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Raising a Chinese Shar-pei

CRATE TRAINING – The best way to house train a dog is by Crate Training. This means every time that your puppy is unsupervised, he goes into the crate, or an exercise pen if you are away a lot. This prevents any accidents to the carpet or other damage to your home. After the puppy is about six to twelve months old, slowly allow his freedom, depending on your circumstances. Crate training is not cruel in any way. It creates a stable, successful environment for a new puppy that promotes the necessary needs of a growing Shar-Pei. Lots of sleep, controlled exercise, and a complete diet will offer the best possible start for you and your puppy.

Crating can also work for adult pets new to your home. It provides a safe haven away from all the unfamiliar household activity, takes away the responsibility of guarding your home from unknown noises, and gives your new pet the security it needs to gain confidence in their new environment. If crating doesn’t work, we still recommend you persist training to restrict your new pet to a small area they can claim as their own. Denning is a strong, natural instinct that can help most dogs cure any instabilities created from prior neglect or abuse. For additional comments about bringing your pet home, see this article for tips and advice.

FEEDING – We can recommend a food, or you can choose for yourself with these guidelines in mind. Puppy foods vary, read your ingredients carefully and be aware of the differences. We’ve always known wheat and its byproducts to be recommended ingredients to avoid potential allergies, but with the continued misuse and questionable processing practices of overseas wheat gluten under such close scrunity since the Menu Foods recall, we felt it was important to reinterate the importance of choosing your pet food wisely, especially when it comes to canned foods and other grocery store brand choices.

For those with pets that have food allergies, this healthy list may be even shorter, but here’s ingredients that are usually considered healthy:

Alfalfa, Amaranth, Apples, Aspergillus oryzae, Aspergillus niger, Bacillus subtilis fermentation extracts, Barley, Beta-carotene, Brewers Yeast, Brown Rice, Blueberries, Canola oil, Carrots, Chelated minerals, Chicken *, Chicken & Turkey Meal *, Chicken Fat *, Chondroitin sulfate, Cranberry, Digestive enzymes, Eggs, Filtered water, Fish meal, Flax seed/flaxseed meal, Kelp, Peas, Garlic, Glucosamine, Grapeseed oil, Lactobacillus, Acidophilus, Streptococcus faecium fermentation extracts, Lamb *, Lecithin, Linoleic Acid, Minerals, Oatmeal, Ocean whitefish *, Omega-3 essential fatty acid **, Omega-6 essential fatty acid **, Prebiotics, Probiotics, Quinoa, Rosemary, Sage, Sweet potatoes, Sunflower Oil, White Rice, Vitamins, Yeast culture, Yucca schidigera.

* Finest meats only – hormone free, antibiotic free and ethoxyquin free. Human quality meat.
** A balance ratio of Omega-6 and Omega-3 essential fatty acids (4-6:1)
Recommended ingredients to avoid are:

Animal digest, Animal fat, Artificial flavors and color, Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT), Beet pulp, Chicken by-products, Chicken digest, Ethoxyquin, Lamb by-products, Lamb digest, Meat by-products, Poultry *, Poultry by-products, Poultry digest, Poultry fat, Turkey by-products, wheat gluten.

* Poultry is an unpredictable ingredient, which can contain any type of fowl, including buzzards, geese, and other birds.
More specifically with Shar-pei in mind, we also recommend you avoid foods with the main ingredients being corn or soy as well; which can cause skin, stomach, or allergy problems. Protein level should be about 25 to 30% (unless your pedigree has a history of amlyoidosis, then the protein level should be under 20%), Fat level 10 to 15%. Vitamins should include A, E, C, and Zinc. Sometimes canned food may be necessary to increase food consumption, preferably recommend you add homemade meals like cooked skinless chicken. Omega supplements like fish oil may be needed during the winter months to fight against dry skin problems or illnesses. Safflower, sunflower, or canola oil can also been successful in improving skin quality without affecting sensitive dogs. Diet is very important to insure the proper growth of a puppy.

