When adopting a dog, one choice you’ll need to make is whether to adopt a puppy, an adolescent, or an adult. It’s not always an easy decision, so let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of adopting dogs of different ages.
Puppies are enchanting little beings. They’re funny and cute and full of promise. But puppies, like all babies, need a lot of care and attention if they are to fulfill that promise.
Puppies Are a Lot of Work
Your puppy will need to be trained so that she knows what you want her to do and not do. She will need lots of safe exercise and play so that her body develops properly, and she will need you to socialize her with other people and animals so that she feels comfortable in the world. As she learns and grows, she’ll get into things, chew, make messes, and have accidents in the house. All in all, a puppy is a tremendous amount of work — much more than many unsuspecting adopters realize.
A Puppy’s Health — and Size — May Be Unpredictable
Puppies who are available for adoption through shelters and rescue organizations sometimes offer additional challenges because they come from less-than-ideal situations. Chances are good that their parents were not screened for inherited health or temperament problems, or that optimum pre-natal or post-natal care was provided for mama dog and her pups. Shelter and rescue puppies may have been taken from their mothers at too young an age for optimal emotional development. Veterinary attention may have been lacking prior to the pup’s coming into the shelter or rescue group. Responsible shelters and rescue groups provide medical care, treatment for parasites, and vaccinations against infectious disease when appropriate; however, sometimes adopted puppies don’t show signs of illness until they move to their new home.
Does this mean you shouldn’t adopt a puppy from a shelter or rescue group? Not at all — many wonderful dogs grow from puppies who didn’t have the best start in life. But you do need to be aware that even a young puppy has a history, and you may need to give her some extra care to make up for it.
Realize, too, that you can’t always predict how the puppy you adopt will mature, especially if she’s a mixed-breed. If you adopt a puppy, make sure you’re ready to accept her as an adult, even if she’s thirty pounds bigger and six inches shaggier than you expected.
Adult and Senior Dogs Are Already Emotionally Mature
Puppies turn into adolescents at lightning speed. That babyish furball you bring home will turn all legs, ears, nose, and energy in another four months. Adolescence in dogs begins at six months and lasts until anywhere from eighteen months up to thirty-six months, depending on the breed. Small dogs tend to mature physically more quickly than big dogs do, but all dogs are quite immature mentally and emotionally until they are at least two or three years old. They continue to need training, lots of exercise, and ongoing socialization throughout this developmental period.
Adult and Senior Dogs Are Great for First-Time Dog Parents
If this is your first dog, or if you cannot devote the time necessary to train, socialize, and exercise a young or adolescent puppy properly, an adult dog could be a better option for you. If you’re not sure, talk to people who are currently raising puppies or have done so recently to get a realistic picture of what it’s like. If dealing with puppy pee on the carpet and needle-sharp teeth in your toes for months on end sounds like too much chaos for your taste, adopt an adult.
You Know What You’re Getting with an Adult or Senior Dog
When you choose an adult dog, you have a pretty good idea what you’re getting. You can see her physical traits and get some idea of her basic temperament, even though dogs in shelters and dogs newly in rescue foster homes may not always show their true personality right away. Still, with the guidelines we offer you later in this book, you can select a behaviorally sound dog who will improve and blossom once settled into your loving home.
Adult and Senior Dogs Will Love You as Much as a Puppy
If you are concerned that an older dog won’t bond to you, don’t be. Dogs are remarkably resilient and open-hearted. Some completely overcome their pasts in a matter of days; others may take a few weeks or months, and a few will carry a little baggage for even longer than that. Working with your adopted dog to help her overcome any hurdles necessary to enjoy her new life can be an incredibly rewarding experience — and result in a long-term, loving relationship.
Senior Dogs, Our Real Treasure
Mastiff Rescue of Florida would like to make you aware of a disease that at times goes over looked. With the heavy rains and standing water that we all have or have had our goal is to make you aware of PYTHIOSIS. One of our volunteers has had a horrible time with Pythiosis. The Following is her story and she has also sent us a brochure.
"In 2013 I lost my bull mastiff, Duke, to a horrible disease that I had never heard of in all my years of owning pets. It started in about May when he developed diarrhea. I have 5 large dogs so it took some time to figure out which one was sick.
