The Chow Chow

The internet’s most practical guide to your favorite dog breed

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*Learn more about the breed below and some of the products recommended by our team of experts, which include veterinarians, explosive detection dog handlers and the dog obsessed.

Chow Chow Breed Overview

Chow Chows are incredibly cute dogs which sometimes get referred to as looking like little teddy bears. While this is true of many different dog breeds, it is particularly true in this case! Actually though, the Chow Chow originates from China, where its name translates to “puffy lion-dog.”

As you can imagine, the Chow Chow has a particularly fluffy coat that often stands up making them look like literal fur balls. They are fairly large.

As well as looking very cute, the Chow Chow has a particularly good nature. They are often described as having temperaments that are similar to cats. That’s because they can be rather indifferent toward strangers.

However, the dog will form extremely loyal bonds with its own family and friends, and as such, they are well loved by their owners. The only consideration and risk here is that they can be a little overprotective – which is where good training comes in.

The rest of the time, these dogs are quiet, mild-mannered, and well-behaved. Perfect family friends, and ideal pets!

Chow Food and Health

There are numerous ways you can keep your pet healthier, but the general goal should be to ensure they are happy and that they get plenty of exercise, while also feeding them a good diet with plenty of protein, vitamins and minerals. Obviously some health conditions are unpredictable and unavoidable, but by strengthening their immune system you can improve their ability to fend off most assaults on their health.

Many people assume that diet is something they can forget about – just feed them whatever brand of dog food and have done with it! In fact though, the right dog food can make all the difference to the health of your Chow Chow. Get this wrong and they will not form the strong immune system, or glossy and healthy coat, that is all important for fending off fleas, infections, and other problems. Likewise, poor diet often leads to joint issues, temperament problems, weight gain and more!

To avoid these issues then, seek out a dog food that has got a good balance of nutrient and that doesn’t include unwanted additives like sugar. Large amounts of sugar are bad for your dog.

Examples of dog brands that use natural ingredients and are well suited to Chow Chows include:

Purina Pro Plan Chicken and Rice Formula Dry Dog Food

This is made primarily from chicken which means you’re providing your dog with a natural and healthy source of protein for supporting muscle and bone health. It tastes great and you should have no problem getting your dog to eat up, while the rice is a great source of energy that will keep them fuller for longer.

Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Puppy Food

This is a dog food that should please both owners and dogs alike. It is a ‘complete’ solution designed to contain all of the crucial nutrients and ingredients that your dog needs to thrive. What’s more, is that it also tastes the part and combines a combination of great food sources. Specifically, this contains deboned chicken, oatmeal and salmon (with added DHA for extra brain benefits). That’s some surf and turf that some humans might even be jealous of right there!

Consider as well that you should look for dog foods that are designed to suit your dog’s age (don’t worry about breed specific brands, these haven’t been shown to have any advantage).

For example, consider this brand for puppies:

Royal Canine Size Health Nutrition Mini Puppy Dry Dog Food

Like all the best natural dog food for puppies, this brand is aimed specifically at growing pups and comes in different formulas to suit different sizes. You can order in different bulks too – either 2.5 or 13-pound varieties – and both will support digestive health, healthy teeth and general energy levels.

What if Your Dog Eats Something Bad

One diet-related health issue that can affect your dog is what happens when it eats something it shouldn’t. Don’t worry about your Chow Chow eating things off the floor – while this can be a bad things, it’s actually more serious if they eat something like a box of chocolates.

Understand that this is actually a dangerous situation for your dog and that you should seek immediately to help them purge their stomachs before they absorb too much of the sugar.

One way to do this is to force them to be sick. Fortunately, there is a relatively easy trick for doing this which is simply to take a saline solution (water mixed with salt) and to force feed it to your dog until they are sick. If you struggle to do this, try using a syringe and spraying it into your dog’s mouth.

If this doesn’t work immediately, then you should phone the emergency vets. They will then be able to help by pumping your dog’s stomach. As long as they get there in time then you have nothing to worry about but do make sure that you call quickly and don’t ignore the situation.

Leashes and Collars for your Chow Chow

When choosing a leash and a collar for your Chow Chow, the main considerations are comfort, appearance, and safety. Make sure that your collar fits snugly around their neck – leaving too much space actually makes it easier for them to choke themselves by running into it. Make sure as well that the leash is thick enough to fit your larger Chow Chow and that you can’t fit your finger underneath. This should be close to the fur at all times, but not so tight as to restrict breathing (for obvious reasons!). A good lead with be made from leather or rope and will be longer enough to let them explore, but short enough to easily pull taut when you need to bring them closer to you or bring them back under control.

If you want to provide your Chow Chow with more comfort and reduce their likelihood of hurting themselves or slipping their collar, then look for a harness. These wrap around the body rather than the neck and while they take a little longer to take off and put on, they also make for happy dogs and happy owners! Just make sure that the harness is the right size for this large and fluffy breed!

Best Crates, Beds, and Doghouses for Chow Chows

Crate training for dogs is a great way to get them under control and to make sure that they stay well behaved.

The idea is that you train your Chow Chow to recognize the crate as their home, and you can then tell them to go to their crate when they are naughty, or if someone comes to the door and you don’t want them jumping up. These larger and more heavy dogs are not always welcome to jump up!

Crates can also be useful for transport and for keeping your dog’s toys all in one place.

Other useful ‘homes’ for dogs include dog beds which give them somewhere comfortable to lie down, as well as dog houses where they can take shelter from the rain or the blazing sun outside.

Chow Chow Toys

Good toys for Chow Chows include:

Kong: A kong is a chew toy. This is great for keeping your Chow Chow quiet for a bit, but is also very good for their teeth. They’re great for teething puppies and they also help to encourage the production of saliva and clean the teeth.

