We feed a fairly natural diet. We do not use very much commercially prepared dogfood. "Kibble" refers to a premium natural puppy kibble, such as California Natural or EVO. Ask your breeder about another good commercial all-natural kibble if you cannot locate California Natural. Call for advice before buying anything other than California Natural Lamb & Rice. Remember that if you switch your puppy's food, you should do it gradually, blending the old food with the new. This will help enable your puppy to continue to utilize the nutrients he is ingesting. Read the labels: do not buy food that contains fillers, or chemical preservatives. At least one of the first four ingredients should be a good quality protein source. The first is usually grain. Puppy food should have a protein content of between 25 and 28 percent protein, with a fairly high fat content. Expect to switch to Adult formula at approx. 15 months of age.
A good way to evaluate a food is to speak with breeders who are using it. Another way is to call the manufacturer. If they are breeding dogs in order to evaluate their formula, that is a good indication that the food may be worth investigating.
We feed three meals a day until the puppy won't eat lunch anymore, usually around six months of age. Breakfast choices alternate every other day, either: natural culture yogurt (unflavored) with fruit cut into small chunks (good choices are banana, apple, pear, grapes, melons--NO CITRUS) -- OR - natural granola and cottage cheese -- OR -- oatmeal with fruit. Kibble should be soaked in warm water for breakfast. Lunch is always soaked kibble. Supper is a grain source (brown rice, pasta, 7-grain bread), ground raw vegetables (no onions) or steamed vegetables, and a protein source (poultry, raw beef, cheese, fish, etc.). The amount of food will need to be adjusted at least once a week. These guys grow fast! You should use a puppy vitamin such as Pettabs. Cottage cheese or ricotta cheese are a wonderful source of both protein and calcium. Your supper meal should be 60 percent grain, 10 percent vegy, 30 percent protein.
Do not give more than one inoculation during any visit to the veterinarian. We know that your vet will tell you that your puppy must be inoculated for rabies, but please hold out until the puppy is about 9 months of age. Unless you live in an area where he may come into contact with rabid animals, he can wait. You need to have your vet check your puppy thoroughly during the first week you have him. He will not need any shots at that time. The reason for this strange request is simple: a puppy's immune system is immature. A Bull Terrier's immune system is even more immature. Inoculations stress a puppy's immune system to the max. NEVER -- give more than one shot at a time!!! We have seen terrible reactions to inoculations, ranging from hallucinations to light sensitivity to aggression. It's not worth the risk, just to save yourself an extra visit to the vet.
Your puppy has been socialized with people (young and old), dogs and other puppies. However, he needs to be exposed repeatedly to situations he won't necessarily encounter in your home: children, stairs, other dogs (of all breeds and sizes), autos, bicycles, mailmen. To neglect this aspect of your puppy's development is to condemn him to a life as a fearful, social misfit. If you can't get to a puppy class or puppy play group, try a walk at a playground or shopping area. Most pet shops will let you bring your puppy inside. Do something at least two to three times a week to put forth a good effort. The time invested now will pay off in the future in a well adjusted dog who is welcome everywhere.
Your puppy may have hard rubber toys. Do not buy anything with a squeaker or anything that can be ripped apart. You will be amazed at how resourceful Bull Terriers can be. Anything that can be eaten, will be eaten! DO NOT PLAY TUG OF WAR with your puppy. You will misalign his bite. A BTs jaws grow throughout his lifetime, and your puppy's bite will most probably become "level" or "undershot" at some point in his life. This is a natural process and doesn't need your help! Also, your puppy doesn't need hard exercise: his bones are soft and his joints are too immature. Too much activity will cause lameness. Please do not let your puppy run down steps.
Your puppy is intelligent and wants to be clean. However, he is a baby and will get excited easily. Teach him which door to go to by using the same exit CONSISTENTLY -- every time you take him out. Take him outside every one to two hours while he is awake. Crate training is a must for a BT. Most of all, be patient. He's only a baby. Using a special treat (cheese, hotdog, etc) that you don't use for anything else is very helpful. After a week, he should be able to go four hours in his crate without "going".
Bedding is another sore subject. If you are lucky, and your puppy is not a chewer, he can probably have bedding at some point in his life. Right now, he can have bedding only with supervision. Do not put your puppy in a crate with bedding in your kitchen and go upstairs to bed for the night. Mark my words, he will eat his bedding! You will end up with a very sick puppy and a huge vet bill. If your puppy sleeps in your room and you are a light sleeper, you may chance it, but don't forget -- I warned you!
Put your puppy on a schedule and stick to it! Dogs are creatures of habit, just like people, and do best when they know what to expect. Give your puppy lots of quiet time in his crate with a marrow bone (KNUCKLES REMOVED), in between periods of activity. Always take him out after a meal and then let him take a nap. Mid-morning and mid-afternoon are good times for crate rest.
Bull Terriers do not need frequent baths to be clean. If your puppy should get dirty, a good rub with a warm, wet towel should be sufficient to have him looking clean again.
A couple of things that you should do routinely are: ear cleaning and nail cutting. To clean ears, wet a cotton ball with a little baby oil (squeezing out any excess) and swab out the portion of the ear that you can reach. This should be all that is required. If you notice an unclean odor coming from your puppy's ears, please do not stick q-tips down his ear canals! That is a job for your vet.
Nail cutting is an area the must be attended to on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Bull Terriers are supposed to have "cat feet", meaning strong arched toes. Their toes should not splay apart when they are standing. To help keep their feet in good condition, you should trim their nails on a regular basis. Nails should be kept short and rounded. Check the pads of your pup's feet. They should be kept smooth. If you notice calous growing unevenly on his pads, you can trim that back with a nail clipper. If the pads of his feet are dry and cracked, you can put a little moisturizer on them. We use Bag Balm, but anything containing beeswax should be fine.
To trim your puppy's nails, sit on the floor with the puppy lying on his side between your legs. You may need to put one of your legs over the puppy to keep him in place. Starting with his back feet, trim across the nail, then trim each side, then trim the front - at least four cuts per nail. This will create a rounded effect, so that your puppy won't scratch you.
Always keep your Quik Stop handy for any bloody accidents. Most of all, stay calm. If you get all excited, your puppy will get whipped up, too. If you cut too much nail and draw blood, just calmly press a paper towel on the place to blot and push a pinch of Quik Stop into the area. Remember: there are no nerve endings in toenails - you are not hurting your puppy.