As your Shar-pei grows into an adult, the diet needs will vary according your individual puppy. Usually, at about one year, it is recommended to switch to a lower protein, adult food. This will avoid any of the kidney and other problems associated with feeding high protein foods to adults. Please keep in mind that changes in diet may cause digestive issues or a difference in stool quantity and/or consistency, so it’s important to make each change gradual. Improvement in skin health or weight gain/loss may take 2-4 weeks to notice. For specific feeding details, see Feeding your Shar-pei.

HOUSETRAINING - Shar-pei are very easy to house train, in fact, they do most of it themselves. Any time the puppy has eaten, has finished play time, or wakes from a nap, take time to go outside. Your puppy will be trained by two to four months. Just remember, consistency is the key to success.

We do not recommend buying/selling Shar-pei puppies (under four months) during the winter season for the breed has a very weak immune system as puppies and can get sick or die easily. Here are a few precautions if you do purchase:

(1) limit outdoor housetraining, if possible set up indoor area
(2) keep the puppy in a warm, draft free area day and night
(3) limit time with older animals, especially ones that may have
been exposed to illness (vet’s office, dog show, etc.)

HEALTH -Shar-pei can be very challenging in the health department, especially if you buy from an inexperienced breeder. The eyes, ears, palate, and skin can give your puppy recurring problems that may lead into adulthood. Shar-pei puppies are susceptible to viruses and should be watched carefully for any signs of illness: such as vomiting, diarrhea, or rectal temp above 102 degrees. Refer to your vet for any concerns. Also see our Health section of this homepage for Chinese Shar-Pei.

GROOMING -Grooming is considered minimal, compared to other breeds. Most Shar-pei do not require regular grooming, but the most difficult time for puppy coat care may be during the adolescent months. After puberty, allergies, thyroid, or immune imbalance are the leading causes of most “hot spots”, rashes, or continual hair loss. No matter what some people say, it is NOT normal for a Shar-pei to have skin infestations, and these problems must be treated to prevent additional problems. For additional information on what shampoo may be best for your pet, please visit Dr. Vidt’s site.

Common sense prevents most grooming problems. Bath your Shar-pei on an as needed basis. Don’t leave mud or other debris on the coat or between the toes for any longer than necessary. Use a consistent flea control to prevent infestation. Nails should be cut on a bi-weekly basis, as long as you can keep the quik down to a short level. It is very important to not give up on cutting nails, the least favorite chore of a Shar-Pei. Teeth should be cleaned often (weekly with a dog toothbrush or washcloth) starting when you can see plaque buildup. All of these habits should be introduced during the puppy’s growing months to ensure good habits for the rest of its life. Good habits help your dog look better and stay healthier. Good health and strong immunity are keys to longevity of the breed.

OBEDIENCE AND SHOW TRAINING- We recommend to begin obedience training with every puppy, and if necessary, additional handling classes for showing. Socializing is a vital part of a Shar-Pei, especially the very dominant or submissive. You must decide the future of your dog’s happiness by training him to be an acceptable part of your family and community.

As with any type of pack dog, it is very important to establish a bond or leadership with your puppy. Training offers an important avenue of communication between each other. Come when called, Sit, Down, Stay, and Walking on a leash are all important commands to learn. Group classes are available for beginners to give moral support and socializing with strangers for the dog.

**Please remember, Shar-pei can be very energetic and curious as puppies, and may create harmful situations for themselves if they are not supervised until trained. Learning to obey protects your dog from unnecessary injuries or accidental death from running away. Keep your puppy leashed when outside until trained!

See Showing Your Shar-Pei and Training your Shar-Pei for further information.

TREATS - Everyone wants to give their puppy a snack once in a while. Here are a few guidelines on what NOT to feed:

BONES: chicken, pork, and even steak bones can break, splinter, or get lodged inside your dog causing an emergency situation. It is recommended to stay with bones made for dogs.

TABLE SCRAPS: fats and sweets can throw off a Shar-pei internal system causing vomiting or diarrhea. Avoid large quantities until you know what he can handle.

Chocolate is especially toxic and should be avoided completely.



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