We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help perspective buyers or new puppy owners with their puppy questions
How many hours should my puppy be able to hold its bowels once it arrives?
A puppy of 8 weeks of age should not be expected to hold its bowels longer than 2-3 hours at a time. Owners must keep in mind a puppy of this age is comparable to a human infant at one month old. Mentally speaking, a large breed puppy isn't capable of true learning until 16 weeks of age. Until then, any accidents are the owners fault! The best way to start your puppy off in the right direction is to establish a set pattern or routine. Take your puppy outside to eliminate immediately after eating or drinking or at least every 2-3 hours. If you see your puppy circling and sniffing the floor immensely, get him/her outside instantly! Typically use the number of months in age as an example of how many hours your pup should be able to hold his or her bowels.(Example a three month old pup should be able to hold 3 hours). If the pup has an accident, tightly roll a newspaper and hit yourself over the head! ;-) Never punish a puppy for doing what nature intended them to do! Set up routines, and monitor your pup. Praise for good practices and you will be well on your way to success! Oh and do your best to clean accidents as puppies are naturally drawn to previous potty spots! Good luck!!!
What kind of toys do you recommend for puppies?
We highly recommend Kong or Nylabone (non-edible). They don't taste like, smell like, or feel like anything else in your home. They're designed to promote safe, healthy chewing. Should your puppy get a piece chewed off, its designed to pass thru your pets intestines and not get lodged or tear. (Important thing to note: ALWAYS BUY SIZE APPROPRIATE CHEWS FOR MAXIMUM SAFETY) Its invaluable to introduce your puppy to acceptable things to chew on, and discourage undesirable chewing early! Rawhides, while dog appealing are made of hide(leather) and guess what? So are our shoes!! Set your pup up for success- don't punish your puppy for chewing on your table legs after allowing or encouraging stick chasing or chewing....
What kind of GSD do you breed?
I get asked this question from time to time as well. Dogs, just like human counterparts, have different personalities, drives and temperaments. At Royal K9, we strive to build that perfect drive one that is the way the German Shepherd was intended. Physically sound, athletic and active enough to participate in activities with their families- yet not over driven and dingy or wound too tight. I like a dog that will bond with its family and go all day but be able to shut-off and lay on the living room floor too. Too often these days I see or hear of a GSD that would chase a ball so much to the point it couldn't keep weight on or was soo occupied with its behaviors that it was unable to protect the family! They were bred to be working dogs but they were also bred to be social, faithful guardians as well and too many people forget this after seeing or experiencing the breed after poor over breeding took place when the dog became famous in the 1970's after Hollywood shed light on them. Once having seen or owned a true healthy, intelligent German Shepherd one knows there is no substitute! Having once been a single woman, I remember the peace of mind and safety I felt traveling with my GSD too. A good GSD is an even greater attribute as it is natural deterrent, one that loves you back vs a piece of cold steel you may have in your purse....Always remember, its easier to call back your dog- where you cannot call back a bullet.
Do Longcoat German Shepherds shed more than shortcoats??
Aww the debate question of all breeders! I've had many owners tell me longcoat hairs are easier to pick off clothes vs short coat hairs. Imagine running your hand down the back of a Labrador and all those tiny hairs...Longcoats don't typically have that problem. While their hairs do bunch and float across floors, they tend to be less excessive until they blow their coats which happens twice a year on average. They will shed their undercoat twice a year and this is the dense thick water proofing coat underneath the guard hairs.
Why do you charge so much for your puppies?
I get asked this question from time to time. While our dogs are not priced as high as others, we provide high quality stock, and do our part to do the testing to help eliminate a lot of genetic problems acquired by passed breeding in the US. We bust our butts to care for our dogs and provide them the finest care we can. People who have been burned in the loss of a treasured dog due to poor breeding practices completely understand why we do what we do! Its my belief that if you cannot afford one of my pups, you could not properly care for a dog should it become ill or injured. This may sound harsh, but it is all to real and THAT is one of the number one reasons why dogs get turned over to shelters or surrendered to begin with. While this is not always the case, but all too often people that spend a few hundred bucks on a dog are all too quick to discard that dog later when it ends up costing thousands in vet bills! While nothing is completely preventable, we do our best to provide peace of mind!
