Bull Terriers are normally not keen to be groomed, but once calmed and introduced to the grooming tools, they may eventually like it and may become eager to be groomed. Below are a few tips to have a clean and healthy bull terrier.
Brush – Like all dogs it is necessary to give your bull terrier a weekly rubdown with a stiff brush; this will remove any loose hairs, clean the coat and restore the shiny gloss.
Eyes – Check your dog’s eyes daily. A bull terrier may be tough but somehow it has the same feelings as us humans; tears will form when feel neglected. Wipe down those tears and do not mistake it as debris that is flushed to the corners of the eyes; daily wiping with a wet cloth or paper towel can prevent the build up of bacteria.
Ears – Check ears once a week. Your dog’s ears should be pink and healthy inside. If not, don’t do anything to them until you see a vet. Keeping your dog’s ears clean minimizes odour, removes dirt, bacteria and mites trapped in wax. Never use a cotton swab on the inner ear. If you see some violent head shaking with ears flapping, then there is something wrong. Take action.
Tools: cotton wool balls or soft cloth and ear solution.
- There are solutions made specifically for dogs but substitutes include: hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, mineral oil, witch hazel, and tea tree oil. Place a few drops of ear solution into the ear of your Bull terrier. Rub and massage to loosen wax. Swab out with cotton wool balls or cloth.
Teeth – Regular inspection. 80% of 3-year-old dogs have periodontal disease due to lack of brushing. Cavities and gum disease are painful for your dog; they diminish its pleasure and ability to eat. Bacteria that develops can infect the heart, kidney, liver and brain. Awful breath is usually a sign of gum disease.
Tools: Toothbrush/finger cap/cloth, dog toothpaste, tooth scraper.
- Never use human toothpaste. It is not edible. Starting your dog off with this practice takes patience. Reward it constantly. Start off by getting it used to its mouth being handled. Progress to touching the teeth with your finger. Get some meat-flavoured toothpaste and apply with your finger.
- Then introduce the brush. Clean a few teeth at a time and soon you will have a routine that takes just minutes. Brush in a circular motion and get under the gum line.
- If you don’t want to brush every day, use a tooth scraper once or twice a month to get rid of the build up of plaque. It accumulates mostly on the outside of the teeth and on the back molars. This won’t be much fun for you or your dog though. Lots of bones and hard, crunchy foods can minimize plaque but not to a truly effective degree.
WARNING NOTE: Bull Terriers love to play with a ball. Do not play in a sandy area – the gravel or sand will stick to the saliva covered ball and will eventually grind away the teeth when they try to bite the ball. The best ball is a large basket ball and keep it properly inflated otherwise the bully will try to chew it. DO NOT USE TENNIS BALLS.
Nails – Every two months. Nail care is very important for your bull terrier. Nails that aren’t trimmed can splinter and infect the quick or grow and curl into the flesh. This can be painful for your dog to walk on. It will affect its gait, posture, and eventually it’s skeletal and ligament health. Nails should never touch the ground. When your dog is standing its nails should rest above the ground. If you hear clicking on the kitchen floor, clipping is overdue.
Tools: Dog Nail Clippers (scissors, pliers, guillotine).
Introducing your dog to nail clipping should start off by getting it used to its paws being handled. Stroke, touch and manipulate your dog’s paws whenever you are giving it affection. Sit beside your dog and put your arm around its shoulders if you can so that you are clipping from underneath and at the right angle. Lift the paw and press on it to expose the claw.
- If it has a clear nail you should be able to see the quick: a dark bundle of nerves and blood vessels. Clip from underneath close to the quick but do not cut into it. If you do, your dog will soon let you know.
- Buff the ragged edge with a file. If it has a dark nail, clip just under the curve of the nail and then you will be able to look inside and see the quick if you look close enough. Clip using tiny snips at a time.
- Don’t forget to check for dewclaws: an extra claw dogs may have farther up on the leg that works like a thumb.
- It’s better to clip the nails of your bull terrier more frequently than not as this causes the quick to recede farther away from the tip.
Paws – Inspect Daily. It is very important to check between your dogs pads for foreign objects that may have wedged there and check the pads themselves for cuts, scrapes and infection.
Expressing Glands – Every 2 to 4 weeks.
This is a task normally done when you take your dog in for professional grooming. Your dog uses scent glands in the anus to mark its territory. These glands also excrete when your dog defecates. At times, they may get impacted. Signs of this include: increased dog odour, excessive licking and chewing of the behind and worst of all, scooting (when your dog drags its bottom along the floor or carpet or turning around on its bottom). There is no risk of overly expressing these glands so it’s best to get accustomed to doing it regularly as it will lessen dog odour.
Tools: Warm cloth
Lift the dog’s tail and hold the cloth against it’s behind. Place your fingers at 5 o’clock and 7 o’clock and press inward and squeeze to expel.
Bathing – As needed. Bull terriers do not need regular bathing. This strips the natural oils that protect and repel dirt from the skin. Frequent bathing dries out the skin and prevents your dog from having a healthy coat. A rubdown with a damp towel can remove dirt. With regular brushing, ear cleaning and gland expression, dog odour will remain minimal. Bathing a few times a year is usually adequate. The exceptions to this is when your dog manages to find something less than pleasant to roll in, or during its shedding season. A bath can help to remove a large amount of shedding hair.
Tools: Non-slip mat, sprayer hose, dog shampoo, conditioner, leash, towels.
- Choose a place where you can block escape routes and expect 1-3 water-spraying shakes.
- A leash tied to a higher point than your dog’s head will keep it standing and prevent it from escaping. This is highly recommended as it’s really difficult to hold a slippery dog.
- Never bathe your dog in standing water and never use human shampoo.
- If you choose to bathe your bull terrier outside, attach the hose to the tap of your kitchen sink for warm water.
- Grooming salons often offer self-service use of their well-equipped facilities.
- Wet your dog using your hand to massage it.
- Avoid getting water into the eyes, nose and ears.
- Cotton wool can be stuffed into the ear canal to deter water.
- Massage the shampoo into a lather.
- Rinse thoroughly as leftover shampoo can severely dry out and irritate your pet’s skin.
- Squeeze out excess water by running your hands along its body and pressing.
Dry with a towel.