Crested Hair, Skin, Eyes, Ears, and Teeth
CARE OF TEETH
A dog "tastes" new experiences by mouthing & biting - using it's teeth as if they were fingers. Young pups should not be encouraged to nibble at anything (fingers, etc.) - any action that may be considered obnoxious behavior once the dog gains in size/strength.
The chinese Crested has unusual teeth - not bad or good - just unusual.
Some baby teeth fail to loosen - the mouth may exhibit as many as 8 tiny teeth across the front line, necessitating vet intervention.
Occasionally, canine teeth will form irregularly - similar to a tusk. If they cause problems, see your vet. No problems? Leave well enough alone.
It is theorized the same mutant gene that causes hairlessness also causes the adult teeth to fall out at an early age - evidenced by several hundred years of documentation. Many times, the dog maintains a healthy weight/appetite & the loss is not quickly noticed.
Contrary to belief, breeding hairless to coated dogs will not necessarily improve the overall quality of dentition. Dogs exhibiting good dentition have still been documented as transmitting/perpetrating poor teeth quality, due to ancestry. Unfortunately, a beautiful mouth will sometimes mask potential genetic transmission because people look at the here & now, & give no thought to yesterday. Today's breeders are generally doing a much better job of culling the herd - working to make CC's stronger & healthier all the way around.
It is prudent to select for improved dentition but does not translate to a perfect process.
Definition of a hairless mouth:
*Varies from primitive incisors
*Failure to form pre-molars
Assymetrical patterns & fused teeth are not unusual.
Regardless of the breed, dental hygiene is a must for prolonging what teeth nature has permitted the dog to retain.
Wonderful dog toothpaste is sold in flavors - giving your pup that "fresh,minty breath". Human toothpaste is not advised.
Brushes or gauze can be used to remove buildup - finger cots are also effective. Giant femurs, commercially prepared "green dental chewies" or knuckle bones provide gum stimuli & stave off boredom.
Puppy proof your house from an inquisitive youngster - electrical/computer cords, plants, leather, etc. String, yarn & the like can be swallowed creating serious problems - the "oral stage" is expected & normal.
A pup does not discriminate between old bones or new couture shoes - its all fair game.
Teach the pup the right way from the beginning - try oral gels if teething seems painful.
Early tooth loss, while sometimes unattractive - usually does not contribute to poor health. The tongue may protrude but weightloss is rarely a problem.
Approx. rules of tooth development:
*Puppy teeth protrude around 4 weeks of age - or as late as 7
*Teething stabilizes around 4-6 months of age
*Some pups fret, while others exhibit no signs
Regular hygiene is the best rule during teething stages -- it teaches the dog to accept dental cleaning as part of the weekly routine. Furthermore, it alerts the owner to possible reasons for behavioral changes/trouble.
+Bad breath - foul smelling breath usually means bacteria is present - plaque is building.
+Build-up on gum lines: Brown/yellow deposits are signs of hardened plaque , sometimes called "tartar" or "calculus" - can lead to heart disease.
+Red line along gums: A healthy mouth has pink gums. Early signs of gingivitis (gum inflammation) presents itself as as a red line on the base of gums - this can lead to teeth loss.
+Loose/broken teeth, pus & sensitivity: Late stages of peridontis - bacteria has found its way into the gums, wearing away bones that anchor teeth in place.
Senior teeth can be troublesome teeth - keep regular w/ vet visits & hygiene. Dental diseases can lead to serious, more systemic concerns. Keep an eye out for drooling, difficulty eating, swollen/bleeding gums, bad breath, weight loss, pawing at mouth, refusal to munch on long-favored chewies.
Generally speaking, CC's do not favor the teeth cleaning process, however, regular hygiene is a must.
With CC's, there exists a preference for erect ears. Delicious upright
fringed ears frame those perfect features, making the dog nothing less
than art in motion.
Most breeders attempt to incorporate this asset into breedings, but
the most perfectly earred parents can produce a floppy topped thing.
Ear carriage is influenced by a number of factors: heredity, placement,
thickness, length, growth rate, diet, calcium, zinc, coat, teething stage,
Rough puppy play can also damage cartilage, leaving it forever prone to
a downward flop.
Supports used in early weeks of life - require vigilence. Some believe
in shaving ears for the 1st few months, removing excess weight - some
continue to shave forever - preferring the "look".
It's a personal preference.
Dogs occasionally go thru stages where an erect ear suddenly falls flat, then without notice, resurrects.
