Before bringing your new Otterhound home, it's important to make your home, yard and car safe for your new friend. In addition, you will need to purchase basic supplies for your hound.
Dog Proofing Your Home
Many items typically found in any home, yard or garage can be harmful to your pet. For a fairly complete list of these items, visit the ASPCA Website: Animal Poison Control Center (www.aspca.org).
Both Otterhound puppies and adults are curious by nature and will get into anything and everything! Safeguard your new Otterhound as you would a toddler. Go through each room, your yard, garage and any storage or outdoor buildings to identify and remove hazards.
In Your House
Block off access to stairs if you want to limit the number of times your puppy goes up and down as well as balconies and decks from which a puppy could fall. If he is younger than one year, don’t let your Otterhound puppy climb stairs constantly or frequently jump from significant heights. His joints are still forming and may become injured.
Keep anything toxic such as household cleaners, detergents, pesticides, rat poison and other chemicals out of your puppy’s reach. Keep phone cords, electrical cords and outlets away from your puppy and block access to spaces behind things like TV’s and refrigerators. As Otterhounds mature, they are also big enough to get items off of counters and tables.
Fireplaces can be hazardous to your Otterhound. Keep the screen closed.
Holidays provide a variety of hazards. Tinsel, glass ornaments, Christmas tree water with fertilizer, ribbons, batteries and packages containing food can harm your pet if swallowed.
Never leave small objects or children’s toys, which a puppy could chew or swallow, lying on the floor. A puppy will pick up almost anything in its mouth. Even a coin which falls to the floor can be potentially harmful if your puppy swallows it. Pennies cause zinc toxicity if caught in the stomach.
Don’t allow access to poisonous plants such as azaleas, poison ivy, mistletoe, holly and philodendron, among others.
Be sure all doors in your house close securely and that visitors are aware of the importance of closing doors. Many a puppy has been killed by a car when someone forgot to close a door securely. Teach your dog not to go through an open front or back door without a command to do so.
Otterhounds will pick up any item and chew or swallow it !
Remote controls, needlework, prescription and non-prescription medicines, chocolates, glasses and pens, watches and other jewelry, laundry items, hardware items such as screws, nuts and bolts can be very harmful if swallowed.
Your yard, garage and outdoor structures
*Make sure all garden fertilizers and pesticides are out of reach. Read the manufacturers’ warnings carefully when you use them in your Otterhounds exercise yard and keep him away from treated areas for the recommended amount of time. Most of these products are harmful to your pet. Cocoa mulch is also a hazard.
*Your Otterhound may become strangled if it get its head caught in any type of tight spot like railings, trellises, fences and balconies.
*Lawnmowers, weed eaters, and leaf and snow blowers pose a threat to your Otterhound. Your dog should be inside to protect him from flying debris when you are using these items. While it’s tempting to want to share a nice day outside with your Otterhound, flying debris can cause severe eye injuries.
*Swimming pools should be fenced. Otterhounds do like water but you should monitor them if they are near a pool.
*Antifreeze and mouse or rat bait are especially hazardous to your pet.
Don’t Forget! Puppy proof your garage and workshop
Hazards you might not think of as dangerous!
Gates to your dog’s exercise area should be locked. Your meter reader may accidentally let your Otterhound loose as may children in a hurry to go play.
Many dogs are afraid of thunder or holiday fireworks. Make sure your Otterhound is in a secure location to avoid injury or consider using a tight fitting T-shirt or thunder shirt to help him feel secure.
Each season will bring several new hazards for your Otterhound. In the winter, ice melting products can cause irritation to your dog’s mouth, feet and skin. In the summer, fly bait or citronella candles can be toxic. Corrosives and flammables are other dangers.
Rock eating is not an uncommon problem with Otterhound. Small pebbles may pass through your dogs system, but larger stones will not, and will require surgery to remove them. If your hound becomes less interested in food, drools excessively or has a painful abdomen, contact your vet immediately. Timely treatment is very important. Swallowing a rock can be fatal.
Your Fenced Yard
Keeping your Otterhound in a secure fenced yard is one of the most important things you can do for the well-being of your hound. Otterhounds are a scent hound, and they are hard-wired to follow interesting scents, which makes them particularly vulnerable to traffic if they run loose.
There are many types of fencing available. Make sure that your fence goes to the ground and, if possible, is buried below the surface, bent to the inside 6” to 12”. Check your fence line regularly for spots which might wash away or are being dug out by your hound. Wood fencing is fine. Post and rail with welded wire can work well, as can chain link. Gates should be kept securely locked and marked to make visitors aware that a dog is inside. Make sure you have a really tall fence as Otterhounds are known to jump and can get over smaller fences. The use of “invisible fencing” requires a high degree of training for your hound. Unfortunately, his nose can override his brain. Remember too, it may keep your dog in, but won’t keep others out, leaving your hound defenseless. Generally, invisible fencing is not a good fence for an Otterhound.
Dog trolleys and tie out chains are not safe for Otterhounds. Dogs can hang or strangle themselves. Also, they offer no protection from other animals in the area.
Once you’ve Otterhound-proofed your home and yard, it’s time to purchase some basic supplies for your new family member!
Your Otterhound Shopping List
A Crate: Your Dog's Very Own Room!
An extra large crate is a good size for most adult Otterhounds. To use the crate with a puppy, you can insert a divider to split the crate in half and restrict the puppy to one area, which is a distinct help in the housetraining process. A blanket or soft towel is ideal bedding for puppies, because it can be easily laundered if there’s an accident!
Food, water and treats
Your Otterhound will need a stainless steel bowl for food, and a heavy ceramic bowl for water to prevent tipping or a small stainless steel safety bucket. Choose training treats that are small and hard, to help keep teeth clean. Your breeder or rescue group may recommend a particular brand of food that the dog is currently eating.
Leads and Collars
A 6 foot web or leather leash will give you good control over your Otterhound on walks, and keep him from darting into traffic. Many people like to use a slip lead on their adult Otterhound for a walk. It’s not recommended to use these with puppies.
Adjust the collar correctly so that your hound cannot slip it over his head when pulling back on the lead. Do not use a choke collar on a very young puppy since it can injure the throat if used incorrectly. On older puppies or adults, choke collars should only be used during training or on walks and only by someone trained in its proper use.
Choke collars can lead to accidental strangulation if left on an unsupervised dog.
Grooming Necessities For Your Otterhound
Nail clippers or a nail grinder
Kwik stop (for stopping bleeding if you nick the quick of your Otterhound's nails
Ear cleaning fluid
Cotton balls or swabs for cleaning your puppy's ears every week
Artificial tears for flushing your Otterhound's eyes
Puppy or dog shampoo
Short bristled grooming brush
Safe Toys and Chewies
Choose toys which are safe for puppies. Beware of toys with small batteries, as your puppy may chew them open and then swallow the harmful contents. Otterhounds love soft cuddly toys but be aware that some may choose to remove the squeakers and stuffing which should be carefully monitored by the owners.
Rawhide chews should be avoided, since when swallowed, they can wrap themselves around your dog’s intestines. Your breeder will recommend chew items that they feel are the safest. Many toys require close supervision. Items ingested such as rawhide, squeakers, plastic and batteries may upset your dog’s stomach or cause a blockage.
Some good toys include: * Good quality rope toys. * Kong toys which can be filled with bits of treats to occupy your dog for hours (can be messy and attract ants) but many owners stuff the kongs, place them in the freezer and give a pup to keep them occupied in their crates for long periods of time. These are also great when pups are teething. * Nylabone toys