Monday, March 31, 2014

As the Stomach Turns

Early in the morning, and I'm awakened by a strange noise. Gursh....sproing....gurgle....
I sit up and look to Ike, who is sound asleep at the foot of the bed. But his stomach is all kinds of busy, churning, sloshing, burbling. And I know that we're in for a long haul, trying to determine what's wrong with Ike.

Sleeping soundly here....please excuse the tummy gurgles.



















Ike is 8 years old now, and has been in fairly good health. But recently he's been vomiting his food...or more precisely, regurgitating. I learned the difference from some smart friends, who explained that vomiting usually involves distress, heaving and sometimes bile. Regurgitating, on the other hand, usually happens when the dog suddenly stands, opens his mouth, and out it comes.

The trouble in diagnosing such a thing is that there are numerous causes, from allergies, to foreign objects, to Addison's disease, to tumors, to....the list goes on. When do you take your dog to the vet? Do you rush him there after the first episode? Or, if only you'd have waited to see if the situation was due to a simple tummy ache, you could have saved yourself $100 or so. Of course, we don't want to leave anything potentially harmful unchecked.

Ike has been having symptoms on and off for several weeks. He's also been to the vet's several times for blood work, fecal analysis, and xrays. Today he's having a series of xrays with barium to check the Upper GI tract. We're hoping this will help the vet to determine what is causing his regurgitation and other symptoms.


I'm Dr. Ike. If only I could diagnose myself!

























 The xrays will take about an hour or two, as the barium works its stuff through Ike's system. We'll be waiting there with him, keeping him relaxed in between xrays. The vet charges a fee per xray view, so here's hoping it won't take too many views to find the source of the problem. But, of course, we'll take as many xrays as we need, and if necessary an ultrasound after, because we trust our vet to help us determine what is necessary to help Ike. We've had to make this sort of decision numerous times with different dogs over the years. I can't say it's ever easy...on the pocketbook, or emotionally. So for now, for Ike, we're praying for an easy diagnosis and a simple treatment.      

Have you been in a situation where your dog's had a mystery illness to be diagnosed? How do you decide which tests to do and which can safely and reasonably be avoided or postponed? How has your dog responded?

Want more positive pet tips, good news, and special offers? Fetch my free newsletter, Pawsitively Pets. Kelly and Ike hope to see you there!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Fit Dog Friday- A Slow Feeder that Really Works

I wasn't looking for new dog bowls, but when I entered the pet store to purchase a bag of dog food, something caught my eye. Bright colored, interactive feeders on display right as I walked through the door. Well, I guess I fell for the product placement, because I picked one up for Ike. Ike is the gulper, so he needs something to slow him down. But as I stood at the counter, I thought, why not get one for Kelly too? She enjoys a puzzle challenge, and if she takes longer to finish her dinner, she won't run over and try to eat Ike's dinner as well. So I bought two.





















The Kyjen Slo-Bowl slow feeders come in different designs. I bought the Hills and Drop designs. After one test run it was easy to see:
1. the dogs enjoy the challenge of these feeders, and
2. the feeders really do work in significantly slowing down the time it takes the dogs to eat!





















One caveat: when trying them out, I quickly discovered that Hills design is difficult to fill, with the food flying all over the floor.



Perhaps if I took the time to slow down and fill the bowl more carefully, that wouldn't happen. But instead, I returned it for a different design. This time I got the flower design. All went well with this style.


















 





















And here is the Drop design.























I was impressed that the feeders significantly slowed both Kelly and Ike's dinner time. In this video, Ike demonstrates the different lengths of time it took him to eat an equal amount of food out of his original bowl, his slow-feeder bowl with the hump in the middle, and his new interactive feeder. (Ike may have received a bit extra food in the process, but he worked it off later!)



Here, Kelly also shows how she enjoys the interactive feeder, as it slows her meal time.


The bowls help slow down gulpers, which can help prevent bloat, regurgitation, and canine obesity. The bowls are made of plastic that is BPA, PVC and phtalate free.

























