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     ~Fireworks can screw up a dog faster than anything.


From Steve Snell @

        Gun Dog Supply

IMG_4089Everybody needs to be careful with fireworks around their young dogs and older dogs that have not been properly conditioned to gunfire (see video).

Fireworks are unnatural. You don’t have a lot of control over when or where the noise happens. Fireworks can screw up a dog faster than anything. It’s a lot harder to fix a gun shy or noise sensitive dog than it is to prevent gun shyness in the first place.

This year, only one of my dogs is showing a little gun sensitivity, so Loretta is going to stay in the house over the holiday while the neighbors are shooting off fireworks.

Here are some tips to prevent fireworks sensitivity in your dogs:

  • Keep your dogs as far away from fireworks as possible.
  • If possible, bring your dogs inside in a closed-off, interior room.
  • Block out the noise with a TV, radio, or white-noise maker.
  • Check with your neighbors about their fireworks plans.
  • Ask for a phone call before they start.

Sometimes the fireworks start before New Year’s Eve or the 4th of July and run a few days after the holiday.

There is NO REASON for a dog to be around fireworks, and I do everything I can to keep my dogs away from them. Usually dogs conditioned to gunfire can handle the noise of fireworks, but there really isn’t anything good about them as far as dogs are concerned. We sell a couple of products that are designed to help dogs get over the fear of fireworks, but I really prefer NOT to have to sell them.


My biggest concern is that a dog will hurt themselves trying to get away from the noise. My second concern is that exposure will create a gun shy or noise-sensitive problem where there doesn’t have to be one.


Just because a dog is noise-sensitive to fireworks, does NOT necessarily mean that will translate into gunshyness, but why take a chance?

My best gun dog ever, Em, never had a problem with gunfire, but she was so afraid of thunderstorms that we had to build a special top for her kennel run so she couldn’t climb out or hurt herself trying.


I was at a party a few years back and watched a new dog get exposed to fireworks completely the wrong way. The dog was in her kennel but still in full view of everything that was going on. Once the fireworks started she became more and more upset and wanted out of the kennel. To calm her down they let her out of her crate and she made a break for it. They didn’t find her for two days.

The volume and brightness of fireworks is just too much for most dogs and nothing good is going to come from it. Please take the time to protect your pets while the possibility of unexpected explosions are around.

I do my best to keep all my dogs away from any kind of fireworks. Even dogs that have been properly conditioned to gunfire can become upset or nervous when exposed to fireworks. It just isn’t worth it.

Fireworks happens twice a year with New Year’s and Fourth of July. You might want to condition your dogs to fireworks, especially if you live where your dogs will be exposed a couple of weeks out of the year. It never hurts to check with your neighbors about their fireworks plans. Give them a heads up that you have a young dog and ask them to give you a call before they start.

People don’t think about fireworks until it’s too late, so think about it a little now. The majority of dogs don’t have a problem with it, but some do. Why take a chance? No point in stressing your dogs out.

Remember, if you want to shoot fireworks, be safe and have fun. Just keep in mind that unexpected noise and stress could create a problem where one doesn’t exist. — Steve

Extending Our Time

Delicate Discussions

   ~ Part One

Roxy's FamilyThe last two blogs (Roxy’s story) and (Olli who lost his fur brother) have dealt with the loss of the Weimaraner. There are simply no words to cover such a loss. We can agree on this one thing—what we want to do is to push off the inevitable as long as possible.

This heartfelt desire begs the question of what we can do to make a big difference. We have some thoughts. Our suggestions cover the unexpected accidental loss as well as avoiding potential health issues. Our hope is for every OwyheeStar puppy to arrive at the Rainbow Bridge’s door late in life.

Accident Related Loss

Every few months we get a note about a Weimaraner who has lost their life due to an accident. These events vary–by nature each is unique; however, the underlying cause is similar. Some of the standout scenarios are listed here along with suggestions on how to avoid this type of thing. Eating or ingesting various non-edibles is a common theme. There are other dangers too, but we often forget the Weimaraner will eat anything. 

