Great Pyrenees trouble

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Elizabeth2, Feb 9, 2005.

  1. Elizabeth2

    Elizabeth2 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    103
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2002
    We were given a three year old spayed Great Pyrenees yesterday, by a friend who is moving to the city. She has been raised with goats and chickens and is very calm and good-natured.
    Our first problem is that she desperately needs brushing--her fur is matted and fulll of knots and "rats-nests." How on earth do we go about getting her fur cleaned and in good shape? I really don't think we can actually brush it out since it's so felted together. Can we clip her as soon as the weather gets warmer?
    The other problem is that she appears to be much too fat, but I'm not sure of that since it's hard to tell through the fur. How much dogfood should a full grown female Great Pyrenees get per day?
    We have always had dogs but mostly short-haired breeds.
    Thanks in advance,
    Elizabeth
     
  2. longshadowfarms

    longshadowfarms Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,528
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2002
    Location:
    Alaska
    Start with some good brushes. I prefer the ones with the curved metal bristles. If you've ever seen wool carding tools, that is the idea. I've tried lots of other tools for long-haired dogs but that one is the one I use most. It seems to do the best job with the least pain to the dog. My Pyr was pretty badly matted when he came but with lots of patient work, I was able to get him cleaned up without clipping. He came in Feb so warm weather was no where in sight here in NY. I cut out as little as possible and only in the most delicate areas where I didn't want to hurt him (behind ears, around his genitals). Go with 15-20 min brushing a day and just work at a small area at a time. They really don't recommend clipping Pyrs since the hair serves to shield them from the sun as well but I would ask a vet since you really need an opinion of someone with experience who has actually seen the situation. Clipping may be necessary for the dog's health. Hard to say from here.

    Feeding is tough to guage. Depends on the dog's current weight, activity level and what kind of food you are feeding. Our 150 lb male who walks 1/2 hr daily eats 4 cups a day. He is not fat at all but looks a lot heavier now than he does in the summer. Might want to get a weight at the vet and then check again in about a month. If you can get to those ribs and figure out what is in there, that will help too ;) Good luck to you and her! Sounds like you've gotten a great addition to the farm!
     

  3. horselogger

    horselogger Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    181
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    a covered wagon crossing america
    clipping a long haired dog might cause thyroid problems... just work a little at a time..... when the hair starts falling out in clumps,you then have about 2 weeks to pull all the loose hair before the new hair comes in and makes it difficult...not all pyrenees will shed every year,so you do want to keep him as mat free as possible.have fun,Lee
     
  4. Elizabeth2

    Elizabeth2 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    103
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2002
    Thanks for the information; since I posted I've spent about 20 minutes brushing her with just a cheap sorry old brush, and I already feel much better about the situation, as the matted areas actually do brush out! I can see that 20 minutes a day over a few weeks could get it all out.
    Tell me about the thyroid problems with clipping--what causes that?
    Thanks again, and I'll let you all know how it goes. We are very happy to have gotten her.
    Elizabeth
     
  5. BackwoodsIdaho

    BackwoodsIdaho Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    121
    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2004
    Location:
    Idaho

    We have three GP's all males, two neutered, one not. They are always pretty sorry looking since they go swimming in the river all year long (in north idaho no less) and generally roam about guarding the property and our livestock from whatever including the UPS man, the mailman and the random car going by. They seem to like the FedEx guy and the propane delivery guy though - maybe those two are vegetarians. We tryed clipping them once - waste of time. Brushing is difficult as well soooo we just let them go natural so to speak. Seems to work

    As far as food - they are slow metabolism. We give ours a coffee can of nutro high protein dog food once a day. Once the cold weather is gone, we will switch to a lower protein food. But it still amounts to truck loads of food
     
  6. DayBird

    DayBird Big Bird

    Messages:
    2,173
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2004
    Location:
    Pell City, AL
    Sam, our beloved Pyr, gets two cups of dry Nutro in the morning and a cup of dry food and a large can of wet food every evening. He either gets Nutro Max Adult, Nutro Natural Choice Lamb and Rice or Nutro Chicken Oatmeal and Rice. He prefers the Chicken Oatmeal and Rice food. He likes the Lamb Duck and Pasta canned food best. They do have a really low metabolism. Of the dogs considered to be "giant breeds," pyrs are one of the smallest and longest lived.

    They usually blow their coat every spring. We set Sam up on our porch, about 30 inches off the ground, and I stand on the ground to do the grooming. There are some specialty tools that will make your life easier when they're blowing their coat. One is an undercoat rake. It's just like a little rake that gets down deep in their coat. Another is a matt comb. It's like little knifes set perpendicular to the handle. They're blunt on the end and are kind of serrated so they cut through the matt instead of just pulling them out.

