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Exercise -Less is more


How to exercise your Irish Wolfhound puppy 

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Exercise -Less is more


How to exercise your Irish Wolfhound puppy 

Exercising an Irish Wolfhound Puppy Safely

The idea of exercise is always associated with a new puppy, but this can inadvertently cause more harm than good.    Over walking and over exercising your puppy in the first year can cause life long injuries.   Care must be taken during the first 12 months at least, before you can go on those long walks.

Firstly you must look at your hound puppy and realise that, to become a giant, there is a lot of growing to be accomplished.  However the problem is whilst they are growing and becoming giants they are still puppies, enormous puppies,  and far from being mature enough to avoid simple injuries. 

The small puppy should just be allowed to play in the garden at his own pace, he will stop when he is tired, BUT, if you have other dogs or young children, then you must monitor him. He should NOT be allowed to run around the garden all day; he needs rest, plenty of it. Food, rest and grow.
— The Irish Wolfhound Health Group Guide

What kind of exercise is best? 

Free play is the best play for your puppy. Exploring the garden, and pottering around, until he is tired and flops down. Listen to him at this point, he will tell you when he is tired, and always be there to supervise him. 

What kind of exercise is not good? 

Repetitive exercise is bad! So no long walks, just lots of free play. This is the time to try and incorporate some training and keep puppy busy, both in mind and body. Short bursts of positive training with rewards can easily tire your puppy out.  

What about a play mate? 

A well matched play mate is always good, but choose wisely, not one who gives puppy huge paw whacks and not one who likes to body swipe, these can cause injuries.  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. This is  something that as a breeder  and an animal carer/lover  we would never do.  We always keep the youngsters separate from the older hounds.  

What about getting out of the car, off the sofa or off the bed? 

Basically care should be taken with any activity which in effect puts pressure on legs and joints.

High impact activities such as jumping off anything, including the sofa, the bed, or any piece of furniture, jumping out of the car, along with bounding up and down steps and stairs, and walking for too long, are not good. 

High impact activities are one of the major causes of stress fractures, spiral fractures and damage to growth plates.

Any kind of movement which causes impact on the growth plates or a twist of a joint is to be avoided at all costs. Your growing puppy needs a soft cushioned and aided landing when getting off the sofa or bed!  or better still provide a low soft comfy dog bed for them to enjoy. 

When rearing a giant breed, there is the potential for a lot of problems, which can make your first year very time consuming. Their long legs are prone to injury, during their rapid and prolonged growth phase. Many of the issues associated with lameness and joints, are due to the actual way the legs are constructed to allow for this rapid growth to happen.

Growth Plates examples when exercising Irish Wolfhound

To allow this process to happen, there are soft areas of cartilage at the end of the long bones in your puppies legs, these soft areas are called “Growth Plates”. 

These growth plates are soft, because they allow for the bones to grow longer, and gradually these areas growth plates, thin and harden.  However the problem is, they don't harden until puberty has finished, and puberty can be a long time coming in a large breed. Puppies' muscles, ligaments and tendons are far stronger than the soft growth plates and therefore will not take the impact of any injury. 

In addition to soft growth plates, puppy also has very soft bones, and this leads to all kinds of injuries when growing. Twists and turns when playing and jumping out of the car or off furniture can put undue pressure on the lower leg bone (tibia) and lead to fractures, especially spiral fractures which are quiet common in puppies.

spiral fracture

Therefore your puppy can seriously be harmed by twisting and turning and jumping. If the growth plate is damaged it may not be possible for it to heal in time for puppy’s legs to grow correctly. Such an injury can result in a shortened limb or an incorrect angle to a joint. If this kind of injury happens to a large hound it can have a detrimental effect on the way they continue to grow and cause untold suffering, pain, deformities and long term problems.

During these formative months the growth plates and soft bones are vulnerable to injury and this is why it is your responsibility to restrict and supervise exercise as required, and why we keep repeating ourselves! 

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Which Exercise Is Best


The best kind of exercise for my Irish Wolfhound puppy 

Which Exercise Is Best


The best kind of exercise for my Irish Wolfhound puppy 

What kind of exercise is best? 

Free play is the best play for your puppy. Exploring the garden, and pottering around, until tired and flops down. Listen to him at this point, he will tell you when he is tired, and always be there to supervise him.

  • 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.  A supervised run around on the lawn with you keeping an eye on them is important.
  • Do take your puppy out to meet people and other dogs once  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 visit friends and family or going to the park to meet other dogs, and puppy class.
.... exercise under control (on the lead) and only for 5 minutes at a time each day, he needs to enjoy it, but beware of damage to his soft bones running over uneven ground......
Build up very gradually, 5 minutes until 4 months. 10 minutes at 5 months 15 minutes at 6 months
Take the time to drive to the dog exercise area used locally, let him see the other dogs he will be mixing with and for them to see him, just stay for 10 minutes, do not let him off the lead for a long time yet, although if you have an extending lead this is a good way to train him to come when called and let him go again.....
— The Irish Wolfhound Health Group

Carla's Mantra


My Irish Wolfhound is limping. 

