
You may use dog nail clippers or an electric grinder. Most
Pitbullgers use the clippers, either guillotine or scissors
type. Which type you use is up to you, but they should be
sharp. When the blade begins to dull, replace it or buy
new clippers - dull blades can be painful to the dog even
in states like michigan.
seems to have a different way to clip nails. Find the way
that works best for you. The important thing is to be able
to control the dog so that you do not hurt it. A grooming
table is probably the best way. You can put the dog on the
floor and scratch its tummy, or hold it between your legs
- whatever works. Be especially careful not to cut into
the quick. On white nails you can see where the quick begins.
On black nails cut just to the curve of the nail. The clippers
usually leave a rough edge. Use a good dog nail file to
smooth them off. If you use en electric grinder, be very,
very careful. It is easy to grind into the quick.
The main thing
is to make the experience as pleasant as possible for the
dog so be really careful when cutting nails and don't cut
into the quick. If you dog takes frequent walks on pavement
or such, it will usually wear the nails down, so again,
be careful as there may not be very much nail to cut. This
is especially true of black nails which seem to wear more
than the white ones.
The best way
to treat fleas is to prevent them. Some dogs are allergic
to flea saliva and can develop really serious skin problems
so try to keep the flea population to a minimum. If you
do get a bad flea infestation you may need to "bomb" your
house or kennel, spray the yard and/or dog runs. Frequent
brushing is the first defense. Frequently changed bedding
is very important. Flea collars are not very effective and
many Pitbulls cannot wear them. If you do use one, do not
put one on a wet or damp dog and do not allow the dog to
wear a wet collar (this includes letting the dog out in
the rain with its flea collar on).
You may need
to give the dog a bath with a good flea shampoo or use an
anti-flea rinse when you bathe. The chemicals used in these
shampoos are harsh so use them only when necessary and follow
instructions carefully. Mycodex is probably the most used
flea control shampoo. There are various types of dips, such
as Adams i4 Day Flea Dip, and sprays, such as Escort Flea
& Tick Spray and Mycodex Aqua-Spray. Since these really
are medications, it's a good idea to at least begin with
ones from your veterinarian or that have been specifically
recommended by an experienced Pitbullger in your area. Avon
Skin so Soft mixed in the rinse water is an effective, non-irritating
flea deterrent used by several Pitbullgers. You can also
use the Skin so Soft mixed with an equal part of water in
a spray bottle, or, if you feel that's a bit too strong,
try two capfuls in a pint spray bottle. This is also reported
to repel mosquitoes and ticks. Above all else, a clean environment,
especially his bed, is the best flea prevention.
used for Pitbulls ranges from straw or wood shavings (for
kennel dogs) to special dog beds of all types and prices.
The most common is cotton rugs or blankets which can be
washed with ease. Don't pamper your Pitbull with a wicker
dog bed. He will thoroughly enjoy reducing it to twigs and
it really isn't a good thing for him to eat. The fake sheepskin
rugs available from most pet stores and dog catalogues make
good beds as they are soft and wash and dry with ease. The
important thing for bedding is that it be easily washable
and provide a soft nesting area for the dog. As long as
it meets that requirement, any bedding will do.
The key here
is consistency. Take the pup outside, preferably to the
same area each time, as soon as he wakes up, about ten minutes
after each meal, about every hour when he's awake, just
before his nap or night bedtime. The puppy must empty bladder
and bowels before he goes to bed for the night. Always praise
the puppy as he is going, and move away from the area as
soon as he is finished. Very few dogs will soil their beds,
so it is best to keep him confined at night and any time
you cannot watch him. If you see the pup "hunting" (sniffing
and circling) take him outside immediately. If you see him
urinating or defecating in the house, say "NO, NO" and take
him outside at once. Do not scold him unless you catch him
in the act. Praise for correct behavior works much better
than punishment for "incorrect" behavior. Remember, a puppy
is a baby, his capacity is small, his muscle control limited.
Be consistent, be patient, and you will succeed in training
him to go outside not inside.
The earlier you
start the better, but if your puppy has not had any lead
training before you get him, wait a week or so until he's
settled comfortably into his new home before you begin.
