Saturday, September 28, 2013

The English Bull Terrier - A Guide to Health and Grooming

English Bull terriers (often abbreviated to EBT or Bullies) like all dogs, are subject to the same canine health problems, illnesses and diseases, however the EBT also has some additional health issues that are more unique to this particular breed. New owners should be well aware of what these English Bull Terrier health conditions are and what to watch for.

The first health issue you may deal with is when you choose a white terrier. Majority of these are probably deaf at birth or go deaf shortly thereafter. It poses some additional problems which can be easily overcome for the owner just by knowing that their pet is deaf. It does not take away from the affection and companionship they will give you. There are many ways of training besides voice, such as hand signals.

Bull terriers are prone to skin problems, but proper grooming will assist in quickly identifying such problems. These terriers do not require extensive maintenance, but a weekly rub or brushing will help check for infections, discharge from ears and eyes, and for any excessive scratching. Skin allergies may include flea infestation or allergies from their surroundings. Sometimes just a change in diet to a more natural type dog food with no chemical additives may help improve skin and hair coats. Again, the white terrier's immune system may not be as healthy as their colored counterparts, and thus, more prone to sever skin problems which respond well to antibiotics or steroids.

Due to the build of these smaller, stoic dogs, Bull terriers of any age will swallow things that they shouldn't, like plastic parts often from their plastic toys, chunks of cloth, small stones to name a few. This problem known as Gastro-Intestinal Blockage, can be extremely dangerous as your EBT may not appear ill for several days and when they do, they will show signs of depression, vomiting and lethargy. This requires a very fast trip to the Vet but prevention is made easier by just watching your pet closer and choosing non plastic toys. Bored dogs often will engage in ripping and shredding plastic or cloth items, so give these dogs plenty of exercise and play time.

Kidney Disease is one of the inherent problems of this breed, however breeders themselves have started to eliminate this disease by not breeding dogs with this tendency of abnormal urine protein/urine creatinine ratio which is determined by simple urine tests. Most Vets will now recommend an annual urine test be done and monitor the pet for signs of this problem.

The EBT's own body structure and design may lead to some problems such as slipped patella or dislocation of kneecaps, heart defects and zinc deficiency. As well, a Bull Terrier is a tough dog and sometimes male EBT's have a little too much testosterone which may cause more aggressive behaviour - neutering is a simple solution.

Grooming is a simple affair due to their short coat. A regular, weekly brisk brush down is good for their coat and is always an enjoyable time for your dog. It also provides an opportunity for a closer look at teeth (and if you are brave enough, to brush them with a brush and toothpaste), checking nails, pads and eyes for any problems that need to be dealt with. It also prepares them for grooming by other people if you can make this a fun time for your dog and something for them to look forward to!

You will also find that they are not a flexible bodied dog in that the amount of self grooming that they can do is quite limited unlike many other breeds. The grooming that you give is going to be far more beneficial for this breed than for many others.

Owning an BT brings responsibility as it does with owning any pet and being informed as to English Bull Terrier health issues related to this specific breed, will assist you with ensuring your pet has a long, healthy and happy life.

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