Evelyn’s First Week

Because Evelyn is so very small and so very malnourished, I have been concerned with how much to feed.

I know to feed for the desired weight, not the actual weight. But I also don’t want to make her sick in the process by overfeeding. Pugs are pretty notorious for over-indulging, if permitted.

Slow & steady wins the race, right?

The first day, all she had was Answers‘ raw fermented goats milk. 2-3 oz every 2-3 hours until she had consumed about 10 oz. I preach and preach on this stuff. It is awesome. Such a gentle protein, it’s easy on the digestive tract because it’s fermented, which means it’s LOADED with probiotics.

She slept like a baby all night.

See how tiny she is by comparison? (She's the apricot in the middle)
See how tiny she is by comparison? (She’s the apricot in the middle)

The next day, I added a farm fresh, free-range raw chicken egg to her milk. I thought the extra protein would hold her while I was at work and unable to come feed her every 3 hours.

But, when I weighed her on day 3, she had dropped to below 11 lbs.

I freaked out.

Pearl & Truman both weigh about 25 lbs. Recently, I learned that to determine the amount of raw meat & bone to feed your dog, multiply the dog’s body weight by 10, which will give the number of grams to feed.

25 lbs x 10 = 250 grams. Converts to about 8 oz per day.

And that is what they get. (plus treats)

I don’t want to tax Evelyn’s system, so I only increased her intake by 2 oz. Also, she is crated during the day, so the decrease in activity should help as well.

Because she’s anemic, I wanted to add a blood-builder. So I fed fresh, raw organic chicken livers pureed with her goats milk for 2 meals. Unfortunately, it was too rich, and gave her the runs.

Crap!

So, back to the egg & milk routine, with a little baked sweet potato added to the mix. After one meal, no more runny poop, and by Friday, she added a few more ounces.

We are now holding steady at 12 lbs. Woop woop!!

She had her first bath on Thursday night to finally wash off the significant stink from the streets of Birmingham, the kennel, the vet. Plus, her coat is a total nightmare right now. It’s rough as a boar bristle, and the conditioner I used really didn’t help.

This coat is a complete wreck. The base of her tail is totally hairless. The dark bald spots have to be from previous flea infestation.
This coat is a complete wreck. The base of her tail is totally hairless. The dark bald spots are from previous flea infestation.

So I’ve added coconut oil to her diet. 1 full teaspoon everyday, whether by itself or on a treat. She devours it!

She is great in the tub. She holds very still and seemed to enjoy the warm water and the gentle massage across her frail frame, and loved being wrapped in a warm towel at the end. She is finding her place in the family, and the other 2 are adjusting to her encroachment.

Room enough for 3 in mama's lap.
Room enough for 3 in mama’s lap.

She has a LOT of energy for such a tiny, skinny pug. She LOVES to play. She’s a good little retriever, and enjoys a good game of tug. Despite her previous pregnancy/ies and the gray in her face, I am more convinced each day that she is much younger than anyone thought.

She’s a big help with the blog to boot.

Evie takes over The HOL Dog.
Evie takes over The HOL Dog.

She got a new JazzyJ collar this week, and is making herself at home.

We’re on an upward trajectory, folks!

pugs & kisses,

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Why all the hype on Tripe?

When I first arrived in Paris as a student some 25 years ago, early wisdom taught me to carefully regard restaurant menus for such horrendous French culinary “delicacies” as shortbreads and tripe.

Sneaky bastards.

In the years since, I’ve continued to avoid the likes of “off cuts” of meats and various internal organs of animals when I dine at fancy places that like to slip that shit in on you impress with kitchen creativity. But when I began reading about feeding a raw diet to my dogs, tripe kept popping up over and over.

Feed tripe. Green tripe. Raw green tripe. Tripe tripe tripe. Feed tripe.

You get the idea.

Do y’all know what it is?!

Cow stomach.

Ew.

I have been content to draw the line at chicken livers, especially after having dealt with that atrocious slippery nasty cow liver back in the Fall, but then I was perusing the Whole Dog Market the other day and stumbled upon Evanger’s Gently Dried Beef Tripe.

(Shopper’s note: It’s important to look down when shopping because often some really super stuff is tucked away below eye level. They tend to stock the popular stuff where lazy less discerning shoppers look. I tend to buy not-so-popular items (like tripe) and have been known to get on the floor in a store to dig out what I want. There’s your life goal for the day. Now back to the story).

Why all the hype? Tripe is practically a superfood for dogs. Not the bleached out white tripe that you may find yourself attracted to because it looks clean. We’re talking the green kind. Raw. Fresh out of the deceased beast.

It is loaded with digestive enzymes. If you’ve been supplementing with a powdered digestive enzyme, as I have been, wouldn’t it be better to feed something that naturally contains all those enzymes? Digestive enzymes live in the stomach, and when the animal dies, there they lie. And gently drying the organ so that it’s easier to handle and manage doesn’t destroy them like cooking or bleaching do. (obvi.)

Why are digestive enzymes important? They aid in digestion. Duh. But why is THAT important? The body has to work hard (read: expend energy) to digest and produce its own enzymes to absorb nutrition from the food you feed it. If it has some help in that venture, the energy normally expended in digestion can be used in an area that may need attention (read: immune support).

Green tripe is also chock full of probiotics. A healthy gut is critical to a healthy animal (human, canine, feline, or other). #truth. And higher levels of “good” bacteria in the belly can beat out the bad bacteria that may be present and causing an imbalance. According to this article in Dogs Naturally Magazine (great article worth reading), almost anything from diarrhea to constipation, to irritable bowel syndrome, to yeast infections to pollen allergies can be improved by feeding your dog (or cat) raw green tripe because of the overall assistance to digestion and population of healthy gut microflora.

