needing some help/advice

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My Charli- Dog

Barked: Tue Oct 7, '08 8:12am PST 
I am the owner of a Bullmastiff puppy Charli. We have had her approximately 7 months, she is 11 months old. In that time span we have done all the things that we felt responsible pet owners should do, regular vet visits, vaccinations, spay (don’t plan on breeding), obedience school, etc. However, it seems like month after month we find ourselves feeling like we have failed. I am now in the vet’s office at least once a week. Whether it is a staff infection, ticks, rash, ticks, diarrhea, oh did I mention ticks…. it just seems like we can’t catch a break. The ticks have been a problem that I just don’t know what to do. This being my first real inside dog, I was naïve about checking Charli for ticks after we went to the park. As a result I have paid dearly. We managed to get a tick infestation over the course of being evacuated from our home during Hurricane Ike recovery. When we came back we discovered ticks everywhere. Meanwhile, Charli had been dipped and treated for the ticks when we discovered the first one. Since the discovery of the infestation we have had our house treated three times by pest control companies, our yard too, have repeatedly dipped Charli and low and behold we keep finding ticks. With a three year old at home and the fact that I am pregnant I am just about to loose it. Then last night once again, Charli had another bout of diarrhea. So I get up, clean her cage and then spend the remainder of the night trying to figure out what my options are. You see, I know she is a very good girl. Expensive, but good all the same. Charli is excellent with my son. She will occasionally chase my cat, but doesn’t try to harm him. Charli doesn’t listen the best, but if we were more consistent with her she would. Overall, we do love her, I just don’t know if I can do this. Can anyone help? Is there something that I can do to make owning Charli more rewarding because right now I feel like we are being punished. I want Charli to have a good life and I am worried that we are not allowing her to have what she deserves.

Edited by author Tue Oct 7, '08 8:15am PST


Don't care what- you say, I'm a- lap dog!
Barked: Tue Oct 7, '08 9:36am PST 
Don't be too hard on yourself!

Bullmastiffs look like they're pretty carefree, but in reality, they can be pretty time consuming.

Emotionally, they’re very sensitive and need quite a bit of human contact – they’re not loners. We have a 2 year old daughter (and another on the way!) and our Bullmastiff gets sulky if she doesn’t get enough attention. I try to include her while playing with our daughter as a much as possible, but due to her size, it can be tricky.

Physically, they are strictly indoor dogs. I live in Texas where summers can be brutal, not to mention fleas, ticks and mosquitoes, which can wreak havoc on her skin. (We’ve recently been battling hot spots, so don’t feel alone in the constant vet trips!) We treat our yard on a regular basis, and try to limit her exposure to outdoor areas which are not manicured. In other words, when we go to parks, we stay in the football, soccer fields and other high-traffic areas, and try to keep her away from the wooded areas. We also use a monthly treatment of Frontline (http://frontline.us.merial.com/products/) which is a little messy on application for a day or so, but really seems to help quite a bit.

As long as you are giving her daily attention and exercise, she’ll be fine. The visits to the Vet seem to always happen in waves, so hopefully you’ll get a long stretch without any incidents soon!

Good luck!

Don't care what- you say, I'm a- lap dog!
Barked: Tue Oct 7, '08 9:55am PST 
Sorry, I forgot to mention…

Ours has a pretty sensitive stomach as well. We switched her food to “Solid Gold Wolf King”, we don’t give her any table scraps, and she hasn’t had any problems for over a year now. Also, we only give her non-edible chew toys, (no rawhide) and a couple of dog biscuit treats per day. We also supplement her diet with an Omega Complex that we sprinkle on her food once a day.

The diarrhea could be from anything that flies from the table. This is why we keep ours away from the table while our 2 years old is experimenting with how far she can throw solids as opposed to mashed potatoes…


My Charli- Dog

Barked: Tue Oct 7, '08 1:34pm PST 
Thank you Rob for all of your comments. We too live in Texas so your insight was very helpful for our location. I will talk to the Vet about the suggestions that you made regarding her diet. They sound good to me. My husband likes us to give Charli rahwides but before we did Nylabones and never had the stomach issue. I am goign to try to start there first and see if removing them help with the digestion issues.
Thank you again.

I love to- Cuddle, and- steal dad's- side!
Barked: Tue Oct 7, '08 2:16pm PST 
My Sparks has sensitive skin too, he has had 3 ticks and the bites swelled to look like small water ballons. One thing I do to help is when he is going out the door I give him a quick spray of flea and tick repellant, this is in combination with the monthly I use. They can carry ticks in even if they are not attached, this helps prevent them from even wanting to taste Sparks. For the potty problems try switching her to a high quality food, Wolf King, or Naturals are good brands, make sure they say in the first couple ingredients what type of meal, for example chicken meal vs. just meal. I have also found that diets with NO corn, or other fillers works better.
Don't give up on her, Bullies are awesome dogs and will reward your work in the long run.