Note: I purchased these products and did this review on my own accord. I did not receive any free products of compensation for my review. The opinions expressed here are 100% my own.












Oh, and we have a big treat in store for you! FitDog Friday is celebrating our 1 year anniversary! To celebrate, we'll be offering a great prize package worth more than $200! Be sure to come back and visit on Friday, April 4th to enter to win!
  1. Beautiful bracelet courtesy of For Love of a Dog.
  2. One package SmartCookee Treats, your choice of three flavors.
  3. Paw Plunger: Gently, safely cleans paws. pawplunger.com  petppi.com
  4. PetSafe Train & Praise: Teach your pet remotely with treats.
  5. Jones Chews Candy Box Woofers:  100% grown, made in the USA, and no artificial ingredients.
  6. Chuckit! Tumble Bumper toy by Petmate
  7. Aspen Pet Cooling Mat by Petmate
  8. SlimDoggy Hat.
  9. SlimDoggy Bandana














 FitDog Friday is co-hosted by Peggy's Pet Place, Slimdoggy, and To Dog with Love. Join our hop!


Want more positive pet tips, good news, and special offers? Fetch my free newsletter, Pawsitively Pets. Kelly and Ike hope to see you there!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Make Your Own Turkey Jerky

I'm not much of a cook for myself, so when it comes to cooking for my dogs, well....it had better be something super simple.

It's always nice to have a helper in the kitchen!




















I'd hear about my friends who use a dehydrator and make all sorts of healthy snacks for their dogs--dried fruit, veggies and meat. It seems like a great tool for someone like me. We tried this recipe for:

CRANBERRY TURKEY JERKY

All you need is:
Turkey Breast
Cranberry Sauce (chunky, not jelly)

How to:
Slice turkey breasts thin (about 1/4"). Stab all over with a fork. Seal in a plastic bag with cranberry sauce and let marinade overnight.

Dehydrator Method: Lay out slices on dehydrator tray and spoon a bit of sauce over the slices. Dry for around 12 - 15 hours, until dried through.

Oven Method: Preheat oven to 175 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with foil. Lay turkey slices on tray. Spoon a bit of sauce over the slices. Dry for around 12 - 15 hours, flipping occasionally, until dried through.

Since I don't have a dehydrator, I made mine in the oven. I set an alarm so that I'd remember to flip them every few hours. 

This is a simple recipe, the only drawback of course is that it takes a LONG time! But, you end up with a great treat for your dogs and you don't have to worry about where it's made and the health standards of some factory somewhere. You know it's healthy fresh from your own kitchen! Kelly and Ike loved the turkey jerky. It almost makes me want to cook for them more often!


Turkey Jerky, anyone?





















If you want to try some cool recipes of your own, you can win an Excalibur dehydrator on Kol's Notes!




Want more positive pet tips, good news, and special offers? Fetch my free newsletter, Pawsitively Pets. Kelly and Ike hope to see you there!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Kong premium treats (Giveaway)

My dogs have a few "go-to" toys, and the Kong is always at the top of the list. When filled with kibble, treats, carrots, leftover concoctions, the Kong can keep Kelly and Ike busy for significantly longer than any other treat or toy around. So, I was thrilled when JAKKS Pacific, Inc. asked if I'd like to review some of their KONG all natural Premium treats. Hmm something new to stuff in the Kongs!



















We selected:
KONG Pumpkin Sticks


*No wheat, corn or soy
*No animal by-products
*No harmful preservatives or colorants
*Contains vitamins and Minerals


KONG American Chicken Tenders

*Made in the USA
*All natural
*No fillers
*No additives

**Enter below for your chance to win a bag of each for your dog!**

Did Kelly and Ike like these treats?
Definitely!

Hurry up Mom, let me at it!



















Can I have some now?



















Do I hafta wait for you to say "okay?"



















Okay, I'm going for them NOW!


















Both dogs went crazy for the Kong premium treats! They were so excited, I had to feed them separately or Kelly would demand to have them all for herself! I put the treats in the Kongs. At first I thought they'd fall right out, but they stayed in nicely while the dogs worked to get them out. Kelly got them out more quickly than Ike, who enjoyed solving the mystery for about 20 minutes.

We love Kong premium treats and would definitely get them again. And now, three lucky winners can receive a package of Kong Pumpkin Sticks and Kong American Chicken Tenders for your own dogs! Enter the Rafflecopter below! THREE winners will win two bags each!















a Rafflecopter giveaway


Full Disclosure: I was provided with two bags of Kong premium treats to review, and 6 bags to give away. This in no way influenced my review. Opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

Want more positive pet tips, good news, and special offers? Fetch my free newsletter, Pawsitively Pets. Kelly and Ike hope to see you there!

Friday, March 21, 2014

5 Positive Things About Pets and Winter



FitDog Friday- Had enough Winter? Here's 5 Reasons why Pets Make Winter Better--and that includes keeping fit!

5 Positive Things About Pets and Winter

The joys of pets combined with the wonder of the season.
Whether you love the invigorating temperatures and the snow-covered wonderland or not, pets are sure to make this time of the year better. Here are some reasons why it’s great to have a pet in the winter!





















1. Winter Coat
Kelly has the perfect winter coat: flowing, luxurious auburn fur that gets beautifully full during the long, cold months. Boy am I envious! If your dog has short fur, she might appreciate a store-bought sweater or coat, giving you a fun excuse to nurture your fashionista tendencies. Ike's coat is not too thick, but he still enjoys getting outside for exercise even in the winter chill.

2. Entertainment
Are you missing dates with friends and other outings because it’s not as easy (or compelling) to get out in the cold, messy weather? Never fear; your pet is the perfect form of entertainment. Watching your cat swat at a string, your dog chase its tail, or your hamster spin on its wheel will put a smile on your face. Better yet, join in the fun and get some exercise yourself. (Well, except for that hamster wheel thing!)

3. Motivation
Sometimes when it’s really cold, practically nothing can entice me outside. But seeing Kelly and Ike staring at the door, begging for a walk, is the push I need. Taking your dog for a stroll is healthy for both of you! And when the March weather is less than inspiring, let your pet inspire you!

4. Body Heat
This one is my favorite. Kelly is known for perching on the back of the couch and wrapping around my neck like a scarf. Ike prefers to sleep on my feet. So snuggle up with your dog (or cat) to stay warm. Pure winter bliss!

5. Snowflakes
There’s no better time to celebrate your pet’s individuality. Like snowflakes, each pet is unique!

Stay warm, have fun and enjoy your special pet this winter!


Want more positive pet tips, good news, and special offers? Fetch my free newsletter, Pawsitively Pets. Kelly and Ike hope to see you there! 

FitDog Friday is co-hosted by Peggy's Pet Place, Slimdoggy, and To Dog with Love. Join our hop!
 


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

TV Commercial with Kid Riding Dog

There's this Doritos commercial, apparently it aired on the Superbowl, but I just saw it on TV recently, and I can't believe how irresponsible it is. 
The mother comes home from the grocery store, while the two sons are sitting in the front yard with their mastiff dog laying beside them. As she juggles grocery bags, she asks, "Boys can i get some help?"
The older brother replies, with a super snotty tone, "I don't know, can you?"
To which, instead of reprimanding the brat for his rudeness and lack of respect, the clueless mother replies, "I guess you don't want Doritos."
The result, of course, is that the boys both race toward the car. The younger brother, in full cowboy gear, jumps on the mastiff and rides him like a horse, to reach the Doritos first.

















This is all kinds of wrong:

The mother just smiles and lets the kid give her lip
then she bribes him with Doritos in order to get him to help.
The younger brother rides the mastiff--which even though he's a large dog, it's a dog NOT a horse, and not designed to carry people around on its back.
Then the dog eats the Doritos--not a healthy snack for dogs.
Finally, the younger brother hogties the older brother while the mother cheers. Seriously?

