No matter the season, water is crucial to your dog’s health, but in the dog days of summer, which just so happens to be the height of our dock diving season, it’s even more important. A dog’s body weight is almost 70% water, so losing just 5-10% of body water means your dog could suffer from severe dehydration. Monitoring your dog’s water intake can improve their health, prevent illness or injury, and insure proper hydration. While some dogs naturally do this on their own, some either under-drink or over-drink. Too little water can lead to dehydration in dogs, kidney stones, organ failure, and even death. Drinking too much water can lead to stomach bloat, electrolyte imbalances, and water toxicity.
****PLEASE NOTE: If your dog is under-drinking or over-drinking, it could be a sign of an underlying illness. Under-drinking can indicate Parvo, Leptospirosis, or Pancreatitis. Over-drinking can signify a bladder infection, or diabetes. Be sure to have your vet check your dog if he/she is doing either.
GSPs are susceptible to bloat, so we have to be sure we keep an eye on our dogs’ water intake, making sure they don’t over-drink right before, during, or immediately after running. During intense activity, we use a stainless steel water bottle with a roller-ball flow top (acts just like a hamster/rabbit style water dispenser), similar to the one pictured below to ensure our dogs are not gulping large amounts of water. This type of water dispenser allows us to control their drinking during times when they would normally gulp, or drink too much. We always provide them with access to water throughout the entire day.
On average, Pets Web MD recommends that dogs should drink about an ounce of water per pound of body weight per day. If you are exercising your dog, you need to take extra steps to keep him/her hydrated. During exercise, give your dog small amounts of water every 15 to 20 minutes. Once activity has ended, don’t put a water bowl down in front of your dog right away. Wait until your dog is calm and has stopped panting before you let them drink. An overly eager dog can swallow large amounts of water and air, which could lead to vomiting, discomfort, bloat, or torsion.
Another great tip we learned from our agility instructor, Kathy Parkin, at Pinelands Dog Training Center, is to offer our dogs small amounts of watermelon on extremely hot days, while at competition events, or during strenuous activity. This is especially helpful if your dog (like our Limoncello) doesn’t want to drink while “working” or competing. The dogs think of watermelon more as a treat… and what a great treat it is! Watermelon is loaded with minerals, low on calories, and is great for hydration. For an added bonus, you can enjoy the watermelon along with your dog for some of the same benefits!
Benefits of Watermelon:
Contains beta-carotene, magnesium, vitamin A, potassium, and vitamin C
Great for dogs and their immune system
High water concentration – great for hydration
91% water by weight
***THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND:
Dogs don’t digest fruit as well as we do. Practice moderation when feeding it to your dog, especially if you notice a change when they empty their bowels. If your dog has never had watermelon, start out by giving them only a small piece or two, until you know how they will handle it.
Do not feed your dog any part of the rind
Remove all seeds before feeding to your dog, or purchase seedless watermelon
We are often asked what supplements we give to our pack and why. Here is a list of supplements we give our pups daily, their benefits, and the recommended dosages we follow:
Nupro Joint and Immunity: For dosage directions clickHERE
-Given daily with AM and PM meals
Provides the full range of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, and essential omega fatty acids, all in their natural raw forms
Glucosamine Complex, MSM, and Ester-C® , especially for the active dog
Contains no grains or grain by-products, wheat or glutens, corn, barley, fillers, artificial sugars or preservatives, dairy, or by-products of any kind.
Fresh, unprocessed ingredients, sourced from easily digestible whole foods
Uses a premium quality Pork Liver which is human-grade
Researched and developed by a doctor of nutrition
Formulated as a powder, and is not a concentrate, which allows it to be easily assimilated into your dog’s system and digested with your dog’s food.
