Is your dog a bread maker?

I’ve been piecing together a bit of a puzzle here of late.

As we all know, Pearl has gained a little weight since Christmas, and truthfully, she hadn’t lost much after switching to Raw.

Womp womp.

Her sweet tooth is the size of an iceberg…the part that’s below the water surface.

She LOVES fruit. All kinds.

Despite our daily walks, when all that sugar (albeit natural. it’s still sugar) is coupled with her post-menopausal metabolism (she’s spayed), it’s a recipe for roundness that’s not in her best interest.

Also, so much sugar in her diet can cause a yeast imbalance.

She has cloudy, smelly urine, and gunk in her ears. And she scratches. A lot.

A few weeks ago, she presented with what appeared to be …

…a bladder infection!

YIKES!

When I came home from work one night, there was a puddle in her crate. Then, after our squatting several times on our evening walk, she went on the floor by the back door. The frequent urination while on the walk didn’t concern me. But when I cleaned up the spot by the door, it had blood in it.

Crap. Crap. Crap.

I mean, that’s what prompted our switch to Raw last summer. Everything has been fine until now.

I hear your sneers. (Stow it, Flo!)

What have I done wrong?

My hypothesis is this: After I began feeding so many fruit smoothies, her body was able to absorb the nutrition in the fruit (and the sugar) much more so than when I was rough chopping it. She now consumed it in a useful form instead of it just passing through her making colorful poop rainbows. So in addition to making her fat, it’s causing excessive yeast in her system, which may be contributing to the urine issue.

What to do?

First things first.

Dr. Natalie told me that blood in urine is not necessarily always caused by an infection. In Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, the cause is sometimes attributed to “heat” in the liver, which can be caused by some sort of trauma (physical or emotional) or toxin (like a vaccine or medication) or other imbalance (excess yeast, perhaps?).

So I set out to “cool” and detox the liver.

But how?

I immediately thought of Basil tea with Slippery Elm Bark. Slippery Elm Bark is wonderful for calming the digestive tract, but also has, in my experience, a healing effect on the bladder as well. Basil tea is basically a cure all. Mix the two, and wow. 

I also keep milk thistle seed in my dried herbs. It is super awesome for liver support. I grind the seeds then add them to smoothies or on top of the evening meal.

Two days later…no more blood in the urine!

Herbs FTW!

(Do y’all like how I link back to my old posts? Smart, huh?)

Duck and Rabbit are cooling proteins. So we picked up some Stella & Chewy’s ‘Duck Duck Goose’ freeze-dried duck formula. We also keep a healthy stock of Orijen Free-Run Duck treats. Freeze-dried, whole prey treats. Duck. The whole duck. And nothing but the duck.

Orijin Free Run Duck Treats
Truman & Pearl are coo-coo for these treats. Like nothing I’ve ever seen.

Then I made a healthy, homemade bone broth with some grass-fed, hormone-free beef bones from a local farmer to use to rehydrate the food instead of plain water. Beef is a ‘neutral’ protein (meaning neither warming nor cooling) and can be used in combination with other cooling or warming foods to provide variety.

Next, as Dr. Karen Becker says in this outstanding article, I needed to cut the food source for the yeast, i.e., sugar.

Yeast needs sugar to survive, so we had to dramatically reduce or eliminate the sugar in her diet, which meant dialing way, way back on all the fruit. And, since yeast is a fungus, we needed an anti-fungal. Enter: garlic.

I picked up kale, broccoli, heirloom carrots and tomatoes at the farmer’s market, all of which are cooling and contain very little sugar. I added powdered kelp from my pantry (which they have a the Whole Dog Market), which should cool things down as well.

Are you ready for a VEGGIE SMOOTHIE recipe? Here goes:

  • 2 small kale leaves, stemmed
  • small bunch of fresh basil
  • 2 broccoli florets
  • 1/2 small carrot
  • 1 teaspoon powdered kelp
  • 4 oz Answers goat’s milk
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Blend until smooth. Makes about 8 oz. Pearl and Truman each get 4 oz for breakfast.

