Care & Grooming
We strongly believe in the benefits of natural rearing to support growth, healthy immune system, and longevity of life. The purpose of this page is to explain our philosophy and why we adhere to it. We hope you are challenged to think, do some research, and come to your own conclusions. After all, the BEST choice, is the informed choice.
From now on, your Barbet will need their eyes cleaned. Simply by putting your finger at the tear duct and wiping away the hard crusty “eye booger” or using a tissue and wiping away the moist one. The more hair on or around the eyes, the more the eye collects. Just think to do this when you are petting the dog, it becomes second nature, and the dog gets used to it. The hair in between and around their eyes can be periodically clipped for cleaner eyes less eye discharge.
Dogs ears are different from ours. The canal is much longer and makes a 45 degree turn towards the jaw. These differences make seeing into the ear more difficult. Barbet have the same traits as other water dogs and have protective hair and waxy build up in their ears to prevent water retention and damage.
Weekly you should check their ears. If they smell sweet and “yeasty”, a pungent odour, it’s definitely time to clean them!! Yellow to yellowish brown is normal, even black waxy discharge is ok. If you notice excessive scratching or some whimpering when scratching...that can mean ear infection.
I use 1 or 2 products – depending on what’s necessary:
I use earBclear – a water/witch hazel/lavender oil combo,
I also use EpiOtic - a water, propylene glycol, lactic acid, Spherulites, docusate sodium, salicylic acid, PCMX, dimethicone patented solution.
Witch hazel is always good on its' own for superficial cleaning as well (on a cotton ball) because it doesn't dry out like ear skin like alcohol.
However, if the ears are wet (lots of swimming for example) a 1:1 white vinegar and 70% isopropyl alcohol mixture is very good to dry out ears and kill yeast/fungus.
All are great to squirt in and rub around…leave for a minute or so and then wipe out with cotton or a cotton cloth as it helps work the deep down wax build up – out to the outer ear. I also use it on a cotton ball, just to clean the ear leather and around the ear canal opening, especially after swimming. Never use tissue in a dogs ears - it's just like sandpaper to them and usually leaves foreign material residue.
I also use Boric Acid Powder – the one I buy is Bio-Groom Ear Fresh Astringent. I shoot a puff into the ear – leave it for a few minutes then start “plucking” – you may want to get your vet or groomer to show you a good technique and how far to pluck if I haven’t shown you with your puppy already.
Again, I also make my own ear powder:
4 oz. zinc oxide powder
4 oz. boric acid powder
½ oz iodoform powder
Mix well. Keep in a sealed jar in a cool, dry place.
Also, if you are in a pinch or away from home, you can use an anti-fungal athlete's foot powder if you find the ears are smelly alot, or there's constant ear issues. The only way to keep away ear issues is good ear maintenance.
Now remember, your Barbet has HAIR, not FUR. They don’t shed…just give off fluffs and strands once in a while = like you and I do when we brush our hair. We lovingly refer to them as "tumbleweeds" AND...do NOT let ANYONE tell you that the Barbet is hypo-allergenic!!! Yes, they have hair. Yes, hair should not be an issue to those who suffer from FUR allergies....but, there are allergies to dander, saliva, etc that even a dog with hair cannot stop!! So, visit a Barbet family - in their home (like ours!) and make sure you are clear and free of allergy symptoms.
There are conflicting ideas on how to groom this breed. Some say they should be brushed regularly with regular trimming, and others believe their coat should be allowed to grow naturally and allowed to form into a thick woolly and/or corded coat. The coat will get matted/felted easily and should carefully be pulled apart without tearing the coat.
If the coat is kept trimmed to approximately 4 inches all over the body and slightly longer on the head, it will be easier to maintain and look neat. Hair on the ears, chin and tail should be trimmed less often than the rest of the body. Some coats matt more easily than others. Left unattended, the Barbet hair will grow to extensive lengths, and matt or felt in areas.
If the coat is shown in a rustic style there should be no fluffing or blowing out. The coat should match the lines of the dog and the curls should be evident. The dog should have the appearance of the working dog that it is. If clipped/shaved down shorter than 2 inches, the coat will need about 3 months of growth to be ready to show.
rus·tic Variant(s): also rus·ti·cal -ti-kəl
Etymology: Middle English rustik, from Latin rusticus, from rus open land — more at room
Date: 15th century
1: of, relating to, or suitable for the country : rural <rustic rolling farmland>
2a : made of the rough limbs of trees <rustic furniture>
b : finished by rusticating rustic joint in masonry>
3a : characteristic of or resembling country people
b : lacking in social graces or polish
4 : appropriate to the country (as in plainness or sturdiness) rustic boots>
— rus·ti·cal·ly-ti-k(ə-)lē adverb
— rus·tic·i·tyˌrəs-ˈti-sə-tē noun
Tea Tree oil products are wonderful products for shampoos, conditioners, etc. The properties in tea tree are very healthy, wholesome and fight ticks, diseases, etc. (I use tea tree in my mop bucket to clean up the dog room floor – and it doesn’t hurt the feet/nose of my dogs!) I also use vinegar - especially when cleaning up after puppies...very safe and neutralizes odours.
Natural Flea and Tick Control:
Plush Puppy produces a superb oil: Sea breeze oil, mix 2 teaspoons Sea breeze with 1 cup of water and add 4 drops of citrus oil, 2 drops of peppermint 2 drops of lavender and 2 drops of sandal wood oil. Mist this mixture over your dog everyday, and you will see no fleas, ticks or any other nasty bugs on your dogs. IT WORKS. Of course, there are many other methods and products out there that are natural and non-harmful to your dogs. Melaleuca produces an excellent and effective tick and flea (and mosquito formula)
Basically, peppermint oil. lavender oil, tea tree oil, sandalwood or cedarwood oils have all been shown to have repellent properties for these aphid pests!!
