Posts filed under ‘Food’
We were at the vet again last week. Boogie is now on Cephalexin (antibiotics) and Temaril-P (steroids). 30 days of Cephalexin.
The itchiness has stopped but Boogie’s skin is still splotchy. Hopefully it won’t take too long to heal. One side effect of Temaril-P is increased hunger, so the poor little dog is constantly starving. Walks are frustrating. He has become obsessed with scavenging off the sidewalks (“Leave it” only works 50% of the time) and at home he often sits looking up at me, pleading for treats. He won’t even play fetch or tug. He would rather eat.
The upside is that Boogie is paying no attention to his usual triggers on the street. He is ignoring other dogs and scary humans and concerned ONLY with finding food scraps on the ground.
I told Dr. F that I cook for Boogie, and she mentioned that she orders her dog’s meat from Darwin’s Pet . Knowing that Boogie does not eat raw meat – he has either walked away from it, or eaten it and vomited later – I at first figured that this wouldn’t be something worth trying out. But when Dr. F told me that she cooks the meat and that it is ok to do so, I placed a trial order…
The prices seem really good. I spend about the same amount of money each week at the local market anyway; and the meat from Darwin’s Pet is organic, antibiotic-free and already mixed with organ meats, bone meal, veggies, apple cider vinegar and supplements. In the photo above – our first shipment of 10lbs of food – $15. When the box arrived, my first thought was – there is NO WAY THIS IS GOING TO FIT IN MY FREEZER – but then I realized the contents were mostly dry ice. The meals comes sealed in 1/2 lb packets. They include a fed ex slip for you to send the box back to be recycled.
Interestingly – the instruction sheet says that if the dog has a compromised immune system, he should not eat raw and it is advisable to cook the meals…
This evening I started transitioning Boogie over to Darwin’s Pet food… I sauteed 1lb of food – as you can see in the photo the meat is still red in color – definitely rare – and added 2oz of this to his usual fully-cooked mix of meat and veggies.
I have a question – does “rare” meat keep longer than “raw” in the fridge? This is a transition period so I won’t be feeding all of this rare meat too quickly but I don’t want it to go bad sitting in the fridge for too long… How many days is safe? I suppose I could cook it some more…
Still following a home cooked diet. About 20% of the time anyway, as I still mix in a bit of Stella & Chewy’s or Primal freeze-dried food from time to time. I have bags of these foods bought a month ago, that would otherwise go to waste.
7 days of food… I store these in the freezer and thaw a new container each day.
Freshly cooked dinners.
It takes only about 1-2 hours per week and it is so much cheaper! 25lb active dog: 3lbs of ground meat, 2 lbs of veggies, and supplements. Under $30 a week. Amazing.
Is the food making a difference to Boogie’s skin condition? It’s really hard to tell. He is still itchy and has those flaky bits and blistery bumps. But I *think* his fur is growing back a bit more. And he LOVES this new diet.
I have a couple of questions about using a dehydrator to make meaty dog treats (like Bravo treats):
- If I want to dehydrate pieces of chicken, beef, or liver, do I have to cook the meat first before dehydrating?
- What if the meat is frozen? Does it need to be thawed out first? Or can it go straight into the dehydrator?
Pawalla now offers a mini box and it contains just a handful of doggie products… definitely less overwhelming :) Again, these are products that are new to me; I have never heard of them before, and they all look and sound pretty cool. Here’s what we got:
- Wild Salmon treats <– Boogie loves these! Nice that they are grain-free.
- Grain-free Baked Duck treats made with potato and tapioca flours.
- Wigzi (treat-stuffing) ball
- Gerard Larriett “Balancing Rose” Aromatherapy Freshening and Shining Spray <– this is the only item we are not keen on. I would never spray Boogie with fragrance anyway, and he hates being sprayed. The only stuff I am applying on his sensitive dry skin are raw coconut oil and/or Virbac Resicort skin lotion (which unfortunately, has a fragrance).
I checked out the website. It costs $12 per month to have a mini box of surprises shipped to you, and “Limited offer available only for the first 200 subscribers.”
