THIS IS A PRINT-ME DOCUMENT!!
SUNSTAG (Reg.) IRISH OLFHOUNDS
You are now owned by a SUNSTAG (Reg.) Irish Wolfhound
puppy. You’ve gone through the interviews. You’ve been inspected by,
through and around except under a microscope. You’ve answered questions
(some so personal you could scream). You’ve said “yes” so many times that
you’re finding it hard to say “no” to anything. You’ve agreed that in the
event of a personal catastrophe that involves the welfare of your SUNSTAG
(Reg.) Irish Wolfhound, that the SUNSTAG (Reg.) Breeder will be called
first and the hound returned to us. So, “On with it”, you say--OK, here
I have to include some personal comments about your relationship with us. I have nearly 40 years of experience and am a huge resource for you in raising your new puppy. Please ask lots of questions--there are NO stupid questions where the welfare of the puppy is concerned. Please keep in touch. I don't care if you call at 3:a.m. just to tell me your puppy blew bubbles in his water dish--I want to share in these little things with you, just as I will be there to share in the big things--good and not so good. When in doubt about anything, ALWAYS! CALL SUNSTAG FIRST!!! Now, you need to prepare. . .
FIRST THINGS YOU NEED
Flea Collars. NO! NO flea dips except those specifically approved for a sighthound. NO “Shell No-Pest” strips in the house or yard. Any produce that says, “Not for use on Greyhounds”, DO NOT USE ON YOUR IRISH WOLFHOUND. Flea powder is okay, as is Sevin 5% dust from your gardening outlet. We use DFT-Plus which can be used daily, does no harm to furniture or clothing and smells rather good once the alcohol smell evaporates.
We suggest you flea spray and brush your
dog the night before a visit to your vet. Wipe the dog’s coat with
Listerine from a spray bottle. This clears away any last minute surface
dust and odor. Use a “traffic” lead for close control.
Get the telephone number, address and a map to get to your Emergency
Clinic. If more than one is within a reasonable distance from home, get
all of them. Make a dry run to see how long it takes to get there. Be
familiar with alternate routes to all emergency clinics. Check
occasionally to be sure they have not moved! In an extreme case, dial
9-1-1, for help.
Hip Dysplasia/PRA/Thyroid/Cholesterol/Von Wildebrands. It is suggested that you have your SUNSTAG (Reg.) Irish Wolfhound’s hips x-rayed at 24 months for hip dysplasia. Two reasons: (1) SUNSTAG (Reg.) has a replacement policy for defects of this nature; and (2) your hound will need your help to keep fit and relatively pain-free if HD is diagnosed. Caught early, HD can be kept at bay for quite awhile. Also, have his/her eyes checked for Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA); get Thyroid, vonWilldebrands and Cholesterol (T3-T4/Free T3-T4) tests. These have never been a problem, but we feel you should be aware of these procedures for the care of your hound.
Hot Spots. Stress, fleas, allergies can cause a dog to chew his/her rump or tail to a bloody pulp. We do several things: (1) start Stop-Itch (brand); (2) coat the raw area with Vaseline, Vitamin E cream, Aloe Vera ointment or other soothing salve; (3) use Bitter Apple (brand) to discourage chewing; (4) give 1000 units of Vitamin Ester-C to combat possible stress--limited to about 3 days use.
A gaseous swelling of the abdomen/twisted
or telescoped intestines. Symptoms include vomiting, arched back, obvious
swollen belly, severe pain. Get to a vet immediately! If your vet will
give you his/her home telephone number for emergencies, get it, but PLEASE
use it ONLY in emergencies. Or, after hours at the Emergency Clinic,
insist that they notify your Vet that you have your Irish Wolfhound in the
Clinic. They will call him/her if you insist--DO IT! Make a scene if you
have to. Your hound’s life may depend on having your Vet in attendance. If
the emergency vet (or any Vet) says “Parvo” and you are certain all shots
are up to date, suggest checking for torsion. This is important!