Advanced joint support supplement for dogs of any age
Clinically proven to increase hind leg strength up to 41%
Combines glucosamine, chondroitin, Perna, DMG, MSM and important antioxidants to support your dog’s everyday motion and comfort
Salmon Oil: 1/2 tsp per 10 lbs of body weight
-Given daily with AM meal
Improves the coat and skin
Reduces inflammation due to conditions such as arthritis, allergies, and inflammatory bowel disease
Regulates the immune system, boosting those that are suppressed and calming overactive immune systems for dogs with allergies or autoimmune diseases
Aides in mental development of fetuses and puppies, and improving cognitive function in older dogs
Lowers blood pressure and triglycerides
Provides support for dogs with kidney disease, heart disease, and cancer
Helps in producing more collagen
Helps prevent skin allergies
Stomach Upset and Diarrhea
We are on the road often, with exposure to many things that could cause sudden stomach-upset in our dogs. Therefore, we keep the following supplement on-hand in case of an onset of diarrhea:
Slippery Elm: Capsule form: Give a ¼ capsule twice daily to small dogs, a ½ capsule twice daily to medium dogs, and one capsule once or twice daily for large dogs. Mix contents of capsule into your dog’s kibble, or mix with plain live-cultured yogurt, or pure pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
Slippery elm is recommended for acute cases of diarrhea, as well as for conditions like colitis, stomach irritations, constipation, and coughing.
Helps by reducing inflammation and lubricating the digestive tract with the help of the mucilage, or oily secretions that make up slippery elm
To read about other natural remedies to help with diarrhea, see information at bottom of post.
It might seem strange that slippery elm can help two seemingly opposite conditions like diarrhea and constipation… but, because of this wonder-herb’s soothing, lubricating properties, Slippery Elm can help to relieve and even prevent constipation
Kennel cough is always a concern since we are around hundreds of dogs from all over the country at dock diving events. Much in the same way slippery elm reduces inflammation and lubricates the digestive tract, it works to help the upper respiratory system, making it of great benefit in easing discomforts from painful coughing associated with conditions like kennel cough. (***Note: this is not a remedy for kennel cough. Kennel cough is highly contagious and can be very aggressive. If you feel as though your dog has been exposed to kennel cough, isolate your dog immediately, contact your veterinarian, and notify other people your dog may have had contact with.)
ALSO NOTE:In rare cases, a dog may be allergic to slippery elm and it shouldn’t be used in pregnant animals, otherwise the herb is generally safe
More natural remedies for diarrhea:
When this happens to our pups, and anything serious (like an obstruction) is a ruled out, we first pull their food for 12-24 hours. It allows their system to “reset” and have a break. It also lessens the chance that they will vomit/have more diarrhea. We make sure they are still drinking water (dehydration is a big concern with stomach issues) and check frequently to make sure their gums are still nice and pink (pale gums can be a sign of dehydration). Finally, we make up some sort of bland food to give them until they’ve recovered from their stomach upset. ***PLEASE NOTE:If at any time your dog is extremely lethargic, feverish, bloated, there is a large amount of blood in the stool or vomit, or you are concerned about him, seek veterinary care as soon as possible. But for those dogs who are experiencing simple diarrhea and vomiting, here are some steps you can take to help:
Most animals will fast themselves when they have digestive disease and it’s a good idea to stop feeding your dog if he doesn’t fast himself. You can start with 6 to 12 hours of no food or water with most dogs. If your dog is very small and prone to hypoglycemia, you should give him tiny licks of honey or karo syrup each hour, or as needed, if he appears weak and trembly. After the fast, if the diarrhea has stopped or slowed, offer small sips of water (a few teaspoons in very small dogs and up to ½ to 1 cup in large dogs) every few hours. Be certain to use filtered or spring water. After six hours of water only, you may start some small amounts of food. Gradually increase the amounts of food over the next four to five days. In terms of amount, adjust based on your dog’s size and normal eating habits …all dogs are different. The amount of ingredients in the recipes shared really are general – meaning it will completely depend on the size of your dog. Stick to the general ratios your dog normally eats (or trust your eye). When done feeding bland meals, also be sure to slowly re-introduce your dogs normal kibble by using the following as a guide:
Start by mixing 25% kibble with 75% bland mix. Slowly change the proportions over the next five to seven days by gradually increasing the amount of kibble, and decreasing the amount of bland mix. At the end of this transitioning process, you should be feeding 100% kibble.