Squeaky Tennis Balls: Any squeaky toy is always going to be good for entertaining your dogs, and a tennis ball is a great option because it can roll and they can chase it.

Rope: A simple, affordable toy that all dogs can appreciate. They can use ropes as chew toys, or they can use them to play tug of war. Being social and loyal dogs, they love games that also let you join in!

Ball Launcher: If you want your larger Chow Chow to get some real exercise, then look for something like the Chuckit ball launcher. These help you to throw balls much farther, even if you don’t have a strong arm on you. That’s a good way for them to burn off some calories and get some exercise, without you having to spring with them!

Grooming Insights for Chow Chow owners

Chow breeds heavily shed their fur during spring and fall. During this time then, you need to be more ‘on it’ when it comes to grooming. You should take the time to invest in the right kind of brushes. For Chow Chows that means:

  • Medium coarse brush – Used for the larger parts of the body
  • Slick brush – For smaller areas
  • Pin brush – To maintain the long strands of hair

Chow Chows can come in two varieties – a short coat that is quite smooth and a rougher, longer coat. Both of these get very woolly close to the skin.

Aim to brush your Chow Chow four times e a week and don’t skim on this – it is important to maintain the health of their skin and to prevent infections and other problems. During shedding seasons, your dog may require daily grooming!

Consider investing in a spray conditioner for your Chow Chow. This can be used to prevent the fur breaking and thinning out.

You should also bath your Chow Chow approximately once a moth. This is important to clean that longer fur and it can help them smell better. Just keep in mind though that overbathing your dog is actually worse than not bathing them enough! Doing this will cause their skin to dry out and that in turn can cause them to get a range of problems such as infections, dry and painful rashes, etc.

Looking Out for Problems When Grooming

When bathing and combing your Chow Chow, it’s a good idea to look out for signs of various problems. There are a few things that you should look out for such as fleas, and ticks. Ticks can be removed using a tick removing product and this is designed specifically to remove the legs as well as the head – that’s important as failure to do so can leave the legs in your dog and therefore lead to infection. Ticks are picked up in long grass and certain fauna, so it’s always a good idea to check your dog over after a walk.

Another thing to look out for is any sign of fleas. These can cause itching and you might notice eggs and other signs when combing. If your Chow Chow does get fleas, then look for a flea removing shampoo, comb thoroughly and regularly, and wash all their clothes and bedding on a hot head.

Two more things to look out for are:

Hookworms

Hookworms are one of the more serious types of infestation and may cause serious anemia (low iron). The symptoms are diarrhea, weight loss, vomiting and restlessness and in young dogs this can even be fatal. These worms are not visible in the stool, so if your pet is demonstrating any of these symptoms you should take them to a vet who can identify the problem using microscopic examination. Hookworm come from the feces of other animals, so it’s important to keep your cats and dogs away from manure when you’re walking them and to clear any up that you find in the garden.

Heartworms

Heartworms are a parasite of the blood that get transmitted via mosquitoes. The tiny insects transfer baby worms when they bite, and these then travel through the body until they reach the heart and shed microfilaria. Infections are often hard to spot, but in severe cases this can lead to reduced blood circulation and ultimately impact heart function. One sign may be intermittent vomiting, and it’s important to keep an eye out for any abnormal behavior from your pets as heartworm can in severe cases prove fatal if untreated.

Chow Chow Accessories

There are several useful things you can invest in that will help to make life with your Chow Chow easier, healthier, and more fun.

Clicker

A clicker is a very useful tool for training your Chow Chow. This works by allowing you to create an association between the clicking sound and a reward. Thus the clicker itself becomes the reward and there is now no need for you to keep feeding them treats every time they behave (which can quickly ruin their diet!).

Clothes

If you’re going to be walking the Chow Chow regularly, then you should invest in some good clothes to do so in. That means clothes that will be suited to walking (like walking boots), as well as clothes that will keep you warm and dry if it is wet and cold out.

Coats for Chow Chows themselves can also be a good idea to keep them warm if it’s cold out!

Sedatives

Dogs might help us to feel safe at night by guarding our back doors but sometimes the roles are reverse and it’s we who need to help them feel safe. This is certainly the case during fireworks when a dog won’t know what is going on and may very easily get upset. The question is, what can you do to make them feel better?

Believe it or not, you can actually train dogs to find fireworks more bearable. The way to do this is with a sound therapy CD – basically a CD of firework sounds. The idea then is to play this CD quietly in the background while they eat to begin with and then to gradually increase the volume and to alter the time. This way you can gradually get your dog used to loud noises so that they don’t think as much of it when they do later hear actual fireworks. But failing this, you might want to consider getting a sedative, which can help to make your dog feel much calmer when they might otherwise be panicked.

Pet Insurance

Not a physical accessory as such, but certainly something else useful to invest in is pet insurance. This is the number one way to lessen the burden of vet bills. Pet insurance works just like health insurance for people – you pay a monthly premium and this then means that the company will pay out in order to help your animal when it’s needed.

Just like human insurance you will find that different insurance companies offer different rates and different policies and it’s important to ensure that you find the right one. Look for an insurance policy that will cover you against every likely scenario, but avoid paying extra unnecessarily. It’s also worth noting that you shouldn’t wait until your pet is older to take out insurance – not only will this make it more expensive, but you can never predict when your furry friend is going to come down sick or hurt their leg.

It’s also worth noting that you will still need to pay an excess toward the costs, and that most insurers will only pay out to a certain amount. Make sure you are happy with the terms and conditions, and that you still have some money put to one side ready for this eventuality.