Have you ever wondered why bully breed dogs lick their paws? Paw licking, sucking, and biting can be the result of many different things. Let’s explore each potential cause of your paw epidemic and the possible treatments to end it. American bullys, French bulldogs, American bulldogs, English bulldogs and Pit bull breeds all fall on the list of breeds with the most skin problems. Virtually 100% of paw lickers are either purebred or crossbred. Dogs who are considered “mutts”, or are made up of various breeds, account for less than 5% of paw lickers.
Licking can be a sign of injury. Make sure to rule out open cuts , injury, or broken bones, if your pet is paying close attention to one paw. If there is no sign of injury present and a single paw is being licked, this usually points to a psychological factor. If all paws are being licked, signs are most likely pointing to an allergy or environmental trigger.
No matter what the cause for your dogs licking and chewing sensation, it all ends up with the same problem. This is a licking sound that drives you nuts. They often lick their paws raw, or chew off hair, leaving their paws unsightly and extremely soar. Left untreated, this can lead to serious consequences including infections, and permanent hair loss. Infections will then cause them to lick even more out of instinct to cure their infection, and the cycle goes on and on.
Addiction. Did you know that when you pet licks their endorphin levels are raised ? Your dog may be addicted to the opiate like feeling their brain is producing from them licking. The goal is the find a solution to the licking before your pet becomes addicted to the sensation they get from their licking high.
Your dog may just be a compulsive licker. Some dogs are bored or feel useless. Licking their paws gives them something to do, it becomes their “Job”. Find activities for your dog to do. You may just find that giving your dog something better to do ends this habit. Take your dog for walks, interact with them, and give them ample attention and this may help end their addiction to their paws.
Is your dog a nervous creature? He may be licking out of anxiety. In this case something will trigger your dog to begin the behavior of licking or chewing at their paws. Vets will often suggest a muzzle or cone around your dogs head to try to keep them from reaching their paws. If this is indeed a stress issue, the muzzle or cone is only going to further stress them out and they aren’t going to understand why they are being punished. Leading to further anxiety and stress. Your better option is to soothe their nervousness. Turn on the TV or radio when you leave the house. Sound reduces your dogs stress level, because it drowns out the scary outside noises they may obsess over until you return. Assure them you’re coming back and try not to sneak out unnoticed. Once they realize your gone, they are going to panic. Give them something to occupy their time while you’re gone. Soft chew toys will give them something to focus on while watching Animal Planet, and the time you’re away will go much faster.
Paw licking or chewing may be an environmental cause. Your dog may be experiencing an allergic relation to something. The first things to rule out in your household are things you have recently changed before the behavior began. Did you recently change the soap you wash the dogs bed in, a new carpet cleaning product etc.? If nothing has changed in your household environment, the usual culprit is your dogs diet. Many popular dog food products contain corn wheat, and other grains which are known allergy causes in dogs. The meat by-products contained within the mass produced dog foods, come from animals that have been fed growth hormones, antibiotics, and liquid methane to produce a cheaper faster useable product. Because so many unhealthy agents are put into mass produced dog foods, they are accountable for huge numbers of skin and allergic relations within dogs.
Many vets are not ready to change their thought process to agree that a raw diet is the proper way to feed a dog. Sadly the vets would prefer to prescribe you unnecessary, and in most cases ineffective, expensive prescriptions to manage your dogs allergies. However a natural raw diet for dogs in most cases will cure your pet of his allergic reactions, and skin problems. Raw diets contain no bi-products, no corn, wheat, or grain. They do however, have a much higher protein ratio. Within a few weeks of switching to a raw diet you will see an overall improvement in your dogs appearance, and more importantly his health. Many American Bully owners have already switched to a raw diet, and have spread the word throughout the community on all the good it has done for their dogs. Talk to a friend and you will be surprised to learn how many people have made the switch, and speak very highly of it.
Pesticides in your yard or garden can often irritate your dogs feet, causing serious allergies and reactions. Try to use minimal pesticides in areas your dogs have access to. Even pet friendly products can cause allergic reactions.
Your dog may have allergies just like humans to pollen and other seasonal allergens. Your dog may even be allergic to your grass! Allergic reactions to inhaled allergens will likely result in other areas of your dogs body being affected, like their face, abdomen, and genitals. To treat these types of allergies, Benadryl is usually the safest method of treatment for dogs. Check with your vet for proper dosage per your dogs weight. A good topical treatment to use, is to dip your pets feet in a bucket of water mixed with baking soda whenever they come inside from the yard. This removes any pollen and soothes their dry itchy paws. 1-2 tablespoons per gallon of water is the correct measurement if you want to give this method a try.
If you prefer an Herbal approach to your fight against paw licking and sucking, Green Tea or Sage Tea soaks can relieve skin irritation and prevent swelling. Dogs sweat from their feet. To prepare your tea, simply boil a cup of tea, allow it to cool and soak or wash your dogs feet with the tea. Sage is an antiperspirant so it will reduce the wetness, swelling, bacteria, and itching on your dogs paws. Make sure to pat dry your dogs feet if using this method. Warning Green tea can stain carpets so if you are trying this method make sure your dogs paws are completely dry before letting him run threw your living room! Rinsing you dogs paws with water after applying the tea would negate the process, you need to let the tea absorb and dry into your dogs paws.
Fungal infections on your dogs feet can only be diagnosed by a vet. They often closely resemble allergies or bacterial infections. A simple blood test or skin scraping can quickly narrow down the suspect list, and rule out genetic disorders, to help come up with the best treatment plan. Fungal infection treatments, are prescribed oral medications. Do not use athletes foot cream or spray, as this can be toxic if licked by your pet.
Many vets will prescribe steroids to treat your pets paw licking and biting. Use of steroids should be a last effort. We don’t know exactly how the steroids affect our dogs, because they cannot tell us. Topical treatment, which would be best suited for humans, cannot be used since our pets will eat them, and most oral treatments provide minimal relief. Starting a steroid treatment may be something you will need to continue for the rest of your pets life, so try to exhaust every other method before going this direction.
It is always encouraged to consult with your vet when coming up with a solution to your American Bully, Bulldog, or any other Bully Breeds ailments. Your vet doesn’t have all the answers, nor do we. We do encourage you to try herbal methods, and psychological changes like toys and TV as noted above, and of course dietary changes, before jumping into long term prescription and steroid use.
Boosting your pets immune system can help ward off susceptibility to some allergic reactions. Fish Oil capsules are a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids, and are very good for your dogs nervous system, heart, skin, and immune system. Many raw food diets already contain a fish oil ingredient, however if you are sticking with your current diet, try adding a Fish oil supplement into your daily routine. You may find it improves your dogs overall health.
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.
Back to Basics: 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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