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Old 10-18-2012, 08:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Caring For A Retired Breeding Bitch

So, a friend of mine bought this female German Shepherd a couple of hours ago from a very bad backyard breeder and need less to say....she's not exactly in great condition. She's asking for my help in getting her back up to weight and looking good again. She's shy of people at first and she's rather skinny. The people said that she just weaned a litter of puppies from her about two weeks ago. You can tell, because her **** are still pretty big and she's been pulled down by the puppies. My question is what do we need to do (besides taking her to the vet, because she's going to go get checked out tomorrow)? Will she need to be dewormed? Would it be okay to give her vitamins to get her system jump-started? She'll be eating Canidae ALS.
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Old 10-18-2012, 08:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I would go ahead and get her wormed. Round worms lay dormant in the muscle and will activate by pregnancy. The bitch passes it to her whelps, and as she will continue to clean up after them, she will continue to get them at different stages. I always worm my bitches with the pups.

I would figure out how much she should eat, and then add a hard boiled egg to her meal, morning and evening. Eggs are awesome animal protein and dogs love them, they are easy to digest, great for the coat, natural, and they will help put good weight on the bitch.

After giving her a little time to settle in, I would sign her up for classes, maybe starting in January, after the insanity of the holidays, you don't want to set yourself up for failure, missing classes, not working outside of class, etc. Go slow, and just try to stay on this side of whatever she is fearful of. I mean, if she is fearful of people, keep her far enough away so that she does not distribute any outward signs of being fearful, yawning, hair up, barking, shaking. After a bit of time at that distance, reduce the distance slowly. If she does show signs of stress, increase the distance and keep going.

Plan on being in classes for about a year, once a week, work in class around other people working with their dogs. Not dog park, not social hour, just working on lead with yours while they work with theirs. This is where you can find people willing to do a meet and greet with you, these are the people that after a couple of weeks, you might let them do a meet and greet with your girl.

With other people, kids, etc, just say she is in training. Give her time to get used to you, bond with you, trust you, before trying to socialize her with the rest of the world. She will take longer than a tiny puppy to trust you and be ok with other things. It is all new to her. It is nice to get her out, but from a distance, and go slow. Try not to overwhelm her.
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Old 10-18-2012, 08:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I would go ahead and get her wormed. Round worms lay dormant in the muscle and will activate by pregnancy. The bitch passes it to her whelps, and as she will continue to clean up after them, she will continue to get them at different stages. I always worm my bitches with the pups.

I would figure out how much she should eat, and then add a hard boiled egg to her meal, morning and evening. Eggs are awesome animal protein and dogs love them, they are easy to digest, great for the coat, natural, and they will help put good weight on the bitch.

After giving her a little time to settle in, I would sign her up for classes, maybe starting in January, after the insanity of the holidays, you don't want to set yourself up for failure, missing classes, not working outside of class, etc. Go slow, and just try to stay on this side of whatever she is fearful of. I mean, if she is fearful of people, keep her far enough away so that she does not distribute any outward signs of being fearful, yawning, hair up, barking, shaking. After a bit of time at that distance, reduce the distance slowly. If she does show signs of stress, increase the distance and keep going.

Plan on being in classes for about a year, once a week, work in class around other people working with their dogs. Not dog park, not social hour, just working on lead with yours while they work with theirs. This is where you can find people willing to do a meet and greet with you, these are the people that after a couple of weeks, you might let them do a meet and greet with your girl.

With other people, kids, etc, just say she is in training. Give her time to get used to you, bond with you, trust you, before trying to socialize her with the rest of the world. She will take longer than a tiny puppy to trust you and be ok with other things. It is all new to her. It is nice to get her out, but from a distance, and go slow. Try not to overwhelm her.
Thank you so much for the advice. I've heard that some people give their bitches cottage cheese as a good source of protein, as well. Would you suggest this or just stick with the good quality food and hard boiled egg once per day? Also, would you suggest getting her on a good multi-vitamin for dogs?
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Cottage cheese is not a good source of protein for your dog because the calcium/phosphous ratio is not good. You should be able to just feed a good kibble and she will do fine. If you want to add extras, raw or hard boiled eggs, whole meats, or ricotta cheese are fine.

Not a fan of giving extra vitamins to dogs especially when they are on a good kibble because there's already a ton of them in the kibble and you don't need to over do it.

