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Health, Insurance, and Food

Idaho Outback Griffons

Pet Food Fads

I am frequently asked what I feed my dogs. Having been involved in the Veterinary Industry for many years and having toured several pet food manufacturers, as well as undergone extensive training on various diet lines, I hold practical opinions on everything in the “dog world.” Here are my musings.

A long LONG time ago, there was an ad campaign from Hill’s Science Diet that displayed a photo of an old leather boot, a can of oil, and some other assorted items (which I can’t quite remember), along with a pile of meat on the other side. The ad highlighted the protein and fat content of each side, revealing they were exactly the same. The message was clear: not all ingredients are created equal! Another ad I remember asked how much a pound of meat costs, compared to a pound of dog food. The underlying message was about the quality of meat used in dog food, especially in cheaper products. So, my dogs and I don’t consume steak every day; they have a unique non-human digestive system that allows them to extract energy from various protein and vegetable sources, along with essential vitamins, EFAs, and minerals. The correct balance of fat, protein, and other nutrients ensures puppies grow strong and healthy.

The pet food industry has made great strides, and many good diets now contain essential nutrients like EFAs, glucosamine, antioxidants, and natural preservatives, without harmful food colors, etc. I fully support these advancements!

However, I don’t buy into the trendy new dog foods that are marketed as all-natural, organic, non-GMO, or protein-only. Companies often cater to current trends, but just because a dog food is made from wild-caught Salmon doesn’t necessarily make the protein source more digestible or preferable. In fact, the overuse of non-traditional protein sources has made it a nightmare to find a diet suitable for truly food-allergic animals.

To clarify, I have no issue with feeding duck and potato if medically indicated due to digestive problems or skin allergies. Nonetheless, I believe in purchasing higher quality foods from well-known manufacturers like Purina, Iams, Hills, Royal Canin, and others. These companies invest in research, have significant resources, and conduct long-term studies, ensuring the use of high-quality protein sources. I’ve personally seen the clean and well-maintained facilities where these foods are produced. The additives they incorporate promote health and longevity, and their highly digestible food results in less excrement, which means smaller, less smelly piles in the yard. Moreover, a Wirehaired Griffon’s coat thrives on a diet with adequate fats, rendering it healthy and almost shiny.

My advice is not to opt for the cheapest dog food available nor be swayed by trends. Depending on my dogs’ needs, I use a large breed active blend or a higher protein and fat diet for maintaining weight on super athletic dogs.

I thoroughly research available foods using independent reviews, and my favorite review site is Dog Food Advisor. As far as I know, this site is not sponsored, although they might profit if you purchase food through their recommendations and forwarded links. The site rates and analyzes individual foods, comparing them with their labels, and assesses the ingredients, supplements, smell, and kibble quality. The 5-star ranking system and included reviews make it easy to understand.

Now, the million-dollar question: “What food do I use?” Currently, I use Diamond Naturals. Their Puppy food formulation, both for small and large breeds, receives a 5 out of 5-star rating. I like the smell, the naturally preserved, high-quality ingredients, and the availability. I use the small breed puppy formula for starting puppies and feeding their mothers. As they grow, I transition them to the Large Breed Puppy formula to prevent joint overgrowth, which can occur when a puppy grows faster than intended. For my adult dogs, they enjoy Diamond Naturals with its three protein choices: Beef, Lamb, and Chicken. Changing the protein source seems to keep them interested in their meals.


The issues with having overweight Griffon puppies and adult dogs

Overweight Griffon puppies and adult dogs can face issues, as I learned from this article: Confused About What to Feed Your Large Breed Puppy? New Rules May Help!. When Chrome was a puppy and matured at 68 lbs, he was a growthy puppy, and the Veterinarian warned me that his joints might be outgrowing his body, which could lead to loose joints later in life. I believe a large breed puppy is one that matures at 50 lbs or more. My advice is always to keep your puppy on the thinner side rather than letting them become overweight, and to use an appropriate diet for large breed puppies.

Purina conducted “The 14-year life span study,” see the link mentioned above. They raised 48 sibling Labrador puppies of the same gender next to each other. The only difference was that one puppy received a standard amount of recommended food, while the other was portion-controlled with 25% less food (referred to as lean-fed). Both dogs received regular exercise and excellent care. The results were fascinating, showing that when dogs were fed to maintain a lean body condition from puppyhood onward, the lean-fed dogs lived better and longer. Their median life span was extended by 1.8 years or 15%, with the mean lifespan being 13 years for lean-fed dogs compared to 11.2 years for control-fed dogs. The 25% dietary restriction also delayed the onset of chronic disease signs. This study demonstrates the importance of keeping puppies and adult Griffons lean for a longer, healthier life. Although we generally don’t struggle with overweight Griffons, a few dogs have shown a tendency to overeat.