Once your dog is reintroduced to food, a bland diet will help prevent a recurrence of diarrhea
There are a number of different combinations you can try, but the ingredients are the same
100% canned pumpkin(NOT pumpkin pie filling!!): Only pureed canned pumpkin here, nothing else added. It can help with diarrhea and will firm up soft/loose stool thanks to its high fiber content.
White rice: White rice is as bland as it gets, and it is also a source of soluble fiber. It absorbs water as it passes through the GI track, which will help harden stool and add bulk.
Plain live-cultured yogurt: Make sure that you have non-fat/low-fat PLAIN (not vanilla) live culture yogurt. Thanks to its natural probiotics, it can help restore the balance to your dog’s gut, and get all the good bacteria thriving.
Plain low-fat meat: Boiled chicken, with no salt or anything added, can add a little substance to your dog’s diet if they are ready for it. It’s a good protein source, and very bland. If your dog has a chicken allergy, you can substitute boiled chicken with boiled lean ground beef, or boiled lamb.
Plain Mash: This is a good basic mash for dogs that turn up their nose at canned pumpkin or yogurt. Make sure the chicken is plain and that you just boil it. The added water makes this easy to eat and has the added bonus of getting some much needed fluid into your pups system.
boiled chicken, shredded
1/2 cup or so of warm water
Directions: Boil chicken and cook white rice. Shred the chicken into the cooked white rice, and add roughly ½ cup of warm water. Mix thoroughly, and feed to your dog in place of its usual meals. You can also feed this in smaller quantities throughout the day which can be easier for their gut to handle.
Sweet Mash: For milder cases of soft stool, this tasty mash can help solidify things thanks to the pumpkin, while ensuring the balance of bacteria gets back on track with the yogurt.
2 tablespoons plain live cultured yogurt
1/4 can canned pureed pure pumpkin
Directions: Mix up 2 tablespoons of plain live cultured yogurt with ¼ can pureed pumpkin, , and feed to your dog in place of its usual meals. You can also feed this in smaller quantities throughout the day which can be easier for their gut to handle.
Mish-Mash Mash: This is pretty much all the ingredients mashed into one.
¼-1/2 cup 100% Canned Pumpkin
½ cup white rice
1-2 tablespoons unflavored plain live culture yogurt
Plain boiled chicken, or other low-fat meat (no salt added)
¼ cup warm water
Directions: Boil a chicken and cook ½ cup of white rice. Thoroughly mix ¼ cup of canned pumpkin and 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt into the rice, and then add about ¼ -1/2 cup low fat boiled meat, torn into bits. Feed in place of regular meals
For added protein and yummy goodness, with each meal our pack gets 1-2 tablespoons of the following extra “goodies” mixed in with their kibble. All ingredients below are organic, responsibly farmed, and bought at our local Whole Foods.
Cooked (boiled) ground bison and its natural broth
Cooked (boiled) ground beef and its natural broth
Cooked (boiled) ground lamb and its natural broth
Cooked (boiled) wild caught salmon and its natural broth
We hold the same high standards that we have with their food when it comes to “spoiling” our pups with treats. Our dogs are rewarded with treats in moderation, keeping in mind that treats should represent ten percent or less of a dog’s daily food intake.
There’s nothing like homemade! Our first choice in treats are none other than our very own homemade treats made right here in Cello’s Cucina. Click HERE to see our pack’s favorite recipes – or use the “Cello’s Cucina” menu button at the top of our blog. We are always adding to this section of the blog as we find new recipes that our pack taste-tests and “approves!”
Natural Chews: As an added treat, our dogs periodically get natural chews such as bully sticks, antlers etc, from trustworthy sources who responsibly raise their animals under the high standards we value. We have a local pet supply business to help us choose our natural chews.
We often get asked what we feed our pack. This section of the blog is to share with you what, when, and how we feed our pack in order to maintain optimal health. Click on the links below, or use the drop-down menu on the “Nutrition” menu tab to access the components of our pack’s diet:
The proper diet and nutrients is essential to a dog’s health. Dogs need a certain combination of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and water every day in order to function normally. Each and every nutrient in your dog’s food has a purpose.
