Health & Wellness
Although the Appenzeller is considered a low-maintenance dog when it comes to keeping him clean and well groomed, routine grooming is an excellent way to discover medical problems or concerns early, so prompt treatment can be given.
Routine grooming should include:
a quick brushing or combing at least once a week. During peak periods of shedding, a quick daily brushing will help reduce the amount of hair left in its environment.
examine & clean your Appenzeller's ears weekly to prevent both yeast and bacteria from developing
trimming just the tip of the nails every other week will keep your dog's nails short and healthy
teeth should be brushed on a weekly basis or more frequently making sure to massage the teerh near the gum line to loosen plaque and food between the teeth and the gum
Dogs typically require a bath every three or four months. However a monthly or semi-monthly bath with a shampoo designed to to help retain healthy coats will help to make shedding more manageable. Any dog whose coat is dirty runs the risk of bacterial infections of the skin and should be bathed as needed to be kept feeling clean and healthy. A high quailty diet is critical. Some Veterinarians recommend vitamin E and fatty acid supplements that are formulated to improve the nature and texture of coats and help reduce shedding. Regular outdoor excercise is also extremely important to a healthy coat.
Food is the center of the universe for most dogs. Feeding your Appenzeller a well-balanced, high-quality diet that is appropriate for his age and activity level is important to his overall condition, health, and longevity. Choosing your dog's diet is the single most important decision you will make that can directly impact your Appenzeller's long term health.
The following sites will help you begin to find more information about health & nutrition:
Holistic Pet Care
Holistic pet care is about disease prevention and your pets over all well-being. To put it simply it is about doing what's best for your pet. Holistic pet care is becoming very popular in the Western World. The Holistic approach to your dog’s health care and wellness should be combined with conventional medical treatments. For those of you that would like to take more of a holistic approach to your dog’s health care & wellness, I would encourage you to do your research…read relevant books, visit Holistic and Natural Pet Care sites on-line, talk to others with experience, and discuss this with your Veterinarian to ensure you are both on the same page. There are a lot of Veterinarians that prefer to use conventional medicines and methods of care not conducive to holistic care so you may need to change your Veterinarian.
Click on Dog Vaccination Schedule for Puppy's First Year to see recommended vaccine schedule for your puppy.
There probably isn't a more controversial subject right now than vaccine protocols for dogs and cats. The goal of the veterinary community is to prevent disease and suffering and it appears, in certain cases, that we do more harm than good. They started taking a very hard look at vaccines when there were reports of cats forming serious malignant tumors where vaccines had been given. Researchers began questioning how the vaccines were made, how they were given and, most importantly, how long the immunity lasted from the vaccine. While there is some uncertanty of cancer at vaccine sites in dogs, there are several other problems that can rarely occur, such as acute anaphylaxis with hives and swelling, autoimmune reactions and even death. Some examples are: hives, facial swelling, soreness and lethargy, serious blood complications, and even death. The Canine Health Foundation is in the middle of a several year study on canine vaccines. Even when their research is done, there still may be questions on the right way to vaccinate.
So what is a concerned dog owner to do? Most authorities basically agree on puppy vaccines. Puppies can start around 8 weeks of age with a distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza and parvo vaccine (DHPP). No leptospirosis in puppies under 9 weeks. Repeat the vaccine 4 and 8 weeks later, so you end up around 16 weeks of age. If you use the high titer Parvo vaccines, your puppy should have immunity by this point. If your dog is going to be shown, give the nasal Bordetella vaccine at this time. Rabies vaccines vary and many are licensed for 3 months and up. Unless a puppy is being sent out of country, it is okay to wait until 5 months to give the first rabies vaccine. It is good for 1 year. There are many other vaccines on the market and more in the works, but the key is to customize the vaccine protocol to your dog and your area. Veterinary associations call this ‘establishing "core" vaccines’. Not all vaccines need to be given to every dog. When your puppy passes 1 year of age, most agree you should booster the DHPP, Rabies, and Bordetella if your dog is at risk.
It is past this point that there is disagreement on what to do. How long does the vaccine immunity last? Most preliminary studies say longer than 1 year but it is not know for sure. Should we vaccinate every 3 years? We don't know for sure yet. Should you have a blood test, called a titer, taken that measures the potential immunity in the blood? The test is currently expensive but a new in-clinic test is coming out. Is it accurate? Do high titers mean your dog will not get sick if exposed to a disease? We don't know. It is clear that if we all stop vaccinating all dogs, some very bad diseases will increase in frequency.
The final chapter on vaccines is not yet written. You must discuss your unique case with your vet. Remember that the majority of dogs have no adverse reactions when vaccinated. You must weigh the potential risks of vaccinating with your location and your dog's risk of exposure to disease. You should monitor your dog carefully following vaccinations and report any problems to your vet. If your dog has a mild reaction, consider pre-medicating him with antihistamines and/or steroids before the next vaccine and consider separating the vaccines by several weeks. All veterinarians and companion animal lovers are watching the emerging research to ascertain the ideal way to handle vaccines but even after the research is in, there may be more than one correct way.