Dog Devises to Prevent Self Injury
After any pet’s operation, or even to prevent it from chewing or scratching at an area of skin infection, it may be necessary to apply one of several devices designed to permit healing without interference.
Gloves. After a surgical procedure of the head or neck, a dog may scratch the area with the nails of a rear foot. This scratching is common during the healing period when there is an itching sensation. At that time many dogs will tear open a surgical site. A simple precaution is to pad the foot with cotton and cover the area with adhesive tape, which must extend well above the padding to the hair of the foot to anchor it. The result is a bandage that looks like a boxing glove and will prevent damage from scratching. For face wounds, the dew claw on a foreleg may require a strip of one-inch tape applied around the foot. Pad the dewclaw with cotton to prevent chafing before applying the tape.
A spray can of automotive starting fluid is handy to remove the tape from hair without discomfort to the dog. These sprays are available from automobile accessory departments and service stations. Wipe the dissolved adhesive tape from the hair before the solution dries.
Tying the Legs. When a dog refuses to let its face alone and insists on scratching with its front paws, and if only a day or two of prevention is required, the front legs may be crossed and taped together at the wrist. The tape is, of course, removed while the owner takes the dog on a leash for its outdoor duties.
Elizabethan Collars. There are several kinds of Elizabethan collars. They may be purchased as inflatable rubber collars to be slipped over the neck and then blown up. They may also be made, easily enough, by using two pieces of thin plywood, heavy stiff cardboard, or plastic, which are put together and held with shoelaces or cord ties.
Devices to prevent self-injury. (a) An Elizabethan collar, improvised from this plywood or extra strong cardboard, helps prevent a dog from chewing cuts or sores or removing bandages. A, b, and c show how the collar is made and put together. (a) I lead funnel of plastic or heavy cardboard prevents the dog from scratching sores or irritations on its head and ears.
Head Funnels. Also called a cone collar, a head funnel is made by cutting a piece of flat, flexible plastic to make a partial cone. The edges are punched and the device is brought together around the head. The small end of the cone may either be fastened to the collar or left free; the larger end of the cone (the base) should be a little beyond the dog’s nose. Cone collars can be obtained as well from vets, dog hospitals, and pet stores, in various sizes.
In the same spirit as a cone collar, if the correct size plastic bucket or trash container is handy, cut a hole in the buttons just large enough to slide over your dog’s head. After punching holes around the opening, slip it over the head and thread twine through the holes and around the collar. A dog with its head in such a bucket cannot reach back to abuse itself.
The average breeder proclaims improvement of the breed as perhaps the most important part of a breeding program and yet we see a continued perpetuation, if not an increase, of recognized defects. The problem is at least twofold. First, most genetic problems are not observed until after the puppies are sold. Some are not obvious until the dogs are adults. The second problem is the difficulty of a program to eliminate defects once they are discovered.
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