Category Archives: General Health

Pet Food

~ In The News

Whipping Cream is still good, right?

We are positive you have heard the news. Grain-free food is out. “Grain-free” (defined as having no corn, soy, wheat, rice, barley or other grains) is linked to Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). It is a type of canine heart disease that affects the heart muscle. Food for your fur family members is always a hot topic. Raising a concern such as this is the type of thing that makes a lot of good pet owners think twice about what they are feeding.

Click Here to Read the Report–and for your convenience here are the foods on their:

  • Acana (67 reports)
  • Zignature (64 reports)
  • Taste of the Wild (53 reports)
  • 4Health (32 reports)
  • Earthborn Holistic (32 reports)
  • Blue Buffalo (31 reports)
  • Nature’s Domain (29 reports)
  • Fromm (24 reports)
  • Merrick (16 reports)
  • California Natural (15 reports)
  • Natural Balance (15 reports)
  • Orijen (12 reports)
  • Nature’s Variety (10 reports)
  • Nutrisource (10 reports)
  • Nutro (10 reports)
  • Rachael Ray Nutrish (10 reports)

We believe all our Weim-loving folks are buying what they believe is in the best interest of their fur family member. You might wonder about our recommendation or what we are using. We like the two options we list below for our adults. Which one of these foods a particular Weimaraner eats depends upon their dietary need, age, etc.—Cliff makes that calls. They are not considered Grain-free, because they contain rice. The allergens that seem to cause the most issues in our beloved Weimaraner are beef, corn, barley, and wheat. Along with the food we use for the adults, we are also listing the puppy food we use as well.

Not Just Grain-Free

~Let’s Not Forget Recalls

While we are all in an uproar about the grain-free diet potentially causing health issue, let’s not forget all the recalls. Click Here to check out the list. Honestly, we don’t know if there is a company that has avoided a recall, but we believe the last time Diamond had a problem was in 2012. When you look at this list of recalls, it will put that into perspective. It was a minimal recall which didn’t affect the Pacific NW if I recall correctly.

Everyone is going to have to make up their mind about what to do. Keep in mind though–each company makes a variety of food–under various labels. Their less expensive food is often something you want to avoid–of course, But a more costly food doesn’t always mean it is the best choice for you fur family member. For example, the highly touted Diamond made Taste of the Wild is identified with a serious implications.

Just Putting This Out There

Nestle owns Purina–say what? Click Here to view the 15 companies making most of the pet food. For a quick reference, look below.

Mars –Altogether Mars Petcare owns 41 brands including Pedigree, Iams, Whiskas, Royal Canin and Banfield Pet Hospitals. Of course there are other foods made under different labels or brands: California Naturals, Catson, Cesar, Chappi, Dreamies, Eukanuba, Sheba and Temptations.

Nestle –it might shock you to learn that the second largest pet food producer is another candy company. Nestlé Purina PetCare brands include recognizable names such as: Alpo, Bakers, Chef Michael’s Canine Creations, Dog Chow, Fancy Feast, Felix, Gourmet, Kit & Kaboodle, Purina and Purina ONE.

Hills — Science Diet, Prescription Diet, Ideal Balance and Healthy Advantage. 

Diamond — Diamond, Diamond Naturals, Diamond Naturals Grain-Free, Nutra-Gold, Nutra-Gold Grain-Free, Nutra Nuggets Global, Nutra Nuggets US, Premium Edge, Professional and Taste of the Wild.

Blue Buffalo — BLUE, Basics, Wilderness, Freedom, Life Protection Formula, Naturally Fresh and LifeSource Bits.

Well Pet — Sojos, Wellness Natural Pet Food, Holistic Select, Old Mother Hubbard Natural Dog Snacks and Eagle Pack Natural Pet Food.

Merrick –Backcountry, Backcountry Raw, Before Grain, Classic, Good Buddy, Grain Free, Lil’ Plates, Limited Ingredient Diet, Natural Ultramix, Organix, Purrfect Bistro, Treats and Whole Earth Farms.