Proteins: provide energy, and help with muscle growth, repair, and function
Fats: provide energy, help the brain function, and keep the skin and hair coat shiny and healthy
Carbohydrates: supply a source of quick energy
Vitamins and minerals: necessary for muscle and nerve health, and help to prevent disease
Without adequate nutrition, your dog would not be able to maintain muscle tone, grow healthy teeth and bones, perform normal daily activities with ease, or fight-off infection. Competition dogs have even more specific needs as well. Reputable dog food manufacturers work diligently to determine the exact formula that goes into their products so that their food provides all the nutrients your dog needs on a daily basis. There are foods designed for specific stages of life (such as for puppies or senior dogs), while some provide hypoallergenic nutrition and other formulas are developed to control specific health conditions like heart disease, kidney disease, etc. Keeping your dog on a nutritious diet not only helps to keep him or her at a healthy weight, but may also aid in reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease. As with any important life decisions you make for your dog, consult with your veterinarian, and/or speak to a nutritionist before planning or changing your dog’s diet.
First and foremost, we’d like to congratulate CJ the German Shorthaired Pointer, and his owner, Valerie, for winning Best in Show at Westminster 2016! This is an awesome accomplishment for the breed! However, with this remarkable recognition, can come negative consequences. GSPs will be in high demand, and backyard breeders will be intent on breeding. In a few months to a year, many of these pups will be given up to rescue, or worse, because a German Shorthaired Pointer is not suited for the many families that “just want one” because they fell in love with the breed from watching a show. What people saw at Westminster was THE perfect example of what German Shorthaired Pointers are made of: athleticism, grace, intelligence, intensity and energy. CJ’s performance surely did not happen naturally, or “just because”…this dog has been in training his since he was a young pup! German Shorthaired Pointers are very intuitive, and very HIGH energy dogs. To channel that intensity takes a LOT of training and patience from a person who is very experienced with the breed.
THE GSP AT A QUICK GLANCE
The German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP) is a versatile hunter, capable of high performance in the field and in the water. One of the most energetic breeds, the GSP is a hunting dog by nature. Clever, eager, and willing to please, it is very fond of its human family. Dominance and energy levels vary from puppy to puppy, but those bred for working in high-performance field competitions usually require more activity than the average GSP. However, all GSPs are very high energy dogs who need a lot of daily mental and physical stimulation. Those who do not get the daily workout they need will literally “bounce off the walls!” The GSP needs an owner who can provide appropriate, calm, confident, and consistent training. GSPs crave structure, and enjoy having a “job” to do. If this breed lacks in either exercise or leadership, it can become frustrated, and develop separation anxiety, and possibly become destructive. Due to their strong prey drive, GSPs generally do not do well with cats or other small animals. However, well-adjusted, stable minded GSPs who receive enough mental and physical activity along with a balance of consistent leadership will get along with other dogs and cats. This breed can be reserved with strangers if not socialized well.
This breed is not suited to life in a kennel, and is not recommended for apartment life. GSPs do best with a large yard and an active, athletic family, dedicated to fulfilling the breed’s drive to “work.” The breed is generally good with kids, but caution must be exercised around small children. Due to their eagerness, unintentional injuries from small children being knocked over may occur. (PLEASE NOTE: Proper introduction of children to any breed, and teaching children appropriate behavior around dogs in general, is essential. NEVER leave any dog unattended with an a young child). GSPs thrive on human interaction, and love their humans very much – sometimes to the point of being a “velcro dog” (following your every step around the house). Due to high prey drive, GSPs are sometimes not very cordial with cats and other small animals. They can be trained to leave them alone and share home space, but their hunting instinct may interfere at times. When raised as a puppy with cats and other small animals, such as toy breeds, GSPs often do well. However, caution should always be used with any other small pet companions. GSPs may be able to jump any fence that is lower than 6 feet tall, and some have been known to clear even a 6-foot fence. Under exercised, bored GSPs are great escape artists. Be prepared for an imperfect lawn to say the least. Even established, thriving grass will be worn to dirt with the GSPs foot traffic.