Help the body help itself, yo.

It may be hard to find in its freshest form, and you may have to have an iron stomach of your own to take it on that way. But for a less messy option, consider Evanger’s. I’m glad I looked down to the bottom shelf the other day and found it. My dogs LOVE it as a snack after dinner. It breaks pretty easily into smaller bits. Even the cat loves it, and he’s picky as hell.

pugs & kisses!

Sojos makes it easy to feed your dog a raw diet

First things first. Shout out to my sister, Leah, on her birthday.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LEAH!!

Now on with the show.

I’ve convinced my dad and some of my friends to switch to raw.

YIPPEE!!

But nobody has the time to do what I do every weekend — prepare dog meals for the week ahead.

#sads

And sometimes, when I travel, my grand weekend jaunts to farmer’s market and my Saturdays spent chopping, cooking, freezing, and prepping for the week get pushed aside.

In those instances, Sojos Complete freeze dried raw food comes to my rescue. And the affordable convenience of Sojos has enabled my friends and family to feed a raw diet to their pups as well.

IMG_1112
2 pounds of dry makes 10 pounds of rehydrated food. The price works out to less than $2 per meal for the Pugs.

My friends at The Whole Dog Market in Homewood began to carry Sojos this spring, and I’m so glad. So many of the prepared raw foods are so cost prohibitive. Sojos is not. And it comes in several varieties, including Turkey, Lamb, and Beef. It also comes in a form that you can add your own fresh, raw meat to.

I use homemade bone broth instead of water to rehydrate.

Beef bone broth made with raw beef bones, cinnamon, turmeric, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, coconut oil, and water
Beef bone broth made with raw beef bones, cinnamon, turmeric, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, coconut oil, and water
IMG_1114
Rehydrating Sojos in a glass container covered with plastic wrap. Looks like turkey stuffing.

Pearl and Truman love it. I still prefer to make their food myself because that way I control what’s in it, particularly when we’re experiencing times when they need more or less of certain ingredients to address particular issues. But, to add variety, ensure balance, and in times when I just don’t have the time, this is a fantastic option.

Just look at the ingredients:

Reads like a really healthy grocery list. You don't eat this well, do you?
Reads like a healthy grocery list. You don’t eat this well, do you?

When I first started feeding raw, I fell for FreshPet in the refrigerator at the grocery store because I needed a convenient option for times when I was away. But I have since learned that it is heat pasteurized, and frankly, I just don’t trust the quality of any dog food product on the shelves at the grocery store anymore. I am much more confident in the quality nutrition in Sojos.

And, my great friends at Just Happy Hounds are happy to feed Sojos to Pearl and Truman when they keep them when I travel. They treat ’em like I do!

You can order it directly from the company if you don’t have a retailer in your area. Check them out at www.sojos.com

pugs & kisses,

The ‘F’ Word

Y’all, Pearl is fat.

Shhhh!!!! Don’t tell her!

She’s gained a pound since Christmas, which is a lot on a 25-lb dog.

Everybody gives me grief about her girth.

Pugs are supposed to be round and bubbly, but she has become increasingly more rotund as the months have passed, and I notice it most acutely in the mornings when she’s standing on my chest to wake me up.

It’s hard to breathe, yo!

Back in the fall when I started this raw diet thing, I was definitely over-feeding. I was guessing. I couldn’t get anybody to discuss with me how much I needed to be feeding, so I based it on the feeding guide on the side of the kibble bag. I got conflicting info on the Internet. I left several messages for any of the doctors at my vet clinic to call me, and I never got a return phone call. (Nice). I even made several attempts to reach a canine nutrition “expert” at one of the big box stores. Everybody ignored me. Dr. Natalie was the first person who was willing to take the time to shed a little light on the subject.

Dogs on a raw diet don’t need to eat as much as dogs on kibble to meet their nutritional needs. So, I trimmed it back. In fact, I reduced the amount I was feeding every day by half.

That was just before Christmas. Why are they all porked up after cutting their consumption in half?

I think it’s the smoothies, which are mostly fruit, which makes them delectable for Miss Pearl’s sweet tooth, but super high-cal.

Before I attended Raw Roundup 2015, I was just rough chopping their fruits & veggies. When Dr. Ian Billinghurst explained that any plant material must be “pulverized” to be of any benefit to a dog, I began with the smoothies, and it’s been in that period of time that they have packed on the extra LB’s.

So I think before that time, the fruit & vegetables were just wasted on them. The nutrition and calories passed through the dogs, creating a rainbow of color out the back end, certainly, but not being absorbed. In the past couple of months, however, with the onset of Spring and the opening of the Farmer’s Market, the fruit has been plentiful, and the smoothies are working a number on the waistline because the nutritive elements are actually being absorbed.

What to do? How to adjust?

For one thing, we are going to switch to more veggies and less fruit. More green and less sweet. More broccoli, zucchini, and kale, and less strawberries and bananas.

We are also going to dilute the goat’s milk with a little bit of water. Raw fermented goat’s milk is so good for them, I will not eliminate it, but it makes up a big chunk of calories per serving, and perhaps stretching it with a bit of H2O will help us out.

And, we are going to reduce the serving size from 4oz per dog to 3. All of that coupled with our daily walks should take care of the problem.

We’ll keep you posted.

pugs & kisses,