“Box Rest”  

Promotes healing by resting

Carla's Mantra


My Irish Wolfhound is limping. 

“Box Rest”  

Promotes healing by resting

Box Rest, is my mantra,  and  it is what I will always say to you when you tell me your puppy or adult hound is limping. 

If you are a horsey person you will know what is meant by this term.  The minute a horse is lame, they are stabled on "Box Rest" until sound (not limping), with controlled movement, and gentle short walks if possible. Box rest can be anything from a few days, to weeks and sometimes months, depending on the cause and condition. 

This same approach must be adopted immediately your Wolfhound starts to limp.  Box rest, becomes crate rest, or in a space where movement is limited.  No jumping on and off sofas, or into cars (apart from a trip to the vets), no jumping up, no running around the garden or going on walks.  

Box rest, meaning that you never exercise a limping dog.  Lame dogs must be allowed to rest completely for a few days to several weeks. When the lameness subsides, continue rest and restrict for another 24-48 hours.   Reintroduce moderate exercise such as controlled walks.

If  lameness occurs you will need to assess it.   Firstly check paws and nails, and if the limp is weight bearing with no obvious injury, exposed bone or bleeding,  apply heat or cold accordingly and "Box Rest."  If no improvement  after 12 to 24hrs, or sooner if your hound is in obvious pain or discomfort,  seek veterinary help.  If you are in any doubt then I suggest a visit to the vets.

If  your dog is unable to get up or walk, and or appears in great discomfort or cannot bear any weight at all on the limb, then your hound requires emergency attention.   

 If your vet prescribes  an anti-inflamatory, firstly use the exact dose you have been instructed to and secondly your hound remains on Box Rest!  Exercising when taking an anti-inflamatory or pain killer, can worsen the condition when the medication wears off. 

If your hound for whatever reason is prescribed an  anti-flamatory  (Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) ie Rimadyl, Metacam, Deramaxx  or Previcox), on a long term basisspeak with your vet about using it in conjunction with a gastro-protector, such as Omeprazole (Prilosec®, Gastrogard®). 

In the last few years we have had several hounds die from peritonitis following the development of a duodenal ulcer and perforation.

Sadly this was confirmed by Notts Uni.,  and they were sure that NSAID's were the cause.  This condition is very difficult to pick up on even for the most experienced.  

Use NSAID's, as per instructions, use with care, and give with food, and a gastro-protector if you are looking at long term use.  

This is another very good reason to "Box Rest" to avoid over use of the anti-inflamatory medicationand to promote healing by resting.  

Worming


Worming my Irish Wolfhound 

Worming


Worming my Irish Wolfhound 

 

We have a very strict worming protocol and only use Panacur 10%.  It is one the most effective wormers for a variety of worms including Giardia.  Your puppy will have been wormed with  Panacur 10% from being ten to 14 days old, and will have been wormed at least three times before they leave for their new homes. 

Panacur 10% is a liquid, so we draw up the recommended dose for the size on the dog in a syringe (no needle attached),  holding the hounds mouth slightly open we gently syringe the liquid as far to the back of the mouth as we can, then hold the mouth closed.  Alternatively you can add the dose to food and stir in.  If you are administering pills, we first coat ours in coconut oil, and with one hand hold mouth open, drop coated pill into the  mouth,  as far back as you can,  push down with fingers,  at the back of the tongue,  tilt head back and hold mouth closed - rub throat - also rubbing the nose can help if they are breathing  excessively through their nose so as not to swallow.  Always keep an eye out for pill being spat out!   

 We would suggest you worm every 3 months.   

There are four different types of worms: tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, lungworms. Your dog will display different symptoms depending on what type of worm infection he has, so it’s important to recognise the signs. 

Tapeworms

Tapeworms look like flat ribbons and are made up of small segments. These segments can break off and be passed in your pet’s faeces. If you suspect your dog may be suffering from tapeworm, look closely at his faeces as these small segments can be visible (they could look like grains of white rice).

Signs your dog may have tapeworms include:

  • Gradual weight loss
  • Itchy bottom
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dull coat
  • Extra licking of anal area 

Roundworms

Roundworms are more worm-like in appearance than some of the other types of worms which can infect your dog. They may look like a piece of cooked spaghetti and can grow up to several inches long. Roundworms can be passed between dogs. It is quite common for dogs to be born with worms as they contract them from their mothers.

Signs your dog may have roundworms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • A ‘pot belly’
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tiredness 

Hookworms

Hookworms are similar in appearance to roundworms, but have teeth at one end. This allows them to ‘hook’ onto your dog’s intestine. Hookworms are parasites which survive by sucking blood from your pet, which could put your dog at risk of anaemia.

