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.

Friday, March 3, 2017

We're On An American Journey

This month we're trying out a dog food that's new to us. Chewy asked if we'd be interested in doing a month long trial of American Journey. I'll be honest, I'd never heard of it before, but after a bit of research, I agreed. I chose the salmon and sweet potato recipe because fish is the natural diet of Portuguese Water Dogs and mine all love the smell and taste of fish.
Here's what I found out. The ingredients are as follows:
Deboned Salmon, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Peas, Sweet Potatoes, Chickpeas, Pea Protein, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Dried Beet Pulp, Natural Flavor, Flaxseed, Menhaden Fish Meal, Blueberries, Carrots, Salt, Salmon Oil, Dried Kelp, Fructooligosaccharides, Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, Mixed Tocopherols (Natural Preservative), Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Niacin Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Pantothenate, Copper Proteinate, Riboflavin Supplement, Manganese Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Manganese Proteinate, Vitamin A Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Dried Bacillus coagulans Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract.

Calories are 430 per cup which keeps it off Fudge's diet.

The Dog Food Advisor site gives American Journey 5 stars, their highest rating and call it "an above average dry product" with above average protein, near average fat and below average carbs. They also say it contains a "significant amount of meat", or in this case fish. They "enthusiastically recommend" it.

 I had to decide which dogs would take part in this month long trial. I ruled out the three boys immediately. I've finally gotten them all stable with their various intestinal problems and I didn't want to introduce a new food into the mix. Mackey is keeping Fudge company on his diet and Syd was out because I'm very careful to keep her on a regular diet plan. With her mental issues, I don't want her to get attached to a food that I don't plan to continue feeding her. She stays on a nice safe, somewhat boring diet.

Because I have one bag of this food and don't know how far it'll stretch, I chose Lola and Bailey to be the taste testers.

OK, so what do we think? I didn't know what to expect when I opened the bag. We've had some fish based kibbles that smelled so fishy we had to hold our noses while dishing it up. This wasn't one of them. It has a mildly fishy smell, but not too strong. Still the dogs agreed it smelled great. The kibble is a small size, easy for almost any size dog.
I started mixing it with their usual kibble in order to avoid a shock to their systems. Never a good idea to just instantly introduce a new food. I learned that a long time ago, the hard way.
My two testers were more than happy to stick their heads in their bowls and give American Journey a try. They cleaned their bowls without complaint and I'm sure would have eaten a second serving.
 Mid month we'll let you know how the girls are doing with the new food and if we see any changes, good or bad.

Chewy sent us this bag of American Journey Salmon and Sweet Potato food at no cost to us in exchange for three honest reviews during the month of March.