I am still reading Monica Segal’s K-9 Kitchen. Most of the information about understanding nutritional values of food items, calculating allowances by the dog’s weight, and preparing custom spreadsheets has gone way over my head. I will need to return to earlier chapters and figure out these nitty gritties. There is also a chapter on how to read a blood panel and what all the values mean but my brain cannot cope right now after having just spent the past two days on taxes & assorted spreadsheets…
I want to cook for Boogie again. I used to feed Boogie a mix of homecooked and The Honest Kitchen but it was a lot of work so I switched to 100% freeze dried/dehydrated raw and add fish oil, probiotic and kelp supplements. I want to see if an expert-formulated homecooked diet makes any difference to Boogie’s energy level and skin condition (which is still not good… his coat is thinning).
There is a chapter of raw, cooked and combo recipes in the K-9 Kitchen Book and tonight, I made a big pot of food for a 25lb active dog.
I may have made a mistake with the quantities. I later read that the ounces of veggies and meats in the recipe are for COOKED portions. I had weighed raw ingredients and cooked them all together. Oops. Next week we will do better. Boogie has not eaten grains in ages, but he used to do ok on oats (The Honest Kitchen: Keen) so we’ll see. The only complicated part was having to handle beef liver – which I had never touched before – and this was pretty gross. Slimy and bloody… worse than chicken liver, and it is stinky when cooked. I also hoped I used the correct amount of Calcium supplement… I stirred in some capsules as I don’t yet have the powdered version.
Look at Boogie. He wanted his big pot of dinner NOW. When the food was stored away in the fridge, he refused to leave the kitchen. In between games of fetch, Boogie kept running to the kitchen hoping that I would follow him and get the message. Each time I got up from my desk or couch, Boogie would dash to the kitchen and drop his ball at the door… “Please can I have some of that stinky meat sludge? Please?”
Apologies for the long silences between posts and thank you to everyone who has left comments (advice, tips, personal stories etc) on this blog, particularly with regards to Boogie’s skin issues. I have been out-of-town; now I am happy to be back home and snuggling with the Boogs again. He is less itchy now that the weather has cooled down. His coat is still very thin with the same bald patches, and his poor skin has been dry, flaky, and dandruffy.
I am trying a few new things:
- No chicken in his diet at all. He has been eating lamb and/or fish-based meals. It has only been 1 week… I can’t tell if there is any difference.
- Adding Pet Kelp to his food. 3 weeks, now. Can’t tell if this is making any difference with his skin, but his poop is looking very good!
- Virgin Coconut Oil massage, every other day <– THIS is making a difference! Skin is noticeably less dry.
- New Year Resolution: Make pet treats with the new dehydrator (which is still in its box)
I am determined to do anything to avoid more vet visits & antibiotics! In fact, I took advantage of Monica Segal‘s recent Black Friday Sale and ordered a dietary consultation for Boogie in the new year. I need help figuring out what foods (if any) that Boogie’s system may not be tolerant of.
Check out Jordan Rothman’s new book The Misunderstood Dog, with my illustrations. I would describe it as a simpler, easier-to-read version of “The Culture Clash”, written for dog owners. The Boston on the cover is the author’s dog. Here is the Amazon.com page.
Order a snazzy little name tag that I designed for blanketID. A percentage of sales goes to Boston Buddies rescue. I think this would make an awesome Xmas gift. They come in red or blue, and small or large sizes. The photos that I have of Boogie wearing this blanketID tag on his collar are kinda blurry…. Will try again later. ORDER HERE
Who is going to Clicker Expo in San Francisco next month? I would love to meet up! I know names but not faces, so if you recognize me, please say hi! I will be there for the full three days. First time that I am staying for the whole expo and very excited!
HAPPY HOLIDAYS! – Lili & Boogie x
I swear I am not obsessed with dog poo. This is the first time in my life that I have drawn dog poo and I am doing it because I would rather not be seen taking photos of Boogie’s poo to illustrate this blog post. It’s bad enough to have this drawing (below) on my computer screen when the landlord and workmen showed up in my apartment today. Yep, giant drawings of dog poo on my monitor when I wasn’t even here. Totally embarrassing.
So Boogie eats exactly the same food everyday (not including the scraps that he steals off the sidewalk) so I don’t understand why there is so much variety in his poo. His first poo of the day is always the “healthiest” looking, and as the day progresses, it gets softer, weirder… and just now at 12pm, he did a totally drippy poo. I am starting to see instances of black poo (= blood) which freaks me and makes me wonder if I should rush him to the vet, but then his poo would switch back to normal a few hours later, so… what does this all mean? Should I be worried?
There is a book titled “What’s Your Poo Telling You”?” I think someone, preferably a veterinarian or dog nutritionist, should produce a similar but serious book about dog poo analysis. Seriously.