Some never reach that perfect upright carriage - however, in the scope of things, there's alot worse things to worry about.
It's a good idea to watch errant hairs growing inward toward the canal. Matts irritate, collect wax & bacteria - causing infection. Shaving a path at the base will encourage hair to grow outward or down.
Protect canals from water during bath - use cleaners regularly - careful of inserting swabs.
Head shaking, foul odors, walking sideways: a pup will let you know something is going on within (yeast, bacteria, mites, allergies, etc.)
EAR MITES are a creepy, common, spider-like parasite that can live anywhere on the skin, primarily burrowing in the dark moist ear canal where air flow is restricted. Feeding on ear wax & epidermal debris (ewwwwwwwwww) - they are contagious little buggers - easily spread to other dogs, cats, ferrets, etc. THEY DO NOT AFFECT HUMANS!
Watch for scratching/head shaking/walking sideways or rubbing their face on the ground. Secondary bacterial/yeast/allergic infections are common - consult your vet - antibiotics may be necessary.
Over the counter preparations are available to kill mites - length of treatment varies.
Clean ears prior to treatment, or meds will sit atop the dirt, where it is of no value.
Look for other areas ofinfestation on the pups body - neck,tail, etc.
Change bedding & treat other pets.
Natural treatments are olive oil, Vitamin E, herb Yellow Dock, almond oil, mullein flowers, garlic oil. Vet intervention may be necessary if secondary infection requires oral meds.
Don't freak out - this is simply another cycle of nature. Watch your pup - be pro-active in addressing concerns early.
Question most-often asked : Why do my dog's eyes tear so
much -- and why do the tears leave stains?
Each case has its' own unique origin.
Stains run the gamut from pinkish to rusty brown in color.
Genetics predispose certain toy breeds to tear stains - almost
everyone has heard of "poodle eye".
As a pup develops, the entire body goes thru major structural
changes, primarily in the cranium/face/mouth. Occasionally,
teething changes put pressure on tear ducts. Tearing & staining may appear in an otherwise healthy pup. Durable, safe chew items,
designed to relieve pressure, sometimes help excess moisture build-up & staining.
Eye & skull structure determine how excessively the eyes will tear. Some breeds are susceptible because the pooling
space inside the eye is too small to collect the fluid. If your dog has those big, beautiful eyes that "bug out" - it may be the problem.
Parasites - Fleas sometimes settle in the dogs' eye fluid, depositing waste material full of digested blood - thus irritating
the eye. Fleas may also carry ear mites which, of course, affect the dogs' ears. Ear infections sometimes cause tearing
of eyes, which may breed yeast & bacteria. Red yeast & fecal blood may cause stains under the eyes.
Blocked tear ducts - Should a blockage develop, tears overflow onto the dogs' face instead of draining thru the nose. Prominent eyes, like those found in most Chinese Cresteds, stretch the eyelids causing the ducts to become blocked more easily. Dirt, dust, hair, allergens, infections also clog the ducts.
Diet plays a part - commercial brands may contain beet pulp which could stain facial hair. Corn, wheat & soy are known allergens. Excess protein will be the problem w/ some dogs.
Minerals in your tap water could be the problem.
Plastic food/water bowls can cause allergies - test by changing to metal bowls - any difference?
An abnormal eyelid that turns inward, irritating surface of eyeball. Remedy" Surgery.
Hair around eyes acts like a wick, pulling the tears outward. Luckily, our CC's sport shaved faces, reducing this concern.
Eye irritations - excessive tears may be produced if the dogs' eyes are irritated by a foreign object/allergy.
Eye inflammation - corneal ulcers/inflammation of the duct system can cause excessive tears
Infections - continually wet hair contribute to bacterial & yeast growth. Red yeast is the most common & also found on paws, mouth & genitalia. An odor may accompany the situation.
As usual, the vet has the best answer to your problem.
Many people attempt to clear things up w/ home remedies of peroxide, corn starch, flour, Milk of Magnesia, even bleach. Oh come on, don't be silly. How vain are you that you would put such a caustic mixture near your dogs' eyes?
Red yeast is a PH imbalance, its best to experiment w/ SAFE products, that will change the PH in the body. Drops of cider vinegar in the water may help - but due to odor, the transition should be done slowly, over an extended period of time.
Over the counter alkalines, such as Tums, can be given 1/2 AM & 1/2 PM, changing the PH balance in the body.