Ainsworth —  Dad’s, Rachel Ray Nutrish, Better Than and Kibble Select Complete.

Dear friend, if you to write us about what to do, you will get a link to this Blog. We have gotten several Emails from concerned Weimlovers. We understand. Honestly–there is a lot to consider when selecting any pet food. We are not Licensed Veterinarians, or Licensed Vet Techs, or Canine Food Scientists. The only thing we have to share is what we read and our experience. If you have been feeding a Grain-free diet, you might want to rethink your food situation. I believe you are going to see a huge shift away from grain-free pet foods.

We Are Busy

~ Ace of Clubs

Ace busy pruning my wisteria this morning 😬

Vaccine

The vet has agreed to administer the vaccines according to the Weimaraner protocol. He was prescribed an antibiotic for his eyes. We are hoping that his umbilical hernia will close by itself. I think it already looks smaller. His weight was 15 and 1/2 lbs. It seemed to me that he weighed a little more when we got him but he is eating, sleeping, playing and getting longer legs!! He is a beauty❣️
Dee and Mike

Diarrhea, Etc.

~ Not what I thought (whew)!

I just wanted to let you know that all is going very well despite a young puppy’s voracious appetite and sharp teeth!!I believe we are off to a solid start. We have completed the AKC registration and the registration for the microchip. We have adjusted the feedings to 1 cup 3x a day. Unfortunately Ace thinks he needs more. Lot’s more!!You know what happens to a dog when you cross that line. Yep! Diarrhea!! We tried listening to him and that’s what we got 🙃

Just set your mind at rest, I turned in a stool sample on Saturday and it was negative 😊

He is sitting and knows his name. Mostly responds to “Ace come” when called. A terrific pottier outside 👍🏻We are monitoring the umbilical hernia but are not concerned. His eye infections are cleared up but he has to finish 3 more days of the antibiotic.I hope all the rest of his litter mates are doing well❣️🐾🐾🐾🐾🐾🐾🐾🐾
Dee and Mike and Atkins Ace of Clubs

Breeder Comment

Thanks for the detailed updates –we are thrilled to hear that Ace is doing well. Yes, the last minute little hernia appears to be nothing of significance. I am glad you are not worried. Over the years, we have learned that doing as little as possible with these seems to be the best choice–only fix a larger one that is more risky.

We are glad you had the stool sample checked. With young pups it is always wise to check to be sure nothing more is going on–but you have this covered. It appears other folks are doing well–at least that is what we have heard.

Parvo Paranoia

~ Real or Imagined

Our Client Asked —

Luna not too long before she joined her family.

Is the Parvo virus threat just until they get through their 16 week Titler test? Or is it until they reach a certain age? Just a little unclear what constitutes them being safe for public areas/dog parks etc. If you get the titer test done at 16 weeks it will show if she has immunity to Parvo and if you also have her tested for the Distemper it would also show that. Last time we just tested for the Parvo because Distemper just is not something they are seeing in our area. 

OwyheeStar’s Response

Parvo is a very real risk. Ask any Vet office and they will tell you that the risk is out there, and it is beyond sad when a puppy comes in and they are determined infected. We have never had an OwyheeStar puppy diagnosed with Parvo. Nonetheless, even though nowhere in the Pacific NW is listed as a ‘Hot Spot’ we still need to exercise caution.

I think if you take your puppy for a walk in the neighborhood you should wipe the feet (not let them lick her paws) and make sure they are not investigating a lot of areas where the ground might be infected. In all likelihood, your local neighborhood (if it is a low traffic area) may be fairly safe.

So what do I mean by low traffic? A place less traveled by those with pups. Any area where people are taking random puppies (which might be unknowingly infected). It is understandable that the owner doesn’t yet have a clue. The pups begin shedding the virus long before there is a definitive sign that they are ill. So they are leaving behind the virus everywhere. Of course, they are infecting the ground. But did you know if you viewed this virus under the microscope that one end is barbed–it sticks to clothing, shoes, etc. It is very portable which makes the spread even more commonplace.