Why do you no longer sell full registration?
While we do still offer full breeding rights, it took a couple of realizations to understand that there are just too many variables that could affect the livelihood of my dogs should they be sold full registration. A female puppy for example- how could I for-see how many litters the new owner would force her to produce and how late in life would she be bred? While I am working so hard to help better my breed it would take one bad breeding to undo the clean genetics we strive for AND I would be to blame as I sold them the dog! While certain circumstances will allow certain pups/dogs to be placed in breeding homes, we reserve the right to choose where our puppies go because we are doing our best to practice responsible breeding and we truly care about our dogs. It is important also for many prospective buyers to understand that in selling breeding rights, they are primarily buying the "ok" or permission to breed but so many don't understand that they still must test their dogs hips/elbows etc before breeding their dogs!! Our breeding rights are our way of protecting our dogs, and our brand name so-to-speak. We reserve the right to dictate whom we sell a dog with or without breeding rights to. We will allow certain pups/dogs to be sold with rights. It is fair and ok to ask us about a particular puppy/dog of interest intended for breeding.
What is a heart murmur?
Authored by: Dr. Mark Rishniw, ACVIM
My pet has a heart murmur – what does this mean?
A heart murmur is one of several types of abnormal sounds your veterinarian can hear when listening to your pet’s heart with a stethoscope. Normally, two distinct sounds are heard when listening to the heart of a normal dog or cat. These are often described as “lub” and “dub”. When listening with a stethoscope one hears: Lub-dub...Lub-dub....Lub-dub.
A murmur is an abnormal extra sound (which can sometimes drown out the normal sounds). Murmurs most commonly occur between the “lub” and the “dub” and have a “shooshing” or “whooshing” quality.
Hearing a heart murmur during a routine physical examination will often be the first hint to your veterinarian that your pet has heart disease. Hearing a murmur is only a hint that something may be wrong (a clinical sign), not a final diagnosis. Hearing a murmur is reason to consider more discussion and tests to determine the cause of the murmur (the diagnosis). Knowing the diagnosis and severity of the cause of the murmur allows your veterinarian (or a cardiologist they consult) to provide you with an educated guess (prognosis) regarding how this heart problem may effect your pet in the future.
Hearing a murmur is not a reason to panic. Many dogs and cats with murmurs live normal lives and never need any treatment for heart disease. But the only way to know for certain is to work with your veterinarian to determine the cause and severity of the cause of the murmur.
What causes a heart murmur?
The short answer to this question is “turbulent blood flow.” Like the water in a calm river or stream, blood flowing normally flows through the heart with laminar flow – that is, it is smooth and undisturbed. And like a river or stream, narrowing or other causes of more rapid flow will disrupt this smooth laminar flow. In a river the turbulent rapids emit sounds much louder and less tranquil than the calmer sections of river. In the heart we hear this turbulence as a murmur.
There are lots of things that can cause turbulent flow. To understand what can cause turbulent flow we need a brief lesson in heart anatomy and function:
Blood initially enters the heart in the right atrium. The blood then passes through the tricuspid valve into the right ventricle which pumps the blood through the pulmonic valve into the lungs to pick up oxygen (among other things). The oxygenated blood then enters the left atrium. Blood in the left atrium passes through the mitral valve to reach the left ventricle, which then pumps the blood through the aortic valve out to the rest of the body.
The purpose of each of the valves (tricuspid, pulmonic, mitral, aortic) is to keep the blood flowing forward, not backward, through the circuit described above (RA->RV-> lung > LA>LV>body). If a valve malfunctions (e.g., it doesn’t open or close properly), it can disturb blood flowing through it enough to create turbulence and the result is that your veterinarian will hear a murmur. The most common murmurs in dogs are associated with leaky mitral valves.
