Seeing Red

2016 has started off fast! I’ve not had time to blog, and just discovered a stack of posts half-drafted that are waiting for my attention.

They’ll have to wait. This is big news.

After several months of multiple failed attempts to consult with Dr. Natalie to help get Evelyn healthy enough to withstand her heartworm treatment, I finally gave up.

You can only beg someone to take your money so many times, right? 

My brother-in-law’s brother suggested I try Dr. Mary Battistella at Kowaliga Whole Health Pet Care in Eclectic, Alabama. (Thanks Andrew!) I called on Monday of last week, and immediately got in to see her the following afternoon. Granted, it was a 2-hour drive south, but in the end…Totally. Worth it.

Since Evelyn’s arrival on Labor Day 2015, she has had a significant skin problem. The skin along her back was rough and discolored, the hair was patchy, and she scratched at it constantly. The base of her tail is completely smooth with no hair at all.

IMG_1502
This coat is a complete wreck. The base of her tail is totally hairless. This pic is from her first week with me, and things really haven’t improved.

I didn’t worry too much at first because she had so many other things going on — vastly malnourished and underweight, heartworm positive, mast cell tumors, and various other imbalances — I focused on stabilizing her nutrition, tumor removal, and heartworm eradication. All along the way, we tried anti-fungal spray and shampoo, antibiotics, steroids, Bendadryl, Apoquel. I’ve been massaging coconut oil into her skin at night for months, to no avail. Nothing worked.

Until now.

Dr. Battistella took one look and said, “allergies.” She took hair and saliva samples from Evelyn and shipped them to a lab called Glacier Peak Holistics. Ten days later, we got this:

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Everything in red is a trigger for Evelyn.

Dang!

The good news is that only the circled items are the things she’s had in her diet: Chicken, chicken eggs, carrots, sweet potato, peaches, dairy milk, cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt. 

The bad news is that I fed her a ton of cottage cheese back in November and December when I was desperate to get weight on her so that she could have her second heartworm shot. I also fed carrots and sweet potatoes regularly. Raw chicken is in the rotation. She gets a raw egg in her breakfast smoothie. Every. Day.

Poor baby! No wonder she was scratching non-stop!

The better news is that there is SO much on that list she is NOT allergic to. And now I know what to avoid. We have a lot to work with here and I am so grateful to Dr. Battistella. 

So is Evelyn!

Dr. B also gave us a B-12 vitamin, wheat germ oil to apply topically, and a homeopathic tonic for skin that I give her daily. With the dietary No-No’s delineated, I am finally hopeful that we can solve this problem from the inside out, and get her health on the right track once and for all.

Thanks Dr. B!

pugs & kisses,

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Travel Accommodations for the Raw Fed Dog

Every now and again, I have to leave town. Sometimes, it’s vacation, but more often, it’s for work, as was the case this past week.

In my previous life, as a kibble-feeding dog mama, whenever I traveled, I kenneled my dogs either at the vet (if there were medical issues) (and there often were), or at a dog daycare. I fed them expensive prescription kibble, and just handed over a bag of food whenever I left town.

In other words — gave 0 thought to it.

At. All.

Lazy American, right here.

But fast-forward to present day. Because (in my enlightened state) I put so much more thought and effort into Pearl & Truman’s nutrition, it’s more of a challenge when I have to travel. They don’t have medical issues, so they don’t need to kennel at the vet. Plus, I would rather they have the chance to play outside, or inside, or just not be in a cage all weekend. So most of the time, they stay at Just Happy Hounds (check ’em out. They rock!), unless I am able to arrange an in-home Pug-sitting exchange with my friends.

Even so, pressing my approach to canine nutrition onto others who are less accustomed to it raises the bar a smidge when seeking someone who may otherwise be willing to keep my dogs.

So. What to do?

Answers Pet Food provides the answer!

You knew I was going there.

Y’all may get tired of me advocating for this food. But it is truly a game changer. Nutritionally and financially.

A 4-pound carton (64oz) of Detailed Answers Beef is $18. Once thawed, I divide into 7 smaller containers that hold about 9oz each. Each dog then gets 3oz per meal. (Evelyn gets the same as Pearl & Truman because we’re trying to put weight on her. She’s currently up to 13.2lbs! Yay!) (Follow us on Instagram @SamInBham for almost daily pics of her and the other two knot-heads).

Those smaller containers can be re-frozen, and then thawed as needed. Just move from freezer to fridge the day before, and all the babysitter has to do is spoon it into bowls.

Easy peas-y, lemon squeeze-y.

Each 4-pound carton contains 21 meals for us. The math on that is $18 divided by 21 meals = $0.85 per meal.

Totes. Do-able. Particularly since I had calculated the per meal cost to be about $3 each when I was first starting down the raw path last year. Experience pays.

You can find an Answers retailer near you hereThe website provides ingredient and calorie information, and serving suggestions. Everything you need to feed a balanced, raw diet conveniently and economically.

Problem. Solved.

Get some!

pugs & kisses!

Happy Birthday to us! Meet Evelyn, the newest (foster) member of our pack!

After years of supporting from a distance, it finally came time for me to get more involved in the Alabama Pug Rescue & Adoption.  But, because I get so attached, I’ve never been able to commit to being a foster parent…

…until now…

Last week, I learned from APRA that a stray Pug had been brought to the Greater Birmingham Humane Society. She was heartworm positive. Translation: long-term (min. 5 mos. ) foster commitment. Was I willing to take her?

