Dog Care

We have talked about how to keep the dog in the house. The dog should have a fixed place to rest without being bothered. The breeds of large size, guardian and hunting dogs that cannot be inside the house they should be put in a kennel in the patio or garden. The kennel must be spacious and the platform should be solid enough, with cement soil or of similar material so the dog can not dig. The soil must be permeable and easy to clean. The best is a hard floor with a bit slope so that the water can drain. The kennel should be located in a quiet place, protected from the wind and with shade during the hottest hours of the day; it should be covered to protect the dog from the bad weather. The kennel walls are usually made of wood and the plates must be well assembled so there will not be any cracks. It is convenient to have double walls with a good isolation in between. The kennel should not be directly put on the soil but on minimum foundations. The movable or adjustable roof allows cleaning the kennel easily and ventilate it when it is hot, lifting the roof slightly. The interior must correspond to the dog size and it must offer the animal enough comfort. If the space is correctly calculated, the dog will heat it with its own corporal heat. Most dogs do not like having a bed made of straw inside the kennel.

The hair requires a lot of care. The dog has many layers of different kind of hair. The topcoat is long, stiff or slightly wavy. Under this layer there is another more wooly hair and another of fine hair. The hair varies from one breed to another.

In general, all types of hair are more or less present in the fur of all dogs. This type of hair is similar to the one of the wild dogs and it is called double coat. If the internal layer has practically disappeared and the topcoat is shorter, then we are talking about a short-haired breed or straight-haired breed; if the topcoat is longer, then we are talking about a long-haired breed. And if at the same time the hair is soft, we are talking about silky-smooth hair. The external layer can also be rough and it can be quite often curly: then these dogs are called hard-haired dogs. The schnauzers that have hard hair do not have an external curly hair layer. The dog hair does not grow regularly but in certain specific periods, which take turns with rest periods. The tactile hair that is on the head has a specific function. It is called vibrissa and its root is encapsulated in a blood bag. When this bag is full of blood, the hair nourishes from it and it works as a tactile organ sensitive to the touch.

For the short-haired dogs, the maintenance of the hair layer is relatively easy. It involves a medium-hard grooming only or a comb.

The breeds of long hair need more care. Their hair must be thoroughly combed at least twice a week, so that it will not get tangled. Be careful! Only untangle the hair without pulling it out or damaging its structure. Use a comb with separated long flat-end teeth. Pay special attention when grooming the external hair of the ears, the internal part of the legs, the hair of the neck (where the collar is), the rear part of the legs and tail, places where hair gets tangled easily. After having combed the animal, take the groomer of long, hard and thick teeth and groom it against the way and then in the sense of the hair from the head to the tail.

Among the numerous breed of hard hair, the terriers, for example, the standard forces us to have special care with the hair, which gives the breed a typical silhouette and a characteristic phenotype. This care involves two operations: peeling and trimming. It differs according to the breeds and it is difficult to do it. Several tools are used: machines to cut the hair, scissors and metal combs. The hair of a hard-haired dog cannot be fixed unless the fur is mature, in other words, when the dog starts shedding. You must work progressively by phases, so that on the day of hair exhibition, it will have the length established by the standard. Taking care of the hair of a hard-haired dog is a craft, which is only learned with practice. Grooming and combing the hair regularly is an indispensable requirement to prepare the dog for a show.

Regarding drop-ear dogs, especially the long-haired ones, you must pay special attention to the external auditory channel and clean the dirt with a cotton swab. The dogs that work in water need special care, because the water that comes into the ears can cause unpleasant inflammations in the auditory channel. The toenails do not need special care if the dog exercises enough in the countryside or garden. However if the toenails make a noise when they walk on a hard surface, they should be cut. If you want to do it yourself, you would better buy good nail clippers that cut only the tip of the toenail without hurting the nerve. If the fingernails are very hard, soften them a little putting them on warm water with soap during five or ten minutes. It would be better to take the dog to a canine saloon or veterinarian.

Also tartar deposits can be found in the dog teeth. In general with correct nourishment, the dog eliminates by itself gnawing bones, chewing crackers, etc. But if it necessary teeth can be cleaned with a special product.

The eyes of a healthy dog do not need special care. The secretion that accumulates in the internal commissure of the eye can be cleaned with cotton or a napkin. But if there is an inflammation, you would better ask a veterinarian.

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