I highly recommend reading and researching before you start administering any methods. The best choice is the informed choice, and there are definitely pharma products out there that can and do cause harm to our pets.
All of our Barbet are very minimally vaccinated. More and more vets are speaking out against the over-use of annual vaccines (Schultz, Dodds, Pitcairn, McKay, Hamilton...to name a few), as they are linking the vaccinations to mild to severe adverse reactions that can sometimes set an animal up for a lifetime of problems. No vaccine is 100% effective, and they all carry a risk in administering them. I tend to follow the Dodd's Vaccine Protocol for my puppies, and send home the vaccine schedule with every family.
Vaccination is a very personal issue. Too many people today still blindly take their animals into the vet for their annual shots, without ever thinking about what exactly they are doing and why they need to do it every single year. What are these diseases? How many vaccines are in that needle? How prevalent are these diseases in my area? Is there any way to test if my animal has immunity? These comments are not meant to judge you or discourage you from taking your dog to the vet or getting vaccinated, merely to promote and encourage you to educate yourself and KNOW what the reasons are for doing what you are doing to and for your dog!
We promote overall vitality and immunity for our Barbet. A strong, healthy immune system can overcome and fight diseases.
Holistic Approach to your puppy/dog:
I love natural remedies!!! I give my dogs an herbal remedy before even thinking about the vet. I have a wonderful holistic network that I can call on for help including a Homeopathic Vet. I treat infection, parasites, cuts, pain, etc with homeopathic remedies and naturopathic tonics.
I have taken 2 dogs to the chiropractor for bone realignments…..1 for a hip dislocation!!! And it works!!
If your puppy/dog has diarrhea a great solution is BONES. Not bone meal or powder….go out and get a raw fresh soup bone and let them chew !!!
Pure pumpkin is also an excellent gastro assistant…diarrhea, stomach upset, whatever…..mix it in with some tuna or salmon and they’ll gobble it up – for a better result next time. Of course, if the diarrhea persists, more symptoms occur…or if it changes (butterscotch pudding,etc) get your vet to test a sample. Importantly, if the dog is not eating/drinking AND experiencing diarrhea – dehydration can occur. Be watchful.
I love natural remedies for other things as well….Bach’s rescue remedy (and there are other Bach flower mixtures) is great for relaxing a puppy or dog is a stressful situation. First car ride, first trip, first visit to the vet….etc. a little dropper full in the mouth and in a few minutes…..CHILLED OUT!!! (I’ve used it when I’ve felt air sickness during turbulence. IT WORKS!!)
Tobaccum (a natural derivative of the tobacco leaf) is also a great relaxant. Some of the pups will get a dose before their travels. It relaxes and helps them sleep without lowering their body temperature (like some pharma products do)
Arnica is a great natural pain reliever, as is Traumeel.
Most people remedies are fine for dogs….and most food that we eat is ok too….if you wouldn’t eat it – why feed it to your best friend ??!?!
Remember: don't give your dog people medicines though. You need to speak to a vet and have medicine that is specifically for dogs when looking for a pharmaceutical treatment.
All of our Barbet are fed a species appropriate raw food diet. Nature designed the canine and feline to eat raw meat and bones, and their digestive tracts are built to handle just that. Dogs in the wild are still eating raw meat and bones and thriving, just as nature intended. It has been noted by several raw promoting vets that the incidence of disease, particularly chronic disease, has increased along with our dependence on processed pet foods.
Dogs were not designed to thrive on a cooked and processed diet consisting of predominantly grains and rendered scrap (meat products and by-products deemed unfit for human consumption). Just as humans need fresh food to maintain optimal health, so too do our dogs, perhaps even more so.
The benefits of raw feeding are wide and varied. Feeding a species appropriate diet helps support and maintain a strong immune system – something your Barbet will need their whole life. Growth during puppy-hood is even and steady, providing vitamins and minerals in their natural state. Raw feeding promotes a hard, well muscled body, not a “fleshy” or pudgy form that can so often accompany a high carbohydrate diet. Bright eyes, excellent skin and coat condition, white teeth, and fresh breath, are all benefits of raw feeding, as well as indicators of good health.
Because the canine body can better utilize a raw meat and bone diet, they produce much less waste – a HUGE fringe benefit for us humans! Most dogs love eating a raw food diet, and the mental and physical stimulation for a dog working on a big knuckle bone or a spine can provide hours of exercise and stress relief for them.
Raw feeding also breaks the monotony of having the same bowl of food day in and day out, year after year. Imagine how utterly uninteresting eating would be. I think we owe it to our companions to provide fresh and varied foods throughout their lives.
We feed our Barbet a variety of raw meat and meaty bones, & whole prey when able. Our proteins rotate between beef, pork, chicken, venison, whole rabbit, turkey, lamb, and organ meats. Farm fresh eggs are added to bowl meals several times a week, as well as dairy products like cottage cheese, yogurt, whole cheese and milk. We also allow fasting for our dogs - and they generally show us they are not eating, and that is a healthy choice as well.
We buy most of our dog food from butchers by the case, and store them in freezers. While not ideal, we have found that buying and storing in this manner is by far the most economical way to feed a varied and raw diet to our Barbet pack.
Of course, not forgetting exercise, fresh air, at least 30 min of sunshine a day (which = 20,000 iu of vitamin D) and fresh non chlorinated water to round off their healthy lifestyle !!
Normal Baseline numbers:
The normal body temperature for a dog (taken anally) is 38 degrees (101)
Pulse is generally between 70-120 beats per minute…unless frightened or fevered.
Respirations are 10-30 dependent on body size…our dogs are around 18-20 at rest.
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