About 12-15 years
Black, Black and White, Black Roan, Liver, Liver and White, Liver Roan, White, White and Liver
Patched, Patched and Ticked, Ticked
Maintenance of the GSP is minimal compared to many other breeds, but there are still some areas that require attention.. The GSP’s short, sleek coat requires minimal grooming. Despite its short coat, the GSP does in fact shed! Their dark hair shows up on the light items and their white hairs on the dark articles! Also, due to their short hair length, it can become embedded in some fabrics and carpeting and difficult to vacuum out. Regular brushing as well as the occasional bath will help reduce shedding. Their strong, fast-growing nails should be trimmed regularly with a nail clipper or nail dremel to avoid overgrowth, splitting and cracking. Because of their folded ears, airflow is often not adequate, which can lead to a buildup of wax and debris, which can further result in an infection. Ears should be cleaned with a mild solution (talk with your vet about which solution is best, and the proper method to clean the ears). Teeth should be brushed regularly with a toothbrush and toothpaste formulated for dogs. Because the breed is subject to bloat or torsion, they should not be fed immediately after running or other demanding exercise, nor should they be allowed to run or exercise for at least an hour after eating and drinking. The ideal evening mealtime would be after the day’s exercising and activities are through for the day.
Energy and Exercise
GSPs are a very high energy breed. They tend to keep a puppy-level of energy throughout most of their lives! GSPs always want to be at the center of things, and are always up for physical activity like running, swimming, organized dog sports — anything that will burn some of their boundless energy while spending outdoors time with a human family member. A bored GSP can be quite mischievous to say the least. This eager breed does best with regular consistent exercise, positive training, and lots of love.
Like all breeds there may be some health issues, but the majority of German Shorthaired Pointers are healthy dogs. Regular veterinary care and proper feeding are vital to your dog’s health. Yearly DHLPP vaccinations, rabies shots, a monthly heart worm and flea/tick preventative regimen, and in many parts of the country a Lyme Disease vaccination, should not be neglected. Follow the advice of your veterinarian for shots and monthly preventatives. If you plan to purchase a puppy, be sure to do your research and work with a responsible breeder. Good breeders utilize genetic testing of their dogs to reduce the likelihood of disease in their puppies.
A MUST! If new to the breed, it would be beneficial to work with another individual who is knowledgeable about the breed. The GSP is a quick learner, and very eager to please, and will work hard for positive reinforcement. They are not generally stubborn, but can at times be quite creative. Due to their high intelligence level, the biggest challenge is to keep them focused, and not let them get away with “inventing” variations to the exercise being taught. Because of their extreme sensitivity to people, the trainer must always be watchful of their own body language and reactions to issues that come up during a training exercise. A calm demeanor, and providing quick, clear rewards for desired behaviors, will enable you to be successful in your training. Not all types of training methods, or instructors are right for every dog, no matter what the breed. So be sure to educate yourself, and carefully match your training methods with the personality, characteristics, and needs of your dog.
As with anything else, do your research on crate training. If introduced properly and in a positive manner, the crate becomes a safe haven and a secure “den” for the dog. The crate provides a safe place to go when things get too hectic and the dog needs a break. When the dog has to travel, its “safe place” can come along, and the dog will always have its den regardless of the circumstances.
Combined with the fact that humans don’t always do their research, and the breed’s high energy demands, GSPs often find themselves surrendered to a rescue group once the owner realizes what they got themselves in to. There are many GSPs of all ages just waiting for a forever family. Find a local rescue by clicking HERE
If you would prefer to purchase a registered puppy rather than rescue, the GSPCA provides a breeder directory. However, please be aware that the listings here are paid classifieds. The breeders are not recommended by the GSPCA. The breeders listed, do however, agree to abide by the Code of Ethics adopted by the GSPCA. It is the Breeder’s responsibility when it comes to the health and temperament of the puppies and dogs offered for sale. Remember, if you choose to use this directory, you must still do your research, and decide for yourself which breeder is most suitable. Click HERE to access the directory. Another suggestion is to contact your local GSP Rescue. Often, the rescues can provide you with a list of reputable breeders they would recommend.
