Cleaning Those Pearly Whites

Your APBT's teeth are naturally very handsome—bright white and nicely in proportion to his head. When a dog's adult teeth come in (after losing the puppy teeth), they are strong and white. He will need your help to keep those teeth white; dirty or broken teeth can significantly affect your APBT's health. When teeth have accumulated plaque or are broken and infected, they harbor bacteria that can affect the body in many areas, including the heart and kidneys. In addition, when you clean the teeth often, you can spot problems, including gum problems, teeth that need to be professionally cleaned, and chipped or broken teeth that might need to be extracted.

There are many ways to keep your APBT's teeth clean. Feeding dry dog food and biscuits can help scrape the teeth as he eats. Hard chew toys can also scrape some plaque off the teeth. But to keep the teeth really clean, you will need to get more actively involved.

Although toothbrushes and toothpastes are available for dogs, the easiest way to clean the teeth is

CAUTION!

Never use toothpaste for humans on your dog. He can't rinse and spit the way you can.

Making Your Environment Flea Free

If there are fleas on your dog, there are fleas in your home, yard, and car, even if you can't see them. Take these steps to combat them.

In your home:

• Wash whatever is washable (the dog bed, sheets, blankets, pillow covers, slipcovers, curtains, etc.).

• Vacuum everything else in your home—furniture, floors, rugs, everything. Pay special attention to the folds and crevices in upholstery, cracks between floorboards, and the spaces between the floor and the baseboards. Flea larvae are sensitive to sunlight, so inside the house they prefer deep carpet, bedding, and cracks and crevices.

• When you're done, throw the vacuum cleaner bag away—in an outside garbage can.

• Use a nontoxic flea-killing powder, such as Flea Busters or Zodiac FleaTrol, to treat your carpets (but remember, it does not control fleas elsewhere in the house). The powder stays deep in the carpet and kills fleas (using a form of boric acid) for up to a year.

• If you have a particularly serious flea problem, consider using a fog-ger or long-lasting spray to kill any adult and larval fleas, or having a professional exterminator treat your home.

to use some gauze and baking soda. Take a piece of clean gauze and wrap it around your index finger. Wet it, then dip it in a little baking soda. Invite your APBT to lie down in your lap, as you did to trim his nails. Steadying your APBT's head with one hand, rub that baking soda and gauze against the outside of a couple of teeth. Praise him as you're working on him. Then rub the gauze against the inside of those same teeth. As you work, change the gauze and add more baking soda.

If your dog really doesn't like this—and many do not in the beginning—just do a few teeth then give him a break and play with him. Later, you can clean a couple more teeth. As he gets used to it, he will be more accepting.

As you clean, look for any problems in your dog's mouth: broken teeth or red, swollen gums, as well as any cuts or sores in the mouth. If you find anything out of the ordinary, call your veterinarian.

In your car:

• Take out the floor mats and hose them down with a strong stream of water, then hang them up to dry in the sun.

• Wash any towels, blankets, or other bedding you regularly keep in the car.

• Thoroughly vacuum the entire interior of your car, paying special attention to the seams between the bottom and back of the seats.

• When you're done, throw the vacuum cleaner bag away—in an outside garbage can.

In your yard:

• Flea larvae prefer shaded areas that have plenty of organic material and moisture, so rake the yard thoroughly and bag all the debris in tightly sealed bags.

• Spray your yard with an insecticide that has residual activity for at least thirty days. Insecticides that use a form of boric acid are nontoxic. Some newer products contain an insect growth regulator (such as fenoxycarb) and need to be applied only once or twice a year.

• For an especially difficult flea problem, consider having an exterminator treat your yard.

• Keep your yard free of piles of leaves, weeds, and other organic debris. Be especially careful in shady, moist areas, such as under bushes.

Pit Bulls as Pets

Pit Bulls as Pets

Are You Under The Negative Influence Of Hyped Media Stereotypes When It Comes To Your Knowledge Of Pit Bulls? What is the image that immediately comes into your mind when you think of the words Pit Bull? I can almost guarantee that they would be somewhere close to fierce, ferouscious, vicious, killer, unstoppable, uncontrollable, or locking jawed man-eaters.

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