Lastly, I want to address the grain-free trend, which has mostly passed. Grain-free diets are generally not recommended for canines, and Tufts has published several articles about them. Some grain-free foods lack adequate Taurine, which has been linked to Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs. It’s essential to be informed and mindful of your dog’s dietary needs.

Food for thought!

Spaying & Neutering

Yes, it is a fine idea. I don’t want you or your dog to struggle with their procreation hormones for the rest of your lives. However, animal health has come a long way in this realm. Previously, spaying or neutering your pet was practically an edict from above, and it still is in some counties. Veterinarians used to extol the virtues of altering your pet at 6 months of age, ignoring the health risks, all in the name of preventing unwanted puppies and kittens from being born. Some breeders even altered pets before they left their premises, attempting to prevent their animals from procreating, without considering the health risks.

Now, Veterinary Medicine widely publicizes the benefits of waiting for your dog or cat to have a mature body before removing their hormone-producing anatomy. There is a list of benefits by waiting for your puppy to benefit from testosterone and estrogen while they are still growing:

Delayed Spay and Neuter Research shows that delaying altering until after maturity, lessens the risk of hip dysplasia, cruciate ligament tears, other bone and joint abnormalities, and some cancers. Hormone status has also been related to behavior disorders, including aggression and noise phobias, and this list is just the beginning of a growing iceberg of information.

It is my recommendation to alter your pet somewhere between 18 months and 2 years of age, or even older. However, I have a practical caveat to this proclamation. If you legitimately cannot prevent your dog from getting pregnant from some roving hound, do what you gotta do. Also, occasionally, I have folks telling me that their male dog is a “handful” and then some. Neutering is probably not going to cure this. Obedience training, the aid of a trainer, and more exercise are most likely your answer, even though that’s not what they want to hear. But if your young male dog is overly sexual, exhibiting mounting, growling, marking, or fighting, you should consider neutering him.


Justice, Yankee, Promise, Chrome, Brave, Hope, and Liberty

Quick Story Time: “Yankee the Walking Hormone

Let me share a quick story about Yankee, a walking hormone. I purchased a beautiful puppy from a wonderful kennel, and even though he was born in the South, I named him Yankee. He was incredibly smart and took to everything immediately. However, at an early age, he started showing early sexualized behavior, which I corrected, but it persisted. Interestingly, despite having gone to three vet checks, neither the vets nor myself had ever checked his gonads. When he turned one, I had enough of his behavior and decided to neuter him and place him in a pet home due to this unusual behavior for a Griffon. When I finally took him to the veterinarian, it was discovered that he had a retained testicle. Typically, only one testicle is retained, and this condition is called unilateral cryptorchidism. Risks of retained testicles include testicular cancer, spermatic cord torsion, and the development of undesirable male characteristics. Thankfully, Yankee’s behavior changed dramatically after neutering, and he now lives the good life in Arizona!

Health Issues

Puppy Heart Murmurs

My blog is designed to address the needs of my Wirehaired Pointing Griffon owners and help them become educated about their chosen hobby. Griffons can be afflicted with a heart murmur, and I want you to have a chance to know the condition and understand the outcome on affected puppies. In my 26 years of breeding dogs, about 9 puppies have developed heart murmurs by their 6th-week check-up. All but 1 of these puppies have been considered “innocent.” An innocent heart murmur is from an unknown cause, usually a pinpoint hole in the heart that clears up completely on its own by 18 to 21 weeks. The hole literally grows closed as the puppy’s heart and body develop. This is by far the most common thing to happen and is quite common.

Leo Fisher

According to an article from the Magazine Bulldog world, heart murmurs in puppies occur because the heart operates with a pump-like action. The heart has four chambers and four valves that work to keep blood flowing in one direction. The sound a murmur makes depends on when it occurs in the cardiac cycle. Correct auscultation of a puppy’s heart at less than 8 weeks of age may reveal a heart murmur. However, this does not necessarily mean that there is a disease process occurring.