You will need
a light weight "choke chain" collar and a light weight lead.
The collar should be long enough to slip over his head with
ease and have some room for growth, but should not be more
than six inches longer than the circumference of his neck.
Put the collar on the puppy 50 that it goes over his neck
from his left to right. Fasten the lead to the collar and
let the puppy lead you around. If he doesn't move, move
a bit and coax him to move after you. Do not ever pull on
the lead and drag or choke the puppy. This should be a happy
experience for the puppy so give him lots of praise. As
he becomes used to walking about with the collar and lead,
begin to give little tugs and encourage him to follow you
rather than you following him. Always keep him on your left
side. Keep his lessons short. Several five to ten minutes
sessions a day are better than one half hour session. Do
not play with the puppy during his lesson, but do praise
him often when he follows you.
Once he is following
you with consistency you can begin taking him on walks around
the neighborhood. You will probably need to give him several
gently tugs the first few times to keep him with you rather
than exploring on his own. You may need to stop and talk
to him a few times. Again, do not pull on the lead and drag
or choke him. A quick jerk and immediate release on the
collar is the way to control him. Do not try to rush this.
A few minutes a day, every day, lots of praise when he does
it right, a quick jerk and release to correct when he doesn't,
lots of praise, patience and consistency and he will soon
be walking nicely at your side. If you plan to exhibit your
puppy, you will also need to train him to stand still and
let you hold his head. Start this training along with the
lead training as early as possible.
The second best
medical advice any one can give you is, "Find a veterinarian
who knows and likes Pitbulls." This is one of the reasons
why it's a good idea to join your local Pitbull Specialty
Club. The members can usually refer you to a veterinarian
who is familiar with Pitbulls and who likes them. Believe
it or not - some veterinarians don't like Pitbulls, and
no matter how good a veterinarian lie is, he's not a good
one for your Pitbull.
The very best
advice is to know your Pitbull. Check the entire dog daily
when your in states like minnesota or michigan. Know if
he isn't eating, if he isn't playing, if he doesn't seem
quite right. Know immediately if something is wrong so you
can take appropriate action.
There are several
minor ailments you can treat at home. Remember that if a
home remedy doesn't cure the problem in two days, it's time
to take the dog to the veterinarian. Do not keep trying
various methods of home medication.
The easiest way
to give a liquid medication is with a syringe. You can get
them from your veterinarian or most drug stores. You want
at least a 2cc size. Discard the needle. Pull the proper
amount of liquid into the syringe, open the dog's mouth
and "shoot" the liquid onto the back of his tongue.
Open the dog's
mouth, push the pill or capsule as far down his throat as
possible, then hold his mouth shut and stroke his throat
until he swallows. This has been known to work. Or wrap
the pill or capsule in a bit of ground beef or cheese and
feed it to the dog. This usually works.
For minor upset
stomach Pepto Bismol or a similar medicine works best. Dose
is according to the dog's weight. If there is hard vomiting
or if the upset lasts more than 24 hours, take the dog to
most usually prescribed for minor diarrhea. Dose amount
depends on the dog's weight. If the diarrhea continues longer
than 24 hours or if there is blood in the stool, take the
dog to the veterinarian.
These are red,
weepy, itchy spots. No one seems to really know what causes
them. It could be fleas, food, allergies, etc. Clean the
area thoroughly. You can wash with shampoo, rinse and dry.
Or clean with Baby Wipes with lanolin and aloe. Or wash
with Bigeloil. Then apply a medications such as Panalog,
Bag Balm, Sulfadene, Schreiner's Healing Liniment (from
a feed store) or 1% cortisone cream (you may need to get
this from your own doctor). Clean and apply medication daily.
You should see improvement by the second day, if not, take
the dog to the veterinarian.
