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Hot Tips for Hot Days

Has your wirehair dropped hints about needing a trip to the spa for a bikini wax?

 When your setter pants, does its tongue dangle lower than an abandoned long lead on an unruly giraffe?

 Do you find your vizsla loitering around the refrigerator ice dispenser or stockpiling cooler packs?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to acknowledge that summer is upon us and we need to give extra thought to keeping our bird dogs cool.

Seriously…Dogs have higher body temperatures than humans, and it takes them longer to cool down than it does us. Although they can shed heat by panting, the only surfaces that “sweat” on a dog are its nose and foot pads. On warm days, other than when there is an early morning dew, the temperature down at a dog’s running level close to the ground can be much hotter than up at our breathing level. If the air temperature around is us 80 degrees, by afternoon, in thick hot grass, it could be over 100 degrees at dog level. What is tricky is determining whether the dog is approaching heat stroke or is simply panting as is normal when it is warm.

There are two types of panting. Controlled panting is a natural cooling mechanism. Uncontrolled panting is not. The way to determine the difference is to call, whistle, wave or do something to distract the dog. If the panting is controlled, the dog will close its mouth and look to see what’s going on, showing the ability to regulate that panting. Not responding – not pausing the panting or momentarily closing the mouth – can indicate distress. Then it’s time to intervene and cool the dog down by rinsing thick saliva out of the mouth, immersing in cool water (never ice!), and applying rubbing alcohol soaked pads or cloths to the dog’s armpits, legpits, underbelly, and under ear flaps.

Besides that heavy panting, symptoms of overheating include excessive thirst, dark red gums, heavy salivation, and poor coordination. You can test for dehydration by pinching a roll of skin on the back of a dog’s neck. If it “sticks” up, hydration probably is needed.

Further symptoms of heat stroke include glassy eyes, weakness, vomiting or bloody diarrhea, increased pulse and heartbeat, collapse and seizures.  Typically, a dog’s temperature should be 101 – 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. When a dog’s temperature hits 109 degrees or higher, its cells literally start to deteriorate. Within minutes, heat stroke can cause critical damage to the dog’s brain, liver, heart and nervous system as the brain swells and kidneys shut down.

Cooling an overheated or hyperthermic dog must be done carefully. The first thing to do is to move the dog to a cool place—shade, creek, fan, air conditioned building or vehicle. Again, never put ice on the dog or immerse it in ice. Place cool wet towels or pour cool water over the dog, concentrating on the head, neck and underside of the dog’s legs.

The cooling process must be gradual, so the temperature drops slowly. If a dog’s temperature drops too quickly, the risk of damage to internal organs increases. If the temperature gets down to 104 degrees and the dog can keep its head up, offer small drinks of water; too much water can induce vomiting. Once the dog’s temperature reaches 102.5 degrees, stop the cooling process (it might be smart to keep a canine rectal thermometer in your first aid kit).

Having plenty of water is priority one—gallon jugs in the truck and squirt bottles in the bird vest. That being said, we don’t want to turn our dogs into hippo-sized water balloons, so we need to watch and monitor input and output. Some dogs don’t like to drink in the field or while hunting. Adding a gravy or beef bouillon to the water bottle can help.

Priority two is making sure there’s a cool down spot nearby. Shade, vehicle AC, stream, water, canopies, etc. Consider keeping one of those reflective silver mesh shade tarps on hand. Draped lean-to style over a raised hatch, open truck back window, or tree branches, these tarps reflect sun but let in the breeze, considerably dropping the temperature underneath. 

We have to be smarter than our dogs. Some of these bird-seeking-missiles have an override switch when it comes to self-regulating in the heat. To prevent your dog from impersonating a burnt fajita left flat out on the griddle plate, a little planning, a lot of observing, and some prompt responding can go a long way.

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Be Aware, Be Prepared: Substances Toxic to Dogs

Most of us know not to let our dogs near antifreeze, chocolate, and grapes. Unfortunately, those are just a drop in the toxin bucket when it comes to substances dangerous for dogs to ingest.

While the Ugly Dog canine staff prefers to live by the “my lips are the litmus test” rule when it comes to scarfing down dubious, risky, and sometimes downright astonishing substances, we human staffers know better.  Levels of toxicity can depend on the poison, amount eaten, size of the dog and other factors, but the adage “better safe than sorry” is the best rule.

