Know Your Pit Bulls
The name “Pit Bull” can be considered to be an umbrella term, since it covers different dog breeds – when we say “Pit Bull,” we’re often describing a type of dog rather than an official dog breed. People tend to use it to describe dog breeds that have certain similar physical characteristics. In North America, the term is used to describe the following formal breeds:
- American Pit Bull Terrier
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- American Bully
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
In further text, when we use the term “Pit Bull” know that, if not stated otherwise, we’re referring to the American Pit Bull Terrier (though a lot of information we provide in this article can be applied to other breeds as well).
If you want to read more on this topic, feel free to visit this site – it contains a lot of info about the origins, physical characteristics and temperament of the American Pit Bull Terrier.
A Closer Look at a Pit Bull’s Jaw
Through the Pit Bull’s bar reputation in popular culture and a series of myths regarding these dogs, even their jaws became something that strikes fear into a lot of people. So much so that scary myths about the crushing abilities of a Pit Bull’s jaws were started. We get it – just by looking at a Pit Bull, not only an American Pit Bull Terrier, it becomes apparent that there are some serious muscles behind those jaws. No one certainly wants to be on the receiving end of a Pit Bull’s bite, but are their jaws as monstrous as the stories are telling us?
Can Pit Bulls Lock Their Jaws?
"The few studies which have been conducted of the structure of the skulls, mandibles, and teeth of Pit Bulls show that, in proportion to their size, their jaw structure and thus its inferred functional morphology, is no different than that of any [other] breed of dog. There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of any kind of 'locking mechanism' unique to the structure of the jaw and/or teeth of the American Pit Bull Terrier."
- Dr. I. Lerh Brisbin of the University of Georgia
The stories about jaw locking probably started because of their strong jaw muscles and the determination to not let go until they are given the command to do so. But there is no truth in them – a Pit Bull’s jaw structure is no different than any other dog’s.
Do they have a 1600 PSI biting pressure?
Another myth that arose from the Pit Bull’s determined bite is the one concerning the strength of their bite. The misleading information about a Pit Bull’s biting pressure being 1600 PSI is the result of rumors that got out of hand. Again, they are dogs just like any other, and there is nothing supernatural about their jaw muscle strength.
What are some Common Gum and Teeth Problems in Dogs?
As one of the most common chronic health issues, dental disease affects a vast majority of dogs by the age of two. Unfortunately, even though Pit Bulls are considered one of the generally healthy breeds, they are more prone to developing dental problems than some other dogs. If not treated, those issues can shorten your dog’s life span by up to three years.
Some of the most common gum and teeth problems your Pit Bull might experience are:
- Plaque and tartar – Once plaque builds up on your dog’s teeth and isn’t cleaned properly, it will harden and turn into tartar, sometimes also called calculus and it will appear as dark deposits on your dog’s teeth. That can be taken care of by brushing your Pit Bull’s teeth, so don’t let it cause more problems than it has to.
- Gingivitis – This condition refers to inflammation of the gums and is a disease that is very common in dogs. If you notice your dog’s gums are irritated, inflamed or even bleed, take it to the vet because if not treated, gingivitis might turn into a full-blown periodontal disease.
- Periodontal disease – Once the gingivitis progresses enough to cause gum separation from the teeth and pockets form under the gum-line, it becomes a periodontal disease. That is a common, irreversible dental issue, which has several different stages of severity. In the progressive stages of the disease, it is called advanced periodontitis. At this point, gum tissue will recede, and severe tooth loss will occur.
- Halitosis – Also known as bad breath or “doggy breath,” halitosis might be the first sign that something is wrong with your Pit Bull’s teeth. Don’t wait for it to become something critical, make an appointment with the veterinarian and get it checked out.
What are the Best Ways to Keep a Pit Bull’s Teeth Clean?
It might be shocking for you to learn that only every third dog owner takes proper care of their pet’s dental hygiene. What’s even more concerning is the fact that, by the age of two, up to 80 per cent of dogs, including Pit Bulls, develop some form of dental problems because of it. So, let’s talk about the best ways to prevent this from happening to your beloved dog.
Feed your Pit Bull Quality Food
We’re sure your dog wouldn’t mind eating your leftovers, but the truth is it’s better to feed him adequate dog food. That way you lessen the chances of your dog suffering from diet-related diseases, dental problems included. Paying attention to what you feed to your dog, especially while it’s still a puppy, helps you four-legged friend get the valuable nutrition it needs. Proper nutrition will, in turn, improve his overall health and make his teeth grow strong.
There are some foods you should avoid giving to your Pit Bull – for example, grains, by-products, and meals that will stick to your dog’s teeth. Those poor food choices will lead to tartar build-up and plaque, factors that can lead to serious canine dental problems.
Getting some good, quality dental chews and treats for your Pit Bull is also one of the things you can do to help your dog’s teeth and gums stay as healthy as possible. Dental chews relay on the chewing motion to scrape off plaque and tartar and at the same time, certain ingredients will make your dog’s breath fresher and prevent future plaque build-up.
Some types of these dental chews can help reducing the plaque on your Pit Bull’s teeth by up to 70 per cent. Opt for dental treats that are coated with polyphosphate, because it will not only reduce the tartar build-up by up to 55 per cent according to some studies but will also prevent plaque from turning into tartar in the first place.
Brush Their Teeth
Even if you do feed your Pit Bull quality food and give it dental treats and chews, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t brush its teeth from time to time. Why? Because that is, in fact, the most successful way to take care of the unnecessary plaque and tartar build-up and, in turn, prevent the development of dental issues in dogs.
Ideally, you should brush your dog’s teeth daily. But don’t worry, you won’t be a bad owner if you don’t do it every day, we understand it might be too much for some people. As long as you do it as often as possible (think once or twice a week), it will still be beneficial enough for your Pit Bull’s overall dental health. To learn more about what exactly you need for brushing your dog’s teeth and how to do it properly, you can visit this site.
Take care of your Pit Bull’s teeth as you do of your own
Given everything we’ve previously mentioned, it’s pretty clear that oral hygiene in dogs is a topic that should be talked about more. It seems a lot of dog owners are still oblivious to the importance of taking care of their pet’s teeth the way they take care of their own.
If you develop a problem with your teeth, it’s easy for you to make a dentist appointment and take care of it; your Pit Bull can’t do the same. Your dog trusts you to take care of its dental health, so don’t let it down.
Brush its teeth, give it the best dog food for pit bulls and take it to regular vet visits – do everything you can to make sure your Pit Bull stays as happy and healthy as possible. Take care of your four-legged best friend, and you’ll get nothing but love and loyalty in return.