How to Take Care of Bloodhounds

by Cat Carson, Demand Media

    Bloodhounds are large, affectionate canines famous for their long, drooping ears, loose skin and extraordinary tracking abilities. Devoted to their family members, these intelligent, loving dogs live for 7 to 10 years as long as you care for them properly.

    Items you will need

    • Leash
    • Hound glove or chamois
    • Towel or rag
    • Padded bed

    Step 1

    Use a gentle tone when training your bloodhound. These mellow dogs possess an independent streak and require consistent discipline. However, they are extremely sensitive to tones of voice and their owners' moods. Be firm and patient with your dog, but don't be harsh with criticism or punishments.

    Step 2

    Keep your bloodhound in a fenced yard or on a leash at all times. Their natural scenting instincts mean that they can quickly pick up an interesting smell and take off following it. Their instincts also drive them to follow the trail right to the very end, even if it takes them out into traffic or into another animal's territory.

    Step 3

    Feed your bloodhound two to four small meals a day instead of one or two larger meals to help prevent bloat, a potentially fatal GI issue that occurs when air becomes trapped in the stomach and cuts off circulation. Bloodhounds.org also suggests limiting exercise and water intake for about 60 minutes after eating to reduce the risk of bloat.

    Step 4

    Make sure your bloodhound has access to fresh water at all times. These big dogs require a lot of liquids to maintain proper hydration levels.

    Step 5

    Take your hound on a long walk every day. Bloodhounds who don't get enough physical exercise frequently become hard to handle and start baying incessantly or tearing up yards. Walk with your doggy slightly behind you so she views you as the pack leader. Consider enrolling your dog in agility, obedience, trailing or tracking courses to help expend extra energy and challenge her mind.

    Step 6

    Clean your bloodhound's ears once a week. The long, drooping ears are the ideal breeding ground for yeast or bacteria, especially if moisture, food and other debris gets trapped underneath them. Always consult with a qualified veterinarian about the health and welfare of your pet.

    Step 7

    Brush your dog's coat once a week to remove loose or dead fur. While grooming, check the area underneath the neck, called the dewlap area, for irritation, infection or hair loss. A weekly grooming routine helps your bloodhound feel, look and even smell better.

    Step 8

    Bathe your bloodhound only when necessary. Use a hound glove, a chamois or a rough towel when bathing your dog to make her coat look shiny and glossy.

    Step 9

    Wipe your bloodhound's jowls often with a towel or rag. Bloodhounds are profuse slobberers because their droopy lips don't hold in the saliva very well. The saliva can spray up to 20 feet when your dog shakes her head.

    Step 10

    Give your dog a thick padded bed to sleep on. The padding helps prevent her joints from rubbing on the ground and stops calluses from developing. Bloodhounds are also prone to joint problems such as hip dysplasia, and the padding makes sleeping more comfortable.

    Tips

    • Soak dry dog food in hot water for 5 to 10 minutes before mealtime if you are worried about bloat.
    • Have your bloodhound microchipped or tattooed just in case she gets out of the yard or loose while you are on a walk.

    Warnings

    • Bloodhounds typically don't require the recommended dosage per pound of anesthesia. Talk to your veterinarian about using a smaller amount of anesthetic for any surgical procedures.
    • No matter how often you bathe them, bloodhounds have a natural, distinctive "doggy odor."
    • Like other hound breeds, a bloodhound will eat everything that isn't nailed down and often things that are. Keep an eye on your dog to make sure she doesn't eat anything besides actual food.

    About the Author

    Cat Carson has been a writer, editor and researcher for more than 10 years. She has professional experience in a variety of media, including the Internet, newspapers, newsletters and magazines. Her work has appeared on various websites. Carson holds master’s degrees in both writing and cultural anthropology, and is currently working toward her doctorate degree.