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Neck support to hold up a 50lb head!

Discussion in 'Boxer Anatomy and Physiology' started by Kisaq, Feb 24, 2014.

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  1. Kisaq

    Kisaq Super Boxer

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    Ok, I'm being a little sarcastic. But not really.

    I've been having some budding issues with Kisaq (2yr old) riding in the car. He's been panting and quaking a little (btw - he stays in one place, and doesn't thrash around the car in a dangerous way, he just doesn't look comfortable).
    ... and he doesn't jump into the van anymore, I have to give him a boost and he will reluctantly get in.

    At first I thought it was all excitement. Then it started looking more like anxiety or car sickness. It's just not like a boxer to not enjoy car rides!

    So I did the usual things - assuming it was excitement, I tried to have him lay down while riding. Stopped the forward movement until he settled. I shoveled treats into him for a while in case it was anxiety (to make car rides seem wonderful).

    We got a little reprieve here and there but nothing seemed to fix it completely. The best results seemed to be when I covered his ears, so we thought - maybe it's the noise?

    It has been noisy riding because of the hard ice on the roads lately and we have studded tires. And this behavior did all seem to start around December/January when the roads got really bad.

    So the other day I sat in the back and cuddled with him on the bench seat and he immediately relaxed. Instant and complete success. I was holding him rather tightly, trying to be a kind of make-shift thunder-shirt in a way.

    Then as we were riding, I realized how loud it was and BOUNCY back there. The suspension on the van in the cold was not working well at all! I was having a hard time keeping my neck from hurting because I couldn't relax. And I tried to imagine what it would be like for Kisaq with his HUGE HEAVY head on his slender athletic body. And I realized that when I was holding his ears, I was also taking a LOT of the weight of his head as well.

    I tested this theory by just holding his head during a 45 minute ride the other day. Not even a HINT of panting or quaking. So I'm convinced this is the problem. I know, once the ice goes away and the temps warm up, our suspension will improve and the problem will disappear. But what do I do until then?

    Poor thing. It must be very hard work for him to ride because he likes to look out the window, and while I can keep him laying down with his head on the floor for short periods of time - he doesn't like it one bit. Maybe it makes his teeth chatter from the vibration.

    So I'm looking for a solution to help him support that big "50lb" head of his. Something that won't do more harm than good by atrophying the muscles.

    And I'd like to hear if anyone else has run into this or a similar problem with their boxers or big headed brutes. :)
     
  2. Jan

    Jan Reasonable Moderator Staff Member

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    Poor Kisaq! I can certainly understand why he doesn't like car rides very much at the moment. Maybe is you got a nice comfy memory foam bed for in the van he would be more comfortable. It would certainly absorb some of the vibration. It wouldn't help the heavy head much though. :(
     
  3. Gunther

    Gunther Super Boxer

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    With live rear axles (you didn't say what type vehicle so I'm "assuming") usually have a miserable ride in the rear. Add studded tires and bad roads.....

    My friends had a 2000 something Nissan Frontier, we have glass smooth roads out here and I still hated the way that thing rode in the rear, so I feel his pain!


    I think the memory foam bed or pillows would help a great deal. Something for his body and an additional one for his head.

    Maybe even a water pillow for his head?

    And a big bed comforter for a base and to help prop up the pillows or secure them. It would give additional insulation,cushion and noise absorption. Thrift store or outlet center maybe?
     
  4. TwoDogs

    TwoDogs Boxer Insane

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    I'm more inclined to think that it was the comfort provided by your physical contact that made the difference rather than the support to his head. Is there a way you can safely drive but still be able to keep a hand on him or frequently touch him?
     
  5. Kisaq

    Kisaq Super Boxer

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    I wondered that myself. But a hand on his back (even a firm hand) doesn't make as much difference as a hand under his chin/jowls/ears. Today I tested some more. Oddly, a firm grip behind his ears just above his collar line, while his chin rested on the seat helped as much as a holding his head entirely. I was basically pushing his head down to rest on the seat and he finally quieted. And when DH is driving, I can hold him almost in my lap, but if I'm not cradling his head and taking it's full weight, he's just as quaky as he is when not being held at all. :/
    But my mind ran along the same lines ...

    We have just a Ford E series passenger van. 2 WD. Nothing fancy. But it's not a truck. I does run rough though in the winter. The tires get very hard when it is very cold. And they take a while to loose that slight squareness ... lol.
    I should really set up a plushy bed for him back there. He does love his couches and puff puffs at home.

    I already have a memory foam bed... but he didn't show much sign of being a fan like my old boy Buddy was (who LOVED that bed). Maybe I'll try it again - and if I put that under another plushy puff blanket ... who knows. I'll update you later in the week! Let you all know how it goes.

    Does memory foam even work when it's -30F? lol
     
  6. TwoDogs

    TwoDogs Boxer Insane

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    No, it's hard as a rock when it's cold. I'd keep the bed in the house where it will be warm and pliable and only put it in the car when he goes for a ride.

    I wonder if this could be very early signs of vestibular disease? If he were starting to experience slight vertigo, it might be exacerbated by the motion of the car. Watch his eyeballs when he's riding in the car for any involuntary rapid back and forth or up and down movement. Dogs with VD don't always have the eye movement, but it is a likely sign. Is he prone to ear infections?
     
  7. Kisaq

    Kisaq Super Boxer

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    I'll have to research vestibular disease...
    He has not been prone to ear infections - but I never let it get that far. I clean his ears once or twice a month. He get's what we call a "potato farm" in one of his ears fairly regularly.

    Thanks for the tip. I'll look up vestibular and watch for the eye movements.
     
  8. Kisaq

    Kisaq Super Boxer

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    Well... first impression of vestibular disease...

    He certainly has NO signs of balance issues anywhere else in his life. LOL.
    I think he was an acrobat in a former life the way he leaps around and still stays on his feet. :)

    But I'll take the idea seriously and pay closer attention.
     
  9. Gunther

    Gunther Super Boxer

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    It's a live rear axle, it rides like a truck in back. Not dog talk but kinda related. I got sick one time don't remember what and it passed but...

    I couldn't hold my head up, it felt like it weighted well 50lbs!
     
  10. Gunther

    Gunther Super Boxer

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    Hmm OK water pillow is out! But..Subkawi (no chance of spelling that!

    Or a buck wheat pillow, it would form to his head.
     
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