Our hounds are not only long lived but they have aged extremely well with a minimal of any kind of serious health issue. I have been told many times by visitors from all over the country that I have the youngest old wolfhounds they have ever met. It is VERY important to us that all of our puppy families feel comfortable using us as a source of information and help throughout the life of their pup. We WANT to track our offspring throughout their lives.
When people ask me about the longevity and health of our hounds, I tell them I attribute it to FOUR main things.
1. Yes, some of this must be genetic strength
2. We do not advocate pre-pubescent spay and neuter. Hormones are protective as they are in people and taking them away too early does contribute greatly to things like heart disease, osteosarcoma, joint disease, some cancers etc. Many Many studies on this now from top research facilities and vet schools that I can share with anyone that asks. With the latest study from UCDavis, there is indication that neutering is immune modulating even if it is done later in life. No, I do not recommend OR suggest that just anyone is equipped to handle an intact hound, but I feel that supplementation and being aware of immune system building is paramount especially for neutered hounds. With that in mind we recommend feeding highest quality as best as you can, age appropriate supplementation( see supplement recommendations below), good exercise, Lots of love and lots of constant companionship.
3. Environment and exercise. Hounds do need some good exercise and bonding time with their family a couple of times a day. Our hounds take minimum of two 1.5 mile hikes around our property daily, two smaller walks, and lots of free play whenever they want when they are not perusing their kingdom from the pillows on our front porch. They live inside our home with us, but they have 24 hour access to the inner 2 and a half acre yard via dog door. For most of the year, during the day, the hounds have access to the entire 40 acres. Very young pups until they have a couple of months with the pack are not allowed on the longer walks. At about 12-16 weeks, they will be leashed on some of the pack walks.
4. EPIGENETICS: Last but not least and Very important is the way we care for them which includes how and what we feed them. We want to optimize a long lived happy healthy hound. We are huge believers not only in the genetics of our hounds but in the science of epigenetics as well. Epigenetics proves basically that a living creature’s destiny is not necessarily 100% dictated by DNA. What you and your dogs eat greatly determines many aspects of health, and while it does not change the DNA specifically, it has been proven with studies concerning isolated communities, that carefully choosing how and what one eats actually changes the genetic material that sits on top of the gene(ie… epi genetics). Such care can and does alter the “pathway” of DNA not only for the individual but also for the next generation that then can inherit a better (or worse as the case may be) genetic destiny. An example of this was the sudden publicizing that women who took fish oil and who became pregnant and continued to take fish oil through pregnancy had children who were less likely to be as prone to illness. The children had higher immunity, and higher and better academic performance. Regardless, This knowledge has been around for some time and has scientific studies backing it up ( see studies under ….tab). The studies and Information is readily available. We are committed to the health of our hounds and to the promoting of healthier wolfhounds in general whether they be show dogs or beloved companion dogs. How Sires and Dams are cared for have a lot to do with the basic health of all offspring. One must be committed to feeding at least the highest quality kibble as a base food to get one of our pups whom we have loved and whose ultimate health and longevity and temperament is a reflection of us, our philosophy on the breed, and all we have tried to do.
I must be assured and promised you will not feed cheap unwholesome food. Bad nutrition has a great effect on all that I have mentioned. I am a firm believer in optimizing for our beloved hounds.There are a lot of bad foods out there that taste good to the dogs because of additives and fats sprayed on or included in the kibble. By the same token there are a lot of good foods out there of which we can speak further if you wish. I can show you what to look for in a food and its ingredients and what questions you need answered in selecting a food. A lot of food even the ones sold at veterinary clinics are what I call pharmaceutical food with very little real food value. I can go over what I feel is good and what is bad and why. And while a lot of hounds and other dogs can get by for some time on low quality food and yes a lot of breeds can manage on junk, but when the hound is 6 or above(IF they live that long) you can see the ultimate long term results. IWs because of their growth, long puppy hood to maturity and because their organs and systems are developing for so long etc do not tolerate without negative results years or a lifetime of inferior nutrition.
Why would anyone serve cheap food to their beloved hounds? Is your dog not as an important as one of your kids…..and if not, do not even ask to be considered on our list. If, after studying this breed and you think you want one and you still think that a wolfhound is “just a dog,” do not even think about filling out an application for one of our hounds.
As far as food goes, Corn as a first ingredient is NOT acceptable to a carnivore and is much harder to digest corn…..chicken by product meal which hey does sound like meat, is merely ground up beaks and feather and feet. In addition, An IW person MUST ALWAYS be aware of the calcium content which should not be more than a 1.1%. Meat, Meat meal, which should always be defined as chicken, beef, etc should be the first ingredient…If the meat is undefined, listed as just meat, it is probably more related to scrape, waste, and offal, with addition of bone meal. In addition the most of the minerals should NOT come entirely in the form of sulfates which are not as easily digested and some like copper sulfate are even a fungicide. Horse people know It is the main ingredient in Copper Tox which is a fungicide to help with hoof rot and thrush in horses. A better source of minerals are Proteinates which are a bit more expensive, but they are a lot more digestible and more easily utilized. What good is an ingredient if it can not be digested and utilized? Dog food kibble (even a good one) is cheap and high profit….they get expensive because of the need for distribution of the product and middle men to do it, must feel it is worth it.
We do not require that someone use exactly what we use, but for the record we us a combination of Wysong Synorgon and Nature’s Variety Prairie Chicken and Brown Rice kibble. And we add people food regularly and some raw(depending on age of hound) on occasion. They also get fruits and vegetables (especially bananas, apples, carrots) and Kefir as I feel is needed. I rely on a quality base kibble…..or I would be cooking all day for my brood. Just remember, No one food can be good enough to be a complete healthy diet which is why the base food chosen is so important.