The ledgend- lives on.
Barked: Tue Oct 7, '08 4:21pm PST 
Bravo, Marley! applause

One little side note...don't put your eggs in one basket and go with whatever your veterinarian says or suggests regarding food! As a seasoned veterinary technician who feeds holistic foods, is a huge believer in raw diets and is a full fledged believer in holistic medicine, I can tell you in all honesty a veterinarian's wealth of knowledge (or rather, lack there of) regarding nutrition is limited to what they have been taught while in school. (Unless that is of course, they have taken it upon themselves to further their education on this topic.) Guess who sponsors and teaches these classes in veterinary school? Science Diet. A large majority of today's veterinarians are brainwashed by this particular company, and many like it, by the propaganda thrown at them early on in their education.

We used to feed "Solid Gold Wolf King" also, but changed to Orijen Adult as I wasn't overly thrilled with the formula change. (Substitution of herring for salmon because of recent salmon depletion issues.)

Some other companies to consider besides Solid Gold and Orijen are:

*Nature's Variety
*California Natural's
*Eagle Pack
*Taste of the Wild
*Timberwolf Organics

Also, after I switched my guys from a grain-inclusive (foods with things such as rice, ect.) to a grain-free formula the itchies virtually subsided and their skin and coat health improved dramatically! I am now a tried and true believer in grain-free formulas and could never go back!

Also, if you're using a fish oil supplement make sure you are also giving vitamin e! Fish oil can deplete the system's natural production of vitamin e, so it's important to replenish it! Especially since it is so useful and beneficial for skin and coat health! I have found with my two that biotin does wonders for their skin, coat and overall itchies, too!

Barked: Thu Oct 9, '08 10:34am PST 
Hi Charli's mom wave

Everyone's advice has been really great. I just wanted to let you know, I felt the SAME way as you did in the beggining (minus being pregnant!). We got Abbey at 10 weeks, she's 8 months now. Up until about a month or two ago, we lived at the vet. Everytime we'd come in, they'd be like "You're back?!?!?". She had everything from kennel cough (pet store puppy naughty ), giardia, mange, chronic diarrhea, non-stop drooling for 3 days, and a couple behavioral issues along the way. And I'm probably forgetting some! Just realize, it gets better!! Knock on wood, we haven't been at the vet in a few months!! We just graduated puppy class, and have learned how to deal with most behavioral issues so far. Like everyone said, the pay off is worth it. Abbey is our 1st bully, so we've been learning a lot along the way. Thats what is so awesome about Bodacious Bullmastiffs....I'd be lost without them!!

In regards to the food - Abbey came to us on Science Diet, and 5 foods later, we finally have her thrieving on Eagle Pack Hollistic Large Breed Puppy. She's always had a senstivive tummy, and this food finally calmed it down. As soon as she's old enough, probably a year old, we'll switch her to grain-free. I have a feeling she will do amazing on it. Also, we quit giving her rawhide and now only let her chew on bully-sticks. She loves them, and her stomach can handle them, and they're completely digestable (unlike rawhide).

Good luck with your baby. Anytime you're about to pull your hair out, come talk to all of us. There is always someone out there who has been through it. And thats what everyone here is for...help, advice, support & fun! dancing
Tucker James

Wanna play?
Barked: Thu Oct 9, '08 11:27am PST 
Just wanted to add that http://www.dogfoodanalysis.com is a great website for finding the best dog foods.
My Charli- Dog

Barked: Fri Oct 10, '08 10:45am PST 
Thank you all for your great advice. The night of my original post I went home to talk to my husband to tell him about all the advice and he agreed that we need to try a new food. We use to have Charli on Innova but switched when the vet said "he would like to eat prime rib every day too" and said Purina One would be okay. We also didn't give Charli any rawhides until my vet said it would be okay too. After reading all of your comments I realized maybe I need a new vet. Because before we made those changes we had NO health problems.
I did look on the bodacious bullmastiff page and found a ton of very useful information. I do agree that the payoff will be worth it I just had a few rough months. When my husband and son evacuated for the Hurricane they took Charli. During that time I realized how life was easier without her and meanwhile they realized how they don't want to go a day without her. A great balance in my book for days like the day I wrote the original post.
Thank you all again. I greatly appreciate you taking the time to respond to my plea for advice.

Grizzy Grace. <3
Barked: Fri Oct 10, '08 2:48pm PST 
There's nothing wrong with eating Prime Rib everyday, now is there? Essentially, it's ten thousand times better than eating McDonald's everyday which is exactly what Purina and Science Diet are in the dog food world! Bleck!

Innova is a great food! Let us know what you decide to do and how it goes!

Never be afraid to post in Bodacious! We're all there to help!
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