I would say the most difficult thing about raising an Irish Wolfhound is keeping them safe from their own exuberance. They grow like weeds, and you need to perfect the careful balance of nutrition and exercise to protect them. This seems a particularly hard message to convey to new owners, that such care should be taken for the first year during the growing process.
The Big DO’s and DON’Ts Sheet
Whilst being the proud owner of a Wolfhound puppy is a huge delight it also brings with it a large responsibility, as you are now in charge of rearing the puppy until it fully develops and reaches adulthood. This sheet is designed to guide you through the main pitfalls of bringing up a giant breed puppy and if you follow these simple steps any disasters should be kept to a minimum!
• Do feed your puppy on a healthy balanced diet. A Complete dog food is recommended that is no higher than 23% protein and 12% fat. Ideally the Complete should also be gluten and grain free and hypoallergenic. It is unlikely that you will be able to find a Complete puppy food that is so low in protein so we advise an adult food either fish or meat based, but without too many minerals.
• Do allow your puppy free exercise in a secure area preferably on grass every day. Although giant breed puppies have fragile bones and joints they do require some exercise to build up muscle tone and stamina and so a run around on the lawn with their owner keeping an eye on them is important.
• Do take your puppy out to meet people and other dogs once it has been fully vaccinated. Socialising your puppy is very important and any dog needs to get used to new places and experiences such as going in the car to visits friends and family or going to the park to meet other dogs
• Don’t over exercise your puppy under any circumstances. Usually Wolfhound puppies are not walked until they are 6 months old and then they are built up gradually, initially only walking for 5 minutes. Despite their size, Wolfhound puppies are very delicate and their growing bones and joints need to be treated with great care. Any mistakes in exercise under a year old can affect the puppy for the rest of its life.
• Don’t let your puppy walk on slippy surfaces such as tiles, laminate flooring, wood flooring or cushion flooring/lino. Slippy floors are responsible for a huge amount of injuries in both puppies and older dogs of all breeds, but giant breed puppies are particularly susceptible to mishaps. They will slide on these slippy surfaces and hurt their legs and other parts of their body. Some of these injuries can have disastrous consequences.
• Don’t let your puppy play with other dogs unsupervised, even if they are your dogs and they are playing at home. Generally it is recommended that a Wolfhound puppy does not play with older/larger dogs until it is at least a year old. Again, letting your puppy run riot with other dogs is likely to end up with the puppy being hurt or injured.
• Don’t let your puppy walk up and down stairs, and prevent them from jumping out of cars. Keep impact on all joints to a minimum, even getting on and off sofa's in an exuberant manner may harm.