Exercise. Well, we say, “It takes two Wolfhounds”, to get proper exercise even in a small backyard. The Irish Wolfhound wants to be with you only slightly more than s/he wants to be with another Irish Wolfhound. [Ah, the beginnings of the “Potato Chip Syndrome”.] Go jogging or bike riding, but stay off pavement with your puppy. Not only is the surface hard, it is usually hot. A mile a day will be good for both of you once your puppy is 8 to 10 months old. DO NOT RELEASE your Irish Wolfhound in an unfenced area unless you have a 110% surety that you can recall the dog INSTANTLY! This is for his/her protection.
Stairs. Many breeders feel that puppies should not be allowed on stairs and we agree to a point. SUNSTAG (Reg.) supervises our puppies at 5 weeks on half-stairs and as they become more proficient, to full stairs with open backs. When they are older, we monitor their play if stairs are involved, but they need to know how to get up and down SAFELY.
No strenuous exercise either before or after meals. This is a commonly accepted cause of bloat and torsion. The dog’s belly swells to huge proportions and the dog will be in severe pain. Death can result in less than one hour! Limit his/her exercise to a time when the hound can wind down before and after eating.
Bedding. Use large carpet ends, sheepskins or cedar-chip pillows for bedding. Several types are available through pet supply stores ranging from $20.00 on up. An old baby crib mattress from a garage sale is great. Remember that puppies chew...and chew...and chew. Be sure that the stuffing from any bedding will not cause problems (not if) WHEN it is ingested by your puppy. If bedding becomes torn, get rid of it.
Toys. Hard rubber objects, pigs ears and rawhides (U.S. produced only) are best. NO pull-type toys (you’d be tempted to pull too hard). The young puppy teeth are developing and pull-toys can cause a misalignment to the mouth. Pulling is okay when it is puppy-to-puppy, but a human has a stronger pull. Worst case is the dog that cannot chew because of a misaligned bite. We do not recommend Nylabones; Gumabones seem okay. This is a personal preference.
Teeth. Have your Irish Wolfhound’s teeth cleaned or do it yourself (a demonstration is about all that is needed) about every 3-6 months. Naturally, you’ve been playing “Let’s Go To The Vet” with your puppy and s/he is ready for this. Right? The most convenient way to remember to do the dental work is to do it just before the six-month’s booster shot appointment or include it in your Vet visit or when YOU go to the dentist, do your Wolfhound’s teeth.
Ears. It is always a good idea to inspect your hound’s ears weekly. A cleaning may be needed more frequently than once a month, but be sure you do get them cleaned that often. Yeast infections, and other inflammations could lead to deafness if not properly maintained.
Feet and Nails. Keep the pads clear of tufts of hair. Check them thoroughly daily during the summer; that is the sticker and burr season. Stickers and burrs can cause infections and can kill. At the very least they can be painful and crippling. Trim the nails regularly with the dog lying down. Watch a demonstration or two and you can do it yourself. If you cut too close and the toenail bleeds, an ice cube is a handy way to stop the bleeding (or purchase a good septic powder before you begin). You could ask your vet or professional groomer to trim the nails if you are unsure.
Dew Claws. In most of our litters, all dew claws have been removed for safety in case you decide to Lure Course your SUNSTAG (Reg.) Irish Wolfhound.
Worming. NO commercial off-the-shelf wormers. Let your Vet do this. All worms should be verified from a fecal sample by your Vet. Ask the Vet for a fecal sample container and use it! The only worm you’ll see will be tape. All others are microscopic. We have fecal samples checked every 90 days except during the summer when we check them every month. Fleas cause tape worm. Tape worms cause anemia. Anemia kills. You should have a sample checked no less than every 6 months.
Grooming. For couch potato companions, there is little grooming needed. You’ll naturally brush the dust out every day and upon coming in from outside. We’ve learned that a spray bottle with straight Listerine brand and a towel mitt are great for keeping the surface coat clean and dust-free. There is nothing like a good brushing down. A rounded-surface slicker brush is really good. Don’t bathe your dog too often; three or four times a year should be sufficient. If you don’t feed meat or meat products, your Irish Wolfhound should always have a pleasant smell. Any unpleasant odor could be caused by the anal glands. Ask your Vet or Groomer to check them for you--occasionally only; as this can be overdone. Show Grooming is a totally different story. We suggest you either purchase the DeQuoy book (see Miscellaneous, The Irish Wolfhound Guide), follow the outline in a later Section herein, or have SUNSTAG (Reg.) give you a private demonstration. We suggest that all puppies (especially Show potential ones) be hand stripped--all puppy coat “milked” or “plucked”--when the puppy is between five and eight months of age. It takes roughly four months for the adult coat to grow in, and it will be much more coarse with the early elimination of the puppy coat. NEVER USE SCISSORS or shave your hound!