I took Duke to the vet and he received the standard treatment for diarrhea, Metronidazole. We went through a few rounds of it and tried some other antibiotics as well. He started losing weight and developed bloody diarrhea. In late July we took Duke to the University of Florida Vet Hospital. He spent several days there and they finally diagnosed him with Pythiosis, a fungal spore that is difficult to treat. The vet told me there were no known survivors of the disease and that I should just “put him down”.
My daughter, Katy, found a Facebook page for pythiosis. She contacted people on the page and got as much information as she could, including the name Pan American Vet Labs and Bob Glass. I called Mr. Glass, who was ever so helpful. He sent us the first round of injections in an attempt to treat the disease.
We were also giving him the traditional treatment of antifungals which my vet had compounded since the cost for a one month supply from the vet school was well over $300. We even tried a second round of injections, however, Duke had been sick too long and on September 10, 2013, my beloved Duke had to be put to sleep.
Pythiosis is not a traditional fungus. It is a fungal spore that thrives in wet areas. Many vets treat it with very expensive antifungals which have not been proven to work. Pythiosis actually causes an allergic reaction in some dogs and not others. It can also affect our animals in the cutaneous form. Pythiosis does not affect just dogs, but cats, horses, pretty much any animal.
I still have 5 dogs. My bull mastiff, whom I got after Duke died and my female mastiff whom I fostered and then adopted both were tested for pythiosis. Both dogs had diarrhea. Zeus, my bull mastiff tested borderline and my mastiff, Zoe, tested positive. Both have had 2 rounds of the injections and both are doing very well. Both have gained weight and now have normal stools. My other 3 dogs, whom I had when Duke was sick as well, have never had a problem and they all eat, run and play in the same areas.
What I learned when Duke was sick was that many vets do not know about pythiosis. My vet had never heard of it. Those that do know about it say it is rare. Really, NOT. I follow the FB page for pythiosis and there are so many fur babies out there that have it. Some are survivors, some survive this horrible disease multiple times. Others are not so fortunate.
My goal for telling Duke’s story is twofold. First is to make people aware of this disease and have a low threshold for having your dog tested when traditional treatment does not work. Second it to say there are survivors. There is a lot more to this disease then what is in Duke’s story, so please read the attached brochure.
Last year, Mastiff Rescue of Florida (MRF) received reports of a suspected puppy mill for English Mastiffs. Research and investigation by MRF volunteers led to detailed reports to the county sheriff. He sent animal control and several officer visits resulted in closing of the puppy mill with all 15 dogs transferred to the local humane society.
According to officers, the breeding stock was chained to trees and fences. Most had no shelter. They had severe ear and skin infections and were flea and tick infested. Some had untreated wounds and many were malnourished.
At the shelter, the dogs were seen by a veterinarian, treated, medicated, bathed, flea dipped, neutered, temperament-tested and micro-chipped, 2 had to be euthanized as they were just too sick. Volunteers practiced socialization by talking to and sitting with the dogs. A MRF volunteer was called in to verify that the dogs were, indeed, English mastiffs, and another MRF volunteer wrote the press release that described the breed. Television stations aired footage filmed on-site, and the local newspaper covered the story. On adoption day, before the doors opened, potential forever-families lined up to meet with shelter staff and MRF volunteers who informed them about the breed and about possible issues because of the puppy mill.
Every dog found a home, and both MRF and the shelter worked with adopters and foster families to ease the transition to a normal life.
This was the first time we at MRF, participated from start to finish in closing a puppy mill and cooperating with a shelter in finding homes for the dogs. Unfortunately, we are often involved with puppy mills. Sometimes they discard the mastiffs they have maltreated and bred continuously with hereditary issues, and those dogs end up in high-kill shelters. We have saved so many. Sometimes we get the products of puppy mills’ poor breeding practices like the blind dogs we’ve recently agreed to care for the rest of their lives. We need your help to close puppy mills and save lives.
If you suspect a puppy mill is operating near you, gather and document whatever information you can, and seek assistance from your local animal control, write letters to you County Commissioners. The Humane Society of the United States also has investigators who work with local law enforcement to close puppy mills. Never buy a dog over the Internet. Always visit the facility, and make sure you see the whole facility, not just a few cute puppies. Read ads and if the same address or name appears regularly with puppies, take note, go visit, and ask to see the facility. Please go to our website, we have information there how to buy from a reputable breeder.
If you do nothing else, educate everyone you know about puppy mills. Puppy mill owners are cruel, out for the money and care nothing for the dog. They write enticing ads and sell cute puppies while their breeding stock is abused and neglected. You can make a difference. Please help.
