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Mastitis: Breast Health in Female Dogs

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images6DW9G5GNOne of the first signs we look for that a breeding has taken the size of the breasts to increase. Generally before you even see a belly begin to form you will see swollen breasts beginning to fill with milk for the arriving pups.  From the time the breasts begin to swell until the puppies have been successfully whelped it is very important to keep a close eye on your females breast health and condition. Mastitis can occur very quickly and is very aggressive! What is mastitis? Mastitis is an infection of the milk ducts. This condition mainly affects females after delivery, but it can occur rarely in pseudopregnant lactating females as well. Mastitis contains E-coli  and other bacteria sent traveling through your dogs blood stream and can be potentially life threatening if left untreated.

Mastitis can happen from a number of different causes so it is very important to pay close attention to your nursing moms breast condition. Mastitis can form from a blocked milk duct, a tear in the tissue around the nipple( possibly from an overaggressive nurser), or even an over engorgement of the breast. Bacteria can even enter from the pores around the breast and cause Mastitis.

How can you tell if you are looking at  mastitis or just normal swelling of the breast due to pregnancy? An infected breast is very obvious to the naked , even untrained eye. A normal nursing breast will be large, milk filled soft to the touch and body temperature consistent. An infected breast will be  hard to the touch, often very, very, hot to the touch and could be  severely discolored or lumpy. Other overall symptoms can include lethargy, loss of appetite, puppy neglect, fever and dehydration.

Breast infection; Mastitis needs to be handled immediately and appropriately to avoid breast loss. Lack of treatment can lead to Gangrene mastitis. Which will cause the skin to turn black, die and basically erupt like a volcano, leaving a large hole in the breast that will drain pus and blood. This can ultimately result in total loss of the breast. Left untreated, mastitis can cause your dog to go into septic shock which could result in death. This is a matter that must be handled by a vet and promptly to avoid serious risk or even death.

Mastitis will present with a high fever since it is an infection. The treatment for mastitis is an antibiotic regiment, usually prescribed is Clavamox and dosage is based on females size and weight.  In addition the your antibiotic regime, warm compress , with water and vinegar of the infected breasts several times a day for 5-10 minutes per application well help soothe the breast tissue ands bring the infection to a head for easier consumption back into the body, while the antibiotics fight the infection.  Gentle  massages of the breast to help break up the infection from the hard lump its compressed into will also help the healing process.

While under treatment for infection, you should not allow puppies to nurse off the mother.  Infection can pass onto puppies if they happen to suck and ingest some of the bacteria present in the mother. Often times the infection area may come to a head and leak and the puppies could easily ingest and become ill. The puppies small fragile immunes systems have no antibodies to fight infection and could result in serious illness or death.

Since your female is full of milk and no puppies to relieve the pressure, you will need to milk your dog to avoid the infected breast getting worse, or other breasts to become infected from clogging and backing up of the ducts. Mastitis will heal faster if you are expressing the milk from the infected breast. Some vets may prescribe Oxytocin to dry up the milk which will help expedite the healing but will also ensure you on bottle feeding for the remainder of the whelping.

As with all infections, a keen eye,  and prompt treatment are the key to success.  You should see your dog returning to normal in about a week if treatment is successful. With proper treatment breast health should be restored to normal and you should have no long lasting medical issues . All normal nursing functionality should be present on your next breeding.  Please do not feel as though you did something wrong and let your down  if your dog develops mastitis, its common and often times unavoidable since it happen so easily and quickly. The sign you are a good breeder is caring for your dog properly and ensuring their return good health.

CO-Owner of Bully Girl Magazine, LLC, Jennifer Carter has been part of the Bully Girl brand since day one. She is also one of our Senior Writers, as well as head of Social Media for the Bully Girl Brand.

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Facts & Tips

Overbreeding!

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Overbreeding

A lot of so called breeders get caught up in the “HYPE” of becoming rich by breeding dogs, and selling puppies. Well, let us be the first to tell you that it is just that, “HYPE”. What separates those who are successful through breeding from those who are unsuccessful, is that the successful breeders aren’t in it for the money. They have a bigger vision, which is to produce quality dogs, and enhance the breed. Most successful breeders don’t breed more than twice a year, because they understand that female dog pregnancy carries serious risks that shouldn’t be taken lightly. There are many things that can go wrong during the her pregnancy that could put not only the pups life at risk, but the mother as well. Unless the mother has proven to produce high quality, physically correct, healthy pups on a consistent basis, additional breedings are not worth the risk.

Breeding shouldn’t even be considered until your female dog is at least two years of age. This will ensure that she is mature, and can get full health clearance. It is also good practice not to breed your female in back-to-back heat cycles. Not only does this raise your risk as far as health goes, but ethically it is just not right. If you breed a female dog every single time she comes in heat, when does she ever have the time to just be a dog? From the pregnancy to the whelping of the pups, to raising a litter, a mother can get overwhelmed, and stressed. Some breeders will argue that there are times when it is ethical to do a back-to-back breeding. But from experience, most breeders who feel the need to get as many breeding’s as possible, do not have the best interest of the breed in mind.