    Pyrs will get sunburned if you shave them. Most longhaired breeds will. I believe this extra exposure to the sun has something to do with the thyroid problems. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
     
  7. Lisa in WA

    Lisa in WA Formerly LisainN.Idaho Supporter

    Messages:
    15,288
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    I have to disagree with Backwoods Idaho (we're married so he's used to it :) ).
    We lost our 2 neutered males last winter for almost a week and a half last winter. They swam the river and got lost. By the time we got them back, their coats were so matted and knotted that despite my best efforts and a professional groomer's, we couldn't remove the mats. We waited til spring and took them in to be clipped (on our vet's advice). The worst part was that every time we looked at them we about wet our pants laughing. They looked like 2 giant standard poodles. For some reason, the groomer left pom-poms on their tails! We had no problems whatsoever with sunburn, but we have plenty of woods for shade and the dogs stay in the shade anyway. I have no idea what clipping them would have to do with their thyroid gland. I can't see how it would impact that. By the end of the summer, their coats were grown back beautifully, with no difference at all from their original coats. I'm all for clipping them again this summer. They are outside working dogs and they do get filthy and matted. And they smell BAD after a long winter!
     
  8. Judy in IN

    Judy in IN Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    2,533
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2003
    When I had Pyrs, I would wait until the girls started blowing their coats in the spring. I would put two 5 gallon buckets out in the barn. I sat on one bucket, and brushed a Pyr until I had the other bucket full of hair. Then, the session was over for the day. This worked very well---the dog didn't get fidgety, and I didn't get tired. In a week or two, they were gorgeous!

    I DID get a big male once from a person who didn't maitain the coat. He also had a condition where his eyelash was turned under and rubbed his eye. He was blind in that eye. He was so badly matted that I had to clip him very closely. I invested $35.00 in getting the eye operated on....too bad the former owner didn't bother putting a few dollars into a loving dog. What a shame. He didn't live out a year with us, but I knew that he was comfortable and happy during that time.

    You might try some mineral oil or olive oil on those matts--it might help.
     
  9. longshadowfarms

    longshadowfarms Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,528
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2002
    Location:
    Alaska
    My pyr is a working LGD. He is outside all the time but looks like a million bucks! I spend 15 min once a week to keep his coat in great shape. It does take longer when he sheds but for the rest of the year, one short session a week keeps him looking like he's a pampered pet. I've tried that rake tool and the one that cuts mats but just don't care much for them. If he does get a mat in a delicate spot, I just cut it out but with brushing once a week, it rarely happens. It does help that he thinks brushing is the best thing on earth next to eating and butt scratching ;)
     
  10. Judy in IN

    Judy in IN Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    2,533
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2003
    :haha: My Dad says that a man that scratches a dog's butt will never be out of work! :haha:
     
  11. DayBird

    DayBird Big Bird

    Messages:
    2,173
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2004
    Location:
    Pell City, AL
    I've never had to use the mat tool. I use the slicker brush a couple of times a week to keep things in good shape. I do love the undercoat rake when he's blowing his coat. It's really the only time I use it. Actually, when he's blowing his coat, it's usually warm enough to bathe him outside. I put him up on the porch and I stand on the ground. I use one of the brass nozzles on the hose that look like what firemen use, you twist the nozzle to adjust the flow. I can get fairly decent pressure out of a small stream of water. I use this as a tool to help knock out the loose hair. It just comes out in handfulls.
     
  12. coventry49

    coventry49 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    192
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2003
    Location:
    South Central Montana, foothills of the Beartooth
    Horselogger,
    I spent 17 years as a licensed, professional dog groomer. I was often called upon to strip a completely matted coat from dogs, large and small. Also many owners wanted to shorten a long coat on farm dogs, to help keep them from getting so dirty, and then bringing all that dirt inside the house. I worked closely with vets and the local Humane Society and never once heard of a dog being affected with a thyroid or any other kind of endoctrinal problem because of a haircut.

    Can you elaborate? Perhaps this is something that vets have found out just recently?
     
  13. Dances In Woods

    Dances In Woods Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    234
    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2002
    Location:
    east TEXAS
    If it were me I would simply cut the mats out. Easier on both owner & dog. Then when it gets warmer I would take to the groomer. You can request on how you want them trimmed. Tell them you want them cut short like a lab but not shaved like a lamb. Tell them to leave the coat about an inch long so the dog won't sunburn.

    chris
     
  14. QueenB04

    QueenB04 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    362
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2005
    Location:
    Virginia
    Little secret of the pros. For matted hair try putting liquid fabric softener on the matt and rub it in with a dryer sheet, may take some work, but after you work at it a bit and run a brush through it viola! Beats pulling and untangling the brush, alot easier on both the dog and person. If that dosen't work try soaking with a cloth in hot water and apple cider vinegar. For a large dog try about a quart of hot water(not boiling but hot) and about 1/2 to 1 cup of apple cider vinegar let steep about 2 minutes, soak cloth in water and hold over matt, then try a brush, works like a charm and make the coat shine! Good for a regualr bath and a great way to get rid of skunk smell too!! just my 2 cents let me know if it works!
     
