Tough exterior with a heart of gold: that’s the Pit Bull. These larger dogs love to be by your side, so if you’re thinking of getting one for your home, learn more about this friendly, intelligent dog first.
It’s unfortunate that Pit Bulls have gotten a bad reputation. However, as a possible Pit Bull owner, it’s important to have a full understanding of your future pooch and their true nature.
Pit Bull Treatment Insurance
Is dog insurance needed? Well, since Pit Bulls are prone to a few illnesses, that means you will most likely have to go to the vet at multiple times in your dog’s life. This also means that you will have quite an accumulation of expenses, which can weigh you down emotionally.
For instance, the costs for treating Hip Dysplasia is around $4,000 to $6,000, while Congenital Heart Defect is around $15,000 to $20,000. Without a doubt, these prices are quite high and not many people are able to afford them.
This is why it’s best for you to consider enrolling your Pit Bull in on of the best pet insurance policies early on, while all these health risks could still be prevented. Prices for pet insurance varies, depending on where you live.
For example, it might cost you $56 per month if you live in Sacramento, CA, or $50 per month if you live in Detroit, MI. That said, to be sure, it’s best to ask for a quote from your desired pet insurance company.
About the Breed
Believe it or not, the Pit Bull is not actually a breed. This term is usually used to describe dogs with “Pit Bull” traits, including Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers and Pit mixes like the pitbull husky mix.
They were originally bred from bulldogs and terriers to create a dog that would have the agility of the terrier with the strength of the bulldog. Originally from the UK, these dogs were used for sports. It wasn’t until 1835 when dog welfare put a stop to these sports.
Unfortunately, the Pit Bull has a long history of participating in dog fights, since these could be concealed and used for gambling purposes. They’ve been used as police dogs too, thanks to their strength, but still have a bad reputation.
In an effort to fix their reputation, there have been attempts to rename the breed, although the name Pit Bull has always stuck.
Many Pit Bulls have been obtained by their owners for the wrong reasons and have been used by owners who have little understanding of the traits of the breed. As mentioned, the Pit Bull was originally used for fighting purposes and are often still used for such reasons today.
We can’t deny or ignore that fact, but we can acknowledge the fact that these dogs have gone through a lot of selective breeding to make them better fighters.
That said, these dogs shouldn’t be only defined by their history or by the wrongdoings of others, not when they have great physical and mental characteristics that make them ideal partners for owners who are willing to put the time and energy into caring for them.
Usually, all breeds labeled as Pit Bull have similar physical characteristics, like a square head or a bulky body type. It can be somewhat difficult to identify a Pit Bull just by appearance though, since many dogs share these traits and there can be a huge amount of overlap.
You may see some of these pups as registered show dogs, depending on their traits. However, some may look stronger or mixed in with other breeds.
There’s really no way to know how mixed your Pit is, but you are able to check a few online resources to understand more about what type of mix your dog is based on a few guidelines.
People who don’t have a lot of experience with dog ownership may have a difficult time caring for a Pit Bull, largely because these dogs need a human with intelligence and understanding.
They might be a little difficult to handle at times, but if you’ve ever met a Pit Bull owner, you would know that it was worth it. To make your life a little easier too, you’ll want to get your Pit trained when it is still young.
These sweethearts are very responsive to training and eager to please, so when you’re done getting your Pit Bull their shots, head on over to obedience training. Getting your Pit trained well does a lot for the breed itself, in order to break down stereotypes and fight prejudice.
Many of these dogs are known for their energy, strength, agility and power. That means that they’re usually resourceful, driven and are unwilling to give up when faced with a challenge. If you ask them to do something, they’re often determined to go through with it.
This may be good in some cases, but in other cases when they’re trying to escape the yard, you may be wishing they were a little less determined. With this trait in mind, remember that you need to have the power to control your Pit.
This is why elderly owners or children are usually not ideal owners, as they’re unable to provide that level of control. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that these dogs aren’t completely lovable though.
Pit Bulls have an amazing love for people, are very affectionate and often crave attention. In fact, these dogs tend to think they’re small enough to be lap dogs and may try to climb up on you for more pets and kisses.
