The Ultimate Big Dog Guide
Big dogs are great – they are large bundles of love with amazing personalities. But with being big comes big responsibility: drool, hair, size, and not to mention a tremendous appetite! Although you were aware of these ‘extras’ when you got your dog, it is another thing to manage them. It takes effort but, of course, you will go to any lengths to ensure your big dog is happy and healthy! Drool stains can be washed out and hair can be brushed. You may even find that these common big-dog traits are what you love about your pet! Although they may have their quirks, big dogs are wonderful companions that give you a whole lot more to love. Here is your ultimate guide to big dogs:
With a big dog comes big jowls. With big jowls comes a larger build up of saliva and inevitable drooling. Dogs aren’t aware that their mouths are big and that there is a slimy string of drool slowly making its way to the floor. With being a big dog owner, you have now accepted the fact that drool will be a daily obstacle in your living room. You will probably feel like a true mom as you wipe that big string away from his mouth. You may even find nasty drool stains on your favourite clothes! Welcome to the big dog life – we all understand the struggle.
BIG DOG TIP: Many large breeds have jowls that cause the cheeks to hang, exposing the gums. In most cases this will not be a problem, but there are instances where too much drool is a symptom or the exposed gums get infected. Breeds that have folds on their mouths (ex. Bloodhounds, St. Bernard’s, Bulldogs, etc.) may be at risk for Lip Fold Dermatitis: a condition that affects and irritates the lip folds. The condition is very treatable and can be avoided with added care to your dog’s mouth. Taking a look into your dog’s mouth or cleaning out folds every so often can help you stay informed on their mouth health. If you ever suspect something is wrong, consult your vet and discuss how to take action.
No Room For You
Suddenly, the couch is just a bit smaller than you remember, and your bed has less stretch space than usual. Yes, having a big dog usually results in reduced space. Say goodbye to your personal bubble, because your loveable pup is most likely going to take up a lot of room. If you allow your dog to stay on the bed or the couch, it is a guarantee that you will be the one moving over to make room and not the other way around. Expect your house to feel just a bit smaller when your big dog grows up and moves in.
BIG DOG TIP: Do you feel as though your dog is running the house? If that is the case, he probably is. Setting boundaries can help your dog remember who is in charge and also offer a space where your dog is not. Give your dog a designated spot to go when you are resting (ex: a bed or mat) so they can relax while you relax.
So Much More Food and Treats
The determining factor of price usually works the same for every product – the bigger the item, the more expensive. The same goes for bags of dog food, treats, and bones. All of those little bones will be finished in a matter of minutes, and to keep your dog entertained, larger bones are a needed investment. It is important to make sure that these large bones are good for their health and safe to eat. With the increased price and constant need for more food, you will wonder if your dog has your purse strings on a “loose leash.” Welcome to the big dog life!
BIG DOG TIP: Depending on the type and manufacturer, many bones can splinter (eg: chicken bones), be too hard for some dog’s teeth (eg: antlers), or are ingested whole if too small. It is crucial that when your dog has a bone, that she is supervised while eating it. Many of the bully sticks or other types of bones can be eaten quickly and get small fast. Many dogs will put the whole thing in their mouth, which could cause them to choke or ingest it. Take away your dog’s bone when it is too small to prevent any problems!
You No Longer have Size as a Sign of Authority
When your pet was a puppy, you had size and height to stand over him when training the basics. When training your puppy, it is important to acknowledge your placement as “Alpha” in the house. Now that your dog has grown up and is fully trained, you no longer have size to loom over them. He can reach your level and may even be taller than you when standing up. You will now have to rely on your deep voice and masterful training techniques to show him in the times of forgetfulness that you are the boss.
BIG DOG TIP: If your big dog struggles with obedience and does not respect your authority, it can cause problems. The best way to gain his respect is to enroll in training classes. Trained professionals can assist with training your dog that you are the “Alpha” and should be obeyed. In addition, there are plenty of helpful resources online that can help you establish your role with your dog. It is important to create a safe and good relationship with your dog for your sake and his safety.
Having a bigger dog also means more hair. Keeping up with the hair is a constant job. You will find hair on your clothes, in your bed, and probably even in your food. No matter how many times you vacuum, more hair will always appear. Big dog owners are familiar with lint-rollers, vacuums, mops, brushes, tape, and anything else that removes hair. Thankfully, over time you adjust and the hair becomes second nature. You may even find yourself smiling when you wake up with a piece of dog hair in your mouth, knowing that Fido is close by at all times.
BIG DOG TIP: Consistently brushing your dog is one of the best ways to manage shedding. But despite the number of times you brush, wash, and vacuum, hair can be hard to clean up. Depending on your furniture’s material, rubber gloves or a dry sponge can gather hair easier, sometimes better than a vacuum. If the amount of hair seems unmanageable, there is always the option to get your dog’s hair trimmed. You can also consult your vet to see if there is a shampoo or vitamin that will minimize shedding.
You Can Do a Lot More with Them
You can do many things with small dogs, but it is big dogs that you can really let loose with. Having a large dog, one who can take care of themselves, allows you to go places you couldn’t with a small dog. The mountains are no place for a small breed dog like a Chihuahua, if it ever ran off it could be prey for a number of large animals in the wilderness. With a larger breed, you have more confidence that he could outrun or handle the situation himself. Big dogs additionally love to swim and can chase a ball or branch out further than a little guy.
BIG DOG TIP: Because you can engage in more activities with your dog, it is good to be aware of his safety. When hiking, keep a bell on your dog to alarm wildlife that he is nearby. A bell can also help you identify their location if your dog wanders too far.
Despite all the ‘extras’ that come with owning a big dog, you love them. No matter how many times you clean up after them, the love between you and your gentle giant is unbeatable.