I was afraid they wouldn’t eat it because there was no sugar in there, but they both lapped it up like a boss!

After a couple of weeks, Pearl had dropped over half a pound. After a month, she’s down another pound and back to pre-Christmas weight. I’ve also noticed a big difference in how much they scratch. And the urine is back to normal. Her ears are clean and pink. Their breath is pleasant. The poops are dark, solid and healthy. The liver has obviously cooled, and the yeast is on the run.

Food is medicine!

There are lessons here.

1. Don’t let your dog convince you to feed her too much fruit.

2. Don’t freak out at the first sign of a little urine discharge. You can treat it naturally with a little patience and know-how. But, if after a couple of days you don’t see a change for the better, definitely go see the vet.

3. You may be surprised by how much your dog likes a veggie smoothie.

Live and learn!

pugs & kisses,

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Scratching the Itch

It’s almost summer, and it seems the occupants of this house have been focused heavily on fleas and how to eradicate without topical or ingestible poison.

After spreading diatomaceous earth all over the deck, patio, under shrubs, along the fence, and basically throughout the yard, I realized that is the ingredient of my flea powder that made the Pugs scratch like crazy.

AWESOME! 

#fail

Thank God for the recent deluge that washed it all away.

I finally decided to just hire a mosquito service to come spray the yard every 3 weeks from now until October. Expensive, yes, but still cheaper than some of my vet bills.

The treatment is effective against mosquitos and fleas. Here’s hoping that approach, when paired with weekly baths, daily flea-combing, and boosted immune health will adequately address our issue on that front. I’ll keep you posted.

Even with all that, they have still been scratching incessantly, especially at 4am (which puts me in an especially bad mood).

What’s the prob?

I mean, I feed them raw, local honey daily, which should homeopathically address pollen allergies (I mean, it certainly has worked for me. First time in years that I’ve gone all spring without a sinus infection. Just sayin).

I feed them raw, fermented goats milk daily, which is a natural antihistamine.

They have a raw and grain-free diet, of course.

The diatomaceous earth is gone now.

What the deal-io?

I may never know for sure, but I’m not going to run to the vet for steroids or antibiotics that will only mask the symptoms and ultimately cause more harm than good over time.

As I was pulling on my hair and furrowing my brow over what to do, Dogs Naturally Magazine posted this article that gave me some options.

How fortuitous! Answered prayer, perhaps?

I read through it and realized I had most of the natural itch arresters right there in my pantry!

Being a throwback hippie is starting to pay off!

The most immediately effective thing I tried was coconut oil. I scooped some out, warmed it in my hands, and rubbed it into their skin where they seemed to be most bothered. They stopped scratching instantly, curled up and went to sleep.

DANG!

The next day, I pulled Basil and Oregano from my herb garden-window box and made a strong medicinal tea with it. I plucked about 2 tablespoons of each, boiled water, removed from heat, added the herbs and let it steep overnight. I then poured it over their meals.

Seems to be working. Not as instantly noticeable, but they’re not scratching quite as much, especially using the two together.

Then I dug around in my dried herbs and saw I had Calendula petals (Marigold) right there in a little bag in the fridge! I made a very strong medicinal tea with it, using the same method.

Boiled water first, removed it from heat, added the herb, and this time, I let it steep for 2 full days. It was very concentrated, so I got a big bowl with a lid, added almost a gallon of water to the concentrate, and stuck it in the fridge to use as a rinse after baths.

I bathed them and poured generous amounts over their coats as a final rinse, and let it air dry.

No. Scratching.

AND they smelled simply delightful! 🙂

Tip: Let the stuff come to room temp or close to it, unless it’s super hot outside, because it will be super cold fresh out of the fridge, and your dog may not love you that much after you freeze her tooter off.

I also have an arsenal of lemons and garlic at my disposal, and once the Calendula tea is finished, I can make a different rinse using them.