To define a heart murmur, an often-used example is the vibration felt, and the subsequent sound you hear when you pinch a garden hose between your fingers with the tap fully turned on. What is heard when listening to the heart is a slurring of the normally distinct heart sounds. This may be a continuous slurring or intermittent at the point of each beat heard. Heart murmurs are graded by intensity of sound, for instance, on a scale of 1 to 6. It is not infrequent to hear a grade 1 or 2 heart murmur in a 6-10-week-old puppy. Often, these murmurs disappear by the time the puppy is 12-18 weeks old, and are therefore termed innocent murmurs. However, murmurs with greater intensity may indicate a congenital heart defect. Most grade 2 or lower murmurs will disappear or be barely audible by 18 weeks, and the puppy will have no long-term or damaging effects. However, grade 3 or higher is a serious cardiac problem. At Idaho Outback Griffons, we have had only one grade 2 murmur puppy in 20 years.

Puppies are first diagnosed with murmurs at their 6-week check-up. Puppies found to have innocent murmurs will be sold as normal. You would be encouraged to seek advice from your veterinarian prior to pick up if you have any concerns or are considering taking that particular puppy home. We have only had 1 puppy that had a grade 2 heart murmur that did not close.

Grade 3 or higher puppies, should they be born, will not be sold. Because of the nature of many heart defects, their detection and classification are extremely important to any breeding program when a grade 3 or higher murmur is detected in more than 1 puppy, or the whole litter has a murmur. Any puppy with this condition would be placed, if advised by a veterinarian, to a home that is located within driving distance only. Hopefully, we never have to experience this.


Parasites Yuck

Ahhhh, Farm Life! On My Ever After Farm, we have a diverse and busy property. The dogs have roughly 1.5 acres that they can roam about in, and the balance is pastures and barns, where cows, horses, peafowl, and Guinea Fowl roam about. All the animals get routine parasite control regimens, but the reality is that those freeloaders, parasites, are a part of farm life. Idaho Outback Griffon puppies are allowed as much freedom as possible during their stay here. It builds brave and adjusted puppies. They move about exploring their world, getting into the woodpile, the bushes, under the porch, and yes, on occasion, they go into the field. It is a wonderful place to grow, but the puppies are exposed to parasites whose life cycles revolve around water or excrement of some type.

Whether you know it or not, most puppies get parasites from their momma’s milk. The life cycle of some parasites involves them burrowing into the fat deposits in a mother’s mammary, remaining dormant until they are released at birth by suckling. Momma gets it from cleaning up the puppies or picking something up from the farm, and the life cycle continues.

How to combat this? Well, know your enemy. We deal mostly with common roundworms, Coccidia, and Giardia in our puppies. In the South, there are many more parasites to combat, but due to our extreme winters, some parasites don’t do as well here, including whipworms, pinworms, and heartworms. We also do not combat fleas or, for that matter, many ticks.

In short, our protocol includes worming the mothers at conception and prior to birth. Then the puppies are dosed with piperazine at 2 weeks and 4 weeks, as well as their mothers. At 6 weeks, we usually do a 10-day protocol of fenbendazole that is designed to end the day before the puppies leave for their new homes. It is effective against all 3 of the parasites we deal with. Remember, these parasites are not covered under my health guarantee because sometimes, no matter how many times I treat my puppies for these parasites, they could get reinfected due to our farm life here.

At the 6-week vet check, a sample of puppy feces is taken to our vet to be tested. I usually take 2-3 combined samples with me. Finding eggs in a sample seems straightforward enough; however, some eggs like Giardia are hard to see in a light infection. Parasites, as their name implies, are thrifty and capitalizing creatures that lay in wait for their chance to procreate. Parasites have incubation periods. So they may leave my house clear and free but have the egg in their system for a worm or Coccidia to mature.

My health guarantee strongly suggests that you complete a wellness check shortly after arriving home with your puppy. That is a perfect time to bring in a small sample of their feces to the vet to be tested. Some folks wait until they have their 2nd vaccination scheduled, which is fine unless you see mucousy or blood streaks. If you see diarrhea, for sure take in a sample, usually no appointment is required… usually. Until puppies are completely away from their siblings and the other fecal matter in the puppy area and around the cows, horses, free-roaming peafowl, and guineas, they are not clear from catching these parasites.

Coccidia – Puppies

Canine Worms – K9 Worms


Vaccinations

It is crucial that you take your puppy for all their preventive shots during the first 4 months of their lives. Parvo is the main virus that kills puppies, and while all dogs can be carriers, it is most lethal to puppies and young adults. [Parvovirus in Dogs]

Our puppies receive their first vaccines at 6 weeks of age. The DHLPP vaccine is a core vaccine given to both puppies and adult dogs to protect them against five different canine diseases. DHLPP stands for distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus. The immune system ramps up over the course of 3-4 weeks and then becomes ready to respond to acquire even greater immunity. Although the vaccines are very effective, there are variables to consider due to each puppy’s individual immune system.