I know this is simulated, the boy actor is not REALLY riding on the dog in the commercial, it's all CGI, and that very tiny letters stating "Do Not Attempt" are superimposed at the bottom of the screen. But viewers, and particularly children who don't know any better, will focus on the entire scene. A mastiff (or great dane or Irish wolfhound, or St. Bernard) does not have the bone structure or strength to support riders, and could become seriously injured or crippled. And children who attempt to climb on a dog's back and go for a ride may fall, or cause the dog to react out of pain--if a dog bites a kid who inadvertently causes it pain, the situation becomes tragic for both child and dog.  The dog is blamed, and may be taken away from the family or even euthanized.

There are plenty of offensive and potentially harmful commercials around, but this one caught my attention. This commercial is stupid and harmful.

Want more positive pet tips, good news, and special offers? Fetch my free newsletter, Pawsitively Pets. Kelly and Ike hope to see you there!

Monday, March 17, 2014

When Irish Dogs are Smilin'

Happy St. Patty's Day to you!!








































luv, Kelly and Ike!!


Want more positive pet tips, good news, and special offers? Fetch my free newsletter, Pawsitively Pets. Kelly and Ike hope to see you there!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

From Puppy to Senior- Yellow Lab

Wordless Wednesday-   Puppy to Senior Yellow Lab
























































Want more positive pet tips, good news, and special offers? Fetch my free newsletter, Pawsitively Pets. Kelly and Ike hope to see you there! 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Confession: I like taking mindless quizzes

I was THAT kid-- the one who collected pets. Our science class had various small animals, and on summer vacations SOMEONE had to take care of them...I always volunteered! I ended up with hamsters, rabbits guinea pigs, cats and dogs, gerbils, fish and turtles. Pets have always been a part of my life. I love all kinds of furry, four legged friends. But dogs are still my favorite.


Okay, so I never had a pet chipmunk.
















 Warning: This post is about to turn into something silly and mindless. Sometimes I like taking those silly online quizzes. I don't know why. But if I've been working hard and really need to do something to take the stress off my brain, I might waste some time determining which state I should live in (Kansas) or who is my perfect Disney prince (Prince Philip) (seriously?). So, since I wasn't in the mood to work, and I really wanted to waste time doing something frivolous, I took this Buzzfeed quiz to see what it revealed: What Kind of Dog Are You?

That's a tough one, because of course it depends upon how that pet is treated. But maybe it would be fun to be a golden retriever. They're cute, loveable, and have a great attitude about life. 

Brooks. Bring it on!














 So I took the quiz, and I ended up being a:
.
.
.
scroll down
.
.
.
.
.
keep scrolling

.
.
.
.
Mutt!
"You’re a renegade, an artist, and you will not be confined to any sort of box. You have tons of real-life experience that makes you a great dinner-party guest with tons of stories. Plus, you are cute in that “je ne sais quoi” kind of way."


This is my childhood dog, Corky. A true mutt, if ever there was one!















Well, it's not a golden retriever, but I'll take a mutt any day! I love mutts!
What kind of dog are you?
 Is it what you would have selected for yourself?
 Go ahead, it's okay. We're all entitled to take time out from our busy lives and imagine something so silly as what kind of dog we might be!

Want more positive pet tips, good news, and special offers? Fetch my free newsletter, Pawsitively Pets. Kelly and Ike hope to see you there!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Does your dog spend more time sleeping or playing?



















Kelly wakes up in the morning, has breakfast, and then settles down for a nice nap. After a few hours laying around the house, she's ready for another nap. We go out for our midday walk and, you guessed it--she comes in and naps again. Sometimes I worry that Kelly sleeps too much. Then again, I remind myself, she's 12. An old lady. She's earned those naps.

Then, we got Ike. He's only 8. And he naps a lot too!




















