American Bulldog

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AKC Group: Non-sporting.

In the 17th century, Bulldogs were used for bull baiting, a sport in which dogs fought bulls. The sport was outlawed in 1835. Bulldogs were then bred to be kinder, more relaxed dogs (that became heavier). Bulldogs that crossed the Atlantic and came to the U.S. retained the original size and strength of English bulldogs.

Size: 60 to 100 pounds. 20 to 25 inches.

Color: Solid white to combinations of white with red, tan, brindle or fawn patches.

Life span: Up to 15 years.

Health problems: A generally healthy breed. Like most large breeds, American Bulldogs came to develop hip or elbow dysplasia. Very rarely eye problems, heart murmurs and deafness occur.

Proper training needs to start early on for these dogs. They will initially resist with extreme stubbornness, but with consistency, firmness and patience, your American Bulldog will respond and end up a very faithful companion. A properly trained Bulldog will be assertive and confident, but you’ll never have to worry, your Bulldog can control himself.

In general, they are happy, friendly, gentle, loving dogs that were dealt a bad reputation. They actually make great family pets! They love children and want to be the center of family activities. With an amazing stamina, they’re always up for playtime, work time or exercise time. The real question is how up for it are you? The more time Bulldogs spend engaged in activities, the more their positive personality traits will be on display.

American Bulldogs are sturdy, muscular, heavy dogs who are actually quite light on their feet. American Bulldogs are taller and leaner than the English Bulldogs from which they descended. Their coat is short and coarse. Underneath is one of the sweetest dogs you’ll ever have the pleasure to meet.

Bloat

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Bloat is a life threatening condition for many dogs, though it’s most common in deep, narrow chested breeds. Bloat is the second-leading killer of dogs (behind cancer). Bloat can kill in less than an hour so time is of the essence; get to your veterinarian immediately!

Bloat is often swallowed air (though food or liquids may be present) and usually happens when there’s an abnormal accumulation of air, fluid or foam in the stomach. Stress has been linked to being a significant contributing factor in developing bloat. Bloat can occur with or without “volvulus” (a twisting of the stomach). As the stomach swells, it can rotate and twist at the esophagus (food tube) or at the duodenum (upper intestine). The twisted stomach traps the air, food or water ingested. Veins are constricted in the abdomen which can lead to low blood pressure, shock, and damage the internal organs. This all combined can quickly kill a dog.

SYMPTOMS:

  • attempts to vomit (it doesn’t matter if the dog is successful)
  • your dog doesn’t act like himself
  • significant anxiety or restlessness
  • “hunched up” appearance
  • bloated abdomen
  • off-color gums
  • heavy salivating or drooling
  • foamy mucus

BREEDS MOST AT RISK: Doberman Pinscher, Gordon setter, Great Dane, Irish Setter, Irish Wolfhound, Standard Poodle, Weimaraner

DIAGNOSIS: only x-rays can confirm a bloat diagnosis. Reducing pressure inside the stomach is vital.

TREATMENT: emergency therapy with fluids, corticosteroids, antibiotics or drugs related to heart arrhythmias. At the same time, surgery will be performed to rotate the stomach back and secure in its normal position.

PREVENTION: limit water consumption for an hour before or after each meal. Don’t let your dog drain his bowl; water should be consumed in moderate quantities. Do not allow rolling or any other exercise after meals. Give your dog small meals throughout the day.

 

Horton’s Smile

Horton's tongue

Horton recently needed to have some dental work done. He required a teeth cleaning and, unfortunately, some extractions too. With a heavy heart, his Mom took him in for his surgery and his Dad was to pick him up later that day. Poor Horton ended up losing most of the teeth on the right side of his mouth including the 2 fangs on the top and bottom. These teeth are especially important as they keep the tongue in the mouth. If you see Horton on the street, please don’t be offended that he’s sticking his tongue out at you (he can’t help it).

It took Horton a few weeks to get back to his normal self and to eat dry food again. (Though he occasionally has trouble cleaning up all his kibble.)

(Look closely in the photo, can you see Horton’s tongue?)

The Weekend Fight For the Blankets

On two separate occasions over the weekend, both Peanut and Pippy were engaged in battles for a blanket. First up was Pippy on Saturday. Peanut and Socks were lying on the biggest blankets and normally it’s Pippy and Socks that lay there. Pippy wasn’t very happy that Peanut was in his place. You could tell by the look on his face that he wanted Peanut’s blanket and was prepared to fight for it. (Peanut was oblivious to this as she was fast asleep!) Pippy got told to not “even think about it!” and he slunk away miserable. On Sunday, looking for a comfortable place to sleep was confronted with Pippy and Socks on the large blankets and Nose on the smaller one (I don’t understand how the biggest cat ends up with the smallest blanket….). Peanut put her paws up on the couch and looked up and down the line of blankets several times before she stalked away (if she were capable she would have shrugged and walked away sighing), also miserable.

Below is Peanut (top) on a large blanket and Pippy (below) on the small blanket.

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British Shorthair

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The best way to describe the Brit is “round.” British Shorthairs have big heads (round-looking of course) on a thick neck. Their round face has round whisker pads that help Brits to look like perpetual smilers. Even the ears are rounded at the tips! Their eyes are round and usually gold or copper colored.

Their coat feels velvety. (Fanciers refer to the Brit as the teddy bear of the cat world.) Blue is the common color, but Brits come in almost all colors.

While the Romans were out conquering lands, they brought some cats with them to control the rodent populations on their ships. When the Romans left, they forgot their cats. It’s believed those cats likely bred with European wildcats and eventually bred themselves into the British Shorthair breed of today. Brits survived on their own through a long history of random breeding. By the mid 1800s, British people started to bring the cat out of the garden into the house. By the end of the 19th century, having a pedigreed Brit cat was a status symbol.

These gentle giants retain the reserve of the British people (upon first meeting anyway). As they get to know you, they become loving and loyal (as long as you are to them). The more time and energy and love that you give them, the more they will give back to you in return.

British Shorthairs are (mostly) quiet cats with a big purr. A Brit is your perfect companion if you’re not into clingy; a Brit is able to bond to his whole family, not just one person. They enjoy playing with you, but still need their own time and space alone.

Brits are not lap cats, they’d rather be beside you. They also prefer to stay on the ground. Don’t be “kissy,” it makes Brits anxious and they will run and hide until they feel secure.

Alaskan Klee Kai

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AKC Group: This breed is not yet recognized by the American Kennel Club.

Alaskan Klee Kai dogs have only been around since the 1970s. An Alaskan breeder developed the breed to be a smaller version of the Alaskan Husky (and be more suitable for apartment dwellers). She mixed Alaskan sled dogs and Siberian Huskies to smaller breeds, like the Schipperke.

Size: Around 15″ and 20 pounds.

Color: Think of a miniature version of an Alaskan Husky.

Life span: Up to 14 years.

Health problems: Klee Kais are relatively healthy, but can develop cardiac problems or liver diseases.

Alaskan Klee Kai dogs combine the best of Siberian and Alaskan Huskies, yet are suited to live in a limited space. Klee Kai dogs are loving and outgoing. They are active yet very trainable. They are observant and protective, make excellent watchdogs but are reserved around strangers. Klee Kai dogs are warm and loyal, yet independent.

They need a good long daily walk and regular brushing, especially during shedding seasons. Your Alaskan Klee Kai dog is a pleasure to live with!