Bloodhounds are famed for their incredible sense of smell, and for good reason: that’s exactly what they were bred to do. Initially, they were used to assist European hunters, tracking out the scent of wild boar and deer. Because of their incredible sense of smell, in the Middle Ages, this breed stared being used to track people who were missing or hiding. In fact, when they were brought to America, Bloodhounds were used to locate criminals who fled from the police or escaped jail.
Thanks to the Bloodhound’s ability to identify the scent of humans from great distances over a span of several days, and their determined tracking instinct, law enforcement officials still rely on this breed to assist them with locating missing persons and escapes. However, because of their friendly disposition, Bloodhounds also make great family pets.
To learn more about this incredible dog breed, keep on reading to find out more information about caring for Bloodhounds, including their health, what to feed them, and how to groom them.
Bloodhound Food and Health
Bloodhounds, like all dog breeds, require a diet that consists mainly of real animal protein, including turkey, fish, and chicken. They also require carbohydrates to fuel their high-energy level, and fiber to maintain their digestive health. In order to ensure your meeting your Bloodhound’s nutritional needs, feeding him a premium-quality commercial dog food is recommended. Make sure to read the labels; the first ingredient should always be real animal protein, and it should also contain healthy grains, such as barley and oats, and vegetables. Stay away from corn and wheat, which can aggravate their health.
Bloodhounds should eat between 4 and 8 cups of food a day, split into two separate meals. This is a large breed dog; adults can weigh as much as 100 pounds! However, do keep in mind that the amount you feed your dog depends on his lifestyle and age. For example, puppies and very active adults should be fed more, while older and more sedentary dogs should be fed less. To find out how much you should feed your dog, consult with your vet.
In regards to health, Bloodhounds are genetically predisposed to a number of health issues. Hip and elbow dysplasia, ectropion and entropion (conditions that affect the eyelids), epilepsy, hypothyroidism, bloat, and dermatitis are just some of health concerns. Also, active Bloodhounds are more prone to injuries. To avoid paying the full cost of exorbitant veterinary bills out of your own pocket, consider investing in pet insurance, which works much like health insurance for humans. There are plenty of companies that offer affordable coverage, including Nationwide, Geico, AllState, and State Farm.
Leashes and Collars for your Bloodhound
A collar and a leash are absolute musts for any dog breed, including a Bloodhound. These dogs have a lot of energy and need exercise, and a collar and leash will allow you to walk – and train – your dog safely.
In addition to affixing a leash to a collar, this vital accessory is also used to display important information about your dog, including identification and vaccinations. When selecting a collar for your Bloodhound, it’s important to ensure you choose one that can support his weight. As mentioned, this breed is rather large and since they have such a strong sense of smell. If your dog picks up a scent, he can easily break through his collar, so you want to pick a collar that is constructed of durable materials. Leather, paracord, or nylon are excellent options. Many Bloodhound owners also opt to use a slip chain choke collar for training. Some great behavior modification collar options for Bloodhounds include the Dogtra Fieldmaster Training Collar and the Educator Training Collar.
Whichever type of collar you choose, make sure that it fits your dog properly. Measure his neck with a measuring tape before purchasing his collar.
For your Bloodhound’s leash, comfort and function are of utmost important. It terms of function, it should support the weight of your dog, and in terms of comfort, you should be able to handle it with ease. For example, if you live in a cold climate, you might want to invest in a leash that’s made of a material that won’t become difficult to operate in chilly temperatures. Also, consider the length of the leash, and the length that works for your dog will depend on his lifestyle and temperament. For instance, if he’s not well trained, a shorter leash will allow for easier control when he picks up a scent; however, if your dog is tracking, a longer leash will enable him to move further distances to pick up scents. A few options for leashes include this extremely durable nylon training lead, our favorite leather leash, and another strong contender is this braided leather option.
Best Crates, Beds, and Doghouses for Bloodhounds
Whether your Bloodhound will be a family pet or a hunting companion, a crate is a great tool for training. It will also provide your dog with a safe space when he’s alone, frightened, or just wants some extra security.
Size is of utmost importance when selecting a crate for a dog. It should provide enough space so that he can stand up and turn around ease; however, it shouldn’t be so large that there’s excess room. There are several types of crates available, so you will certainly be able to find one that will suit your needs. For example, if the crate will be located in a central area of your home, a crate that’s designed to resemble furniture, such as this two-door folding crate or the ever popular Amazon Basics model is a great choice; or, if you plan on moving the crate a lot, something made of lightweight material, like Soft Krater Indoor and Outdoor Crate, would work well.
For bedding, Bloodhounds both curl up and sprawl out when they are sleeping. As such, select a bed that will allow him to comfortably lie in both positions. A bolster bed, like Fluffly Deluxe Pet Bed , or a pillow bed, such as this highly recommended orthopedic memory foam bed, work well for Bloodhounds. If your dog will be attending hunting excursions with you, an outdoor cot will provide him with a safe space to sleep.
For a dog that will be spending a good bit of time outdoors, a dog house will provide protection and security. Like a crate, consider the size of your dog when choosing a dog house; however, it’s recommended to allow more space inside a dog house than you would allow inside a crate to offer your pup more freedom. Also, consider the features that the house offers; dog houses can offer a variety of features, including air conditioning, heat, insulation, elevated floors, operable windows, and ramps for easy access. Think about what features would provide the most comfort for your pup.
Bloodhounds are inquisitive and energetic by nature. They need exercise, long for a sense of purpose, and simply enjoy playing. Toys are a great way to ensure your pup’s needs are being met. Toys that allow them to use their sense of smell, their wits, and complete tasks are great choices for this breed.
There are a variety of toys on the market that your Bloodhound will really enjoy playing with. Food dispensing toys are excellent choices, as they allow your dog to sniff out a treat and work to release it. Puzzle toys are also great options for this breed. Again, your dog will have to put his nose to work in order to complete a task, and once he does, he will be rewarded with a treat.
Bloodhounds also like to fetch, so don’t forget to include balls and other toys that can be used for fetch in your dog’s toy box. However, make sure that the toys are made of high-quality materials and well-constructed.
Bloodhounds have short coats, which leads many people to believe that they don’t require a lot of grooming; however, this is not true. Their skin is quite wrinkly, and as such, they need to be cleaned on a regular basis. Also, their fur does shed year-round, so you’ll want to brush him regularly to remove dead hair.
During baths, make sure that you pull up his skin and wash between his wrinkles to prevent infections. Also, ensure that he is thoroughly dried, including in those wrinkles, to avoid irritation and infections. It’s also a wise idea to wash around his mouth after each meal, as debris can get trapped in the excess skin around his mouth.
Flea and tick prevention is always important. Make sure you use products that will keep these pests at bay during the height of their seasons; usually in the spring and fall. Always make sure you choose a high-quality product, such as the FURminator, our favorite Slicker Brush, or another favorite is the self-cleaning brush. If you’re not sure what will work best for your dog, ask your vet to provide recommendations.
There are plenty of accessories on the market that can be used with Bloodhounds, in addition to a leash and collar. For example, a cooling pad or vest will keep your dog comfortable and safe in hot temperatures, and a heated dog bed or insulated vest will keep him warm in cold temperatures. If you want to make getting into and out of your house easy for your dog, consider investing in an electronic dog door. A GPS tracking device can be very useful if your dog assists with hunting or if you are simply nervous that he’ll get lost.
Bloodhounds are excellent dogs on their own; however, feeding him a proper diet, providing him with the healthcare he needs, and offering him accessories that will keep him safe and happy will ensure your Bloodhound will always be content. We also have additional products for large dog breeds throughout the various categories.