More Information

Here are a couple of links that talk about the prevalence of Parvo and how to avoid it—and while it sounds paranoid, you want to socialize the puppy BUT avoid risk.  

Parvo In Puppies

Parvo Virus in Dogs

Precautions

~We are extra careful

We always leave the pups in the car (when scheduled for the Veterinary Wellness) until the room is ready at the Vet office. It is essential to avoid exposure—to Parvo, Kennel Cough, etc. We never take a young dog that doesn’t have immunity to public places including pet stores (where well-meaning folks might share the virus) such a  Pet Store, Park, Dog Area, or even to socialize at the local Farm Store– etc.

The Vaccine Titer Test

Once the Titer test shows immunity (with a high titer count) you are good to go. We honestly believe if you follow our vaccine protocol you will attain protection. Then by getting the sixteen-week titer test (instead of the typical puppy shot) it is going to allow you to have the freedom to be anywhere. In the meantime though, visit friends homes in a fenced back yard—where pets are vaccinated, etc. Figure out ways to safely socialize your puppy–a hundred different touches in a hundred days would be a good goal. Do what you can–but be safe, my friend.

Expert Advice

~ We Do What we are able

Breeder Comment

Cliff and I get a lot of Email inquiries–most are from folks hoping we have a puppy that can make their dream come true. Others are from folks like Dale–seeking advice and making commentary on our blog. We cannot always offer the level of advice some need or expect. Recommendations are hard to give when we are not in the loop and time is limited; however, we do what we are able to do. In this situation, we shared the food we have used and some information about the Weimaraner and heart issues. We have not seen many cases –so relax. Nevertheless, there are plenty of things that can go wrong when it comes to health. We always recommend being as Holistic in your approach as possible. I have posted Dale’s note (with his permission)–maybe some of you can identify with Dale. We all can agree that the loss of our beloved Weimaraner is something inexplicable. There are no words to adequately describe our relationship and the hole they leave behind. It is best to focus on what they brought to our life–to count every day allotted a blessing.

From Dale

Hello Shela,  Your Owyheestar blog is the first email I open EVERY day.   And re-read.   And forward to friends and family.  I know it’s a lot of work keeping up with the blog, but know that you do a great job, and all these Weimaraner pix and stories warm a lot of hearts.    Although we adopted Duke, our Weim, at 1, we did not get him from you.  Though we will next time.  But this question is important to you and all your Weim lovers.   I stumbled upon your website a few months after we lost our beloved Weimaraner, Duke (below) at age 10.   He was a bullet running, swimming, hiking, playing until two weeks before he died of asymptomatic congestive heart failure and cardiomyopathy.   It’s been almost 8 months and I still can’t believe he’s gone.   Such a personality. I’d like to discuss your food recommendations.  I purchased what I researched as the best foods, mixing up flavors every month.   The brands were Origen, Acana and Zignature.  Mainly Acana.   They all had high protein levels (28%), and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.   No grain.  He received 5 cups of food a day, mostly chicken, beef and fish, until shortly before he died.  One month after Duke died, research came out from Joshua Stern, UC Davis, that certain foods that were high in legumes, were linked to heart disease in several breeds that lack a genetic history of the ailment.  (Canine diluted cardiomyopathy CDM)  Apparently these expensive boutique foods had a taurine deficiency.  Meats have plenty of taurine, but legumes do not.   So the red flag is legumes listed in the first six ingredients of the food.   Also, chicken and beef are high in taurine, while many exotic meats such as lamb, rabbit and others, and legumes have little or none.  Research is ongoing, and I know that CDM happens in these big-hearted dogs like Weims, pointers, etc.  I don’t know if the food caused or contributed to Duke’s premature death, but given his excellent health, it is a possibility.   But have you heard anything?   And what foods do you recommend? Also, we’re wondering about getting another Weim at our age.   I’m 66, my husband is 68, and we’re not sure we can keep up and do justice to another Weim.   Any thoughts on this?  Thank you for all you do, Dale