So I did a little research and discovered that the average dog sleeps 12-14 hours a day. This put my mind at ease a bit. The question I ask myself, however: are the dogs sleeping more out of boredom, or because they're really tired? Since I work from home, and often I'm on deadline, I could sit at my desk all day and never get up. But that wouldn't be good for me or good for the dogs. So I try to make it a habit to get up and moving every few hours. We take our midday walk. Sometimes I really don't want to do it, but I know how much they love it. The only times I've skipped it recently are when it's below zero, or when it's pouring rain. (I'm sorry, dogs, but I'm just not that nice!)

Other times I throw the tennis ball--inside and outside. Ike is always up for a game of fetch but sometimes I have to generate enthusiasm to convince Kelly. I shout, "Get it, get it, get it!" and chase after it myself. This is good exercise for me. Kelly doesn't fall for it.





















It's tempting to be lazy and not exercise. Some of us (like me!) have to force ourselves to get active because we know it's good for us. It's a little easier to do because I know it's good for the dogs. Their joy and vigor when they're running and playing shows me that it's worth the effort.

When my husband was well, we walked the dogs together in the evening. It was a great way to unwind, and so much more conducive to chatting about our days than sitting in front of the television. When he is feeling better, I'm sure we'll resume those walks.

Does your dog sleep more or play more during the day?










 

FitDog Friday is co-hosted by Peggy's Pet Place, Slimdoggy, and To Dog with Love. Join our hop!


Want more positive pet tips, good news, and special offers? Fetch my free newsletter, Pawsitively Pets. Kelly and Ike hope to see you there!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Some days are just like this

Wordless Wednesday





















Want more positive pet tips, good news, and special offers? Fetch my free newsletter, Pawsitively Pets. Kelly and Ike hope to see you there!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Don't Put a Golden Retriever on Craigslist

Occasionally I poke around on Craigslist, and have purchased a rug, a patio table, and several other great items there at a good price. But one thing I hate to see on Craigslist are animals.

A stray dog needing a home. This dog was found in the woods, and adopted by a friend of mine.  (This isn't the dog in the ad.)

It's troubling to see pets listed "free to a good home" on Craigslist. For one thing, some rotten people will snatch up such dogs to use for cruel purposes such as bait in dog fighting. They'll pose as a nice family to get the dog.
Others sell the dogs to laboratories for testing.
Others "flip" the dog and sell it at a profit to whoever will pay.
Craigslist is too risky of a way to rehome your pet.

Most rescue groups scan Craigslist listings to save pets from these situations. Recently I saw a listing for a male golden retriever, 3 years old, not neutered and needing shots. I melted at the picture of a big, lovable goof and immediately wanted to rescue him, but knew it wasn't possible to add another dog to our family at this time. I alerted our golden retriever rescue group, which is the group from which we adopted Brooks and Ike. They are the experts, and they know how to evaluate a dog physically and emotionally, and how to match dogs up with just the right home.

When I told our group about the dog on Criagslist, the response was:

"Oy veh!! And unaltered purebred Golden out in the middle of puppymill territory!! We would take him no matter what - even if he's Cujo, he's safer in our hands than in those of some miller!  If he's not that bad but has "issues" then there are other Golden rescues with resources to work in-depth with some of the dogs."

Phew. This dog would have the best possible chance at a future. I was so happy with this woman's answer, knowing that this group is experienced and would get right to work to help the dog.

This isn't the dog in the ad either. This is our Brooks before we adopted him, when he was in the shelter. Looking at this always breaks my heart. But also makes me feel happy that we rescued him.


 She went on to say that sometimes it's a problem to get the owner to agree to turn the dog over-- a lot of time the people who advertise on Craigslist don't want anything to do with rescue. They may think that they're in for a lot of red tape, or judgement. But other times they just aren't aware of better ways to rehome their dog. I'm not going to judge everyone who gives up a pet with one broad stroke. But hopefully more people will turn to rescue groups when they need help. And thankfully these groups do an excellent job of doing what is in the best interest of the dog. Here's hoping that this Golden is already in his forever home, being smothered with love and comfort as part of a happy new family.



Want more positive pet tips, good news, and special offers? Fetch my free newsletter, Pawsitively Pets. Kelly and Ike hope to see you there!

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