Good breeders do health testing, take dogs back when necessary, and treats every dog like one of the family. Any breeder who consistently breeds the same female dog, regardless of the fact that the pups she is producing are of lower quality than the breed standard, is overbreeding and is only in it for the money. Take your time when doing research for a reputable breeder. They are out there. Nine times out of ten, if they interview you before giving you a pup, they offer a health guarantee, and want you to keep in touch to see how your pup is developing, they are a good breeder. Beware of overbreeders, they will sell you an unhealthy pup, and disappear in the wind with your money.

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Back to Basics: Caring for your Dog

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Caring for Your Dog

Dogs are definitely great companions, and make wonderful additions to any loving home. However, it’s imperative that you understand that their health and happiness is as much a priority as your own.

NUTRITION

A balanced diet is very important, whether it be a puppy or a full grown dog. A lot of health issues can be prevented, simply by making sure that your canine is eating healthy, nutritous food and getting all of the necessary vitamins. You should consult your vet to find out which dog foods have the right nutritional balance for your dog.

Water is just as important as food. Clean, fresh water should be available to your dog throughout the day. All food and water bowls, should be cleaned as often as possible to prevent any bacteria from growing inside them.

EXERCISE

Every dog, of every breed needs exercise. Exercise will not only help them to burn calories and stay healthy, but it will stimulate your dog’s mind. The amount and type of exercise will vary depending on the breed of the dog. Keeping your dog active with exercise will keep them from getting bored and pickup up bad habits such as: chewing on furninture, or running throughout the house.

GROOMING TIPS

The type of breed that you have will determine the amount of bathing and grooming that you will need to keep up with. For example, long haired dogs will need more frequent brushing to reduce shedding, whereas a short haired dog will just need a maintenance brushing here and there to maintain a healthy and shiny coat. Again, check with your vet to see what the best practices are for the type of dog that you have, or will be getting.

Also, make sure to check your dogs coat daily for fleas and ticks. Especially during the warm seasons. Your vet should also be able to give you options for flea and tick prevention. Avoid giving your dog  any type of medicine or product that has not been prescribed by a veterinarian. There are many poisonous medicines and products out there that could harm your pet.

STREET SMARTS

Always keep your dog, no matter what size, on a leash when you are outside of your yard. If your yard is not fenced in, then keep your dog on a leash when outside, period. Puppies, as well as large dogs, could take off in any direction and be harmed or worse by oncomnig traffic. Dogs get excited very easily. Keep them on a short leash if you see anything that may cause them to get excited. This will enable you to control them better, should this occur.

Eventually your companion will need to relieve themself. When walking your dog, alway keep a pooper scooper, or bag with you at all times, to clean up any mess that they make.

Following these guidelines will help you and your dog live a healthy and stress free life. For more great article of taking care of your dog, visit www.bullygirlmagazine.com.

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Facts & Tips

4 Ways to Prepare for a Bully Breed Dog Show

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4 Ways to Prepare for a Bully Breed Dog Show

Bully Breed Dog Shows are popping up all over the globe, as the breed becomes more and more popular. If you have bully breed dogs, and you are looking to put them inside a registry show ring, there are a few things you need to do first.
BOND WITH YOUR DOG
This is one of the simplest, yet most important steps you can take to guarantee a more positive experience at a bully breed dog show. If you and your dog don’t share a bond, you can’t expect your dog to behave, and perform at a high level inside a show ring. All of this work needs to be done outside of the show ring. Take your dog for long walks. Play with your dog. Let him or her know that they are part of the family, and there will be nothing that they won’t do for you. It is a natural canine instinct for a dog to want to please their owner. So bond with your dog, and praise all of their accomplishments. You will see a big difference at any event, when your dog feels like it’s you and him/her against the world.
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
Far too many people show up to bully breed dog shows, with no former experience, and no type of training or preparation for the event. You can’t expect to take 1st place inside a show ring, against someone who has a ton of experience and knows exactly what the judges are looking for. Again I stress that all of the work begins outside of the show ring. Find someone local to you who has shown inside the ring before, and ask for tips and advice. Have them show you how to stack your dog properly when inside the show ring. Most registry websites will have a list of their judges, with some form of contact information. Give the judges a call, or send them an email and pick their brain. They will be more than happy to give you tips and advice on how to properly show dog, because they would rather have a show ring full of professional looking handlers, than a bunch of people just winging it and hoping for the best.
LOOK THE PART
I’m not saying that is guaranteed that you will ever lose at a bully breed dog show, strictly because of the way you’re dressed. But, if it came down to your dog and one other dog for Best in Show, would you want to be the guy the in the dress clothes, or the guy in the street clothes. In my opinion, it all adds up when judges are making crucial decisions. Maybe not for easy choices, but when there is a tough call, I would definitely feel more comfortable knowing that I look the part.
ARRIVE EARLY
If possible, arrive early to the event. This will allow you to set up and get your dog, as well as yourself, comfortable with the environment. Take him/her inside the show ring and practice before the crowd gets there and praise him/her for doing a good job. Introduce yourself to the show hosts, staff and judges. Fill out whatever necessary paperwork to register your dog for the show. Get all of that stuff out of the way, so that you can focus on the show ring, and taking home some trophies, and ribbons.
All of these things will help you to have a better experience at a bully breed dog show, whether you take home 1st place or not. You will definitely give your dog the best shot possible, by having a strong bond, practicing, looking the part, and arriving early to the event.

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