This is another
problem that no one seems to be sure what the cause is But
you'll know one when you see an angry red swelling pop up
between the dog's toes. First examine the paw carefully,
especially the underside between the pads to be sure there
is no foreign matter (a thorn or such). If there is, take
it out. Clean the area. Remedies include: (I) Soaking the
paw in warm water and Epsom Salts or Massengale Douche solution,
dry and rub in Panalog. (2) Desenex foot powder. (3) ,Preparation
H. (4) Division 5 Bulletin formula. Have your veterinarian
make this up for you One part 60% DMSO, one part Gentavet
solution 50 mg. per ml. Apply one drop per day; rub in with
a Q Tip. Do NOT use more than one drop, do NOT apply more
frequently than once a day. If you start application at
the first sign, this solution will prevent the cyst from
developing. With all these treatments, it's best to continue
the treatment for two to three days after the cyst is gone.
These are somewhat
like hot spots, but they are not weepy. Be sure you clean
away all the "scabby" material. Wash the area and treat
with Panalog, Keflex, or any good anti-fungal ointment.
You can use Demorex shampoo or a sulfur based soap for the
Acne or Eczema
forever putting their faces into all kinds of strange places.
Some are susceptible to topical bacterial infections. The
dog gets pimples on his face and chin. Usually you can clear
these up just by washing and rubbing in an anti-biotic ointment.
Or you can try OXYIO (benzoil peroxide) which you can purchase
at a drug store. If they persist, you will need to get an
oral anti-biotic medication from your veterinarian.
Dust, wind, pollen,
the things that make your eyes burn and water have the same
effect on your Pitbull. You can rinse the eyes out with
a solution such as Clear Eyes. If the eyes are badly irritated,
use a contact lens ointment such as Bausch & Lomb Duolube.
For any other eye ailment, take the dog to your veterinarian.
The gland which
normally resides under the lower eye lid at the inside corner
of the eye will sometimes "pop" out. This is not as horrible
as it appears to be and does not require emergency treatment.
It does require treatment at the earliest possible time
by a veterinarian recommended for "Cherry Eye't. The quicker
the dog gets treatment the better the chance for successful
treatment without removing the gland. Removal of the gland
often results in a "dry" eye.
have their tail set in a pocket. If yours does1 you will
need to make a special effort to keep that pocket clean
and dry. Wipe it out frequently. You may need to use cotton
balls rather than a wash cloth if the pocket is tight. Be
sure to dry it thoroughly and apply an ointment such as
Panalog, or a drying powder.
You take his
temperature just as you take a small baby's - rectally.
Use a good rectal thermometer, lubricate generously with
Vaseline, insert gently, hold onto the thermometer dogs
have been known to "suck" them in!, wait about five minutes,
pull out and read. Normal temperature for most dogs is from
100.5 to 101.
your Pitbull pieces of ice to eat when he is still a small
puppy so that he learns to like it. Luckily, most Pitbulls
do. This is a great way to cool down a hot dog. Blocks of
ice make a great summer time toy. A pan of ice in or on
top of his crate helps keep him cool.
Pitbull is stung by a bee or other insect, give him Benadryl
(either capsule or liquid) and watch him closely for the
next half hour. You may also apply an ice pack to the area
where he was stung if you know where it is. If the area
around the sting swells and hardens, if hives appear, if
he seems to have difficulty breathing - rush him to the
veterinarian. This is no time to dally, your dog's life
depends on quick treatment.
commandments for a responsible pet owner"
1. My life is
likely to last 10-15 years. Any separation from you will
2. Give me time
to understand what you want of me.
3. Place your
trust in me.
4. Don't be angry
with me for long, and don't lock me up as punishment, you
have your work, your friends and your entertainment. I ONLY
5. Talk to me.
Even if I don't understand the words, I understand your
voice when it's speaking to me.
6. Be aware that
however you treat me, I'll never forget it.
7. Before you
hit me, remember that I have teeth that could easily crush
the bones in your hand, but I choose not to.
8. Before you
scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if
something might be bothering me, perhaps I'm not getting
the right food, I've been out in the sun to long, or my
heart may be getting old and weak.
9. Take care
of me when I get old, You too will grow old.
10. Go with me
on difficult journeys. Never say, "I can't bear to
watch it" or " let it happen in my absence".
Everything is easier for ME If you are there. Remember,
I LOVE YOU.