I am an old breed of dog, dating back over 2000 years. I gave rise to many other breeds, such as the Rottweiler, the Cane Corso, the Great Dane (or German Mastiff), the American Mastiff, the French Mastiff (Dogue de Bordeaux), etc.
I was used to entertain people in Roman times; I was used to bait bears & lions; that is probably why I developed such large, floppy cheeks so that the bears could grab my cheeks without doing a lot of damage.
As a result of my size & bark, I was also used to guard houses.
I come in 4 color varieties – fawn, apricot, brindle and apricot brindle. Common to all colors is the black muzzle, the dewlap (the extra flap of skin under the neck) & the flew (the loose flaps of skin on the sides of the upper muzzle that hang to different lengths over the mouth).
I am not just big, I am Super Sized, XL. Small, or starter mastiffs, weigh around 120#. The largest mastiff on record was 343#. So you are not just adopting a dog, you are adding a person to your family. Big dog = big food bill = big piles.
Like all big dogs, I have big dog issues: joints, knees, hips, bones, enlarged heart. Along with the big issues come big vet bills. My vet bills can run in the thousands. During surgical procedures, I need extra anesthesia. My Rx’s can be outrageous. Keep in mind that not all vets are comfortable treating a dog of my size, as I can be a little intimidating.
I also have ear issues. Those long, floppy ears are beautiful, but they can trap all sorts of bacteria in my ears. A regular ear-cleaning routine should be established.
As a big dog, I am prone to bloat, “When bloat occurs, the dog’s stomach fills with air, fluid and/or food. The enlarged stomach puts pressure on other organs, can cause difficulty breathing, and eventually may decrease blood supply to a dog’s vital organs” (Source: ASPCA website). Without treatment this can be fatal; please know where the closest emergency vet is. Some factors that can lead to bloat are over eating, rapid eating, eating before or after heavy exercise. Common symptoms are:
· Distended abdomen
· Unsuccessful attempts to belch or vomit
· Retching without producing anything
· Excessive salivation
· Shortness of breath
· Cold body temperature
· Pale gums
· Rapid heartbeat
(Source ASPCA website)
Kids? I love kids; they taste like chicken. I’m just kidding – I am super protective of children. But please keep in mind that small children stand about the same height as my tail and I can easily knock them over. Please don’t let them ride on me and be careful of how they play with me. Putting fingers into my mouth, even accidentally, can result in a serious bite; when my jaws close, I can exert a pressure of up to 200psi.
If you get me expecting an exercise buddy, you will be disappointed. At best I’ll make it around the block, but my average tends to be a few houses there and back. I do like to sprint for short periods of time and I like to play. I require tougher, larger (more expensive) toys or I will quickly destroy them.
Be prepared for drool, lots of it, everywhere. Be prepared for me to lay on your bed and your couches, even in your lap. I am not graceful, I step on feet (yours). Expect people to cross to the other side of the street when you are walking me.
I am okay with all dogs (assuming I was exposed to them in a positive manner). Contrary to common belief, I will not eat your little dog. Little dogs can sometimes make me nervous as I can’t see them behind me.
Expect to hear the same questions when you get a mastiff:
Is it a horse? Can you ride it? What’s your food bill?
by Melissa Seaman
Mastiff Rescue of Florida is rescuing more and more poorly bred English Mastiffs. Many of which come from puppy mills and back yard breeders concerned with nothing more than making money-total greed. They do not care about the dogs nor do they care about the buyer.
We have decided that a rescue must try to educate potential buyers hopefully enabling them with the research and questions to ask when buying a dog. Most reputable breeders, will be concerned where they place their dogs and also help with the transition into the new home. When dealing with a reputable breeder, most of those breeders will take back their own dogs or help the owner re-home, if the owner must at some time give up. Back yard breeders and puppy mills will not, those poor dogs will get dumped at shelters and rescues if they are lucky.
This year we have taken in 2 beautiful English Mastiff’s that were blind--- after testing these dogs, we found that they had Progressive Retinal Atrophy, which is an inherited gene, meaning half of all the litters that these 2 girls produced and the back yard breeder sold will be BLIND. Totally unnecessary as this can be tested for prior to breeding. A reputable breeder would test. Unfortunately, many people will have blind dogs in the coming years from these 2 beautiful girls..the old saying, Buyer Beware!
To ensure you get a good, healthy dog, we share with you the following tips:
Mastiff Rescue Staff