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Raising a healthy Entlebucher

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Don't Over Feed
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We ask new puppy families to follow our guidelines to maintain the best health outcomes for their pups through a long life.  These include;

Feeding - The best and easiest thing you can do for your dog!  Keep them lean.

  • Always measure out the food for your dog's meal.  Our eyes are easily fooled and gradually what began as 1/2 cup becomes 3/4 and then a full cup.  Read the package for suggested amounts.  For boys, I recommend starting with the 'active dog' amount.  For girls, I'd suggest the 'less active' amount.  Most packages state amount needed per day.  You must divide this evenly into 2 or 3 meals. 

  • Feed the recommended amount for 1 month and then check weight at the vet's scales.  you don't need an appointment, just borrow their scale.

  • If you notice your dog has put on a few pounds, cut back their diet by 25% or more.  Feed the reduced amount for a month, then check the weight at the vet's scales. Continue with the reduced diet until you reach ideal weight.  Maintain the diet for another month.  As with most of us, it is easier to put weight on than it is to take it off.

  • If you notice your dog is too lean - you can see his ribs all the time, increase his diet by 10% for the next month.  Check his weight at the vet's scales and go from there, a month at a time.

  • Do Not overfeed your dog. - Reducing calories and food volume by 30% adds years to your dog's life.  Know your dog's proper healthy weight and check it regularly on the vet's scales.  Some dogs need more than others.  Feed to maintain a steady healthy weight and an obvious waist or 'tuck up'.  A lean dog has more fun and lives a better life.







Grooming - although Entlebuchers don't require a daily brushing, regular nail trims are important to their posture and soundness.  Purchase a nail trimmer or dremmel at your vets and set a time to tackle the nails.  Very few pups enjoy the confinement, so start with just 1 or 2 nails at a time, and a short session every day.  Once they can handle more, gradually tackle more nails per session - up to all 8 plus dewclaws, and schedule it weekly.


Trimming Nails - Entlebuchers can be difficult with their feet.  But trim nails at least monthly.  Try to start with a white nail so you can see where the quick begins.  Take just a sliver off the end and remove any hook.


Exercise & Mental Stimulation -  Entlebuchers were bred to work all day, herding the cattle and helping the herdsman.  They need plenty of exercise but also mental stimulation.  For puppies, a short run around the yard a few times a day will be enough but as your dog matures, plan on 2 walks through the neighborhood, about 20-60 minutes each.  Neighborhood walks pull double duty - they provide low intensity exercise but they provide lots of sniffing.  Dogs live through their noses, so this is mental stimulation.  Besides walks, try enrolling in a dog performance class.  You don't need to compete but the class routine will stimulate your dog and make your whole week more fun.


Vaccinating - your puppy will go home with their first set of vaccinations but it's up to you and your vet to continue this protection.  We follow the AVIDog protocol which tests our dam's blood titre levels to ParvoVirus and Distemper about two weeks before whelping.  From this we receive a calculation of when the pups will lose their inherited disease resistance and a schedule for future vaccinations.  We ask families to follow the schedule we provide for best protection of your pup.  We will provide the scientific rationale for your vet or speak to them on your behalf if required.  Once the puppy vaccines are complete, resist the urge to vaccinate unless your vet feels there is significant risk.  The rabies vaccine is required for travel across any border but kennel cough and others may not be very dangerous in your area.

  • Delayed neutering - The animal rights movement pushes the 'Spay & Neuter' agenda, which reduces unwanted pregnancies in dogs but it also impairs their longer term health.  By delaying your spay or neuter, you can add years to your dog's healthy life.  We insist on them being at least two years old but longer is better.  Once you've learned how to navigate with an intact dog to two years, it will be easy and appropriate to extend this period indefinitely, especially for males.

Everyday puppy health precautions -

  • We ask that you not allow your puppy to touch the ground anywhere outside your home until their vaccinations are complete.  This will keep them safe from Distemper and Parvo until their body is ready to fight it efficiently.  Travel with a small blanket or pee pad that you can put down if they need to be on the ground temporarily.

  • We ask that you carry your pup up and down stairs until they are six months old.  This significantly improves their hip health and reduces the future liklihood of hip dysplasia.

  • Feed your pup a quality food, either raw or kibble and include Omega 3 fatty acids, Plaque Off and a high quality ProBiotic in their regular diet.

  • Do not allow your dog to play with regular or pet store tennis balls.  Ever!  These are very abrasive and wear their teeth severely.  Similarly, dog treats sold commercially are often not very healthy.  Try to stick with real food cut into small pieces for treats.

  • Be careful about play that involves jumps, twisting in the air.  Entlebuchers can have knee and elbow instability resulting in tendon injury, necessary surgery and difficult rehabilitation.  These are enthusiastic and athletic dogs - you must be the monitor of fatigue and injury potential.

Open House Events

NEMDA's Health & Genetics Committee hosts regular Open House events to encourage owners to keep their Entlebuchers healthy.  Check for recordings or register for the coming series here.

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