Training. Begin NOW! At the car door make the puppy sit, then say, “Car”, as you lift him/her in. Always support the rear of a growing puppy. NEVER lift straight up under the forearms. Continue to play a game we call “Let’s Go To The Vet”--play with your puppy’s mouth. Show the teeth while the puppy is standing up and lying down. Tap the teeth, rub the gums, teach your puppy to accept tooth scaling, get a toothbrush and paste--use them. Play with the ears, inside and out. Open the eyes wide. Peer into the nostrils. Get your puppy ready for a vet exam by having him/her lie down quietly and to stand quietly. Learn how to take your puppy’s temperature and know what it should be. Play “Come Along” with the lead. Gently tug on the leash as you step out (starting off with puppy on the left side and using your left foot), and slap your thigh as you move forward. Coax, don’t demand. “Good dog. Good dog.” That’s the puppy’s reward. Enroll in a puppy socialization class for more details. We will happily refer you to trainers we have found to be best suited to the Irish Wolfhound.
Crate Training. This will have been started by SUNSTAG (Reg.) Irish Wolfhounds. Purchase, rent or borrow an airline-style or wire crate to continue this training. You will find it very beneficial for both you and the puppy (see section of Crate Training). We also suggest purchasing at least one 36-inch or 48-inch tall wire enclosure called an “X-Pen” (short for Exercise, we think), three brass clips, and some shade cloth (from your Nursery). You can now picnic with puppy!
Boarding. ALWAYS take your Irish Wolfhound to the kennel you have selected several times for a visit BEFORE you are ready to leave. Let him/her stay in the kennel for a few hours while you go shopping. A good kennel will appreciate your concern and may not even charge for the “babysitting” indoctrination. This is a good idea for several weeks prior to your departure. Be sure the kennel feeds, or has on hand, your dog’s brand of food. A change of food can cause stomach upset and diarrhea. Boarding costs run from $15.00 to $25.00 per day. Cheap is NOT best for your Irish Wolfhound. Ideally, you will have an in-home sitter or your Vet Tech might be willing to check on your puppy in your home for a small fee.
Travel. By car or plane, the Irish Wolfhound seems to thrive on being with you no matter the conveyance. Call SUNSTAG (Reg.) for recommendations on travel enclosures or crates for air travel. We can offer details on other modes of travel and how-to information.
Conformation Shows. All the assistance you want is available through SUNSTAG (Reg.), IWCA, IWAWC, other breeders and many other IW clubs as well as county activity agencies; all you have to do is ask. SUNSTAG (Reg.) is quite willing to manage your puppy’s show career for you (if we are in your area) or arrange for a handler, if that is part of your contract...just ask.
BREEDING? STOP AND THINK of these bits of statistics: Only 2% of all Irish Wolfhounds born should be used for breeding; nearly 30% of Irish Wolfhound whelpings (births) are by Caesarian Section and cost a bundle; you may have to euthanase an entire litter. The average cost for a litter of seven Irish Wolfhounds (2008) for twelve weeks is nearly $1,000.00--without a C-Section which can add up to $2-3,000.00! Your contract with SUNSTAG (Reg.) also has outlined the answer to breeding or stud service for your puppy. Follow it.
Memberships. We encourage you to become a member of any IW club in your area, our own Irish Wolfhound Association of the West Coast or the South Counties Irish Wolfhound Fanciers Society, or the national club. You may not be interested in active participation, but the educational value of the various membership publications is incalculable. This information is available from SUNSTAG (Reg.) upon request as the chairpersons change regularly.
PRODUCTS AND SUPPLIES
IN CLOSING... There are hundreds of little tidbits that could not be included in this small booklet. We do advise that you keep in touch, call, write, e-mail, ask questions and just share with us. We all learn from the Irish Wolfhound...and each other. Please feel free to contact us over even the slightest thing. Just remember, we are your Mother-In-Law, and we love to talk IRISH WOLFHOUND..