Here’s a basic list of things that can be poisonous to your dog. These are just a few of the more toxic ones. For complete lists, an online search will give you several reliable websites for more complete listings.

Food: Onion/garlic, chocolate, macadamia nuts, avocado, coffee/caffeine, grapes/raisins, alcohol, marijuana (cannabis), mustard seeds, sweeteners (particularly Xylitol). And don’t forget foods that aren’t toxic but can easily cause blockages, such as corn cobs and peach pits.

Home and Yard Products:: Antifreeze, cocoa mulch, insecticides, mouse bait, ice melt, mothballs, fertilizers.

Plants: Mistletoe, thorn apple, English ivy, castor bean, dieffenbachia, hemlock, oleander.

Symptoms of poisoning may include difficulty breathing, profuse salivation, stomach pain, irregular heart, seizures/convulsions, rigidity, extended legs, bluish mucous membranes, and shivering.

What to do? Don’t make your dog vomit if you don’t know what was ingested. Don’t make your dog vomit if it ingested a caustic or alkaline substance.  Do make your dog vomit if  you know what was ingested (foods, plants, antifreeze glycols). Use hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting, giving .05 – 1 ml per pound of dog’s weight. Consult a veterinarian and/or animal poison hotline asap. You might be advised to give activated charcoal as well.    

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Update: Training Bumpers 2023

Ugly Dog Hunting has always carried a variety of training bumpers. The Avery Hexabumper — an all around “go-to” bumper — comes in a choice of colors all with easy-grab ridges and strong throw ropes. The Avery Perfect Hold also has the Vgrips but adds dumb bell ends to thwart cigar-style holds. Dokken’s classic Dead Fowl Trainers appease handlers’ imaginations with a selection of bird types while teaching young pups the heft of a dead bird. Our inventory has several other smart, purposeful bumpers, but the dogs on staff here have their own ideas.

Assistant Director of Inventory Reclamation, Riviera Rugertoes, announced at the last management meeting that she is tired of picking up bumpers strewn across the headquarters’ property by Shorthair Emeritus Scratch ‘n Sniff. Unfortunately due to his advanced age and daily dose of hallucinogenic medications, Scratch tosses his bumpers aside every time a whiff of tasty rabbit turd assaults his nostrils. He then promptly forgets where he threw them. To fix this, Riv has created the Magnet Mama homing bumper. Shaped like a ball peen hammer, the Magnet Mama contains a patented boomerang magnet system that, if thrown aside, sends itself back to its source with a substantial bonk on the head. Offering him a bottle of buffered aspirin to relieve bonk-induced headaches, Riviera has conned Scratch into beta testing the Magnet Mama and is bribing the local rabbits with bib lettuce and carrot souffle to establish reliable excremental parameters for evaluation of the new product.

On the bumper aesthetics front, our VP of Looking Good While Wrecking Havoc, PDog Fieldsprinter, has demanded glitter studded training bumpers that not only glow in the dark but also squirt beef bouillon on long retrieves. Her rationale is that beauty is only fur deep, and while a bumper can’t counter that by saying it’s got a nice personality, it can redeem its inner value by amusing other senses.

The third bumper in production by Ugly Dog’s staff – clearly designed by committee – is the U Wantit U Fetchit bumper. Cleverly crafted for use by creatures without opposable thumbs, U Wantit U Fetchit is launched by your dog via a mechanized tail catapult (adjustable for those with cropped tails) for you, the handler of all commands, to fetch in a brilliant game of Trading Places. We have had long debates, however, over optional accessories. The beer-seeking sensor was approved immediately given the rationale that humans are more likely to be compliant in a training session if beer is involved. The ecollar electric arc generator intended to furnish payback to heavy-handed trainers is still under review. U Wantit U Fetchit should be on the market by late spring, assuming the Ugly Dog Research and Development team will stop repeatedly binge-watching all eight seasons of Dexter.

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Tales from the Grouse Woods

Chronicles of a typical two week period in a New England ruffed grouse season…

One dog ran into an electric fence three times within two minutes. Fortunately it wasn’t live, the fence that is. Big dog bounded into it, bounced back out of it. Looked around confused, then charged it again. This time he stumbled with one foot caught in the lowest wire. Then he backed away, ran to his left and charged right into it again. All hunters present agreed that dog’s IQ is questionable.