Puppies between six to eight weeks old can still occasionally nurse, and the milk contains maternal antibodies that can inhibit a natural immune response from the puppy. However, by the 2nd vaccine given at 9-10 weeks of age, the label states control of parvo and the effectiveness is in the 99.7% range. So once your puppy has received 2 vaccines and some time has been given for the 2nd vaccine to cause an immune response, your puppy is very well protected. SCHEDULE YOUR 2nd VACCINE NOW.

It is also important to get your dog’s heartworm medicine in states indicated by your veterinarians. The heartworm is transmitted during the mosquito life cycle, which is mainly from May through October or year-round if the mosquito can survive your winter. Additionally, every dog needs a rabies shot, but they typically cannot receive one until they are 4 months of age.

Parvo Story

One of our puppies happened to be the smallest of the litter, but a thrifty little fellow despite his size. His new human mother picked him out and then drove to Boise, stayed with friends for a couple of days before heading home. On day 2 away, she noticed a loose stool, so she got worried and scooped up her puppy and headed to the off-hours emergency clinic. Spoiler: this is where sick dogs go, and all kinds of diseases are brought to clinics. The emergency clinic tested the puppy for parvo, which was negative, but then discovered the pup had a parasite of some type and sent her home with medication for that parasite.

Three days later, all was well, and they were safely home. However, the puppy exhibited vomiting and lethargy followed by diarrhea. The puppy was rushed to their own vet, and they gave supportive treatment, but this little fellow just couldn’t recover. Several vets got involved, and the internist there finally told her that it was likely he was exposed at the emergency clinic. MIC DROP.

I was a salesman in the veterinary industry for 27 years. I love veterinarians, and they do their best, most of the time. I never let the puppies set a foot on their floor or scale. I bring in my own towels to keep the puppies from being exposed. I move them from my pickup to the exam table and back. I AM A FREAK! My veterinarian accepts this and tolerates my pickiness. I have never had an incidence of parvo on my property. I also do not allow any dogs that do not belong to me on my property when we have puppies. Your dogs will be welcomed outside the fence, and we have plenty of space for you to bring your dog with you at pick-up, you just can’t bring them onto the property.

Don’t set your puppy down at the vet clinic, and don’t expose your puppy to places where other unvaccinated dogs use the bathroom. I never use a rest area for our puppies; I stop on some random deserted exit instead.


Base Narrow

Base Narrow, which is the thinning of the bottom jaw, is a common issue in Griffon puppies and other long-jawed dogs such as Collies, Poodles, Doodles, Weimaraners, and Vizslas. It can impact either one side or both sides of the lower jaw. During growth and development in puppies, the lower jaw and the upper jaw grow independently of each other. One or both of the lower canines are lingually displaced (displaced towards the tongue) from their normal position in the dental arch. The displaced tooth or teeth can cause anything from indentations into the mucosa to severe ulceration and trauma to the hard palate. In short, the lower canines push against the roof of the growing puppy’s mouth.

The problem is that once the tooth heads in this direction, the jaw grows, and the tooth is held in the wrong place. When I discover this before your puppies leave, I will remove the baby canine through our veterinarian. These puppies will then be sold with the understanding that they will require rubber ball therapy to direct the emerging adult canine outward into a normal position. The ball must be the perfect size, so plan on buying bigger balls as your puppy matures.


Ball Therapy

Ball therapy is a treatment used to attempt to correct linguoverted mandibular canines (base narrow canines). At its core, ball therapy is an orthodontic treatment where the appliance is removable and fun to play with! When holding any object in the mouth and biting onto it, it gives some resistance and places a force on the teeth. If we can direct the right force on the developing canines, we can guide them into a more correct position, hopefully preventing their incorrect alignment, which causes long-term trauma and discomfort. This force can be applied to the mandibular canines when the pup holds an appropriately sized and type of ball in their mouth. The best type of balls to use are quite dense but have some give.

KONG – Extreme Ball – Durable Rubber Dog Toy for Power Chewers, Black – for Medium/Large Dogs $10 for the 7-week-old puppy, followed by the MEDIUM $14.00 for your 12-week-old puppy.