Signs your dog may have hookworms include:

  • Constipation
  • Dry cough
  • Dull coat
  • Weight loss
  • Stomach ache 

 

Lungworms

Although not as widespread, lungworms can also affect dogs and are emerging as a more common problem in many dogs, particularly in the UK. If you suspect your dog is suffering any type of worm infection it is important to treat him immediately. Dogs should ideally be wormed every three months.

When using Panacur 10%:- 

Increased dosing for specific infections:
For the treatment of clinical worm infestations in adult dogs and cats or Giardia spp. infections in dogs, administer 1ml per 2kg bodyweight daily for 3 consecutive days.

(= 50mg fenbendazole/kg bodyweight daily for 3 days).

For the control of lungworm Oslerus (Filaroides) osleri in dogs administer 1ml per 2kg bodyweight daily for 7 consecutive days.

(= 50mg fenbendazole/kg bodyweight daily for 7 days).

A repeat course of treatment may be required in some cases.

Worms are also found in tissues and muscles and are notoriously  difficult to shift, hence when a bitch undergoes the lactogentic transmission stage, the eggs can migrate into the milk, and hence if not treated, you will have a very poorly and wormy puppy.  

 

 

Suprelorin


A non surgical solution to castration 

Superiorin for Irish Wolfhounds 

Suprelorin


A non surgical solution to castration 

Superiorin for Irish Wolfhounds 

Suprelorin is a chemical castration for male dogs rendering them temporarily infertile.  The implant lowers testosterone levels, reduces the size of the testes, decreases libido and decreases the sperm count.  The implant takes about year to wear off.  It's steroid based - so your dog may just urinate more at first, but this normalises after a few days.  Suprelorin will work reasonably quickly and like castration it may change the energy/personality of your hound and may lead to weight gain. 

With the onset of puberty your hound may appear to change with the increased testosterone levels.  This is why with a male hound is it vitally important that you focus on obedience training them right from the word go.  This is advantageous when puberty starts, as you can  gain your hound's focus keeping them under control. 

We use and recommend the implant, instead of castration. but please don’t go down this route of either form of castration until your hound is fully grown.  We suggest he should be at least over the age of two, it will vary, but please never younger than this. 

Please ask you vet about Suprelorin as an alternative to castration and it does however avoid an anaesthetic.

A male Wolfhound can be shall we say a bit more challenging when his testosterone kicks in, and this is one of the reasons why for certain families and first time Wolfhound owners we recommend having a girl. 

Testicular Descent


The Irish Wolfhound Centre

Testicular Descent


The Irish Wolfhound Centre

The testicles start off in the abdomen just behind the kidneys, and during gestation and with the help of male hormones they enter the inguinal (groin) region shortly after birth.   Normally  the testicles drop into the scrotum anywhere between 10 and 40 days.  However it is difficult to confirm this has happened as they are very small and soft.  Our Vet at the 8 week health examination, checks if  the testes  are in place as a matter of course.   If they are not in place our Vet makes a note of this on the vaccination card, this reminds us to keep checking, and  keeps our owners  informed, it also acts as a reminder for your Vet to re-check. 

There is always a chance that between 2 and 6 months the already descended testes may retract, this can be in response to a muscle ( cremaster muscle) contracting in response to cold, stress or fear.  

Between the abdomen and the scrotum there is an area which closes off at around 6 months,  and when this happens the testes will be blocked from dropping down.  In large breeds it can take longer to close and an undescended testicle may drop up to 12 months later.  

When one or both testes do not descend by 12 months, this is called an ectopic testis or cryptorchidism (meaning hidden testicle).  It is more common for one testicle to be undescended than both.  This could be a genetic disorder and performing this mating again isn't advisable. Please discuss the outcome with your vet, as it may or may not have health implications depending on research of the day. 

 

Pica


My Irish Wolfhound is eating stones!

Pica


My Irish Wolfhound is eating stones!

Pica is a term used for having an appetite for things that have no nutritional value, for example paper, stones, wood, clothes, pebbles, cables etc.  Some  of these items can be harmful, toxic and or cause obstructions, constipation or damage to the intestines. 

Certain breeds are more prone than others, but puppies of all breeds tend to experience  pica.  There could be medical reasons and deficiencies  in diet for pica , but generally it is a behavioural issue.

If you experience this with your puppy or dog the first route is to distract them.  Lack of exercise, boredom, stress or anxiety may be contributing reasons.  Please check with your vet to ensure there isn't a medical reason, but a bored Wolfhound who feels they aren't getting enough attention, enough toys or fun things to do, will devise a million and one ways of ensuring they do and pica is one of them. 

PS.  Dogs do eat grass and it is not necessarily a sign  that they are poorly, and they won't always sick it up, the undigested grass does pass through and can be seen in the poo!