After the Chows is at least a year old it is fine for them to eat one meal a day. Although many choose to feed them twice a day. The feeding time should be consistent as much as possible to maintain proper health. For those who feed once a day it is recommended to feed in the evening, since an animal tends to settle down quietly to sleep after a meal.
When choosing the correct feed for your chow, it is important to remember that the Chow cannot be fed a lot of meat, if you do the dog tends to have skin problems. A good source of protein for them is eggs, rice, cottage cheese, and maybe a small spoonful of meat per meal (but don’t overdo it, it will be more harm than good). One of the most common is rice. Rice is very good for their digestive system and great for a shiny coat. A well recommended dog food is “Solid Gold” (proper vitamins and protein) for the adult. This should be mixed with warm water (no gravy stuff). If you do feed a meal dry, make sure it is a ready-expanded meal otherwise the gases produced in the stomach when the dry food becomes wet could well produce the very serious problem of torsion and cause death of the dog. Most of the food you find in supermarkets tend to be filled with preservatives and added products that can be bad for your dog in the long run. It is best to stick to the same general diet with minor variations (chicken or vegetable stew mixed with meal) to assure a good healthy dog.
The amount of food can vary from dog to dog. Most Chows eat about four cups of food a day, two in the morning and two in the evening or just four in the evening. what ever fits your own commitments. It is very important not to self feed, if the dog eats to much it’s stomach will bloat and can lead to death.
Raw hides are not recommended for any dogs at all. These have killed a good number of dogs due to the fact that the dog can not digest them properly, also from choking on them. If you wish to give the dog a something to chew on the best thing is a cow hoof (they like them better too!).
Clean fresh water should always be available, it’s good to have water inside and out side in case they get locked out for some reason.
Regular grooming with the correct tool is important. You will need steel toothed comb with teeth spaced about an eighth of an inch apart. Stand the Chow on a sturdy, non slip table. First give the coat a lite brushing to remove dust, ect. If there are any tangles, be gentle. Whilst holding the coat flat with one hand, gently part the coat by brushing towards the head. Go over the whole Chow, starting from the head end and working systematically towards the tail. Remember to groom the chest and underbody gently. Pay particular attention with your comb behind the ears and under the forelegs, since knots will occur there unless you take care of it. Also use the comb for the short leg hair, remembering to comb the hocks up an upward direction. Check that the ears are clean, wiping if needed gently with a damp wash cloth. Make sure the eyes are wiped dry. The final finish is a brushing if the coat so that it lies in a tail to head direction enhancing its glamour.
Like other dogs, the Chow will shed twice a year and will also go into heavy shedding after whelping. Naturally, when the dog is shedding , grooming will need to be more frequent. Excerpt from “The Chow Chow”. Author Diana Phillips
Bathing your Chow should not be undertaken too frequently. Unless required for a special reason, it is better not to bath you Chow more often than two or three times a year. An adult Chow outer coat should be harsh to the touch. Too much bathing takes oils the natural oils leaving is soft to the touch and floppy.
Special dog shampoos, including medicated ones, are easily obtainable. A tearless shampoo work real well. Stand you Chow on a rubber mat in the bath to prevent slipping. Wet him/her all over with warm water. Then shampoo, being very careful not to get it in his/her eyes or ears. Rinse thoroughly with warm water (be sure that there is no shampoo left when your done, otherwise you might have skin problems and “hot spots” can start) Wrap him/her in a towel and remove to a grooming table. Be sure that he/she is dry as can be before letting him/her outdoors. Excerpt from “The Chow Chow”. Author Diana Phillips
The Chow is subject to heat prostration if left in a hot closed-in area or the sun. They are particular bothered by extremely high humidity above 80 degrees. Never leave any dog in a car in hot weather. Symptoms of heat prostration are constant panting followed by heavy rasping breathing. If this does happen you must act in immediately ( it will be a matter of life or death), take your Chow into the bath tub with cool water (not ice water at first). Start pouring cool water over the Chow constantly and drop the temperature ever five minutes till the dog is recovered to normal. While cooling the Chow take his/her temperature every few minutes to monitor the cooling progress. After words keep the Chow in a cool area and let him/her rest.
If you need to travel with your Chow in hot weather the car should have air-conditioning. Do not take any unnecessary risk if it is real hot and humid when traveling. At home make sure that there are cool shady places for the Chow to rest. Also keep water bowls full all the time.
The Chow is a slow maturing breed, coming to it’s best at around three to five years old. Many are still very active at twelve or more years old and they can live till fourteen or fifteen. Their eyes and ears may not perceive things as sharply as of old but, in appearance, a Chow does not usually go gray around the muzzle and the coat usually stays dense and thick. An older dog will be happier with two smaller feeds a day rather than one large one. Be watchful that he/she does not become wet, cold or chilled, since the blood circulation is now slower. As they age they seem to sleep more deeply and can become unaware that it is raining. Watch for any arthritic problems and being patient if he is slowing down. Whilst he still need companionship of the dogs he/she is used to, do not let young ones tease him/her. Above all, give your veteran as much love and attention as always…. more, in fact, for he/she has been your loved pet for many years and needs to know that he/she is still important to you.
Always remember the well known maxim:
“A DOG IS FOR LIFE, NOT FOR CHRISTMAS.”
—Diana Phillips, The Chow Chow