Things like tennis balls are too “squishy” and do not give enough resistance, so minimal force is applied to the teeth. A good density is something like the rubber used in Kongs(TM). If it is an appropriate size – not too big, not too small, but just right! – the ball will place a lateral tipping force on the mandibular canines as it is carried around. This is best done with erupting permanent mandibular canines. When done at this time, the canines are actively moving through the bone and can be deviated from their course. This is usually around 5 months of age. Once the teeth are at their final eruption height, the ability to move them starts to reduce, and it becomes a much bigger job to do. You should encourage your dog to play with the ball in their mouth as often as you can. It has been shown that performing this behavior for fifteen-minute intervals three times daily is effective. The longer the forces act, the better the result. We have not found this technique to be useful when applied to deciduous teeth. If your puppy is at risk of this being a problem with its permanent dentition, it may be useful to introduce the concept of ball therapy from a young age. This avoids them needing to go through a training period during the short window we have when the permanent teeth erupt.


Urinary Tract Infections

Baby girl Wirehaired Pointing Griffons are somewhat prone to urinary tract infections, i.e. UTIs. The signs are unmistakable – wetting way too often, sometimes with a little dripping exudate. The key to control is quickly taking your puppy to the Vet for some antibiotics. The vet often will take a sample of urine and test it for bacteria like E. coli. Here is the problem: E. coli travels up the urethra and over-populates the tube, eventually reaching the bladder. If left untreated, it can settle in the kidneys, which is very bad, even life-threatening, and creates a chronic situation. Sometimes the puppy may have an INNY or folds that turn in and allow dirt or feces to get lodged near the urethral opening. Little girls are sometimes in a hurry or sprinkle and drag themselves while peeing. The bladder and urethra are not overly vascularized, so puppies that have been left to heal themselves without antibiotics or supplements have a large population of bacteria. Everything becomes hyper-sensitive, and your puppy will pee every few minutes at its worst because the sensation is unrelenting and unbearable.

Now, here is what often happens: the vet prescribes an antibiotic, and you are potentially lazy and don’t give the entire prescription. She will recover quickly, but even a few remaining bacteria will repopulate, and it seems to come back with vengeance. Scenario 2, which happens fairly often, is that there is a resistance to the mild first prescribed antibiotic. The vet then treats with a more aggressive antibiotic for a longer period of time. My advice is to really aggressively treat right out of the chute. I have had really good success with Cranberry supplements for repeat offenders. The vets may have to special order these for you, chewable to suit a puppy’s taste. Don’t be afraid to ask them for these supplements yourself, especially as you are armed with the knowledge that this can be an issue with Griffon Puppies. The components in the cranberry actually block or tie up the hands of the bacteria, mainly E. coli, so they cannot attach to the bladder wall or urethra, and they are flushed harmlessly out of the bladder. Urinary tract infections are relatively common but can be alarming and confusing as your previously housebroken puppy begins to piddle all the time, everywhere.

Here is the good news: once your Griffon gets out of her formative months, she will rarely or never have this issue again. It almost always ceases at puberty. So even if you have had an episode or 3 with this annoying occurrence, take heart, this too will pass!


Pet Insurance: Stuff Happens!

I have come full circle on pet insurance. It is pretty rare to have health issues with the Griffon Puppies bought here. That said, stuff happens. Insurance is affordable with a monthly fee. Veterinary bills continue to climb, and I don’t see this trend turning around ever. I do not typically carry insurance on my adult dogs, but when they are growing, they get themselves into the darndest of predicaments. Now, I am going to suggest getting pet insurance, at least as your puppy grows. One slip and a torn ligament, or a swallowed sock, will probably cost you literally thousands.

You all get an insurance pamphlet when you pick up your puppy. There are quite a few companies that make this service available. I am not an expert on which one is the best.

Best Pet Insurance Based on In-Depth Reviews

What does it cost to own a dog, or “The Chaos Theory”

I sell quite a few dogs to first-time dog owners. I believe this is because there is a group of internet research-driven folks who really want to make an educated decision when considering adding a 14-year-long family member to their pack. I applaud their journey and admire their drive to search for the greatest potential outcome.

I am often asked about lifetime expenses one might expect when buying a dog. So, I am going to hazard some scenarios that might shed light on this variable subject. As with a person getting a child, you should expect the unexpected; it is part of the experience. Every puppy is genetically different from each other. The beauty of buying a purebred puppy is that the differences are more confined. Great breeders have carefully examined their breeding animals; every tooth and hair on their head should be in perfect condition. This is the case with our dogs. The animals we consider breeding have no physical or psychological issues, thus offering the best chance for those same characteristics to be transmitted to their offspring.

