Litters


Wolfhound, a fully conscious choice

by Alex Riva

Have you decided to welcome a wolfhound into your home? You’ll have to know some fundamental information, including the time to spend with him, what kind of food, what rules to impose, the place where he will sleep, what means of transport, the compromises for holidays and week-end getaways. Money is a further factor that should not be discounted.

To welcome such a gentle giant into your family must be a conscious choice and studied in detail, in order to avoid any disappointment, both for you and for him. I’m not a breeder, I’m only an owner, but I often get emails asking for advice via my website www.irishwolfhound.dog. That’s the reason for this small handbook based on my experience.

FOOD AND SUPPLEMENTS

Buy quality food! Get advice from someone who has more experience than you. Remember that everything you’ll save by buying feed of poor quality, you might later pay to the vet!

There are plenty of different types of dog’s meals, I prefer those prepared with fresh ingredients and with a low crude ash percentage. Fresh meat or fish every day, in relation to the dog need and one fruit (usually an apple). My dogs eat three times a day, it is better to appease the dogs an hour before the meals and keep them quiet after they have eaten.

There are a lot of supplements, and I can only suggest what I use: omega 3-6-9 (to check the concentration of the product, about 1000 mg di EPA+DHA by day) and a good chondroprotector (during the first year the puppy will multiply his weight more than 100 times the weight of birth). I also suggest to take a probiotic daily (kefir or yogurt).

For the purchase of dog foods and supplements I suggest to make the research on the web. Spanish and Greek sites are often cheaper. If you can to buy a dozen bags at a time you may obtain a great discount from many local distributors.

VETERINARY

The cost of vet bills may well be high, especially in the first months of a puppy’s life, for vaccinations and various checks. Alas! There could be some unforeseen expenses in the next years relating to possible health problems. Remember! A good breeder will attach the “liver shunt” test, which is a severe disease in this breed, to the puppy’s documentation. It’s important for your dog to have regular heart check. To prevent the infectious tracheobronchitis (kennel cough) there are specific vaccines that I highly recommend. The most common health problems in Irish Wolfhounds are: dilated cardiomyopathy, osteosarcoma, bloat (or stomach dilatation) , ciliary dystrophy, OCD, mega esophagus. Wolfhounds pneumonia is almost always fatal if the right antibiotic is not given promptly (I know Rocephin and Excenel), even a simple anesthesia could give serious complications, so I recommend that you find an expert vet of this breed.

Information on health at the following addresses:

http://www.iwfoundation.org/healthstudies.html

http://www.iwhealthgroup.co.uk/home.html

LIFESPAN

Statistics report that Irish Wolfhounds’ average life is a little bit longer than 7 years

MOVEMENT

In the first year of life, considering the super growth of the puppy, I suggest not to do too much physical activity. But don’t forget, however, that the Irish wolfhound, despite his size, is a sighthound, and he loves walking and running …he will have to walk and run! I suggest long daily walks.

GROOMING

We often associate the word “grooming” only with dog shows. This is a mistake. I have learned over the years that regular grooming serves not only the purpose of beautifying the dog, but is also important for preventing various skin problems. With a correctly groomed coat, it’s definitely easier to detect foreign bodies, any irritation, allergies and so on. Correct grooming has the great function of regenerating the coat in a natural way. The grooming of an Irish is done by stripping. There are a lot of coat grooming tools available. Personally, I have opted for an expert groomer.

ACCOMMODATION

The wolfhound, by his sweet and loving temperament, can also adapt to live in an apartment, in which case it’s absolutely essential to go out regularly. I suggest you decorate the place with large cushions, sofas or beds where he can rest comfortably, and thus avoid any bursitis. The wolfhound was selected for hunting on sight, he’s not a guard dog, but his size will be a good deterrent to criminals.

Only after carefully considering and evaluating all these different factors, will you be ready to receive one of these wonderful creatures, but remember:   there’s no going back….you won’t be able to live without him.