This section will cover show kees, dog or bitch. It will be referred to as "dog" and "he", even though it may be a "she". As with previous articles, interjected are my beliefs, others may differ. The routine, care, feeding are what has worked for me. Others may have different results and routines.
The main things to be concerned with in the Show Dog are condition, overall health, stress alleviation and conditioning of skin and coat.
The Show Dog should always stay current on vaccinations and be pest and worm free. This requires monitoring because he comes in contact with show grounds frequented by dogs who may have pest and diseases.
The Show Dog should be given an excellent diet that keeps him in tip-top shape, both physically and mentally. The diet should be ethoxyquin-free dry food. My stand on Ethoxyquin has been noted in previous articles and won't be repeated here except to say: Why bother when there are many good quality foods out there preserved with Vitamins C and E. The ones with questionable ingredients aren't fit for any dog. I recommend a diet that consists of dry food: Natural Life Condition 75%, and Natural Life Puppy 25%. The Dog Stew recipe alternated with the Choice Chow added to the dry as a mixer is good for added health. Treats of the Cupcake recipe will add further vigor. [Recipes in May 1994 JabberwocKEES magazine.] You can also get most of the recipes here. Cooking for your dog is the only way to ensure good food sources along with fresh ingredients full of vitamins, minerals and enzymes.
When feeding the Show Dog (as well as others) be sure he is getting all the food he should. This most likely will require them to be fed separately. Group feeding kees doesn't work. There is always a faster pig in the bunch that gets the bulk of the food. Separate feeding is best.
Be sure the water the Show Dog drinks is as pure as possible. Spring fed well water in uncontaminated areas is best.
For stress and overall health, the vitamins I give are 3,000 mgs of Vit C, 400 IU Vit E, 6mg Pantothenic Acid [Vit B6] and 30 mg Zinc every other day along with the herbal additives. The Vit C is for overall health and stress. Vit E is for boosting the blood supply, circulatory system, immune system, effects of air pollution, rejuvenating, overall skin and coat health. B6 is for increasing lifespan, immune system, adrenal glands (hormonal system). Zinc is for enzyme production, healthy skin and coat, expedites healing, helps prevent prostate gland from infection. Zinc is lost through stress and should be added back in for an active Show Dog.
You will need to keep the coat and skin in tip top shape. The foundation for
this is in the diet, but you will need to "treat" the outer coat as
well. Because your dog is being subjected to abnormal conditions such as dry,
dusty buildings and more frequent bathes, using sprays that have good herbal
formulas will help. If you cannot mix your own formulas [such as rosemary,
lemon tonic, nettles, horsetail, pennyroyal etc], there are off the shelf
alternatives. [For herbal formulas consult these books: The New Age Herbalist by
Mabey, ISBN 0-02-063350-5 or Jeanne Rose's Modern Herbal, ISBN 0-399-513394-9.]
If you visit one of those drug store supermarkets, you will find an array of good products in the women's hair care section. I have used Russ Kalvin's version of Nexxus Humectress, Aussie Hair Insurance by Redmond Products, Freeman Botanical Humectant Plus Intensive Reconstructor (has orange blossom, pineapple & linden), Freeman Botanical Instant Infusion Treatment (has sunflower oil, gardenia & pennyroyal), and Russ Kalvin's Moisture Spray version of Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Moisture Mist. Those that are thick can be diluted to whatever strength with water and put in a spray bottle to use. Depending on your dog's coat condition, you may need to adjust the strength. The others come premixed and can just be sprayed on the coat. I also like the Crown Royale and Cindra products.
Wash your Show Dog at least every other week. You will be putting stuff on your dog and he will be accumulating dust and dirt over time. To stimulate the hair and skin and to get the gunk out, bathes are necessary. You may want to limit the amount of time the dog spends under the blow dryer. This is because high pressure blow dryers can actually damage the coat. To limit damage, towel and air dry (when possible) to a damp state, then finish with a blow dryer on a low, cool setting. Use a softer brush like a Mason Pearson when brushing a damp or newly washed coat. A pin brush tends to rake the skin, although it will be used when the coat is dry.
