Owners of farm dogs encounter special issues when it comes to farm dog care.
Hobby Farm Home “Animal Talk” columnist Audrey Pavia offers news, advice and product ideas for animals around the farm.
Here are a few excerpts from a recent column–especially for farm dog owners.
Porcupines quills can be dangerous to dogs
Unfortunately for dogs that like to explore nature, porcupines can be found throughout the United States and flourish in many rural areas. Normally quiet, harmless creatures, porcupines can be dangerous when trapped by an overly inquisitive canine.
Should your dog make contact with one of these nocturnal rodents, he’s likely to end up with a face full of quills. Although porcupines can’t throw their quills as the old wives’ tale states, these tenacious prongs detach easily from the porcupines’ hide as a defense mechanism.
If your dog comes to the back door with just a few porcupine quills sticking out of his face, you can try to remove the prongs yourself. If this fails, or if your dog has a lot of quills and some are in his mouth, throat or eyes, you’ll need to get your dog to a veterinarian right away. Sometimes porcupine quills are so numerous or so deeply embedded that they can be removed only under anesthesia.
To remove just a few quills from your dog, use a pair of pliers and grasp each quill as close to the skin as you can. Pull firmly to detach it. Give your dog a break after every few quills since he won’t find this procedure particularly pleasant.
If your dog fights you or seems to be in a lot pain when you try to remove quills at home, take him to a veterinarian.
Keeping the food area clean
We all have one: the dog who likes to take a big drink and then sprint all over the house, leaving massive puddles in her wake. Or what about the dog who chows down so quickly that half the food is left on the floor? Now there’s a 360-degree splash and spill barrier that can prevent these messy mishaps. Slipped onto an ordinary food or water bowl, the Bowlgaiter creates a watertight seal with the bowl’s edge, preventing spills and splashes. It’s made from 100 percent silicone and can be used indoors or out; it’s dishwasher safe and stretches to fit a variety of bowls; (800) 507-3173; www.caninefunction.com
Ease the Itch
Hot spots can make even the most docile dog cranky, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to take care of the problem as quickly as possible. You can ease the itch and inflammation associated with these sores with SunFeather’s Hot Spot’s Pet Balm. Made with essential oils known for fighting fungal, bacterial and parasitical infections, the Pet Balm also includes shea butter and tea tree oil “to make your Spot’s spots not so hot”; (315) 265-3648; www.sunfeather.com
Don’t Let Your Dog Get Too Cold
Even if your dog loves the colder weather, when the mercury dips to below 20 degrees F, he should be outside for no longer than it takes to relieve himself. Any longer and your pup could risk frostbite—a condition that turns his skin red, white, gray or black and that can potentially cause loss of tissue in the affected area. If you suspect your dog has frostbite, call your vet for instructions on what to do.
To protect your furry friend, be sure to keep him leashed when he goes outside; snow can cause a dog to lose his scent and get lost. Also consider shoveling the way to his favorite spot so he doesn’t have to hoof it through the snow. If he lives outside, make sure his doghouse is off of the ground and well insulated with straw, shavings or old blankets. If it’s below 20 degrees F, bring him inside.
A Coat for Goats … or Dogs!
Looking for a coat to help keep your goats comfy on those chilly fall days? If you’re not especially sewing-savvy, try Orvis’ horse blanket dog coat on for size! Easy to put on with adjustable, quick-release nylon straps, your caprines can cavort even in the worst weather. The water- and wind-resistant, ripstop nylon has a cozy, fleece lining. For sizing, measure from base of neck to base of tail, just as you would for your pooch. Note: This type of coat normally won’t fit Pygmies with large body capacities, unless you want a cape! (888) 235-9763; www.orvis.com