Turkey Talk

Thanksgiving

          ~What We Don’t Want

Where's the Turkey

The emergency Vet Vist probably tops our list. It is the quickest way to spoil our celebration. Nonetheless, is there a time when our attention is more divided? The snatch and grab Weimaraner could abscond with some spectacular finds. They are everywhere–the counter, the dining table, the plates, and possibly on the floor. One thing you might overlook–the rising bread dough or rolls. Bread Dough Toxicosis can prove life-threatening. Maybe a toddler is waving a turkey leg. Is that an invite? The opportunist Weimaraner will make the most of this food-driven holiday gathering.

The humans at your table–they are a significant threat to the Weimaraner. Who doesn’t want to sneak the pup a treat? But too many sneaks and the gut can become overloaded even with acceptable food. The sensitive Weim might have a bout of pancreatitis from too much fatty food. Then there are the cooked poultry bones–be sure if you throw them out it is where the Weimaraner cannot steal them.

You Might Consider

IMG_5035What if you made a plate for the Weimaraner that everyone could help share? This plating idea might work. Here are some excellent choices.

  • Turkey — no bones
  • Green beans (plain)
  • Squash or Pumpkin (plain)
  • Apple slices (without the seeds)

Avoid These

      ~ to mention a few

  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Stuffing
  • Gravy
  • Corn on the Cob
  • Nuts (pecans and Macadamia)
  • Grapes and Raisins

You can bake a Weim cookie or a Weim pie that forgoes the seasonings. Eggs and pumpkin and a tiny bit of milk will bake up nicely. You could make the crust using treats. Possibly make them in a silicone cupcake pan or cupcake papers. We are not saying it cannot be a lot of fun for the Weimar too. However, no one wants the unthinkable to spoil all the fun.

Remember, it is all good and fun until the unthinkable happens!

Here’s to an excellent Thanksgiving Day Celebration for all our Weim-loving Friends!!

Cliff and Shela

Water and Your Weimaraner

     ~Puppy Swim

Most of you know that we try to swim puppies–time and weather permitting. Above is a GoPro Video of a litter swim taken a couple of years ago. It gives you a different perspective. Some pups are excellent swimmers; others struggle a little. Nonetheless, we have never had a puppy fail to be able to swim. Does this mean they will naturally take to the water? No! If you expect them to jump and take off, you may be disappointed. It will most likely require work to get them into the water and swimming. This effort is work we hope you invest. We deem this an essential part of the puppy raising process.DSC03640

The Why and the How

Over the years we have written extensively on how to achieve the swim. More and more of our clients have managed to do this. Sometimes to their own surprise. It is one of the best things you can do for yourself and the Weimaraner.

To expend energy. The growing Weimaraner has boundless energy; however, they cannot be beating the pavement to run off this energy. Until the growth plates close, you need to limit high impact exercise. Many experts agree that about three miles is the limit. Imagine how quickly the Weimaraner puts in the three miles. Seriously, about a mile into your run they have probably gone this far. Using the swim is the ideal way to exercise without causing damage to the growing joints. We would go so far as to suggest it probably helps your Weimaraner get more years and miles from their body. That is something that serves everyone’s best interest. We think you can agree.

Hunter or not you need to master the recall. You say what do you mean by the recall? That is coming when called. Getting the retrieve to hand is also a part of the recall. The rock solid come when you call or give a command–verbal or otherwise. The bringing of a bumper or toy back to you. Keep away it funny and laughable; however, we don’t feel this is ever in the best interest of the Weimaraner or you.

Cliff and I suggest you find an area where there is no escape route. For example–a hallway (closing all the adjoining doors) will work for this exercise. You want to make this an exciting event. Something that they look forward to doing with you. Sit down in that hallway and work on the retrieve at least every day. You want to ingrain the love of the retrieve as well as getting them to bring the dedicated item it to hand. This discipline will serve you well and help you achieve the swim.

