Sunday, July 20, 2014

Galloping Gourmet

Max is, how to put this delicately, a counter-surfer. He is also a table climber, purse digger and forager of the highest order. Max does not lack for taste variety, not that he tastes much since chewing just gets in the way of eating, but his diet is largely as varied as ours. He often gets fresh veggies if we do, peanut butter, frozen yogurt treats, training treats, and "good boy" treats. Yet, he still can not keep his nose out of things. If it will fit in his mouth he'll try to get it there and then down the hatch.

We are lucky that he won't actively ingest non-food items but really, anything with smell is fair game. Vicks scented used tissues? Delicacy. Popsicle sticks? Lick 'em for the taste. Cat makes retching sounds? Score! Cat food!

He would take the pb jar
 to his bed if he could
Yesterday I got a call because he had eaten sweetie's banana chocolate chip muffin from the middle of the dining room table, no mountain goating required. Today she caught him in the act trying to nudge the muffin toward him with his paws. As if stealing breakfast isn't bad enough, this morning he got into my purse while I was asleep and ate an entire pack of Trident gum...with xylitol.

Therein lies the problem. Xylitol is an alcohol sugar that dogs don't metabolize, it will cause insulin spikes and without treatment is commonly fatal. So I freaked out and made him puke. Hydrogen peroxide down the hatch and within 10 minutes all the gum and a little bit of breakfast was out of his stomach. Then I had the nerve wracking task of watching him all afternoon to make sure everything was ok. Nothing makes you more paranoid than analyzing drinking, breathing, peeing and heart rate. I am not a DVM, I don't claim to be but I did count how long he peed this afternoon and how long he drank. I did not make graph but I was so ready to.I was also thisclose to going to the e-vet and I don't fault anyone who would in this situation. I did give him some simple sugars throughout the day to keep any weird insulin spikes hopefully at bay. He got 1/4 c of applesauce, 1/2 c of plain Greek yogurt, another 1/2 c. of the yogurt for dinner with honey and a poached egg. Today became "rest your guts" day.

I'm getting more peroxide and we have activated charcoal on hand. Do you have a counter surfer? What strategies do you use to keep your dog and your food safe? Thankfully all is well tonight. Max had a walk and is, once again, foraging for food.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Who's the True Alpha?

Sweetie and I have determined we are not "The Alpha", having never caught the elusive technique for achieving this.
We have been told multiple times that Max is trying to "seek status", "dominate us" or "become 'The Alpha'". We were perplexed. Max has a great deal of freedom because he is a great dog. True, we sometimes ignore behaviors that are annoying but not incompatible, we rearrange our lives a bit to make sure his is meaningful, varied and interesting, species appropriate and within his thresholds. We try to set Max up to succeed, even if it means changing our habits. We don't ask for more than he can handle and we don't punish with force or retroactively. Does that mean he's "the Alpha"?

After careful consideration Sweetie and I identified the characteristics of "The Alpha" in our house.

The Alpha:
-rarely comes when called.
-eats whenever he pleases.
-begs for food and we oblige.
-bites and claws when he's unhappy and we don't discourage this.
-Has free access to almost the entire house and sometimes back yard.
-Gets treats for performing no polite behaviors or "just because".
-Sleeps on the bed or where ever else he wants (including the middle of the dining room table).

So Who's the Alpha?

This one.

That's right, Charlie is the Alpha. Max does none of the above, except beg for food. In addition to all the things listed above, Charlie swats at Max periodically, climbs curtains, routinely knocks things off flat surfaces and eats grass to barf. Thank goodness there's not litter box mutiny (knock on wood!).

Sure, he's cute and all but let's get real.

This is more likely to happen between nuzzles and purrs. Charlie's only enforced rule? You can't clean your boy bits on the pillow while we're trying to sleep. So yeah, we're not the Alphas. We are all owned by the cat.

In case you seriously thought I believed in "dominance theory", check out some awesome perspectives below by people way smarter than me about why dominance theory in it's popular incarnation, in domestic dogs, is generally a big fat crock of crap. Then please turn off a certain NatGeo "trainer" and go play with your dog.

In case you missed him, here's Max at our local tennis courts. Glorious, fenced, nail-wearing-down tennis courts where rubber balls bounce sky-high with room to run after them. Love it!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Cool Summer Fro-Yo Treats

Have you seen doggie ice cream? Several different companies are making it. They even sell it next to ice cream in the freezer case at my local grocery. Max loves the stuff, but have you seen the ingredient list? Blech! Max has a sensitive stomach so we whip up our own which is incredibly easy and cheaper too!