For sure a vet visit and dog school are in order too.
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I would use a good quality food. Canidae is a 5-star food, not my choice, but if it works for her, I would expect it to give her the vitamin mix she needs without over doing anything. Cottage Cheese is ok for lactating bitches, but it is high in calcium. While this is not necessarily bad for a mature bitch, excess calcium can build deposits in the joints. I don't know if you can get an excess of calcium from cottage cheese, I think you would have to do that in vitamin form. So I think you would be ok with cottage cheese. Some dogs have trouble with dairy though.

I am just saying, I would do the egg. They are cheap, and they are excellent protein, they won't overdo calcium.

The thing about multi-vitamins, is that first of all, they probably come from China. Pet Tabs -- not good for dogs. Secondly, well, if the food has most of what your dog is needing, but lacks some B or some C, then you are going to over do all of it. Instead, I might go a little more specific. For joint health, Vitamin C is really good. For the coat, Vitamin E and maybe fish oil.

I think you could maybe find a good holistic vet and explain the dog's background and ask for recommendations, when she can see the dog in front of her. For example I cannot see if there are ribs showing, if she is down on pasterns, if she has a dull coat, I certainly cannot do bloodwork, though I am not sure you can look for vitamin deficiencies in bloodwork. I can't take x-rays and see how the back and hips and elbows look. You might want to check thyroid too, but you might want to wait and do bloodwork in about six months since she is probably off kilter from weaning the litter.
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks for all the advice. I think that I'll just stick with feeding her several smaller meals of Canidae throughout the day and see how she does on it. Her coat is most definitely dull and lackluster. She also lacks any kind of substantial strength (she doesn't jump down from anything and she stumbled when she was getting in the tub for her bath. She's definitely got her ribs showing and is thin in the flank area. I'll also try adding in a hard-boiled egg once a day in her food and take things slowly with her. During the day light I'll try to get some pictures, but be warned that they will be heart breaking for you guys. I cannot believe that someone would treat her like she's clearly been treated and neglected. She's taken a while to settle in and relax, but she has at least ate some of the food and has drank quite a bit of water and is no relaxing by my feet. She's really a sweet heart and licks my hand when I go to pet her but she does also sometimes shy away from my hand if I offer it to her too fast. She's going to be a lot of work, but it'll be worth it to see her transform into a better dog. She's just gotta learn to trust again and learn what love is from good people.
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:34 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I am glad that you all are giving her a good home.
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Her coat is most definitely dull and lackluster. She also lacks any kind of substantial strength (she doesn't jump down from anything and she stumbled when she was getting in the tub for her bath. She's definitely got her ribs showing and is thin in the flank area. I'll also try adding in a hard-boiled egg once a day in her food and take things slowly with her. During the day light I'll try to get some pictures, but be warned that they will be heart breaking for you guys. I cannot believe that someone would treat her like she's clearly been treated and neglected.
Be aware that she may not be as neglected as you think. Some bitches look absolutely terrible after a litter of puppies. Some lose a lot of weight, have very dull fur, and lose their coat. It helps if they were in super health beforehand and were fed really well during pregnancy and lactation, but some look awful no matter what you do.
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:46 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Be aware that she may not be as neglected as you think. Some bitches look absolutely terrible after a litter of puppies. Some lose a lot of weight, have very dull fur, and lose their coat. It helps if they were in super health beforehand and were fed really well during pregnancy and lactation, but some look awful no matter what you do.
True, but the pups were weaned two weeks ago, she is recovering from that, I would definitely do an egg or two even a day. It will make a big difference. And, worm her.
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Old 10-22-2012, 03:01 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Come to find out, this female had also had a collar embedded at some point. There is a cut that is still healing that goes all the way around her neck. This is a pure neglect case and it's been reported to the county's sheriff office and they are looking into it. I'm in the process of uploading some pictures and you guys are going to be shocked when you see them. This isn't just a case of her getting into a scuffle with another dog and you'll be able to tell when you see the pictures. They are pretty heartbreaking and these were taken the night she got here but I've been giving her an egg a day with her Canidae ALS and she's already so much happier, has much more energy and is starting to fill out a little. The vet did say that she was very much infested with worms and so she has been wormed since the other day. So, we're taking it slow with her and just taking the time to bond with her. Will post pics shortly.
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