The hallway exercise should begin as soon as they arrive. Make it an event–the same person, the same bumper or toy, and somewhat a routine. Five-Seven throws blocking the exit with your body. Toss and retoss keeping the excitement going. This activity should be fun, short-lived, and you want to stop while they are still excited. Once you have the rock solid recall—then you can move to the yard. You may need to use a check cord in the larger venue. If you don’t know what that is, ask us. It is a long line that attaches to their collar and allows you to reel them back to you. Always giving them praise like it was all their idea.

Why the Retrieve

The Weimaraner that is in loves the retrieve then can be worked along the water–at first shallow water. A pond or something similar is ideal. Slopping sides even better. That way they can play at the water’s edge and retrieve. Eventually, you can edge them out a bit, and they will take off and swim a couple of strokes. This process takes patience. You might wonder how long. Can we say it takes as long as it takes? Typically, Cliff gets the water-retrieve in two weeks or less. The rewards are almost endless. You can do this! Believe in the process. Stay optimistic. Keep it fun. Stay at it until you achieve success.

Running Companions

For the long distance runner, this is the best way to set the Weimaraner up as your running companion. The growth plates typically close around 15 months. By then you should have them swimming. The waterwork can keep your running companion in the tip-top shape you need as well as help them develop muscles which may help prevent injury.

To Burn Off Energy

For those less inclined or find themselves challenged to keep up with the Weimaraner, this is an excellent way to burn off the excess energy. The Weimaraner will still be able to join you on walks, etc. But tiring the Weimaraner out is challenging. The waterwork helps and does it without injury. Of course, there are other pros to having the water-friendly Weimaraner.

Imprinting the Idea

We swim the pups with the idea that it imprints this experience. If you wonder, the Weimaraner has webbed toes. There are hundreds of updates on our blog that feature OwyheeStar pups and adults enjoying the water–swimming, retrieving, and playing in it. We hope you will achieve the swim.

Here is Stackhouse — a strong swimmer

Product Review

Breeder Comment

Dear Weimlovers and OwyheeStar Fans!

You know us well, I think. We don’t make a habit of endorsing products unless it is something we believe in and want to recommend. You might remember we are reviewing products for Chewy.com. We cannot recommend them (the company) enough. Rather than discussing all the reasons, can I suggest you try them? If you have, I believe you will come to the same conclusion we did. They have excellent prices, customer service as well a wide array of products.

Natural Flea and Tick Towelettes

IMG_1812Pet Naturals (of Vermont) makes the Flea +Tick 60 Pre-Moistened towelettes we are reviewing. Honestly, Cliff opened them and used them for the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association Hunt Test (last weekend). Ticks are an issue along the rivers and lakes–reports are that they are a lot worse this year. He wiped down Winnie before she got out at the test site. Cliff said he loves the convenience as well as the fact that it is so pleasant smelling.

Christina has started to use them on the pups that are out in the yard. We sincerely hope they will help deter gnats. Some puppies end up with little gnat bites because their tummies are rubbing the lawn. We don’t use chemicals on our yards. These wipes repel fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and flies so it seems reasonable that they should work for gnats, too. Yes, they are safe for puppies and kittens. You do have to reapply every 2-3 days though. Nonetheless, being holistic and natural appeals to us when we are talking about our sensitive Weimaraner. Like anything, we suggest you try them on one area before jumping in wholeheartedly and discovering your Weimaraner is allergic–we don’t believe that should be an issue; however, caution is the smart approach.

Buzzwords Aside

Holistic

     ~Veterinary Care

Dusty-4342-2 2Cliff and I proponents of a more Holistic approach to caring for the beloved Weimaraner. Limitations may exist–possibly a budget issue. Nonetheless, we always recommend you feed a quality grain-free appropriate food. Some folks have gone so far as to opt for a cooked diet or the raw diet. These are very personal choices, and if you choose them rather than the typical kibble menu, you need to do your research.