So typically, your puppy is in great health, with no particular issues. They will need food, of course. Premium foods found at the vet clinic contain a perfect nutritional balance. Great foods are designed to minimize excessive waste matter. Often, they are more calorically dense, so use the feeding guidelines on the bag and feed according to the condition of your specific animal.

Kennels for travel, safety, and confinement are sometimes needed both indoors and outdoors. Training books and/or some puppy classes are helpful. Toys and bedding that are indestructible are ideal. You will spend some money on items that can stand up to the physical demands a Griffon puts on equipment.

Routine Veterinary visits are necessary, where the vet provides vaccines against common dog diseases, parasite control, flea and tick products, heartworm meds, and routine dental care.

There are also grooming needs, which can be as simple as buying a comb and shampoo or hiring a groomer.

Now, let’s discuss the other stuff… let’s call it Chaos. I want you to keep this all in perspective. When you get a new family member, there are a lot of uncontrolled variables. This would apply to children or dogs. They are very physical, very curious, and have the maturity of say a 3-year-old. The following issues could befall any dog owner and are not unique or necessarily prevalent in Griffons. This is purely hypothetical, but for me, being prepared for the event happening is not as scary as being blind-sided.


Dental issues

Sometimes, puppies will have baby teeth that either do not come out on their own or are misaligned and need to be pulled for the adult teeth to come in normally. We have had several pups that needed baby teeth pulled. Rubber ball therapy is very helpful in keeping the adult teeth spread at a correct distance. Ball therapy involves playing fetch daily with a hard rubber ball, which is good for you and good for the puppy. As for the residual teeth, we cannot determine which pups will be affected upon leaving. We do note any over or underbites at their last vet check. My health guarantee does not cover removing baby teeth, as it is an easily correctable issue. All our breeding animals have excellent teeth.


Torn patella or other cartilage tears

This can happen in very athletic dogs. Just like any athlete, a slip and the wrong tweak can wreak havoc on cartilage. These operations are fairly common and very spendy, but the surgeries are very successful. Athletic dogs are still athletic, and stuff happens.


Ear infections

In a floppy-eared dog, the ear flap harbors lots of moisture in the ear canal. Some dogs are prone to ear infections, which require antibiotics. If you get a puppy prone to ear infections, you will need to incorporate ear washing into your routine to maintain a healthy ear and keep the Vet away. None of our adult breeders require routine cleaning.


Skin issues

Skin issues can be a nightmare, but the good news is our Griffons are not an overly impacted breed. Allergies, either inhaled or topical, can require some fairly aggressive treatments and management. The treatments can be costly; to date, we have not had many skin issues in our puppies or adults. We have had some dogs that do better on certain protein sources, and it has resulted in a more consistent bowel movement.


UTIs

I have a full article about Urinary Tract Infections. They can be really challenging if you get a pup prone to them. The light is that once the Griffons turn 1 year old, the incidence seems to be minimal. Females are more impacted than male puppies.


Swallowing stuff

So this can be a problem. Griffons are very hard on toys, beds, and lots of other things. People start out with sweet little toys from Walmart, but they are typically ruined within minutes. I don’t really care except I don’t like picking up the litter. I also don’t like wasting money. Buy KONGS or other industrial-type toys. Buy indestructible, warrantied beds. Stay away from things that might be swallowed. Here is the thing: Griffons swallow the darndest stuff. So, very sorry if you get a swallower, as it becomes a nightmare. Here are things my friends have had their dogs swallow: rocks, toys, socks, panties, balls, bones, string, rope, sweaters… You get the idea. Sometimes the items can be thrown up, and many times they pass through. Sometimes surgery is the answer. To my knowledge, we have had a couple puppies that developed fetishes for swallowing items. I know of at least one that required surgical removal. I have had several things come through in their fecal matter that I only learned about after the fact. I encourage strictly enforced chewing habits from day 1, replace any non-appropriate chewed item with a swift punishment, and replace it with an acceptable chew toy.

I do not mean to frighten people or imply that the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is particularly prone to the above issues. I am a realist, and there are many other weird and awful things that can occur in dogs. If you are looking to add a dog to your family pack, you should be prepared for the inevitable hiccup that is called life. Not everyone is in a financial position to incur the risk associated with owning a dog. If you are not, you might consider pet health insurance.


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