The other dog dragged his hunter companion through what seemed like 20 miles of thick dogwood and buckthorn – the  kind that grabs ankles, wrenches knees and makes arms look like refugees from a cat fight…with a cat. After the dog pointed and tracked, pointed and tracked, a bunny raced through the underbrush. The dog’s owner bellowed “Rabbit, bad!” cursing the allegedly experienced bird dog. Then a lovely plump woodcock zoomed out of the tangle in front of the dog.

Never have so many chipmunks materialized in one region, however. Understandably no one knows where they come from or where they go, but a shockingly large population appears during grouse season. Probably due to global warming.

So far this season these two hunters have shot maples, dogwood, alders, black locust, sumac, oaks, cedars, beechnut trees and hemlocks. They’ve shot air, mist, leaves, rain, saplings, bark and inadvertently one abandoned squirrel’s nest.

Nevertheless, the magical chaos – and calm – of grouse season proves again and again that hunter and dog hunt as a team with communication fine-tuned over the years. Ugly and not-so-ugly bird dogs tell us we need to hunt more and need to hunt again, and that it’s okay if we run out of 7½ shot – 6’s will be just fine.

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Terry Wilson – Election for Vice President of NAVHDA

NAVHDA BACKGROUND  – I have been an active NAVHDA member for 16 years on both local and International levels. As a longtime member of the Yankee Chapter, I volunteer regularly as a gunner and bird planter. I have trained and tested my German wirehairs to multiple NA and UT prizes and Versatile Champion titles. I am a NAVHDA judge and an Invitational volunteer.  

Over the years I have helped many chapters through fundraising and donations for their programs, equipment, and other major purchases. I arranged and underwrote the Wingshooting USA filming of the 2015 Invitational. I was co-designed and underwrote the large display panels used in the NAVHDA Pheasant Fest booth, the annual meeting, and elsewhere.

My company, Ugly Dog Hunting, has been a NAVHDA International corporate sponsor for 16 years and an event donor for the Annual Meetings and Invitationals.

Seven years ago, I co-founded the NAVHDA Youth Endowment Fund – the catalyst for two out of the three NAVHDA youth programs today.


PLATFORM – I am running independently, not aligned with anyone else running for a NAVHDA office.

  • Corporate Sponsors – We have four corporate sponsors. There is no reason why we cannot add three or four more. An organization with 11,000 members offers significant impact to potential sponsors in terms of exposure and reach. Additional sponsors would not only bring in funds but would also broaden NAVHDA’s visibility. As VP, I would use my industry contacts in the wingshooting and hunting dog community to help bring in more corporate sponsors.
  • Conservation Partners – Many of our members hunt waterfowl and support Ducks Unlimited. I would work hard to create a partnership with DU and more conservation organizations. As with our current partners, sharing support and chapter connections would be a win-win situation for all.
  • Invitational – Due to the increase in yearly participants, the Invitational faces tremendous pressure to meet its needs for staffing, grounds, and funding. I have heard many feasible options for relieving that pressure. I would work with the EC, Invitational Committee, chapter leaders, members, and the Managing Director to develop a fair, balanced plan accommodating more than one event per year and making the Invitational more accessible to members in different regions.
  • Apprentice Judge Scholarship Program – With local chapter support and International’s program combined, our ability to attract and retain new apprentices will be substantial. Several chapters offer their own apprentice judge scholarships. I would help other local chapters set up similar programs.
  • Anti-Hunting Dog Legislation – Every year, a number of states propose legislation that would inhibit or outright ban hunting with dogs. These bills usually address the “low-hanging fruit” such as bear or coyote dogs, acknowledging that rabbit and bird dogs would be next. I would set up a network reaching out to other dog clubs and hunting organizations to share information on pending bills and collaborate in the fight for our right to breed, own, train, and hunt with our dogs.



The dramatic growth of NAVHDA’s membership necessitates growth in its leadership. If I’ve learned one thing on the RGS/AWS Board, it is that the member-volunteers are the backbone of an organization like ours.

The Executive Council has led NAVHDA well over the years in many ways, but given the size and diversity of our current membership, the EC should evolve its leadership style into one with far greater trust in the perspectives and skills of both our Managing Director and chapter leaders.  