Due to their temperament, Pit Bulls make great therapy and showcase dogs. Like any other dog, the Pit Bull can develop behavior problems when they’re mishandled. However, violence or aggression is not an inherent trait of the breed.
Human aggression usually only occurs in situations where owners do not provide the training and control these dogs need.
Usual Health Concerns
Some dogs are prone to knee issues, while others experience future problems with common conditions. Just like any dog, the Pit Bull is predisposed to a few genetic conditions and hereditary diseases that cause concern.
Knowing what to look out for can go a long way in helping them live a long and happy life.
This isn’t a life-threatening problem, but deafness can be difficult to handle. Pit Bulls can lose their hearing by 3-4 weeks of age if they’re young. However, they can also lose their hearing from infection, blockage, trauma and poison.
Sometimes, deafness is associated with having a white coat, although this is somewhat rare. Usually, you’ll see Bull Terriers experiencing deafness more than other hybrids.
German Shepherds are well-known for having problems with their hips, but Pit Bulls have experienced issues with hip dysplasia too. This condition is when there’s a malfunctioning of the hip joint, where the femur doesn’t fit properly into the pelvis.
Because the bone isn’t fitting properly, the joint surfaces may rub together, causing inflammation, pain and damage to the cartilage. Your Pit can develop osteoarthritis from this condition. However, surgery, pain management and weight control can go a long way.
Your Pit Bull may also deal with knee issues where the kneecap can dislocate. When the groove on the kneecap is not deep enough, or when muscles, tendons, or ligaments are misaligned, the patella will be shifted.
Surgery is the only way to fit this genetic condition, but you are able to detect it early in your Pit’s life.
These pooches are usually more prone to skin problems, especially if they’re lighter in color. If you notice issues like hot spots, itchy areas, or an outbreak of mites and fleas, you are able to help your Pit with a special diet meant to help their coat and skin.
Otherwise, you may see mange in your dog, since they’re much more prone to this than other breeds. Look out for Atopic Dermatitis too, which is one of the most common heritable skin disorders in dogs.
This will make your dog hypersensitive to allergens like pollens. Think of it like a seasonal allergy and watch your pup during the summer and the fall to see possible symptoms. Fortunately, injections can help treat this problem.
Many bully breeds like the Pit Bull are prone to mast cell tumors, which may look like warts, large pimples, or swollen lumps visible on the skin. This doesn’t mean that they’re cancerous, but they can be and should be checked out by your vet.
They can even be itchy and there may be hair loss over the place where the tumor is.
In terms of hereditary conditions, Pit Bulls are more likely than some other breeds to experience cataracts. They may also have an extra row of eyelashes and while this doesn’t seem like a problem, it’s often linked to heart issues.
Not only that, the extra lashes can also rub on the eye itself. You also should look out for Persistent Hyperplastic Primary Vitreous, a condition that may damage the vision of your dog.
This may not seem like much of a problem, but tail chasing can be very compulsive and may indicate more serious issues with your pup. The cause is unknown, although it can be genetic or caused by repeated stresses.
Common stressors may include new children in the house, changes in their usual schedule, frustration, or harsh punishment. Experiencing stresses repeatedly can really harm your dog just like it harms humans, so be sure to help your dog relax if you see this condition.
Over time, this condition may even become compulsive if it’s not solved. That means that any stimulation might trigger the behavior. Try to help your dog relax and talk to your vet about any other help they might be able to offer.
The Pit Bull has a short coat, which means generally, they’re fairly easy to care for. If you want to keep that coat in pristine condition though, your pup will need a good diet and regular brushing.
Start from within with the proper nutritional requirement. This means feeding your pooch a high-quality diet that’s rich in nutrients and essential fatty acids, including Vitamin E, omega-6 and omega-3.
These specific nutrients will help provide your dog with a healthy coat and nourished skin. If you’re looking for a good protein source, cooked eggs are also a great option. To give your pup a shiny coat, brush daily with a gentle circular motion.