  15. Tana Mc

    Tana Mc Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,027
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Ks
    I have a pair of Pyrs and an occasional litter of pups. We also have three Austalian Shepherds and a small mutt. I have 4 automatic feeders that I just make sure and keep full. The dogs have to work pretty much all night since we are in coyote and bobcat heaven. The UPS man occasionally "attacks" the farm with a package,too. I do not have a problem with anybody getting over weight because they pretty well keep it run off. My cats look great, too.
    My dogs are incredible scavangers. I find various carcass parts all over the barnyard. During deer season, the pyrs manage to drag up a complete buffet of whatever hunters leave ( usually everything but the head) and I have even found armadillo parts. I don't worry too much about them not getting enough protein since they will raid the hen house for eggs if I don't get the door closed just right.....
    :rolleyes:
    Even with the carcass mess and the hen house raids, I wouldn't even think about raising goats or chickens with out them. They won't even let a buzzard or hawk slow down flying over our farm.
    Tana Mc
     
  16. Lisa in WA

    Lisa in WA Formerly LisainN.Idaho Supporter

    Messages:
    15,288
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Het Tana, I got the head once! A perfect skull with a 12 point rack attached..I was excited! We also get the buffet of body parts, AND the pyrz love to roll in the carcasses. PHEW!
     
  17. GoldenMom

    GoldenMom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,992
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Location:
    Central Iowa
    About the thyroid issue-shaving a dog will not CAUSE a thyroid problem, but if the dog already has low thyroid levels the coat will take a very long time to grow back if ever. One of the most obvious signs of low thyroid is a poor haircoat (the other being obesity). Thyroid hormone helps to regulate metabolism and is essential in maintaining healthy skin and muscles. Hypothyroidism is often autoimmune (the body attacks itself), is more common in some breeds, and can be passed on to future generations.
     
  18. Little Quacker in OR

    Little Quacker in OR Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,126
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    Oregon
    :) I'll try and not be redundant here but there is a couple of things I'll like to add. ;)

    One: IT depends completely on the individual dogs hair coat as to whether you can work out those mats yourself or not. As a prof in the field for most of my working life I know that some dogs have coats that must be clipped once they get very bad. Others, you can work the mats out. And the suggestion made about the liquid softener(or you can use creme rinse for a person) really works nicely IF it is of the type of coat where it will come out and the mats are not right down on the skin. Use it right out of the bottle and saturate each mat. sometimes working them gently with your fingers will get most of it and you can follow with the grooming tool of your choice that fits the situation. The same tool will not work on every type of haircoat. Each is different.

    Two: Many times you can "cut" the mats out. When and if you do MAKE SURE YOU DON'T CUT THE SKIN. A prof groomer will go under the mat with blunt tipped scissors and and with the under blade going UP away from the skin, cut the mat through and then it can be worked out with saturation with the creme rinse. Never cut these mats parallel to the skin or you are going to injure the dog.

    There is no such thing as requestingfrom the groomer how long to leave the coat on a dog that is badly matted to the skin and must be clipped. Usually on a dog like this the mats are right on the skin and a #15 blade will be needed to get under them. A coarser blade like a #10 which leaves more hair or a #7 etc. just won't get under the mats. The alternative is if the dog is brushed out first and then they may not need the clipping anyway unless that is what you want.

    Lastly:(is that a word? LOL) Some dogs have really tender skin. Especially if it's been all matted up and it's sore already. Be carefull while you are brushing and combing that you don't scratch or irritate it and work slow and a little at a time. If you do get the dog clipped by a groomer be watchful of this and keep an eye on the dog for scratching or any redness and tend to it right away. As far as never caring for the hair coat at all and leaving it "au natural"..there has been many a dog that has gotten wet, the skin gets tender and sore underneath and then the flies lay eggs in the coat and you got a dog infested with maggots. Some survive this, some don't but it's not a pretty picture.

    Good luck, I hope all is well and that you get the poor thing all cleaned up. ;)

    LQ
     
  19. horselogger

    horselogger Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    181
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    a covered wagon crossing america
    used to raise newfies before pyrenees ,my stepmom,who does a wonderful job of caring for animals,took them to the vets,which had a grooming sevice.. .. they proceeded to shear the dogs. the first year the three of them (the dogs),grew their coats back. ..the second year their coats coame back raggedy,which was the last time tha they had hair more than a quarter of inch of fuzz. Maybe it was coincidence,but ,when the fur would no longer grow back,they did blood work, and found that all three had thyroid problems. Coincedence?maybe......other factors,possibly,but if I remember correctly,to grow hair requires an active thyroid.....take it for what it is worth,but brush if possible.