According to NAVHDA Bylaws, each newly elected or re-elected President appoints the Directors with approval by vote of the officers. Thus, just four people pick the rest of the EC. In the past, individuals from the general membership have not been encouraged to apply for these directorships. I hope many of the talented and experienced members across the country will step up and ask to be considered for these positions. NAVHDA has a terrific untapped resource there from which to draw its very best leaders.

What would I bring to the EC?

With well over a decade on the Board of Directors of RGS as well as involvement with other conservation and wingshooting organizations, I am skilled at solving problems based on input from the membership rather than solely through the perspective of the board. I also know a board is most effective when it works in a spirit of mutual respect and collaboration.

Having worked my entire career in the corporate world, I understand the reciprocal value of sponsorships. I know how to talk to potential sponsors, and I have insider’s knowledge of the different sectors of our sporting dog community – merchandisers, habitat organizations, legislative groups, and, of course, hunting dog organizations.  This gives me a unique view of NAHVDA’s place in this community as we continue to evolve as one of the best hunting dog organizations in the country.


 NAVHDA Life Member

 Business Owner

  • Founder and owner of the Ugly Dog Hunting Company (20+ years), wingshooting and hunting dog supply retailer
  • Before Ugly Dog, I worked in several different industries including ten years as Purchasing Director for the Rossignol Ski Company. In 1990, I formed Carts Vermont, manufacturing big-wheel wooden garden carts. Upon selling the company in 2000, I launched Ugly Dog, crediting its inspiration to Scrub, my first German wirehair.

Conservation Advocate

  • Former chair and current member of the Board of Directors of the Ruffed Grouse Society / American Woodcock Society
  • Life member of Ducks Unlimited
  • Life member of Pheasants Forever
  • Life member of Quail Forever
  • Chair of the Green Mountain Chapter of RGS / AWS

Co-Founder of the Track2wing Project

  • Track2wing grants Action trackchairs to individuals with mobility challenges who currently hunt or train with hunting dogs or would like to do so. Since its inception in 2020, Track2wing has granted 19 trackchairs to hunters across the country, many of whom are or have become NAVHDA members.
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Classic Canine Pharmaceuticals

Is your dog suffering from CFS – Chronic Fud Syndrome? Also known as Insatiable Meal Lust, CFS has impeded the progress of many fine hunting dogs. From the embarrassment of rushing back to shore for a quick bite of grass during high action waterfowl hunt, to all-out post-Thanksgiving-dinner trash bin raids, CFS has brought disgrace to hunting dog owners worldwide. Fortunately, there’s a cure. “Sirloinsia,” developed by Phidoze Labratories, taken in pill form, reduces canine cravings by simulating the constant taste of a fine sirloin. Dogs will think they’re eating, thereby dulling the neural pathways that make them lurk around the pantry in the wee hours of the morning with visions of cheese doodles on their minds.


“Lapsaluck Spray,” another virtual beef pharma wonder, has been developed for the treatment of hyper-active lickers. If your bird dog too often relishes a good paw slobber or under belly slurpathon, lightly  spray this odorous beef mist into the air. Body lapping will be instantly abandoned in favor of air licking, distraction guaranteed, drool piles evaporated.


Another problem common among hunting breeds is Parlorretchitis, which manifests itself by the upchucking of feathers, beaks, hairballs, and various unidentifiable avian and varmint body parts. This typically occurs in the middle of the night in the middle of the living room. While the canine medical community recognizes the fact that this purging syndrome is in itself a cure for the problem – eviction of unwelcome gastrointestinal contents – the increased use of household chemical rug cleaners is cause enough for mitigation of the retch habit. “Binge BeGone,” manufactured by Griffonguts Ltd., breaks down the ingested wild game body parts, so the tidbits can ride on the next load of kibble processing by and pass through the dog as nature intended.


Due to overzealous breeding, many gun dogs with strong prey drive find themselves suffering from RPD – Repetitive Porcupine Disorder. This can develop when a strong lineage of happy hunting genes is crossed into lines with the extra hellbentforleather chromosome. The result is a dog that perpetually confuses porcupine quills with toothpicks. Besides showcasing a snout full of quills on an average of three times annually, other symptoms include handlers with calloused thumbs (from tweezer abrasions during quill extractions) and veterinarians taking extravagant Caribbean resort vacations thanks to the extra office visit revenue. To avoid the pain and suffering of RPD, Rover & Rover Pharma, Inc. created “Leaveitalone,” a mild narcotic that when properly administered will make RPD dogs totally uninterested in porcupines. Caution: If recommended dosage is exceeded, handlers may find their dogs lying in a heap, gazing at a lava lamp, playing old records backwards and giggling uncontrollably.