In other cases, the turbulence develops because there is a “hole in the heart” between two chambers or two arteries that are not normally connected.
Another cause is a narrowing (stenosis) within a chamber or vessel through which the blood has to “squeeze” through, like water through a pinched hose.
Finally, turbulence can be heard when the blood is too “thin” (anemia) or even when a patient is very excited causing the heart to pump faster and harder than normal.
What is a benign or “innocent” murmur?
Some heart murmurs are called benign (or innocent or physiological), meaning there is no apparent heart disease that explains the murmur. These murmurs are often seen in puppies, and can occur in cats of any age. They are uncommon in adult dogs. Benign murmurs are usually soft (rather than loud), and can be intermittent. Benign puppy murmurs will generally disappear by 12 to 15 weeks of age. Murmurs associated with anemia or excitement are also considered benign murmurs.
What is a congenital murmur vs. an acquired murmur?
A congenital murmur is a murmur in a pet that is present from birth (or near birth). Congenital murmurs are associated with heart defects that the pet was born with. However, some congenital murmurs may be missed in puppies or kittens and only detected later in life.
An acquired murmur is a murmur that a pet acquires during their life. These can be benign, but more often (especially in dogs) are associated with developing heart or valve disease.
My pet’s murmur has a “grade.” What does this mean?
Murmur grading is simply your veterinarian’s way of describing the loudness of a murmur. There are six murmur grades. The lower the grade, the quieter the murmur. However, it is often easiest to simply describe them as “soft,” “moderately,” or “loud.” There are other terms that a vet will use to describe the character of a murmur – this helps communicate to other veterinarians the characteristics of the murmur as certain types of murmurs are more common associated with specific heart or valve diseases.
The grade or loudness of the murmur is only sometimes related to the severity of the heart abnormality causing it.
Bear in mind that grading is subjective because it is based on how it sounds to the listener. Also, it’s hard to tell if an animal has a heart murmur if the pet is excited or anxious because rapid breathing sounds can mimic a murmur. Usually, only a trained cardiologist can identify a Grade 1 murmur. A Grade 5 or Grade 6 murmur is so strong that it can be felt through the chest wall (like water being sprayed against a sheet of cloth).
What should I do if my pet has a murmur?
In many cases, a veterinarian will be able to determine the likely cause of a murmur in a dog just by listening. In some cases, no additional testing will be deemed necessary. However, to be certain, it is often best to work with your veterinarian to confirm the cause of the murmur as well as the severity of the condition that is causing the murmur. This will give you the best idea of what to expect in the future -- the prognosis for your pet. In other cases, where a pet may be used for breeding, a murmur may indicate the presence of a hereditary defect that could be passed on to progeny.
How old to spay and neuter?
Here is another question many argue over. Many have been told by their vet to spay or neuter before one year. In truth there is no health benefit to the dog but a huge benefit to society when a dog is fixed at or before it becomes of breeding age. It widely prevents accidental breedings and prevents owners of having to go thru both the headache of cleaning after a female in heat or a male that spot marks at sexual maturity! While I completely agree that a dog not qualified for or intended for breeding should be fixed, its my opinion that large breed dogs be held off on spay neuter if possible until 2years of age when the dog is done growing and growth plates have had time to form properly from those important growth hormones. While an early spay/neuter is not the end of the world, it will be most beneficial to your dog that you offer high grade supplements like NUVET to help with the gaps in nutrition. NUVET also helps flush toxins from the system and is quite beneficial for anesthesia. While we recommend waiting at least two years we understand this takes extreme patience of owners in some cases with teenage like hormones in some dogs, while others are easy going and aside from usual animal behaviors do quite well. In a nutshell, it all comes down to what your preference may be for your dog. Studies have shown that in females it is better allow 1-2 heat cycles before having her spayed. This would mean waiting until she is respectively 18 months old on average. It is beneficial to wait but takes a watchful owner to know the reproductive cycle of the dog and never leave an intact dog unattended where an irresponsible breeding may occur.