What does the Holistic approach entail? Most assuredly it begins with the diet. Many ailments and health issues can be avoided with a proper diet. In truth, one type doesn’t fit all. Some Weims like certain humans are allergic to various things–grains, specific proteins, and particular grasses. Removing these from their environment is the right decision. Ultimately, the choices you and your Veterinarian make should be Holistic in their approach–building their immune system and improving the Weimaraner’s health.

Beyond the diet, there are other considerations such as the vaccine protocol and medications. We won’t go into detail here. Nonetheless, we have shared on several occasions about some medications that are best avoided. The vaccine protocol is something we discuss with every puppy client. Immunization is essential, but you need to know and understand the Weimaraner vaccine recommendations. There is a reason that the Weimaraner Club of America makes such recommendations.

Click here to read what Dr. Jeff Feinman has to say, here is an excerpt from one of his articles:

In a Holistic practice we see our patient’s current health status as part of a continuum which begins before birth and ends in death, with each step along the way influencing what happens subsequently. Thus, rather than selectively suppressing or palliating a symptom, the aim is to elevate the health status so that not only are today’s symptoms addressed curatively, but we leave our patient healthier and more resilient for the days to come. If maladies are truly cured early in life, the patient will grow old gracefully and without the common degenerations we have come to call “normal” aging processes. (There is a great difference between “common” and “normal”.)

What About

Worms

      ~and Other Parasites

3-Juniper X Boone 2018 Wk3-17This topic (of worms) is not one we like to discuss unless we are talking about putting the fishing worm on the hook–even then, to many it is a nauseating thought. Nonetheless, worms and parasites are opportunistic. They find ways to survive inside your pet as well as in extreme environmental conditions. Dog’s Naturally has posted some natural solutions that you might find helpful. Here is their article —click here to find out more.

Signs of Worms

Some worms cause more obvious symptoms than others. I’ve provided more specific symptom information below along with information about the different types of worms (See Types of Worms below) … but here are a few clues your dog may give you that could mean he has worms:

  • Intermittent or frequent diarrhea or vomiting can be signs your dog has worms.
  • Your dog may have a fever.
  • He may scoot and lick his rear (though scooting can mean other things too).
  • Your dog may be off his food or be a little lethargic; his coat may look dull.
  • You might see stools that are coated in mucus (but otherwise look normal).
  • Or you might see squiggly worms or “rice bodies” in his stool.

But some worms can’t be seen with the naked eye, so if your dog’s showing some of these signs, you might want to get a fecal sample analyzed by your vet.

Cliff and I suggest you keep your eye on the pooh–I know it doesn’t sound lovely, but getting a fecal check can help you avoid some of the more unpleasant scenarios. A loose stool doesn’t always mean there is something amiss, but when something like that happens, you want to keep watch. Of course, we love adding the pumpkin (or even banana squash). We are planting Banana Squash in our garden. Right now I only have two hills ready to plant. I would like more, but we have to see if we can make more room. Last year, I baked the banana squash and frozen it in chunks for easy serving. The Weims love it!

Extraordinary

Weim Families

     ~ Like Virginia

dog-pond

Here is a picture of the pond I had built for my babies Dusty and Stormy (Weims).

Mom I don't look like a Blue, ....I am a Blue Weimaraner. I love this pond you built Mom...

Breeder’s Comment

Maybe you follow OwyheeStar Weimaraners both here and on Facebook. If so, you know about the late Stormy and our aging Dusty.

Seriously I thought I was the go-to person

 

These are not the same Weims–they are Virginia’s Stormy and Dusty. Ours and Virginia’s Weims are all the Blue Weimaraner. Virginia’s Stormy is a Blue Longhair Weimaraner.

OwyheeStar’s Dusty is the father of both of Virginia’s pups. He is a smooth-coated Weimaraner (pictured to the left), but he carries the DNA marker for the Longhair. This Story originally ran some time ago.–click here to read the full story.