Note: It’s still a good idea to keep a comprehensive hunting dog medical kit on hand. We recommend the Sport Dog First Aid Kit and the Ready Dog Professional Trauma/Aid Kit.

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On the Road

Hunting trips would be much smoother if our gun dogs could pack their own gear. And read road maps. And use the restrooms at a truck stop. Reality differs, however. Whether you cross-country cruise in a big  hunting rig or fold your little SUV’s back seats down and throw in a crate, travelling with hunting dogs presents challenges to efficiency and safety. Here are a few tried-and-true and a few new tips for travelling with hunting dogs.

  1. Rather than stopping at highway rest areas and truck stops where the parking lots and dog walk areas have a lot of litter and potential hazards (think unhealthy dog poops, antifreeze leaks, junk food wrappers), use the “texting” stops many Interstates now offer. They have less traffic than gas and food rest areas and often a nice grass/wooded backdrop.
  2. If you’re travelling for just a few days, consider pre-bagging dog food into meal-sized portions in plastic baggies. That will avoid the risk of ole Ruger chomping into a loosely closed paper dog food bag in the truck or cabin, and it will make meal time quicker and easier. (If your dog takes pills, pre-load them in each baggy with the food.) For longer trips, use a roll-and-clip closed dog food storage bag like the Mud River Food Bucket or the Avery Dog Food Bag that stands up when full but can be compressed and buckled smaller as the food is used up and gear in the truck expands (with those coolers full of birds, of course).
  3. Keep a photocopy of your dogs’ medical info – rabies vaccinations, especially — in case you need to board the dogs in an emergency or if they need to go to a vet. Unexpected roadblocks like you getting injured or needing to fly home for a family emergency or a natural disaster like a blizzard blocking your planned route (with no dog friendly hotels around) might result in the need to board your dogs. Kennels that don’t know you are more likely to take your dogs if they can check vaccination records.
  4. Consider getting an ecollar with a beacon light feature like several of the Garmin training collars and tracking collars. These are great for watching where Honeybelle wanders when you let her out at night in strange territory and also makes her more visible to oncoming vehicles or people.
  5. Keep one of those amazing reflective silver mesh shade tarps on hand if you’re making stops in hot weather. Draped lean-to style over a raised hatch or open truck back window, the tarp reflects sun but lets breeze in, considerably dropping the temperature underneath.
  6. If your dog will be riding in an unfamiliar crate or truck box, bring a towel or small piece of kennel blanket with familiar smells. This could help reduce the pup’s stress in a strange looking or smelling place.
  7. Go online and find emergency vets in the area(s) where you’ll be hunting.
  8. If you’re staying in a pet-friendly hotel and your dog will be loose in the room at any time with or without you, check under the bed and around the furniture and closets for insect traps or poisons. Never let your dog drink out of a hotel toilet; most hotels use very strong disinfectants that leave residue that can make a dog sick. And keep an eye on water puddles in rest stop parking lots, airport tarmacs, etc. where antifreeze, de-icing fluid and other toxins might be used.
  9. If your dog is a finicky eater or just gets too amped up on hunting trips to pay attention to food, bring along a couple of small cans of what we call doggie “junk food” – the juicy gravy smushy stuff that you can stir into the high quality dry food your dog usually eats.
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The UD22FX Genetic Filth Marker

Top hunting dog breeders have held a deep, dark secret for decades. They have been unwilling to share
it with prospective puppy buyers in fear the owners would ignore a pup’s excellent pointing ability, strong water drive or athletic conformation, and run away in shear domestic terror.

Coming clean (yeah… you’ll appreciate the beauty of that pun soon), we would like to discuss bird dogs’
genetic marker for filth. We’re not talking about your run-of-the-mill muddy paws here. We’re talking an
attraction to decomposed rancid gunk so advanced that dogs with the marker can appreciate the
nuanced difference between rotting compost and raccoon upchuck. The UD22FX marker is passed down from generation to generation as a recessive component woven into the prey drive DNA strand,
detectable only through protein saturation of the limbic system’s output.