Some other things to keep in mind as you choose a breeder:
The coat pattern of GSPs can be quite varied ranging from solid to one with markings. The coat color of the purebred GSP will be liver and white or black and white but not a combination of liver, black and white. Some shade of liver may be very dark but the color of the dog’s nose will indicate whether it is a liver dog (brown nose for a brown dog or black nose for a black dog). Some breeders advertise “rare” GSPs based on color. Be cautious!! A responsible breeder knows there is a mutant gene that can result in a dilute silver or lemon color, and would never produce dilute colors deliberately. If you are interested in showing the dog, be aware that currently the Parent Club breed standard does not allow for the black variation to be shown in the conformation ring. However, that does not prevent the black variation from being registered with the AKC or competing in all of the performance events, such as field trials, hunting test, agility, obedience, and tracking. At a minimum, breeding stock should be certified against hip and elbow dysplasia by the Orthopedic Foundation of Animals. It is also helpful to inquire about the health of both the sire and dam of a litter, as well as their parents and litter-mates. Don’t be afraid to ask how long they lived, or what (if any) health issues they had. A reputable breeder will welcome any and all questions. Click HERE for other possible questions to ask breeders. In addition to asking lots of questions, several qualities to look for in a breeder include, but are not limited to:
They strive to meet the breed standard (the written description of how the perfect dog of that breed should look, move and act).
They breed because it’s their passion, with the goal of improving the breed, and they don’t breed solely to make money.
They actively compete in conformation events, field trials and other sports. Winning ribbons and trophies proves their dogs possess physical traits and talents worthy of breeding.
They only produce a few litters each year.
They don’t mind spending time educating buyers about not only the advantages but disadvantages of the breed too.
They guarantee their puppies’ health for reasonable periods, and agree to take them back, for whatever reason, if an owner can no longer keep them.
If you have read this post, you most likely have have decided to welcome a GSP into your home, making he/she a part of your family and your life. This is a lifetime commitment that, like any relationship, should not be taken lightly, and can also present its share of challenges. Take your time and do your research – you and your new 4-legged family member will be happy you did!
Check out this Dogs 101 video on GSPs originally aired on Animal Planet:
**Information in this post was taken from breedinfo.com, German Shorthaired Club of America, and The American Kennel Club, and is meant only for a generalized summary of the breed, and to put as much information about the breed in one place in hopes to educate potential first-time GSP owners/adopters. Please be sure to do your own research on this breed before adding a GSP to your family.
Nope…we are talking about THIS kind of bear’s claws:
When friends moved and gave us their bear skin rug, I made my Mommy’s day off quite an adventure. My curiosity of the second floor of our cabin lead me to stumble upon the bear skin rug hanging over the balcony railing.
Why have I not noticed this big toy before? Did they hang it there just for me!? They must have! When I took a closer look, I discovered that the bear’s claws looked tasty – and boy, was I right! They were very yummy snacks!! I ingested 2 before my mom caught me, and boy was she upset. The claws are as long as her finger!!
Mommy was in a panic and called my doctor. We had to drive through the snow storm to the vet so they could X-ray me in case I swallowed the claws whole.
Dr. Campbell and her nice staff fed me hotdogs and cheese (more yummy nibbles!) while they did my X-rays. They couldn’t really see any bear claws in my belly on the X-ray, so I got to eat even more yummy treats of high-fiber bread while Mommy got to watch me really closely the rest of the night…and each time I did potty, my dad got to search through it. They didn’t look excited about this …so I told them not to worry, because I searched a lot of things when I was in Iraq, and it’s really fun and exciting… And if you find what you were told to look for you get rewarded! Boy, I hope my mom and dad got a good reward after their searches out in our yard!
Dad was the best searcher, and found one of the bear claws. We never found the other, so I’m assuming the humans “overlooked” it.
My humans made me promise not to eat bear claws ever again. (They’re no fun).
We thought it may be a good idea to continue to give Lager’s nose a work out. We signed him up for K9 Nose Work Class at Wonder Dogs, which is where we had taken both Cello and Hooch for their puppy training. Lager LOVED it, and although he was being taught to identify a completely new scent, he picked right up on this game, and is having a blast!