I am a believer in some supplements daily (However, I do not introduce a new pup to a lot of supplementation in diet(this includes introduction to some “people foods” too) at first, I start some supplements with them when they are closer to 6 months old. Younger pups will get only a taste of some people food on occasion like kefir or cottage cheese, or a couple of nibbles of banana, apple, carrots or a taste of some people scraps.
What I give often depends on what is going on….ie if there is a sport injury, I will up the C and fish oil and add HLA and Arthred to promote the faster healing of the soft tissue. For injuries, I will do epsom salt and lemon grass soaks and utilize magnets as well. I can tell you stories about injured/ill hounds making full recovery when even the vets thought it was impossible.
SUPPLEMENTS THAT I USE AND SOME EVEN EVERY DAY FOR ALL OF OUR HOUNDS…and some for us too!
1. An Herbal vitamin/mineral supplement from Nuvet labs called NuVet Plus. I have searched long and hard for a good herbal multi-vitamin supplement. I think this one is the best and I have been using it for years. It is formulated by veterinarians and made from human grade ingredients in a human grade FDA facility meeting the same strict guidelines as human pharmaceuticals. It is precise combinations of human grade, natural vitamins, minerals, herbs, antioxidents, bioflavonoids, fatty acids and amino acids. It is an excellent overall product that I believe in. I tell people if they want to choose only a couple of daily supplements, I would highly recommend the NuVet Plus plus the Fish oil(I use MEGA EFA from Vitacost.com.) It can reduce risk and help heal many issues including, allergies, itching, hot spots, arthritis, digestive issues, hair loss, infections, low energy, tear staining and more. Please see link for ordering info for the NuVet plus.
see link for ordering…………************
2. Everyone gets preferably two gel caps (2000 mg) of High quality fish oil. A baby may just get 1 gel cap at first. I use Mega EFAs from vitacost.com
3. Dogs do manufacture their own vitamin C, but if one is stressed or ill for whatever reason, I will supplement for a short time. 500mg of whole food vitamin C, NOT pharmaceutical C that can cause oxalate crystals in the bladder. I use Rainbow light 1000mg and split it in half.
4. TERRAMIN CLAY(Loose clay and tablet form): ALl my hounds get a clay tablet of Terramin Clay. This is excellent for helping to neutralize bad stuff in the system…detoxing, and great for gastro intestinal tract, keeping parasites at bay, and Diarrhea if it occurs. The early days of Kaopectate were Kaolin clay. This is what I use in case of a more severe Diarrhea. This is also excellent for people for osteoporosis prevention and halting. It has been Used on the astronauts to prevent osteoporosis from weightlessness in space. I take one tab a day for myself. I use the healing properties of clay for internal and external issues. The loose Nutramin clay is excellent as a poultice to draw tiny foreign objects out, basic anti -microbial skin healer, and can even be used to keep gums healthy. It even keeps the gut unfriendly to parasites. I keep this in stock, and will be happy to sell you what I use if you call or write to me. I always have the tablet and the loose clay as part of my health repertoire for ourselves and our hounds and always on hand
I first heard about Protandim about 10 years ago from a 60 minutes segment on TV. It sounded like it could certainly be protective with our busy life style. Biz and I both started taking it for many years. During this time, I recommended it to many friends who felt it made a huge difference in their immunity through out the year. There now have been more studies done at very reputable research facilities on Protandim showing very positive results. It is said that within 30 days of use, there is a marked improvement in the oxidative stress levels. and very often older people have improved in that regard to show no difference between them and 30 year olds. There is now a canine version of this supplement. However, since Wolfhounds are people size, it makes sense (financial and amount) to give them the same version that people get. I have started giving this to my hounds that are older than 8. They are all still very very active and healthy.
6. One Icelandic Kelp tablet a day: Good for digestion and trace elements. Remember health is basically all about the gut and how nutrition is processed. Kelp is excellent also for boys over 6 to aid in digestion which slows down as a hound ages and can predispose a hounds to bloat. I get this from vitacost too. Cost is about $11. per 1000.
6. All hounds over age of 3 (unless there is a reason to give it earlier to them) get Astragalus . Read about astragalus in the section on research. The chinese call it “The Superior Tonic” and we ALL should take this!!
7. For Older in tact girls: Fresh ground flax seed in ¼ cup cottage cheese and ¼ cup water... and 1 grape seed capsule. Ground flax is a must for bitches over 3 or 4 as well as for women with breast issues. According to documented research studies it can actually be preventative for mammary tumors and can also stop/slow the spread of such
8. Sometimes for arthritis, I use Myristin tablets or NuJoint Plus These Tablets can take 6-8 weeks before a difference is noticed.
Grape seed is also an incredible immune booster and antioxident.
8. Soft tissue injuries call for short term use of HLA, Arthred, extra fish oil, and extra C AND I often will use a magnet wrapped in a wrist support.
All the hounds get some fresh fruit or vegetable a day…small carrots, slices of apple, or some banana. They get our selected left overs as well….just use some common sense with left overs.
To get a puppy from us, I must feel comfortable that you also learn to understand our concerns and can now think about and proceed with learning a new regimen on the food. You will be rewarded with longer lived hounds and a lot less vet bills. These hounds are part of our families and why wouldn’t one feed the best they can possibly can. I adore my hounds and I adore this breed too much not to do the best job I can with our home pack and our pups. It has been said about us, wolfhounds have become a way of life, a religious experience. Each one has taught me more about life and pack life than I ever could have imagined in a million years. I have chosen to have them in my life and thus I choose to put them first and take the best possible care of them.