What you need:
Fruit or flavors your dog loves (Max loves strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, watermelon... you get the idea)
A large tub of plain or vanilla yogurt with as few weird ingredients as possible

What you do:
Process your fruit into a puree' in the blender or food processer
Add your yogurt and blend some more
Pour the whole mixture into cupcake liners or ice cube trays and freeze.
Once the yogurt is frozen you can pop the cubes or cupcake liners out of their trays and put into a baggie for storage.

I know it's not rocket science but really, your dog's gut will thank you for not having all the weird ingredients and you'll feel much less guilty about not sharing your fudge bar in the heat of the summer. Stay cool dog friends!

*Quick update: I used muffin liners but after seeing what a pain they are to get off the fro-yo once it's frozen, I wouldn't recommend them unless they're somehow waxed. Next time I'll just pour directly into the muffin tin.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wordless Wednessday-Pictures on Walks

Max and I have started running on a local trail so I thought I'd share some shots. To read the full account from Sweetie's POV go here.
Squirrels must be investigated!
I love this shot. 
Beautiful view!
This post is part of BlogPaws bloghop!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Dog Food Sunday

So now I'm that lady, the one who makes her dog's food. The lady who calls the butcher and orders 80 lbs of roasts and 60 lbs of heart for the dog, who sources ingredients like I'm hunting Carmen San Diego and not only tracks what goes in but also what comes out. It didn't start out this way, I swear but he's so worth every bit of the process.

Max eats like we should. 
It took a good long while to get to this place in dog food-land. Max has eaten everything from grocery store brands (at previous adopter's homes) to high-end kibble and, most recently, commercial raw. We've done fish, chicken, turkey and finally beef, we've done grain and grain free, potato or not, Chinese herbs, probiotics and most anything else we could to get him to be not-itchy.

We thought we had a winning formula. We were feeding a commercial raw beef diet along with probiotics and fish oil. Max's coat was never great but the sores stopped erupting on his belly. The vet considered it a success and we stayed in our secure routine.

Then disaster struck. The pet food store stopped carrying his raw food. At first we got a warning saying they were going to stop in 6 months or so, then Sweetie went in for our monthly buy and we were told they had actually stopped immediately and were just selling off what the store had in inventory. Eek! The store blamed the company, the company claimed ignorance, I really didn't care. We needed something for him to eat. We found one other store in the Kansas City metro that carried his food with regularity and getting there was a hassle.

Sweetie and I had been batting around the idea of making Max's food but wanted to make sure it was done right so we contacted Sabine at Better Dog Care to design a diet that would meet his nutritional needs. There were two lengthy forms to fill out to help formulate his specific diet so this was no generic "cross your fingers" cookbook recipe. We got the new diet last week but had to run it by Dr. Awesome. Once she was on board, Sweetie and I went shopping.

First we went to the butcher for organ meats (who also just so happens to have awesome tacos on Saturdays too). Then we were off to the natural food store for some supplements, then to our grocery for meats and veggies. I've never bought that much beef roast at one time in my life and the meat counter guys thought I was a little strange for asking all my questions. Last week I called around and grabbed a better price from another butcher but that 80 lbs of roasts and 60 lbs of heart? Yeah, that's really happening. Thank doG for a deep freezer!
We bought every roast they had in the cut we needed!
Sunday night we started prepping. Sweetie did the veggies and fruits, dairy and supplements, I did the meats since she can't handle raw meat (literally and figuratively). There was some arguing as we worked out the best way to get this all accomplished but, 3 1/2 hours later, we got it done. I am now fully appreciating the food processor and grinder we got as gifts for Christmas. I don't think I would have wanted to grate all those veggies by hand!  Now we have almost a month's worth of dog food sitting in the deep freeze and I don't ever have to worry about the pet food store running out again. What does Max think of it, you ask? He whined over the good smells last night and ate with gusto today so I think we're on the right track! Do you fix your dog's food or add tasty bits now and again?

We're part of the Tasty Tuesday Blog Hop hosted by Kols Notes and Sugar the Golden Retriever. Don't forget to check out what's happening on the blogs!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tasty Treat Tuesday- Meaty Mystery Treats

Max is involved in a gift swap and is sending goodies to two lucky dogs next week. I can't disclose all of what will be in the package but we're making treats tonight. In an effort to be a little sneaky, since this is a public blog, I'm just going to post a picture of the "before" but I promise to post the recipe after everything's been securely tucked into the mail.

Meaty Marinade

I'll give you two guesses, given my recent methods of treat-making, what I'm doing with this meat. It smells so good!

We're part of Tasty Tuesday Blog Hop hosted by Sugar the Golden Retrieve and Kol's Notes. Check out the other blogs for more tasty ideas!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wordless Wednesday-Playground Edition

Let's explore the playground!
They call this a slide, huh?
You do what?!?

Umm, no way! K, thanks bubye.

We're participating in BlogPaws Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop!