Category Archives: Health and Wellness

Every Breath You Take

~ Sounds Like

I often wonder how we do it. You know–raise a puppy. We bring the little bundle home and hover over them. It is essential to do the hovering thing–otherwise, how can you accomplish the housebreaking, etc.? But this obsession with our new fur baby runs deep–some of this never goes away.

Their every sound–a rattling, a snore, a hacking sound is cause for alarm. We watch breath-abated wondering if we need to run to the Vet. Ah–it is hard to know sometimes. We always suggest you wait and watch a bit–possibly take their temperature. Remember that a pet’s temperature is much higher than ours–typically around 101 degrees. Anything above 104 degrees is emergent. Of course, if you were monitoring their temperature and it was 102 degrees and then within an hour 103 degrees, there might be cause for alarm. Always err on the side of caution–but rushing to the Vet for everything is probably not necessary. In fact, your alarm will be internalized by the puppy increasing the stress-factor. Try to stay calm.

A lot–and I do mean a lot, of our concerns, are for nothing. Puppies can cough, they snort, the sneeze, they can reverse sneeze (something we recently learned), they choke, and create a myriad of noises. Many of which are concerning. Most of which are in the end nothing at all. Thank goodness.

Keep your eye on them. A pup can ingest something in quick order–so despite saying not to overreact, there is vigilance. Recently, Henri went under my recliner and came out with a packet –that must have been attached underneath the chair. We didn’t realize it was there, but Henri found two–probably toxic packets. Oh my gosh–it is good we heard the crackling sound and asked what she had. We retrieved each package and tossed them in the trash. Thankfully they were not broken open.

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

Grace & Bella Rae

              “Shela and Cliff — I made it to New Hampshire”

After a flight recovery day(flight went smooth and easy, no issues) everyone tired but now settling into day to day….Grace and Bella Rae are totally bonded❤️

Breeder Comment

You might remember that yesterday’s blog featured Roger and CW–they flew to Salt Lake City. Yes, we get quite a few folks that fly with their Weimaraner puppy. Nonetheless, it is getting more difficult to make these kinds of flights happen. Smaller planes and different carry-on criteria are the reason it is not as easy as it once was. Nonetheless, here are two families who were able to pull it off.

Why fly, you might ask. Well–in many cases, it is the best option. A road trip is not always in the best interest of the puppy. Nor, is it in many cases the best way to start–get the routine going to ensure you are on the right track. The road trip means you have the concern of where to potty your puppy–it is essential to be extremely careful. Parvo has most likely infected every roadside potty area–read up on this dreadful situation, and you will agree. Being very careful is essential. Every year, more pups are lost to this disease than you can imagine. I hold my breath as I write we have never lost an OwyheeStar to Parvo. We want to keep this way.

Another perk with the carry-on experience might not be as evident. People who fly must get their puppy to settle in the travel bag. If you can teach a puppy to settle–you can teach them anything. It is also a great time to bond. There is something about the travel experience of this sort–it sets you up for an extraordinary transition.

Mesquite

An Adventure

~Ends Badly

We were walking Mesquite Monday morning, she was in some tall grass when she let out a war whoop. I thought she had stepped on something sharp, when got over to her she had a big gash in her tummy just ahead of the right rear leg.

We took her to the vet and it took 15 stitches to close her back up.

Someone had broken off an old steel fence post about 8 inches above the ground.

She is on pain meds and antibiotics.

We were darn lucky, because it didn’t bleed much, and we were a mile from the house. I have keeping her in the house. 

I sure hope she comes out okay?

Here is our Mesquite protecting her injury. She hates that tee shirt.

Breeder Comment

We are sad to her that Mesquite has a serious accident. At the same, we are relieved that it was not life-threatening. Thank you, for being quick to get her the care she needed. We will all say a prayer for her speedy and complete recovery.

A Penchant for Paper!

      ~Naughty Maizie, Or Not!

No Paper on My Lips or Anywhere

You wouldn’t believe that this little beauty, MAIZIE, age 6.5, has a penchant for paper!  

You can file this in a chapter of “Weim Crimes!”  Yesterday, we left the house for an hour.  Maizie stayed home.  Usually always on our return home, she happily greets us—smiling, chattering, nibbling, wiggling with glee.  Yesterday she did not greet us.  Uh oh.   (She doesn’t greet us if she’s been naughty).   I found her laying in her living room sofa bed—ears back and shivering!  Uh oh.  Major telltale guilt!  We did a search of the house to find the “evidence” and came up with nothing!  We assumed then that she was just “thinking” about doing something naughty—reason for her guilty behavior.  That was, UNTIL…..
…..I went to make dinner!  Before we left home, I had printed a new recipe, Martha Stewart’s “Bacon-Mushroom-Leek Galette.”  It printed out on 3 pages.  I had left it on the dining room table.  It was nowhere to be found!  
BUSTED!  She didn’t leave a trace!  I had to reprint it to make dinner!  This is why we close our office door when we leave the house, can’t leave mail on the table, or leave a package in sight!  This girl’s got a penchant for paper!
Linda ❤️🐾

Breeder Comment

We cannot believe how smart this girl is, and as I replied–this is not her first paper raid you told us about. Old habits die hard. I guess the good news is it is paper—just so she doesn’t take to eating cash or important documents. (OMG)

Pie Anyone?

Maybe you noticed Nancy’s post regarding Luna and Tikka’s clever pie snatching –or maybe I should say sampling trick. It is too good to not borrow, so I asked Nancy for her permission. (Haha) It seemed like a good Sunday post.

Nancy writes, “When I got back in my truck and checked the pie (that I had hidden under the blanket) “Oh good, the lid’s still on!” “Good girls!” … Upon closer examination, I realize that they weren’t good girls, just clever girls for somehow getting the lid back in place!”

What To Do?

Upsampled Pie Squares, of course!

“Here’s what you do with pumpkin pie that the Weims have sampled.”

😊

Breeder Comment

Well, Nancy, this is perfect example of so many things Weimar related.

  1. How the Weimaraner can find a way, to get their way.
  2. How on the surface things look okay until you find it is not.
  3. How the experienced Weim-person figures a way to make something positive out of what is left. (Haha)

I seriously expect that Tikka and Luna had the  pie leftovers. So things worked out for them. I think it is amazing they didn’t eat the whole pie. 

Tikka says it was mostly Luna–look she has the horn to prove it.

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!!

Food and Such

Life with Bella

     ~and Levi

Levi in Bella's spot on the couch)

“What do you think you are doing Levi? You are in my spot!”

Let me set the backdrop (the scenario, or the stage) what I am going to share with you– before Bella, Levi the 11-yr-old lab was a grazer. I would fill the Bowl in the morning, and there would still be food the next morning.

Since Bella arrived, things have changed.

When she first came, I fed both of them separately because Bella ate different food. That lasted about a week because they both kept eating each other’s food. So I put Levi on the same food as Bella. That worked out perfect. Well, except for one thing.  Bella would chow down her food and then go finish off Levi’s.

I started putting more in Bella’s Bowl and less in Levi’s.  Then Levi started to eat Bella’s food right out of her bowl. Levi would eat a little move on to her own bowl. All the while, Bella hovers over Levi. There is no barking– no growling. It is just Bella silently hovering–watching and waiting. Once Levi’s finished she will go lay down now it’s Bella’s turn to eat.  (It is kind of funny watching cuz it is like she’s waiting. ) Then Bella will growl and bark at Levi who is not even near her (she does this also with treats.) I point this fact out to her to no avail. She has never attacked Levi or anything like that. (She’s such a sweetheart I doubt anything like that would ever happen). I believe this is nothing–it seems to be because I’m able to take the bowl away without her doing anything. It’s just odd that she does this whole grumbling thing, and it is a lengthy process, or I would send a video.

Bella’s new favorite pastime is licking my food air (lol).   I just thought it was kind of a funny story–maybe others will relate.

Have an awesome day
Debbie

Breeder Comment

Debbie, thanks for the effort to write out your funny food-related story. I think people will love reading about it. Also, we agree this is not food aggression–it is good that she allows you to take her dish, etc.
I do believe she is plotting and planning to manipulate the system to her liking. (OMG) Weims are interesting and very intelligent. Those dog intelligence tests don’t work, because when they show their stuff is in the inner circle of their little world. (Haha) You are an awesome Weimloving Mama.

To Wait, Or Not

Nancy Shares Her Thoughts

     ~Spaying and Neutering

Garin's Tikka Panties

To wait or not to wait, that is the question! The current thoughts dictate that it is best to wait until your dog is a year or older to spay. Well, we all want what is the absolute best for our fur babies. They say wait, ok I’m going to wait which means going through at least one heat cycle. Let me tell you going through a heat cycle is not an easy thing, not for the owner or the dog! If you don’t have the time to monitor your pup 24/7 for at least two plus weeks then you should spay before a heat cycle begins. We have let both of our girls go through a heat cycle before spaying. I don’t remember much about Luna’s cycle, but Tikka’s is fresh In My mind!
   Once she started bleeding it was two and a half weeks of dripping, two and a half weeks of not being able to go potty by herself (we have fenced property, but when it comes to breeding nature finds a way!) , two and a half weeks of being kenneled when we leave the house, two and a half weeks of not getting to go out due to her “condition”. My girls hated the bulky diaper things you can buy for dogs in heat so for Tikka … Victoria Secret panties (modified a bit!) with a panty liner seemed to be the most comfortable 😊
  When she finally stopped bleeding I realized that it wasn’t just miserable for me, she seemed genuinely happy to be done with that too, she didn’t understand the changed handling or the change in the way she felt, it was difficult for all of us.
   I would say if you don’t have the time or patience to monitor your pup 24/7  to prevent an unwanted pregnancy then it might be best to spay before the first heat cycle.

Breeder Comment

This topic is often heated–even Veterinarians may disagree on when it is ideal to alter your pet. It is not a topic we want to discuss–especially when it comes to the female. We (Cliff and I) feel the ideal time to alter your Weimaraner might vary from person to person. The hormones do play an essential role in the growth process. Proponents talk about waiting through the first heat-cycle–when that might happen can vary. We like to suggest you hold off a bit–altering around 8 months and sometimes waiting until they are about a year old. The growth plates close sometime between 12-15 months. A male can produce a litter around eight months. Some females show little evidence of being in heat, while others bleed profusely–it can be quite the challenge. Possibly, thinking about as timing rather than the heat cycle would help some of you.

Honestly, many are better off altering their Weimaraner around eight months for the reasons Nancy mentions. We won’t repeat what she has already said. The idea is to alter them around six months. We suggest you consider all the facts and then discuss your options with your Veterinarian of choice. Thank you, Nancy, for sharing your thoughts as well as the experience.

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