This will remove dead skin cells and circulate the natural oils in its coat. You don’t have to bathe your dog all too frequently, thanks to the short hair, but be sure to use shampoo that’s free of pesticide. Afterwards, rinse it out well to give your dog that healthy sheen.
Exercise and Nutritional Requirements
If you want your Pit Bull to have a healthy coat and a healthy life, you need to feed it properly. This means that you need to add a lot of protein into its diet. These dogs are larger in stature, so instead of using products that have wheat, corn and potatoes, which can all lead to skin problems, add in extra protein.
In addition, any food you choose shouldn’t have many fillers. Be sure you feed your Pit Bull twice a day but do be careful not to give it too much. Be careful of problems like bloating too, since Pit Bulls tend to eat very quickly, leading to problems like diarrhea and gas as well.
To help prevent issues, keep him or her from exercising right after eating until everything settles. In terms of exercise, Pit Bulls tend to be more athletic and have high energy. With more muscle mass, they have a lot of potential for strength and can do hours of high impact exercise a day.
The average Pit Bull does love the couch, but it’s still important to give it a little exercise a few hours every day. Gaining too much weight is never good for any dog, so be sure to avoid excess fats while giving your dog the exercise it needs.
Keep in mind too that Pit Bulls are very adaptable and do well in urban living. They will need enough exercise, along with a positive outlet for their energy too. While they’re still growing, many of these pups are rambunctious and prone to getting into trouble.
Since maturity can come pretty late for this breed, at about 2-3 years for some dogs, you have to be sure to provide a good outlet for their energy.
- Pit Bulls make great nanny dogs and are trusted to often take care of small children. They’re very gentle, with a protective nature towards their owners and any children you have too.
- Gentle giant is a good term for the Pit Bull. These dogs are very trusting and don’t take all that long to trust you. They do need to be the only pet though, since they don’t get along well with other dogs and need training to make sure they adjust well.
- The Pit Bull, while protective, is actually a bad guard dog. They are too trusting of humans, so unless they’re trained specifically for guarding, they’re likely to let intruders simply walk by them.
- You may think that the Pit Bull has a hard bite with their strong jaws and able body, but this pooch doesn’t bite as hard as you’d think. You can even escape from their jaws if you’re smart enough.
- There are at least two million Pit Bulls in the US, making these dogs very common. People have been wary about adopting a Pit for themselves due to the bad reputation these dogs have gotten, but they don’t have to be dangerous.
- Pit Bulls do bad in multi-dog environments. They tend to get in fights more often, which can be very serious, considering the power of the Pit.
- These dogs tend to fight silently too, so you may not even know anything is wrong until you walk into the room. Be very aware of their power when they’re around other animals, since they do have the ability to inflict serious damage.
- There is a certain amount of unpredictability when it comes to the Pit Bull. These dogs can switch their attitude seemingly randomly, going from cuddling to fighting very quickly.
- They don’t always growl or display aggression before attacking either and may attack dogs who have submitted to them. This is why it’s important to train your dog well, in order to avoid potentially problematic situations.
- These dogs are notorious escape artists. This may seem surprising, considering their strong build and bulkier muscles, but Pit Bulls are some of the best fence-climbers out there.
- If you have a fence in your yard, you may want to add a training collar system in order to prevent them from getting over.
- As a result of breeding, Pit Bulls often have a tendency to be aggressive towards other dogs. This does not mean that your Pit is a bad dog or will fight with every dog they meet, but they may have a hard time getting to know other pets.
- Most experts recommend lots of socialization with other dogs when they’re still puppies, and getting them the best toys available will keep them occupied
- Sadly, Pit Bulls are one of the most abused breeds in America. This is because many of them are forced to fight other dogs or are simply neglected. Many people want a big dog that can be chained up outside that they don’t care for the dog itself.
If you’re looking to pick up a Pit Bull for your household, you need to know how to care for one properly. This includes knowing about grooming, exercise and health issues. The Pit is a loving, friendly dog and is always looking for their owner.
Your search for a loyal dog with a big heart and a penchant for petting is over: take a look to see if you might be able to incorporate a Pit into your home and lifestyle.
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