Options a-plenty! I encourage you to experiment with these if your dog is scratching the never-ending itch. Making the rinses will take a little bit of time and planning, but really, much much less expensive and a much healthier option than a trip to the vet. And if these methods absolutely fail, then you might have something else going on that does need medical attention.

pugs & kisses!

Time to Plant those Herbs!

After we finished laying the ground work for fame and glory on Saturday at Railroad Park, I decided it was time to plant an herb garden.

I’ve been talking about it for months. I don’t really know what I’m doing, though.

It is surprisingly difficult to get good quality, fresh, pesticide-free herbs in the grocery store.

I know you’re shocked. Try to calm down.

I’ve become quite fascinated with the healing power of herbs, my favorite being Basil.

I’ve tried all during the winter months to grow Basil in a glass on my kitchen counter, and I have failed again and again. It’s been quite discouraging.

But now that the weather has begun to warm, and Spring has officially sprung here in the ‘Ham, I decided to dig in the dirt.

It was therapeutic.

I have a window box on the front of my house that should be a perfect spot. Direct sun in the mornings, and protected from extreme heat by tall pines.

…But then I read on each little plastic spear that they all need FULL SUN…

Womp Womp!

I may have wasted my money. We’ll just have to see.

Here’s a poor shot of the fledgling collection of sage, arugula, basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, peppermint and spearmint.

It was dark and about to pour rain by the time I finished. Here's hoping they don't die! Fingers crossed!
It was dark and about to pour rain by the time I finished. Here’s hoping they don’t die! Fingers crossed!

IF they grow, (and that’s a big IF) I’ll have my own stash that I know is grown organically, away from highway fumes, and without chemical pesticides. Perfect for incorporating into our diets. Perfect for use in herbal healing home remedies.

I’m so excited!

pugs & kisses,

HOLy Basil

I was going to title this post “HOLy Basil, Batman!”, but somebody beat me to it. Oh, well.

Basil is worshipped in some cultures. They even call it HOLy. Because it’s a blooming miracle plant, that’s why!

It contains vitamins K, C, and A, and trace amounts of iron, calcium, manganese, and magnesium.

Whoopty-do. Lots of plants have vitamins & minerals.

But more than that, basil has been studied (like for real scientific studies) for its positive effects on bacteria, respiratory ailments, blood sugar levels, and the digestive tract. It has a low glycemic index, and is an antioxidant (reduces free radicals). There’s a gajillion articles on how awesome it is. Just fire up the Google, and you’ll see.

I’ve been making a medicinal tea with basil since the weather turned cold, and it is delicious.

Liquid. Gold.

Just bring a pot of water (2-4 cups) to a boil, remove it from heat, and add a 3-4 tablespoons of fresh basil leaves, cover and let it steep.

That’s it. Simple.

I let mine sit overnight so it’s good and strong. I keep it in a glass jar with a tight lid in the fridge.

Recently, I bought some dried peppermint, and I added it to my decoction in a steel mesh tea ball. It brings a refreshing note to the taste, but really, you’ll be surprised at how delightful the basil is all by itself. Drink it warm with a teaspoon of raw honey, and you are golden. (You will feel golden. You will feel like a Buddhist monk on a Tibetan hillside. Gong optional). It will soothe your spirit and calm your nerves. I love to drink it before bedtime.

It finally dawned on me that I needed to be sharing this gift of the gods with my dogs. Duh. In fact, Truman about knocked my mug from my hands to get at it. So, I added it to the breakfast rotation.

Simply pour it over whatever is in the bowl. I have also begun to mince a couple of basil leaves to sprinkle atop their morning meal, and both dogs are coo-coo for it. (Truman more than Pearl. She’s got more of a sweet tooth, but she still enjoys it).

I keep a basil plant in my kitchen in a glass of water, and it keeps us supplied.

Trust me. Ancient cultures were more selective in their choice of objects of worship than our modern-American, Kardashian-infused culture is. They didn’t waste their reverence on b*llsh*t like we do. (I’m just guessing. I like to think they were too busy to fool with nonsense. I could be wrong). But this could change your world.

pugs & kisses,