According to Darwin’s Theory of Barfolution, the UD22FX marker originally was only found in one or two
pups per litter, mostly in early crossbreeds where cleansing treatments post goose-dung-roll penetrated
the skin and altered the dogs’ genetic composition, keeping transmission of the marker to a minimum.
Unfortunately, when the wirehaired griffons discovered the hunting crowd’s amazement at the filthy
results of UD22FX behavior, hungry for physical attention as griffons are prone to be, they then sought
mates with the marker in the hopes of enhancing their aptitude for getting really really dirty thus
requiring delightful daily massages with a slicker brush and tickley undercoat rake. From the griffs the
marker spread to the Munsterlanders, from the Munsters to the Chessies, and since Chessies will hump
anything, it rapidly spread to the short-coated breeds, finding the best genetic environment for marker
sustainability in the German shorthairs. Shorthairs had already elevated the search and rescue of
revolting garbage to an art form, so the UD22FX has easily evolved a stronger genetic resilience.
(Researcher’s note: this applies only to the various breeds’ hunting lines. Happily for the companion and
show lines, UD22FX appears to weaken in the presence of ribbons and bows.)

The subversive UD22FX genetic anomaly guarantees owners they will win the My-Dog-Is-Most-Repulsive Contest at grouse camp. It also provides job security for truck detailers and frou-frou groomers who run out of beauty pageant contestants off-season. High powered trash breaking ecollars aside, the best solution for hunters whose dogs have the marker is twofold.

One, if your dog is an inveterate sludge magnet, be sure to use shampoo or cleansers such as the
DERMagic Grooming Spray that have natural deodorizing ingredients. The harsh chemicals found in some detergents and cleaning products can be harmful to a dog’s skin and coat, and there’s no time during hunting season for binge watching a bird dog version of the Itchy and Scratchy Show.

Two, turn on your universal nature lover. Decomposed bird guts and rotten-egg smelly, iron-saturated
marsh slime are gifts from a Mother Nature who doesn’t want you to lie awake at night wondering why
your life smells like a perfumed Hallmark card. Embrace the inevitable.


                                                                               [photo: Reina; owners: Kate Swanson and Darren Nelson]

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Recognizing a Bloat Emergency

Collage of Pointer with Basketball and Brake-Fast slow feeding dog bowl

One summer evening several years ago while playing fetch with his favorite hexabumpers, German shorthair Scratch (who looks like a cross between a brachiosaurus and a deep-chested Shetland pony) suddenly walked away trying to throw up. He was clearly uncomfortable, couldn’t produce vomit and hunched up as he circled the yard. He looked like he’d swallowed a basketball. And he felt like he’d swallowed a basketball. Even though it had been three hours since he ate, his stomach was bloated and drum hard.

Fortunately, we recognized these symptoms as indicative of gastric bloat and torsion (technically, GDV – gastric dilation and volvulus) because the Ugly Dog Founder, Scrub, had it happen a few years before. We raced Scratch to the truck and drove directly to the emergency veterinary clinic. There, the vet put a tube down Scratch’s throat to where it almost reached his stomach, relieving the gas. We were lucky in that the “torsion” part of bloat and torsion – the twisting of the stomach – was partial and the stomach righted itself, so surgery that night wasn’t needed.

Dogs can bloat without the stomach twisting, but when it does twist, the situation is life-threatening. Blood supply in and out of the stomach is cut off resulting in a severe drop in blood pressure and damage to internal organs. The dog can die within hours.

One thing known about bloat is that it is more likely in deep-chested dogs such as German shorthairs and wirehairs, weimaraners, vizslas, shepherds, setters, boxers, etc. Above all, if a dog bloats and flips its stomach, timing is critical.

When Scrub bloated, we got him to the emergency clinic within an hour, but he had already gone into mild shock. They immediately took him into surgery. Collateral damage from the stomach rotating inside the bloat wasn’t too bad. Scrub’s spleen had to be removed, but apparently spleens aren’t necessary. He lived to 14.5 years-old and never seemed to miss his spleen in the seven years after it was removed. At least if he did, he didn’t mention it. The vet also performed a gastropexy, tacking his stomach to the body wall, preventing the stomach from rotating should he bloat again.

A week after Scratch’s bloat, he had the preventative gastropexy surgery, so if he bloats again, he won’t be at risk of torsion. Following a few precautions, we’ve not seen signs of the basketball since. He hasn’t even asked for a new pair of Nikes or court-side tickets to a Celtics game.