Antibiotics may be needed, but its a dual-edged sword: antibiotics may clear up an infection but also cause a PH balance that will change once the meds are stopped.
Some folks may use a bit of petroleum jelly on tear path.
Some herbal remedies can be applied topically and internally. Read up on your products - be sure the cure is not worse than the disease.
Commercial products, such as Angel Eyes are available in most pet sections.
Rinsing regularly w/ saline solution is a good plan - keeps dust & foreign objects flushed.
Shaving hair around eyes is a big plus - no wick to transport tears.
Treats - keep an eye on possible low grade allergies to fun foods.
As always, study your dogs environment/behavior & report to vet - together a solution may be found.
HAIR & SKIN
"Blah, blah skin"
"Chinese Cresteds - skin, blah, blah, blah..."
"I heard they have skin problems.."
"I understand they are allergic to wool..."
"I heard lanolin is a big irritant & should be avoid at all costs - so what do I use to moisturize?"
Yes and No - to everything.
A dog is a dog - and like people - some have skin problems, hearing defects, bladder weakness, short life span or early arthritis. There is no perfect breed w/ a perfect health record.
Use common sense.
A knowledgable breeder knows a single stud cannot enhance the entire breeding menu for every dam - regardless of precautions, pups are born imperfect. Like people....
Blatant genetic flaws should be bred out - poorly conformed dogs or those w/ unpleasant, reoccuring skin conditions should be eliminated from the program - only the healthiest, most perfect specimans should be included in a breeding program
The prominant skin problems of yesterday's CC's are somewhat reduced, due to prudent breeding by consciencious Breeders.
Yet still, nature has a BIG hand in things - and "stuff happens".
Yes, there remain cases of dark pores & occasionally, even minor infections. Most times, off the shelf acne shampoos, oatmeal or tea tree washes, loofah scrubs & salt baths help immensely. Such imperfections are more noticable on a hairless dog.
Dots of skin drying lotions, drawing salves/acne meds can be used along w/ antibiotics.
Each pup is different - each condition has a unique origin - use common sense.
Some pups tend to have oily skin, thus requiring more bathing to stay fresh - no big deal. Some of us prefer to cuddle w/ the fresh scent of shampoo - so, needed or not - our kids are going to experience more frequent bathing. Some pups are pig pens - dirt magnets - they will see the wash tub more often than another.
Dry skin can be massaged, post bath, w/ any gentle moisturizer. If there is noted irritation/redness - it is not "that darn old allergic skin of the CC" - it is the dog's sensitivity to moisturizer formulation. Try another.
Sun exposure can help/hurt the pup's skin - as with humans. Sunlight provides vitamins, but also produces burning rays - take the good, shun the bad. Limit pups time in sun, protect skin w/ sunscreen lotion & adequate cotton clothing. Avoid exposure hours between 10 AM-4PM. Watch for redness on ears, nose & knuckles. You should be following the same advice yourself.
Some owners complain lotion sunscreens are more of an irritant than protective screen. Dogs are like people - what bothers one may not bother another. If your dog develops rash/irritation to lotions - even those advertisied for children - don't be surprised - just switch brands or use cotton clothing instead.
It's not the Chinese Crested breed - it's the particular dog's sensitivity to a particular product.
Use common sense.
There is no great secret to sun protection.
Dog shampoos are not a must - many human formulations do the trick - some combining shampoo & condition - a big plus for time management/cost.
Spray detanglers are great! They make the crest soft & silky, with tangles falling out Another bonus: soft, sweet smelling coat -makes snuggling all the more pleasurable.
Watch the skin & hair - if it looks good - the groceries are balanced & exterior products are the correct recipe. It's not necessary to drop bank on dog products - most of what we use is in your shower stall right now - & smells better than dog formulas.
Don't waste time on worrying about a non-issue: CC skin. Yes, it's a concern, but no, not such a prominent problem that it should interfere w/ your breed choice.
In talking w/ other breed owners (boxer, mastiff, retriever, basset hound, lab, etc.) they relay issues w/ diet allergies, skin problems, early blindness, bladder weakness, stubborness, arthritic hips, nervousness, etc.
There is no perfect breed - only perfect dogs - like yours & mine.
CC's are the full package - hypo-allergenic, brains, beauty, attitude, temperament - don't over think the superficial rumors.
If only you could find a life partner w/ such perfection..................
Don't rob yourself of the finest healing balm for the soul - the adoring love of a Chinese Crested.