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About any farm at some point has a dog or dogs. A dog just goes with a farm or homestead. They are companions, guards, and working partners. They bring much more than themselves to the farm. However, as with anything on the farm, they can also have common problems.
The first is cuts. Dogs, like kids who run on the farm, are bound to get cuts at some point. The truth is most of the cuts you won’t notice and won’t become a problem. If they are more than a surface scratch but less than needing stitches, there are a few things you can do to help speed healing.
If the dog has long hair trim or shave around the cut. This allows it to drain and prevents the hair to matting up in the cut as it heals. When the hair mats up in the cut there is an increased risk for maggot infection. After the hair is clear, make sure the cut is clean. By washing with clean water, then applying disinfectant. Gentle iodine or witch hazel works well here. I then apply my calendula salve to the wound and in a few days, it usually heals up.
If you are unsure of if the cut needs stitches or not, be sure to call your veterinarian and ask. Most rural veterinarians are happy to teach you what to look for in cuts and how to clean them.
Occasionally you don’t catch a cut and it does become an issue in the form of an abscess. This isn’t an emergency. Shave the abscess and the area below closely. Next using a large needle (16 gu or less), puncture the abscess at the bottom and allow to drain. If it is a new abscess, it will drain liquid. If it is older, it will be white/yellow and thick.
If it is not draining, you may need to get a scalpel and cut into the abscess at the bottom. An abscess that does not drain are usually older and have thick puss in them that will not drain through a needle. Once the draining has stopped, gently squeeze the top of the abscess and massage down to work out the rest of the infection.
Then take gentle iodine and dilute in clean water to the color of tea. Take a large syringe (35 cc or bigger is best), and slowly inject the solution into the abscess through the hole. Gently massage and then allow to drain. Repeat 2-3 times. Allow the abscess to remain open and drain. Check daily to make sure it stays open, removing any crust from the opening.
If you are unsure of draining an abscess on your own, be sure to call your veterinarian and ask. Most rural veterinarians are happy to teach you to drain and clean an abscess.
The most common problem when you first get a dog on the farm is the dog not staying home. Most can be solved by simply kenneling or tying your dog up for a week or so when you first bring him home to teach him where home is. When you are in the yard, allow them out and about the farm with you. Some dogs naturally have a bigger territory range than others, so you may need to consider that when selecting a dog.
If they are older and know where home is but persists in exploring the neighborhood while you’re not looking, you may need to invest in some kind of fence or collar. I don’t like having my dogs tied up or kenneled all the time, but the cattle dogs will not leave my yard birds alone. So, I invested in a wireless invisible fence for them with the PetSafe system. This allows them to stay up by the house freely but allow my yard birds to free range peacefully.
My LGD has a much larger territory naturally. Our yard he believes is the center of his territory not the edge. This means he is across the road or on it quite frequently once his tracking collar broke, or we left and were not able to buzz him back into the yard. We are trying a new system and have had better success. The collar has a larger range and can communicate with my phone.
LGD are very intelligent, but also very stubborn. Now that the new collar is on, he is staying off the road and accepts that he is not allowed on the road. We have allowed him a larger territory into the field behind our house not that he is fully grown and bigger than most coyotes (the biggest predator threat here). If you have a dog which you want to roam the entire property, but also stay home, you will need to invest in a gps hunting tracking/training collar.
Farm dogs are very much worth it and issues with them are few. The common ones are fairly easy to treat or re-train too. Have a happy time with your 4-legged partner.
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