Sunday, January 14, 2024

If a Dog Wore Pants...

 Since I began herding sheep and training dogs full time, I have a cause near and dear to my heart: Injured dogs. Mostly border collies. This is not a breed with self-preservation of any kind built in. We've had all sorts of injuries on the farm, from the mundane to the bizarre. The vet should offer frequent flier miles of some sort at this point. 

A brief rundown of non-dog vet visits since we relocated cross-country:

  • peahen with eye infection
  • ram rammed something immovable and rammed his horn right off, leaving a gaping hole in his head
  • small, hairy goat was losing a significant amount of hair
  • sheep sliced her shoulder open on a sharp bit of fencing wire

Our delightful country vet practice only takes walk-ins, and they know whatever we roll in with is going to make everyone's day a little more interesting. But they see the dogs a lot more than they see the livestock. 

I have discovered, through a ridiculous amount of experience, how much opportunity there is for accessorizing when it comes to an injured dog. From recovery suits to inflatable cones to mobility harnesses, there is something out there to solve every problem. And I'm going to buy it. I think it might be a coping mechanism. 

Last summer, Zip went out to the pasture to get the sheep during the construction of our duck barn. There was a piece of metal roofing on the ground, and she sliced her leg open on it as she ran out to gather the flock. Being a serious working border collie, Zip completed her mission and went about her evening as if she did not have a 6" slice on the side of her hock. Naturally, this happened on a Saturday evening so upon discovery the next morning there was an emergency vet visit.  The dogs prefer to time their disasters well outside normal vet hours as often as possible.

Zip came home from the emergency vet in a cone, with stitches in her leg, and an order for two weeks of crate rest. Crates and traditional lampshade cones are a bad combination, I would need to put most of my dogs in a 42"+ crate for them to be able to turn around wearing a giant cone. We only have one size of cone around here and that size is giant. Several inches past the end of their nose. They can't reach any part of their body. Better safe than sorry. But it's a very big cone.

I love recovery suits, but the vast majority of products out there are intended to cover the abdomen rather than the legs. The ones with legs are rarely long enough to cover all the way past the hock. So I embarked on a journey to find pants for Zip. I'm inviting you to join me on this journey. Ready?

1. Dog leggings. I can't find this particular set to link on Amazon, but these are a lot like https://walkeepaws.com/ and I can't get those to stay on to save my life. These would not go up high enough to securely cover the hock.

2. Fou Fou Dog Bodyguard Pants. These actually look like a pretty good idea for mud. A plausible option for Zip's injury.

3. Mozzie Pants. These could also work, but reviews say they don't really stay on that well.

4. Comedy option legwarmers. There is no way these could cover or protect a hock injury. But I laughed. 

5. The Onesie. I actually bought this one and it worked great. I've been able to use it for other dogs injured in other places since it covers the entire dog.

6. SurgiSnuggly with legs. I have the no-legs version of this suit and it works well. I also bought this one for Zip and it worked well.

In the year and a half since Zip's injury, there have been a few more products released that could have worked to protect her stitches. The key search word is apparently "recovery".

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