To keep the coat "rolling in", (at least) weekly brushings are required. Use a coat spray or water when brushing. Between times, keep a spray bottle of water in the refrigerator. Use at least twice a day misting the entire body coat. This stimulates the coat and adds moisture.
When your Show Dog blows coat, start out with a nice warm bath every week for two weeks to expedite get the old coat out. You may want to add some good conditioning by final rinsing with a coat additive (as mentioned above) and not rinsing it out but letting it dry on the coat. Hot oil treatments may also be helpful to add condition to a blown, brittle coat.
In addition to weekly coat care, a Show Dog's nails need to be kept short. Depending on how fast the nails grow (varies in kees) you will have to keep on this either weekly or every other week. I use the scissor type clippers and follow up with an electric nail grinder to further get the quick back and leave a nice finish (that doesn't rake your legs!) Nail work should be done in mid-week between shows and not at a show. Trimming the hair between the pads and to shape the foot should be done at nail clipping time. Touch ups on this can be done at the show.
Mixing your Show Dog with other dogs you own is a concern. Be sure the other dogs aren't eating the Show Dog's coat, pulling tail or whatever. It doesn't take very long for that coat you've been nurturing to be moth-eaten from play. This holds true whether you are raising a show puppy or adult.
Make sure your Show Dog gets plenty of exercise. Romps in the woods, up and down hills or road work will keep the muscle tone up and run off stress.
The Show Dog needs to have play times and one on one times, a special outing, with his favorite human where he can unwind and alleviate stress. He should get plenty of exercise to run off stress and to keep his muscles toned. He should be kept "happy" so his attitude is good, therefore stress is low.
Remember when using herbs & vitamins, some can have disastrous side effects when used in excess or in the wrong applications. They can cause illness or even death. When in doubt, read further and consult someone more knowledgeable. Don't use something your aren't sure of.
The herbs [& related] I mix in the Show Dog herbal formula are:
Bee pollen, oil of evening primrose, alfalfa, red clover, feverfew, rosehips, southernwood, comfrey root, calamus root, slippery elm bark, rosemary, nettle, chamomile, parsley, garlic, sea vegetables, spirulina, sage, goldenseal, echinacea, brewers yeast flakes.
echinacea -stimulates the immune system, is an antibacterial & antiviral
goldenseal -is an antibacterial & antiviral, boots a sluggish glandular system, helps the liver
bee pollen -one of nature's most perfect foods. Contains vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids. Improves stamina, endurance, increased energy.
Oil of evening
primrose - helps alleviate toxins related to an unhealthy diet. Helps stop growth of many kinds of cancer. Stimulates stomach action to help liver & spleen conditions. Very high in gamma linolenic acid (GLA) [an essential fatty acid] which aids in manufacturing prostaglandin. Studies are showing this to stimulate the hormone system which may be blocked in some cases. [not to be used in epileptics]
slippery elm -for gastric distress [colitis], draws out impurities, heals all parts of the body
rosemary -good tonic for reproductive organs. Relieves depression. One of the most powerful herbs to stimulate the nervous system. Rich in Vit A & C, calcium. Good for the circulatory system.
wheat germ -natural source of Vitamin E, helps strengthen the nervous & reproductive systems
nettle -rich in iron to help with the circulatory system. It is rich in Vit A, C, D and calcium & protein.
chamomile -destroys toxins, has healing properties
parsley -cleanses the liver, tones the body, builds resistance, strengthens digestion, source of Vit C, iron, manganese, calcium, phosphorus.
garlic -natural antibiotic. It rejuvenates all parts of the body. Great for circulatory system. It also is a natural flea fighter and digestive calmer.
sea vegetables -rich in vitamins, minerals and thyroid gland stimulant. Helps with any joint problems.
spirulina -provides nutrients to the body when it is not getting enough in regular diet. Good during or after battle with a chronic disease. It helps with vitality, purifies and builds the blood. Easy to digest. Rich in protein, chlorophyll and essential fatty acids.
sage -rich in Vit A, C & B complex, a lot of calcium & potassium. Good for the brain, to improve memory, for mental exhaustion & improve the ability to concentrate.
Foods listed in other articles apply to the Show Dog as well.