Of course! (duh)

But, will I be able to give her up in the end…??

A few days later, I learned she did not do well after her spay surgery. She was very frail, and things might end sadly, which could be difficult on a first-time foster parent. APRA would get her from the GBHS and take her to their vet for a more thorough assessment and let me know.

A day or two after that — Good news! In addition to heart worms, she’s just anemic, is extremely malnourished, has an ear infection, and may be deaf. She’ll be fine!

In celebration of The HOL Dog’s 1st Birthday (woot!), I picked her up on Monday while I was off work for the holiday. (Thank you, labor unions, for my last work holiday till November) (Thank you to my followers for an awesome 1st year).

Everybody, meet Evelyn!

Hey, can I come home with you?
Hey lady, can I come home with you?

She weighs a whopping 11 lbs.

ELEVEN.

Less than half what Pearl weighs.

Pearl is a hoss, but still.

Heartbreaking.

This is what an underweight dog looks like. You can count her ribs without touching them.
You can count her ribs without touching them. Bless her heart.

Not sure how old she is. Tough to say for several reasons.

  • She’s had at least one litter of puppies, but the vet said she hasn’t had many.
  • She’s gray in the muzzle, but her teeth are very clean and it looks like she has a full set.
  • Her coat is a wreck. It’s thin, rough, and she has multiple bald patches.
  • Her ear is torn.
  • But, she is spry, energetic, loves to play, and clearly is happy to be in a home.

Maybe once she adds some weight, we’ll get a better idea.

Challenge accepted!

She loved the car ride.

She chirped like a little bird all the way home.
She chirped like a little bird all the way home.

She’s been around people, is not afraid of men, and has lived inside a home, possibly with a cat.

She blew past Chester like he wasn’t standing there, and let him come get a good sniff a little later sans reaction.

Once she explored the yard and the house, I fed her what is surely her first raw meal.

I mean, she is a little sack of bones. Why make her wait till 6pm?

Start slow.

2 ounces of Answers raw goat milk (aka, miracle food) #pouralittlelove in a bowl in the crate so she can drink it undisturbed by her always starving to death foster siblings.

They need to get a good look & recognize. IJS.

She lapped it up and wanted more.

2 hours later, 2 more ounces. Then, she found a comfy spot for a good nap.

She's finding her place in the house, and got a good nap a couple of hours after we came home.
Bad quality pic, but didn’t want to wake her.

3 hours later, dinner consisted of a whole raw farm egg (pasture raised chicken egg from a great local farm) mixed with 2 ounces of goat milk, a pinch of unrefined sea salt, and a bit of powdered kelp (for iodine & hair growth).

I’ve decided to stick with the egg & goat’s milk regimen for the next few days to see how she does. She needs easily digestible proteins right now, and probiotics.

Powerful antibiotic (heartworm eradication process) + ear drops + eye ointment AND abdominal surgery = gut in need of gentle repair.

I’ve never seen a dog this skinny in real life. Ever. We’ve got to take it easy.

My hopes are up, but I’m trying to remain realistic. I don’t want to get over-zealous in my desire to heal this sweet pup and end up doing more harm than good.

Big shout out to the GBHS for working with Pam Mayes and APRA so that we could give this starving, neglected little angel a fighting chance. I’m honored to have been chosen for the task.

I’ll keep you posted.

pugs & kisses,

Gobble, Gobble!

Y’all. Answers Pet Food, one of my go-to’s for my prepared raw rotation, has developed a new flavor.

TURKEY!

Check it out here!

We are so excited to try it, but it hasn’t arrived in Alabama yet. That does not mean that it hasn’t arrived where YOU live.

So #BOLO (not to be confused with #YOLO).

This is truly my favorite commercially prepared raw food company for several reasons.

1. They are very particular about their supply farms. They only cooperate with the best of their local grass-fed, cage-free, antibiotic-free, GMO-free, free-range you name it humane farms that care about the lives of their stock from start to finish.

2. They are a certified Green company. All of their packaging comes from recycled materials. They don’t use plastics, so everything has a bit of a simple look about it, which is appealing to me.

3. They incorporate kombucha (fermented green tea) which is SO good for the gut. Just like for you and me, replacing the healthy gut flora regularly through live, active probiotics may be the most crucial element of a healthy diet. Because without healthy digestion — which is more than just the breakdown of food we eat, it’s absorption of nutrition — everything is just passing through.

4. The Detailed line is as balanced as one could realistically hope for in a commercially prepared food. Much, much, MUCH more so than any kibble, no matter the quality. Just look at the ingredient label and compare it to what you’re feeding your dog. Even if you’re comfortable with your kibble of choice, the process the ingredients go through to transform it into tiny little round bites necessarily compromises the nuritional value for your dog.

5. Which is why I encourage my friends who insist on feeding kibble to supplement with Answers Goat Milk. It, too, is loaded with probiotics, is an easily digested protein source, and is a natural antihistamine.  Read all about it here: http://answerspetfood.com/additional.html

Detailed Answers is a great alternative to incorporate into your raw rotation.

Give it a try!

pugs & kisses,