1. Toys — Even rubber toys lose their integrity. Depending upon your Weim’s chewing strength, you may need to (always) supervise their chewing. Other toys have squeakers that can become an issue and the rope bones, which are a good choice, don’t work for every Weimaraner. Bits of ingested string can build up in and along the intestinal wall leading to a blockage or irritation. A blockage can happen fast and be hard to discover in time to save your pet. Vomiting and not passing a stool are indicators–but these two symptoms are not a sure sign. The same signs for other ailments and sometimes are just mean it is an upset tummy. It is best to get your Weimaraner checked if this is a prolonged event. Taking their temperature (rectally) might not seem all that pleasant, but it can help you determine the seriousness of the event. (The normal dog temperature is 101.5°F (38.6°C). A rising temperature is alarming –-you need to know the standard temperature for your pet because it is much higher than for humans.

2. Medications and things sink side — One of the most heartrending stories involved a Weimaraner that ate someone’s medication–kept at the kitchen sink for convenience. The counter-surfing Weimaraner nabbed the bottle and ate it, and the contents. By the time they got him to the Vet office, it was too late. The Weimaraner might eat anything it seems–we have had others report sponges, dishrag, food, food-scented trash, etc. Sponges and the dish rag could lead to a blockage. Food has all kind of potential risk–bones can puncture the intestine wall, and some food (even the most innocuous kind like the avocado) are potentially toxic.

3. Around the House –There are many things to mouth and ingest. Some are shocking to us. One such item happens more than you might guess. Certain Weims are so obsessed with you and your scent that they may raid your laundry basket. Undergarments have the strongest scent, and some Weims will ingest these–another potential intestinal blockage issue. More often than not, they will pass, but you might discover something hanging out the back end. A hankie, undies, or the sock that made for a quick snack. (oops)

4. In the Fenced Yard –These are multifaceted. The Weimaraners are known for ingesting rocks; sometimes they pack them around in the mouth, and this is hard on their teeth. Pica (ingesting items such as rocks) seems odd to us, but it happens a lot. Marble-sized rocks to those the size of a large plum (such as river rock) are ideal. Rocks sometimes will travel through without a hitch; other times (all too often) they cause an intestinal blockage. Sharp edged rocks can irritate or puncture the intestinal wall. Rocks are not the only culprit in your yard. There are a plethora of toxic plants commonplace. Ones we would never suspect. Anything in the yard (including your house siding) could be chewed. We have known of a Weimaraner left in the yard that dug up a sidewalk, and she ingested bits of concrete. While we are discussing the backyard, some Weims can open gate latches. Others dig and can tunnel out of the yard. Then there are those that if they want to get out to explore, they can easily bound over a 5′ fence. Another danger is a collar that would catch them and strangle them. One extreme dog lover tied his and his brother’s dog to a tree. They didn’t have a fence, and they were only going to the corner store for a moment. Both dogs climbed the tree they were tied to–the young men came back to find the Weimaraner’s collar had caught on a branch she slipped, and you can guess what happened. This haunting experience will never be forgotten (the young man is a practicing Veterinarian). May this serve as a warning to others who think to tie their Weim for a few moments would be the safest solution. It didn’t work out in this situation.

5. Road Dangers

A six-acre yard and a well-trained Weimaraner should not be a problem; however, the devastating loss of their family member proved them wrong. A deer or something spurred the Weimaraner to give chase. Later they found him on a road even though they lived in a remote Northern Idaho location. The inherent desire to give chase (also known as the prey drive) is always lurching in the background–even when you have achieved the seemingly unfailing recall. Traveling with the Weimaraner is not without risk either. Some folks believe it is OK to have them ride in the back of their pickup–some tie them in, so they won’t fall out. Others let them roam free. More than one Weimaraner has seen something that sparked their sudden urge to give chase, and over the side, they went. Not everyone lost their life, but some did. One Christmas Eve in warm Arizona a woman was traveling with her Weimaraner. She had the windows down–the breeze blowing in their faces. She was on the way to a family dinner when her Weimaraner jumped out the window. He rolled down a bank breaking several bones. He lived, but they spent the night at the Emergency Vet Office instead of having a family dinner. He had traveled with the window frequently open; she had no reason for concern until this happened.

Others types of accidents happen but are less commonplace. Day two–we will discuss the other random things that may well shorten your time with your beloved friend and family member. The Weimaraner’s human must look out for their well-being on every level. A watchful eye for the seemingly puppy-like nature and the dangers to this breed are required. We thank you for your vigilance.


~ Shela and Cliff


PS: We bemoan the lack of photos; however, we were at a loss for which one to put here. We also didn’t cover things like Holiday Mishaps–and the dangers posed by the 4th of July and such. It was a lengthy post, and we have written on these topics many times.



Safe 4th Of July

graphics-fireworks-399589Happy Birthday, America!



As birthday celebrations go, American’s Independence Day is spectacular. It tends to begin early and drag on for days afterward. This scenario is to many a person and their pet’s chagrin. Even the rock-solid gun dog may well shake and quiver at the barrage of blasts coming from seemingly ever direction. It is no secret that every year shelters are filled to overflowing, and workers are scrambling to reunite pets with their families. We trust everyone has their pet’s microchip on file with AKC Reunite–this can get them back to you quickly should the unthinkable happen.

Separation is not the only untoward situation stemming from this holiday. Fireworks poisoning is a thing–click here to get the details. If it isn’t enough that so many pets are traumatized by the blasts, there are other ways to get into trouble. We don’t want to think about those things on a day like to today, but ingested fireworks can lead to an emergency situation. For the pet that isn’t afraid of anything, they might chase and capture the pod–they might swallow poison or get burned. Then too, while you have your eyes on the sparklers or whatever, who would see the Weimaraner’s stealthy action at the food table or in the garbage. Cooked bones (in particular poultry) can be deadly. Long after the plate is cleaned (or the trash raided) the reality can surface. It is hard to be vigilant 24 X 7 on a day such as today. The Weimaraner is paw-ty smart and manipulative by nature.

Thank you, for including your Weimaraner in the family activities. Only you know what is appropriate. We mention these potential dangers because it is impossible to think of everything in the midst of all we are doing to make the day special. We don’t want your holiday ruined due to one moment you let down your guard. Here’s to hoping everyone comes through without a hitch. Have a fabulous 4th of July!

PS: This photo at the top is of Lily–from her Daycare this week where they celebrated the holiday early.

Horrible Night in the Portland Area

Rupert was Troubled by the endless Fireworks

11701110_10153178359763025_805181680000824788_nMama can you make it stop please?!

11541992_10153178359823025_7741805441985125290_nSeriously will it ever end?

11659320_10153179881268025_7638900748062347412_nIs it the end of the world Mama?


I’m so tired; I didn’t sleep a wink and this Thundershirt (you put on me) sure attracted the noise Mama.

From Cliff and Shela-Thank you, Wendy for keeping Roo safe. Not every Weimaraner or pet is so fortunate to be loved and cared for in such a manner. 

The Snake River Versatile Gun Dog Club

Today Marks Twenty Years

Snake LogoYou have no idea what it takes to put this event on. Heidi Wayne Funke has championed this cause along with her husband, Jeff, for twenty years. It takes dedication, and a type of stamina many of us could not fathom. After working a long day at FedEx, she goes home almost every spring evening to work on this event. There are countless phone calls to make, as well as details to organize. It takes a lot of organizational-ability, and more than a little knack to get the necessary volunteers. We know she is thankful for the faithful, who help year-in-and-year out; however, without her this event could not continue. Not only is this great for dog owners, the organization has given back to the community.

Protect them from their curiosity

Protect them from their curiosity

When you see this little green snake emblem, remember who has made this possible. Furthermore, keep in mind the beautiful person who orchestrates this for those who have a beloved fur family member. No one wants their pet to be lost to a snake bite.

The time you invest could save both you, and your companion. Your pet will learn how to avoid rattlesnakes by sight, smell, and sound. How great is that? This is important for hikers, campers, hunters, and anyone enjoying the great-outdoors.

Thank You

          Snake River Versatile Hunting Dog Club

OwyheeStar wants to stop, and say thank you. We appreciate you (the SRVGDC, and Heidi and Jeff Funke) for making this an annual event for twenty years.

It is Not Too Late  

The 2015 Registration is now Closed.

Nevertheless, you may still have your dog trained as a walk-up customer for $60. Here are the details:


Sunday ~ June 14, 2015

  • Veterans Memorial Park in Boise, Idaho
  • 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM
  • $50.00 per dog with a reservation.
  • $60.00 per dog without a reservation.  Walk-ups are welcome.
  • Dogs must be 6 months or older.
  • All breeds accepted for training.
  • Each dog takes approximately 20 minutes to complete the training.
  • Red Rock Biologics Rattlesnake vaccine administered by Idaho Veterinary Hospital at $13 per vaccination.

They also partner with Idaho Fish and Game who will be presenting a Trap Awareness seminar. The Trap Awareness seminar is Free and No Appointment is Required.    You are encouraged to visit the Idaho Fish and Game’s fascinating exhibit anytime throughout our Community Service event!

Idaho’s Premier

Rattlesnake Avoidance Training for Dogs

is conducted by

The Snake River Versatile Gun Dog Club

A Non-Profit Organization Since 1988

For More Information

          Please Check Out This Link:

Joy encounters bench danger

Hi Shela & Cliff,
I found a very good GSP breeder and brought home a female puppy named Joy.  I’ll send more about how


Bliss looking for a friend to come her direction…

Bliss is doing with the new addition but wanted to share this afternoon’s experience.  I send the following message to the GSP breeder so she could share with other dog owners she knows.

Thanks again for a great Weim and for sharing important information with others,


All is well but we had a scare at my neighbor’s house I wanted to let you know so you can share with your other puppy parents.  You might want to include this or something similar in your next puppy binder.
I was siting on a neighbor’s bench this afternoon and picked up Joy and put her in my lap.  I didn’t think to hold her tight enough and she crawled from my lap and fell off the bench getting her hind leg caught between the slats.  She seems to be okay now, I carried her home but let her move around in my back yard and didn’t notice her favoring her leg.  I’m going to keep her quiet for the rest of the night just in case.
In hind sight, if I had stopped to really survey and think I might have seen this danger, but hopefully someone else can learn from this experience.  From a search on the web there have been multiple leg injuries, and some very serious  with slatted benches. The bench at my neighbors house had wider spaces between the seat slats.  We were lucky. Here is the blog I discovered on this topic that might interest other pet persons. Two photos were removed for this post, but the most important one remains–the bench.

blog-6-15-13-danger-benchDanger in the Dog Run: Dog Walkers and Owners Beware of New Benches

Look at the gap between the two outermost slats in the new model bench being introduced by the NYC Parks Department.  A dog could easily break his leg — as one of our dogs did last week.   The vets say they are seeing more of these injuries since these new benches started to appear in recent months.

This trauma  is totally unnecessary.   Please join us in spreading the word that this new bench model is dangerous and let your dog run manager hear from you.   A simple solution might be to send the old model benches to the dog runs and reserve the new model for the Riverside, Morningside and Central Park pathways where people sit.

Wowee! That’s a big gap. A guy could get tripped up.

This is Fosco.  He’s 8 years old and 7 lbs.  On Friday, he launched himself from this bench in the Morningside Park dog run, caught his leg in the gap and snapped it in two.  It was very scary.

The take-aways were many:  how speedy transportation, dog walker backup, and good luck played critical roles; and what the medical risks were, especially in a toy dog.

Symphony Vet praised us for getting him to treatment so quickly, saying that had he not been rushed in and immobilized as quickly as he was, one of the broken bones would likely have pierced the skin and that would have required an amputation.  As it was, we were all very lucky that Dr. Jane Kosovsky, known to many of us on the Upper West Side as THE canine orthopedic surgeon, was available to speed over to Symphony to set his leg with metals plates.  His recovery will take a solid four months, including 6 weeks of virtually total immobility.  His bandages will have to be changed regularly and he will have to be sedated each time, a particular risk for a toy dog.  We are all so relieved by such a positive outcome, but he is not out of the woods yet:  he is not eating and three days in has to be fed intravenously.  Our hearts go out to Fosco and his family.

Ok, Fosco is a small dog and in case you’re thinking it couldn’t happen to your dog, here’s a photo of Zooey inserting his whole arm in the gap on another bench.  All it takes is forward motion on the dog’s part and an immoveable bench slat.We can sit on five slats, can’t we? We don’t need six.

This entry was posted on Sunday, June 16th, 2013 at 1:16 pm and is filed under announcementsblogdog healthfrom the vets. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.