1. Read and judge the labels on your poodles' food. If corn and/or wheat are one of the first 3-4 ingredients, choose another brand containing rice or barley. Some people want no grain at all in their dog's diets, but my dogs like chicken and rice combinations the best. I like the Nutro brand, but don't be fooled by big brand names, big prices or those automatically endorsed by your vet. Corn has a high glycemic index, which means it causes more of a sudden spike and subsequent drop in blood sugar than other grains such as rice or barley. This can be deadly to smaller sized and younger puppies, more specifically teacups and tiny toys, as their tiny internal organs are just not equipped to handle this, causing hypoglycemia. Also, corn is known to be allergenic in many dogs, manifesting in "hot spots," hives, itchy ears and paws, ultimately compromizing the entire immune system.
2. Keep your poodle's teeth clean. Here's a video showing one of my poodles brushing his own teeth. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ln5f4bSAkAE But you should really take charge of the technique. Smaller dogs can have more dental problems. No dog, big or small, should have bad breath. None of mine do because I clean their teeth on a regular basis from twice a week to every 6 months depending on the need. Your vet can clean their teeth but the dogs are put under general anesthesia for this. You could avert the danger anesthesia poses to your poodle, and the expense it poses to you, if you would just take the time to get your poodle used to having his mouth handled. At first, this can be done gently with a washcloth wrapped over your index finger and just rubbing his front gums at first. Gradually, he will allow you to go over his molars way in the back. Then choose one of the many doggie toothbrushes/pastes on the market. When he is an adult, have a bowl of dry dog food available to him throughout the day, not only 1-2 meals a day as this can cause bloat and twisted intestines. Dirty, mucousy, plaque-ridden teeth allow germs an easy entrance into the bloodstream, again compromising his immune system, besides assaulting your nose. When you shop for a poodle puppy, ask to see both parents. A good breeder will be happy to show them off. Look in the mouths and ears of the sires and dams. If they aren't clean, how healthy can they be, and what else does your breeder not prioritize? Something else to consider is choosing to keep your puppy and adult poodle in the popular "Teddy Bear" style. In that the hair on the muzzle is long and shaggy, making the poodle look cuter to some. You may notice that the teddy bear style is not my choice for any of my poodles. I clip their muzzles short and clean. This is for hygienic reasons. Naturally, shorter hair around the eyes, mouth and ears means less food, tears, saliva and ear wax can collect. When the hair is longer around the mouth, their curly hair turns into their mouth and rests on top of their teeth. This causes the mucus to rest against the teeth. Small dogs tend to retain mucus more than the larger breeds so their teeth Must be cleaned more often, that means by You, not the vet. Only an excellent groomer knows how to effectively clip the hairs around a poodle's lips so that they don't curl up and into the mouth, and yet still keep the other hairs around the muzzle longer for that cute teddy bear style. Also with that style, curly hair can curl upwards, poking into their eyes, making them tear more than usual. The tears run down under the eyes and collect in that long hair. This can cause unsightly stains as well as an odor from the fungus that grows because of the moist conditions. Every teddy-bear style Must have the long hair directly under the eyes clipped short, plus you will need to keep the area directly under their eyes dry, which means wiping them several times daily if they become wet in the teddy bear face. As well, long hair just in front of their ear openings naturally has a bit more wax that has naturally come out of their ears. This attracts debris, and especially those deadly foxtail seed heads that are shaped like little arrows. They migrate in one direction and can pierce tender skin, which means they easily run up and into the ear canal and could pierce the ear canal, leading to hearing loss or a very bad internal infection. At least make sure the hair within their ear canals is removed. The teddy bear style is cute, but Please Know The Risks that pose a danger to your poodle's optimum health.
3. Deadly doggie treats. Some doggie treats and toys are not appropriate for poodles. My poodles love squeaky toys, but only those made of soft, stretchy latex (like rubber), not vinyl. Since vinyl is harder, it can be chipped off and eaten, will stay hard after being swallowed, may not easily pass through the stomach, or may dangerously lodge in the intestines, causing relentless vomiting and loss of electrolytes. The same goes for hard plastic bones (even if they say they're good for dogs' teeth). Stuffed animals, especially with squeakies inside, are my poodles' favorite. Rawhide is good, but in the smaller twisted stick sizes (the shape of a pencil) and not the chopped-up, dyed and preformed pieces. Those are too quickly eaten and can cause diarrhea. Also stay away from artificial colorants, which can permanently stain your floor and clothes. Pig ears are good but be careful that they are clean. Cow hooves always smell rotten when they are being chewed and won't show up on an x-ray if your dog swallows a big piece. My favorite training treat is Liver-Flavored Charlee Bears. My poodles drool over them!
4. Please don't keep your poodles outside! Over hundreds of years, poodles were bred first as a hunting dog, then as a lap dog. They naturally love fresh air, but they are pack animals by nature, and were also bred to love the company of humans indoors, so allow them to love you, and enjoy the most intelligent canine company you can imagine!
5. Lastly, please realize that ultimately You are responsible for the training of your new little love. I am always here if you need me, but if a problem develops with your poodle's behavior, please look inward to yourself first. Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer, always says "It's never the dog's fault." Consult a trainer, if necessary. Housetraining problems, for instance, are usually due to the owner's inconsistency and lack of attention. Things like a poodle's pulling on the leash, barking, or even chewing up your new Prada pumps are not their fault, but your own for leaving tasty shoes in their path. Your new little poodle has a lot to learn from you, but you are also on a learning journey yourself! Get a good start with socializing by following some of the tips in this video:
I WELCOME YOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT THE CARE AND HEALTH OF YOUR POODLE. YOU COULD CONTACT ME AT: Valerie@poodlepassion.com
On a more serious note, this is information for whoever has had to work through the death of their beloved poodle. Sometimes it's just impossible to let them go, but when that time comes, please consider the option of cremation. A few years ago, I lost one of my long-time best pet friends. I couldn't bear the thought of burying her in the cold, dark ground and truly needed to have her at my side forever. I came across Circle of Life in Hemet, CA (http://circleoflifepet.com/index.html). If you live in the southern California area, I could highly recommend them personally. They are very sympathetic in this most difficult of duties and it helps to know that they guarantee that they do not do a mass cremation of several dogs; each dog is cremated separately so there is no mixing of other dogs' ashes. I was surprised that they only charge around $100 for the whole process, including a little cedar urn for the remains. It does take about a week for the process, but I now have my little Minkey with me forever. Also before I brought her there, I snipped off a little piece of her hair to place in a pretty urn pendant I bought on the web. That now hangs over my bed as Minkey would sleep with me every night and she still can which is comforting. I did buy a marble urn for her ashes which I placed over my fireplace. I still terribly miss her wonderful personality, but I've found this is the next best thing.
Not long after Minkey's passing, I was devastated again with the loss of my perfect, one-and-only, tiny teacup stud, Spud, seen on the top of the first page of this website. He was the victim of a terrible accident on December 11, 2014, and passed over the rainbow bridge. He was so young, just starting out in his show career, in life as well as my heart so I couldn't face burying him for a few days. I just needed to have him physically by my side for awhile. After finally gathering enough strength to bury him under a young pomegranate tree in my front yard in the rain, I went back into my house and looked out my front window overlooking the tree. I was astounded at what I saw through the window: A huge rainbow, closer than I had ever seen one before, stretch almost all the way down to the ground, exactly precisely where I had buried little Spud. I added the arrow in the pic below for detail next to the tree. I believe it was a little miracle, personally sent to me by my little Spud. He was telling me not to grieve for him, that he was doing just fine. These beautiful little beings simply touch our hearts in the most incredible ways.
RIP, sweet Spud.