Please feel free to discuss your dog’s poo and share your thoughts on dog poo in the comments!
Check out this Fecal Scoring Chart ! (Thanks, Patricia Tirrell!)
Boogie’s first poo of the day would be a #2 or #3. Then for the rest of the day, it varies. Sometimes #1 (really hard and pebbly, especially if I feed only Stella & Chewy’s with nothing else mixed in), or #5 (like toothpaste consistency) or #6 (drips out). #5 and #6 are happening more frequently than I am comfortable with. Poor Boogie.
I think I will consult the vet again, ask about possibilities of infection or colitis, and also look for a pet nutritionist. I am starting to wonder if Boogie’s GI issues and skin issues (which are not getting better) are RELATED and I really want to believe I can ‘fix’ this problem on a nutrition/lifestyle level rather than have to continually rely on antibiotics and steroid meds and high vet bills which I hate so much.
Recently, a client suggested that I cut out POTATOES (including sweet potatoes & yam) from Boogie’s diet. These are carbohydrates = sugars which contribute to yeast infections. Yeast infections lead to itchiness and possibly also bacterial infections.
I had no idea about potatoes and it saddens me that the giant boxes of The Honest Kitchen food in my kitchen contain potatoes and honey. Yep, honey is also a sugar. As are rice, wheat, corn, and ALL CARBOHYDRATES…. usually found in treats too.
Today I found this extremely informative video about treating and preventing yeast infections by Dr. Karen Becker. It’s long but worth watching!
Some anti-yeast tips from this video:
- Anti-fungal foods: Oregano, garlic
- Clean and disinfect yeasty parts of body every day- especially ears and feet, armpits, groin area…
- Foot soak: Gallon of water + 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide + 1 cup white vinegar/lemon juice. Astringency = anti-fungal
- Ear solution: Witchhazel & cottonballs. Clean out debris!
- No Oatmeal shampoo! (Oatmeal is a grain/carb and will feed the yeast!)
- Use Anti-fungal shampoo – tea tree oil based or herbal
- Post bath rinse: Gallon of water + 20 drops of peppermint oil (do not get on head), or astringent solution (see Foot Soak). Towel-dry without rinsing.
- A supplement to support the dog’s immune system.
Two days ago, a giant box arrived from a new Los Angeles company called Pawalla. Boogie was very lucky to be selected to review a sample Pawalla monthly box. Just look at this! Wow.
Eric from Pawalla:
…our pet nutritionist constantly reviews foods from different brands, and selects her favorite all-natural products to put in our monthly box. The products selected are also customized based on both the size and life stage of the pet (we offer a monthly box for both cats & dogs). So the idea is to help discover and try new products that have been vetted and recommended by a nutritionist. If you do find something you especially like, we will also offer it for sale at a competitive price from our online store.
Not only this, the box comes with toys! The first thing I gave to Boogie was the Wapati Labs Elk Antler Chew. Boogie had never seen or smelt an antler chew before so this was a new and exciting thing. He loves it. And then he played with the KONG Traxx tire toy, got a piece of Sam’s Yam Sweet Potato Chew (remnants of which are now all over my rug) and some KONG chewy treats on our walk. Yesterday morning I opened up a can of Weruva Amazon Liver: Chicken & Chicken Liver in Pumpkin Soup to add a spoonful to Boogie’s usual breakfast and Boogie stood by the kitchen door, eyes wide open, perked up and waiting. He knew he was getting something different today. He loved that too!
This morning he sampled some Nutrisca Freeze Dried Chicken with his usual breakfast, and tomorrow maybe some Mulligan’s Beef Stew. I know there’s a rule about not switching dog food too dramatically to prevent upset tummies, so I am adding only tiny portions of the new food to Boogie’s regular THK and S&C food. We have a slight problem with stinky poots, but poops are fine.
The Pawalla Box seems to be an excellent way to try out new non-mainstream brands of dog food (and other goodies) that you might otherwise not know about, and I am happy to see that the selected foods are mostly holistic, grain-free and made in the USA. There is a list here of what comes in the monthly box. $26 for all this seems very reasonable! I think these boxes would make great gifts too.
**UPDATE – to all Boogie blog readers, use the coupon code BOOGIE20 to receive 20% off the first month of your Pawalla subscription.**
In other news, I have been making more Boogie artwork available for sale. Check out www.society6.com/LiliChin
I sure wish I had an iPhone. (For a list of online places where I sell Boogie stuff, click here)