Friday, March 24, 2017

Fighting Back

I've mentioned before that Sebastian is an itchy boy. At one time he was scratching so badly that Dr B prescribed some medicated shampoo for him. It helped get us thru the worst part, but he still spends too much time scratching in my opinion.
He also rolls every chance he gets. He doesn't care if it's on grass, dirt, mud, straw, snow or the carpet. I think it's his way of scratching the hard to reach places.

His eyes have been watery ever since he came to live with us and they are often red. Then, of course, there are the times he rubs his face in the dirt and makes them really red and swollen. I think they itch and he's trying to relieve the itchiness. Taken all together, I'd say that Sebastian has some environmental allergies.

For a long time I've been giving him Benedryl in the morning and when the allergy seems worse, I upgrade to a stronger antihistamine. Still I haven't really addressed the itchy skin and eyes, until now.

As you know Sebastian tried glasses to protect his eyes from dirt, but they didn't work as well as we had hoped.
 I decided to really get tough, so now Sebastian waits at the door and we put a cone on him before he goes outside. He doesn't like it and sulked for a few days, but now he's accepted his fate and even rolls on his back with the cone protecting his eyes. He has tried shoveling dirt with the cone a few times which isn't what I had in mind, but we put a quick stop to that when we see it happening, then wash out the cone so no dirt gets to the eyes.
I have started using eyedrops in both his eyes twice a day. He doesn't like that either and at first tried to hide when he saw the bottle, but after getting some tasty rewards for sitting still and being a good boy, he allows the drops. We use some over the counter drops that Dr B recommended. After two weeks, Sebastian's eyes are no longer red and watery. Yeah!

I also wanted to do something about his itchy skin, so first I increased his fish oil. Then I found an item that looked as if it might help. It's called Allergy Aid and is a soft chew. The active ingredients are Omega3 fatty acids, tumeric root, grape seed extract, quercetin, pumpkin powder, bromelain, EPA and DHA. It's supposed to combat seasonal allergies, maintain proper skin moisture and respiratory health.

Sebastian started taking two of the little square chews each morning and now I see that he isn't scratching much at all. He does still roll when he goes outside, but I think it's mostly habit and just pleasure instead of itchy skin.
If you have an itchy dog who suffers from seasonal allergies and want to try Allergy Aid, you can find it at both Amazon and Chewy.com. It apparently tastes good, is easy to administer, and maybe best of all it's fairly inexpensive, 70 chews are under six dollars.
I've seen a real improvement in Sebastian since we started this daily torture and he must feel better because he isn't objecting to any of it.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Clash Of Seasons

Spring is here. Or is it? The calendar says that Spring arrived on Monday. It was 85 degrees here that day and felt more like the middle of summer. Tuesday was 50 and we had thunder storms for a large part of the day. Our entire winter has been like that, swinging from the 70s or even 90s down to the 20s and back again. The Christmas cactus in the kitchen are confused and are both blooming.
 Today actually feels like Spring. It's warm, but not hot. There is a breeze and the sun is shining. We all decided to see what the yard had to offer. Is there anything prettier than a cherry tree in bloom? Yesterday's ran brought out the flowers.
 The crab apples aren't quite ready yet, something to look forward to.
We have a little patch of wild hyacinth.
 The violets, which are my favorite, are spreading all over the yard. These are under the crab apple tree.
 These are under the oak tree.
 Everyone found places to roll and sticks to chew.
Sebastian has started using his cone as a scoop to dig holes.
 Sydney is on lookout for any squirrels that might think of invading.
Mackey wants to play ball.
 Please throw my ball.
 Look I found another one. Will you throw them both? 
Spring is my favorite season and the dogs seem to like it a lot, too.



Friday, March 17, 2017

Chewy Does It Again

This month we tried a new to us product from Chewy. It's called Wellness CORE Chunky Centers and we tried the turkey, duck and white sweet potato variety.
When I looked at the picture on the container, I wasn't sure how I would divide it between the dogs. It looks like a pate outer shell filled with gravy and pieces of meat and veggies inside. It wasn't exactly as pictured. The description isn't quite accurate. It states "two mouthwatering textures in every bite, delicious pate with chunks of turkey and duck in the center". The outside is pate.
The inside looks about the same as the outside, making it easy to divide.
Never mind what the description says, my dogs loved it.

We've tried other Wellness products in the past and I've been impressed with all of them. This was easy to feed, stayed soft in the refrigerator after opening and didn't have an offensive odor. My well qualified judges all agreed that it was delicious and they checked each others bowls just in case anyone forgot to eat it all. No one did.
The Chunky Centers come in other flavors including; lamb-turkey and Kale, chicken-chicken liver and spinach, beef-lamb and white sweet potato, tuna-chicken and kale, and salmon-tuna and spinach. All the varieties sound good and I think my dogs would enjoy any of them.
I do think a change of name might be appropriate as they do not have centers filled with gravy and chunks of meat. It doesn't matter to the dogs and if you'd like to try this food, just contact Chewy and they'd be happy to deliver some to your door.

We received a case of Wellness Core Chunky Centers from Chewy at no cost to us in exchange for our honest review.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Remembering Samba

Today, March 16th, would have been Samba's 16th birthday.
When I adopted Samba, I already had a heart dog, Bentley. I didn't think I could ever love another dog as much as I had loved him. Samba took that as a challenge and set out to prove that I had plenty of room in my heart for her and the others who would follow. She was absolutely right.