Most vets agree that despite an enormous amount of study, no one knows for sure why bloat and torsion happens. Genetics and body type appear to be factors. “Gassy” (aka “farty”) dogs are also more prone to bloat. Among others, precautions include feeding 2-3 times per day instead of once, withholding water after eating for a while, waiting an hour after exercise before feeding, waiting 1-2 hours after feeding before exercise, and using a bowl like the Brake-fast to slow eating and reduce the intake of excess air.

In life-threatening bloat situations, tubes or needles can be used to relieve the gas, but for us non-medical people, a tube is very difficult to insert and a needle must be positioned carefully in the side to be effective.

If your dog seems to be in pain and has a very tight, distended stomach (with or without trying to vomit), get him or her to a vet as soon as possible. Don’t be afraid of looking silly. We all have had the “should we call the vet” discussion, but a little embarrassment if it turns out nothing’s wrong is a small price to pay given the alternative if it is indeed a case of GDV.

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Introducing the Ugly Dog Blog

German Shorthaired Pointer holding blog paper from Ugly Dog Hunting

Ugly Dog Hunting has been channeling the inner spirit of real gun dogs for over 20 years. Under the
therapeutic guidance of our founder, Scrub, (now a celestial body of his own), our staff – both human
and canine – has logged many miles afield under the guise of product testing. Excuses to avoid work
aside, we now feel we have the scope to provide the scoop. Time for an Ugly Dog blog.

Our first inclination was to hire an outside writer for the task. Concurrently, it was our first mistake. We
contracted the services of a freelancer who turned out to be a dyslexic drahthaar perpetually confusing
the word “blog” with “glob” and waxing poetic about the viscous marvels of bear poop during raspberry

Next we hired a Braque du Bourbonnais team that showed a lot of promise, having advanced degrees in
various aspects of freckled media relations. Sadly they turned out to be no more than a pair of online
trolls whose sole purpose in life appears to be antagonizing dogs without dew claws who can’t hold a

Finally we turned in-house to find the right writer for our blog. While Schwarzwald’s Run River Run has
notable dew claw dexterity with a keyboard, she’s taken a leave of absence to complete her field work in
the proper search and demolition of songbird nests. Merrymeeting’s North Country Prairie Dog refuses to engage in any overtime hours for the company unless they include the opportunity to sprint as fast as
possible while looking backwards and subsequently running into stationary vehicles and large tree trunks. Ridgepoint’s Right Rudder wouldn’t even consider our request, making it quite clear that her only purpose in life besides hunting is to lounge in the grass, gaze at the south field, and throw spine-tingling glares of snark at anyone foolish enough to disturb her peace.

That left Scratch. Known by a few as Merrymeeting’s Scratched Gunstock, recognized by many as the
former Lightening Rod of Trouble and current Lord of My Own Zone, Scratch, not surprisingly, does have
a few things to say. When we asked if he’d take the job of Ugly Dog blogger, his immediate response
was a reassuring “Who? What? Me? Where am I? When’s dinner?” A heaping bowl of kibble plus two
Gas-Xs later, he settled in to draft a blog or two. Getting in the mood, Scratch told us stories of his past
glory, highlighting 300 yard running rooster tracks, stunning bracemate backs, and his renowned
penchant for retrieving a spent shotwads. By the time he was done retelling – for the fourth time – the
one about how he handled the 14-bird wild quail covey next to the alligator swamp, his audience started
to lose interest. And when he concluded his long dissertation on how to fail the NAVHDA Invitational by
peeing for 8.5 minutes between the short bird and the memory bird on the Double Mark Retrieve,
everyone had gone home for the night.

This is the point in the blog where our tech consultants say we should add some product mentions to
imbed links and encourage you to explore the site and buy stuff. To that end, Scratch suggested that the best way to develop our blog would be to start with a foundation of solid hunting dog information. For that we direct you to the books and videos we offer, perhaps beginning with the Encyclopedia of Sporting Dogs edited by Steve Smith, The Best Trained Gun Dog written by Joan Bailey, and the terrific Richard Wolters’ series of training videos, Water Dog, Game Dog, and Gun Dog.

From there, we invite you to follow our blog. Scratch is planning varied content – some stories from the
field; hunting dog info; gear tips; and of course lots of unsolicited bird dog opinions on a range of topics
somehow all related to putting a limit of birds in the bag.