Samba believed in living every day with enthusiasm and excitement.
 Whether wet or dry, she was a happy dog.

 She had many friends, both human and canine and believed in spending quality time with them.
 She left me much too soon and I miss her. She is never out of my thoughts.
 Rest in peace, my sweet girl.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Mid-Month Review

We're half way thru our American Journey. To refresh your memory, Chewy sent us a bag of American Journey Salmon and Sweet Potato dog food. We agreed to try it for a month and give reports on what we thought of it.

Bailey and Lola agreed to be our testers and their report is short and sweet. They love this food!!
  My report is more boring, but may be useful to anyone thinking of trying American Journey. I have only one complaint about this food. The small pieces which make it suitable for almost any size dog have presented us with a small problem.
 If you have well mannered dogs that pick up a piece or two of kibble and chew it before swallowing, you have nothing to worry about. If you have dogs that act like wild creatures that haven't seen food for a month, grab a whole mouthful and try to swallow it to get another mouthful, beware of choking.

The first night I fed the girls American Journey, they both choked. Yes, I have wild animals with no dining manners. I accept responsibility. Rob and I each performed a Heimlich maneuver while the girls tried to grab more pieces to swallow. It was an interesting meal.

We do have a bumpy bowl to slow down anyone who eats too fast. We bought it for Sky who used to inhale his food, then vomit it back up minutes later.  Now Mackey uses the bowl because she eats much too fast, then tries to steal some food from another dog. There are other ways to slow the girls and I chose to go that route. Instead of just handing them a bowl of kibble, I add a little topping, well mixed in, or a little fluid on the kibble. Both those additions slow them down and we've had no choking since the first night.
Like most of you, I'm obsessed with the output and all the stools have been perfect on this food. I've noticed no changes in coat, but then they're both so shaggy and the unusual weather has created plenty of dirt and mud for them to play in, so the coats aren't in the best form. Still they seem to be doing very well on the new diet.

All in all, I'm very pleased with this food and the girls give it eight paws up. The rest of the pack is jealous. I see their noses up in the air sniffing out that slightly fishy smell as I pass out the dinner bowls

Lola thinks this food is delicious.
Bailey is devising ways to get over the gate to where the food is stored so that she can have an extra helping.
If you want to give it a try, just contact Chewy. American journey also come in chicken, beef or lamb flavors and in large breed or puppy sizes. Maybe large breed would prevent the choking, hmmm.... next time.

Chewy sent us this bag of American Journey food at no cost to us in exchange for our honest reviews.

Friday, March 10, 2017

And The Winner Is.....

Current tally is in. As of this morning the score is:

                                                               Sydney - 12



                                                             Moles - 0


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A Cool Dude

Sebastian is a very easy dog. He makes few demands. He's never had an accident in the house, will eat whatever I give him and follows the others to the yard or to bed. His one vice is rolling in the dirt.
Sebastian has a sensitive tummy and we have to be careful what he eats. We thought at first it was pancreatitis, but the test was negative. We've been treating it as irritable bowel and for several months he ate a special diet of rice and pork and sweet potato. Last July we weaned him back on to kibble and he eats that mixed with my special home cooked food. He's been doing well.

Occasionally he'll refuse his breakfast and spend the morning in a dark corner of the dining room away from the rest of the pack. I just thought perhaps his tummy was upset. Then last week I realized what was actually going on.

One morning last week Sebastian refused breakfast. He also refused his morning yogurt and his cookie. He spent the morning in his dark corner with his head against the wall. At one point I called him and when he came to me, he was holding his head very low. I looked at him closely and he was squinting. I told him he was a good boy, but got no tail wag in response. I gave him something for nausea and he went back to the dark corner.
Suddenly it occurred to me that he had a headache, and not just a normal headache. Sebastian had a migraine.

I've had migraines since I was ten years old and know exactly how he was feeling. He felt nauseous and light and sound made his headache worse. Getting in a dark corner and pushing his head against the wall probably helped.

I told Dr B what I suspected and he didn't laugh at me. He wanted to know exactly what the symptoms were. Then he agreed that it probably was a headache and when it happens I should give him a Rimadyl for the pain.

A couple days after his headache, he indulged himself in a nice long roll in the dirt. He shakes the dirt  off his body before coming inside, but sometimes he's too enthusiastic when he rolls and he rubs his head in the dirt. Three times recently he's gotten dirt in his eyes and they've gotten red and swollen. Each time we have to use medicated eyedrops for a few days till they go back to normal. I'm really worried that one of these days he'll get a stick or stone in his eye and do real damage. He could easily lose his eye.

So, I decided to try some heavy duty prevention. I ordered a pair of sunglasses for him. My idea was that he'd get used to wearing them in a short time and they'd protect his eyes when he rolls. It sounded good, but didn't work the way I'd hoped.

When the glasses came, (I didn't have a color choice), he was pretty good about letting me put them on him and adjust the straps.

We walked around a bit and it was funny watching him discover that he could see with these things on his head.
He can even look for cats.
 Then he realized that he could easily, too easily adjust them. This is how he prefers to wear his sunglasses, just like any cool young dude.
The glasses won't protect his eyes when he rolls, so now I slip a cone on his head before he goes out the door and he can roll as much as he likes without dirt getting in his eyes.
He'll still wear his glasses when we go for walks, just because he looks so cute.